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Course Management Strategies to Break 90

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2 minutes ago, Cantankerish said:

Well, the concern that I have is that you are calling the topic "solved".  That may be the case.  There may be a Best Practices doctrine with no need to innovate.  But this is not at all common knowledge.  The point of a discussion forum is to, well, discuss.  I am here primarily to learn, and to me this is an important and familiar topic.  Actually, for this particular bit I am sorta moving past.  That makes this the rare occasion where my knowledge is of value! Either way,  simply calling the topic "solved" does nothing to help me or the other people who are struggling to improve with these skills.

How does this discuss the actual topic? What does this add?

I think it’s solved. It’s unfair given how much I freely give away to expect me to give it all away. You have the book. Read it and if you still don’t think it’s “solved” come back to this topic and say why.

You don’t believe it’s solved… but you haven’t yet gotten to the part of the book where I am saying we share this info.

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I'm not asking you for anything except for you to let the rest of us discuss the topic in this thread.

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3 minutes ago, Cantankerish said:

I'm not asking you for anything except for you to let the rest of us discuss the topic in this thread.

I have not stopped you.

I’ve simply said there’s not much to discuss. And many, many other members here feel similarly.

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2 hours ago, Cantankerish said:

I'm not asking you for anything except for you to let the rest of us discuss the topic in this thread.

I think many are just saying that if you want to devote energy and time to breaking 90, your time is better spent working on your full swing, short game and putting than planning strategy.

When I break 90, I get the ball in the fairway or near the fairway and get the ball on the green or near the green in regulation. These are both full swing items. When I've broken 80, I did those even better. My short game helps me on the nGIR and the putting is just consistent.

So the only real planning I do is where to aim and what to hit off the tee depending on my shot zone with that club. For the greens, it is where my shot zone tells me the best place to aim. 

Shot zones are all covered in LSW. But again, focusing on improving your swing for consistently better contact and smaller shot zones is a better approach to breaking 90.

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On 11/6/2019 at 3:04 PM, RFKFREAK said:

After hacking it around the golf course for the past 10 years or so for the first time this year I put up multiple scores in the 90's.  After not playing much this summer, beginning in mid September to mid October in 7 of 11 rounds I scored in the 90's, including four in a row and shooting exactly 90 in two of those rounds on back to back days. 

Three things really helped out. 

  1. My full swing finally is improving and I'm hitting more GIRs.  It's nothing to write home about but hitting 5-6 GIRs as opposed to 1 or 2 that I had been is makes it a lot easier.  Along with that, I'm sure there's likely also been an uptick in nGIRs. 

One thing to say here, and trying to be helpful and not harsh, is that too many players struggling to break 90 haven't done a full assessment of their game.  If you are getting 5-6 GIRs in a round you should have the swing to break 90 and you:

  • Need to have a course management strategy that matches your game
  • Need to work on your short game
  • Or you just have an unusually inconsistent swing that's leading to lots of GIRs and lots of big numbers.

My guess is that it's one of the first two.  As @Billchao said, there's an execution element but what someone is trying to execute has to match what their skills are.

 

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6 minutes ago, gbogey said:

One thing to say here, and trying to be helpful and not harsh, is that too many players struggling to break 90 haven't done a full assessment of their game.  If you are getting 5-6 GIRs in a round you should have the swing to break 90 and you:

  • Need to have a course management strategy that matches your game
  • Need to work on your short game
  • Or you just have an unusually inconsistent swing that's leading to lots of GIRs and lots of big numbers.

My guess is that it's one of the first two.  As @Billchao said, there's an execution element but what someone is trying to execute has to match what their skills are.

 

I have a 14 handicap golfing friend who, on a particular hole, if he hits a bad drive attempts to lay up with a 7 iron in front of the pond that guards the green.  Then he pulls it left into the creek.

Good, well-meant course management, no execution.

Edited by Double Mocha Man

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1 hour ago, boogielicious said:

I think many are just saying that if you want to devote energy and time to breaking 90, your time is better spent working on your full swing, short game and putting than planning strategy.

Planning ahead of a round is great, right up until I hit my first shot...


Course management is certainly useful; I just don't think it's as significant as people want it to be. I feel like it's similar to the mental aspect of golf, where people want to con themselves into thinking they're more skilled than they are and they'd shoot better scores than they do if they could improve something easy (strategy) rather than something hard (mechanics).

My better scores come from days when one or more of my skillsets is "on". The strategy doesn't change; the execution and results do.

My last round I shot 86 with 1 GIR. A year ago a 1 GIR round might have been a 96. Why? Because I improved my swing. A number of my missed greens resulted in nGIR and reasonable opportunities to scramble for par instead of topping or chunking my approach shot and having no realistic shot at making better than bogey on a hole. I didn't improve my scoring by changing my strategy. My scores dropped because my misses got better.

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1 hour ago, Double Mocha Man said:

I have a 14 handicap golfing friend who, on a particular hole, if he hits a bad drive attempts to lay up with a 7 iron in front of the pond that guards the green.  Then he pulls it left into the creek.

Good, well-meant course management, no execution.

Exactly! If you hit 6 GIRs but lay up to 100 yards on 12 holes and you suck from 100 yards, then it's the wrong course management.  More realistically is someone who might hit 6 GIRs but gives away 6-8 extra shots with the driver - can the driver, maybe only have 4 GIRs but save 6 shots off the tee.  But you have to know your game.

Edited by gbogey
oops

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course management is huge for me.  not that I actually do it a lot.  I pull out driver on almost every hole unless theres a creek in the 240-280 range.  But that being said, the I have shot my lowest scores when I make the best decision for the situation.  And I'm talking about the difference between shooting a 77 and an 87 just by choosing to take more or less club based on the pin location, rather than just using the club that will get me closest to the hole if I hit it at my number.  trying to avoid leaving myself on the short side.  not trying to power one through the wind, or taking more club when it's cold outside.  Not always falling in love with my lw near the green even if it means I might not hit it as close if I play a bump and run.  of course I can do all these things because I'm a decent enough ball striker that make these decisions worth while.    If youre worried about fatting your chips or whatever, theres probably a lot of areas in your game that need work and the amount of strokes you could gain by making good decisions on the golf course are pretty limited i think. course management only comes after you have a consistent result with each club

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On 11/7/2019 at 4:26 PM, gbogey said:

One thing to say here, and trying to be helpful and not harsh, is that too many players struggling to break 90 haven't done a full assessment of their game.  If you are getting 5-6 GIRs in a round you should have the swing to break 90 and you:

  • Need to have a course management strategy that matches your game
  • Need to work on your short game
  • Or you just have an unusually inconsistent swing that's leading to lots of GIRs and lots of big numbers.

My guess is that it's one of the first two.  As @Billchao said, there's an execution element but what someone is trying to execute has to match what their skills are.

 

I'm not sure what you mean about a "full assessment" of my game.  I keep track of things and can tell you that in all the 9 rounds I shot in the 90's, I averaged 4.12 GIRs (once I had 6, twice I had 5, three times I had 4, once I had 3, and once I had 1).  On holes I had a GIR, I averaged 2.2 putts which includes a hole in one and averaged 1,94 putts per round overall in those rounds.

My short game is def a weakness and I don't spend any time working on it because I think my practice time is better used on my full swing because it's just not consistent.  That said, I know I have enough length as I recently got on a PGA simulator and my best drives carried 260 and averaged 250.  However, I also know that I don't hit the center of the club face anywhere near consistently enough, especially on my bad rounds.  The last 20 rounds I've played GameGolf has my typical drive at 240 and averaging 229.  I also still have way too many penalty strokes.  So, in my case, I think it's more being able to produce a consistently good swing rather than game management issues. 

Edited by RFKFREAK

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On 11/7/2019 at 5:13 PM, billchao said:

Planning ahead of a round is great, right up until I hit my first shot...


Course management is certainly useful; I just don't think it's as significant as people want it to be. I feel like it's similar to the mental aspect of golf, where people want to con themselves into thinking they're more skilled than they are and they'd shoot better scores than they do if they could improve something easy (strategy) rather than something hard (mechanics).

My better scores come from days when one or more of my skillsets is "on". The strategy doesn't change; the execution and results do.

My last round I shot 86 with 1 GIR. A year ago a 1 GIR round might have been a 96. Why? Because I improved my swing. A number of my missed greens resulted in nGIR and reasonable opportunities to scramble for par instead of topping or chunking my approach shot and having no realistic shot at making better than bogey on a hole. I didn't improve my scoring by changing my strategy. My scores dropped because my misses got better.

And this.

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10 hours ago, RFKFREAK said:

I'm not sure what you mean about a "full assessment" of my game.  I keep track of things and can tell you that in all the 9 rounds I shot in the 90's, I averaged 4.12 GIRs (once I had 6, twice I had 5, three times I had 4, once I had 3, and once I had 1).  On holes I had a GIR, I averaged 2.2 putts which includes a hole in one and averaged 1,94 putts per round overall in those rounds.

My short game is def a weakness and I don't spend any time working on it because I think my practice time is better used on my full swing because it's just not consistent.  That said, I know I have enough length as I recently got on a PGA simulator and my best drives carried 260 and averaged 250.  However, I also know that I don't hit the center of the club face anywhere near consistently enough, especially on my bad rounds.  The last 20 rounds I've played GameGolf has my typical drive at 240 and averaging 229.  I also still have way too many penalty strokes.  So, in my case, I think it's more being able to produce a consistently good swing rather than game management issues. 

My apologies - I was making a general statement and then used you as an example, probably a bad idea, but I've seen a lot of guys wanting to break 90 who don't know how many GIRs or scrambles they have.

As to your situation, if you are shooting in the 90's consistently and getting those GIRs, then you likely have the swing to break 90 even if you think your swing isn't consistent enough (and your driver distance is more than sufficient).  The average player who shoots 90 has 3.9 GIRs, 12.3 GIRs +1, and (I think) two scramble pars.  They also have according to "Every Shot Counts" 5.6 awful shots - 3.8 long game and 1.8 short game.  The question is where are you losing strokes - putting, short game, penalties, etc.  and how do you address it.  Although the full swing is the biggest difference between how players score, at some point the short game does matter.  For unrealistic example, if you have the swing of a player who shoots 88 and the short game of a player who shoots 105, you are not going to break 90.

Course management will help someone break 90.  Practice management is likely equally important.

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12 hours ago, RFKFREAK said:

I'm not sure what you mean about a "full assessment" of my game.  I keep track of things and can tell you that in all the 9 rounds I shot in the 90's, I averaged 4.12 GIRs (once I had 6, twice I had 5, three times I had 4, once I had 3, and once I had 1).  On holes I had a GIR, I averaged 2.2 putts which includes a hole in one and averaged 1,94 putts per round overall in those rounds.

My short game is def a weakness and I don't spend any time working on it because I think my practice time is better used on my full swing because it's just not consistent.  That said, I know I have enough length as I recently got on a PGA simulator and my best drives carried 260 and averaged 250.  However, I also know that I don't hit the center of the club face anywhere near consistently enough, especially on my bad rounds.  The last 20 rounds I've played GameGolf has my typical drive at 240 and averaging 229.  I also still have way too many penalty strokes.  So, in my case, I think it's more being able to produce a consistently good swing rather than game management issues. 

I would agree with your assessment.  I wouldn't worry about the short game.  From the sounds of things, you gotta get your ballstriking in order.  You gotta get a tee ball in play and hit GIRs.  You'll do that if you hit the ball more out of the middle and have a reasonably good control of face to path.  Put some footspray on the face and start hitting balls out of the middle.  

I think there is a thread on here somewhere that says to figure out your natural shot shape and just play that one shape; I agree with that.  No sense in trying to work the ball--just get your natural shape and try to keep it from curving too much.

I'd also train for speed--ball and clubhead.  I've found that training for speed makes my swing more efficient.  It sounds crazy, but I think it's true.  I swing better when I swing faster because I have to be efficient to deliver a fast clubhead.  Also, I like ball speed because that's a metric that can show you what you're causing the ball to do.  The faster the ball speed is, unless you're pull hooking it or blading a wedge, the better you're doing something.

Lastly, while I strongly advocate training for speed, I also recommend that you play your "reasonably good shot" carry distances when determining club choice.  In other words, don't say, e.g., that your 7i goes 170 if it requires a perfect strike and one that you rarely do.  If however, your reasonably good struck 7i goes, say, 162, then play that yardage.  That will make sure you get pin high and maybe even hit a few more greens, at least for distance control purposes.  I've found that with the irons, swinging fast but not 100%, and merely trying to hit a distance, helps me hit more greens. 

With driver, however, once you get strike sorted and have a reasonably predictable miss, I would just bash the daylights out of the ball with driver as distance is so important in this game.

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As a newbie who is just starting to break 90, I can offer the following advice:

1.  I think the driver shot is most important, because:

   a.  it's the largest club in the bag, with the largest sweet spot.  You should be able to hit it, just a controlled swing. DON'T TRY TO KILL IT!!

   b.  if you aren't trying to kill it, even a nice, controlled swing with the driver will likely go 180-200 yards.  No way for a beginner to get that distance with a 6 iron (at least not me!).  You are likely getting 30-40 yards beyond your 6 iron with the driver.  If you slice it (moderate slice, not a disaster), you are still in the rough, but likely 200 yards closer to the green. 

  c.  if you do hit a 180-200, it really takes the pressure off - a huge sigh of relief for your next shot.  On a par 4, 300, that means you can use a PW next.  On a par 4, 320, that means you can use a 9 iron, on a par 4, 360, that means you can use a 6 iron.  On a par 4, 400 - well, at this level of skill, you probably should not think about GiR.  Just get to the green, bogey the hole, and if lucky, maybe you get a par.  I have learned in the 400yd example that there is no way I'm going to hit GiR.  So, we go for a bogey, and hope to get lucky with a par. So, the driver gives you a lot of options going forward - just don't try to kill it - have I said that before :-)

  d.  if you have a wide fairway, go for it - really try to hit 200 or 210 - still, don't try to go 260!.  If the fairway is a little more narrow, just go more controlled, and you'll likely be on the fairway, but maybe only 170 or 180 forward.  Still, likely better than the 6 or 5 iron.  What a sigh of relief to be 160-180 away from the hole after using the driver.  Then, you can decide if you can make the green, or lay up and then chip and run.

2.  Have an iron that is consistent.  For me, the 7, 9, and PW are pretty good.  I can usually hit those straight (130, 110, 100).  With an 8:00 swing, the PW can go 50 yards.  

3.  Be smart on par 3s.  If it is 120 - 140, a 9, 7, or 6 should get you there.  If it is 180, forget about it (at least for me). If I use a driver or a 3 wood, it is unlikely after sailing 180 yards, I'll drop it on a 40 yard green width. A 6 gets me around 40 yards from the hole, and I can try to chip and run.  Fairways are much wider, that is why a 180yd driver shot should wind up in the fairway.  

other observations:

Notice that I rarely talk about the LW - I love how it looks - beautiful high shot that lands and sticks like a cat.  Unfortunately, 7 out of 10 of my LW shots get bladed and sent flying!  I have to improve on that. 

Right now, my 3 wood is horribly inconsistent.  But, I would say that learning to hit that off the fairway is the next frontier. If I can do that, then we are likely looking at 350 yards with the first 2 clubs.  

Personally, I think I have a better chance with a driver, 9, and then a chip and run with a 7, rather than using my 6 successfully, 3 times in a row. 

With practice, I might be able to hit my driver beyond 200 yards. I'm only 8 months in to this thing. 

 

Edited by ajl

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On 11/9/2019 at 9:23 AM, gbogey said:

My apologies - I was making a general statement and then used you as an example, probably a bad idea, but I've seen a lot of guys wanting to break 90 who don't know how many GIRs or scrambles they have.

As to your situation, if you are shooting in the 90's consistently and getting those GIRs, then you likely have the swing to break 90 even if you think your swing isn't consistent enough (and your driver distance is more than sufficient).  The average player who shoots 90 has 3.9 GIRs, 12.3 GIRs +1, and (I think) two scramble pars.  They also have according to "Every Shot Counts" 5.6 awful shots - 3.8 long game and 1.8 short game.  The question is where are you losing strokes - putting, short game, penalties, etc.  and how do you address it.  Although the full swing is the biggest difference between how players score, at some point the short game does matter.  For unrealistic example, if you have the swing of a player who shoots 88 and the short game of a player who shoots 105, you are not going to break 90.

Course management will help someone break 90.  Practice management is likely equally important.

 

On 11/9/2019 at 10:44 AM, ncates00 said:

I would agree with your assessment.  I wouldn't worry about the short game.  From the sounds of things, you gotta get your ballstriking in order.  You gotta get a tee ball in play and hit GIRs.  You'll do that if you hit the ball more out of the middle and have a reasonably good control of face to path.  Put some footspray on the face and start hitting balls out of the middle.  

I think there is a thread on here somewhere that says to figure out your natural shot shape and just play that one shape; I agree with that.  No sense in trying to work the ball--just get your natural shape and try to keep it from curving too much.

I'd also train for speed--ball and clubhead.  I've found that training for speed makes my swing more efficient.  It sounds crazy, but I think it's true.  I swing better when I swing faster because I have to be efficient to deliver a fast clubhead.  Also, I like ball speed because that's a metric that can show you what you're causing the ball to do.  The faster the ball speed is, unless you're pull hooking it or blading a wedge, the better you're doing something.

Lastly, while I strongly advocate training for speed, I also recommend that you play your "reasonably good shot" carry distances when determining club choice.  In other words, don't say, e.g., that your 7i goes 170 if it requires a perfect strike and one that you rarely do.  If however, your reasonably good struck 7i goes, say, 162, then play that yardage.  That will make sure you get pin high and maybe even hit a few more greens, at least for distance control purposes.  I've found that with the irons, swinging fast but not 100%, and merely trying to hit a distance, helps me hit more greens. 

With driver, however, once you get strike sorted and have a reasonably predictable miss, I would just bash the daylights out of the ball with driver as distance is so important in this game.

Yeah, it's the end of the season here in New York so my practice won't be anywhere near as regular but I made some big strides shooting quite a few rounds in the 90's this year so I'm excited at the prospect of potentially shooting in the 80's next year.  If that happens, then the next goal is breaking 80.  Haha.

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25 minutes ago, RFKFREAK said:

 

Yeah, it's the end of the season here in New York so my practice won't be anywhere near as regular but I made some big strides shooting quite a few rounds in the 90's this year so I'm excited at the prospect of potentially shooting in the 80's next year.  If that happens, then the next goal is breaking 80.  Haha.

If funds/space/etc aren't an issue, I'd seriously look at getting a launch monitor of some kind.  You don't want to have to rebuild every year; it's better to stay with it to SOME degree year round.  Check out the mevo and some of the lower end ones. 

In my opinion, if you can accurately measure ball speed, launch angle, start line, draw/fade, and back spin, that's all you need.  You don't even necessarily need a LM to tell you the carry necessarily since it is calculated and not measured (unless you get a radar LM).  Carry only comes into play for gapping, but for practice, the above metrics are musts.

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On 11/7/2019 at 3:20 PM, boogielicious said:

I think many are just saying that if you want to devote energy and time to breaking 90, your time is better spent working on your full swing, short game and putting than planning strategy.

When I break 90, I get the ball in the fairway or near the fairway and get the ball on the green or near the green in regulation. These are both full swing items. When I've broken 80, I did those even better. My short game helps me on the nGIR and the putting is just consistent.

So the only real planning I do is where to aim and what to hit off the tee depending on my shot zone with that club. For the greens, it is where my shot zone tells me the best place to aim. 

Shot zones are all covered in LSW. But again, focusing on improving your swing for consistently better contact and smaller shot zones is a better approach to breaking 90.

I appreciate this perspective.  I do not debate any of the empiricism that underpins these dictates, and to be sure I spend most of my practice time working out my full swings. I just do not see why one can't do both.  It's not like I can be swinging a club while on this forum.

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