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Horrible practice session - throw in the towel?


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My first post on this forum was over two years ago, when I planned to really put in the effort to learn golf. Then my work got crazy, I got busy, and never really stuck with it. Now I'm dedicating myself to it, though. I'm taking lessons regularly, and practicing as much as I can (right now that's 3-4 days a week).

I'm still terrible, but I'm at least seeing steady progress. Most days. But what happened yesterday really got me down. I went to the range after work, started practicing, and I felt like I had never swung a club before. Really. I was shanking, missing the ball completely, and doing every other embarassing thing I did the first time I ever tried hitting a ball. I don't know what happened to me. I gave up half way through my bucket and went home, because I felt like I wasn't making any progress - if anything, I was reinforcing whatever bad stuff was causing these problems.

I'm curious how those of you who are more experienced deal with stuff like this. I'm sure most of you don't have days this bad, but everyone has an off day here and there. Do you keep going if it's bad and not getting better, or do you go home and come back another day?

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Usually when I go to the range I'm working on a very specific piece of my swing, and when I'm trying to make a change in my swing I'm hitting it like garbage most of the time.  It can be very frustrating, and I've gotten some looks from people on the range after hitting some nasty shanks, but I gauge the quality of my range session on whether or not I'm successful at making a change.  Changes can be hard to make, so I'm always going for small successes.  I know that once I get the move fully ingrained I'll be hitting good shots more consistently.

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My first post on this forum was over two years ago, when I planned to really put in the effort to learn golf. Then my work got crazy, I got busy, and never really stuck with it. Now I'm dedicating myself to it, though. I'm taking lessons regularly, and practicing as much as I can (right now that's 3-4 days a week). I'm still terrible, but I'm at least seeing steady progress. Most days. But what happened yesterday really got me down. I went to the range after work, started practicing, and I felt like I had never swung a club before. Really. I was shanking, missing the ball completely, and doing every other embarassing thing I did the first time I ever tried hitting a ball. I don't know what happened to me. I gave up half way through my bucket and went home, because I felt like I wasn't making any progress - if anything, I was reinforcing whatever bad stuff was causing these problems. I'm curious how those of you who are more experienced deal with stuff like this. I'm sure most of you don't have days this bad, but everyone has an off day here and there. Do you keep going if it's bad and not getting better, or do you go home and come back another day?

I just recently posted the same thread my friend. I completely understand your feelings on this matter. First, I do have sessions THAT bad. I leave the range thinking I'm just waiting my time with this game. Trust me, you are not alone by any stretch of the imagination. Some guys responded to my post and it certainly helped me see the light again. 1. Golf his hard. Bad days will happen. Tomorrow is a new day. 2. When you're frustrated you can do a couple things: start with the basics...grip, posture, and only do 1/4 swings. Build your way back up. 3. Leave the range and practice chipping and/or putting. 4. If you shank your first putt, go get a beer and refer to choice #1.

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So you have only really been dedicating time towards this game for a few months and your ready to quit after a frustrating day at the range? Try this same post after 30 years and you may get sympathy or maybe not, I know I sound harsh but seriously this is a very difficult game and the vast majority never get very good at it, just keep up the lessons and follow the instruction and you will improve.

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OMG dude.....you are not moving forward in this game unless you have shitty range sessions from time to time......even the best at this game get the feeling that they cant hit it very well at times.....FACT

Keep on keeping on.....just fall in love with the fact that you are lucky enough to be in a position to try and get better......do you make  your living hitting great golf shots?  If not, then just feel the flow and let it go.................enjoy....and then enjoy more....that is the secret

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My first post on this forum was over two years ago, when I planned to really put in the effort to learn golf. Then my work got crazy, I got busy, and never really stuck with it. Now I'm dedicating myself to it, though. I'm taking lessons regularly, and practicing as much as I can (right now that's 3-4 days a week).

I'm still terrible, but I'm at least seeing steady progress. Most days. But what happened yesterday really got me down. I went to the range after work, started practicing, and I felt like I had never swung a club before. Really. I was shanking, missing the ball completely, and doing every other embarassing thing I did the first time I ever tried hitting a ball. I don't know what happened to me. I gave up half way through my bucket and went home, because I felt like I wasn't making any progress - if anything, I was reinforcing whatever bad stuff was causing these problems.

I'm curious how those of you who are more experienced deal with stuff like this. I'm sure most of you don't have days this bad, but everyone has an off day here and there. Do you keep going if it's bad and not getting better, or do you go home and come back another day?

How were you practicing? Were you just hitting ball after ball? Recommend taking a look at this.

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Two things can happen when on the practice range. The golfer either hits the ball well, or they don't.

The other day I was at the range, and I hit the ball so well, that after 28 balls I called it good, and went to the practice green to work on my putting.  There have been other times, when on the practice range I hit the ball so poorly I quit after 20 balls, and went to the practice green with my putter.

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I'm curious how those of you who are more experienced deal with stuff like this. I'm sure most of you don't have days this bad, but everyone has an off day here and there. Do you keep going if it's bad and not getting better, or do you go home and come back another day?

If it's a bad range session, I'll just chalk it up to a bad day and and move on. Check out the thread @mvmac linked, you may be practicing poorly.

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Positive Attitude!!!!

Whether it's a warm up session before a round or a full practice session, if I'm hitting the ball like garbage I always walk away shrugging it off knowing it will be better next time or when I get on the course. Pretty much 100% of the time it is. I get it that you haven't been at it for +40 years like some of us have so we've had enough experiences to know and understand that it's more than OK to have a bad range session or be in a slump for a period of time. We're human beings, not robots, and this is one of the hardest games mankind came up with so is it really a shock to anyone that this game is not only hard to learn but hard to get good at and stay good at, just ask Tiger!

Mvmac and others hit the nail on the head as far as what and how you are practicing. My opinion is there is both a physical and mental side to improving and if you don't keep a positive attitude and low to reasonable expectations as you improve you will likely struggle to make real improvements your entire golfing life!

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So you have only really been dedicating time towards this game for a few months and your ready to quit after a frustrating day at the range? Try this same post after 30 years and you may get sympathy or maybe not, I know I sound harsh but seriously this is a very difficult game and the vast majority never get very good at it, just keep up the lessons and follow the instruction and you will improve.


To clarify, I meant throw in the towel for the day . As in, is there any point at continuing to practice that day if it's gone way off the rails. Obviously I'm not giving up on the game because of one bad practice.....

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LimeTree View Post


To clarify, I meant throw in the towel for the day . As in, is there any point at continuing to practice that day if it's gone way off the rails. Obviously I'm not giving up on the game because of one bad practice.....

Yes, keep practicing. You're equating "good practice" with "hitting the ball well" when that isn't always the case. You can have a successful practice session hitting 7 irons 90 yards because you're making slow swings focusing on improving one piece.

Quote:
Oftentimes, I'll be perfectly happy to hit shanks, top the ball, hit it thin, or otherwise hit some terrible looking shots so long as I'm improving (or often exaggerating) certain moves. In that sense, the moves I'm making are equivalent to the violinist's fingerings, and the unrecognizable song is the shank or cold top.

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Thanks mvmac. I'm reading through those threads now. Great stuff, and definitely helpful. I think I'm probably better off than a lot of people I see at the range in that I'm not just aimlessly swinging and trying to hit the ball - I'm working on specific stuff my instructor has helped me identify. But I have a ton of room for improvement, especially around making sure the stuff I'm focusing on is specific enough, and it's also becoming clear to me that I need to simplify it more.

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I've had a few range days in the last few weeks where my swing was completely off.  I was shanking balls, thinning them and topping them, overall it was a mess.  I used those days to try to diagnose the cause and learned a lot about what I was doing wrong.  If I had someone video me it would have probably been obvious with one swing, but in trying to figure it out via trial and error I gained a lot of insight into my swing and why it sometimes goes off in the middle of golf rounds.

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I think the "slow" aspect of the '5 "S"s" is actually going to be key for me. My instructor has mentioned going slow, but didn't really emphasize it or explain it the way that thread does. A lot of the problem I have when I'm practicing on my own (vs. taking a lesson) is knowing what I'm actually doing. Short of taking a video of every swing (I do take videos sometimes, but it's hard at a crowded range), even if I feel like I'm taking a "slow" swing, I don't have the self-awareness to tell if I'm actually moving the way I'm supposed to be. When my instructor watches me, it's easy for him to make little tweaks, but when I'm by myself I just can't. That often leads me to worry that even if I'm trying to practice a very specific and simple thing, I could be doing it wrong and not even knowing... Hopefully slowing way down will help with that.

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I think the "slow" aspect of the '5 "S"s" is actually going to be key for me. My instructor has mentioned going slow, but didn't really emphasize it or explain it the way that thread does. A lot of the problem I have when I'm practicing on my own (vs. taking a lesson) is knowing what I'm actually doing. Short of taking a video of every swing (I do take videos sometimes, but it's hard at a crowded range), even if I feel like I'm taking a "slow" swing, I don't have the self-awareness to tell if I'm actually moving the way I'm supposed to be. When my instructor watches me, it's easy for him to make little tweaks, but when I'm by myself I just can't. That often leads me to worry that even if I'm trying to practice a very specific and simple thing, I could be doing it wrong and not even knowing... Hopefully slowing way down will help with that.

Yeah you'll get more out of your practice by going slower. Good luck!

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Hey don't feel bad. It looks like I'll be getting clearance to play next month from my doctors. I'm going to suck. My practice plan is no practice. You should see my shoulder x-rays. I have to figure out how to swing a club that doesn't hurt. It ain't gonna be pretty folks. Good thing I play from the reds. Kiss those 240 yd drives goodbye. Probably down to 180-190 now tops. I'll be spending probably 70% of my practice time working on my short game.

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Hey don't feel bad. It looks like I'll be getting clearance to play next month from my doctors. I'm going to suck. My practice plan is no practice. You should see my shoulder x-rays. I have to figure out how to swing a club that doesn't hurt. It ain't gonna be pretty folks. Good thing I play from the reds. Kiss those 240 yd drives goodbye. Probably down to 180-190 now tops. I'll be spending probably 70% of my practice time working on my short game.

Moving the shoulders slower does not necessarily mean a slower swing speed.

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Two things can happen when on the practice range. The golfer either hits the ball well, or they don't.

The other day I was at the range, and I hit the ball so well, that after 28 balls I called it good, and went to the practice green to work on my putting.  There have been other times, when on the practice range I hit the ball so poorly I quit after 20 balls, and went to the practice green with my putter.


+1 to this.  Golf's hard.  It's the only activity I can think of where you can be so good one day and so bad the next.  Happens to everyone, including tour pros.

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