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At a Loss, 13 Year Old Step Son Has Totally Lost His Game


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My 13 year old step son has been golfing for 4-5 years now and last August on his 13th birthday shot a legit, by the rules of golf, 79 on a par 70 course in front of me, his mother, and his older sister.  Since then his game has totally crashed and I am at a total loss as to how to help him.  He has had numerous lessons over the years and even recently, but he has gone from easily shooting in the 90's and sometimes in the 80's, crushing driver down the middle like a machine to not even being able to hit a golf ball.  Our last time out he was nearly in tears and had lost over a dozen golf balls.  He is a big kid and growing fast, currently around 5' 6" and 150lbs.  Every day I see him he looks taller.  His drives now are 100 yard snap hooks, his irons are almost always fat, and his chipping is horid, usually fat as well.  He complains that his lessons are making him worse and easily gets frustrated on the golf course.  

I am at a complete loss as to how to help him. I am a 14 handicap and love to golf as does he but the joy in no longer there for him.  I need to get him back on track.  Any suggestions?  

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  • boogielicious changed the title to At a Loss, 13 Year Old Step Son Has Totally Lost His Game
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Could be any number of things:

  • He had a swing that worked when he was a certain size and he was timing things well, which doesn't work now. Maybe it was somewhat quirky, but it "worked," but only because he was timing it.
  • He's trying something different every five swings in the hopes of fixing it.
  • He's in need of good instruction.
  • His body is growing and it's awkward and feels different every day.
  • Etc.

Get him to a good instructor and focus on ONE thing.

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On 2/26/2021 at 4:55 PM, TapOut64 said:

He has had numerous lessons over the years and even recently, but he has gone from easily shooting in the 90's and sometimes in the 80's, crushing driver down the middle like a machine to not even being able to hit a golf ball.  Our last time out he was nearly in tears

Heartbreaking to hear about your stepson's frustrations. Because 100 yard snap hooks are so dangerous to the psyche (and to people and property), it is best not to try and figure this swing issue out on the course.

On 2/28/2021 at 8:30 PM, iacas said:

Get him to a good instructor and focus on ONE thing.

100%!!!  I couldn't tell if the recent lessons were with the same pro that helped him when he was crushing driver down the middle like a machine, but his frustration and complaints that the lessons are making him worse suggest it's time to try someone different.  Having experienced dark days with my own game, not all instructors are equally proficient at fixing all swing maladies.  Sometimes you just need a different set of eyes or a communication style that connects better with the student.  Hope you are able to quickly find the right one!

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1 hour ago, HoganApexFan said:

100%!!!  I couldn't tell if the recent lessons were with the same pro that helped him when he was crushing driver down the middle like a machine, but his frustration and complaints that the lessons are making him worse suggest it's time to try someone different.  Having experienced dark days with my own game, not all instructors are equally proficient at fixing all swing maladies.  Sometimes you just need a different set of eyes or a communication style that connects better with the student.  Hope you are able to quickly find the right one!

I had planned to type pretty much this. 

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I appreciate the feed back.  He is currently taking lessons from a very reputable instructor here in Virginia Beach who is the same instructor he had when he shot his 79 and was crushing driver.  His short game is also terrible so it's not just the long clubs.  I feel like it's a mental issue.  He is a hot head just like his mother and gets upset very easily on the golf course and has what I call unrealistic expectations.  I worry about whether or not he has the mental capacity for golf.  He gets so upset when he hits a bad shot.  I have tried my best to keep things positive but he's quite the handful.

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Since your stepson's short game seems to also have gone south, here are a couple of "Temporary Patches" that could help while he is waiting for lessons, and might even help mid round to help stop the bleeding:

  • Practice short pitches with each hand.  Sounds crazy, but some people actually hit these better one handed, and it's not always the dominant hand.  My lead hand is so much better than my strong trail hand;  OTOH, there is a top-ten weird/worst swing video where a gent had chipping and pitching yips, and fixed it by using his dominant trail hand only (even for bunker shots).  Let the better hand be in control for pitches when you put both hands on the club.
  • Practice hitting chips off of the lower toe of the club face.  This requires a hands high/toe down setup and putter swing, and completely takes the wrists, leading edge of club face, and bounce out of the equation. 
  • Make practice swings noticing where the club is naturally clipping the grass, address the ball accordingly, and then look at the intended landing area (not the ball!) for the real swing.  (Focusing on the target and not the ball can work for putts too!)
  • Speaking of putts, don't forget the "Texas Wedge"!  Average putts are usually as serviceable as good chips...

These are just Temporary Fixes, but they can really help with the frustration during practice and help get you off of the bogey-train during a round.  Keep the Faith, and I hope these help!

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