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Breaking 100

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iacas

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I watch my daughter, @NatalieB, play golf. Sometimes better than others, but this year, almost always in the 90s (and once, so far, in the 80s). She's playing from 5,000 to 5,300 yards, and she'll take 36-42 putts, and miss the green with chip shots, and hit the occasional shot that goes 20 feet when she's 140 yards out…

And yet, she breaks 100 virtually every time. The other day she had two four-putts and a few three-putts, started with two triples and a quad in the first four holes… and shot 95.

And yet, full grown men playing from 6200 yards who hit their driver farther proportionally than she does from 5200 yards sometimes struggle to break 100. My gut, instant reaction is often something like "my goodness, you have to play some pretty bad golf to not break 100!"

But then I consider a few things. In no particular order…

  • Generally speaking, @NatalieB advances her golf ball. It might be 120 yards at a time, but the truly bad 20-footers are few and far between.
  • Generally speaking, because @NatalieB's good drives top out at under 200 yards, she doesn't hit them sideways too far.
  • Generally speaking, @NatalieB aims away from all trouble, even if it puts her slightly in the rough. She just tries to hit the green from even 30 yards out, and eliminates nearly all risk with most shots.

And that's it. That's pretty much how Natalie can break 100 without too much trouble.

So why can't others? Why can't grown men, while a little girl can? And the reasons are simply the opposite of what's stated above.

  • Guys struggling to break 100 generally don't advance their golf ball. They will flub more shots than Nat will in a round. When you're looking at shooting 90 to 95, five flubbed shots put you close to 100. They remove any margin of error.
  • Guys struggling to break 100, when they hit their clubs, are not accurate. They might hit their ball 250 yards, which even if hit the same angle offline, travels much further offline!
  • Guys struggling to break 100 don't take the conservative lines to every hole, every fairway, every shot.

Long story short, and the real purpose of this post, which is borderline "too long to be a droplet," is this: if your goal is just to break 100, you could probably do that within a few weeks: focus on hitting your hybrids and irons somewhat solidly and putt and chip "okay." However, if your goal is to play good golf for the rest of your life, and to keep improving, just trying to break 100 is the wrong way to go. It'll set you back. You won't learn to hit your driver or longer clubs, you won't learn to take the right risks, and you won't learn to play the game the way you'll play the rest of your life.

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I'm sure what you're saying is for the most part true, but for some of us there is no formula that will propel us into the 70's or low 80's. @iacas, you or any other good instructor could caddie every round for me, give me a practice plan that I'd follow religiously, and fit me with the best equipment. I'd become moderately better.

On most days, I'm fine with this reality and don't let it stop me from trying to become as good as possible while enjoying the challenge. I'm genuinely happy when others improve at a faster rate - especially kids. It's not "unfair" nor is it always a choice that some don't become good. It's simply the way it is.

In golf as in other sports, we all have different potential. Even using the best improvement strategy that our available time and money allows, there is no way around that.

Edited by JonMA1

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I definitely agree with this.  My average score is about 96, so I'm always a bad day away from shooting 100+.  I also average 2+ putts/hole.

I'd bet if I took all my full-swing practice time and devoted it to chipping/putting, and threw my driver in the trash, I could shoot sub-100 basically every time out.  But I'm looking at the long-term only...I'd shoot 100+ every day if you told me it gave me a better chance of being better next year.

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2 minutes ago, krupa said:

Breaking 100 should be a milestone not a goal.  

It's a goal for many.

I had one player last year who based his entire summer on that.  And I had to have a very real talk with him about whether that was his true goal, or whether it might not be a "secondary" (or tertiary) goal, because it would have changed the instruction I gave him quite a bit.

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25 minutes ago, iacas said:

It's a goal for many.

I had one player last year who based his entire summer on that.  And I had to have a very real talk with him about whether that was his true goal, or whether it might not be a "secondary" (or tertiary) goal, because it would have changed the instruction I gave him quite a bit.

It was a goal for me this year.  It wasn't until people in the 'breaking bad' thread, started posting "if you want to break 100 just do this..." type comments that I came to think that breaking 100 should be a milestone instead of a goal.   

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I think breaking 100 is clearly a goal and goals can be relative. For a sixty five year or seventy year old golfer new to the game who can afford to play only once a week that may be the goal (just an example that goals are relative). For others it may and probably should be a short term goal. It is my goal to shoot sub 100 before the end of the year. I certainly plan to continue improving however once I get there. I am not sure I could bust a 100 by bagging my driver (last round I think I could have come really close though if not there).

I am not giving up on driver and full swing with my longer clubs because ultimately I would like to get to bogey golf. For me, with the amount of time and funds I can dedicate to golf that would be more than sufficient as a goal and if/when I get there I can reevaluate.

I want to enjoy the game, and the enjoyment is not solely focused on a number I put on a card even though that number has importance. 

Edited by Gator Hazard

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Setting a golf score goal is not a bad thing as long as it is realistic for the individual. IMO, it helps creat more focus.  It also needs to be changeable, as the golfer improves.

My scoring goals over the years have been 100, 90, 80, 75, and is now back to 80. I also play my 18 hole rounds in groups of 6 holes, where my scoring goal is 27 or better for each 6 holes played. 

Edited by Patch

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I like @krupa's idea of a milestone for those taking up the game that have the time and desire to play frequently.

Breaking 100 or 90 for the first time was never something I considered.  It was a long time ago but those scoring milestones meant little.  It was probably optimism that I really never considered that I wouldn't easily surpass them.  

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After starting at age 35, it took my clumsy butt a year to break 100. You bet it was a goal.

Really, my swing from day one has been geared towards keeping it in play. This has come at the expense of length. Now that I'm trying to get to bogey-level, it's a bit of a problem. Lengthening my swing and retaining some degree of accuracy has been very hard. I see progress, but progress is slow.

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Quote

Long story short, and the real purpose of this post, which is borderline "too long to be a droplet," is this: if your goal is just to break 100, you could probably do that within a few weeks: focus on hitting your hybrids and irons somewhat solidly and putt and chip "okay." However, if your goal is to play good golf for the rest of your life, and to keep improving, just trying to break 100 is the wrong way to go. It'll set you back. You won't learn to hit your driver or longer clubs, you won't learn to take the right risks, and you won't learn to play the game the way you'll play the rest of your life.

 

This is an interesting perspective, and kind of hits home as a golfer who never broke 100.  I keep telling myself its going to happen at some point, and joke all the time with my dad that it would have happened by now if I put nothing but a 7 iron and a putter in my bag. But that would be cheating.

In reality, the goal is consistency. Breaking 100 (and eventually 90) is just a milestone along the way of truly improving.

Edited by bweiss711

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It's a goal for me shoot around 102 too 110 so very inconsistent, starting to realise that playing the wright shot from the wrong place is what I need to do,  like a 3 iron from the ruff round the tree to the lake, instead of a nice 7 back to the fairway and leave the bad shot behind you all your comments have been very helpful so going out in about 30 minutes to shot 98. Bye

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The difference between 108 and 98 may as well be 50 strokes. 100 is a big deal when you are learning. You break 100, you can hold your head up a little bit. You start thinking maybe you can play this game after all. 

Kids don't feel pressure the same way adults do. They're fearless and they're limber. I'd love to see anyone at my home club try to get up on the parallel bars or back-flip off the high dive. 

 

 

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Interesting perspectives on how goals can change. Last year I broke 80 twice and this became a goal. It was short-lived however. For whatever reason, my game seemed to deteriorate rapidly after that as I strived for a repeat performance which turned into high anxiety. By the end of the year I became very discouraged and started playing less and less to where I was not playing at all. I devoted a lot of time to practice, trying out various “fixes” and little by little, I got away from my own “basics”. Recently, I had an epithany in that my practice routines consisted of going back to breaking the swing down into fundamental parts, reviewing the lessons contained in Hogan's Five Fundamentals. The one thing that seemed to help the most was his discussion of staying connected and pits of elbows facing skywards, promoting a rotational swing. I soon began hitting very consistently without even thinking about it. Now, I try to ignore the various nuances offered by various instructors and just stick to what seems to be working for me. My current goal is breaking 90 which I have full confidence I will do in the very near future provided I get out on the course at least once a week. I am only 3 strokes away from bogey golf (again). I am not even thinking about 80 and will be satisfied with my current, soon-to-be-reached goal of 90. Shoot my age? Well, maybe, should I live that long!

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On 7/19/2016 at 5:36 PM, bweiss711 said:

I keep telling myself its going to happen at some point, and joke all the time with my dad that it would have happened by now if I put nothing but a 7 iron and a putter in my bag. But that would be cheating.

Why?  What would make that cheating? Try it and see what happens.

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5 minutes ago, colin007 said:

Why?  What would make that cheating? Try it and see what happens.

 

What I meant is that I would be cheating myself.   As someone who had yet to break 100 when I wrote that, breaking 100 with the only club I felt like I could hit with any consistency and a putter would be meaningless.  And that was also a joke I would tell.  Not an actual expectation that I could.  But even if I could break 100 with only a 7 iron and a putter, it wouldn't really mean anything other than having a fun anecdote to bring up every now and then.  I wouldn't be any better of a golfer.  It wouldn't mean that I could hit a driver with any consistency.  Or be able to get on the green from beyond 180 yards or over a trap from 50 - 120 yards out.  I would have broken 100, but made no actual progress towards becoming a better golfer.  And I believe that was the sentiment of this blog post and especially the portion of it that I quoted.

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Still in the 100 club have been out countless times now since my last post, had some terrible rounds with some fantastic shots, that's why we go back out to emulate the great shots put them together and hope to make a good round, out soon for 9 holes so it is not going to be today

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I'm beginning to wonder that for those of us who don't practice a lot if the best set of clubs would be one where all the irons were the same length... like the 7 iron for example since that's the club they tell us to practice with all the time. We get good at hitting that, then when we go to hit our long irons our game falls apart. If the long irons felt the same as the 7 iron.... and the PW felt the same as the 7 iron..... there'd be a consistency in the swing at least. But I don't have the money for a set like this.

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