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The "Stop Conning Yourself" Thread


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I did fool myself in my early years in term of handicap as I only tended to register decent to good rounds. But never been that focused on score tbh. 

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My name is Brad, and I have spent 30 years conning myself as a golfer.  When I began playing golf in college, I conned myself into thinking that I was more capable than I really was.  I scoure

I am taking a lesson tonight, scheduled it with the Teaching Pro at the Club my wife and i joined in June.  This lesson is going out on the course to work on course management.  i wanted to take this

Short game will help, and often much faster, but also… with much less room. You can pretty quickly save a few shots by improving your putting and the short game, but the bigger gains all come from the

On 4/15/2020 at 8:17 AM, CarlSpackler said:

I personally like to see players build a good short game foundation. It doesn't take much time or skill and can quickly improve your scores. Even with full swing improvements, you will need to rely on short game from time to time. Just don't con yourself like I did for years and tell yourself that your full swing is good enough and you can make up for it with a good short game. You should continue to work on your full swing. That is where the biggest improvements in score will come.

I agree with your first two sentences 100%.

Don't know if I con'd myself 40 years ago when I learned to play but I did not have instruction. I have always been athletic, multiple sports and basically while I did practice short game a lot because that's what the older scratch golfers did. I followed their example as far as routine. What happened from lack of instruction was I learned to "time" my swing and yes it was flipping.

Eventually I got to scratch. My short game was good as I learned to putt on bent grass fast hard breaking greens and I could chip, pitch and flop with a pw and sw. Had no lob wedges back then. 1/2, 3/4 shots were just getting creative based on where my ball was lying and how much green I had to work with. I say all that to say today, much wiser and with instruction I have re-learned how to chip/pitch with hands leading. My long game is better as far as accuracy today in my 50's because I have a repeatable more consistent swing.

 I believe that one needs to learn today about the pivot and how to really compress the ball. Modern technology and instruction could have helped learn how to properly strike a ball and I would have flipped/timed my swing like I did. Difference in me as a flipper playing scratch golf for 25 years was I had a great short game and timing/athleticism. I was lucky and will say consistency was my challenge (I was either at par or posting ugly scores -- no consistency. By mid 40's it didn't work anymore. I had to make a decision and learn how to properly swing the club.  Had I learned to swing the correct way (build lag and release club properly) when I was younger  I might could have gone further than I did. I believe the short game with the simple pitch shot is where I should have learned the proper striking of the ball. Not with the driver on the tee box or fairway woods. 

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1 hour ago, BeCu said:

I agree with your first two sentences 100%.

Don't know if I con'd myself 40 years ago when I learned to play but I did not have instruction. I have always been athletic, multiple sports and basically while I did practice short game a lot because that's what the older scratch golfers did. I followed their example as far as routine. What happened from lack of instruction was I learned to "time" my swing and yes it was flipping.

Eventually I got to scratch. My short game was good as I learned to putt on bent grass fast hard breaking greens and I could chip, pitch and flop with a pw and sw. Had no lob wedges back then. 1/2, 3/4 shots were just getting creative based on where my ball was lying and how much green I had to work with. I say all that to say today, much wiser and with instruction I have re-learned how to chip/pitch with hands leading. My long game is better as far as accuracy today in my 50's because I have a repeatable more consistent swing.

 I believe that one needs to learn today about the pivot and how to really compress the ball. Modern technology and instruction could have helped learn how to properly strike a ball and I would have flipped/timed my swing like I did. Difference in me as a flipper playing scratch golf for 25 years was I had a great short game and timing/athleticism. I was lucky and will say consistency was my challenge (I was either at par or posting ugly scores -- no consistency. By mid 40's it didn't work anymore. I had to make a decision and learn how to properly swing the club.  Had I learned to swing the correct way (build lag and release club properly) when I was younger  I might could have gone further than I did. I believe the short game with the simple pitch shot is where I should have learned the proper striking of the ball. Not with the driver on the tee box or fairway woods. 

Are you saying that you disagree with the rest? Because I never fixed my full swing, and have neither the time nor the energy to do that now, my game is suffering. 

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28 minutes ago, CarlSpackler said:

Are you saying that you disagree with the rest? Because I never fixed my full swing, and have neither the time nor the energy to do that now, my game is suffering. 

No your comments are quality. My only point was if I could do it over I would start with short game in order to build the long game. I think if one can learn to chip/pitch correctly then a good piece of the swing foundation is in place to swing properly long game to short. 

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8 hours ago, BeCu said:

No your comments are quality. My only point was if I could do it over I would start with short game in order to build the long game. I think if one can learn to chip/pitch correctly then a good piece of the swing foundation is in place to swing properly long game to short. 

I don’t think many people would be receptive to starting with the short game. They primarily want hit the ball as far as they can like the guys they see on tv. The point of my con post was that I conned myself into thinking pitching, chipping, and putting was good enough. It’s not. 

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I've conned myself into thinking the technique in golf swing can be built fully as carry over from other sports, which holds little truth. However after joining this site I've come into realization that it's most complicated movement I've come across and understanding what affects what requires years and years of studying. I don't know does any other sport have so small margin for error when it come to delivering club face with right path, speed and angle towards target.

I've also conned myself into thinking my strategy regarding playing golf is close to being good. After moving and starting to play on course that has hard, fast greens with thick rough, I've realized my decision making sucks. I keep attacking the pin, short siding myself and really making a mess off good tee shots that I sometimes get. Trying to get my hands on LSW and hopefully becoming better player strategy wise in future.

What I haven't conned myself about is practising the right way, have known I'm wasting alot of time practising the wrong way and hoping to improve that side aswell.

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  • 10 months later...

Well this could take a while. Hi I'm Shane and I've been conning myself toward golf for 24 years.

I've always been able to get the ball airborne hasn't been a problem. Everyone told me when I was young, even pros that said I should work hard and spend my time on my short game and get the long game later. My golf game was bad and I mean bad for years. I finally asked the pro at my home course in Afton... "Hey, I'm not hitting the ball well and I'm tired of getting up-and-down for double and triple bogeys and shooting in the 60s for nine holes. So I conned myself that the short game was the most important.

Fast forward to my 9th grade year of high school. I got tired of having inconsistent results for my motion that resembled a golf swing was having. I got tired of conning myself into hitting 3 wood like the coach wanted. And hit 7, 8, 9i, wedge, and sand wedge and putter. Half-swing feeling... and I had my biggest jump in scores from the high 50s for 9 holes, to high 40s. I continued the half swing method with the longer clubs and eventually was able to get myself down into the low 40s for 9 holes.

I conned myself at that point that I didn't need lessons. I also had the world's shittiest clubs, so box set with no bag from Walmart or Kmart or some shit. I took some lessons in 2006 ish started to improve. Then I stopped taking lessons. And got worse. 

I had my accident in 2009, and when I came back to golf. I conned myself into thinking I could still hit the ball as far as I did. Eeeeeeh sorry Shane wrong guess.

Then I thought I was getting better in the middle of the 2010s. I wasn't, I kind of hit a plateau. I would shoot like an 82, and think I was getting better, then shoot 102 two days later...GOLF.

I had my first dynamic fit in 2017. Which actually did help. My high rounds were you know 92, 93, and I broke 80 for the first time in 8 years, twice. But was still conning myself into thinking I was better than I was. I sucked. My maintenance of shoulder pitch was shit (still is).

So fast forward to 2019, I get smoked by Jim Atsedes in the City Tournament (If you watched the one season of the Big Break, his daughter Lori finished 3rd). He pulled me aside afterwards, and said, "Shane, you have more potential than you know what to do with"

I worked with "Ledge" as we call him because I mainly needed another set of eyes to help me simplify my swing and make it more consistent. Just because you have a draw or fade or hook doesn't mean it's not consistent.

I struggled last year, mostly shitty 78-84 rounds until September. I was trying to get the three moves that Ledge was teaching me to click. I had a stretch from late September until recently, where my highest differential was 4.6 (73 at Afton).... 

My handicap index is currently ~1.5. I'm conning myself into thinking I could be scratch or lower without getting all three of Ledge's keys under control. 

I'm conning myself so much, I think I need to read LSW again, but I've already discussed, STAY OUT OF THE SHIT, call the zoo! 

Yup, I suck I admit it.

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

Maybe update this a bit more frequently: 

Can be a way of holding yourself accountable.

I’ll have Alli take video when I play Friday.

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I have rarely fooled myself with overestimating my yardage. I have never been a bomber and, when I took the game back up at 28 after not picking up a club for ten years, I took the approach of laying up to manageable distances on longer holes to help my scoring and it served me well. I usually knew when to go for the green and not. Now that I am (much) older I have had to recalculate due to lost distance. I remember a good lesson two years ago on a par 5 at my course. It is a short downhill par five and anybody who can hit it 240 or more in the fairway can usually go for the green. There is a little creek and wall about 60 yards short of the green. Whenever I have had the opportunity to go for it, the goal was usually just to get it over that wall and have a shorter pitch. I hit a pretty good drive that day and asked the caddie what the carry was over that wall. He said 190 so I pulled my three wood because that had a carry of 200-210 with a good swing. I drilled it and was confident that it was well over the wall when, to my surprise, it hit square in the middle of the wall. I was lucky that it bounced back over the creek and I still had a good lie to get on the green in regulation, but that was a lesson learned. I knew then that the carry on that club no more than 190. I have even upgraded my fairway woods since and the carry isn't a whole lot more. 

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It's sort of a Catch-22, because if it's a true con, and you've conned yourself "correctly," you won't be able to see it, much less admit it. 

I'm sure I con myself about golf. And a little bit in life, too. That's what therapists are for, and I have a good one )

My con is definitely _not_ thinking I'm better than I am. I'm the opposite: an overly harsh self-critic. And I don't con myself about practice time or practice quality, either, I know I practice too little and far too inefficiently. My con is probably thinking that on some level I know what needs fixing. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been thinking about this for about a week and a half now.  How am I a decent ball striker?  My SG:A is really good numbers, usually below the 10 handicap benchmark (5.01 strokes lost: approach / round is that benchmark).   But we look at recent videos and it's clear I'm doing some things very poorly despite being told about them.  I'm getting well past parallel at the top of the backswing.  This was told to me a week and a half ago on Evolvr and it really hit me that I've been conning myself.  I've worked on it most days since then and today I got some video (my home setup isn't really good for getting face-on video since I only get about the bottom 75% of my body in frame).  I'm getting almost to parallel, but not quite.  That's an improvement but not quite what I should be doing.

At least it's progress, but it started with it being pointed out to me that I was conning myself, and the next step was that I had to admit I was.  

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I know I've definitely been conning myself recently into thinking I was better at most everything than I actually am.

I had a fantastically lucky spring, with a several month long streak of good scores including the best of my life (a 6-under 62). In that time I got lazy and complacent - I had stopped practicing as much on the full-swing and wedges, and I was no longer focusing on the improvements that needed to be made to both my swing and my golf game. Much of this was from me getting distracted by putting, despite that already being a strength of mine, due to an opportunity to work directly with the creator of an excellent new device. 

I'm putting better than I ever have right now, but the truth is that it doesn't matter unless you're giving yourself birdie opportunities. In my last 5 outings I've averaged only 26.8 putts per round, but I've also averaged only 7.4 GIR and my wedges and short game have seen massive backsliding as well. I was previously gaining strokes to scratch on my approach shots, and in the last 5 I lost an average of 2.06 per round. Short game I previously averaged 1.69 strokes lost to scratch per round, the last five rounds I've lost more than 4 strokes per round on average. Even tee shots I've gone backwards from gaining 3.98 strokes per round to only gaining about 2 strokes per round. My putting, meanwhile, improved from +1.1 strokes gained to about +2 strokes gained.

It's been fun learning a bunch about putting, including getting a look "behind the scenes" at what specific elements of putting mechanics contribute to overall consistency, but in my deep dive into the putting world I've neglected the other 95% of the golf course. My last 5 scores have clearly shown this, with an average differential of 6.98 after trending downwards for so long. It's time to fix my practice schedules and priorities if I want to even just keep my handicap low enough for the U.S. Amateur qualifier event in July, much less avoid embarrassing myself while I'm there!

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There's a downside to having the ability to practice full swing at home with real shots:  if you can't film it, you don't necessarily know if you're making progress.

Case in point:  my slow swing when practicing feels very slow;  looking at it on video today at the range, I don't think it's as slow as I think it is.

I took several videos today (I can post them, probably in my "My Swing!" thread,, f someone thinks it'd help me get feedback towards progress) at the practice range.  Each one, two slow rehearsal backswings, followed by a slow full swing.  The first two look like I'm getting what I want.  The third... well, it gets to parallel, not really much past parallel, but when the goal is to stop 45 degrees before parallel, that isn't close enough.

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I always con myself into believing, no matter the circumstances, that my round should have been lower. I remember one instance in a particular when I shot a 9 over 81 and cited all the mistakes I made that cost me breaking 80. One of my playing  says "Are you kidding? The way you scrambled, you turned an 87 into an 81.".

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I often con myself into thinking shanks are curable. They’re treatable, but not curable.

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13 minutes ago, PeaceFrogg said:

I always con myself into believing, no matter the circumstances, that my round should have been lower. I remember one instance in a particular when I shot a 9 over 81 and cited all the mistakes I made that cost me breaking 80. One of my playing  says "Are you kidding? The way you scrambled, you turned an 87 into an 81.".

Gotta love an optimist who sees the 18 holes as half full, not half empty.

2 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

I often con myself into thinking shanks are curable. They’re treatable, but not curable.

Sheesh... you'd have a 2 handicap if you didn't have those multiple shanks.  Doctor, heal thyself.  Have you ever thought about hybrids, not irons (with those damn hosels)?  Do they make a hybrid gap wedge???  And Vinsk, have you ever shanked a putt... this I gotta hear...

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I don't con myself, but I may be slow to recognize the truth!

Ever since I got back into the game after 20 yrs off, I have been making slow, but sure progress towards accepting that I am no longer capable of being the scratch golfer I was in my 20's and 30's, when incessant left wrist injuries finally made me hang up the sticks at 40 after my handicap ballooned into double digits  .After my restart I quit playing my stiff blades and picked up a sweet set of R300 shafted Mizzy MX-20's, in recognition that my ball striking on bad arthritis days leaves quite a bit to be desired..  Still had a hard time with the 5-3 irons off the turf.

Tried hybrids, which were unheard of when I played. Hated those hook monsters.  Another concession to reality. I bought an M6 9 wood.

Still unhappy with my iron play I went all in for help. Got a set of T300's. I am hitting the mid and long irons great, but the short irons fly too darn high for my comfort, though they do stop great. With descent angle, not a lot of spin. And flighting the short irons? Nah, they just run forever with the lack of spin. No two hop and stop shots from these, but badly hit shots do not get severely punished. Horrid swings get what they deserve, but if you just miss it a bit, you will be just fine., I'll try these for another 10 rounds. I may end up mixing the bottom of the bag with t100's or something if I cant find a way to adjust to the Apollo rocket ball flight on the T300 short irons. I guess that would be taking 1/2 a concession back......

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