Jump to content
IGNORED

What Single Thing Made the Biggest Drop in Your Handicap?


Val Raj

Recommended Posts

Having been around +18 handicap for a while, I have been always curious at what things made the biggest difference in handicap. For example, the ideas of separation value make a lot of sense, and I have been putting a lot of time practicing the approach shots and driver at home during the lockdown. It will be nice to put the driver in play after not using it for the last 3 years!! Hopefully that will pay off when the courses open here. 

I know it is hard to compare someone who drops a +20 to +18, to someone who drops +3 to +1. So perhaps absolute value in drop is less important than the % drop. 

So what made the biggest difference in your game? it could be that fancy new piece of training equipment, or that drill you kept practicing off the course, or that new putter you put into play ... 

If I was to look back over the last 5 years, the biggest thing that made a difference for me was just practicing a 7i hitting around 150yds or so --- the one year I did that at the range regularly, my scores dropped dramatically. In fact, I played a couple of rounds using just the 7i and managed to break 90. However, I have not been able to find that form again given the typical reset that happens over the winter here. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


2 minutes ago, Val Raj said:

I know it is hard to compare someone who drops a +20 to +18, to someone who drops +3 to +1. So perhaps absolute value in drop is less important than the % drop. 

The closer to zero you get the harder it gets to shave strokes. You go from shaving whole numbers to finding ways to shave fractions of a stroke from different areas. 

2 minutes ago, Val Raj said:

So what made the biggest difference in your game? it could be that fancy new piece of training equipment, or that drill you kept practicing off the course, or that new putter you put into play ..

Finding a very good golf instructor. I naturally fell from a 18+ handicap to shooting in the low 80 to mid 80s consistently just by playing a lot of golf. I went from a 12 handicap to a 3 handicap in a few years, now a 6 handicap because I've had some struggle working on my swing. That drop from 12 to 3 was half ball striking and half short game. For me, short game is a glaring weakness. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Gaining a reasonable consistency in my ball striking was most important.  Becoming reasonably competent around the green, including bunker play a somewhat distant second.

Neither happened overnight, mostly because I did it on my own by playing a lot.  A much better, quicker approach to accomplishing the same thing would be to find a good instructor to help you along the way...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

1 hour ago, Val Raj said:

So what made the biggest difference in your game?

Lessons from a good instructor combined with learning how to practice well.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

The biggest improvement in my golf game happened when I played 18-54 holes every day (plus warm-up and practice) and took 2-3 lessons a month one summer in high school, thanks to free golf from working at a course. Dropped my handicap from right about a 5 to my all-time lowest of a +2.7.

As far as specific improvements go, that summer I primarily improved my tee shots and ballstriking. My "big miss" with the irons/wedges went from something I chunked/bladed 20 yards short or long, to something I hit two grooves low on the face that carried a little shorter/longer and curved a little more with extra spin. Lowest Score Wins was first published that year and I really put into practice a lot of important items from that book, specifically with regards to putting practice and understanding my shot zones/shot cones off the tee. Instead of trying to tweak the shot I hit off the tee to perfectly match every hole, I started hitting the shot I was most consistent with every time I could even if it wasn't the perfect shape for the hole, because I hit that shot better and it gave me better end results more often than the "ideal shot".

I actually have had times where I putted better, or had a sharper short game, than that summer. Heck, right now I'm putting better than I ever have previously (0.52 strokes gained per round compared to scratch from putting alone) and I'm sitting at a 2.2 handicap currently, whereas at my best I was regularly losing a few tenths while putting compared to a scratch baseline. The biggest differences in golf will come from your tee shots and your approaches, even if the faster improvement might be seen in putting and short game (because those two items are easier/quicker to improve than full-swing performance).

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

  • Moderator

My biggest handicap drop was during high school, when I stopped trying to hit 300+yd tee shots every hole.  I was already the longest hitter as a sophomore, but it took until senior year for me to realize that I needed to make a consistent ball flight.  Everyone on the team had been getting steadily better except me.  I went from mid to low 80’s to low 70’s once I started to play smart, accept my distance, and go for control.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Hands down lessons for me.  Of course, just taking lessons and not practicing what you learn isn't worth a lot though

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I think when I got to the point of consistency when I could control my approach distances with any type of certainty, I really started to improve. Having a predictable ball flight, missing in the right places, covering bunkers etc., all becomes part of a bigger part of scoring once you can nail down your approaches. Even when you miss greens you are missing in better places allowing for an easier chance to get up and down. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Putts are 1/2 the strokes for a scratch golfer playing holes in regulation. That's a great place to start shaving strokes. Putting practice is boring, but a necessary evil.

Where I save the most strokes is the short game, 155 (my old school lofted standard "driving range" 8 iron swing in. Especially the wedges. I work like crazy on them. Flight them low, toss them high, lob them.  I get a lot of one putt pars when the long game isn't being very cooperative.

And there is always course managment. You need to avoid the blow ups. Keep the driver in the bag on iffy holes. Don't try to buddy up to the tucked pin. Heroics are for suckers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


14 minutes ago, Esox said:

Putts are 1/2 the strokes for a scratch golfer playing holes in regulation.

How many of those are tap ins? Tour pros average making ~7’ putts only 50% of the time. Just how much better can one get?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Just now, Vinsk said:

How many of those are tap ins? Tour pros average making ~7’ putts only 50% of the time. Just how much better can one get?

You answered your own question. Good lag putting is essential to good scoring.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


11 minutes ago, Esox said:

You answered your own question. Good lag putting is essential to good scoring.

Not near as essential as ball striking. Approach shots>Drive>Short game > putting. Just the facts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

  • Administrator
1 hour ago, Esox said:

Where I save the most strokes is the short game…

So you’re a unicorn?

Putts have a ceiling. You’re closer to a Tour player putting than you are at anything else.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

My biggest drop in handicap over two years was going from a 9.9 to a 3.9. How? I stayed out of the shit.... I called the zoo... I finally cured my hook (It came back again, then I was able to cure it again like literally today.) 
 

@iacas will be the first one to tell you or you can tell for yourself, in My Swing Thread... my swing looks like an unfolding lawn chair. (I’ve taken literally four lessons in my 24 years playing golf). I can understand complex, like the number A# that Erik has on this site. I’m trying to learn to play golf with mostly a three-quarter swing. It is however a process.

In the meantime, I aim away from the shit (darker zones), try to get on or around the green, and don’t do anything stupid when I do get out of position... basically “miss” straight... 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

  • 3 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • Want to join this community?

    We'd love to have you!

    Sign Up
  • Support TST Affiliates

    TourStriker PlaneMate
    Golfer's Journal
    Whoop
    SuperSpeed
    FlightScope Mevo
    Use the code "iacas" for 10% off Mevo and the code "iacasjun21" for 10% off SuperSpeed.
  • Posts

    • Does anybody beating anybody count? No matter if they are ranked or not is their ranking is correct? If Ohio State we're to be Georgia Cincinnati Alabama or Oklahoma, why would that be an accomplishment for Ohio State? Who says those four teams I just mentioned are properly ranked? I will admit that a lot of big-name teams feast off of no-name teams, but I think there are a couple reasons for that. It gets the powerhouse's ready for the actual season and gives the no names a bit of notoriety and income. 
    • A picture would help, or a video even more.
    • This is the right way of thinking about it. Nobody here is a PGA Tour player. Think of it this way. For a 350-yard hole that you could play at 400 yards… even a 15% chance of getting bogey instead of par is not worth the tradeoff: 350 > (400 * .85) Basically, you're risking 350 points against scoring an extra 50 points if the choices are 350/400.
    • Sure, but… you two are in the minority. Faders (slicers) exit low and left. Drawers/hookers high and right. Generally speaking. Collin's comment in that video is very brief.
  • Today's Birthdays

    1. david7w5
      david7w5
      (49 years old)
    2. Jmwest76
      Jmwest76
      (45 years old)
    3. Mikael Detterberg
      Mikael Detterberg
      (39 years old)
    4. NEhomer
      NEhomer
      (61 years old)
    5. RangeGolfer
      RangeGolfer
      (40 years old)

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to TST! Signing up is free, and you'll see fewer ads and can talk with fellow golf enthusiasts! By using TST, you agree to our Terms of Use, our Privacy Policy, and our Guidelines.

The popup will be closed in 10 seconds...