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From 1 handicap to scratch or plus

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 

This is my first post, and I was wondering if anyone had any tips on lowering a handicap to scratch or plus.  Are there any effective practice routines, workouts, etc. that might help out?  I'm currently 18 years old and a 1.2 index, I have been as low as 0.7, just never been able to get over the hump. 

post #2 of 64

Join the PGA Tour? Seriously man, I cannot imagine trying to go from 1 handicap, to plus handicap. When I shoot 15 over its a good day. LOL

post #3 of 64
Take less strokes
post #4 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JGolf210 View Post
 

This is my first post, and I was wondering if anyone had any tips on lowering a handicap to scratch or plus.  Are there any effective practice routines, workouts, etc. that might help out?  I'm currently 18 years old and a 1.2 index, I have been as low as 0.7, just never been able to get over the hump.

I am not familiar with your situation really.  I have been hovering around 4 for a couple years now and have had a hard time really getting much better from there.  The main thing is just keep at it, you are just 18.  Maybe you have reached your peak skill level, and maybe you have not.  Look at where you are losing those couple of strokes.  Do you have an idea of what you can improve on?  Are you tracking stats?  Do you have a swing coach?

post #5 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cipher View Post
 

I am not familiar with your situation really.  I have been hovering around 4 for a couple years now and have had a hard time really getting much better from there.  The main thing is just keep at it, you are just 18.  Maybe you have reached your peak skill level, and maybe you have not.  Look at where you are losing those couple of strokes.  Do you have an idea of what you can improve on?  Are you tracking stats?  Do you have a swing coach?


I have trouble pinpointing a specific part that needs improvement.  I have had rounds where I have hit 14 greens, 10 fairways, but had 34 putts, and I have had rounds where I've hit 5 greens, but got up and down a lot and had 24 putts .  I track my greens, fairways, putts, and up & downs.  I had a guy I used to see for lessons, but haven't been back in a few months. 

post #6 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JGolf210 View Post
 


I have trouble pinpointing a specific part that needs improvement.  I have had rounds where I have hit 14 greens, 10 fairways, but had 34 putts, and I have had rounds where I've hit 5 greens, but got up and down a lot and had 24 putts .  I track my greens, fairways, putts, and up & downs.  I had a guy I used to see for lessons, but haven't been back in a few months.

Are you happy with your swing?  What is your miss?

post #7 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cipher View Post
 

Are you happy with your swing?  What is your miss?


I feel like there is room for improvement in my swing for sure.  I tend to miss the ball to the right.

post #8 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JGolf210 View Post
 


I feel like there is room for improvement in my swing for sure.  I tend to miss the ball to the right.

If there is an instructor you know can help you improve I would start getting help with your swing.  You could always post your swing here(see link below) as well, there are some great instructors that may be able to give you a couple tips.

 

 

So You Joined TST and Posted a Member Swing Thread…
started on 03/13/14 last post 07/12/14 at 11:51pm 16 replies 2451 views
post #9 of 64


Seeing you are young and already playing very well, you will acquire more experiences with the game situations as you play more.

 

Many great players practice on course to keep their abilities sharpened.

They are usually out in the late afternoon walking, hitting several iron shots, then work on greenside play.

 

Two keys areas of the game you should always practice, a minimum half hour on the putting green and your iron play.

Missing to the right often as you indicate, may be setup or ball position at times.

 

Your misses can't be off by much when your scores are consistent and still having par rounds.

 

The things Pro's do well is recovering, hole out bunker and greenside shots. Also their great putters!

 

Good luck, practice, practice, practice.

 

Club Rat

post #10 of 64

I've been where you are...

 

about 10 years ago I was floating around a 2-4 and really wanted to be scratch. I was having some medical issues and was having quite a bit of pain to play plus my girls were at the age where it was getting harder and harder to focus that much time to golf. I made myself a deal that if I could get to a scratch I'd actually quit playing and learn to play the guitar...I did it.

 

Here are the steps I used...

 

I went after the BEST instructor I could find...I was in the golf business and I can tell you 95% of the PGA professionals can't teach a 20 to become a 15, much less take a 1 or 2 to a scratch. I committed to working with 2 different instructors at the Hank Haney Golf Ranch in McKinney. The top guy, Tim Cusick and another fella that I can't recall his name. Tim was $125 a lesson and the other guy was $75. When I was way off I went to the cheap guy and when I was felt good I went to Tim. I told myself I'd practice as much as I play.... 2 rounds of golf equalled 8 hours of practice.

 

I did this for about a year....after that I then quit taking the lessons and told myself to "trust it"...it took about 8 months but the handicap card finally came in the mail with a 0 on it...yea I lost the damn thing in a move...I think I can get back to that level, even though I've only been back playing for 7 months after a 8-9 year layoff.

 

Identify your big miss, and work to fix it....your short game must be dead on...and you need to be a good solid putter.

 

Sounds crazy but I'd also suggest playing the same couple of courses for awhile. Playing different courses all the time will have a negative impact on getting to a scratch level...I suspect I lose 2-3 shots a round just because I don't know the course.

 

It is about managing your misses...not really about hitting much better shots. When my game is where it should be it is a pretty boring game to watch...misses just never get me in trouble.

post #11 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JGolf210 View Post
 

This is my first post, and I was wondering if anyone had any tips on lowering a handicap to scratch or plus.  Are there any effective practice routines, workouts, etc. that might help out?  I'm currently 18 years old and a 1.2 index, I have been as low as 0.7, just never been able to get over the hump. 

 

If you are a 1.2, its safe to say that your swing isn't what is holding you back. Chances are you are playing a course that is rated too low, you have some skills that you need to refine slightly, or the space between your ears is getting the best of you.

 

What is your course rating? Do you play the back tees?

 

I presume you shoot between 72-76 most of the time... when you "giveaway" strokes; is it off the tee, on the green, or in between?

post #12 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfritchie View Post
 

I've been where you are...

 

about 10 years ago I was floating around a 2-4 and really wanted to be scratch. I was having some medical issues and was having quite a bit of pain to play plus my girls were at the age where it was getting harder and harder to focus that much time to golf. I made myself a deal that if I could get to a scratch I'd actually quit playing and learn to play the guitar...I did it.

 

Here are the steps I used...

 

I went after the BEST instructor I could find...I was in the golf business and I can tell you 95% of the PGA professionals can't teach a 20 to become a 15, much less take a 1 or 2 to a scratch. I committed to working with 2 different instructors at the Hank Haney Golf Ranch in McKinney. The top guy, Tim Cusick and another fella that I can't recall his name. Tim was $125 a lesson and the other guy was $75. When I was way off I went to the cheap guy and when I was felt good I went to Tim. I told myself I'd practice as much as I play.... 2 rounds of golf equalled 8 hours of practice.

 

I did this for about a year....after that I then quit taking the lessons and told myself to "trust it"...it took about 8 months but the handicap card finally came in the mail with a 0 on it...yea I lost the damn thing in a move...I think I can get back to that level, even though I've only been back playing for 7 months after a 8-9 year layoff.

 

Identify your big miss, and work to fix it....your short game must be dead on...and you need to be a good solid putter.

 

Sounds crazy but I'd also suggest playing the same couple of courses for awhile. Playing different courses all the time will have a negative impact on getting to a scratch level...I suspect I lose 2-3 shots a round just because I don't know the course.

 

It is about managing your misses...not really about hitting much better shots. When my game is where it should be it is a pretty boring game to watch...misses just never get me in trouble.

How is the bold possible?  So from 2-4 to 0 you did not really get any better at getting the ball closer to the hole on average in regulation?  You just eliminated penalizing strokes?

post #13 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by cipher View Post
 

How is the bold possible?  So from 2-4 to 0 you did not really get any better at getting the ball closer to the hole on average in regulation?  You just eliminated penalizing strokes?

 

Sure, my better shots got better. Right now I'm a 2.8 and I can tell you my "big miss" can sometimes cause a penalty stroke or put me in a place where I have no chance for par, this will happen once or twice a round with a driver and maybe a couple times with an iron. On bad days I can really miss all over the place. When I was a zero my big miss with a driver would put me in the rough or just a loss of distance, almost never would it cost me a penalty stroke or leave me with no chance to somehow salvage a par.

 

My point is...the difference between a 2-4 handicap player can sometimes be where they miss and how bad they miss. When you are at a 2-4  penalty shots are pretty rare as it is. But your swing needs to be good enough that the miss puts you in a place where you can get up and down or worst case a bogey, the double bogey's destroy good rounds. Sometimes it is simply course management. choosing to hit to the center of the green instead of the pin that is on the front when there is a chance that a short shot could leave you will a next to impossible up and down because of severe slope or a bunker.

 

Going from a 2-4 to a 0 is not going to be all of a sudden hitting it 30yds further and making 5 or 6 birdies a round. It will be because you almost never make a double bogey and you make on average 3 birdies around instead of 1 and your bogeys go from 5-6 around to 3-4.

post #14 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfritchie View Post
 

 

Sure, my better shots got better. Right now I'm a 2.8 and I can tell you my "big miss" can sometimes cause a penalty stroke or put me in a place where I have no chance for par, this will happen once or twice a round with a driver and maybe a couple times with an iron. On bad days I can really miss all over the place. When I was a zero my big miss with a driver would put me in the rough or just a loss of distance, almost never would it cost me a penalty stroke or leave me with no chance to somehow salvage a par.

 

My point is...the difference between a 2-4 handicap player can sometimes be where they miss and how bad they miss. When you are at a 2-4  penalty shots are pretty rare as it is. But your swing needs to be good enough that the miss puts you in a place where you can get up and down or worst case a bogey, the double bogey's destroy good rounds. Sometimes it is simply course management. choosing to hit to the center of the green instead of the pin that is on the front when there is a chance that a short shot could leave you will a next to impossible up and down because of severe slope or a bunker.

 

Going from a 2-4 to a 0 is not going to be all of a sudden hitting it 30yds further and making 5 or 6 birdies a round. It will be because you almost never make a double bogey and you make on average 3 birdies around instead of 1 and your bogeys go from 5-6 around to 3-4.

Gotcha, good stuff.  I just wanted to make sure I understood you correctly and for the sake of the OP, and myself as someone who is wondering if I can ever get over the 4ish plateau I am on.

post #15 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finn725 View Post

If you are a 1.2, its safe to say that your swing isn't what is holding you back. Chances are you are playing a course that is rated too low, you have some skills that you need to refine slightly, or the space between your ears is getting the best of you.

What is your course rating? Do you play the back tees?

I presume you shoot between 72-76 most of the time... when you "giveaway" strokes; is it off the tee, on the green, or in between?

The course rating for the course I usually play is 72.8 from where I play and I always play it back wherever I go. I usually lose shots off the tee and I feel like my mental game used to be an issue, because I would put so much pressure on myself for high school golf and junior golf, but I think I have improved lately in that aspect.
post #16 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfritchie View Post
 

I made myself a deal that if I could get to a scratch I'd actually quit playing and learn to play the guitar...I did it.

 

Sounds crazy but I'd also suggest playing the same couple of courses for awhile. Playing different courses all the time will have a negative impact on getting to a scratch level...I suspect I lose 2-3 shots a round just because I don't know the course.

 

It is about managing your misses...not really about hitting much better shots. When my game is where it should be it is a pretty boring game to watch...misses just never get me in trouble.

So are you a good guitar player?

 

Playing the same couple courses to get a scratch cap is kind of a vanity thing.

 

The ability to make birdies is what really makes you a good player. If you know you can rattle off 3 birdies in a row a couple bogeys don't have the same impact.

The OP is 18, he should be trying to make 5-6 birdie a round. I guarantee you will be scratch if you make 6 birdies every third round.

post #17 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JGolf210 View Post

The course rating for the course I usually play is 72.8 from where I play and I always play it back wherever I go. I usually lose shots off the tee and I feel like my mental game used to be an issue, because I would put so much pressure on myself for high school golf and junior golf, but I think I have improved lately in that aspect.

Well, when I recognize I am giving strokes away off the tee, at a course I am familiar with... I start looking at what a hole looks like if I land a tee shot 220 of the tee, instead of 280-300. Most of the time I take a lot of trouble out of play. Shooting a 71 consistently means eliminating the big number as much as possible.

But my guess is that the pressure you put on yourself is the biggest obstacle. If you have shot a 69 once, you can do it every time. Convince yourself that the expectation is to shoot 69 or better. If shooting 72 becomes a real disappointment for you, rather than a round you are satisfied with, and you start looking for 3-4 strokes you gave away each round. You will become a + handicap by the end of July, 2014.
post #18 of 64

2 things, managing misses like other people have said.  What that means is important.  No one wants to think about missing their shot.  So what it means is that if you usually hit a straight shot and your "typical" miss is to the right, aim a flagstick left and try to hit that spot.  Being 5 -10ft left of the pin is better than off the green right, based on pin location of course.

Number 2 is approach shots.  You look at pros and they average 65ish% off the tee, so as long as you're close to the fairway its fine.  Get your approaches to where you know the exact distance and you have a good idea that your miss is only 5 paces left or right.  

Then it's straight forward, putting.

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