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Ballstriking better than your Handicap

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I have been playing about 20 months now and really starting to see some big improvements in my game.

I'm at that point where execution of technique is not hard anymore but more natural.My problem now is taking sixes on par fours or even worse fives on par three's because of an inaccurate pitch overhit or under,an odd fluffed chip,a lost ball OB from the tee,a missed putt of 3 feet.You know those small margains where you cost yourself 2 strokes.

I feel like I'm playing well but I'm taking 100-110 over 18 holes when it feels like I could score 90 were it not for these lost shots.I have really based all my practice around shots from the green out to 100 yards,and I have improved,but it seems that one mistake every other hole just punishes you

Anyone else go through this and how did you cope?What time frame was there before you moved that handicap from high to mid-handicapper.

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I know what you mean. My ballstriking and full swing are by far the best parts of my game and many lower handicap players I play with have commented on it. My short game is often a bit of a let down though. My putting has improved incredibly recently, but that just leaves my chipping, which is often dire.

I am now committing large amounts of my practice to under 100 yards, whilst maintaining my full swing.

Although my handicap is 26, I haven't submitted a card recently and am playing fairly comfortably below it. I would reckon I'll be down to 18 in a couple of months, if I can get a few decent rounds under my belt.

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I've been playing 5 months.

To me going from 100s to 90s was the difference in solid consistent ballstriking. I read somewhere to think of every hole as a par 5. Mostly what I'd end up with is hitting a 10-40 yard chip for my 3rd shot. I rarely get greens in regulation. When I do I'll probably easily start getting in the 80s since for the most part I'm not a horrible putter.

It took me about 4 months to have the ballstriking consistency for 18 holes (after about 2 months, I'd have really good half a course and a horrid other half)

THE THING that helped me cope the most was chipping. Thanks for my erradic beginnings (missing easy putts, difficulty getting on greens) I decided I really needed to practice chipping and get good enough to give myself a realistic shot at a 1 putt and make it near impossible to 3 putt. I've had many compliments on my short game, and once they find out I've only been playing several months, they're very impressed. Without a doubt this is the most important thing in helping me cope.

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Play a round or two where you manage your game very conservatively. By that I mean don't try the little pitch shot that might come rolling back down the slope to your feet. Go ahead and make sure you are on the green and have a putt at par. Don't take risks or try to get all you can from a shot in the rough -- play as smartly as you can. Then as your scores drop, you will gain confidence and experience and you will break through to another level.

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I know what you mean. My ballstriking and full swing are by far the best parts of my game and many lower handicap players I play with have commented on it. My short game is often a bit of a let down though. My putting has improved incredibly recently, but that just leaves my chipping, which is often dire.

Yeah a friend of mine I play with loves the way I hit the ball,he's around 14 handicapper I guess,and the main difference is that he finishes holes off much better than me.

Case in point is when we played recently,I matched him drive for drive on most of the par 4's and the 5's,but he killed me on approaches and wedges onto the green. He shot 80,but I shot over 100.It's 20 shots but when you break it down it's a average of one mistake a hole,usually on most occasions it's as low as 15 strokes. Catching the ball flush isn't the problem but it's accuracy.That I guess is why golf is so addictive,the line between success and failure is very small.

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Play a round or two where you manage your game very conservatively. By that I mean don't try the little pitch shot that might come rolling back down the slope to your feet. Go ahead and make sure you are on the green and have a putt at par. Don't take risks or try to get all you can from a shot in the rough -- play as smartly as you can. Then as your scores drop, you will gain confidence and experience and you will break through to another level.

I love the almost chess part of the game,and don't take massive risks,but it's the mistakes that drive my score up.An example last week I hit a 3/4 swing with my PW into a 110 yd hole.A left to right cross wind,I didn't judge the wind properly and the ball landed about 30 ft from the hole.

I was confident with the putt,just shaved the hole and left myself a 4 footer for a par,but then miss that and get a 4. Or I'm on the green on a long par 4 in three and need 2 putt for a bogey but 3 putt.Or Ineed to wedge in from 60 yds and drop short and then need to chip effectively costing myself another stroke.It's close but no cigar.

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Yeah a friend of mine I play with loves the way I hit the ball,he's around 14 handicapper I guess,and the main difference is that he finishes holes off much better than me.

Harvey Penick had a formula for this. If you have one bad round, forget it. If you have two bad rounds in a row, review your fundamentals - Grip, stance and alignment. If you have 3 bad rounds, see your pro because the problem is out of your control.

Have you had any lessons? Recently? Think about it.

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Harvey Penick had a formula for this. If you have one bad round, forget it. If you have two bad rounds in a row, review your fundamentals - Grip, stance and alignment. If you have 3 bad rounds, see your pro because the problem is out of your control.

It's not that because I started out scoring in the 120's now I'm down to 99 at best,my worst round in the last 6 months is 110,my average even with high scores going back a year with a handicap tracker is 106.

I would love some lessons and there is a clinic at my local range,but you need to go 5 of them when you pay the 25 pounds up front and as I have children I can't commit knowing I might not make it for all 5. I'm happy with my progress and I'm a studious person when it comes to sports technique,but it's just a phase that has no quick answer at the moment.Just wanted to share this and really wanted to know if others shared this experience.

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I fell your pain, and maybe more. If points were deducted for having a hole blow-up within 10 yards of the pin, I'm sure my score would rival Tigers.

I've made it on the green under GIR, and have still managed double bogeys. Since Im still going through this, I guess all I can say is play to your best, and play relaxed.

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I have been playing about 20 months now and really starting to see some big improvements in my game.

I feel your pain. I'm a 14 handicap and am a pretty good ball striker. I just can't putt for crap. 3 Putts galore with me. Even when I get a GIR, I still have a good shot of 3 putting. But that's the game.

Regardless of how well you hit the ball, it does not mean that you should be better. It only means that you could be better. Losing one stroke per hole on a stupid play or a 3 putt or an OB drive or whatever is part of the game. Generally, my game (this year) has been hitting my drives and giving me a shot to the green. (I rarely hit the ball OB or near trees). From there, I hit the club that will get me pin high. If I hit the green, WOOHOO!! However, if I miss, I am usually within 30 yards of the pin. Get up and down every once in a while and your scores drop. Get up and down frequently and you are looking at a single digit hcp. If I were you, I would just try and get the ball anywhere on the green...in one shot over the GIR. Basically play a par 4 as a par 5, par 5s as par 6s. (I think par 3s you should go for the green.) When I was a 20 hcp, this is what I did and my scores improved. Not all of your shots come from within one hundred yards. I feel the driver is one of the most important clubs. If your driver keeps you near the fairway, you'll always have a shot at par. Get consistent with it and I guarantee your scores will drop very quickly...quicker than continuously practicing your short game. (Once you get good with your driver, go back to primarily 100 yards and in practice.)

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It seems that as you improve, the ball striking improves well before the scoring.

There are so many things that can blow up a score You didn't do them all at once before, and you don't play without doing any of them now.

Some parts of the game can improve rapidly, but you don't seriously chip away at your scoring average until all of phases of the game begin experiencing at least some improvement.

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I think that putting is key to lowering my handicap. I am score generally in the low 90s... trying like hell to get in the 80s, but for me... I seem to miss just enough 3 footers to hit the nineties. As far as 100 yards in... I have 3 wedges in my bag now... 52(100 yards), 56(75 yards), and 60(50 yards). My instructer told me to practice 1/3 putting, 1/3 pitching, and 1/3 ball striking.

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Some parts of the game can improve rapidly, but you don't seriously chip away at your scoring average until all of phases of the game begin experiencing at least some improvement.

That's completely true. I found that getting in the mid/low 80s and sniffing around 79 comes when you can put a complete game together. Initially you will drive the ball well one day and putt poorly. The next day it will be vice versa. You'll find that to become a mid handicap you don't have to bring an "A" game really. But if you can bring a C+ or B game in all facets of the game (including course management) from tee to green for 18 holes, you will see your scores drop.

As for the short game.....I saw a drop in my scores when I started to have 1 or 2 "go to" shots that worked 9 times out of 10. For me that was a hop & stop pitch and a decent chipping game. By "worked" I mean it got the ball on the green and below the hole, no dumped chips and no skulls over the back and such. Then if you can lag put with a little distance control you should be seeing lower scores. As for course management...if you can be NEAR the green in regulation, pitch or chip within a gimmee 2 putt, and 2 putt - then you will be an 18 handicap. Start converting some of those up and downs and throw in a few GIRS and you will be consistanly in the mid 80s. Good Luck!

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When I really started to see big drops in my score it was because I got good around the green with my wedge. I set up a little chipping net in my living room and hit balls into it for the better part of a year while I was watching TV, or any meanial task.

Im pretty genius with my 60* these days and I think thats the biggest reason Im getting close to a single digit handicap. Its not how many greens or fairways I hit. Its the fact that because I trust my wedge when I miss the green on my approach shot I can put the ball close enough to the pin with my wedge to give myself a realy strong chance at saving par.

Note that I use the term genius in relation to other amatuer golfer, not compared to phil mickelson

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If you want to drop your handicap down the fastest way is to practice from the hole back. In other words from putting 3 footer to 20 footers and chipping around the green from 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards. If you practice an hour everyday, after a week you will see your golf scores drop.

Concentrate on making solid contact consistently and controlling distances will your chips shots.

You might find that your overall golf swing will improve from practicing chipping around the green. Track your practice under the forum "Grill" and "practice diary"

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The "one bad shot per hole" used to be my primary problem (and still occasionally rears its ugly head). Now I seem to be playing Ray-Ray golf a lot -- one hole like Ray Floyd, next hole Ray Charles -- and follow my birdies with birdbrained triples. Lately I've been seeing vast improvement in my game by practicing chipping and pitching every day. We have a pretty decent backyard, so I can hit 20 yard pitches over the doghouse and then go chip everything back to where I started. I'm finding it helps create consistently good contact just to practice chips and pitches.

If you read Stan Utley's book The Art of the Short Game and follow his technique, your short game should improve dramatically. Amazing how many people don't know you're supposed to accelerate through chips and pitches and sand shots . . . and deceleration with kills your game.

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Some one with your determination and studious approach will find a way to a break through... golf is like quantum mechanics in the beginning few years. By that I mean not only is scoring mysterious, but your scores behave within quantum jumps or levels. Sure you can have a round or two outside your norm, but when you break through a level, you drop suddenly 5 strokes or something like that -- quantum change.

The short game is mostly practice. With reasonable fundamentals, taking the practice green game to the course is mostly about confidence and lack of uncertainity. It is amazing how shots that create a little doubt in your mind wind up turning out toward the bad side. It is also interesting how, with time, you learn to factor in the range of things that can wrong with a shot and play your shots so there are fewer completely unexpected results. There will always be putts that come up 10 feet short, or that you bang well past the hole, always. But over time there will be fewer of those kinds of mistakes. Complete miss-reads of breaking putts, and such, happen to everyone, but when they shake your confidence, you start having more surprises. It is easy to say and hard to do, but play with conviction and confidence that you are going to hit a good shot -- visualize the shot as a good one then hit it or putt it.

(I know, this sounds kinda Polly Anna, but I think it is true.)

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