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Cantankerish

How Much Practice and Long-Term Goals?

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Golf is good.

I mean, mostly.  The year is about over and, looking back, I have learned so much this year.  It feels great.  In fact, I have made a lot of positive changes in my mechanics also.  But the change in my scores are much less dramatic.  And here's the thing...I do not see myself ever being able to put in much more time than the 1-3 days/week that I do now.  And I can not sink the kind of dough into this game necessary to get good, fitted clubs or a bunch of lessons.  I am a determined person who can, and very likely will go many years to explore this game.  There must be plenty of others like me.  I think I made this thread in hopes that we can all discuss the reality of what it means to love the sport and wish to thrive in the sport, but not be in a position to live it like some do.  What sort of ceiling does this create for us? What is a reasonable pace of improvement to expect in the years to come? What can we do to take a nontraditional approach to hitting the range twice and playing 54 holes each week.  Is there a long-term solution?

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I practice, or play almost everyday. Something really important has to be going on to prevent me from atleast practicing something. All of this is geared towards keeping as much deterioration due age/physical issues out of my game as possible

I practice specific shot swings. Actually I practice specific shots depending the ball's situation.. My swings for those specific shots are what they are. 

Uneven lies, shots from the rough. low shots, high shots, curved shots, forced carry shots, thin lies, wet lies, firm lies,  fluff lies, pitches, chips, putts, and anything else I run into when playing. I even practice normal fairway lies, and hit balls off tees. 

I practice hitting landing areas, that on the course will give me a better next shot.

I know my full swing carry yardages for my clubs. The next shot situation (course management) tells me how to factor in the roll after the known carry. This then tells me which club to use. 

I course manage my rounds to help with lower scores

I practice reading greens for pitches, chips, and putts. .

My practices are designed so I am not often suprised with a ball situation I have never seen before when playing. 

I don't practice just hitting balls, or being in the proper positions, at different points in my swing. All I care about is having the correct take away, and the correct ball, club face impact position for the shot I need.  How I get there is not a big concern.of mine. 

I just try to keep things simple when playing for a score. 

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I could quote Bobby Jones, exactly, if I hadn't loaned out the book.  Paraphrasing...it goes something like this.

There are two ways one may approach golf.  One may think of it as a convivial day out with friends...or put in the serious time and effort to elevate one's game above the average class.  It will not do, high-evah, to conflate the two.  Especially to hang the ambitions of the latter upon the labors of the former.

That's as close as I get to having a mantra.

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On 12/26/2019 at 10:40 PM, Cantankerish said:

Golf is good.

I mean, mostly.  The year is about over and, looking back, I have learned so much this year.  It feels great.  In fact, I have made a lot of positive changes in my mechanics also.  But the change in my scores are much less dramatic.  And here's the thing...I do not see myself ever being able to put in much more time than the 1-3 days/week that I do now.  And I can not sink the kind of dough into this game necessary to get good, fitted clubs or a bunch of lessons.  I am a determined person who can, and very likely will go many years to explore this game.  There must be plenty of others like me.  I think I made this thread in hopes that we can all discuss the reality of what it means to love the sport and wish to thrive in the sport, but not be in a position to live it like some do.  What sort of ceiling does this create for us? What is a reasonable pace of improvement to expect in the years to come? What can we do to take a nontraditional approach to hitting the range twice and playing 54 holes each week.  Is there a long-term solution?

I believe we have to limit our expectations and seek for a level of satisfaction n the game, or we might be extremely disappointed. I, like you, have learned much last year and trying to schedule in as much golf as possible has been a challenge of its own. Many of us have lives to live and other obligations, yet we do love the game and it has a serious pull on us. No doubt it is expensive and you can spend a small fortune if you want. Buy this club, that club, lessons or not, get fitted or not, on and on it goes. You just have to draw a boundary line somewhere that you can be happy with.

Lately I have been trying to determine what works best for me, whether that be range practice, course play, or simply hitting balls in my shop at home. In other words, what works the best for me in order to play the type of game I believe I can play. I really don't think my aim is that high at trying to stay in the 90s.

I currently am still hovering around 100 to 105 with the occasional mid to high 90s game. Currently I think my aim is more at consistency in ball striking and knowing my yardages with each of my clubs better. I realize that those two things will assist my overall game, especially my level of satisfaction. I know I am improving yet my scores are barely indicating an improvement.

On a side note, just a couple days ago a golfing buddy went to the range and hit about three buckets of balls and made an effort to make it purpose driven practice before the next day's game. Here is the thing. He played the next day and his score was worse than if he had not of gone to the range. I am thinking it did not help him at all. I had to work and did not get in any practice and I scored a few strokes better than my last outing. 

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6 minutes ago, luchnia said:

I believe we have to limit our expectations and seek for a level of satisfaction n the game, or we might be extremely disappointed. I, like you, have learned much last year and trying to schedule in as much golf as possible has been a challenge of its own. Many of us have lives to live and other obligations, yet we do love the game and it has a serious pull on us. No doubt it is expensive and you can spend a small fortune if you want. Buy this club, that club, lessons or not, get fitted or not, on and on it goes. You just have to draw a boundary line somewhere that you can be happy with.

Lately I have been trying to determine what works best for me, whether that be range practice, course play, or simply hitting balls in my shop at home. In other words, what works the best for me in order to play the type of game I believe I can play. I really don't think my aim is that high at trying to stay in the 90s.

I currently am still hovering around 100 to 105 with the occasional mid to high 90s game. Currently I think my aim is more at consistency in ball striking and knowing my yardages with each of my clubs better. I realize that those two things will assist my overall game, especially my level of satisfaction. I know I am improving yet my scores are barely indicating an improvement.

On a side note, just a couple days ago a golfing buddy went to the range and hit about three buckets of balls and made an effort to make it purpose driven practice before the next day's game. Here is the thing. He played the next day and his score was worse than if he had not of gone to the range. I am thinking it did not help him at all. I had to work and did not get in any practice and I scored a few strokes better than my last outing. 

Unless he was at the range for 8 hrs there is no way to purposeful to hit that many balls. Even in technical practice most people are not capable of making 100 much less 300 balls meaningful. I find that 50 is about my max unless I am working on a very specific task and not caring about anything else.

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7 hours ago, luchnia said:

On a side note, just a couple days ago a golfing buddy went to the range and hit about three buckets of balls and made an effort to make it purpose driven practice before the next day's game. Here is the thing. He played the next day and his score was worse than if he had not of gone to the range. I am thinking it did not help him at all. I had to work and did not get in any practice and I scored a few strokes better than my last outing. 

If, in fact he did practice with a purpose and succeed in eking out some sort of improvement, that is polish on a single facet of a stone with about 100 sides, most of them invisible right now.  The upward slope of play quality has a very gentle curve to it.  Tell him to have some faith in the physics of good form and determination.  A single bad round is not evidence of wasted effort.

6 hours ago, criley4way said:

Unless he was at the range for 8 hrs there is no way to purposeful to hit that many balls. Even in technical practice most people are not capable of making 100 much less 300 balls meaningful. I find that 50 is about my max unless I am working on a very specific task and not caring about anything else.

Yeah, 300 balls is way too many.

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18 hours ago, criley4way said:

Unless he was at the range for 8 hrs there is no way to purposeful to hit that many balls. Even in technical practice most people are not capable of making 100 much less 300 balls meaningful. I find that 50 is about my max unless I am working on a very specific task and not caring about anything else.

I agree. To me that many balls doesn't have purpose. I remember Moe Norman claimed to hit about 800 per day when he was 14 years old. I don't know if that is true or not. The videos of Moe certainly show massive baskets of balls being struck.

My buddy did say he was there at the range most all day. He also said some guy helped him some while he was there with his driver and I will admit his drives were so much better during the round. All in all though, it did not seem to help him much overall. His game was still worse.

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11 hours ago, Cantankerish said:

If, in fact he did practice with a purpose and succeed in eking out some sort of improvement, that is polish on a single facet of a stone with about 100 sides, most of them invisible right now.  The upward slope of play quality has a very gentle curve to it.  Tell him to have some faith in the physics of good form and determination.  A single bad round is not evidence of wasted effort.

 

I thought about his range session some yesterday and that I could not notice much improvement on the course but it made me think more about my game and the main things I think would benefit me more than anything. I have done some range practice and it does help me, but I am not sure to what extent it does. I believe it I focus on certain things it would be of greater benefit.

Here are some things I think my game will see great improvement:

  • Knowing solid yardages with all my clubs - sometimes I don't get this right and my game suffers.
  • Work on fade/slice with driver some more, still get those occasionally when I don't swing through good (when not wanted). Overall I am getting closer to some light shot shaping now and I hit a few nice planned slices last round.
  • Better consistency chipping/pitching, especially in difficult lies and bunker shots. I need to spend some serious time with this and I know without a doubt this will help. Also, not sure whether to focus more on one or two wedges, or all of them. I hit a few chips way over a few greens last round which is not my normal style. If anything I am usually a tad short which usually provides me a light chip, pitch, or put toward the hole. Overshooting greens on the courses I play reek havoc on my scores.
  • Bring practice swing speed to the course with consistency - I can maintain high 80s to mid 90s in practice with no problem at all but I don't take that to the course.  I think my course swings are around 85 with the occasional low 90s hit. There must be some safety zone that my brain locks into to not swing faster off the Tee box.
  • Minimize three putts - I have improved greatly in this area, only have a few three putts during my last couple rounds

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I am not one of the experts around here, so take this for what it is...

Be sure your practice has a purpose.  For any of the gains in skill we are after practice is, of course, a requirement.  The lack of opportunity to do this is one of the hems we are dealing with.  But proper practice is the only kind that is of any benefit.  You gotta know what and how to practice.  The lack of knowledge is the second disadvantage to get past.  Put another way, there are lots of guys out there who practice for years and never actually improve.

 

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On 12/27/2019 at 6:39 PM, Piz said:

I could quote Bobby Jones, exactly, if I hadn't loaned out the book.  Paraphrasing...it goes something like this.

There are two ways one may approach golf.  One may think of it as a convivial day out with friends...or put in the serious time and effort to elevate one's game above the average class.  It will not do, high-evah, to conflate the two.  Especially to hang the ambitions of the latter upon the labors of the former.

That's as close as I get to having a mantra.

Bobby Jones is the man!!!  But, with all due respect, I prefer to work on my game in a serious manner to get better AND have a convivial day out on the golf course with friends.  It's even more convivial for me if I kick their asses.  Worse than the last time I whooped 'em.  They understand.  Then we meet for drinks...

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7 hours ago, luchnia said:

I thought about his range session some yesterday and that I could not notice much improvement on the course but it made me think more about my game and the main things I think would benefit me more than anything. I have done some range practice and it does help me, but I am not sure to what extent it does. I believe it I focus on certain things it would be of greater benefit.

Here are some things I think my game will see great improvement:

  • Knowing solid yardages with all my clubs - sometimes I don't get this right and my game suffers.
  • Work on fade/slice with driver some more, still get those occasionally when I don't swing through good (when not wanted). Overall I am getting closer to some light shot shaping now and I hit a few nice planned slices last round.
  • Better consistency chipping/pitching, especially in difficult lies and bunker shots. I need to spend some serious time with this and I know without a doubt this will help. Also, not sure whether to focus more on one or two wedges, or all of them. I hit a few chips way over a few greens last round which is not my normal style. If anything I am usually a tad short which usually provides me a light chip, pitch, or put toward the hole. Overshooting greens on the courses I play reek havoc on my scores.
  • Bring practice swing speed to the course with consistency - I can maintain high 80s to mid 90s in practice with no problem at all but I don't take that to the course.  I think my course swings are around 85 with the occasional low 90s hit. There must be some safety zone that my brain locks into to not swing faster off the Tee box.
  • Minimize three putts - I have improved greatly in this area, only have a few three putts during my last couple rounds

How are you going to go about these goals?

Have you started with where you lose strokes?

Are the 3 putts the results of poor distance control or 60' putts?

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4 hours ago, criley4way said:

How are you going to go about these goals?

Have you started with where you lose strokes?

Are the 3 putts the results of poor distance control or 60' putts?

I keep a small notebook on the course and while playing I make various notes about all my shots (plus I can remember most of my shots that cost me lost strokes) then I look over my notes to confirm my weak areas and determine what needs work the most. I then prioritize the items. When I can practice I work toward improving these areas.

Right now in the winter when I can play, I play, and not able to put in as much practice time on my weak areas.  

My 3 putts during my last round were mostly on a few long putts that I was too short on. Most of the day I was on the money with two or less, but I had several that I shot short and could not make the second putt and had to pop in a short one. It still cost me three strokes on my game.

Edited by luchnia

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On 1/3/2020 at 7:14 PM, luchnia said:

I keep a small notebook on the course and while playing I make various notes about all my shots (plus I can remember most of my shots that cost me lost strokes) then I look over my notes to confirm my weak areas and determine what needs work the most. I then prioritize the items. When I can practice I work toward improving these areas.

Right now in the winter when I can play, I play, and not able to put in as much practice time on my weak areas.  

My 3 putts during my last round were mostly on a few long putts that I was too short on. Most of the day I was on the money with two or less, but I had several that I shot short and could not make the second putt and had to pop in a short one. It still cost me three strokes on my game.

Taking notes is good but you need to aggregate them into stats. Note lead to perception issues and positive selection bias.

The 3-putts sound like a ball striking issue on the approach shots not a putting issue. Then I need to ask if the approach shots were off because the tee shot was too short or in a bad spot. 

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7 minutes ago, criley4way said:

Taking notes is good but you need to aggregate them into stats. Note lead to perception issues and positive selection bias.

The 3-putts sound like a ball striking issue on the approach shots not a putting issue. Then I need to ask if the approach shots were off because the tee shot was too short or in a bad spot. 

😄  When I smack 7 drives in a row down the center of the fairway about 280 out I experience Positive Selection Bias.  I'll select my driver again for the 8th drive.

You are right on on the 3 putts.  I hit a lot of greens in regulation but some of those shots end up 40 feet from the pin.  Then I'm looking at a potential 3 putt.  Which is why I try to be a good lag putter, as well.  Doesn't always work.

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2 hours ago, criley4way said:

Taking notes is good but you need to aggregate them into stats. Note lead to perception issues and positive selection bias.

The 3-putts sound like a ball striking issue on the approach shots not a putting issue. Then I need to ask if the approach shots were off because the tee shot was too short or in a bad spot. 

Thanks for you input. Concerning approach shots and tee shots, I would state maybe a bit of both. I do need to stat my notes so I can get good solid data. Not sure how much longer this decent weather will hold out for us. January in VA is usually much worse than it is and we have been able to get in a few games in the last two weeks. Maybe I can get in some more rounds and get some more info on what I am doing. 

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