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RFKFREAK's Journal About Golf Past, Present, and Future


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8 hours ago, RFKFREAK said:So, the last two weeks I've been able to play more and have played 7 rounds.  This, I feel, has provided a good sample size on how my 2020 golfing year is likely go close.  My results were as follows:

Date - CR/SR - Target Score - Actual Score (based on my unofficial HC) - Score HC (the HC of a person who would shoot that score on that course)

  1. 09/25 - 70.6/125 - 97 - 109 - 35
  2. 09/26 - 71.5/121 - 98 - 103 - 29
  3. 09/30 - 72.4/130 - 100 - 103 - 27
  4. 10/02 - 70.3/123 - 96 - 99 - 26
  5. 10/03 - 72.8/137 - 102 - 99 - 22
  6. 10/05 - 70.3/127 - 96 - 109 - 34
  7. 10/06 - 71.6/132 - 99 - 104 - 28

So, yeah, I'm just really bad at golf.  My unofficial HC started at 23.3, jumped into the 24 range for a few rounds before ending at 23.3 again.  I was planning on playing tomorrow but the second half of yesterday's round and today's were just not fun.  I can accept a few things happening but my ball-striking the last two days have been worse than usual which I attribute to the swing changes I've been working on, my driver which had been working well has become uneven recently,, and my short game and putting have just been rather blah.  

At this point, overall, I'm pretty dispirited with my golf "game."  Towards the end of today's round I started thinking about how ever since I began to track my scores in 2013 how my progress has been minimal and, looking at my excel spreadsheet, since the beginning of 2015 the improvements have been incremental.  Obviously this all falls upon me because my practice is subpar and maybe my expectations were unrealistic as to how quickly my golf game would develop but a few years ago I figured I'd be regularly shooting in the 90's by 2019 and at the end of last year, over a stretch of 17 rounds I actually shot in the 90's 10 times, with back to back rounds where I shot 90 on the nose.  However, this year over the course of 32 rounds, I've shot just 8 rounds in the 90's.  

So, I think I'll lay off golfing for a while and just keep going to the range and trying to improve my full swing until I get inspired to play (although I might play a round with a friend from out of town this weekend).  Realistically, though, I'll probably get in a few more rounds before the years out.  I'm certain I'm not the only one who has questioned their golfing abilities and feeling the way we do about our game but hey, golf is hard and, as I've mentioned before, most things don't come this difficult for me so it's just not fun when it pretty much all goes to hell.

Anyway, plan is to get some full swings in tomorrow and just keep working on my priority piece for now because the last couple of rounds have demonstrated to me that it has not taken hold yet.

We all get into ruts when doing swing changes. I have rounds where I can’t get the driver to work. What I’ve done lately is shorten my swing on course and just get it in the fairway. I do this for irons and hybrids too. Instead of hitting a full 9 for a 130 yard shot, I hit a 3/4 7 iron. Erik even said to me that he usually doesn’t hit a full shot inside 150.

If you go to the range today, work on 3/4 shots with every club including driver. See how far they go. Move ball position to get them to go low and high. Let us know how it goes.

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59 minutes ago, boogielicious said:

We all get into ruts when doing swing changes. I have rounds where I can’t get the driver to work. What I’ve done lately is shorten my swing on course and just get it in the fairway. I do this for irons and hybrids too. Instead of hitting a full 9 for a 130 yard shot, I hit a 3/4 7 iron. Erik even said to me that he usually doesn’t hit a full shot inside 150.

If you go to the range today, work on 3/4 shots with every club including driver. See how far they go. Move ball position to get them to go low and high. Let us know how it goes.

Yeah, ruts suck.  I think I'm more disappointed because they last two weeks were a stretch where I had a good amount of time to play which is rarely afforded to me so it not being enjoyable is disheartening.  I literally just went the motions from hole 6 on yesterday without caring really what happened.

I was actually thinking of just doing more full swings with my priority piece as a focus at around 50-70% speed to concentrate on ball striking because my confidence level is at an all time low (if that weren't self evident) and I just need to find something to feel good about.

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Christian, I think you know me as a straight shooter, often at my own expense. 🙂 So take this with my reputation in mind, as well as my understanding that you live too far away for me to do much to make money from you or anything like that. I'm offering, I believe, this advice solely as one guy with an opinion trying to help out another guy.

You have several things going for you:

  • You swing fast enough. This is important for two reasons:
    • You can hit the ball far enough to be a scratch golfer. (I'm not saying you'll ever be scratch, duh, just that you're not someone who swings 70 MPH with the driver trying to break 100 or 90 from 6700 yards).
    • You can dial back and still swing "fast enough" to play 6700 yards, or 6500, or whatever. This gives you flexibility to take smoother, shorter, slower swings.
  • You have the time/desire to practice and a place to do it.
  • You have the financial means (I believe) to do this. Whether that means to hit balls or play frequently or take some lessons, you aren't a broke college student with the time but not necessarily the means.
  • You record your swing and you are starting to gain an understanding of this stuff.

I believe that if you were here in Erie, for example, that we'd have you breaking 100 virtually all the time and 90 sometimes on some decent courses (maybe not Whispering Woods, but Downing, Green Meadows, etc.).

I think that sometimes you can get sidetracked with solving one day's issues, when the priority is still the priority. I think you tend to, like a lot of golfers, try to fix the "last" shot or the last two shots you hit, but that's problematic not only because you don't fully understand what can cause one shot or another, but because you're still learning different things and you're going to hit some weird shots now and then, particularly when doing something completely new to you. I think, too, that like everyone, you go too fast too long too quickly.

If you were here in Erie, I'd likely set you up with a plan like this:

  • Weekly supervised practice sessions. I do these at a lower cost (sometimes with two students at once) because you're not learning anything "new" per se, you're just being helped to practice properly. In reality people still learn new things - new drills, new bits of info, new feels to emphasize the same thing - but it's not as intensive as a lesson.
  • I'd get you going on some putting and short game drills and games that you can do without me around, and really shore that stuff up. There is no reason why you should ever really have > 34 putts per round or fail to hit greens with short game shots as often as I think you might. Once you're in an nGIR situation, you should be able to pretty quickly get down to 2.8 or 2.9 shots per attempt.
  • I'd get out for a round with you now and then, ideally with another student as well, and basically be your "caddie" as well as your gameplanning guru and so on. But I think a big part of what I'd be doing is giving you lines, stressing the one thought I'd like you to have over the ball (one feel), and encouraging you to make an 80% swing which isn't any different than the previous one unless you hit a bunch of shots in a row all in the same sort of pattern.

But you don't live in Erie, so what I'd do if I were you:

  • Practice properly. You definitely don't get the "slow" and "short" and often not the "simple" part of the 5 "S" words. Specific you do okay with, I think. You get the "success" sometimes, as you're reasonably good at changing the picture, but then (and I'm not there, so it's based on what I've gleaned only) you will hit a few bad shots in a row and jump ship to working on something else, which since the former thing wasn't ingrained yet, causes all sorts of hell.
  • Find a decent instructor — one who knows the golf swing and is comfortable being a taskmaster (I think a lot of instructors feel like if they don't give you five new things each lesson, they're not worth what they charge, and ironically, it's almost the opposite that makes people worth more) and work with him every other week or so. Tell him you are fine hitting your 7I 80 yards in the first lesson if that's where the "edge of your ability" lies for right now.
  • Slow down. Prioritize.
  • Make a list of the other things you like about golf, besides the score. Maybe you're the type of guy who will shoot in the 90s or 100s, but who doesn't enjoy practicing and who just enjoys playing golf and drinking a beer or getting in a walk or spending time with buddies or whatever. No shame in that. Really think about what you like about the game. If you can't come up with much, quit.
  • Consider taking up the game lefty. I'm only 90-95% joking.
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9 hours ago, iacas said:

Christian, I think you know me as a straight shooter, often at my own expense. 🙂 So take this with my reputation in mind, as well as my understanding that you live too far away for me to do much to make money from you or anything like that. I'm offering, I believe, this advice solely as one guy with an opinion trying to help out another guy.

You have several things going for you:

  • You swing fast enough. This is important for two reasons:
    • You can hit the ball far enough to be a scratch golfer. (I'm not saying you'll ever be scratch, duh, just that you're not someone who swings 70 MPH with the driver trying to break 100 or 90 frm 6700 yards).
    • You can dial back and still swing "fast enough" to play 6700 yards, or 6500, or whatever. This gives you flexibility to take smoother, shorter, slower swings.
  • You have the time/desire to practice and a place to do it.
  • You have the financial means (I believe) to do this. Whether that means to hit balls or play frequently or take some lessons, you aren't a broke college student with the time but not necessarily the means.
  • You record your swing and you are starting to gain an understanding of this stuff.

I believe that if you were here in Erie, for example, that we'd have you breaking 100 virtually all the time and 90 sometimes on some decent courses (maybe not Whispering Woods, but Downing, Green Meadows, etc.).

I think that sometimes you can get sidetracked with solving one day's issues, when the priority is still the priority. I think you tend to, like a lot of golfers, try to fix the "last" shot or the last two shots you hit, but that's problematic not only because you don't fully understand what can cause one shot or another, but because you're still learning different things and you're going to hit some weird shots now and then, particularly when doing something completely new to you. I think, too, that like everyone, you go too fast too long too quickly.

If you were here in Erie, I'd likely set you up with a plan like this:

  • Weekly supervised practice sessions. I do these at a lower cost (sometimes with two students at once) because you're not learning anything "new" per se, you're just being helped to practice properly. In reality people still learn new things - new drills, new bits of info, new feels to emphasize the same thing - but it's not as intensive as a lesson.
  • I'd get you going on some putting and short game drills and games that you can do without me around, and really shore that stuff up. There is no reason why you should ever really have > 34 putts per round or fail to hit greens with short game shots as often as I think you might. Once you're in an nGIR situation, you should be able to pretty quickly get down to 2.8 or 2.9 shots per attempt.
  • I'd get out for a round with you now and then, ideally with another student as well, and basically be your "caddie" as well as your gameplanning guru and so on. But I think a big part of what I'd be doing is giving you lines, stressing the one thought I'd like you to have over the ball (one feel), and encouraging you to make an 80% swing which isn't any different than the previous one unless you hit a bunch of shots in a row all in the same sort of pattern.

But you don't live in Erie, so what I'd do if I were you:

  • Practice properly. You definitely don't get the "slow" and "short" and often not the "simple" part of the 5 "S" words. Specific you do okay with, I think. You get the "success" sometimes, as you're reasonably good at changing the picture, but then (and I'm not there, so it's based on what I've gleaned only) you will hit a few bad shots in a row and jump ship to working on something else, which since the former thing wasn't ingrained yet, causes all sorts of hell.
  • Find a decent instructor — one who knows the golf swing and is comfortable being a taskmaster (I think a lot of instructors feel like if they don't give you five new things each lesson, they're not worth what they charge, and ironically, it's almost the opposite that makes people worth more) and work with him every other week or so. Tell him you are fine hitting your 7I 80 yards in the first lesson if that's where the "edge of your ability" lies for right now.
  • Slow down. Prioritize.
  • Make a list of the other things you like about golf, besides the score. Maybe you're the type of guy who will shoot in the 90s or 100s, but who doesn't enjoy practicing and who just enjoys playing golf and drinking a beer or getting in a walk or spending time with buddies or whatever. No shame in that. Really think about what you like about the game. If you can't come up with much, quit.
  • Consider taking up the game lefty. I'm only 90-95% joking.

Erik, I really appreciate this response and the time and effort you took to make it.  It's giving me some clarity for sure and has raised my spirits some. 

I think with the 5 S's you're spot on and I do tend to move on to thinks too quickly instead of really ingraining it.  I also believe that because I have success quickly with some things, I expect success too quickly in others which is just not how golf works for me.

As for the list of what I like about golf, I know that I don't necessarily like practice but don't dislike it and view it as a necessity to improve and that, at a minimum, that's what I have to do to get improve.  I'm def not the guy who just likes to play golf while drinking a beer (I rarely drink when playing) and enjoying the scenery (I'm not really a nature type person) and the camaraderie of others (I'm equally happy playing alone, being paired with strangers, or playing with friends).  I tend to have a purpose when doing things.  Partly it's ego as I enjoy being good at things and better than other people at them (like I absolutely love it when I hit a long drive and people admire it) and I can't really put my finger on the rest; there are just things I really enjoy.  For example, I loved playing baseball, basketball, football, and hockey growing up and although I didn't play golf growing up, I remember being intrigued watching it on tv as a kid.  Yet, I found and still do find tennis boring and it does absolutely nothing for me.  I love rollerblading and skating on the ice but skateboarding isn't something I've ever enjoyed.  I like skiing but snowboarding isn't something that attracts me.  If I quit golf, it'll likely be because I'll have convinced myself that I've reached the zenith of my abilities and it's not something I'll be happy with.

You've given me some things to think about so thanks again for the post.  It's helped. 

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  • 6 months later...

So, resurrecting this thread again.

I haven't had the ability to play a round yet this year because life nor really do much of any practice, however, there's an old saying that attributed to Einstein (but I don't think he actually said) which goes "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  So, this year I've decided I'm going to do some in-person instruction with @iacas which I expect to help tremendously.  Not only do I believe that the time investment (driving to Erie is anywhere from 5-6 hours) will help motivate me to practice more, and keep me more focused on that practice and my priority piece (I've been known to abandon working on my priority piece before it's really been ingrained) but I also think the in-person aspect and getting that feedback will help me potentially understand things better.  So, here's to fewer rounds in the 100's this year (percentage-wise anyway) and more in the 90's and potentially a round or two in the 80's! 🥳🎉

 

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  • 3 months later...

So, I'm reviving this thread b/c I wanted to keep a record of how my 2021 golf season is going.  First, working with @iacashas me so much more confident about my game than I ever have been.  The scores may not show it but after discussing it with Erik and some reflection, I realize at least yesterday that a lot of that has to do with not really focusing when I punch out and also that I don't practice the short game shots that I face in a round, not that I practice short game much at all.  Overall, feeling better about my putting and the swing changes I've made has me pumping my driver out there further more consistently.  I literally never worry about using that club.  Still have lots of work to do with my irons which I feel is also holding me back from putting up better scores, but I feel some range time will help me groove that more.

This year I didn't play my first round until May and typically I get in 40 or so rounds with many more coming in the later months (ya know, when it gets cold because I'm smart like that).  My next round will be my 14th which will likely not come until next week.   

My unofficial HC is 24.8 and this year I haven't shot under my target score which I calculate based on my unofficial HC and the course rating and slope rating.  I suppose this isn't too surprising as including all my rounds from last year, I've played 47 times and have only shot under my target score 3 times.  I've only shot under 100 twice this year so that's the first goal, get under 100 more consistently which should happen, if I ever learn to stop being a knucklehead out there. :-$    

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, as some of you may be aware, yesterday was my birthday and, traditionally, unless I have other things planned or because I'm not feeling well (like a couple of years ago when I jammed my big toe and I couldn't walk without limping), I play at least 36 holes of golf.  So, ofc, that's what I did yesterday and what a round.

First round - teed off at 6:55 on a course that I hadn't played in three or four years rated 69.3/119, 6234 yards.  My first hole was a 317 yard wide open par 4 and my opening tee shot left me feeling really good, hitting it, according to GG, 283 yards.  So, I'm feeling good...and then I bladed a chip shot over the green, chip on to the green with my next shot leaving it within 5 feet...and miss the putt for a bogey.  I wish I could say things got better, but they didn't.  Next hole, on a 394 yard par 4, one could say I mishit my driver as it only went 54 yards.  I proceeded to put up an 8 on the hole due in no small measure to my brutal short game which required 3 shots to get on the green within 50 yards.  The rest of the round consisted mostly of my inability to get off the tee as I was certainly not hitting the center of the clubface and pulling everything left.  I only had 1 FIR which was pretty brutal on this course as it has some thick rough.  Notwithstanding a lucky birdie that I got on the 4th hole which included a 231 yard drive into the left rough and a mishit 5 iron that went 180 yards but probably rolled the last 50 yards onto the green, about 5 feet from the flag.  The only good thing I did consistently was putt, with only 1 3-putt, and my draining a 27 foot putt for par, an 18 foot putt for par, and closing the round out with a 15 foot putt for...triple bogey on a par 5.  Score: 105. (http://www.gamegolf.com/player/RFKFREAK/round/3087798)

Second round - remarkably better.  I'm more familiar with this course, playing 6623 yards and rated 72/131.  My tee shot on the opening hole, a 534 yard par 5 surprised me...because it went straight and 273 yards.  I followed that up with a 3H, leaving a roughly 60 yard pitch shot.  Now, a couple of week ago when I had my last lesson with @iacas we talked about putting and he advised me that my approach to putting wasn't necessarily the best and one of the things he suggested was that I trust my athletic ability.  Since then, I've played a few rounds and I'm feeling much more confident in my putting so, seeing as how the approach I've taken to my short game hasn't led to desirable results, I decided to trust my athleticism, and pitched the ball to 10 feet.  I didn't make the putt, but opening up to a par felt encouraging.  As the rest of the round proceeded, I felt a lot better about my game.  Second hole I hit my driver straight but not as far (213 yards) which makes me think it hit something even though I didn't hear or see it hit anything.  The third hole has traditionally been difficult for me but here, even though I failed to hit the center of the face and it drew into the left rough, I was able to salvage a bogey.  The 4th hole i hit a mammoth (for me) tee shot 284 yards, pitched it 91 yards onto the green and 2 putted from 40 feet away.  The following hole I normally don't hti driver because it's only 355 yards but I felt so good, I tattooed a 309 driver just off the fairwaty, chipping it 37 yards and although I 3 putted, I wasn't that disappointed because it was on an uphill multil-teared green where my first putt was 40 feet away.  Although the next three holes were pretty brutal, the 9th hole I hit another quality drive 260 yards uphill, got on the green even though I slightly pulled it with my pitching wedge, and 3 putted from 72 feet away.  Even though I put up a 49 on the front, I felt I was playing better than that.  A 30 minute rain delay prevented me from starting the 10th hole so they suggested rather than wait, I start on the 13th which I parred even though I hit a similar tee shot as I did on the 3rd hole into the left rough,  Pushed a 3H way right of the green but recovered nicely by pitching the ball to 1 foot of the pin for par.  Had a couple of tough holes after that (DB, DB) which included a penalty stroke on each one and I started to pull my full swing shots again.  Thankfully, Erik was able to help with some timely advice and on the longest par 5 of the course (587 yards) I managed to limit the damage of two bad iron shots to a bogey and recovered for back to back pars.  On my 16th hole I smacked a 257 yard drive but badly pulled a 9 iron left into the woods which really angered me because the woods are really far away from the green leading to a 7.  Then the horn rang and we had another 30 minute rain delay.  When we resumed, I pulled an 8 iron into the woods for another penalty and after hitting my third right of the green, the newfound confidence in my short game and putting helped me limit the damage to a 6.  I was pretty down at this point but thankfully, my last hole was an uphill 371 yard 4 which I usually play decently.  I again hit a good drive, 245 yards this time, leaving myself a sand wedge which I hit so pure that I notice when I got to the green, I had some backspin on it leaving me hole high.  To close my day, I holed a 27 foot putt for birdie!  To say it was a most satisfying feeling would be an understatement.  I shot a 94 which surprised me because I thought I had shot over 100 (http://www.gamegolf.com/player/RFKFREAK/round/3087799?hole_id=52470097).

Anyway, felt really good afterwards and was able to enjoy dinner and ice cream - a truly wonderful day. :dance::dance:

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