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Scott-lobwedge

Need tips on how to play more consistently

19 posts in this topic

Hi i'm a 15 year old golfer and i am really enjoying golf at the moment, i am playing well at the moment but some days i just cant play well. Lets say on a good day i can par a lot of holes and at least get a bogey if not. On a bad day though i can still get pars and all on one or two holes but double bogeys just find their way onto my scorecard but there is the odd shot where i can just not do it at all. My drives are normally around the 200yard mark give or take 20 but i still find myself wildly mis-hitting the ball at least once a round. My irons feel good and i am growing in confidence with them especially my 5 iron. My pitching and putting though are my real problem, i have no confidence with short pitches and sometimes just take a longer iron to bump and run it onto the green and my putting is just inconsistent. I feel as though i could be 2 putting every hole but its more of a three putt:-(. I can place it well from 30 plus yards to set up an easy enough 5 footer but they are just painful. I really want to improve as i am hoping to do some competitions in the coming summer but its the consistency that i cant get, if i could play a bit more safely i will be nailing it.
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Short answer?  Improve your swing :-D Lots of resources on this site to help with that.  Quickest way to improve is lessons from a good pro.  You can also get great help from Evolvr, a video lesson system that can work great if you're a self-starter with a camera that takes video (phone frames per second tends to be too low).

One piece of advice on your self assessment.  For most people it's the full swings that cost far more strokes than the short game.  That's especially true if your listed handicap index is right.  A handicap of 20 means you're generally playing in the 90s, and almost no one is costing themselves 12-15 strokes per round with the short game and putting but only costing themselves 8-10 strokes with poor shots with a full swing.

Regardless, if you're really bad at pitching you're surely losing at least some strokes there, and it's pretty easy to get decent enough with that to pick up those strokes relatively quickly.  One easy place to start getting help with that is

Also, may I suggest fewer run on sentences?  Punctuation? Maybe paragraph breaks?

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Welcome Scott, there are a lot of good resources here that can help you to eliminate those double bogeys.  Even pro's hit a double every once in a while, the key is to understand why.  What are the causes of your misses, just a bad swing or are you maybe trying to use driver on a hole where you'd be better off hitting a 3w or hybrid?

As for pitching, I have / had similar issues.  While pitching is a problem, the real problem for me was to figure out why I was missing the greens.  I changed how I approach holes so that rather than start with driver every par 4 and 5 I now work my way backwards from the green.  I figure out what clubs I need to hit so I'm left with 90-110 yards from the green which is the shot I'm most comfortable with.  Instead of aiming for the flag I aim for the center of the green.

This approach helped keep me out of those greenside sand traps and rough I was hitting into in the past.  I may still 3 putt sometimes, but overall I've seen my scores trend lower than they were when I was before.

I'm sure you'll get a lot of good advice from better golfers than me.  Good Luck.

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Thanks for the advice, i guess practice makes perfect. :-) About he punctuation, this was a quick note of the top of my head!
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I second the suggestion from @newtogolf to learn course management.  A bad tee shot that doesn't go OB or into a water hazard where the drop doesn't leave you a reasonable shot at the green doesn't have to mean double bogey.  Don't try to hit hero shots, threading it through a small gap in the trees or hit a huge hook or slice around some trees.  Hit the shot that gets you back on the fairway as close to the hole as possible that you can hit successfully a very high percentage of the time (relative to your current overall skill level).  Then you can play the hole normally going for a bogey.

Also, play the right set of tees.  If your drives end up around 200 yards you should be playing the forward most tees at most full length courses.  A rule of thumb that's not bad is to multiply how far you hit your 5i by 36 and choose the tees closest to that number.

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Welcome Scott, there are a lot of good resources here that can help you to eliminate those double bogeys.  Even pro's hit a double every once in a while, the key is to understand why.  What are the causes of your misses, just a bad swing or are you maybe trying to use driver on a hole where you'd be better off hitting a 3w or hybrid? As for pitching, I have / had similar issues.  While pitching is a problem, the real problem for me was to figure out why I was missing the greens.  I changed how I approach holes so that rather than start with driver every par 4 and 5 I now work my way backwards from the green.  I figure out what clubs I need to hit so I'm left with 90-110 yards from the green which is the shot I'm most comfortable with.  Instead of aiming for the flag I aim for the center of the green. This approach helped keep me out of those greenside sand traps and rough I was hitting into in the past.  I may still 3 putt sometimes, but overall I've seen my scores trend lower than they were when I was before. I'm sure you'll get a lot of good advice from better golfers than me.  Good Luck.

Thanks i'm playing in all sorts of weather as well :-D, surely cant be a bad thing though

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If you're playing in Scotland, probably lots of links style courses?  You definitely want to get a solid pitch shot down, but on those types of courses there's no shame in playing lots of bump and run shots around the green!

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If you're playing in Scotland, probably lots of links style courses?  You definitely want to get a solid pitch shot down, but on those types of courses there's no shame in playing lots of bump and run shots around the green!

yeah, i'm actually on a parkland course but the wind and difficulty are still there. I really think solid pitching is my weakest point as well as putting, i lack the control with the ball

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A quick tip for consistency - be more consistent with your set-up. That means getting your grip, stance, ball position and alignment dead on every time. If you can't get a consistent set-up, then it's near impossible to have a consistent swing (or putting stroke). Get your fundamentals down cold and I guarantee your game will improve. I know it sounds boring, but that's the best tip I've ever received and it's kept me in single figures for nearly 30 years. On links course where there are so many other variables, YOU must be the least variable of all the possibilities.

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A lot of good advice here, particularly about smart course management.  But usually that's not what someone wants when they ask to be 'more consistent'.  BUT, that advice will let you be the same level of performance on your shots, and SCORE better - so it's still good advice.

you know, when most people say they want to play 'more consistently' they really mean they want to HIT their good shots a higher percentage of the time.  it's just the opposite of consistent.

I'm 'consistent' - I hit and mishit to about the same ratio all the time.  I WANT to take my best performance and make that my normal performance.  Fewer mishits, better contact, better predictability and trust in my shot making.

I don't want to be consistent, I want to be better.  (that'll feel more consistent because I'm more confident I can pull off my shots)

Short answer - get lessons to find out what it takes to perform better.  Find a routine to your shot making so this new learning has a rhythm that ties these good habits to your shot setup and execution.  Practice with a purpose.  (for me, learn the physics of it and understand why shots work as they do - for others this can be counterproductive - so figure out what type of thinker you are and choose accordingly).

etc etc

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A quick tip for consistency - be more consistent with your set-up. That means getting your grip, stance, ball position and alignment dead on every time. If you can't get a consistent set-up, then it's near impossible to have a consistent swing (or putting stroke). Get your fundamentals down cold and I guarantee your game will improve. I know it sounds boring, but that's the best tip I've ever received and it's kept me in single figures for nearly 30 years. On links course where there are so many other variables, YOU must be the least variable of all the possibilities.


I like this a LOT - control the variables that you have control over...

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you know, when most people say they want to play 'more consistently' they really mean they want to HIT their good shots a higher percentage of the time.  it's just the opposite of consistent.

Personally I wouldn't say it's the opposite.  People talking about consistency mean hitting the shot they're trying to hit more often, usually not playing about the same level every round.  But I agree with your point, just haggling over definitions...

One thing for the OP to think about, yes you need some lessons or at least some research and self-video work to develop solid mechanics.  Those will put a ceiling on how good you can be.  But one huge element of playing closer to that ceiling more of the time is the mental game.  Don't get pissed off about shots, let everything roll off you, think only about the next shot, not the last shot or the next hole, etc.  Course management can be thought of as part of the mental game, but I find it even more important to keep a clear mind and good focus and whatnot.

Improving the short game can help there, for me at least.  You expect to hit a few crappy full shots, and you don't expect to chip in on every green side shot, but for me it's harder not to get frustrated if I, say, blade what should be an easy pitch over the green and cost myself what feels like a much more stupid stroke than when I just don't hit a great iron approach shot.

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you know, when most people say they want to play 'more consistently' they really mean they want to HIT their good shots a higher percentage of the time.  it's just the opposite of consistent.

It's in our Lowest Score Wins book but the guy who hits 42 bad shots and two good shots during a round of golf does not need to be more "consistent" - they need to be better period.

The 90s shooting golfer will say things like "If I could just hit my shots like that drive on 14 or that wedge on eight I could be a five handicap." The problem is that those shots are the anomalies - like a PGA Tour player hitting a shank or chunking a chip. The 42 shots are the "consistent" (consistently bad) ones.

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if you have carpet indoors, you can practice chipping into a laundry basket or something - I've done this alot & it helped my short game dramatically.    As for everything else, my advice is to keep it all in tempo - slow down the backswing a tad & make sure all the moving parts of the swing are in place rather than just trying to swing as hard as you can (not saying you do, but most young guys I've seen do this).    Swing under complete control and you'll hit it more accurately and farther ... because you'll be hitting the sweet spot of the club face.

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Was practicing this morning, including some pitches with various clubs.  Just wanted to reiterate how much that quickie pitching video helped me.  With the short shots you're taking a very small swing and it's easy to feel like you should be in total control and for that to translate into stiff wrists trying to control the club head exactly.  That more putting style stroke with very stiff wrists is a legit short game shot from just off the green (or on a links style course for a long runner through short fairway with a long club), but for a pitch shot it works out badly.

That float load and brush feeling talked about in the video is key.  For me the feeling is looser wrists with the hands going back much less.  Let the club float back with loose wrists and "load up" against the resistance of your hands not going back very far and just let it unload naturally going for that brush feeling through the ball.  For me at least, if that leads to nice looking shots the right distance but pushed, I need to remember to rotate my hips, get my front hip back and up a little to help the club face closed on a good plane.

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It's in our Lowest Score Wins book but the guy who hits 42 bad shots and two good shots during a round of golf does not need to be more "consistent" - they need to be better period.

The 90s shooting golfer will say things like "If I could just hit my shots like that drive on 14 or that wedge on eight I could be a five handicap." The problem is that those shots are the anomalies - like a PGA Tour player hitting a shank or chunking a chip. The 42 shots are the "consistent" (consistently bad) ones.

Ha.  Indeed you're right by the definition of the word.  I think that oftentimes players talking about consistency mean something like hitting their better shots more often and their worst shots less often.  Of course, what that really means is getting better, but I think people use the word that way a lot, and that was how I read the OP's use.

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Ha.  Indeed you're right by the definition of the word.  I think that oftentimes players talking about consistency mean something like hitting their better shots more often and their worst shots less often.  Of course, what that really means is getting better, but I think people use the word that way a lot, and that was how I read the OP's use.

I think that's pretty much the point.  Most of us already are pretty consistent......sadly. :8)

Practicing the same thing that we already do, isn't likely to result in much of a change.

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