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Rarely break 100, Never Broke 90 BUT....

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I guess I am looking for advice and/or just venting...have been playing the game for almost 5 years now and I love it...BUT I just can not for the life of me understand why I can not shoot "decent" scores. The majority of my 18 hole scores this year (as every year) have been 98-105. However, this year I also have a few 9 hole scores of 41 / 42. I am so extremely frustrated and am very close to quitting MAINLY BECAUSE I KNOW I CAN BE / AM GOOD! I know that sounds crazy coming from someone who shoots 98-105 but the best way I can sum it up is that I will be playing VERY solid and then I will have severe blow up holes (which obviously add a lot to the score card).

 

A year or two ago, I maybe would have said my problem is the blow up holes PLUS the fact that I mentally lose it after a blow up (+4,+5 etc on a hole) BUT honestly I have worked myself to a point where the blow up holes don't bother me and I just keep chugging along and take them for what they are - in other words, I really dont think the "mental game" is my excuse or reason I play poorly...I just randomly have terrible shots that result in penalty strokes etc.

 

At my local club, pretty much every time I am paired with someone I have not played with before - about 6-7 holes into the round they will make some comment to me like "I have never seen someone whose game is as erratic and up and down as yours, after the first 3-4 holes I thought you might be a pro...but then out of nowhere you hit a few shanks, chunks etc. it makes no sense" Honestly, people are baffled when they play with me at how up and down my game is.

 

ANOTHER good example, was earlier this year I was lucky enough to play a few holes with a PGA Tour player (long story and I would rather not say who it was) and as we were walking to the range he asked what I normally shoot, so of course I wanted to be honest so he knew what to expect and I told him "high 90s low 100s"...then moments later on the range he was watching me warm up and stopped me and started telling me how full of crap I am about shooting those scores. He said and I quote "it's literally impossible for me to believe someone who has a swing as good as you has a handicap over 10" ..."you have a swing as good or better than a lot of college golfers" . He then said, "well, if you shoot what you say then your short game must be terrible" and THATS the other crazy part of all this btw...my short game is very good - I pretty much always get up and down, chip / pitch within 3-4 feet of the hole and RARELY 3 putt. I also hole a lot of chips (often enough that its not luck). Anyways just to finish the story, when we got on the course - I easily parred the first 3 holes (pretty difficult course) which then made him bust me even more...he was laughing and saying "I knew you were full of crap!" (not in those words lol) and then it happened - I completely fell apart on the 4th hole - I think I went +4, +2, +4 on 4,5 and 6 (shanked tee shots, sliced tee shot, sliced iron and a chunk were all mixed in there etc.) (we only played six holes). 

I have read some great stuff on this forum about how people who are not consistent probably do not have sound fundamentals - im scared because every lesson I have had (and I have had about 15 lessons over past 3 years btw) - the instructor has only suggested minor changes in my swing and they have all said I have a very good swing . Yes, I have had my swing video taped (by instructor) a bunch of times and I think he found it hard to coach me because...as he said "you either swing perfect or swing with a different flaw every time" - and that is true - my misses on the course are ALWAYS different...slice, pull, chunk, top etc. I rarely have the same miss except for the driver which I often slice...However if I HAD to pick the problem w my irons, I would say shank right or pull left.

 

I really appreciate anyone who has read all this and if anyone can give me ANY advice I would appreciate. The game is not fun when your shooting high 90s / 100s especially when you are as competitive and athletic as I am (not saying that to brag). If there is anything else I can add that might help you understand my situation better, please let me know.
 

post #2 of 21
Thread Starter 

BTW, I play at least 1-2 times a week...over the summer maybe 3 times a week (two round of 18 and one round of 9 thrown in)

post #3 of 21

It's in your head. You need to practice. Repetition until it is second nature and confident you will hit the shot. Inconsistency is all about uncertainty and part lack of knowledge or the feeling you don't know if what you are doing is right.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

appreciate the input.

post #5 of 21

It doesn't matter who you are and what handicap level you are at you will have situations that will make you feel like you have never played golf before and then on the very next hole you can make par.

 

Case in point yesterday I was playing a quick nine holes with the pro and three of us had hit our tee shots into the par three within ten feet. We then say that we have applied the pressure to him and he says " oh I could park a bus in between your balls and the flag." He then proceeds to hit his shot to four feet.  He then proceeds to 4 jack from 4 feet !  This is a guy that I see shoot 4 or 5 under all the time and he just had one of those moments that you just can't explain.

 

First and foremost if you have a sound swing and especially since you say that others just don't believe you handicap by seeing you swing then you just have to understand that it is a matter of time before your scores reflect your true game.  You also have to realize that the scorecard is the last place that your improvement will show up. First you have to understand and correct your weaknesses, then practice hard on them to reduce or eliminate them from your game. Then slowly it will creep into your on course game until it becomes routine to you eventually. You also have to understand that how much you do or don't get to practice will speed up or slow down the process.

 

If you give up though you'll always wonder what if.

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Righty to Lefty View Post
 

It doesn't matter who you are and what handicap level you are at you will have situations that will make you feel like you have never played golf before and then on the very next hole you can make par.

 

Case in point yesterday I was playing a quick nine holes with the pro and three of us had hit our tee shots into the par three within ten feet. We then say that we have applied the pressure to him and he says " oh I could park a bus in between your balls and the flag." He then proceeds to hit his shot to four feet.  He then proceeds to 4 jack from 4 feet !  This is a guy that I see shoot 4 or 5 under all the time and he just had one of those moments that you just can't explain.

 

First and foremost if you have a sound swing and especially since you say that others just don't believe you handicap by seeing you swing then you just have to understand that it is a matter of time before your scores reflect your true game.  You also have to realize that the scorecard is the last place that your improvement will show up. First you have to understand and correct your weaknesses, then practice hard on them to reduce or eliminate them from your game. Then slowly it will creep into your on course game until it becomes routine to you eventually. You also have to understand that how much you do or don't get to practice will speed up or slow down the process.

 

If you give up though you'll always wonder what if.

 

Really appreciate you taking the time to write back. What you say really makes sense and resonates. At the end of the day, I just do not yet have a swing that is reliable...I mean, my good shots are not just lucky - they are the result of a decent swing - however after 5 years of consistent play, lessons, practice etc. it still is not "repeatable". At the end of the day I would could probably never quit because I love the game THAT much that I am willing to go through the struggles. It's just a little discouraging when I hear about so many people who break 90, 80 etc. after playing the game for a year or so. Once again, thanks for the response. 

post #7 of 21

Ok, I'm not an instructor, but I'll give this a shot....

 

Your swing is probably not as erratic as you think. A lot of your misses are related to similar problems:

 

Fat and thin shots both occur because you don't have a consistent low point in your swing, or your ball position isn't consistent, or both.

 

You slice and you pull. I don't remember reading anywhere that you hook or overdraw the ball, so you're definitely hitting out to in, or over the top. The reason one slices and the other pulls has to do with the orientation of your clubface at impact.

 

The shank is caused by hitting the ball too close to the hosel. If I had to wager a guess, I'd say these occur because your arms separate from your body, which pushes the club towards the ball. I'm kind of grasping at straws with this one.

 

Be careful about people telling you that you have a great or perfect swing. There's no such thing as a perfect swing. There are a lot of things going on that the naked eye cannot detect in real time. I've been told by many people that I have a great swing. I have my swing on video, it's not great. If it was, I'd be a better golfer.

 

Stick with it. Golf is hard, but its rewarding. I think you just need some confidence and to relax more when you make a bad shot. Take a deep breath and focus on the positives. Think about what you have to do on the next shot instead of what you messed up on the last one. Most importantly, remember that it's a game. It's supposed to be fun.

post #8 of 21

Just started playing this year after a 40 year break and I've improved each month

 

I keep a log of each shot, especially the bad ones,  with a note whether its a top, chunk. etc.

After each round I'd spend some time mentally replaying with the log and finding the patterns.

 

I need to just RELAX out there.  After a couple bad shots I try to take a longer club with

a 3/4 swing. And Squeezing the club will produce my slice.

 

I'm currently working on sticking to a preshot routine.....I can play way too fast with the

expected results.

 

 

post #9 of 21

A few thoughts:

 

1. They say that becoming proficient, or nearing 'expert' level at anything takes 10 years.  You've only been at it for 5 and not full-time.  I'll probably come.

 

2. Reading between the lines of your story I kind of agree with the first responder - it's in your head.  You may be subconsciously waiting for the wheels to come off on every shot given the fact that it does.

 

3. Golf is a 'short-memory' game. You can't do ANYTHING about the shot you just hit.  Get to your ball, assess the situation and make the best decision you can, commit to it and try to make a good swing.

 

4. Golf course management.  My wife just completed her 5th season.  Things that she's told me that helped her game was me commenting on seeing and understanding what is in front of her, where danger exists and how to play away from the bad stuff that leads to high single hole scores.  Golf is not an 'obvious' sport, IMO.

 

5. Ask your club pro to spend a round or two with you and talk through each of your shots.  What are you thinking about on each shot?  Where are you playing to?  What is your shot strategy?  How are you managing this hole from the tee box and on each next shot.  For example, slicing a ball OB right is as simple as moving to the RIGHT side of the tee box and aiming left.  Might sound extremely rudimentary, but I've seen pretty smart golfers, (in other walks of life) slice 2 OB right and not see the fix until it's pointed out to them.

 

6. Not saying you're a mental case by any stretch, but a good number of tour guys have been seeing sports psychologists regularly for the mental side of the game.  They probably work on stuff like how to manage pressure; how to get in the best frame of mind to succeed; help them understand how to better focus on the task at hand to be more successful ... stuff like that.  Might want to consider some such help.

 

Good luck. You'll probably get over that hump and have a single-digit hdcp in no time.

 

dave

post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Awesome feedback and again...I'm very appreciative.
post #11 of 21
This is a good thread. I've found myself standing over the ball wondering what bad thing is going to happen.
post #12 of 21

I'm about a year and a half in and am starting to get the same thing.I'll pop along decently for 4 or so holes and blam oh. Rack up a 10 and start hoping for a 99.

post #13 of 21

I feel your pain.  I have only been playing 6 mos, but I seem to have stalled a bit. I put in a lot of time and try to practice as hard, focused, and smart as I can.  I play 1-2 times a week and try to hit the range at least once.   I usually shoot in the mid to upper 90's.  I shot a personal best 7 over 43 on the front nine, started thinking "finally going to break into the 80's", and proceded to shoot a 50 on the back.  After looking back on my game, I think I was to concerned with my score and what I had to do on the next hole to keep on pace.  It didn't work.    I don't have a solution, I just didn't want you to feel like you are the only one out there who is putting in time and feels like they aren't going anywhere.

 

Joe

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Yep! In my opinion, at 6 months in you are doing pretty well but I appreciate how you can sympathize with me lol. Like I mentioned in my original note, it's so frustrating because I know my good holes / shots are not just "luck" - I have been playing the game long enough, taken enough lessons, practiced enough, seen my swing on video enough etc. to understand (to a respectable degree) how the golf swing works and to know that im often "on". The problem is I just lose it at some point during the round!

 

I can understand how most would say it must be something "mental" then but...I dont know...I feel like my lack of focus, anger etc. only seeps in after I realize I its pretty much going to be impossible to shoot low 90s, break 90...which is NOT after one bad shot, quite honestly its not until after a bunch of bad shots / a few blow up holes.

 

It kills me when I play with guys who have terrible swings but somehow manage to break 90  / shoot a better score than me. At the end of the day, they just are able to keep it in play better. Not that a round of weekend golf is all about competition BUT my point is - its crazy how they can do it and I have not.

 

I always keep my "real" score (penalty strokes, stroke and distance, putt out every hole no gimmies etc.), which I realize makes it much more difficult when compared to guys who take mulligans etc. However, I just feel strongly that after 5 years, many rounds, a lot of practice, lessons, money spent etc. that its insane I dont play better. I know this does not have much to do with it but im also very athletic - run 25-30 miles a week, hit the gym 3-4 times a week, and have alot of flexibility...I had a few golftec lessons and the instructor was amazed that my x-factor was the same as a pga tour pros....said he has never given a lesson to anyone who could hit those numbers. PLEASE KNOW im not saying any of this to brag at all as I have nothing to brag about...I only mention it because it adds to my frustration and bewilderment. 

post #15 of 21
When you have your blow up holes what is going on in your head? Do you start thinking about it when your on a good streak of holes(meaning when you about to hit your tee shot do you say to yourself Im doing good don't F up).  One problem I had(still have but rarely now) is that I get to address and feel uncomfortable.  What you have to do sometimes is just step away take a drink of beer or water and just relax start over and make a good swing.  Two years ago I would get to the ball and something just didn't feel right but I still went through with the swing and the results were bad. Last year one of my pre shot routines thought was to feel relaxed, comfortable, and confident before I make my swing.  Theres no shot clock so don't feel pressured to hit a shot if your not completely committed to the shot.  You'll get there I had the problem of getting into the 80's I was stuck in the 91-97 scores for a year or so but once I got one they started to come more frequently.
post #16 of 21
I consider myself to be in the same boat as you, more or less. Flashes of brilliance, but never able to put it together for more than 7 or 8 consecutive shots before a punishing miss. I would recommend two things: range time and an equipment upgrade.

When practicing at the range devote most of your time to the shots most likely to result in punitive misses. Driver, iron off the tee, 150 club, 100 yd wedge. Then play an "imaginary round" where you cycle through the clubs as you would need them at your favorite course.

On the equipment side, decide if you want to commit to the driver or give it up in favor of a nice 4-wood. The 4-wood will do well for keeping you out of trouble, especially with the push-slice miss, and still give you the distance to leave reasonable approach shots left. If you want to stick with the driver, buy one with a closed face or an adjustable that lets you set it 1.5-2 degrees closed. Spend time with it at the range and you will figure out how far left you need to aim to take the right side out of play on your typical miss. For irons, look at a set of super-game-improvement sticks with a wide sole and a long blade (heel-to-toe length). You will still be subject to chunked shots, but a long enough blade length will make the shank near-impossible. Ping G-series would be the standard of comparison, but every company has an offering. Once you get better with the SGI equipment you can move on to more expert-level stuff. Golf is expensive to play already so it doesn't make sense to cheap out on equipment if it affects your enjoyment of the game.
post #17 of 21

Apart from technique, I think you have an issue with your confidence. The fact you know that you make blowup holes is probably sat in your head and can imagine that this destroys you out on the course and not your skill level.

 

I think working on your mental recovery from bad holes is key to having a good round and also helps you to enjoy golf more. The fact you mentioned that you want to quit, says to me that you probably struggle with a  'give up mentally' once you've had this said bad hole(s).

 

Speaking from experience, I very rarely get angry out on the course and have worked on this issue. Last week for example, shot an 8 on a Par4 and then followed it with 3 par's. For me that is about controlling your mental state and being able to recover and forget the horror holes.

post #18 of 21

i feel i was in a similar spot. shoot consistent low 80's, cant break 80 (till this summer) swing is decent, chipping is pretty good. My problem is driver being erratic and putting (i hate putting) and i have a concentration problem.

 

This year i decided only to take driver out if it really is beneficial to my score and an open fairway on the hole otherwise take 3 wood which i hit consistent as heck and fairly long. If i can chip it closer, make less driver mistakes i figured my score will drop and they did. first time breaking 80 was a 74. then i broke 80 about 10-12 times this year.

 

IMO, work on your bad shots and concentration

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