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daSeth

Habitual slow starts

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Hey all,

Looking for some input here. Lately I have been ruining rounds as soon as they start. Almost every single round. It's a double on the first hole, bogey on the second, another double on the third etc... I don't even get going until the 6th or 7th hole, after which I play pretty good golf. It happens regardless of whether I start on the back 9 or the front 9.

Today again +6 after 5 holes. -2 for the remainder of the round. 76 is still a really good round for me but I can't help but think about what could have been if I was playing well for the entire round. I really had it going...

Looking at the score card, I struck the ball pretty well all day. When I missed, it wasn't by much and I had chances to get up and down. I certainly didn't get up and down early in the round. I also had a double on the par 3 over the water (number 13 was the fourth hole I played today).

My warm up routine might be suspect here. Typical is to hit a 6 iron, half shots, 10 to 15 balls. I try to feel my weight forward, hands in front, maintain lag and hit down on the ball. Once that feels good, I hit some full 6 irons. Once that is good, 6-10 balls with the driver. At that point, I simulate 9 holes. I hit driver, 8. Hybrid, hybrid. 7-iron. Driver, wedge... etc... I go through the front 9 in my head. If I have time to chip and putt I do but usually it's straight to the course.

Maybe it's simply a matter of my current approach to the game. I am focused 100% on the long game (full shots). I used to be a very erratic ball striker with a great short game. It used to make my buddies laugh, it was fun at times, but I figured the way I was playing, the best I was ever going to shoot was mid 80s. Instead, I am trying to become a ball striker first and foremost. I figure can sharpen the short game again once I am happy with what is going on tee to green. It's getting really good but the long game still needs work. Maybe the trick is to just be patient until then.

It could be all mental too... maybe I relax a little after the round is already gone.

It's funny I seem to play better when I am consciously working on my swing on the course. I think most would argue against working on your swing mid-round.  Typically though, it's after I consider the round blown. It seems that with all the swing changes, I can't make the swing work without thinking about it. I'd imagine that eventually, it becomes automatic but it certainly isn't at this point in time.

I really need help...  Your thoughts?

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It would depend on why you scored the doubles and triples. 3 putting, missed greens, missed fairways, poor short game? I like to keep track of my GIRs, fairways hit, and number of putts per hole on the scorecard. That let's me assess where I need to focus when I practice.

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With a handicap index of 5, it is pretty obvious that you are a very good ball striker. My suggestion would be to change your warm up routine. First, I would hit a few putts, just to get a feel of the greens. Next, I would spend most of the time on shots from 100 yards and closer. If you think about it, the place that you can save the most strokes is with your short game, so by concentrating a little more time here and getting comfortable with your short game before going to the course, you night be able to turn those bogies into pars on the first few holes. Finally, hit a few mid irons, a few fairway woods/hybrids, and a few drives. Then, go to the first tee.  By hitting your drives last on the range, your are getting yourself ready for the very first shot that you need to hit for your round.

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There are a couple of things that I notice.  First and foremost you said it yourself.

76 is still a really good round for me but I can't help but think about what could have been if I was playing well for the entire round. I really had it going...

You need to focus on the shot you are hitting when you are hitting it.  Nothing more than that.

It could be all mental too... maybe I relax a little after the round is already gone.

Secondly, the round is never gone.  You have to play every shot ONE time.  There are no re-dos and the round doesn't end until you are done on the 18th hole.

Finally, I would say you also answered your own question when discussing your practice habits.  I would recommend developing a practice regimen that would include at least 50-60% of your time being spent on short game.  100 yards and in.  This is where you exhaust 50-60% of your shots.  I would say it is even higher than that.  Especially for higher handicappers.  You need to plan the practice and then practice the plan.  If the plan isn't working, change it.  You will see this transfer to your play in pressure situations.  Isn't that what you are encountering when you are starting rounds badly?

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Note: This thread is 2766 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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