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JonMA1

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I played what may have been the last round of golf in 2016 today and kept score on the front 9 for the first time in over a month. I had no intention of posting the score towards my handicap index so I played from a variety tee boxes. I also tracked this round on GameGolf which I hadn’t been doing much of either. Finally, I recorded video of a few shots to see if any of the work I’d put towards getting my weight forward was showing up on the course.


After taking Evolvr lessons during the winter, I felt a tinge of confidence coming into the year. My priority piece had been to start with more weight back on the backswing. It was counter-intuitive but was an easy piece to implement and seemed to help. It is still an important part of my swing.

I mapped shot zones in the early spring and the measured distances matched what I consider to be stock for each club. The dispersion was likely what one would expect for the scores I shoot.

Once the rounds had started, I decided to record many of them using an online handicap tracking service. I hadn’t realized the rule about recording solo rounds had changed, but it made little difference as the intent was to track improvement. In an attempt to avoid sandbagging or vanity capping, I was consistent in declaring (in my head of course) whether the round would be posted before I started. There were only two infractions committed that I’m aware of. One was updated immediately with the correct penalty strokes added, the other was not as the infraction was unknown until months later and I couldn’t remember the exact round. The point is, I believe all but one round were played strictly by the rules.

Screen Shot 2016-11-13 at 6.41.41 PM.png

2016 was also the first year where the majority of rounds were recorded with GameGolf. That software is simply incredible.

Screen Shot 2016-11-13 at 10.17.47 PM.png

From that first round played at Farmington Hills in March, to repeatedly shooting in the mid 90’s from a 6,000 course, to the point in late August where I finally broke 100 from the difficult blue tees at my home course, the season was succeeding in the form of measurable improvements.

Unfortunately, the improved play wouldn't carry over to the Fall. When the progress stalled and even reversed a little in September, I took video while playing on the course. I had no idea my swing looked so bad and so different from what I’d recorded during the last couple of years in my workshop. While I don’t give a rat’s ass whether I have a pretty swing or not, there were some serious flaws. And more than a month of very focused practice has done little to change the picture. 

But this entry isn’t intended to be negative. I’ve always liked the phrase “what happens to me isn’t as important as how I react to it”. I envy and respect those who can accept their ability for what it is and never forget it's only a game, as much as I do those who excel at this game. I’ve given up on getting much better than bogey golf, but I still aspire to learn how to relax and try to enjoy my time out there.

Which brings me back to today’s round.

My overall game is not at mid-season form. There are a lot of reasons for that, but the area I’ve put so much time into — the full iron swing — was not one of them. While videos taken today still reveal an ugly, off-balance swing, the practice showed up in the form of better contact with the club bottoming out more correctly, and a swing path and face angle that provided pretty good starting lines and ball flight.

For the most part, the last round of the season was enjoyable.

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Even at the pro level playing consistent golf is very difficult.  I started off slow this year, slowly progressed up until July then had a major regression with my irons which I eventually resolved in September and for the last two months have been playing very good golf despite my driver being a problem again.   I started the season at a 21 and finished at a 16.4 which is 1.4 strokes higher than the goal I had set for this year but that's life and golf.  Had I not had the regression in July and August I might have made it down to 15.  

While many of us are obsessed with lowing our index, we should also strive to enjoy our time on the course.  This is more difficult when we're struggling with our swing and a round that you started with hopes of scoring a new low blows up on the first few holes and now you've got to play 12 - 15 holes just to salvage a terrible score.  

It's good the last round of the season was enjoyable, it will give you a good reference for working on your swing over the winter and make it even more exciting to get back on the course next year. 

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Nice job on getting below 17 @newtogolf.

Agreed, many of us should strive to enjoy our time out there with the same effort we put towards better scores.

Which would you choose...

1. Losing 10 strokes immediately without any effort but also without the chance of that level ever changing,

or...

2. What you have now, working your tail off to drop a few strokes every year?

Part of what I like about the game is the struggle (not a big part, but still...). When I do make progress, I feel like it's been earned because of how difficult change comes.

In no other time of my life has a hobby been so addictive and consuming. I keep waiting to get bored with golf - as has been the case with so many other activities - but it just hasn't happened. When that day comes, someone will get a nice set of Mizuno irons.

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If those numbers are correct and represent your average and not a single round snapshot, you should work on your short game, IMHO.  Your 36% GIR is better than mine (at around 30%) and I have a 10.0 index. But your 2.3 putt per hole and 7% scrambling are glaring weaknesses in my view.  How many times in a round do you 3-putt (or worse)? Without too much effort, you should be able to get down to 1.8 putt per hole and bring your scrambling stats to 20%, and you'll save yourself 10 strokes per round, easily.  [2.3 -1.8 = 0.5 putt/hole, which is 9 strokes alone]

Get busy practicing your putting: lag putting and inside 10 feet putting.  Sure, the full swing is always a work in progress and can always improve, whether for accuracy or length and at some point, this may be the best place to spend more time, but I feel with those numbers, you could be shooting in the 80s pretty easily by focusing more practice on your short game.  Good luck!

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Thanks for the advice @sjduffers. I agree with your assessment. Poor putting is costing me a ton of strokes. I need to get it below 2 to have any chance of getting to bogey golf.

The nice thing about GameGolf is that I don't have to rely on my memory or what I felt was a weakness after a round.

As far as that GIR stat in relationship to my index, many of those rounds were on a short course.

I didn't cherry pick the good rounds throughout the season (as you can see below), but after starting over from scratch in October, 3 or 4 practice rounds didn't get included. OTOH, there were also several decent rounds throughout the summer that were never recorded. So I think it's a good sampling of the 2016 season.

Here's a link to my GameGolf... 

https://www.gamegolf.com/player/JonMa1

 

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I just followed you on GG. I can't see your Stokes Gained data, but I suspect that some work on short game and putting could help you quite a bit. Even though you might be done playing for the season, there might be some days that are warm enough to hit the putting green. You also do the quarter drill with your putter at home to make sure that your putt stroke is equal length back and through. I used to chip those foam balls around my living room. Try to stay engaged over the winter. 

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Uh, yes, you need to work on your putting.

I don't even think your short game might not need much work… if you chip it to seven feet and then miss the putt most of the time… that's not your short game at fault.

This is backed up by comparing your stats to the various handicap levels.

jonma1.jpg

Now, Strokes Gained done properly doesn't care what you do with the resulting putt, so you're still losing a few strokes with your short game… but not many, and not compared to the true glaring weakness: your putting.

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Am I eligible for the Stupid Monkey Award by sticking to the 65/20/15 Practice Ratio, or the Really Stupid Monkey Award for not working on a glaring weakness? Please don't answer... I already know.

I can almost hear the thoughts of all the traditional golfers... "See, I told you! Drive Approach for show, putt for dough!" 

Thanks everyone for the input. I will work on my putting this winter. I even have a surface that isn't that much different speed-wise than the greens I play, it just doesn't have the breaks.

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22 minutes ago, iacas said:

Figure out which of those is weakest, though I'm sure all three likely need work.

I will re-read this topic. Thank you Erik.

I'm very confident that "bead" is my priority. I say this because I often miss short putts with little to no break. Distance control with these short misses are normally not an issue. The ball just starts on the wrong line. Not saying I'm very good at the other two, just that I am very poor at this.

What I started doing late this season was to stop judging the putt based solely on whether or not it goes in, but rather does it do what I intended (it's from one of the putting gurus, but I don't know which one).

What I believe (or at least hope) this will do is to take away some of the angst, while at the same time reveal a repeating flaw... push or pull or even a bad read. As far as I can remember, I miss with both types of start lines.

We will see how it turns out.

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