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Talking to a Competitor About Their Shot Before They Hit


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Just now, TN94z said:

It has already been answered that there is no rules issue going on. These guys are for sure out there. At my club, there are tons of them. And they really get vocal if it gives them an advantage when money is on the line. I admit that if you aren't playing your best, these comments just add to the fire. But you have to step back, focus on the shot at hand, focus on the pre-shot routine, and this should help you forget about the comments. Then when you execute a good shot from the lie that your opponent stated he would hate to be in, then that should shut them up a bit. Unfortunately, at my club anyway, having the shots speak for themselves is really the only way to fight these guys. You could always dish it back out as well. Who knows, they may get rattled very easy. From me experience, many of them do.

Right.  I fail to see how this is any different from any other sport.  Play another sport, and you rarely hear folks complaining about another's trash talk.  If a person is rattled just because of simple comments made by a competitor, that speaks to that person's lack of ability.  People try to overcomplicate and mystify golf as some hugely cerebral game when it mostly boils down to: can you put a ball in the hole?  You won't hear a RB in football complain because a LB said "watch out when you come up the middle because we're coming for you." 🙂 

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@MattM I feel I can add a lot to this discussion. For one, I am perpetually working through swing changes. Some of them are intentional some of them are not. My natural golf ability is super low.

The proper response would be to smile and say - "With your swing I can see where it would be a tough shot"...

The way to get a guy to stop talking shit about your game is to hit good shots. Seeing that his comments are getting to you is just inviting him to do it more.

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3 minutes ago, MattM said:

I'm thinking I duffed both chips because I was in between the two setups and it pushed the bottom of my chip back and made it very steep.

This is probably a bit more productive.  The other guy may have irritated you, but you already had too many thoughts going on.  You now take responsibility for the poor shots, but at the time you were looking for an outside cause, and he was right there.  As you work through the swing changes, you'll hit better shots more often, and this kind of stuff will bother you a lot less.

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10 minutes ago, MattM said:

Admittedly I'm in the middle of a Swing change that has my setup bumping my hip toward the target, but that then conflicts with my typical chip shot that has more weight on my front foot and my hip more back to neutral.

Don't apply your full swing changes to your chipping. Neither Kris nor I would tell you to put your hip forward when hitting a chip shot, or to have your weight neutral.

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20 minutes ago, MattM said:

As you can read I haven't tried to defend myself or viewpoint in the last three or four posts.

No, but you've characterized other people's posts as "diatribes" or "attacking you," which warrants a response to say that they're no such thing, and which are simply trying to help you. Which you then take as a further attack, restarting the cycle.

Moving on…

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4 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

This is probably a bit more productive.  The other guy may have irritated you, but you already had too many thoughts going on.  You now take responsibility for the poor shots, but at the time you were looking for an outside cause, and he was right there.  As you work through the swing changes, you'll hit better shots more often, and this kind of stuff will bother you a lot less.

Agreed. Once more practice time has been put in on the setups, these thoughts will not be filling his mind. I think the competitor comments just added to an already existing mental confusion and was then treated as a scapegoat of sorts.

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Wow- @MattM if a guy said that in my groups we would have a real problem-The problem is that guy would not be an acceptable playing partner at all because his talk is nowhere near strong enough to hang with us.-We are competitive every week and -CONSTANTLY- ribbing each other on all kinds of shit. I will crack on my own students about their swing flaw that we are working on and they eat it up and give me shit right back.

The guy said he was glad he wasn not in the bunker-And that was all it took? Bank on it that this guy will remember this now and will redouble his efforts to get under your skin the next time you play.-WITHIN THE RULES.

Maybe you are not cut out for any level of competitive golf right now.

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10 hours ago, MattM said:

Actually, now that I'm reading it....Isn't telling someone, "don't hit it in the sand or water" giving advice?

No. “Don’t hit it into the water,” is not the same thing as, “That club isn’t going to carry the water.”

42 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Exactly, if you execute the tough shot, carry the bunker, get the ball on the green, you can say "Yeah, that sure WAS a tough shot." 

And then the next time the guy tries to say you’ll have a tough shot, you can say, “For you, maybe.”

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Reading your comments I ask myself if you have played competitive sports in any fashion. If it bothers you enough you either need thicker skin, or maybe stop playing in tournaments. Of all the things in the world golf is the least effected by outside influences. Its you, your ball, your swing, your thoughts that determine the score on the card. Shake it off the guy might just be a jerk but what he is doing isnt against the rules. 

As others have said, If you want a confidence boost, when he says something about hitting over a lake or whatever, you nut the shot and hit it how you envisioned. Thats enough of a statement right there. If you let him get in your head he wont stop. If you keep playing good golf and dont react mentally or physically to what he is saying it will get old and he will stop.

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45 minutes ago, iacas said:

Don't apply your full swing changes to your chipping. Neither Kris nor I would tell you to put your hip forward when hitting a chip shot, or to have your weight neutral.

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No, but you've characterized other people's posts as "diatribes" or "attacking you," which warrants a response to say that they're no such thing, and which are simply trying to help you. Which you then take as a further attack, restarting the cycle.

Moving on…

Im not actually trying to apply those changes..but bumping my hip forward for all full swings makes it hard to feel correct in not bumping it or moving it back for the chip.  It's like I then have a hard time feeling 55 percent of my weight on my front foot.. I'll obviously get it corrected I just didn't expect my chipping setup to feel so alien so quickly.

9 minutes ago, kpaulhus said:

Reading your comments I ask myself if you have played competitive sports in any fashion. If it bothers you enough you either need thicker skin, or maybe stop playing in tournaments. Of all the things in the world golf is the least effected by outside influences. Its you, your ball, your swing, your thoughts that determine the score on the card. Shake it off the guy might just be a jerk but what he is doing isnt against the rules. 

As others have said, If you want a confidence boost, when he says something about hitting over a lake or whatever, you nut the shot and hit it how you envisioned. Thats enough of a statement right there. If you let him get in your head he wont stop. If you keep playing good golf and dont react mentally or physically to what he is saying it will get old and he will stop.

Actually, my problem is the opposite.  I did nothing but competitive sports..I was in Martial Arts for 15 years and when sparring if someone talked shit or tried to use "gamesmanship" it would do nothing but piss me off and make them more bloody and lose quicker than they otherwise would have.  I didn't have play a "gentleman's" game and anger was a benefit.  I also was a pitcher through school and the madder I got the harder I threw...

Golf is exactly the opposite...I can't use emotion to fuel my performance because it does nothing but make me suck..It doesn't help that I didn't start playing until I was 27 and so used to letting my emotion fuel victory.  It's been hard to keep that in check..

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15 minutes ago, MattM said:

Im not actually trying to apply those changes..but bumping my hip forward for all full swings makes it hard to feel correct in not bumping it or moving it back for the chip.  It's like I then have a hard time feeling 55 percent of my weight on my front foot.. I'll obviously get it corrected I just didn't expect my chipping setup to feel so alien so quickly.

Actually, my problem is the opposite.  I did nothing but competitive sports..I was in Martial Arts for 15 years and when sparring if someone talked shit or tried to use "gamesmanship" it would do nothing but piss me off and make them more bloody and lose quicker than they otherwise would have.  I didn't have play a "gentleman's" game and anger was a benefit.  I also was a pitcher through school and the madder I got the harder I threw...

Golf is exactly the opposite...I can't use emotion to fuel my performance because it does nothing but make me suck..It doesn't help that I didn't start playing until I was 27 and so used to letting my emotion fuel victory.  It's been hard to keep that in check..

If I was playing against you on the course and noticed you were easily frazzled, well I wouldnt stop the commentary. To get better at dealing with this, you might want to play for some cash with your friends. Spice up the round a little. Emotions are a big part of golf. Being able to deal with and react to a double bogey before you hit your next tee shot usually results in a better score. Same thing when making a birdie or hitting a great shot. Even Tiger and Dustin walk up to the green like theyve got a huge (you know what) after stuffing it tight to the pin. You certainly can use emotion to fuel your golf game. 

My buddy is a scratch golfer and absolutely hates giving me strokes. He will beat me 7/10x if we are not playing for cash. When there is money on the line he is my little bitch and sometimes I beat him straight up. 

 

It doesnt have to be a ton of money, but just enough to make you a little uncomfortable with losing it. That can be a $10 nassau, $20 match play for 18 holes, a game of $5 wolf can really make you sweat. Just to get your emotions going. Thats what will really help you fine tune your game and get the best out of the swing you have that specific day.

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If I ever get to the point where everything is automatic and I don't have to actively think about it I'm sure emotion would help, but for me the madder I get the harder it is to focus on my swing techniques..

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4 minutes ago, MattM said:

If I ever get to the point where everything is automatic and I don't have to actively think about it I'm sure emotion would help, but for me the madder I get the harder it is to focus on my swing techniques..

Worrying about your swing mid round usually doesnt work out well. Especially if youre in a match or tournament. When I played a ton I would work on my swing/swing thoughts on the course during the week and on the weekend rounds or tournament I would just play with what Ive got. If you practice enough your swing will evolve for the better.

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8 minutes ago, MattM said:

If I ever get to the point where everything is automatic and I don't have to actively think about it I'm sure emotion would help, but for me the madder I get the harder it is to focus on my swing techniques..

And the more your opponents know this, the more they're going to get under your skin on purpose and completely within the Rules.

Lose the hair trigger/thin skin/whatever you want to call it.

Pronto.

It's still a competitive sport, and if making an innocuous comment that isn't anywhere close to poor etiquette gives them an advantage, one could make an argument that they're being unwise to not do it.

These aren't close to "gamesmanship" which, while also often fine under the Rules, is closer toward "scummy" behavior.

One could also make the case that you were looking for an excuse, because "man that’s a tough shot there, glad I don’t have to hit it" isn’t even bad etiquette. It's not gamesmanship. It's incredibly tame, almost supportive.

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There are many, many ways that one could flip the narrative back on the person doing this to give them pause about the effectiveness of their approach.  I would personally focus on having some fun with that.  

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2 hours ago, MattM said:

Yeah, this is really something I've been trying to work on.  I still can't clear that very last thought introduced before I swing yet.  

Also I still have this weird issue where I stand over certain chips and for some reason I can't get myself into the correct setup (especially after a duff).  Admittedly I'm in the middle of a Swing change that has my setup bumping my hip toward the target, but that then conflicts with my typical chip shot that has more weight on my front foot and my hip more back to neutral.  I'm thinking I duffed both chips because I was in between the two setups and it pushed the bottom of my chip back and made it very steep.

I was trying to get that straight on the chip where all this happened and just have the thought of keeping weight forward and turning through then my thought got sidetracked with this other stuff.  It's a lot to try to think about and get right in the middle of competition.  Also hadn't had that specific duff type chipping problem in a while so it just cropped up.  Think I have that figured out now though..

 

See, now this is the thread you should have made.

"I was in a money tournament recently and when faced with a couple of delicate chip shots, I was unable to execute.  Please help."

If you play the victim and blame others for your screwups like you'd been up to this point, you're never going to improve upon the real problem.  For the actual issue, may I suggest:

 

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6 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

See, now this is the thread you should have made.

"I was in a money tournament recently and when faced with a couple of delicate chip shots, I was unable to execute.  Please help."

If you play the victim and blame others for your screwups like you'd been up to this point, you're never going to improve upon the real problem.  For the actual issue, may I suggest:

 

This is definitely the thread I use, and I was fine up until the last week.  When I get into the setup correctly It's an easy shot to make.  The problem is that my hip is now not just normally getting neutral it wants pop forward at address when I try to make sure it's back where it should it at least feels instead like I'm just pointing my butt to the right and not actually setting up correctly.   I think if I don't really concentrate it causes a steeper downswing and I dig...

This used to be an easy setup that I didn't have to think about, but now I'm really struggling to get it correct...

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This isn't your Member Swing topic, and your hip being forward will generally shallow the downswing/impact, while your chest being forward will steepen it.

Please stick to the topic.

P.S. @Golfingdad did, because his comment was about how you should have reacted to the whole situation.

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5 minutes ago, MattM said:

This is definitely the thread I use, and I was fine up until the last week.  When I get into the setup correctly It's an easy shot to make.  The problem is that my hip is now not just normally getting neutral it wants pop forward at address when I try to make sure it's back where it should it at least feels instead like I'm just pointing my butt to the right and not actually setting up correctly.   I think if I don't really concentrate it causes a steeper downswing and I dig...

This used to be an easy setup that I didn't have to think about, but now I'm really struggling to get it correct...

BTW Matt, even though we’ve given you a little bit of a hard time, it’s good to see you back on here again after a bit of an absence!  :beer:

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18 minutes ago, David in FL said:

BTW Matt, even though we’ve given you a little bit of a hard time, it’s good to see you back on here again after a bit of an absence!  :beer:

Thanks David...Right now I'm tad iffy though..lol..

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