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To Golfers Who Score in the 70s - What's Your Story?

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I’m a walking golfer and a conservative player by nature, so my tendency is to play the percentages. I hit an off-the-shelf PING G-10 with 10.5 degrees of loft and my tee ball averages around 250, and I hit a lot of fairways.   I put a heavy premium on my iron game, not only to hit the green, but put the ball on the correct part of the green.   All of my rounds in the 70s were all about hitting greens and making good putts.   Regardless of your length, the percentages for a GIR increases dramatically when hitting from the fairway.  Likewise, the percentages go up exponentially for pars when you hit more greens.  Also, I have found backing off on par-5 holes helps to maintain a steady rhythm to my game.

Some history: My three playing partners are all longer from the tee and almost always go for it two on par-5 holes. They are good golfers and good guys but lack the discipline to shoot for pars.  None have them have broken 80, ever.

My best 70s round was a 71; I started with a bogey on # 1 and then made 17 straight pars. I remember the date, place, time and who I was with that day.

I can't argue with any of your points. Averaging 250 off the tee and a strong iron game = low scores. . .

However, averaging 10 GIR sounds a lot better than an 8.3 HC!

To get into the 70s is 90% mental if you have the skills.

Knowing your IRON yardages better than you know the alphabet.

Hit more greens in regulation in one round than you have fingers.

Play the course the way it’s designed not the way Scott Hoch would play it.

Play the par-5 holes using the 3-shots.  Going for it in two is overrated.

Shoot for par.  BEST ADVICE.  Making 12 or more pars is a solid round for any amateur.

Putt assertively, not aggressively

You don’t need to be long from the tee.  I have never been long from the tee.

Have fun - it's a game.

My best run was 11 straight rounds in the 70s.

FERGUSON

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True, but this is his perspective as he mentioned that he is not a longer hitter (which is also a relative term because even 220-240 yards is considered short off the tee for an 8 HC).

If I can get there in 2, I'm going to try. There's no point laying up on a wide open fairway, you should put the longest club you have between you and the hole even if it goes severely off line but no danger of getting OB.

We all have our own perspective based on our experiences and the knowledge we've accumulated.

However, of the regular people that post here, I don't believe he's going to find many that would agree with him that going for it in two is overrated.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ferguson

Some history: My three playing partners are all longer from the tee and almost always go for it two on par-5 holes. They are good golfers and good guys but lack the discipline to shoot for pars.  None have them have broken 80, ever.

I have a friend who is, IIRC, a 10HC and he's a conservative player, too.  He plays in a regular foursome with players that he says are better than him.

He was telling me a story last year about how he's sick of being the worst player of the foursome and that once the courses open in 2015 he was going to change his Par 5 strategy from one where he lays up with his second shot and instead was going to start going for it in 2 like the other players in the group that were better than him.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by RFKFREAK

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ferguson

Play the par-5 holes using the 3-shots.  Going for it in two is overrated.

Don't think you'll find a majority of people would agree with you here.

True, but this is his perspective as he mentioned that he is not a longer hitter (which is also a relative term because even 220-240 yards is considered short off the tee for an 8 HC).

If I can get there in 2, I'm going to try. There's no point laying up on a wide open fairway, you should put the longest club you have between you and the hole even if it goes severely off line but no danger of getting OB.

I can't argue against trying to reach in 2, but there are lots more obstacles to consider than just OB.  Water hazards, bunkers, trees, heavy rough, all should factor into such a decision.  All of the par 5 holes on my old home course have blue spruce trees strategically located in the "miss" areas so that if you go for it and your aim is off, you can be just a dead as if you are in a water hazard.  You might have a pitch out, but quite often the only recourse is to declare your ball unplayable and drop under penalty.  Tangle with any of those trees and you won't be advancing the ball to any significant degree.

I’m a walking golfer and a conservative player by nature, so my tendency is to play the percentages. I hit an off-the-shelf PING G-10 with 10.5 degrees of loft and my tee ball averages around 250, and I hit a lot of fairways.   I put a heavy premium on my iron game, not only to hit the green, but put the ball on the correct part of the green.   All of my rounds in the 70s were all about hitting greens and making good putts.   Regardless of your length, the percentages for a GIR increases dramatically when hitting from the fairway.  Likewise, the percentages go up exponentially for pars when you hit more greens.  Also, I have found backing off on par-5 holes helps to maintain a steady rhythm to my game.

Some history: My three playing partners are all longer from the tee and almost always go for it two on par-5 holes. They are good golfers and good guys but lack the discipline to shoot for pars.  None have them have broken 80, ever.

My best 70s round was a 71; I started with a bogey on # 1 and then made 17 straight pars. I remember the date, place, time and who I was with that day.

I think that there is a lot more to breaking 80 than just playing safe on par 5 holes.  I would argue that it really has very little to do with breaking 80, unless those players are simply taking stupid risks.  Although I can't point to any specifics, I know that most of my rounds in the 70's were shot using fairly good course management, and that means that I didn't hold back on par 5 holes unless there was a good reason to lay up.  I can guarantee that none of my eagles were made by holding back.  It's been proven that all else being equal, closer is better.  I will take as big a bite out of each hole as I am capable of as long as there are no obstacles that put me in caution mode.

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I have a friend who is, IIRC, a 10HC and he's a conservative player, too.  He plays in a regular foursome with players that he says are better than him.   He was telling me a story last year about how he's sick of being the worst player of the foursome and that once the courses open in 2015 he was going to change his Par 5 strategy from one where he lays up with his second shot and instead was going to start going for it in 2 like the other players in the group that were better than him.

The reason for this is that it is usually better, being severe hazards near the green, to go for it in two, statistically speaking. You will score lower on average if you go for it in two whenever you can do so without incurring penalty strokes.

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The reason for this is that it is usually better, being severe hazards near the green, to go for it in two, statistically speaking. You will score lower on average if you go for it in two whenever you can do so without incurring penalty strokes.

You're preaching to the choir here, dude.

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You're preaching to the choir here, dude.

I know, sorry, but I was trying to use your post as a reference for the other guy. I was on my phone and didn't have time to try to extricate the precise line of his, but your post was a good summation of that line of discussion.

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I know, sorry, but I was trying to use your post as a reference for the other guy. I was on my phone and didn't have time to try to extricate the precise line of his, but your post was a good summation of that line of discussion.

Haha, no worries, kid!

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I once read an article written by the great Brian Barnes. After leaving professional golf he spent much of life battling his ailments, drinking many pints and teaching young students.

He denoted the five things to shooting lower and maintaining a single digit handicap as the following:

  1. Proper management of par-5 holes

  2. Properly using the trap draw

  3. The ability to hit the ball low

  4. Bucket putting

  5. Knowing when to “run-it-up”

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I once read an article written by the great Brian Barnes.   After leaving professional golf he spent much of life battling his ailments, drinking many pints and teaching young students.

He denoted the five things to shooting lower and maintaining a single digit handicap as the following:

Proper management of par-5 holes

Properly using the trap draw

The ability to hit the ball low

Bucket putting

Knowing when to “run-it-up”

I don't know who Brian Barnes is, and I frequently bungle par 5 holes, never hit a "trap draw," don't even know what "bucket putting" is, and never "run it up" ... and I've had little trouble maintaining a single digit handicap for quite some time now, so ... methinks Brian Barnes, whoever he is, is wrong.

I do agree that there are 5 things to acheiving a better swing, and thus shooting lower scores, but those aren't them. :-P

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I don't know who Brian Barnes is, and I frequently bungle par 5 holes, never hit a "trap draw," don't even know what "bucket putting" is, and never "run it up" ... and I've had little trouble maintaining a single digit handicap for quite some time now, so ... methinks Brian Barnes, whoever he is, is wrong.

I do agree that there are 5 things to acheiving a better swing, and thus shooting lower scores, but those aren't them.

Just some old adages I think, like you hit a draw by trapping the ball between the ground and the ball. :doh:

From the guy's post it sounds like he's talking about a guy from Europe. I don't hear the term, "drinking many pints" here in the USA.

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I started playing at 14. It took me about three months (20 rounds) to break 100, another year to break 90, and in my third year I broke 80 (enough to be a decent high school golfer). I've been a high 70s-low 80s golfer ever since (40 years). I've rarely shot lower than 77 on a consistent basis except for one summer, about 10 years ago, when I was between jobs and either played or practiced almost every day. I got down to a 2.6 index and shot consistently between 72 and 77.

I live in a part of the country where I can play year-round. I usually play once a week and practice once a week -- with more emphasis on short game than on full shots.

I tell my friends (or anyone else within earshot) that if they want to get better, they should work on short game more than full shots.

I'm guessing that if you practice only full shots once or twice a week it may drop your score 2 shots per round. But if you spend an hour twice per week on short game, you'll probably improve 10 shots over the course of the year.

Sadly, my schedule of playing once a week and practicing once a week only serves to maintain my current high 70s-low 80s game. To improve would likely involve doubling the playing and practice time, along with some professional instruction. But family and job prevents that.

I hope this answers your question.

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I'm guessing that if you practice only full shots once or twice a week it may drop your score 2 shots per round. But if you spend an hour twice per week on short game, you'll probably improve 10 shots over the course of the year.

And then you'll promptly plateau at around a 77. You need to hit greens to shoot lower scores consistently, and then to shoot low scores you have to be able to hit those greens and hit it close enough to make the putt.

By the way, that first bit wasn't a personal jab at your scoring average or anything. It's based on the fact that a "mediocre" ballstriker in amateur terms might hit five greens per round. Assuming they three putt three times over the course of a round, also fairly "mediocre", they will need to scramble at at least 54% to shoot a 79. They will have to scramble at 61.5% to shoot 78, and then scramble at 69% to mark 77. The PGA tour-leading scrambling average, or the "skill ceiling" so to speak, is only 74.85%, so it's safe to assume that an amateur won't reach that level excepting very rare circumstances. These numbers are also assuming that the worst a player could make is a double bogey (with one of their three 3-putts coming after a missed green). Any penalty strokes or other errors will only serve to increase your scoring average.

No average golfer will scramble with tour-level performance consistently. It's an impossible ideal that may happen every once in a blue moon when the stars align. Hitting one or two more greens per round, however, IS a realistic goal that will lower scores and raise your scrambling percentage at the same time. How can it do that? Because when you're more accurate and hitting more greens, you're missing greens by less. This often will make your up-and-down for par a much easier shot, increasing your scrambling percentage as well as your GIR.

A good thread on the most efficient way to spend practice time can be found here: http://thesandtrap.com/t/58816/65-20-15-practice-ratios-where-to-devote-your-practice-time

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I tell my friends (or anyone else within earshot) that if they want to get better, they should work on short game more than full shots.

That's really not great advice.

I would agree that the fastest way to drop some shots (10 is a stretch) is to practice your short game and putting.

But there's a ceiling there, and it's pretty low, and pretty easy to achieve. The real improvement comes from practicing and improving at the full swing.

Check it out -> http://lowestscorewins.com/ . And check out the thread @Pretzel linked to above.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ferguson

I once read an article written by the great Brian Barnes.   After leaving professional golf he spent much of life battling his ailments, drinking many pints and teaching young students.

He denoted the five things to shooting lower and maintaining a single digit handicap as the following:

Proper management of par-5 holes

Properly using the trap draw

The ability to hit the ball low

Bucket putting

Knowing when to “run-it-up”

I don't know who Brian Barnes is, and I frequently bungle par 5 holes, never hit a "trap draw," don't even know what "bucket putting" is, and never "run it up" ... and I've had little trouble maintaining a single digit handicap for quite some time now, so ... methinks Brian Barnes, whoever he is, is wrong.

I do agree that there are 5 things to acheiving a better swing, and thus shooting lower scores, but those aren't them.

I'm right there with you.  That is much too simplistic an approach.  There is more than one way to skin that cat.  Course management doesn't automatically mean that you play conservatively.  It means that you weigh the risk with the reward, and the balance between them is different for different players and different swings.  Know your game, play within yourself, and you will have the best chance for success.

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Play a par 68 course.  Makes it easier to break 70, too.

The course down the road from me is a short par 68 course...33 on the front, 35 on the back.  Small, rock hard, slow rolling greens, lots of short par 4's and long par 3's, only two par 5's.  Play other courses, too but this one is where I have a membership and play in a league.  It is just so much easier to drive 4 minutes and play there.

I played golf since I was probably 6 or 7.  I was probably a mid 80s to mid 90s golfer in my late teens to maybe 20 or 21, then didn't play much for a year or two.  I am very analytical and was interested in the mechanics of the swing/ course management etc., but didn't have the right information at the time to be better than I was then.  But then a few years later became good friends with somebody who ended up going to PGCC and is now a golf pro.  That guy took the softspikes out of his old golf shoes and wore them everywhere.  He really got me interested again.  At about that time I also found this place which mixed my obsessive interest in golf with great information and I started to get better.

I was reminded of this whole process the other day while I was paging through some of my dad's old 1996 Golf Digests, playing Tiger Woods 2005, and re-reading a few parts of Lowest Score Wins all in the same day.

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Re: I don't know who Brian Barnes is....

Brian Barnes beat Jack Nicklaus two times in the same day during the 1975 Ryder Cup. I think his advice has some merit, wouldn’t you say?

Those who struggle to break 80 think there is some magic bullet, or bullets. They often think the clubs, shoes or balls make a big difference.

They think hitting thousands of balls at the range helps too. Sorry guys - no magic bullets.

Bottom Line: Anyone that shoots in the 70s knows there is no magic bullet. If you have the head for the game, and a good skillset, lowering your score seems to evolve “naturally.” It's not contrived.

I never hit balls before a round, however, I like to putt for 20-30 minutes. I once shot 78 on a course sloped at 138 with a pink Lady Pro Staff, and made $ 25 for doing it. In 30 years of playing, I have never hit a drive over 280. I rarely go for par-5 holes in two. I once had a guy tell me that I play the most boring game he ever saw. Fairways, Greens and 2-Putts – a compliment, I think?

I play 18 holes by breaking it down. I look at my round as if it was a six 3-hole rounds. The first three holes give me a chance to check out my tendencies for the day. I then play whatever worked on the first three holes on the next three holes. If it continues to work, I build on it and continue to play the tendencies for the entire 18 holes. In short, I don’t fight what God gave me that day. I play with what I have.

In addition, I visualize playing a golf course from the green backward. If I want to hit the certain portion of a green, I make sure that my approach comes from the correct side of the fairway, and my tee shot allows me to get there. This is easier when you belong to a club and play the same course a lot.

I think some people set their expectations too high when playing golf. There are simply some folks that will never make it to the 70s, and that’s okay. That is why statistically the score of 100 seems to be the watermark for the average golfer.

If you’re not having fun (and keeping score accurately per the rules of golf) you’re missing the point of the game.......in my humble opinion.

Ferguson

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I haven't read this entire thread, but seems the common thread for most single digit hcp'rs is that they started playing golf while they were young (up through their 20's).

My question is this:  ANYBODY START PLAYING GOLF IN THEIR 40s LIKE ME, WHO'VE MADE IT TO SINGLE HCP ??

I need some inspiration - seems way too many good golfers started playing young, which is depressing me ...

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haha, same here. Started two years ago (at 32), now at 12.6. Only thing I am working on right now (through winter) is full swing mechanics (hit farther and straighter). Hopefully that will work out to a single handicap sometime this year.

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