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irishlad88

Been stuck with a 5 handicap too long, please help

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Hi I'm new to this forum my name is Barry from Ireland. I'm 22 but I've been playing off a 5 handicap since I was 17 years old and have not moved on to the next level. I took a hiatus from the game for 3 years and have started playing a lot since April and am pleased with my quick progress. However I can never seem to get to 4 it always seems to be out of reach. Any help would be appreciated. I am straight off the tee, 270 yards average, my ball striking is as good as a 5 handicap should be and I have a good putting stroke. I just need advice on how I can lower my handicap because 5 years ago I could not see myself being off the same handicap and it's frustrating. Thank You.

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A lot of players would love to have your problem. Do you keep stats when you play? I've recently broken through a barrier similar to yours, and I'd say that my stats really helped to reveal what I needed to work on. Find your weaknesses and work hard to get rid of 'em.

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I'd make sure you are keeping stats, and concentrate 70-80% of your practice time to short game.  The ability (or inability) to get up and down is where my strokes seem to be determined.

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You really need to track your stats, if you don't already. You may find a weakness in your game you never realized or else it will just firm up some things you may already know. Once you see your stats it should give you a clear picture of what is needed to improve.

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Agreed on stats tracking.  To shave these 5 strokes off your handicap, it should be something very delicate and extremely difficult to fine-tune.

I regularly play with a few buddies in this handicap range (0-7) and I think the biggest different from the 5-handicapper and a scratch golfer is the ability to save strokes on and around the greens, especially putting.  This is the area that should be focused, rather than spending time on the long game.

A 5-handicapper can strike the ball fairly-well and can definitely hit a few good approaches in a round.  On a good putting day, breaking par is very much a possibility.

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First thing you may want to consider is what I call the 'crosshair drill' on a putting green.  Putt 3 balls from 4 ft 3 times, then move back to 8 ft, 3 balls from 8 ft 3 times, then move back to 12 ft, 3 balls from 12 ft 3 times.  Then, move to the left of the hole, back of the hole, and right of the hole, and repeat (the pattern looks like crosshairs).  If you can get between 15 and 18 of 27 to fall on each repetition, you've done okay.  Anything under 10, you know where your problem lays.

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I can relate......I have been stuck at a 3 for over ten years now. My problem isn't my short game or my long game, it's my irons. I currently gave up on my previous swing because I became so frustrated......people couldn't believe it! I am in the midst of a complete swing change, which hasn't panned out yet, but I'm going to stick with it (remind you of someone??). Anyway, my moral is don't just beat a dead horse, don't be afraid to change it up!

Good Luck

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For me to make that jump I worked on 2 things.

First was scrambling, really trying to work on those shots you need to get yourself out of bad situations and get some distance out of those situations to allow yourself a chance at par.  Looks kinda funny on the range hitting low punch hooks etc.. but it can pay off

Second thing for me was I was always trying the low percentage shot to try and save a bad drive.  Typically those only compound the problem.  My game sorta moved a bit when I took my medicine and got back into play rather then trying a low percentage shot to try and recover.

Stats tracking is also an important thing that I noticed as I just started doing that as well to try and make the next big jump.

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Originally Posted by irishlad88

Hi I'm new to this forum my name is Barry from Ireland. I'm 22 but I've been playing off a 5 handicap since I was 17 years old and have not moved on to the next level. I took a hiatus from the game for 3 years and have started playing a lot since April and am pleased with my quick progress. However I can never seem to get to 4 it always seems to be out of reach. Any help would be appreciated. I am straight off the tee, 270 yards average, my ball striking is as good as a 5 handicap should be and I have a good putting stroke. I just need advice on how I can lower my handicap because 5 years ago I could not see myself being off the same handicap and it's frustrating. Thank You.



You're very young and just came off a 3yr layoff from the game.  Just give it some time!!......you haven't hit a wall yet because you're just getting started.  You are doing very well to be back to a 5 so quickly and I wouldn't be talking about hitting a wall until you're stuck as a five for a few more years after continuing to play a lot. And I emphasize this because you need to keep playing  a lot.......playing sporadically won't improve your game.

I've hit some walls that lasted 10yrs and was able to play through them without ever practicing.  I haven't hit a bucket of balls since 1995........LOL  Just keep on playing and all facets of your game will improve if you keep playing.  Just playing on weekends probably won't do it... Keeping stats will help you to focus on your weaknesses.  If you're going to practice, spend most of the time on the short game.

Good luck...

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Originally Posted by delav

I'd make sure you are keeping stats, and concentrate 70-80% of your practice time to short game.  The ability (or inability) to get up and down is where my strokes seem to be determined.



I tend to find that this makes the difference lately. If I have a decent ball striking round, its the ability to make routine up/downs that dictates my score.

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This is honesty the best answer anyone has ever put up here thanks for the in depth answer and tips because this guys question that you answered will also answer every question i had and i know will improve my game dramatically

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any luck with this @irishlad88? i know this thread is from several years ago, so I am interested to hear about your progress. i have the same predicament at the moment! what did you work on?

Edited by dove694

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4 hours ago, dove694 said:

any luck with this @irishlad88? i know this thread is from several years ago, so I am interested to hear about your progress. i have the same predicament at the moment! what did you work on?

If you look at his profile you'll notice he hasn't logged in since July 2012.

 

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4 hours ago, dove694 said:

any luck with this @irishlad88? i know this thread is from several years ago, so I am interested to hear about your progress. i have the same predicament at the moment! what did you work on?

@rebby seemed to have a plan that worked. He's currently listed as a 0.7

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Get your body into peak shape, stretching, yoga, proper muscle strengthening. I see young adults that I play with that are is worse physical shape then I am at 52. I mean, they are expecting to play the universes hardest physical and mental game with a body that is made of fast food & sitting on the couch OR in front of the computer far to much. If this is an issue with you, then address it.

 Then start really practicing your short game, 125 in. NOBODY is going to get to scratch with a short game that is a mess.

Find out where you are honestly wasting strokes. Mental mistakes? Course management? Honest short comings in parts of your game? Physical shortcomings! If you really want to get better, then being honest with yourself is the place you'll find the answers.

 

With that said, 99% of golfers will never sniff an honest 5 handicap. It ain't all bad...

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2 hours ago, kevin2 said:

With that said, 99% of golfers will never sniff an honest 5 handicap. It ain't all bad...

http://www.usga.org/Handicapping/handicap-index-statistics/mens-handicap-index-statistics-d24e6096.html

I don't know about that one.

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Note: This thread is 1244 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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