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Realizing What's Typical vs. What's an Anomaly



Let's just put it out there.  I'm a 14+ handicap.  With that in mind, it's not all that often that I go home from a round of golf feeling like it's just a matter of time until I 'put it all together' and post something around even par for a round.  In September, during a shotgun tournament, I played the front nine of a course in even par... and the back nine in +9.  But... like I said, it was a shotgun event and the front nine was somewhere around the middle portion of my round.  It was nice to look at the scorecard afterward and realize that I shot even par on that side, but... it was still even par.  My career best has been an 81 on 3 different occasions.  

Over the last few weeks, however, things have been coming together nicely for me.  I managed one of those 81's during a match in which my partner and I blitzed our opponents 7 & 5 the Saturday before last... and then on Friday of this past week, a buddy and I went to play a practice round at a tournament venue and I posted an easier-than-it-seemed 82.  I had a handful of bad holes that day, but otherwise... I was hitting a lot of fairways and a larger-than-average number of greens.  

Following that round... I really felt that maybe some of the good things were being memorized by my body.  If I missed a green, I left myself in reasonable position to make a par putt.  I managed to convert 5 of 8 such opportunities.  I felt good about how I had pitched and chipped the ball.  The bottom of my swing was easy to find and it resulted in not only a good score, but some pretty good thoughts to fall back on.  

I didn't get to touch a club since then until this morning.  I set up a round as a single at my home course.  I wanted to get out and hit some balls on the course, so... I figured I'd play and try to post a score.  Unlike the round a few days prior... all of my feel and touch was gone.  

On the first hole, my approach was short and right of the green.  There was a slope of about 3 feet in front of me to climb and it took me 3 shots from there to get the ball on the green.  Chunky, chunky, chunky.  I made a double.  

After a birdie on the 4th hole, I was facing a shot of about 75 yards on the 5th hole.  I had already struggled on the hole, hitting a poor drive and a poor approach, so... I wanted to get somewhat close.  Typically, that 75 yard shot is in my wheelhouse.  I hit it so ridiculously fat that I actually laughed out loud.  I managed a good pitch shot following that and salvaged a bogey, but... man.  

I missed a simple 3 foot putt on the 6th for double and ended up with a triple.  

On the 7th hole, the wheels came off.  A poor drive left me with little room to do anything but punch a 4 iron into the fairway.  Luckily, this was a short par 5 and I had only 90 yards to the hole.  No trouble in front of me and the pin was in a very accessible spot in the middle of the green.  Just like on the 5th hole, I hit a shot where I'm pretty sure if I looked hard enough, I could see some of the Earth's crust in my divot.  I still had 70 yards to go, and I bladed the ball over the green and out of bounds.  A drop and another pitch came up short.  My chip from there was also heavy and I two-putted for a quadruple bogey 9.  

I had similar instances on the 8th and 9th holes where I just wasn't able to get anything going.  Overall, my short game cost me about 8 strokes on the front side where I posted a 50.  Even marginal play from those positions would have given me a 45.  

Now I'm sitting here shaking my head at how different the feelings after the last 2 rounds are.  I was on a high after Friday's round.  Today, I'm mentally destroyed.  I want to go back out and figure it out, but... I won't be able to do that until Thursday, so... here I sit, left to wonder what I did so differently.  

All this brings me to the title of my post here.  Instead of getting excited about that one round where things went right... I need to learn a lesson from it and carry it over to my other rounds.  I can't get excited about that 'once in awhile' round until I'm able to repeat it a few times in succession.  Those rounds are my anomalies.  I'm better off realizing that than going out and coming home disappointed about a 93 that 'could have been' an 85.  

It wasn't an 85.  It was a 93. Any of my 81's 'could have been' 78 or better.  They weren't.  I've got to EARN consistently better scores.  They're not going to come just because I had a decent score the round before.  Today taught me a lesson.  I'm hoping that, mentally, it makes me a stronger player and drives me to improve on the little things that all go into posting better scores.  



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It's fine that you just play, and if you enjoy golf doing that, I'm happy for you.

But I suspect you might enjoy golf more if you chose an instructor and actually practiced. Then you'd actually be able to have a sense that things were going to come together.

You're just doing the same things you've always done. You likely won't get any better, and as you get older, you'll just slowly get worse and shorter.

You're bumping into the ceiling of how good you can get with the tactics (all play, almost no practice let alone lessons) you employ.

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At least you have a handle on reality @Fairway_CY. I've met a few who don't. They think that one single low score is their normal game and all the high scores are the anomalies.

Overall, it seems like exceptionally good and bad rounds happen to most players. Although, I have read posts by those who claim their game is pretty consistent, meaning they are rarely surprised by a score.

Given a choice, I'd rather have the type of game where variance between good rounds and poor ones would be slight. I'd give up that anomaly of a round if it meant not having to suffer through a bout of total ineptitude.

But one thing a freakishly low score does bring about is a glimpse into how much fun that next level of golf can be.

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Don't get too depressed about the amateur tournament playing roller coaster.  I suspect even professionals think they have "it" after killing the ball during the Wednesday Pro-Am only to lay an egg on Thursday and shoot 75.  Golf is hard and a 1/4 inch variance here and there results in large swings in the results.

Your low scores are not anomalies, just the best 4-5 scores out of the last 20.  Play enough tournaments and some of those "best" scores will be in competition.

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You don´t have to be over happy after a good round and don´t be destroyed after a bad one. It happends!! Some day´s you think you cracked and on others you think that you should try with another sport. In my last 20 round´s my best score it´s a -5 and the worst it´s a +12. 17 stroke difference, 1 per hole.
Scoring average it´s whats matters when you what to know if you are really getting better. This last 20 rounds are 2 strokes better in averange than my previous 20 rounds. That´s the proof i need to know that i´m in the rigth path, not just a few good rounds.

As IACAS said, improving without practicing it´s hard. It´s going to be slow, the repetition on the golf course it´s just to few. If you can afford for lessons it´s even better to accelerate the learning procces.  

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scrambles seem to be associated with fund raising or team bonding. 

I look at them as an opportunity to just enjoy the day instead on swing thoughts or mechanics. 

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