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Weeks 8 & 9: Catchup


dagolfer18

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Hey guys! I unfortunately forgot to post here for week 8 but I’m back to report on my last two weeks to catch up!

 

WEEK 8 (Oct 3-9)

Tues. (10/4): I turned Tuesday of this week into a practice session. I decided to hone my short game, and I essentially did everything I did in the previous week’s short game session, except I hit shots from multiple spots around the green.

I came away from the practice session very confident about the Monarch Tour event that I was playing in the next day.

Wed. (10/5): Wednesday evening I played only my second Monarch Tour of the semester. The format was a two-player best ball.

I went to the range before we played, and it was a stripe show. Right before we headed for the 10th tee I told my partner that we’re about to take it low. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

Early on, the putter was hot. I made a five-footer for bogey on 10 and about a seven-footer for par on 11. Then after a wayward drive on 12 I clawed out a bogey. Despite being +2 through 3 I was confident. But it went severely downhill from here.

I’ll spare the details of the last six holes but I will end by saying I shot a 53. My worst nine in probably a year and a half. The only good thing I could take away from the round was that the three people I paired with were awesome and definitely helped to make the nine holes more fun.

Thurs. (10/6): On October 6, as I briefly mentioned at the beginning of the blog, I had my Q Level test. 65 questions, 40 minutes, and a 70% is needed to pass.

After I had quite a bit of trouble logging into the test, I flew through it in just over 20 minutes and my final score was an 88% (57/65 right). I walked out of the room feeling like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

That afternoon I had an appointment to pay for my irons. Unfortunately Titleist didn’t pick up when we called, so he just said he’d let me know when he had an answer. I will say they have since been ordered, so it’s only a matter of time before they are in my bag.

Sat. (10/8): My brother and I played Umstead. Not good.

I shot a 46 after somehow walking off the ninth with a triple, and I wasn’t feeling great about the back. Then we got to the 10th tee at around 5:00, and there was a group in the fairway and another group waiting. We decided that our best chance to finish 18 holes was to play the front again, so off we went.

This nine was slightly better. It was a 43, nothing awful but just a lot of bogeys. I was happy to play a better second nine but it did little to help my confidence.
 

WEEK 9 (Oct 10-16)

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get out and practice much last week but I did play twice. 

Tues. (10/11): My brother and I got out for a quick nine to wrap up my fall break, and my goal was to to break 40.

It did not start well. We played through a group on the first hole and it rattled both of us: I started with a triple and my brother started with a quad. I then three-putted the second hole for bogey to go +4 and thought my chances were zero. Key word: Thought.

I made a great up and down for par on the third, then went birdie-par-birdie on holes 4-6. Two over going into 7. Then I hit a beautiful fade to seven feet and left a dead straight putt to go back to one over after being four over just four holes prior. Left it half a roll short, in the heart. Still, two pars would’ve given me a 38, plenty good enough after the rough start.

But then I bogeyed eight and, after having a 15-footer for birdie on the ninth, three-jacked. Bogey-bogey finish and a 40. Despite a rough finish, I can’t really be disappointed after how I started.

Sat. (10/15): You may remember last year we played The Cardinal on my birthday weekend, and after twisting my ankle on 7 I was lucky to finish. This year I decided to go back for another try at the course. 

Yet again, I hit it really well on the range and was feeling good heading to the first tee.

I was +3 through 5 which included a chip in for birdie, but then it unraveled. I doubled three of the last four holes on the side and made the turn in 46. 

I will explain the back nine like this: I parred 12 and 15, two difficult holes, but nothing else came through. The final number on the back was a 50 for a 96 total. Here are a couple of takeaways:

•I was hitting the ball really well, particularly with irons. My misses were small for the most part, but  small misses at that course hurt the scorecard.

•Short game sucked. I three-putted five times on this day, and my chipping wasn’t on point at all. Most of my chips finished in the 15-to-20-foot range, which is something I need to work on.

 

So there you have it, my last two weeks. Unfortunately after some poor golf, my index has ballooned to an 11.1. My goal? Get back under a 10.5 by the end of the semester, and that essentially gives me 7 weeks, which I know will fly by. 

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I hope you take @iacas advice here. I kick myself all the time for not taking more seriously the things he's said in the past about my game/swing. I could have been a much better golfer than I am if I just put in even half the effort he's suggesting to you. 

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I recommend tracking your stats for a few rounds and see were the easy areas you can save some strokes. 

Putting, Short Game, Game Management are three areas that can give you a lower baseline and are easily fixable with less effort than working on the long game. With that being said, working on the full swing will be required to break 80 consistently. Those three areas, pending how poor you are at them, you can see a good drop in your score. 

  1. Cutting out three putting can save golfers 4-5 strokes per round. 
  2. Making sure you do not leave yourself a 2nd short game shot, and getting short game results inside of 10-FT will cut a lot of strokes down. Especially for golfers who do not hit that many greens in regulation. 
  3. Making sure you avoid bunkers, hazards, and out of bounds at all costs, even if half your shot zone is in the rough. Penalty strokes are a massive hit to your score. It gets tough to break 80 if you have something like 2 penalty strokes. 
2 hours ago, iacas said:

Alternatively, post a Member Swing topic here, and people here will help you out.

This ^

A lot of people get great advice for their games by starting a My Swing thread. 

2 hours ago, iacas said:

Practice whatever your priority is. Do so slowly and with specific intent. Change the picture! Going to the range is NOT about just hitting balls. It's not about a "stripe show."

Knowing how to practice in itself is a skill that has to be learned. The bad habit, that 99% of golfer do, is practice poorly. When ever I go to the range, I will people watch as I get ready. Hardly anyone has even an alignment stick out for set up, or swing path stuff. Most of them just work through their bag, hitting ball after ball. When I say 99%, I do not think I am being hyperbolic about it. 

2 hours ago, iacas said:

P.S. You joined here three years ago. Let's say you were averaging 100 back then, and let's imagine you think you average 86 right now. 14 shots in three years, and if you keep that up, that's around par in three more years. Except golf is not linear. It's exponential. Shaving the first ten shots is ten times easier than shaving the next ten shots, perhaps. Going from 100 to 90 is several times easier than going from 90 to 80.

Going from 100 to 86 in three years is not unreasonable. Especially if you get the easy stuff knocked out (Putting, Short Game, Game Management). Imagine if you three putt once per round instead of 6x a round. Not saying you do that, but I think most people who shoot around 100 do so. 

I agree it is exponential. At a certain point, you are looking to save fractions of a stroke that happen to add up to a few strokes here or there instead of find areas to save a bunch of strokes. 

 

 

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Thank you all for the advice and being real with me. It was an eye-opener to how far away I really am, and how much I need to change about my practice habits. I will definitely be starting a Member Swing thread in the next couple of days. 

What I would like to do to start is create a weekly practice plan around my schedule that stays consistent week to week and hold myself to that, which I know is going to be hard sometimes. I feel like if I don’t have a specific practice schedule to stick to I won’t have much motivation to practice at all.

For example, here are the blocks of time I would have to practice:

Mon.: 11:00-12:45 and after 2:00

Tues.: 12:30-3:15

Wed.: Same as Monday apart from Player Development, but that would actually be helping.

Thurs.: 12:30-4:45

Fri.: 10:00-12:45 and after 2:00

I will also mention that I am a part of the university’s choir as well, so that’s what the second part of the afternoon on Tuesday and Thursday is dedicated to.

My next lesson will focus primarily on short game. Short game has seemed to be the weakest part of my game lately, and it cost me at least five shots in my last round, likely more.

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Some of those times include lunch so I would revise your free time schedule to allow for eating. Kind of important. 😀

Also weekends. You might just practice twice during the week, play Monarch Tour Weds, and practice both weekend days.

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On 10/19/2022 at 11:28 AM, dagolfer18 said:

My next lesson will focus primarily on short game. Short game has seemed to be the weakest part of my game lately, and it cost me at least five shots in my last round, likely more.

This has been mentioned before, but I'll reiterate: make sure you are collecting stroke-level data (Golfmetrics, Arccos, manual, whatever) to move away from statements like "seemed to be the weakest part" to evidence-based reality. I've loved catching up on your journey to where you are now, and I admire both your lofty goal-setting and willingness to share so much with this community. Still, at times you've had unrealistic expectations about what your performance should be in a given area of the game. Stop counting putts, or fairways hit, and starting getting real data to benchmark your performance against your target to pass the PAT.

And of course listen to @iacas - he knows of what he speaks and has been the single most important factor in my game going from 15-ish handicap to around 8 right now. And his comments about the non-linearity of improvement are spot on. I know you listen to the Chasing Scratch podcast. They were at (I think?) 3.5 indexes two years ago, and sitting about 5 right now. I've bounced at around 7-8 index the past two winters and have a hard time just maintaining that, let alone improving from there.

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