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Striving for Mediocrity

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JonMA1

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Advance the ball, keep it between the ropes, GIR’s are King and occasionally, you hit it close and make a birdie (more like par). “Ok, I can do these four things” I tell myself as I’m walking to the first tee. I pull the 5 wood so I can put myself in decent position for a short approach shot from the dog leg. 

 

The 5 wood. What used to be as close to automatic as any club I’ve ever swung, now scares the hell out of me as I address the ball. All I have to do is not top the ball, I think. I start my backswing slowly, keeping my arms connected, my right elbow, hands, shaft and club head tracing the imaginary path of my shoulder plane. Pressure on the inside of my right foot, I get to the top, my weight has already started to shift and then my only thought while starting my downswing is brushing the ground slightly as I make contact.

 

I know right away what has happened even as the sight of my shot barely skimming along the fairway begins to register. I look down and yup…the tell-tale “divot” in front of my tee tells me I’ve skulled another one and the adventure begins.

 

On another Sunday, I make this first shot, hit the green with the 2nd and par the hole. Doesn’t matter. If not on this one, it will happen on the next few. I will do something that will eliminate any chance of making par and often bogey on most holes.

 

There will be unnecessary layups, punches and penalties resulting in doubles and triples. A beautiful drive, following by a beautiful approach, followed by a three putt. Or a penalty followed by a perfect series of shots that earn me nothing better than 2 over for that hole. Cussing, self-deprecating, “placing” my putter back in the bag with entirely too much force. The few pars I get will not be enough to undue the damage. Makes you wonder how or why a crappy player could come back for more.

 

But I do. In fact, I can’t get enough of this. Even after the prospect of a good round has come and gone, there is still the likelihood of a good experience almost every time I go out. 

 

I don’t like being bad at golf, but I love the feeling of good contact. In fact, I’m addicted to it. A well-struck long iron that starts high on a good line, draws or fades ever so slightly, lands and sticks on a tight green. Or getting into a rhythm with the driver to where I can put a little bit more into it and be confident it will remain in play. Even a chip shot that not only gets on the green, but rolls to within 1 putt territory. Occasionally, I’ll put together 3 hours with more of these than usual and be rewarded by a score I’m not embarrassed by. It’s very, very rare, but it happens. Probably the very best thing about golf is when I obtain a certain level of confidence in a stretch of a month or two. But it’s fleeting. Low points are followed by high points which are in turn followed by low points.

 

As each season comes and goes, and I see the handicaps of formerly high-capper TST members start to drop, I realize I struggle - probably more than average. But at the risk of conning myself, I also believe the needle is moving and the picture is very slowly changing.

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Excellent and so true. it doesnt seem to matter how many bad shots you hit up till that one shot that feels "perfect". thats what keeps us coming back for more, that one shot!

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Thanks @gregsandiego, @RandallT, @RussUK and @rkim291968. I'm almost sorry you can all relate. But I suppose no matter what level we're at, there's always the one above that motivates us to keep digging. Love the "motivational" image Randy.

When any of you started, did you envision single-digit averages in your futures? I sure did. Then I learned how hard the game really is.

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When any of you started, did you envision single-digit averages in your futures? I sure did. Then I learned how hard the game really is.

When I first started, my immediate goal was to get to my brother's level (about 16 HI at the time).    My next goal is to get down to about 12.   I have not seriously entertained the idea of getting down to single digit.   I love golf but I am realistic.

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When I first started, my immediate goal was to get to my brother's level (about 16 HI at the time).    My next goal is to get down to about 12.   I have not seriously entertained the idea of getting down to single digit.   I love golf but I am realistic.

I didn't have the foresight to know it would be such a struggle just to break 90. You on the other hand... especially once you retire and can play a bit more. You knocked off like 8 strokes this year, didn't you?

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Well, my brother has been trying so hard and could not get out of playing bogey golf.  I was a witness to his struggle.  So, I had the "foresight" you may not started with.

My HI went from 16 to 23 and back to 16 now all in the last 24 months period.  I had 23 HI early this year and have settled down to 16 - 17 range for a good part of the year now.   I don't see it going back to 23 HI b/c I have better swing fundamentals, better equipment, and stronger body (work out).   I can only see my HI going down from here - one can only hope.  

Over the years though, I learned to enjoy the game regardless of my progress.  That's my excuse for not improving.

Edited by rkim291968

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Thanks @gregsandiego, @RandallT, @RussUK and @rkim291968. I'm almost sorry you can all relate. But I suppose no matter what level we're at, there's always the one above that motivates us to keep digging. Love the "motivational" image Randy.

When any of you started, did you envision single-digit averages in your futures? I sure did. Then I learned how hard the game really is.

I was VERY naive. I thought "this cant be that hard, i mean, i could hit ok when i was 10". How silly i was! 

The probelm as i see it is information overload. Rather than initially keeping it simple and and the bar set low we often end up trying every "get good quick" tip we see, ending up with so much going through our heads we end up frustrated. I decided earlier this year to start from scratch with the sole goal of enjoying the game. My swing has been simplified to a one plane(ish) swing and i skip over the "tips" section in the golf mags. So far so good,

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The probelm as i see it is information overload. Rather than initially keeping it simple and and the bar set low we often end up trying every "get good quick" tip we see, ending up with so much going through our heads we end up frustrated. I decided earlier this year to start from scratch with the sole goal of enjoying the game. My swing has been simplified to a one plane(ish) swing and i skip over the "tips" section in the golf mags. So far so good,

I think this is one of the main problems with high handicappers.  We will try a new tip for weeks, give up (before making it our own) and move on to another tip. 

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I was VERY naive. I thought "this cant be that hard, i mean, i could hit ok when i was 10". How silly i was! 

The probelm as i see it is information overload. Rather than initially keeping it simple and and the bar set low we often end up trying every "get good quick" tip we see, ending up with so much going through our heads we end up frustrated. I decided earlier this year to start from scratch with the sole goal of enjoying the game. My swing has been simplified to a one plane(ish) swing and i skip over the "tips" section in the golf mags. So far so good,

If I've accomplished anything in the last year, it's trying to keep to "the plan". I've taken 1 lesson in each of the last two years. I came away with some good information, but there were too many things that contradicted what I read on this site.

Good or bad, I'm staying committed to what I've learned here for a couple of years. That's not to say I don't vary anything, just that I try not to stray too far. Eventually, I'd like to take lessons from someone who uses the same teaching philosophy.

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