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What Are Acceptable Bad Rounds Per Handicap?


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So I am currently sitting at a 6.4. I have put a lot of work in on my swing the last year. My misses have gotten so much better and my good shots are leaps and bounds better. For the past 2 months I have been hitting the ball very well and I am even happy with my misses. My teacher states that I am an A player in his circle, which is a huge compliment coming from this guy. Having said all of that, I have had 2 rounds in the last couple months in the 90s!!  I shot a 90 yesterday at a local course and a 98 at Old Waverly in MS (I cannot remember the last time I have gone this high). It blows my mind how I can fall off this bad. Yesterday, my misses were terrible. My irons were not consistent, which is not the average now. And my driving was horrible. All of this after having a really great warm up on the range.

I make the post to ask, what are considered bad rounds for a 6 handicap? Is this normal to have a round or two get completely out of hand like these? Or am I trending toward a higher handicap? I don't mind the process of shooting worse scores as I am working on my swing because I know it will even back out. But I truly thought that I was in a more consistent stage at this point.The only positive I can take away from yesterday was that I didn't allow the bad round to get to me mentally. I had my little girl, my son, and his friend there and wouldn't allow it to stop me from enjoying the time out. That is a victory in my book...haha.  I searched on the topic quickly but didn't see one. If I missed it, I apologize.

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I'm in the same handicap range, and I generally will have 1 or 2 rounds a year in the 90s. It happens. It's very frustrating, and it feels like you're a vanity handicapper. You'll be back to shooting 80 in no time.

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I wouldn't suggest that a couple of bad rounds make a trend to a higher handicap, and I think the variability of scores differs from one person to another.  But statistically, a player's average is generally 2 to 3 strokes higher than (par + Handicap).  In my own scores, I see a longer "tail" to the higher scores, so while my best scores might result in net -2 or so (say 4 or 5 below average), my highest scores might be 6 or 8 above average, net +10 to par.  I'd expect variability to be even greater while making a swing change. Just keep doing what you're doing, it'll all work itself out.

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41 minutes ago, DeadMan said:

I'm in the same handicap range, and I generally will have 1 or 2 rounds a year in the 90s. It happens. It's very frustrating, and it feels like you're a vanity handicapper. You'll be back to shooting 80 in no time.

Ok, that makes me feel better...haha.  And it's not all about the scores as it is the quality of ball striking in those rounds. It's almost like I completely forget how to swing a club (exaggerating a bit) and cannot seem to reel it back in.

32 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I wouldn't suggest that a couple of bad rounds make a trend to a higher handicap, and I think the variability of scores differs from one person to another.  But statistically, a player's average is generally 2 to 3 strokes higher than (par + Handicap).  In my own scores, I see a longer "tail" to the higher scores, so while my best scores might result in net -2 or so (say 4 or 5 below average), my highest scores might be 6 or 8 above average, net +10 to par.  I'd expect variability to be even greater while making a swing change. Just keep doing what you're doing, it'll all work itself out.

Very true. It would need to continue far longer to be considered a "trend." Poor choice of words there. Thanks

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I've heard the term anti-handicap--the number if you use the worst differentials of the last 20 rounds instead of the best.  Would anti-handicap measure what @TN94z is asking about?  How anti-hcp changes with hcp?

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22 minutes ago, Missouri Swede said:

I've heard the term anti-handicap--the number if you use the worst differentials of the last 20 rounds instead of the best.  Would anti-handicap measure what @TN94z is asking about?  How anti-hcp changes with hcp?

The term Anti-Handicap was invented, as far as I know, by Dean Knuth as a way to measure consistency.  The closer your anti-handicap is to your real handicap, the more consistent you are.  But I think it would simply confirm what @TN94z is seeing, increased variability at a time when he's working on changes.

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I’m a 6 right now. I’ve had the same rounds. Normally it’s when I am absolutely lost on the course. Can’t drive, can’t chip, can’t putt, can’t put a solid swing on a ball. Can’t even make a bogey on those days. It happens to people of all handicaps but some folks feel like when they get to a certain level that they are immune to it. They are not. You will have those rounds. I’ll have those rounds. Nothing to worry about. Normally if I have one of those rounds I go back out the next day.... and shoot a 76.

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  • iacas changed the title to What Are Acceptable Bad Rounds Per Handicap?
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11 minutes ago, Dunit507 said:

I’m a 6 right now. I’ve had the same rounds. Normally it’s when I am absolutely lost on the course. Can’t drive, can’t chip, can’t putt, can’t put a solid swing on a ball. Can’t even make a bogey on those days. It happens to people of all handicaps but some folks feel like when they get to a certain level that they are immune to it. They are not. You will have those rounds. I’ll have those rounds. Nothing to worry about. Normally if I have one of those rounds I go back out the next day.... and shoot a 76.

Yep, absolutely lost is what it feels like. And I guess I fall into the category of thinking, I am at a level where I should not be shooting anywhere around 90.I guess that is part of the problem

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6 minutes ago, TN94z said:

Yep, absolutely lost is what it feels like. And I guess I fall into the category of thinking, I am at a level where I should not be shooting anywhere around 90.I guess that is part of the problem

I’ll make my putt for double and say “man I feel like breaking something” and my buddy will say “sure as hell won’t be par!” 
 

When I have one of those days honestly I just leave at times. If I’m playing the home course and playing by myself I’m not even going to punish myself and force myself to stick out the round. What am I losing? Couple bucks on a cart. If I am playing with people I’ll grind it out. I went and did the 7 iron challenge for a few holes this season. I made a long bogey putt with a 7 iron on a day I couldn’t make a 3 foot putt with a putter. 
 

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2 hours ago, TN94z said:

Ok, that makes me feel better...haha.  And it's not all about the scores as it is the quality of ball striking in those rounds. It's almost like I completely forget how to swing a club (exaggerating a bit) and cannot seem to reel it back in.

Here's my question: why don't you have a "B" swing? Something that gets you around the course on a day like this?

For me, it's not really all that different: it's a steeper, shorter swing with more club. I'll likely never shoot 72 with it, but I can break 80. You could break 90 with your version of it as a 6, I'd bet.

1 hour ago, Missouri Swede said:

I've heard the term anti-handicap--the number if you use the worst differentials of the last 20 rounds instead of the best.  Would anti-handicap measure what @TN94z is asking about?  How anti-hcp changes with hcp?

It would. The smaller the gap, the more consistent a player is. Especially if you're now looking at the best 8 and your worst 8. 🙂

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5 minutes ago, iacas said:

Here's my question: why don't you have a "B" swing? Something that gets you around the course on a day like this?

For me, it's not really all that different: it's a steeper, shorter swing with more club. I'll likely never shoot 72 with it, but I can break 80. You could break 90 with your version of it as a 6, I'd bet.

Well....I thought I had a B swing until those rounds...haha. I was trying my B swing, but I just think I was totally out of sync. Just wasn't working. Usually, I consider my B swing to be very similar. It's usually taking 1 more club, no more than 3/4 swing (which is pretty much the same for my normal swing), and making sure to have a bit slower tempo. Yesterday, the wind was howling, so that didn't help matters.

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6 minutes ago, TN94z said:

Well....I thought I had a B swing until those rounds...haha. I was trying my B swing, but I just think I was totally out of sync. Just wasn't working. Usually, I consider my B swing to be very similar. It's usually taking 1 more club, no more than 3/4 swing (which is pretty much the same for my normal swing), and making sure to have a bit slower tempo. Yesterday, the wind was howling, so that didn't help matters.

Maybe it's a measure of club face control? Some people are better at it than others, and can scrape it around and keep the ball in front of them with any swing, on any day, for the most part?

I don't hit many foul balls.

And I can do that strong/weak grip challenge any day of the week.

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Just now, iacas said:

Maybe it's a measure of club face control? Some people are better at it than others, and can scrape it around and keep the ball in front of them with any swing, on any day, for the most part?

I don't hit many foul balls.

And I can do that strong/weak grip challenge any day of the week.

Maybe so. I feel like that has never been an issue. I think maybe I was still trying to attack the pins even with the B swing instead of just playing smarter. To be honest, I feel like it was all tempo related. Tempo and back swing length has been a big issue I have been working on. As I sit here thinking of the round, I feel like I was swinging too long and had too quick of a transition. When my swing gets too long, trouble follows. I have been working a stopping point which "feels" about 3/4 but I seem to remember getting there yesterday, and right when I was about to transition, I would reach a little further with the back swing. 

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I recently voiced the same concern as the OP to a friend of mine and they pointed me towards this article linked below. I loath my perceived lack of consistency, but the article suggests that scoring consistency is a bit of a myth.

 


Every week I meet players who complain to me about their lack of scoring consistency. Discover what consistency in golf really means

 

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1 hour ago, TN94z said:

I think maybe I was still trying to attack the pins even with the B swing instead of just playing smarter.

You shouldn't be "attacking pins" with your A+ swing. You know that.

1 hour ago, TN94z said:

As I sit here thinking of the round, I feel like I was swinging too long and had too quick of a transition.

Pretty unlikely in my experience. "I got quick there" is just what people tell themselves after something in their sequencing feels off. Often when someone says "I got quick there" they actually transition slower, or swing the clubhead slower, etc. It's just a sequencing issue.

That's why a "B" swing is often just a shorter, slower swing (backswing mostly), from which you can fire things. Less chance of the sequencing being off.

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What do you mean by “acceptable“?

Like you, once or twice a year, I’ll throw up a 90.  It’s not acceptable by any stretch of the imagination, but it happens…

A better question might be at what threshold do you consider a round to be bad for your particular handicap.  It’s a purely arbitrary number, but for me, that’s 85.  I’m pleased either anything in the 70’s.  80-84  and I’m in the “Meh” range.

I spend way too much time in the Meh range!

 

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31 minutes ago, iacas said:

You shouldn't be "attacking pins" with your A+ swing. You know that.

Pretty unlikely in my experience. "I got quick there" is just what people tell themselves after something in their sequencing feels off. Often when someone says "I got quick there" they actually transition slower, or swing the clubhead slower, etc. It's just a sequencing issue.

That's why a "B" swing is often just a shorter, slower swing (backswing mostly), from which you can fire things. Less chance of the sequencing being off.

Very true, I do know that. Part of the problem this round as well. Hmmm...ok. I can't argue with the experience. Sequencing could for sure be part of what I am feeling. I just know that on a good swing, my tempo feels slower (smooth), and I don't "jerk" down with the handle. I really just need to get the laziness out and start videoing my swing in my practice sessions. Revamp my swing thread.

25 minutes ago, David in FL said:

What do you mean by “acceptable“?

Like you, once or twice a year, I’ll throw up a 90.  It’s not acceptable by any stretch of the imagination, but it happens…

A better question might be at what threshold do you consider a round to be bad for your particular handicap.  It’s a purely arbitrary number, but for me, that’s 85.  I’m pleased either anything in the 70’s.  80-84  and I’m in the “Meh” range.

I spend way too much time in the Meh range!

 

Your explanation of threshold is dead on. I feel great with 70s. Anything in the 70s and I leave very pleased. 85 would be my threshold. Over 85, I consider to be the bad range. 80-84, I'm okay with.  85 and I'm thinking "okay now, this doesn't need to go any higher."

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36 minutes ago, David in FL said:

What do you mean by “acceptable“?

Like you, once or twice a year, I’ll throw up a 90.  It’s not acceptable by any stretch of the imagination, but it happens…

A better question might be at what threshold do you consider a round to be bad for your particular handicap.  It’s a purely arbitrary number, but for me, that’s 85.  I’m pleased either anything in the 70’s.  80-84  and I’m in the “Meh” range.

I spend way too much time in the Meh range!

 

Pretty much exactly my mindset when I’m looking at my card. You always look at where your mistakes were... it I’m over 85 though I made too many mistakes to even list them and if someone asks how I played I just say “like shit!”

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