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How do you get into the low 80's from roughly the high 80's and low 90's?

post #1 of 179
Thread Starter 

So, how did you do it? Or how do you think you would do it? Is it more accurate tee and approach shots? Killer short game?

 

I am of the opinion that the long game is more important, but I am at a point where it seems like the short game is really killing me.

 

Or is it the fact that my approach shots are not accurate enough?

 

So, I would like a metric of how accurate you need to be at so and so distance to get to the low 80's.

 

How do most of you single digits perform?

 

For example, what is your typical club from 150 yards and how accurate are you with it? Percentage within a fixed target of say 20 yards and outside that target.

 

It is also a question of where your most accurate shots are required? Is it really 150 yards or can you do just as well with 120 yards? How far do you drive if you only need accuracy from 120 yards?

 

This thread is essentially "How do you get into the single digits or low teens?"

 

There are other threads about breaking 80, but there is a large gap between a person shooting high 80's/low 90's and shooting below 85 (standard rated courses).

post #2 of 179

You seem to have a mind for statistics and data, so start with this book until the real single digit players chime in:

http://thesandtrap.com/t/72412/every-shot-counts-by-mark-broadie

 

And for the record, most of my extra strokes have come from mis-hits, bad accuracy, inconsistency, and so forth.

post #3 of 179

There are many ways to do it, and I think it depends on talent levels as well.  I won't say how long it took me because I really don't want to try explain that again.  I did it through playing a lot more and learning to hit a semi-reliable shot off the tee and just improving my "chipping"(I did not really pitch much back then) at that time.

 

150 is 8 iron and in the fairway I would expect to hit the green maybe 60-70% of the time.

 

I think the most accurate shot is required off the tee...keep it in play.

post #4 of 179

Its hard man... very hard. Its actually pretty easy to get to a point in your golf career, to shoot low 90's. Low 80s is complete different animal. The lower you go the harder it is.

 

Some people (like me for instance) can never achieve single digit handicaps, no matter how much you put into practice and playing.

 

The natural ability to achieve this is an important factor.

post #5 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lihu View Post
 

So, how did you do it? Or how do you think you would do it? Is it more accurate tee and approach shots? Killer short game?

 

I am of the opinion that the long game is more important, but I am at a point where it seems like the short game is really killing me.

 

Or is it the fact that my approach shots are not accurate enough?

 

So, I would like a metric of how accurate you need to be at so and so distance to get to the low 80's.

 

How do most of you single digits perform?

 

For example, what is your typical club from 150 yards and how accurate are you with it? Percentage within a fixed target of say 20 yards and outside that target.

 

It is also a question of where your most accurate shots are required? Is it really 150 yards or can you do just as well with 120 yards? How far do you drive if you only need accuracy from 120 yards?

 

This thread is essentially "How do you get into the single digits or low teens?"

 

There are other threads about breaking 80, but there is a large gap between a person shooting high 80's/low 90's and shooting below 85 (standard rated courses).

Here's what I think:  Playing smart.

 

Your swing is good enough (and getting better daily) that you are bound to hit a few fairways and a few greens, right?  Well, obviously, you have to make sure you par those holes ... so you have to be a competent enough putter to avoid the 3 putts as often as possible.

 

If you're shooting in the 90's, it's likely that your driver is somewhat erratic.  Just make sure to eliminate (as much as possible) silly extra strokes due to penalties.  Say, Goose Creek, for example.  If you are prone to a right miss, then you'd be smart to use a 3 wood or long iron off the tee on those holes around the outside of the course with OB right ... even if they are par 5's.  (#7 I think, #12, maybe a couple of others)

 

And then around the green ... don't get cute.  When you have a short pin, don't try to get it close, just try to get it on the green.  Basically, play for bogey once you miss the green.

 

It all adds up.  If you can hit 4 greens, that's 4 pars.  If you can avoid the penalties and silly mistakes like dumping a pitch into a bunker, then you can get on all of the other 14 holes in regulation +1.  You are bound to make a putt or two on some of your better pitches, and if you do, bingo ... there's you're 84.

 

Swing improves, you hit 5 greens.  Short game and putting improves, and you have 4 one-putts instead of 2, and now, voila, your 84 just became an 81.

 

And the cycle continues.

 

But I think once you have a reasonable ability to hit the ball like you do, playing smart and safe, and taking your medicine, is how you improve your scores the simplest.

post #6 of 179

Maybe a good guideline would be as follows:

 

   If you hit XX GIR and still shoot above XX, you need to work on your short game.

 

Just a thought.

post #7 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by 14ledo81 View Post
 

Maybe a good guideline would be as follows:

 

   If you hit XX GIR and still shoot above XX, you need to work on your short game.

 

Just a thought.

Did you mean ...

 

If you hit X GIR, and you still shoot 18-X over par, then you need to work on your short game?  I get the logic behind it, and it could very well be true for some people ... but there's no guarantee that the extra strokes are caused by extra chips or putts, and not by OB or jailed drives.

post #8 of 179

For me it was playing a lot and it just kind of happened. Wasn't an overnight thing but IMO a combination of getting into playing shape via experiencing a lot of different on course situations and the result being better game management. I won't say the quality of my golf improved as much as the quality of my decision making. Mostly because as my awareness of both the courses I play most and my abilities became sharper I did what I could to give myself a chance. Example I know from experience if I get through the first 3 holes without major problems chances are I won't blow it through the next 6 so I play conservatively. I tend to think about it in 3 hole segments, my goal is to play each set 1 maybe 2 over. If I pull it off through the first 6 again I won't take chances that could be trouble on the last 3. If I end up +4 to +6 I don't stress about playing perfect golf on the back 9 trying to make up lost strokes. Though I will say lessons and dedicated practice played a big part but again the gains weren't immediate. Some of it was confidence and expectation. It didn't take a massive decrease in scores to feel like better scores were possible.

post #9 of 179
I think there are a lot of ways to get there, everyone's game is a little different.

Be honest with yourself, and understand your game... Strengths and weaknesses. Try to improve your weaker areas through practice, while playing to your strengths in the meantime.

For me, I'm long off the tee but I struggle to keep the ball out of trouble. So I take my medicine in those situations, stay patient and play for bogey. Sometimes I'll just tee off with a 4 or 5 iron if I'm having a horrible day with the driver. I have a very good short game, so I just try to advance the ball to a position where I can rely on the short game to pull off a bogey, and sometimes save par.

Know what your capable of, and play within that.

Check out "The Elements of Scoring" by Ray Floyd. Just read it not long ago... Great advice, great book for any golfer. Has me looking at the game a little differently as of late
post #10 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 14ledo81 View Post
 

Maybe a good guideline would be as follows:

 

   If you hit XX GIR and still shoot above XX, you need to work on your short game.

 

Just a thought.

Did you mean ...

 

If you hit X GIR, and you still shoot 18-X over par, then you need to work on your short game?  I get the logic behind it, and it could very well be true for some people ... but there's no guarantee that the extra strokes are caused by extra chips or putts, and not by OB or jailed drives.

 

True.  Maybe I should have added that stipulation into my formula as well.  The point I was trying to make is, if you are a good enough ball striker to hit 10-12 greens (and par most of those holes), but never get up and down, you might want to work on some short game.

post #11 of 179

30% GIR and 30% U&D gives 81 with no penalties, 3 putts, or extra chunk shots to get on the green.  I would just look at it from the standpoint of eliminate the penalty shots and being on the green every time minimum with two putts for bogey.   

post #12 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by cipher View Post
 

30% GIR and 30% U&D gives 81 with no penalties, 3 putts, or extra chunk shots to get on the green.  I would just look at it from the standpoint of eliminate the penalty shots and being on the green every time minimum with two putts for bogey.   

 

This is basically how I played the best rounds of my life.  I played quite a bit a few springs back and was able to score low 80's a few times.  Seems a bit boring, but it worked.

post #13 of 179
Lots to it, everything already stated here is accurate, ie, chipping putting, talent, experience, etc.

I have a few friends I play with, all from 10-13 hcap or so. What I hear regularly from them on my game is how I'm able to avoid the big numbers. I don't do any one thing great but I guess I'm pretty steady, 1 or 2 doubles a round, very few triples and maybe a quad or 2 a year.

Not sure how I do that except I'm a reasonable chipper and putter so I can recover quickly. And I keep it in play mostly.

Id be surprised if you don't throw up an 83 at some point then another a month later, then again 2 weeks after. Once it comes it will no longer be a mental barrier. I have to remind myself in pursuit of my goals to enjoy the journey so I would pass that reminder onto you as well.

Stay with it and good luck!
post #14 of 179

Some great stuff mentioned already but I think this needs some highlighting:

 

Recovery Shots

 

You need to practice these just like any other shot.  Work on low punch shots with your 4-5-6-7 irons.  Learn how far you carry them, how far they roll out.  How high/low you can hit them.  How much they will curve right or left.

 

You're going to get in trouble, that's just a given.  Give yourself confidence to get out of trouble and suddenly those tee shots that worried you aren't quite as scary.

 

Now this is NOT advocating for 'hero' shots.  Sure sometimes you can go after the green through the trees, but you need to be just as accurate to get yourself out of the trees and back in the middle of the fairway.

post #15 of 179
I've always thought that these apps that we upload our scores to (Golf Shot, Golf Logix, Tour Caddie, Swing By Swing, etc) should do a better job giving us analysis tools. They have TONS of data. They know exactly what it takes people to score 82 on a par 72 course, for example. They can spit out the average FIR, GIR, putts per hole, as well as birdie/par/bogie distribution, for any given score. The screenshot below is from Swing by Swing when I used that tool. I found that the data was suspect, however. In the example, I doubt it takes 66% FIR to achieve an 82- doesn't seem common sense.



GolfShot has a companion product with Paul Azinger that told you for your handicap where you stood for FIR, GIR, putts, recovery, etc. That gave you a sense where you were lacking compared to others who shot similar scores, so it helped you to focus on a weakness. For me, that was putting and my recovery numbers being low compared to others who shot the same scores.


But anyway, my answer to your question is more mathematical:

I've always thought the key was to limit the damage from bad shots. If you give yourself 2 double-bogey holes max: either on the green in 3 and 3-putt or on in 4 and 2-putt, then you can still make 10 over par.

For the other 16 holes, you just have to be on or an easy pitch to the green in regulation. You can't afford to blow too many drives and approaches, but you don't need great ones either. I'm amazed at how ugly a par can be sometimes. The tricky thing is also how quickly a double- bogey can creep up on you. You just need to make solid contact on all of those drives and approaches. Something to be playable.

And for the 16 holes where you're on or near the green in regulation, you need to par at least 10 of them. Decent short game, obviously. That'll give you 10 over par, considering you shot 4 over par on just 2 blowup holes, and 6 over par for the remaining 16. Throw in a nice birdie putt or an approach to kick-in range and there's a little buffer.

I'm still a mid to upper-80s player but I had maybe 5 low 80s scores last season. Those low 80s scores were just very consistent ball-striking with a birdie or two thrown in. Here's hoping for a better 2014, so it helps to noodle this out as the season starts.
post #16 of 179
Improve your full swing ball striking. Anything else is just an attempt to compensate and won't get you there consistently.
post #17 of 179
My 2 personal bests were last year (both 83's). The only noticeable difference between those and my normal rounds (88-92) was no OB's and hitting a lot of solid tee shots. I didn't hit every fairway but I didn't miss hit a drive and when I missed the fairway I wasn't in jail.
post #18 of 179
Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsul View Post
 

Some great stuff mentioned already but I think this needs some highlighting:

 

Recovery Shots

 

You need to practice these just like any other shot.  Work on low punch shots with your 4-5-6-7 irons.  Learn how far you carry them, how far they roll out.  How high/low you can hit them.  How much they will curve right or left.

 

You're going to get in trouble, that's just a given.  Give yourself confidence to get out of trouble and suddenly those tee shots that worried you aren't quite as scary.

 

Now this is NOT advocating for 'hero' shots.  Sure sometimes you can go after the green through the trees, but you need to be just as accurate to get yourself out of the trees and back in the middle of the fairway.


Good disclaimer about not trying the "Hero" shots.  But....

 

I disagree with this approach, I don't think a 18 handicap will gain much by learning how to hit punch shots etc.  If you want to be in low 80's, how many times can you really afford to be in a situation like that? Once maybe twice a round? Especially when the rest of your game is not exceptional?  If you hit it in the trees, punch back to the fairway, still 160 out, chance he is going to miss that green. 4th back on the green, and lets hope for a two putt.  That's a double bogey, miracle bogey sometimes.

 

I agree that it's good to practice recovery shots, but in this case, I just don't see this saving him 5-6 strokes a round.

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