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What's Preventing You From Playing Scratch Golf? - Page 10

post #163 of 205

I tend to struggle with sand shots, shots from 70 yards in, and green side chips.

 

Joe

post #164 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lihu View Post
 

Golf is hard. Getting to scratch is extremely hard. :smartass:

 

Getting to a 12 handicap is hard as hell too. In fact breaking 100 was no picnic. I remember when getting the ball in the fairway on my first try made the hole one of my best of the day. I remember when hitting a green and having a chance at birdie was completely foreign to me because it happened once or twice a round and I never made one from putting until after my second year. I also was shocked the first time I lasted 9 holes with the same ball. Actually hitting the first shot of a round solidly was another one. When I first started out I could no more do these things than get an albatross on demand. 

 

All of those things are pretty big accomplishments in and of themselves to a beginner. The only thing easy about this game is spending all your money on it; I have that part figured out. 

 

I have some respect for anyone who doesn't continuously get worse every time they play. Actually improving over time is commendable. The tactical side of golf alone can be a challenge difficult to grasp for many people, to say nothing of execution. I have come a long way but if I set a goal of trying to get to scratch, I have accomplished very little. I'm a ballstriking god compared to my friends that play but I'm still pretty helpless when it comes to getting around the course in less than 80 shots. 

 

To play near scratch golf tomorrow, I'd have to make about half the amount of bogeys, at least double my birdies, and totally eliminate anything over a bogey (which is the hardest bit), as well as melting a foot of snow on an area the size of a golf course. Or I could improve my scoring averages on par 3, 4, and 5s by about half a stroke. Or I could shoot the same scores on a course with about an 80 rating; I think that may be difficult though on a number of levels.

 

The one thing that makes for a better challenge at my level is match play. In stroke play my mentality sometimes is it's only a good overall round if I shoot a personal best. I could make 3 birdies in a row or something that pleases me, but the scorecard strips all that away in stroke play if you have some bad holes. In match play you can just ignore your bad shots on the last hole because they don't gang up on you. 

 

And @Joezilla... Maybe you are bad in your short game. I doubt that's holding you back from being a scratch player. If you're losing 14 shots because you're in a bunker or greenside or layup yardage, you're better off improving your ballstriking in the long run. Being in bunkers and missing greens in regulation are what's putting pars in jeopardy; 60% or more scrambling is elite on tour at the end of the day even though it looks like they never miss on TV. If you hit 11 or more greens in regulation you'd never need to get up and down every time. Plus you wouldn't be relying on holing out from off the green to make birdies for those 11+ holes. GIR for life.

post #165 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post
 


Larry Nelson didn't start playing golf until he was 21 years old and ended up quite a bit better than scratch.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Nelson

As I said, I've never seen him!! (in person)

 

That's quite a remarkable achievement. Let's move the bar to 30, anyone know of a scratch golfer who didn't take up the game until after 30?

post #166 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by MS256 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pave View Post
 

And, I bet, they all started playing golf as kids!

 

I've never seen a scratch golfer who started playing golf after the age of 20.


Larry Nelson didn't start playing golf until he was 21 years old and ended up quite a bit better than scratch.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Nelson

 

Well, that gives at least some of us hope. ;-)

 

Let's face it, most "normal" people start golf only when they are too old to do something more "exciting" (at least this was my case).

 

I brought this up about a year ago, but the golf industry depends upon people like us and @Jakester23 to have some hope to get to "scratch" (that is, to improve and feel good about it). It's a fact that many of the older golfers have more disposable income to spend to improve their game. It is unlikely that many of these "target demographic" consumers would purchase new equipment, lessons and weekly rounds every year or so without achieving some inkling of improvement even if only perceived by themselves.

 

Most people would get frustrated if they don't get good enough or improve enough to enjoy the game in a tangible way.

 

I think there is a level where the game becomes more enjoyable without actually reaching scratch. http://thesandtrap.com/t/72105/how-many-keys-5sk-to-really-start-enjoying-golf#post_941760

 

Of course, I would love to be able to play at a scratch level, but is it realistic to expect it and to need to do it? IDK, but this though motivates many people to spend a lot of time and money on golf.

post #167 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuciusWooding View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lihu View Post
 

Golf is hard. Getting to scratch is extremely hard. :smartass:

 

Getting to a 12 handicap is hard as hell too. In fact breaking 100 was no picnic. I remember when getting the ball in the fairway on my first try made the hole one of my best of the day. I remember when hitting a green and having a chance at birdie was completely foreign to me because it happened once or twice a round and I never made one from putting until after my second year. I also was shocked the first time I lasted 9 holes with the same ball. Actually hitting the first shot of a round solidly was another one. When I first started out I could no more do these things than get an albatross on demand. 

 

All of those things are pretty big accomplishments in and of themselves to a beginner. The only thing easy about this game is spending all your money on it; I have that part figured out. 

 

I have some respect for anyone who doesn't continuously get worse every time they play. Actually improving over time is commendable. The tactical side of golf alone can be a challenge difficult to grasp for many people, to say nothing of execution. I have come a long way but if I set a goal of trying to get to scratch, I have accomplished very little. I'm a ballstriking god compared to my friends that play but I'm still pretty helpless when it comes to getting around the course in less than 80 shots. 

 

To play near scratch golf tomorrow, I'd have to make about half the amount of bogeys, at least double my birdies, and totally eliminate anything over a bogey (which is the hardest bit), as well as melting a foot of snow on an area the size of a golf course. Or I could improve my scoring averages on par 3, 4, and 5s by about half a stroke. Or I could shoot the same scores on a course with about an 80 rating; I think that may be difficult though on a number of levels.

 

The one thing that makes for a better challenge at my level is match play. In stroke play my mentality sometimes is it's only a good overall round if I shoot a personal best. I could make 3 birdies in a row or something that pleases me, but the scorecard strips all that away in stroke play if you have some bad holes. In match play you can just ignore your bad shots on the last hole because they don't gang up on you. 

 

And @Joezilla... Maybe you are bad in your short game. I doubt that's holding you back from being a scratch player. If you're losing 14 shots because you're in a bunker or greenside or layup yardage, you're better off improving your ballstriking in the long run. Being in bunkers and missing greens in regulation are what's putting pars in jeopardy; 60% or more scrambling is elite on tour at the end of the day even though it looks like they never miss on TV. If you hit 11 or more greens in regulation you'd never need to get up and down every time. Plus you wouldn't be relying on holing out from off the green to make birdies for those 11+ holes. GIR for life.

 

This is where lessons with a good instructor come in really handy. (I might recommend 5SK, again?) :-)

 

Yes, I bet getting to a 12 handicap takes a lot of work, hopefully, sustaining it is not quite as formidable?

post #168 of 205

Erik

 

Percentage of time practicing?  20% practice time for tap in's?  That's not what I am saying.  There is a chart I found a few years back.  You can see it in this blog post I did here:  http://golfing-guru.com/?p=33.

 

Essentially it profiled golfers at various skill levels and outlined what their relative strengths/deficiencies are.  

 

For example:  An average score of 85 typically meant a golfer will have hit 5 greens in regulation, hit 46% of fairways, putts per round 33.7, 0.8 birdies and 6.6 pars.

The next level with an average score of 81 meant on average 7 GIR, 56% fairways hit, 32.3 putts per round, 1.5 birdies and 8.1 pars.

 

If the small difference in GIR and putts averaged per round isn't telling for just a 4 stroke difference, I don't know what is.  What I was able to glean from that is to drop my score by 4 strokes I had to hit just 1or 2 more GIR and putt just a little better (i.e. get closer to the hole so I can just one putt).  I am not talking about playing perfect golf, what I am talking about is focusing on what should really be important in my game, getting the ball on the green and then putting that ball in the hole with 1 or 2 putts.  Let's face it I am not a professional golfer.  I don't have time to focus on my game for the better part of a day or a week, what time I do have has to be spent focusing on what helps me drive my score down and for me the conclusion I came to was putts, chips and approach shots in that order.  

 

Let me put it another way.  If I miss putts 3 foot and in (which happened quite often)I am essentially loosing a stroke for every hole that I miss a putt that close (obvious right?),  For me that's the difference of a par versus a bogie or a birdie versus a par.

 

I know it's simple, obvious stuff but no one quite explained golf in this manner until I saw this chart.  It gave me tangible goals to focus my golf game.  It also gave me things to focus on whilst practicing.  I am not just hitting balls but I am hitting balls with a specific purpose that I can transfer onto the golf course.  In other words, simplifying a complicated game so that I can succeed.  

post #169 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pave View Post

As I said, I've never seen him!! (in person)

That's quite a remarkable achievement. Let's move the bar to 30, anyone know of a scratch golfer who didn't take up the game until after 30?
^^^

There was an Irish Guy playing that played in the Qualifying School for the European Seniors Tour at the end of Jan.
He's 49 and scratch, and he just missed out his place on the European Senior Tour for this year, am just trying to do so research to see when he took up the game, I believe it to be relatively late in his life.

Will come back when I find out more.
post #170 of 205

The main reason for most IMO is they are doing it wrong,the phrase no golfer wants to hear and so no instructor uses.

post #171 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pave View Post
 

And, I bet, they all started playing golf as kids!

 

I've never seen a scratch golfer who started playing golf after the age of 20.

 

My best golf buddy started in college.  He's been down to a 1 and plays off 3.5 now.  That's as close as I've seen.

post #172 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pave View Post
 

As I said, I've never seen him!! (in person)

 

That's quite a remarkable achievement. Let's move the bar to 30, anyone know of a scratch golfer who didn't take up the game until after 30?


He probably wondered what the fuss was. Broke 100 the first time he played and shot 70 nine months later.

 

(And some people think there is no such thing as talent). ;-)

post #173 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ringworld View Post
 

For me I did some math to prove to myself that I need to focus on certain areas.

Suffice it to say a bogey golfer (Which I tend to gravitate)  I loose it with my approach shot to short game.  The math proves it too.  Almost 69% of a golf round consists of approach shots, chips/pitches and putts.  If that isn't a strong indicator of where to focus your attentions I don't know what is.

 

Putts consist of almost 50% of your game.  So I would consider putts first then chips/pitches second with approach a very close third.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ringworld View Post
 

Percentage of time practicing?  20% practice time for tap in's?  That's not what I am saying.

 

Long story short, you may be over-emphasizing some parts of your game. The difference between the average 90-golfer and the average 80-golfer is of course ten shots, but 2/3 of those shots are made up of, on average, shots outside of 100 yards. Shots inside 100 yards (putting, short game) only make up about 3.5 of the ten-shot differential.

 

 

Now, if you routinely miss three-foot putts (you're losing 0.96 shots each time you miss those), then that's a "glaring weakness" that deserves extra attention. But generally speaking, I disagreed with your use of flat percentages to determine how "important" things were: 50% putts, 69% short game and putting, etc.

post #174 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pave View Post
 

As I said, I've never seen him!! (in person)

 

That's quite a remarkable achievement. Let's move the bar to 30, anyone know of a scratch golfer who didn't take up the game until after 30?

 

I know 4 guys that took up the game well after 30.   Their current indexes are 13.8, 16.2, 22.9, and 25.5.  Only the 25.5 is making some real progress right now.  Taking lessons and practicing.  At the rate he's going, he should easily be  into the teens this year.

post #175 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 

 

I know 4 guys that took up the game well after 30.   Their current indexes are 13.8, 16.2, 22.9, and 25.5.  Only the 25.5 is making some real progress right now.  Taking lessons and practicing.  At the rate he's going, he should easily be  into the teens this year.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pave View Post
 

As I said, I've never seen him!! (in person)

 

That's quite a remarkable achievement. Let's move the bar to 30, anyone know of a scratch golfer who didn't take up the game until after 30?

IF I make it, it will not count.  I did not take up the game after 30 but I actually started playing a lot and trying to see where I could go at 30.  Wish I had done it much younger.  I played a couple times a year before the age of 30 and shot in the low-mid 90's but never practiced or tried to get better.   I just played golf with my family a couple times per year.

post #176 of 205

We teach a guy who is 50 or so and has gone from a 7 to a mid-3 in the last year. He took up the game in his 30s.

 

He knows he's getting older, and it will be tough to get to scratch, but he might make it.

post #177 of 205

I know that lots of folks here will disagree, and I really don't want to dash your hopes, but if you have played the game seriously for a couple of years or so and haven't yet gotten under 10, you won't get down to scratch no matter what. Certainly you can get better with practice and instruction, but everyone has a talent barrier at some point.

 

The guys I know who are close to scratch, including myself, played other sports first and took up golf later in life. One was a hockey player, a couple of us played competitive baseball/softball. None were child prodigies in golf, but I guess we had the eye-hand coordination necessary such that hitting the ball wasn't an issue. Then it took a considerable amount of effort to drop down to the near-scratch level.

 

So it is very much doable after the age of 30, but just hitting more buckets of balls, or watching more golf videos, or getting more lessons will not be enough if you don't possess the initial talent.

post #178 of 205

Right now it's time and weather. I played once or twice a year growing up and was horrible. I started seriously playing when I turned 23 and got down to a low of an 8 handicap self-taught in around a year's time. About that time I realized that I would never get to scratch with my hideous, homemade, flawed swing and started working with a professional. We are about 6 months into a complete swing overhaul and results are beginning to look very encouraging. I practice every chance I get and work with my pro 1-2 times a week. I think I have some natural talent (as I got to a single digit in a year) but I still don't know if I'll be able to make it to scratch. The better I get, the more I realize how far away scratch is and I'm not sure that I will ever have enough time to do it while holding down a full-time job. Unfortunately, the full-time job is necessary to fund golf. I'm hopeful that I can eventually get to scratch or better but who knows where this journey will end up. I like to think about short-term goals and right now I'll be happy if I can get to a 5 or lower by the end of this year.

post #179 of 205

I'm not a scratch player. Close, yet sooooooo far away. I strive for that goal and plan to achieve it some day. I'm just 22, so I think it's reasonable to believe that I could get there in 2 or 3 years. Being scratch is just a combination of all of the skills of golf coming together. Doing one thing well and one thing "pretty good" won't get you there. I'm not an extremely long hitter (260ish), but I try at all costs to keep myself out of trouble. As Iacas mentioned, the more boring the game, the better. Fairway, green, 2 putt. Fairway, green, 2 putt. Last fall I played a round with my dad and a friend of his, and the friend kept commenting on how boring my game was, but he meant it in a complimentive way.

 

Also as Iacas pointed out in his threads, the long game doesn't get enough credit for how important it is. I was a firm believer in the "short game is where most your shots are" theory, but he converted me. The way I see it, the long game is where the bulk of improvement lies, and then the short game is more of the refinement area. You don't have to be a long hitter to be a scratch player, but you need to be an accurate one. Penalty strokes are obviously a big no-no, and I believe GIR's are possibly the most important factor. However, to have a high GIR percentage, you also need a high FW percentage. Golf is a compounding game and it all starts with the tee shot. To increase your chance at par, you generally need to give yourself the opportunity to have two putts. To have two putts, you have to hit the GIR. To hit the GIR, you generally need to hit the FW, and so on.

 

Anyways, to answer the thread, I need to increase my GIR percentage as well as my save percentage. Also, my putting in the 6-12 feet range could also use some improvement.

post #180 of 205
Quote:
Originally Posted by cipher View Post
 

 

IF I make it, it will not count.  I did not take up the game after 30 but I actually started playing a lot and trying to see where I could go at 30.  Wish I had done it much younger.  I played a couple times a year before the age of 30 and shot in the low-mid 90's but never practiced or tried to get better.   I just played golf with my family a couple times per year.

Me neither.  I never took it seriously until about 2 years ago, but I've played since I was about 10.  (30 years)  And from college years until 2 years ago I was anywhere from a once a year to maybe 10 times a year golfer, and was probably always around 12-ish handicap for that stretch.

 

About 2 years ago is when I started playing as often as I could, got new equipment, and started with Evolvr.

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