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Rbens

Am I Experiencing a Normal Beginner's Rut?

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Hi folks. Guess this is probably one of the most common openers on here - people saying they are playing like crap! To give you a brief outline of where I'm at, I've only been playing regularly(ish) for about 4 months. I picked up a set of second hand but barely touched clubs in October last year and so living in the UK, didn't get out on a course with them for a good few months. I took lessons last winter which helped me get the basics of ball striking and variation. Understandably, my first rounds were bad (very bad in some cases) and, after what I estimate is around 15-20 rounds of golf, I've never troubled 100 (115 is my best ever - yes I know). 

Because I've been going around with my beginner's head on, the higher scores haven't really bothered me as lot of my dropped shots have been on the shorter game and putting which I was putting down to getting better with the rounds played. I was also hitting enough good shots to make what I would class as a 'bad' round enjoyable. 

Anyway, I've started playing with a mate and his society on Sundays at different courses within a 40-50 mile radius of home, with some testing shots. The first round I played with them, although my overall stroke play wasn't great, my Stableford was half decent considering how tough they said it would be. I was happy that I'd gone out to a new course with new playing partners and not played an embarrassing round. Towards the end of the round I was hitting my 3 wood off the tee for 250 yards+ . I felt as if with a few tweaks to the shorter side, I should be getting close to 100 in the near future.

Fast forward three weeks I've just completely lost it. I mean, I've been prone to odd blow up hole (or three) every time I've played so that's been something I've got used to but I've played three rounds since and been atrocious every single time on virtually every hole. I'm a laid back sort of person and didn't think I'd let it frustrate me but these last few have ground me down to the point where I feel I don't want to play so I'm having a few weeks off the course until I'm back from holiday. 

I have taken a few videos of my swing but they are MP4 so won't upload so will try to find a converter, however, I don't think they show "my" swing as such because I believe it's me just trying to hit the ball on the range without ballooning it so I'm just set up as safely as I could think to try and get the ball going.

Last night I only played a relaxed, no scoring game with my boss and another colleague at his local club where we just went around in a leisurely fashion. Even that didn't help my game - I thought maybe being at ease would have helped but other than a semi-respectable first hole, I was back to playing rank bad golf. I honestly think I topped around 80% of my shots. Not just a little thin topper where it travels - a full on 20 yard bobbler. 

I've tried to remember exactly what my shots were yesterday and have recorded some of them below (I know some of you will probably think "just give up for crying out loud".

Hole 1 Par 4. Sh1 - 3 wood 150 yards right into trees but playable ball. Sh2 - PW to get out up a hill. Mishit skimmer but did the job. Sh3 - PW towards green, good connection but bunker bound. Sh4 - Out of bunker onto green but quite a way from hole. 3 putt to 7 shot total

Hole 2 Par 5. Sh1 - 3 wood squirt off toe, lost ball. Sh3 - 3 wood to left hit tree came back at me. SH4/5/6 - Topped 7 iron making about 30 yards. Sh7 PW - good connection but a little left into trouble. Sh8 - PW about 100 yards from green - good shot onto green. 3 putt to 11 shot total (I know you'd normally pick up before this point but we weren't playing "properly")

Hole 3 - Par 3. Sh1 - PW mishit off toe, luckily hit a tree and bounced kindly 50 yards from green. Sh2: SW for height, good connection but too hard and rolled down the back. 3 putt for 5 shot total

Hole 4 - Par 4. Sh1 - 3 wood (after two complete misses!) - No proper connection but it did at least make about 100 yards along the ground, a little right. Sh2 - 9I out of a bit of rough just to try and get some height. Thin but not topped, direction way off to trees on left hand side but playable ball. SH3 - Out of trees back onto fairway. SH4 - PW thin but ran down bank so not horrific. SH5 - 7i roll onto green. 2 putt = 9 shot total

it pretty much followed that trend. Anything I could top, I did top. On one of the par 3's after this, I actually topped 5 shots before making it 100 yards, with an 8i, 9i and PW. I ended up hitting one decent drive after my boss said that toeing it was me aiming for the centre of the club when swinging, I aimed further to the heel and instantly creamed one, but that was a one off as I was still hacking my irons and wedges

I don't think there's much anyone will say that I haven't read already but I thought I would at least vent. I feel like I'm now in my own head so much that I'm overthinking and tensing up at every single shot. If I could have put that swing from a few weeks ago into a jar and kept it then I would. It just felt so comfortable and easy but for the life of me now, I don't know what I was doing so differently. I'm clearly lifting my head to top the ball but trying to stop it seems impossible and I'm obviously just way off on something whether it's swing plane, body movement (or lack of). I just don't know. Just three weeks ago I hit two 7i off the tee about 175 yards (it was from an elevated start) but they were two identical shots back to back (played a provisional because weren't sure if it come out but they were virtually 10 yards apart on the fairway). Now I'm topping it 9/10 times.

The trouble I've found with lessons in the past is that I've ALWAYS hit well when I'm with the pro, so he doesn't see what's truly wrong out on the course. I know it's easy to hit off a mat into a big open field but even when he gives me targets I can generally hit towards them. T

Like I say, I've never been close to even average golf because I drop so many bad shots (usual loose wrists when playing shorter shots or just complete lack of direction) but when you're not a good player and you're not even getting the few good shots at a round, it's demoralising. I was lined up to have a lesson after my last good round but I thought, no, I'll knock it on the head as I didn't want to mess with what I thought was a bit of progression. I obviously wish I'd have gone now. I'm looking to get another lesson lined up in the next couple of weeks but it could be 4 weeks by the time I'm back from abroad. 

So have you all had similar wobbles early on in your golf career? Or have you built round on round and any wobbles been minor as opposed to complete breakdown of it.

Sorry for the long rant, it's just good to get it off your chest.

 

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Welcome to The Sand Trap. It’s normal to experience up and downs even if you’ve been playing a long time. I recommend starting a My Swing thread in the Member Swings section. Read the tips at the top. Basically, upload your videos to YouTube and post the link in your thread.

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Welcome to the site, and to the madness!   :beer:

This game is hard.  It’s really, really hard!

Newer players, especially those that are used to a certain amount of success in other athletic endeavors are often surprised and disappointed in the learning curve associated with this silly game.  There are golfers who seldom, if ever break 100.  A great many never honestly break 90.  

Keep at it, work at it, but most importantly enjoy it.  The game can be just as fun (and frustrating) for the new golfer as for the experienced low handicapper.  

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There are a few, I'm sure, who've picked up the game quickly and soon moved on to low numbers but, like you, I'm not one of them. For you, I think the best lesson deal around is online with Evolver.com. For a small monthly fee you can upload videos of your swing and get one on one help improving your swing. They seem to be quick to identify a couple of areas to work on to get you improving fairly rapidly.

My other recommendation is "patience". Picking up a new skill can take a while. Quit beating yourself up over it. You will get better.

 

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For most of us, the first year is a very humbling time in what is always a very humbling game.

Not sure how old you are, but I started at age 35. I added to that difficulty by not taking any lessons and trying to do it on my own. It took me just about 1 year to break 100 for the first time. Even now, six years later, I can have horror rounds that score over 100. Everyone is a little different in terms of their arc, how good they eventually become and how quickly or evenly they improve.  

If you've got access to a good camera the myswing thread (like @boogielicious mentioned)  is a great idea. It also might be good to find a pro that works with video. It's a tool that can help you learn a lot about what your swing is really doing and what you need to work on.

Other than that, stay humble, work on it and it will come.

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17 minutes ago, David in FL said:

Welcome to the site, and to the madness!   :beer:

This game is hard.  It’s really, really hard!

Newer players, especially those that are used to a certain amount of success in other athletic endeavors are often surprised and disappointed in the learning curve associated with this silly game.  There are golfers who seldom, if ever break 100.  A great many never honestly break 90.  

Keep at it, work at it, but most importantly enjoy it.  The game can be just as fun (and frustrating) for the new golfer as for the experienced low handicapper.  

I find the game very easy as long as I set my expectations very low.

Welcome to the site @Rbens!

Just now, mcanadiens said:

For most of us, the first decade is a very humbling time in what is always a very humbling game.

Fixed that for ya! 😉

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2 minutes ago, CarlSpackler said:

I find the game very easy as long as I set my expectations very low.

Welcome to the site @Rbens!

Fixed that for ya! 😉

I'll have you know I still got a good three years before I'm on a decade. 

Edited by mcanadiens

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Just now, mcanadiens said:

I'll have you know I still got a good three years before I'm on a decade. 

Do you feel less humbled? I'm at 23 years and still feel humbled by this game.

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3 hours ago, Rbens said:

So have you all had similar wobbles early on in your golf career? Or have you built round on round and any wobbles been minor as opposed to complete breakdown of it.

Yes. And I’ve had much worse in my aged career as well. 

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2 minutes ago, CarlSpackler said:

Do you feel less humbled? I'm at 23 years and still feel humbled by this game.

It wasn't that long ago that I don't remember certain train-wreck rounds that my dear friend, the Rak-o-potamus,  put me through that first year. 

After just one loop at Rollandia, he fed me to Yankee Trace and Pipestone on successive weeks. Those rounds were far worse than anything you've seen me do.

It's a damn wonder I came back for more.

But yes, always humbled. 

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28 minutes ago, Zippo said:

There are a few, I'm sure, who've picked up the game quickly and soon moved on to low numbers but, like you, I'm not one of them. For you, I think the best lesson deal around is online with Evolver.com. For a small monthly fee you can upload videos of your swing and get one on one help improving your swing. They seem to be quick to identify a couple of areas to work on to get you improving fairly rapidly.

My other recommendation is "patience". Picking up a new skill can take a while. Quit beating yourself up over it. You will get better.

 

Sorry - the correct link is - evolvr.com - my apologies.

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Rbens, you can see my handicap.  My last outing was two weeks ago.  I shot 112.  Then I went to the range. My striking was as bad as it has been in ages.  I have been so disgusted about it that I have not been back, not been active on this site. and I am kinda turned off at the moment.

I am headed out this weekend.  We will see.  But that is the game right there.  It takes a sick mind to enjoy this masochistic mess.

 

Yeah.............I kinda do love it.

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38 minutes ago, Cantankerish said:

 It takes a sick mind to enjoy this masochistic mess. 

Yeah.............I kinda do love it.

Beat me, Whip me, make me play golf............

** Notice Beat, Whip, and Golf and 4 letter words....**

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The lessons got you started, perhaps it is time for a bit of a refresher, before the less attractive habits get more ingrained.  I also think you might be focusing too much on the result, and not on the process (a bit cliché, I know).  But getting started the feel of those rare good shots is what I think keeps you going.  And then think about what you were doing when you hit them.  I often find the good ones come when I am fed up, and don't seem to care, leaving my mind kind of blank.  It is a challenge, but getting you head into that space may also help.

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2 hours ago, boogielicious said:

Welcome to The Sand Trap. It’s normal to experience up and downs even if you’ve been playing a long time. I recommend starting a My Swing thread in the Member Swings section. Read the tips at the top. Basically, upload your videos to YouTube and post the link in your thread.

Thanks! I did go there first to upload the videos I took but like I say I need to convert them somehow! Will see if I can work out a way.

2 hours ago, David in FL said:

Welcome to the site, and to the madness!   :beer:

This game is hard.  It’s really, really hard!

Newer players, especially those that are used to a certain amount of success in other athletic endeavors are often surprised and disappointed in the learning curve associated with this silly game.  There are golfers who seldom, if ever break 100.  A great many never honestly break 90.  

Keep at it, work at it, but most importantly enjoy it.  The game can be just as fun (and frustrating) for the new golfer as for the experienced low handicapper.  

Yep. It’s definitely tougher than anything else I’ve tried. To be fair, I haven’t tried to put any pressure on myself and was relatively happy just trying to work my way round a course but it’s just gotten SO bad. I’ve enjoyed every round so far bar the last couple of weeks - possibly because we’ve been teeing off at 8am and before and I’ve not made the most of it. And when I say I don’t enjoy it, I’m not an arse to be around and will still happily chat to others - I just get frustrated with myself which is counterproductive. 

Thanks.

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2 hours ago, mcanadiens said:

For most of us, the first year is a very humbling time in what is always a very humbling game.

Not sure how old you are, but I started at age 35. I added to that difficulty by not taking any lessons and trying to do it on my own. It took me just about 1 year to break 100 for the first time. Even now, six years later, I can have horror rounds that score over 100. Everyone is a little different in terms of their arc, how good they eventually become and how quickly or evenly they improve.  

If you've got access to a good camera the myswing thread (like @boogielicious mentioned)  is a great idea. It also might be good to find a pro that works with video. It's a tool that can help you learn a lot about what your swing is really doing and what you need to work on.

Other than that, stay humble, work on it and it will come.

I sort of knew I wouldn’t be one of those who took to it THAT quickly. I’m 30 and athletic but have only ever really played football(soccer) to a decent standard, I’ve certainly never played any sort of racquet or bat sports that require similar hand-eye coordination like golf. 

I know it’s the same for a lot people just starting it but when it’s you, it feels like surely nobody else could struggle that way.

I’m happy to be humble as I don’t expect to be good at anything, I just hoped to be having less of the horrors playing almost weekly (sometimes twice). Everyone who I’ve played with has said the swing itself looks good, maybe a little quick at times. That’s probably because I had lessons from scratch so the swing was born from there rather than on my own. 

Right now I am going to take a break and get another few lessons as I don’t think swinging any more is going to help with anything, it’ll only make it worse based on the last couple of weeks.

 

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6 hours ago, Rbens said:

The trouble I've found with lessons in the past is that I've ALWAYS hit well when I'm with the pro, so he doesn't see what's truly wrong out on the course.

Either you’re conning yourself a bit here or the pro wasn’t that great. The chance that your swing with the pro vs your swing in the course were noticeably different is slim.

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Welcome to TST. Your "rant" wasn't too long. In fact I enjoyed reading it. At the end, I was thinking to myself "yeah, been there, done that".

As already mentioned, highs, and lows are a part of everyone's golf game. It matters little what one's talent level is. 

I have approached the problem of having my game take a dump on me, a few different ways.

One is to put my clubs away for a few days, and go fishing. Anything to get my mind off my mind off the iissue. Most of the time when I picked up my clubs again, the problem was gone. 

Next, I might say "screw it" and just play through the issue. Sometimes I might just play with one or two clubs. I kknow I have a good swing in me. Just need to work my way back to it. 

My third answer, which seems to work well for me, is my score card. I divide the 18 holes into 6 groups of three holes. Each group gives me 6 starting, and finishing points. Six fresh starts if you will. If I have a run of 3 bad holes, they are forgotten with the next 3 hole restart. I have this notion that a golfer can let a bad hole or three, ruin their whole round, which could lead to another bad round, and so on. 

Last, I have made it a point to understand the various causes of a poor swing, and/or ball flight. This took me a year or more to learn, as far as my own swing is concerned. This allows me to be able to do an "on course" fix when something starts going wrong. I have saved myself many, many rounds of golf fixing my swing before I made it worse. 

Main thing is not to give up, and keep a positive attitude. Things usually get better with positive perseverance. 

 

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