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9 handicap when it doesn't matter, 40 when it does....

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

You just met me at the first tee.  We have a good round.  I maybe broke 80, with 3 birdies, maybe a lucky eagle.  Pretty impressive.  If not, some where around 83 with a bunch of good shots, just one or two trouble holes.   I played well, we tell bulls**t stories at the 19th. 

 

Next week we are in the same group for the latest monthly tournament.  I hit 120.  You ask if I have a twin brother that's a single digit handicap.  You drop your head and pat my back when I tell you that no, I'm the same guy.

 

That round of 78 I hit, a week ago Monday.  The 120 was last Saturday.  Governor's Cup qualifier.  

 

I guess I'm just not cut out for tournament golf.

post #2 of 17
Well, I go everywhere from low 70s to perhaps not breaking 95occasionally on a difficult course and my current index is 9.3. My own reasons for doing so are:

1 - I am still working some movement out of my swing. The less unnecessary movement, the less you rely on your own rhythm that day. How many of us have played with someone with a crazy swing? When their moving just right, they play great. Other times, not so much. I have gotten rid of most of it, and my scores don't quite have the variance they used to....and I lose a lot less balls.

2 - people piss me off. Oh yes, I play during the week at lot and therefore am at the mercy of whatever crazies there are. Most people are nice, but there are a lot of rich, arrogant people at my home course. Rode with someone on Saturday who told me:

How much he ate out, and how much he spent
How often he went on vacation this winter while everyone else was stuck at home freezing, and how expensive it was
The car he just bought
The cost of his shoes and he has 14 pairs
How stupid everyone else is, and he does the same stuff
Keep trying to get me to fix his phone and text his wife because he doesn't know how

Went from Par-Par-bogey to triple-triple-par-triple when he kept chasing me down for the texting and we were playing a tight par 5. Completely oblivious and self absorbed.

3 - just having an off day. I ballooned to mid 90s in the last club championship. Felt calm, but I just couldn't get my hands settled on the club. Same after the event. Just happens sometimes. Took some range time to settle them back down. But I didn't have a firm hold on my grip, so good shots were a little more by luck than I would have liked.
post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejimsmith View Post
 

You just met me at the first tee.  We have a good round.  I maybe broke 80, with 3 birdies, maybe a lucky eagle.  Pretty impressive.  If not, some where around 83 with a bunch of good shots, just one or two trouble holes.   I played well, we tell bulls**t stories at the 19th.

 

Next week we are in the same group for the latest monthly tournament.  I hit 120.  You ask if I have a twin brother that's a single digit handicap.  You drop your head and pat my back when I tell you that no, I'm the same guy.

 

That round of 78 I hit, a week ago Monday.  The 120 was last Saturday.  Governor's Cup qualifier.

 

I guess I'm just not cut out for tournament golf.

 

How often do you play tournament golf?  It's a whole different game.  The only way to get past it is to play more tournaments.  Until a tournament is just another round, you're likely to struggle.

 

Don't feel bad, it happens to a lot of us.  :beer:

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 

Don't feel bad, it happens to a lot of us.  :beer:

Seriously.  Don't get too discouraged, just keep at it.  Look at these two tournament scores I had last year.

 

The first one is from July, a tournament that I won:

And this next one is my very next tournament, one month later:

 

Go figure.  A possible unrelated note:  I had a few mediocre outings prior to the first tournament so I had no expectations.  After that win, I had all the expectations in the world, as well as all of the confidence in the world going into that next tournament.  Whoops. :doh:

 

Like I said ... go figure.

post #5 of 17

Yep - golf is a game of highs and lows.      I can shoot low 80's one week and have a blow up high 90's the next ... what really gets under my skin is that I just can't manage to turn it around when it really starts to go bad.    

post #6 of 17

I tend to be an underachiever on the course so all my days are pretty bad. My WTF moments are in the other direction. It's the low scores that freak me out.

post #7 of 17

Pressure could certainly be it, as I think David was suggesting.  For me I think its the opposite.  Sometimes things snowball because rather when rather than focusing better after a bad shot I just forget it and play too loose.  Almost like I convince myself that if I stop trying I will do better.  

 

I shot a 107 this past weekend in a tournament at my home course, where I play every week.  I had a three hole stretch that I played at +17. Hit one OB and rather than diagnosing and focusing I just ripped another one OB en route to a 9.  On the next tee I tried to just forget it and not think about it and shanked a 9 iron into the trees, en route to a 6.  I won't even go into the details on the 14 I scored on the next one.  

post #8 of 17
This is exactly why I am taking lessons and working on my swing.. I am taking it slow and tempering my expectations so that once I'm done with the lessons that I don't have such a huge swing! No pun intended
post #9 of 17

OP, I don't know you're game so I can't say this as factual, but my guess would be that your tournament issues dwell from a lack of mental strength/preparation. Once again, this is just an observation from an outsider but typically what I see in people that don't play well in tournaments but are otherwise good golfers is that they never recover from poor holes. The pressure and emotion tends to keep them from playing their normal game. I was playing with a guy that started pretty well, was only 1 over after 6 holes, but on the 7th he took a double bogey. He was so shook up by the one hole that he was never able to get back to his normal game, and went on to shoot a 93. He was trying to hit hero shots and gain all his strokes back at once, which isn't possible. The one hole completely blew his round.

 

It's much easier said than done, and I'm guilty of it myself at times, but it is important to not get too high or too low in tournament play. I'm not sure if this is the case with you, but with a 42 stroke difference between your rounds I feel like it has to play a role. I don't mean this as an insult, but someone capable of shooting a 78 should not shoot a 120 unless they are playing the tips of a pro course. Inflated tournament scores are normal, there's nothing to hang your head about in that regard. It's just that the difference from your handicap indicates that somewhere along the way you mentally lost focus and couldn't re-gain it. Play for par on every hole and forget the holes before it. You can't change them.

post #10 of 17
Great advice!
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

I've always had problems with anything on the line.  I've even played well for a few holes, then get into a skins game for the rest of the round, and immediately have the wheels fall off my game.  This has all crept up into my head that I'm almost always done before the start.  Last week, I even went to the range every lunch and after work to prep.  Then, Saturday morning, my arm doesn't feel right -- either I was sore from too much range time or I was already in my head playing games with myself.  And it was over after that.

 

My best rounds seem to be a new courses with people I've never played with.  People that don't know how I should be able to play, so no pressure to perform.  

 

I'd like to be able to play competitively.  I may just need to force myself to get into those situations more to get used to them.  Its hard though, as nothing makes you want to completely quit the game then getting an 11. 

post #12 of 17

Some of the best advice I ever got was about tournaments and how it's extremely rare to become comfortable with that sort of competition right away. You WILL get there. The more tournaments the better.  

post #13 of 17

The only way to improve how you deal with the pressure of tournaments is to play in more tournaments. However, if that is not enjoyable for you then you may not want to play golf competitively. Some people enjoy getting nervous and playing with something on the line, some people don't. Neither way is right or wrong. If you want to become a better tournament player though then you have to play in pressure situations. That's the only way to do it.

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

You've all made good points, thank you.  In short, those that say I need more experience in these pressure situations are right.  Some of my best shots come when I'm not "caring".  While that's fine for most of the time I play, I do like improving my game, and the next step appears to be working on my "head" game.

post #15 of 17

I can totally relate to ejim. Most of my play is with buddies who are high handicappers or as a walk-on single. In these situations I get around the course pretty good and typically shoot in the range of 82 - 85. About five years ago I wanted to try my hand at tournaments so I joined a Saturday club. I never quite played to my potential and typically shot 6 - 8 strokes higher than normal. In addition to my poor performance I soon got turned off by guys in my flight carding low 70's. Instead of sticking with it and adjusting to the pressure, I only played one year with the club and went back to my usual casual play. A few years later I wanted to give it another try and joined a 9 hole after-work league. At the time I was playing well enough and generally shot 39 - 41 during the weeks leading up to the league. I told myself that my score didn't matter and I was just going out to hang with the guys, have fun and play golf. It still didn't matter, in the back of my mind I wanted to play well and I knew my score mattered so my scores reflected the pressure. I don't think I ever turned in anything less than 43 for the season.

 

I don't think that I'm cut out for pressure play. Sure I could keep trying and perhaps improve but I think at this point I'm ok with the situation. So, for now I'll just stick with casual play.

post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Griglygrak View Post
 

I can totally relate to ejim. Most of my play is with buddies who are high handicappers or as a walk-on single. In these situations I get around the course pretty good and typically shoot in the range of 82 - 85. About five years ago I wanted to try my hand at tournaments so I joined a Saturday club. I never quite played to my potential and typically shot 6 - 8 strokes higher than normal. In addition to my poor performance I soon got turned off by guys in my flight carding low 70's. Instead of sticking with it and adjusting to the pressure, I only played one year with the club and went back to my usual casual play. A few years later I wanted to give it another try and joined a 9 hole after-work league. At the time I was playing well enough and generally shot 39 - 41 during the weeks leading up to the league. I told myself that my score didn't matter and I was just going out to hang with the guys, have fun and play golf. It still didn't matter, in the back of my mind I wanted to play well and I knew my score mattered so my scores reflected the pressure. I don't think I ever turned in anything less than 43 for the season.

 

I don't think that I'm cut out for pressure play. Sure I could keep trying and perhaps improve but I think at this point I'm ok with the situation. So, for now I'll just stick with casual play.

 

And there's nothing wrong with that. Golf is meant to be fun, and if it's not enjoyable dealing with the pressure and stress of tournament play then don't do it. Also, it certainly gets expensive playing in a lot of tournaments. I enjoy getting nervous and trying to play through that, but some people don't. I've found that my tournament average is pretty close to my usual average, if anything possibly a little lower. Some people can really lower their rounds in tournaments because their level is focus is much higher than normal, and some have difficulty replicating their average rounds because the pressure bothers them.

post #17 of 17

Get in some money games...not $1.00 or $2.00 but enough to make you care. How much did the tournament cost you? If the tournament cost you $100...find some guys to play with and play where losing might cost you $100...I know those games in the past really helped me prepare...

 

I'd also ask about your tournament preparation, did you play a course you are familiar with? If not how many practice rounds did you play. Do you have a plan...did you have a plan B if your plan A wasn't going well....

 

For example maybe your plan was to hit driver on a par 5...but plan B might have been 3 iron, 3 iron, 8 iron...thus helping you make 3 nice swings with little risk and building confidence. Learn to play holes in different ways....

 

I do know if you develop a strong short game based on very good technique this can really take a lot of pressure off your long game. You start hitting it bad you are less likely to worry if you know you are not going to make big mistakes with your short game. The last thing to remember you never have to shoot as low as you think you do to finish well in a tournament.

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