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And So It Begins…


dagolfer18

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Over the past two weeks or so, I’ve been listening to a podcast on iTunes called Chasing Scratch. Two guys started in August 2017 with 11 handicaps, and they gave themselves about fifteen months (end of November 2018) to get to scratch. Short story: they didn’t (I think the lowest either of them got was a 5.6), but it inspired me.

In the past week or so, I’ve decided to start my OWN quest, but it’s not to get to scratch. My goal: to get a single-digit handicap by next golf season (which will start probably around mid-February). My handicap is currently 14.5 and trending down, so I’m already going in the right direction. 

I sat down with my dad the other day and I talked with him about my quest. His thoughts were the same as mine: that this is a realistic goal, but as he’s said multiple times, I need to practice. And he’s right. If I don’t practice, the chances of achieving a single-digit handicap are low. So my brother and I have devised a plan. Here it is:

On the days I’m off work (usually three days a week), I’m going to play, if I can. The days I work are going to be my practice days. I usually work from about noon to close, so starting with two days a week, I’m going to head to the range early in the morning (I was thinking around 8:00) and hit a bucket of balls, working on some things that I’ve listed below. Then I’m going to go to the practice green and do the same thing. 

Now, here are some things I feel that I need to work on:

1. I need/want to get rid of my slice. It’s not at the point where I’m slicing it OB, and it’s gotten better, but I’d like to get to the point where I can trust my driver off the tee. I’m going to start playing some longer yardages (more about that in a bit), and driver needs to come out of the bag more than it is right now.

2. I want to dial in distance control with wedges. This applies to pretty much any shot where I’m taking a partial swing, including chips and pitches. In fact, I did a little bit of chipping/wedge practice at work with a coworker (don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I work at a golf course), and I was not thrilled with the results.

The last two are big ones:

3. Lag putting from 30+ feet. I’m pretty solid from about 20 feet and in, but my long lag putts are kinda sucking right now and I’d like to change that. Remember all the way back at the beginning of the year when I said I wanna limit three putts to one or two a round, if that? Yeah, this is pretty much that except way more specific.

4. The mental game, particularly premature thoughts. When I’m having a good round, my teenage mind loves to fast forward to the possibility of a super low round. And then, boom! What could’ve been a low 80s or even a 70s round turns into something in the mid 80s, and what could’ve been mid 80s turns into high 80s or even low 90s. When I shot my personal best last summer (80), I was able to keep those thoughts from forming. I want that again, except every time.

Tomorrow morning, my brother and I have a 10:20 tee time at Stoney Creek. Tuesday, I’m planning to go to the range and work on what I mentioned. Of course, I’ll go more into detail in future posts, but this is all I have for now. I’m planning on posting once a week for now, but we’ll see how it goes! 

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Also, do you know where you're losing strokes?  For example, if my main goal were to get to single digits (that'd be nice), I know it's short game and putting for me -- I already have better-than-10-hcp strokes gained stats for approach (by a good bit) and I hover around there on driving.  However, since I don't have a deadline to get to single digits, I continue to practice at 65-20-15, stepping up the latter two categories only when I have a tournament coming up.

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4 minutes ago, Shindig said:

Also, do you know where you're losing strokes?  For example, if my main goal were to get to single digits (that'd be nice), I know it's short game and putting for me -- I already have better-than-10-hcp strokes gained stats for approach (by a good bit) and I hover around there on driving.  However, since I don't have a deadline to get to single digits, I continue to practice at 65-20-15, stepping up the latter two categories only when I have a tournament coming up.

Just curious, if you know that you are already significantly above average in certain areas and below average for your handicap in other areas, why wouldn't you spend the time now to improve those weaknesses and get all 4 aspects to roughly the same skill level?

If you are quite a bit better than a 10 hcp at approach and hover around a 10 hcp off the tee, then it would seem like short game and putting would be your glaring weaknesses, right? Which would mean that spending a few lessons and some dedicated practice sessions to those two areas could result in a drastic decrease of your scores pretty quickly.

Lets say you continue to go the 65-20-15 route and your approach game gets to like a 2hcp level. Your scores are still going to be somewhat limited by your short game and putting being over a 10 handicap level. I'm not a coach or anything, but in my mind it would make sense to get all areas down to at least say a 10 handicap level, then continue down the 65-20-15 route.

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1 minute ago, klineka said:

Just curious, if you know that you are already significantly above average in certain areas and below average for your handicap in other areas, why wouldn't you spend the time now to improve those weaknesses and get all 4 aspects to roughly the same skill level?

If you are quite a bit better than a 10 hcp at approach and hover around a 10 hcp off the tee, then it would seem like short game and putting would be your glaring weaknesses, right? Which would mean that spending a few lessons and some dedicated practice sessions to those two areas could result in a drastic decrease of your scores pretty quickly.

Lets say you continue to go the 65-20-15 route and your approach game gets to like a 2hcp level. Your scores are still going to be somewhat limited by your short game and putting being over a 10 handicap level. I'm not a coach or anything, but in my mind it would make sense to get all areas down to at least say a 10 handicap level, then continue down the 65-20-15 route.

To me, it's about long-term improvement.  I have done some cramming of short game + putting practice and will probably do so again (tournament in about two weeks).  I think I should post more about this in the 65-20-15 thread, so let me put my thoughts there, where it will be more on-topic.

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