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cdutra40

I've Been Playing Since I Was 12...19 Now.. And Have Never Hit a Birdie

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2 hours ago, colin007 said:

Just remember - when it happens, act like you been there before.

I will happily not do that hahaha

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1 minute ago, boogielicious said:

happy dance GIF by SpongeBob SquarePants

I will do what tiger did when he won the masters x10

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I am no expert on putting, but I am a pretty good putter of the ball.

I have always believed that one of the more important aspects of putting, is being able to hit a straight putt on a chosen line. Yes, speed, and reads are important, but if the golfer can't hit a straight putt off the face of their putter, those other two items don't mean much. 

I practice hitting straight putts at least once a week. Sometimes more. I find a reasonably level area on the the green. I then place a dime, or a penny 18-24 inches in front of the ball. I then practice rolling the ball off the putter face, and over the coin. Hitting the coin means I am rolling the ball on my chosen line. 

As for reading greens, I practice that aspect too. I study what's in front of me to get an idea what the ball might do. I then putt the ball ball to see if the ball does what I thought it would. The more I practice just reading greens, the better I am at continuing to do it. I see different things, and compare them with each to see what the ball might do when rolling. 

I even read greens for pitch, and chip shots from where I land the ball on the green to the cup. This makes for shorter first putts. I see a lot golfers who just aim for the pin without any regards to what the ball might do once it starts rolling on the green.

I still remember my first birdie putt to this day. 3rd hole at the now gone Craig Ranch golf course. Probably 40+ years ago. Just a straight 10 footer, with a $10 putter.

 

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7 minutes ago, Patch said:

I am no expert on putting, but I am a pretty good putter of the ball.

I have always believed that one of the more important aspects of putting, is being able to hit a straight putt on a chosen line. Yes, speed, and reads are important, but if the golfer can't hit a straight putt off the face of their putter, those other two items don't mean much. 

I practice hitting straight putts at least once a week. Sometimes more. I find a reasonably level area on the the green. I then place a dime, or a penny 18-24 inches in front of the ball. I then practice rolling the ball off the putter face, and over the coin. Hitting the coin means I am rolling the ball on my chosen line. 

As for reading greens, I practice that aspect too. I study what's in front of me to get an idea what the ball might do. I then putt the ball ball to see if the ball does what I thought it would. The more I practice just reading greens, the better I am at continuing to do it. I see different things, and compare them with each to see what the ball might do when rolling. 

I even read greens for pitch, and chip shots from where I land the ball on the green to the cup. This makes for shorter first putts. I see a lot golfers who just aim for the pin without any regards to what the ball might do once it starts rolling on the green.

I still remember my first birdie putt to this day. 3rd hole at the now gone Craig Ranch golf course. Probably 40+ years ago. Just a straight 10 footer, with a $10 putter.

 

This is great advice! I'm going to the range and putting green today coincidentally so I think I'm gonna give that a go!

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On 7/8/2019 at 6:24 AM, PerfectStriking said:

Practice pitching the ball and putting as much as you can, you will birdie

I disagree on this advice, whether the goal is generic improvement or optimizing for one's first birdie.  Work on ball striking to get more reasonable birdie changes, both from on the green and near to the green.

A friend of mine, an 18-19 handicap, birdies long par-4s with alarming regularity but having a birdie chip from a good area.  Not because he's great at pitching (although he is better at it than his handicap would suggest), but because he gets himself into positions where it can happen.

As for OP, do you have any par-3 or executive courses near you?  I got my first ever birdie at a par-3 course.  My first ever not-par-3 birdie came at a relatively short course that had five par-5s (all of about 475 yards, give or take):  two good shots put me into a position where I could get up and down for a birdie, and one day it happened.  Of course, "up and down" was misleading, this was at the ill-informed "lay up to a full wedge" portion of my life, as well as "take a full swing with all clubs" part of my life.  

Once those had happened, I accidentally made birdie at the par-4 first of a regulation course I liked.  I didn't realize until after I sunk the putt that it was for birdie;  I was just trying to make the putt, like you do.  And after that happened, most remaining birdie attempts became "wouldn't it be cool if" instead of nerves. 

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3 minutes ago, Shindig said:

I disagree on this advice, whether the goal is generic improvement or optimizing for one's first birdie.  Work on ball striking to get more reasonable birdie changes, both from on the green and near to the green.

A friend of mine, an 18-19 handicap, birdies long par-4s with alarming regularity but having a birdie chip from a good area.  Not because he's great at pitching (although he is better at it than his handicap would suggest), but because he gets himself into positions where it can happen.

As for OP, do you have any par-3 or executive courses near you?  I got my first ever birdie at a par-3 course.  My first ever not-par-3 birdie came at a relatively short course that had five par-5s (all of about 475 yards, give or take):  two good shots put me into a position where I could get up and down for a birdie, and one day it happened.  Of course, "up and down" was misleading, this was at the ill-informed "lay up to a full wedge" portion of my life, as well as "take a full swing with all clubs" part of my life.  

Once those had happened, I accidentally made birdie at the par-4 first of a regulation course I liked.  I didn't realize until after I sunk the putt that it was for birdie;  I was just trying to make the putt, like you do.  And after that happened, most remaining birdie attempts became "wouldn't it be cool if" instead of nerves. 

Yes, I have a local par 3 course, only played there once because cost was as expensive as a championship course around me. Par 3s I would say are my worst because I for some reason can't hit my irons off the tee well but give me fairway or even a good lie in the rough and it comes out crisp. maybe I should just forget about teeing my ball on par 3s and just letting it fly. I do like this advice I am going to work on my ball striking tonight at the range

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7 minutes ago, cdutra40 said:

Yes, I have a local par 3 course, only played there once because cost was as expensive as a championship course around me. Par 3s I would say are my worst because I for some reason can't hit my irons off the tee well but give me fairway or even a good lie in the rough and it comes out crisp. maybe I should just forget about teeing my ball on par 3s and just letting it fly. I do like this advice I am going to work on my ball striking tonight at the range

How high are you teeing the ball on a par-3?  If your range is grass, have you practiced hitting irons off a tee?  When I'm hitting an iron (or even a hybrid) on a par-3, my tee tends to be pretty low -- and if I don't knock it out with my swing, I practically need a green mark tool to get the tee out of the ground afterward.

Consider also doing a "my swing" thread -- might find something good to practice that can improve your ball striking (and thus, your birdie chances).

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6 minutes ago, Shindig said:

How high are you teeing the ball on a par-3?  If your range is grass, have you practiced hitting irons off a tee?  When I'm hitting an iron (or even a hybrid) on a par-3, my tee tends to be pretty low -- and if I don't knock it out with my swing, I practically need a green mark tool to get the tee out of the ground afterward.

Consider also doing a "my swing" thread -- might find something good to practice that can improve your ball striking (and thus, your birdie chances).

A caddymaster at a private course I've played said that the higher you tee the ball on driver eliminates the slice (in my case since everything was mechanically correct otherwise) and that worked. I didn't ask about irons but I generally have about a quarter of an inch below the wide part of the tee. I also can't hit divots for the life of me. I can hit a real pure shot without any divot. I can also chunk it and cause an earthquake with how much earth I've moved. haha

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17 hours ago, Shindig said:

I disagree on this advice, whether the goal is generic improvement or optimizing for one's first birdie.  Work on ball striking to get more reasonable birdie changes, both from on the green and near to the green.

 

Yeah I just think the best ball striking can come from a lot pitching and it's easier on the body to practice, if you can strike it pure when you are not going at it in lots of different lies you can strike it more pure when you are

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8 minutes ago, Wally Fairway said:

I, for one, am anxiously awaiting the inevitable report from @cdutra40 about that first birdie.

Who else is with me?

I want to hear a shot-by-shot account.

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4 hours ago, Wally Fairway said:

I, for one, am anxiously awaiting the inevitable report from @cdutra40 about that first birdie.

Who else is with me?

 

4 hours ago, Shindig said:

I want to hear a shot-by-shot account.

Unfortunately I don't play this week but I have a couple tee times next week and after my range sessions with all of you guys advice I have confidence that I can break 90 and hit that birdie in the same round!

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3 hours ago, cdutra40 said:

Unfortunately I don't play this week but I have a couple tee times next week and after my range sessions with all of you guys advice I have confidence that I can break 90 and hit that birdie in the same round!

I made a birdie in the first round I ever broke 90.  Birdied #17, parred #18, added the scorecard for an 87.  I'm sure if I knew where I stood on #17 tee, I could have found a pair of bogeys somewhere. ;-) 

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On 7/10/2019 at 11:01 AM, Shindig said:

I want to hear a shot-by-shot account.

Well I ended up getting on the course yesterday and there was no birdies. One of my worst rounds and better rounds all in one. Started out the round par bogey bogey par, which in my case was amazing. I parred all the par 3s except for bogeying one. But then came the hole that ruined it all. I hit a very solid drive about 275 leaving me with a 118 gw shot into the green. Thinned it. found it in the woods, played it, chunked it, overcomplicated my swing trying not to chunk and thinned again, now shooting bogey and 20 yards away, didn't put enough on the ball, hitting 6 onto green just smash a putter and it rolls off the back, putt 7 too light and at that point my friends dad said (while me still being 20 feet from the hole) "You can pick that up we will all just assume you made that" for my 8. Thought I'd give you guys a funny story about my round yesterday. hahaha

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2 hours ago, cdutra40 said:

Well I ended up getting on the course yesterday and there was no birdies. One of my worst rounds and better rounds all in one. Started out the round par bogey bogey par, which in my case was amazing. I parred all the par 3s except for bogeying one. But then came the hole that ruined it all. I hit a very solid drive about 275 leaving me with a 118 gw shot into the green. Thinned it. found it in the woods, played it, chunked it, overcomplicated my swing trying not to chunk and thinned again, now shooting bogey and 20 yards away, didn't put enough on the ball, hitting 6 onto green just smash a putter and it rolls off the back, putt 7 too light and at that point my friends dad said (while me still being 20 feet from the hole) "You can pick that up we will all just assume you made that" for my 8. Thought I'd give you guys a funny story about my round yesterday. hahaha

I'm glad you got out and played.  

Starting two over through four is great.  Playing the par-3s in a total of one over is great.  My handicap is about ten lower than yours and I'm happy when I can play the par-3s in a total of one over.  Par 3s are hard! 

I thought about you the other day.  Outside of par-3 courses, most of my early birdies came on par-5s.  How is your par-5 playing?  

Are you good at consistently putting the ball into play off the tee on a par-5?  How about advancing the ball on your second shot, as close as possible to the green without getting into trouble?  Rough is fine (as long as you're not at Oakmont or something), sand is not.  It doesn't have to be a fairway wood for your second shot if that risks trouble:  the longest club you can safely advance the ball with is great. 

If you can do that, you turn your par-5s into an opportunity to have a very short "par 3" starting on your third shot.   

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1 minute ago, Shindig said:

I'm glad you got out and played.  

Starting two over through four is great.  Playing the par-3s in a total of one over is great.  My handicap is about ten lower than yours and I'm happy when I can play the par-3s in a total of one over.  Par 3s are hard! 

I thought about you the other day.  Outside of par-3 courses, most of my early birdies came on par-5s.  How is your par-5 playing?  

Are you good at consistently putting the ball into play off the tee on a par-5?  How about advancing the ball on your second shot, as close as possible to the green without getting into trouble?  Rough is fine (as long as you're not at Oakmont or something), sand is not.  It doesn't have to be a fairway wood for your second shot if that risks trouble:  the longest club you can safely advance the ball with is great. 

If you can do that, you turn your par-5s into an opportunity to have a very short "par 3" starting on your third shot.   

Haha thank you!

I was surprised with my par 3 play in a good way of course. I had trouble on the par 5s hitting double on 2 and bogey on 1. I was happy with the bogey, as it was a tough hole and I was proud. The other however were not. They are dogleg par 5s. One is rather straight I ended up hitting it through the fairway with driver and just my luck the fairways were watered 15 minutes before our tee time, so it was rather thick rough I was dealing with and I tried to power a 5 iron and try to go as far as possible, I just ended up chunking it, that divot is still in the air I think... surely wen't further than the ball. 

I played slow to try and catch my breath (it was a hot day) between shots and really think about what shot I want to hit but the par 5 was after that miserable 8 shooter so at that point I was fed up. zapped the distance with the range finder and just hit. 

So to answer your question, I guess I'm pretty bad at em. lol

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It sounds to me like working on the par-5s is a good way to both lower your scores and give you more birdie opportunities.

I assume you work on your full swing.  I encourage you to get into the "5 minutes daily" thread and do something every day to practice.  If you are taking lessons, work on that.  If you aren't, consider making a "my swing" thread to get suggestions for what to work on.  Lessons that started in my "my swing" thread have brought me from the high teens to under 13.  It can help you too.

Improved ball striking will lead to more GIRs will lead to more birdie chances.  The more chances you give it, the more it can happen.

And if you use the recommended 15% putting time to focus on inside 15' (if you're usually 2-putting instead of 3-putting, you're probably good at speed control), then it's just a matter of time before you hit a GIR inside 15' and make the putt.  

Another question:  when you are aiming for a green with a full swing (whether it's for GIR or not), what's your thought process like?  

For me, I get the distance to the pin, adding 5 if it's a forward pin, subtracting 5 if it's back.  I do this because it's more important to be on the green than to take the higher chance of missing the green, but being close if I hit it right.  Then, based on that distance, I try to figure out where I can start the ball to give it the highest chance of being on the green -- even if that position is nowhere near the pin.  

Last question for this post:  do you flight your short irons and wedges?  

 

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