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Advice For High Handicappers

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

For the few I've conversed with throughout my short time on here, you know I'm a high handicapper - 23 to be exact. I've never taken a lesson, nor do I plan on doing so in the future. I pride myself on making the adjustments necessary through studying anything I can get my hands on, watching the Tour pro's, and playing a lot.

 

I started the year averaging 103 through my 1st 10 rounds. Recently, however, I have tweaked my game, which leaves my new goal to break 90 every time out. Here are just a few things that helped me:

 

1. Keeping the Head Down

 

Yes, I know it's a cliche, but sometimes the most simple fix can save a round. Keeping the head down incorporates other factors that are part of this "tip." For instance, it does no good to "keep your head down" if your posture does not stay consistent. You can keep your head down on every shot, but if you're lunging at the ball, you might as well join the grounds crew. But without flooding your mind before (or during) your swing, a simple reminder of "Keep your head down" will allow you drive through the ball, instead of trying to help it up.

 

 

2. An 80-90% Swing

 

Every now and again, I have to remind myself that less is more. I'm an aggressive swinger, and watching a ball fly majestically into the air feeds my ego. But I've come to learn that I've been duped into putting all my eggs in this basket. After all, how can I truly manage a course if I don't know where the ball is going. Furthermore, when I take a little off my swing, I've noticed that my distance really isn't effected. I can still blast it. Only difference is that it's going straighter. A little reminder I say to myself as I'm approaching my set up is, "Let the equipment do what it's made to do."

 

 

3. A (More) Neutral Grip

 

As a self-taught player, I'm the King of trial and error. I've tried many different grips, starting from a "baseball grip," to an overlapping strong grip with my bottom thumb still wrapped around like I'm gripping a baseball bat. I went from a slicer to a hooker (the legal kind), and after a lot of research and mirror time, I knew that a more neutral grip would help me fix my steep plane and closed club face at impact. I have smaller than average hands, though, so I'm going to play with the interlocked grip, but you can bet I'll keep the grip itself neutral.

 

 

4. When to Hinge The Wrists

 

Hinging my wrists is a big part of why I can hit the ball as far as I can. The downfall for me, though, if WHEN I hinge my wrists. After a few holes, and good play, I was losing it, but never knew why. Looking back on those times, I can now see that I was getting lazy with my form, including when I hinged my wrists. I get the best accuracy, distance, and ball flight when I hinge my wrists near the end of my backswing. When I was going everywhere else but where I wanted, I was hinging them too soon. This goes hand-in-hand with #1, but you probably already knew that.

 

 

5. Ignorant Confidence On The Green

 

My putting went from horrendous to bad when I would use so much concentration on the green. This isn't to say that concentration isn't important, because it certainly is. But when my putting went from bad to decent, it was because I mentally convinced myself that I SHOULD be making "these putts." Call it luck, but I've been consistently better on the green, so there's much to be said about this. This can be applicable on any part of the course too. If you truly believe you're better than you are, it'll show. I'm proof of that.

post #2 of 21

I consider myself a high handicapper as well eventhough I don't have a formal one yet but I'll throw in my 2 cents anyway.

 

1.)  I had a little bit of a problem lifting my head early on but I learned later that it was a result of doing plenty of other things wrong.  When I got the proper knee bend it became pretty much impossible to lift my head and screw up my shot.

 

2.)  I think I'm basically the opposite of this.  I've been locking my left arm straight which prevented me from doing much more than half swings on many of my shots.  Now that I've relaxed it and allowed some bend I'm getting much nicer drives.  Because I did the straight arm swings for so long this new "bent" swing feels huge but I suspect it's still safely in the 80-90% range.

 

3.)  I agree with this.  I switched to the interlocking grip recently and it's completely superior to the overlapping grip I was using.  The interlock weakens my grip which allows me to take the club back further while maintaining the flat wrist.

 

4.)  This is something I think I need to take a look at actually as I often start out OK but then hit my irons worse as the round goes on.

 

5.)  I have only gotten better at putting so I can't really complain here.  :-P  The thing that really helped me was learning (forcing) myself to swing the same distance on both sides of the ball.

post #3 of 21

Pancho, you can get decent at golf w/o any instruction, BUT..what if you have a swing flaw that You can't see..? That could get very frustrating after awhile. A good PGA pro could spot a flaw right away, and show you how to correct it, which would save you time, money and above all some Grief. I know, as I'm sure lots of folks on this site can attest to.

 

IMHO, if you want to improve a bit quicker, see someone that Knows what's holding you back. That way you'll know what the problem is, instead of guessing. ;-) 

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer 4 View Post
 

Pancho, you can get decent at golf w/o any instruction, BUT..what if you have a swing flaw that You can't see..? That could get very frustrating after awhile. A good PGA pro could spot a flaw right away, and show you how to correct it, which would save you time, money and above all some Grief. I know, as I'm sure lots of folks on this site can attest to.

 

IMHO, if you want to improve a bit quicker, see someone that Knows what's holding you back. That way you'll know what the problem is, instead of guessing. ;-) 

 

I'm not opposed to lessons for reasons of pride. It's the money issue. And before you point to the rounds of golf I play as "money," it's either spend the money to play, or on lessons. I enjoy the game as is now, and while I'd like to get better, I rely on my student mentality and honest assessment of myself.

post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pancho Lefty View Post
 

 

I'm not opposed to lessons for reasons of pride. It's the money issue. And before you point to the rounds of golf I play as "money," it's either spend the money to play, or on lessons. I enjoy the game as is now, and while I'd like to get better, I rely on my student mentality and honest assessment of myself.

 

 

So, your asking for verbal instruction that's free..? I'm confused, are you looking to improve in a timely manor, or just stating what you've done so far..?  Ya know, you can always post a video of your swing, in the My Swing Forum if you want/need some advice, and it's free.

 

Re: Your student mentality/assessment of your self...If you don't know what to look for in your swing, how do you purpose to fix it, if you can't see it..?  ..

post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pancho Lefty View Post

I'm not opposed to lessons for reasons of pride. It's the money issue. And before you point to the rounds of golf I play as "money," it's either spend the money to play, or on lessons. I enjoy the game as is now, and while I'd like to get better, I rely on my student mentality and honest assessment of myself.
No offense, but this thread reeks of pride.

If you don't want to take lessons, that's fine. Enjoy the game.

If you want to get better, good instruction will get you there exponentially faster than self discovery.

Trust me, I've been there. I consider myself fairly astute and athletic, yet I've improved more in the last eight months since I started posting my swing and getting real feedback than I had in all the years before that.

But again, it's your journey. You choose your path. Best of luck to you.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

I wanted to use the things that have helped me, and share them with other high handicappers. If that's prideful, so be it. I'm not illiterate to what a golf swing should look like. When you add "feel" into it, that's how I go about it. I'm a high handicapper myself, and am not where I want to be yet. But I feel the lesson thing is a bit overdone. And no, I'm not saying it's a crock. I'm not disputing that it can and often does help. But I disagree that it's a prerequisite for getting better. If that were the case, someone should let Bubba Watson in on that secret.

 

And no, I'm not saying I'm Bubba Watson. Just in case that's the route one was thinking about going with that.

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pancho Lefty View Post
 

I wanted to use the things that have helped me, and share them with other high handicappers. If that's prideful, so be it. I'm not illiterate to what a golf swing should look like. When you add "feel" into it, that's how I go about it. I'm a high handicapper myself, and am not where I want to be yet. But I feel the lesson thing is a bit overdone. And no, I'm not saying it's a crock. I'm not disputing that it can and often does help. But I disagree that it's a prerequisite for getting better. If that were the case, someone should let Bubba Watson in on that secret.

 

And no, I'm not saying I'm Bubba Watson. Just in case that's the route one was thinking about going with that.

 

 

Bubba is the Exception, not the rule..;-)

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by billchao View Post

If you don't want to take lessons, that's fine. Enjoy the game.

If you want to get better, good instruction will get you there exponentially faster than self discovery.
 

 

QFT

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pancho Lefty View Post
 

I wanted to use the things that have helped me, and share them with other high handicappers. If that's prideful, so be it. I'm not illiterate to what a golf swing should look like. When you add "feel" into it, that's how I go about it. I'm a high handicapper myself, and am not where I want to be yet. But I feel the lesson thing is a bit overdone. And no, I'm not saying it's a crock. I'm not disputing that it can and often does help. But I disagree that it's a prerequisite for getting better. If that were the case, someone should let Bubba Watson in on that secret.

 

And no, I'm not saying I'm Bubba Watson. Just in case that's the route one was thinking about going with that.

 

Here's my advice, from a guy who started out as a high handicapper and got down to a +2 (currently more like a 2-3). Identify the priority piece and make that better. Trail and error isn't the way to improve, long term. Please understand I'm not trying to disparage the intent of your original post, just sharing my experience. 

 

And using Bubba Watson doesn't quite work. If not getting lessons and trying a bunch of stuff is what made Bubba great, then we'd have a heck of a lot less high handicappers than we do now.

post #10 of 21

@Pancho Lefty

 

I would suggest just posting your swing in the Member Swings section.  You will get free advice on your priority piece and have something to work with. Folks on this forum have been through this process of improving.  Doing it on your own will take very long, be a frustrating journey and you may never get to the level you want.  How often have you asked yourself, "What am I doing wrong?" after a bad shot?

 

We all understand the golfers budget.  Take the "free" route and post in the Members Swings section.  You will not be disappointed.

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

I am in no way encouraging people to not take lessons. Like I said before, I won't disagree that they help. For me, my current financial situation (with a newborn baby) doesn't allow for that (and still actually play golf). I do the best I can with what's at my disposal. 

 

The last thing I wanna do is piss a bunch of people off. I just wanted to help others who were like me, since I did cut 12 strokes off of my average round. When I get some video uploaded, I'll certainly post it since I believe and trust the members on this board. If there was any confusion about my intent, I apologize. But again, I was only trying to help.

post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvmac View Post
 

 

And using Bubba Watson doesn't quite work. If not getting lessons and trying a bunch of stuff is what made Bubba great, then we'd have a heck of a lot less high handicappers than we do now.

 

 

I definitely agree that trial and error alone is not what made Bubba great. He's a gifted athlete. Without sounding "prideful," I believe I am as well, though.

post #13 of 21
The point others are trying to make is that when you suck you can cut 12 strokes off just by playing a bit more than usual.-Improvement easy when youre struggling to break 100 or even 90.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pancho Lefty View Post

I am in no way encouraging people to not take lessons. Like I said before, I won't disagree that they help. For me, my current financial situation (with a newborn baby) doesn't allow for that (and still actually play golf). I do the best I can with what's at my disposal. 

The last thing I wanna do is piss a bunch of people off. I just wanted to help others who were like me, since I did cut 12 strokes off of my average round. When I get some video uploaded, I'll certainly post it since I believe and trust the members on this board. If there was any confusion about my intent, I apologize. But again, I was only trying to help.

Lots of good stuff on this site-Stick around and contribute and learn @@Pancho Lefty
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pancho Lefty View Post

I am in no way encouraging people to not take lessons. Like I said before, I won't disagree that they help. For me, my current financial situation (with a newborn baby) doesn't allow for that (and still actually play golf). I do the best I can with what's at my disposal. 

The last thing I wanna do is piss a bunch of people off. I just wanted to help others who were like me, since I did cut 12 strokes off of my average round. When I get some video uploaded, I'll certainly post it since I believe and trust the members on this board. If there was any confusion about my intent, I apologize. But again, I was only trying to help.
No sweat, man. I don't think anyone is mad or anything. We're all here to help each other out.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by billchao View Post


No sweat, man. I don't think anyone is mad or anything. We're all here to help each other out.

 

 

^^^^^ This.

post #16 of 21

I tend to agree that lessons are not affordable to most amateur golfers. The other problem (imho) is, that  it's also very hard to find quality instruction that might be worth someone's hard earned coin.  Most of the good instructors are teaching on a pro circuit some where. For those who want to teach themselves, reading everything they can get their hands on is also tough way to learn the golf swing. If a person googles "how to swing a golf club",  22 million +/- results will show up. Most, if not of all those 22 million results will not read 100% the same. Reading everything about the golf swing can cause confusion,  which can also  lead to frustration, which can cause the newbie to eventually leave the game. What an aspiring golfer should do is pick a swing training program, learn all about it, and stick with that program to what ever end it might provide. What an aspiring golfer should also realize is, that some golfers will never achieve the game they think they should play due to their own genetics. On another note. I don't know how many times I have seen a golfer make a bad swing, which produced a bad ball flight. It happens to all of us. It will continue to happen to all of us. What I do find ironic is that most golfers, when asked what actually caused that bad swing, that produced the bad shot, have no idea what they did wrong. That is why I think to become a decent golfer, the golfer needs to know what swing issues that are responsible for  those bad ball flights. If a golfer knows the causes of a bad swing/ball flight, they can then look for the solution, which does not require out side swing instruction. The other plus about knowing the causes and effects of various, poor ball flights, is that the knowledgeable golfer is able to their make their own,  on course swing corrections as needed.  A good example is a golfer being told "you did not keep your head down". Good answer , but should also include "why" the golfer was not able to keep their head down.  

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
 

I tend to agree that lessons are not affordable to most amateur golfers.

 

 

I couldn't disagree more.  Lessons from very qualified instructors can be had for not much more than the price of a single round of golf at a decent, mid-range course.  If you can afford to play golf, you can afford to take lessons if you want to.

 

And this from someone who's admittedly self-taught.  I have to say, I wonder what my game would be like now if I'd gotten some quality instruction when I was younger.    It certainly wouldn't be worse.....  :8)

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
 

  Most of the good instructors are teaching on a pro circuit some where

 

 

Sorry, but that's just not the case.  The % of instructors that devote any, let alone all of their time, to touring pros is infinitesimal and insignificant.  There are 100's of instructors out there for every tour pro.  Finding the right one for you may take some work, but that doesn't mean they're not out there.

post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
 

I tend to agree that lessons are not affordable to most amateur golfers. 

 

Great cost effective alternative to in-person lessons. Heck I would recommend Evolvr over most instructors anyway

http://evolvr.thegolfevolution.com/

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patch View Post
 

Most of the good instructors are teaching on a pro circuit some where. 

 

 

Or they spend their free time helping members of their website ;-) 

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