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I want a single digit! Please chime in with your opinion-club membership or range


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I very much want to play to a single digit handicap, and am certain that I can, given time. I have been taking the game seriously for a year and a half and struggle from time, but that is golf. I have a decision to make.

I can play or practice 6-7 days a week due to a flexible work schedule ~4 hours per day, more on Fridays-Sunday. I still need to work 8-10 hours per day, but I have the flexibility.

This brings me to my question:
Do you believe that I will improve more quickly if I were to practice on the range and play 1-2 rounds per week, or do you believe that I will improve more quickly by playing 5-8 rounds per week (I don't see why they can't be practice rounds)?

I am leaning towards the membership, but before I make that financial commitment, I want to know your thoughts.

Thank you in advance.
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It depends on your game. If the short game gives you fits, i think you will be better served playing more rounds rather than pounding range balls. If you have a fairly stable short game (and access to a chipping/ putting green) then err more om the side of the driving range. But, that's my 2 cents. Good Luck!
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Thanks for the input Jamo!

I lose more strokes due to lack of focus than I do any other aspect of the game. Here are some stats from the last 20 rounds that I didn't get terribly frustrated and beat myself up during the round:
40.1% Fairway
35.8% GIR
1.9 Putts per hole
52 Penalty Strokes and 39 Sand Shots during the last 20 rounds
5.8 Score on Par 5s
5.0 Score on Par 4s
3.9 Score on Par 3s
29.2% GIR on Par 3s
35% GIR on Par 4s
44.4% GIR on Par 5s
2 Eagles
16 Birdies
127 Pars
127 Bogies
88 Double Bogeys

Not sure if you can determine my weaknesses from those stats or not, but if you can, please share your thoughts. The Penalty shots per round stands out in my mind and screams "course management" or "inconsistent swing". I want to emphasize that I have only been playing for a year and half or so, but have played a lot in that year and a half.
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It seems like your putting is pretty good, especially for your handicap (which i estimated at about 16ish given the score on par 3,4,5's). I think you're GIR and fairway are a little weak, but not all that bad. I can't really tell about chipping from these stats, but if i were you, i would get the course membership. You can work on the putting and short game, and if you can play 6-7 times a week like the first post says, you will get all of the long game practice you will ever need. Plus, playing the course will definitely help with course management and focus, and there is no better way, IMO, to help you with hitting greens than actually hitting to greens.
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Jamo,

Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts. It is greatly appreiciated. Honeslty, I haven't recorded all of my scores, but the hand picked (meaning I didn't stop keeping score due to frustration) scores that I have logged have me at 12.8 (Figured on the lowest 10 scores). Factor in the worst 10 that are logged, and those averages aren't as good. I feel more like a 16 handicap though and believe that if I logged all of my scores, that is closer to where I would be. I have flirted with 80 several times. I have gone +2 through 8 and carded an 8 on 9 because I slice my tee shot ob. Sometimes I feel I need a shrink more than a golf lesson. I have read Rotella's books but putting what I have read into practice isn't easy for me, for some reason. Over swinging is a huge problem-I may or may not reverse-pivot, come over the top, and that ball is going wayyyyy right.

I suspect my putts are where they are because my GIR is so low. When I have more GIR, my putting will head north of 2 per hole. Chipping is usually pretty good with an occasiional chip in, but I do suffer from the occassional fat chip (lack of focus). I am probably weakest with my wedges from 50-120 yds. I have a lot of approach shots from that range on the par 4s.
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If you get a course membership, you might get a break on the course range. You also do a split, like 9 holes and range and short game time.

Excellent idea on only playing 9 and then working on short game! Thank you!

I will see if membership offers a break on range balls. I am in Central Fl, so there are a ton of choices but the prices are high. At least I think they are high. Most offer greens fees in the 150-300 per month, but then the cart membership is and additional 150-200 per month. Walking is usually not an option unless it's twilight, and then many courses don't allow it. Not sure my knee can handle it anyhow.
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I have concentration issues as well...many times I will go out and shoot even to +2 on the front and then shoot +5 to +7 on the back! I just lose my focus and my swings are a "I wonder where this one is going" type swing! One 200mg provigil before playing gives me tremendous focus.

I say get the membership and play a lot of golf...you are bound to get better if you learn the swing and know what you are doing wrong when you hit a bad shot.
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Question for you JCP: Have you had anyone check out your swing? Before you spend the big bucks for a course membership, I would have a local pro see what might be best for you. I know from experience that it's extremely difficult to make the kind of improvement you seek (16 hdcp to under 10) without some professional guidance. As you probably know, there are numerous great instructors in the Orlando area ( I live in St. Cloud). Good Luck!
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Question for you JCP: Have you had anyone check out your swing? Before you spend the big bucks for a course membership, I would have a local pro see what might be best for you. I know from experience that it's extremely difficult to make the kind of improvement you seek (16 hdcp to under 10) without some professional guidance. As you probably know, there are numerous great instructors in the Orlando area ( I live in St. Cloud). Good Luck!

Randy, I have worked with a couple of instructors. One that did me no favors, and helped me to engrain flaws. I am now working with Matt at Mike Bender's Academy at Timacuan. With either route, I would continue to work with him. I have spent a month on the MEGSA there, roughly 2 hours a day for almost 4 weeks. In thinking about this, it might be time for another month in there. I am not fully conifdent in the new swing yet, but it's coming around. Thank you!

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I dunno man, I did the exact same thing as you, thinking I would get so much better. I got a membership to a club, and played my ass off. Problem was, I was leaving the same shots on the course everytime. The same mistakes were happening and I wasnt improving really, even though I was playing a ton of golf. Practice time was all but eliminated because I wanted to get out and play a bunch of rounds of golf.

I cancelled the membership and decided to play 1 time a week but practice a lot more at the range. Full swing, short game, wedges, putting, etc....

Ive noticed a vast improvement in my game even if its just one round a week, I make that round count..

So its up to you, you will definitely have to pound balls once or twice a week, if you can manage that and still have time to play 3 or 4 rounds, I'd say go for the membership. If not though, devote your time at the range and play once or twice a week.

When you figure it all out, then get the membership and really tweak your game. Once the full swing is down, its all about short game, and playing on course is where you'll fine tune that.

Hope that helps a bit

Jim
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I very much want to play to a single digit handicap, and am certain that I can, given time. I have been taking the game seriously for a year and a half and struggle from time, but that is golf. I have a decision to make.

That is a buttload of spare time you have for golf. Most people would dream of having all that. You go to the range to build confidence in your swing for your play on the course. Good play on the course translates to a "single digit handicap". You probably can't have one without the other. With all that time why not just continually switch things up. Play heavy weeks and practice heavy weeks. That's pretty much what I do. I've always been a believer in how you are classifying practice rounds. And sometimes that's just more fun then pounding on the range. Hit the course with a couple of balls. Late in the day of course. But I'll hit extra short game shots and roll some extra putts. But the range is not to be ignored. It is a necessity in keeping a swing grooved.

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Just taking a quick look at your stats your ball striking needs the most improvement... With that said I think a little more practice then play will help but I am a firm believer of you can not just practice, you have to get into the game to get better. Ball striking, ball striking ball striking... I hope I said it enough...
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Thanks for the input Jamo!

From looking at your numbers I'd suggest putting more practice into 1)your short game and 2) play rounds so you can pratice course management. I've found that the more confidence I have in my short game the less I care about how far I am off of the tee and subsequently hit more fariways.

I use the range for working things out in my swing, tempo & rhythm and may be a small bucket of balls to loosen up for a round, especially if I'm play'n for money. I'd say for only play'n for a year and half you are doing pretty darn good.
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Get the club membership and practice on the course.

Yup...I have never had a lesson and shoot in the 70s regularly. Of course I fight my swing on occasion like everyone else. I got to this level quickly by just playing a lot of golf and emulating swings I see on TV. Once you get the feel for what the swing is supposed to feel like, you spend the rest of your golf life chasing that feeling. (kinda like a meth junkie!!) Some days it all clicks and my swing is on...others not so much. But, thats why I am an ER doc and not a pro golfer!

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Plus before you devote all those hours to practice i would have a good instructor have a look at your swing and give you pointers to work on.If you create wrong muscle memory with all that practice it can be very hard to
change,just make sure your practicing the right thing.Best of luck in your quest

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I dunno man, I did the exact same thing as you, thinking I would get so much better...I cancelled the membership and decided to play 1 time a week but practice a lot more at the range...Ive noticed a vast improvement in my game even if its just one round a week, I make that round count..

Jim, this does help a great deal, thank you for sharing your experience. This will weigh heavily in my decision.

You go to the range to build confidence in your swing for your play on the course.

Excellent point, one that I lose sight of on occassion.

With all that time why not just continually switch things up. Play heavy weeks and practice heavy weeks.

Primarily because of the cost. If I am paying for a course membership, I won't have the money for additional range fees.

But the range is not to be ignored. It is a necessity in keeping a swing grooved.

I can understand that. Please help me understand a little better though, if you don't mind. in keeping with practice with a purpose, if you are swinging well, and you go to the range, what will be the purpose of that range session?

Just taking a quick look at your stats your ball striking needs the most improvement... With that said I think a little more practice then play will help but I am a firm believer of you can not just practice, you have to get into the game to get better. Ball striking, ball striking ball striking... I hope I said it enough...

Norm, I think you nailed it for me. I agree that improving my ballstriking is where I need the greatest improvement. You have me leaning towards another month or two in the MEGSA (it's a swing jig) along with short game work, then reconsider the membership.

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Note: This thread is 4093 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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