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The "Stop Conning Yourself" Thread


iacas

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Well buying my G30 did improve my driving, in all fairness. The shaft is like 2 inches shorter and my old driver is about 15 years old.

I can see that, and technology definitely does help.

I was more referring to people who buy a new driver every year or buy the new 716 AP2's because they think they will be better with them.

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I took Johnny Miller's point from his instruction videos - impact is key/everything - too literally. You can have a good looking impact position, w/resp to hands ahead of ball, but I've then since learned a lot can go wrong after that.

I think I con myself that I'm using video properly as I continuously adjust how I use it, high fps vs actual speed, face on vs down the line , proper angles, frequency of usage, not using a swing analyzer (it goes hand in hand w/video.) It really is an art utilizing video.

One con I think the golf industry helps propagate is that there's one key thing to fixing your swing. It's not one thing and overdoing that one thing will kill you. It's everything in the right sequence in the right amounts. But no one wants to hear there's no quick fix.

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I took Johnny Miller's point from his instruction videos - impact is key/everything - too literally. You can have a good looking impact position, w/resp to hands ahead of ball, but I've then since learned a lot can go wrong after that.

I think I con myself that I'm using video properly as I continuously adjust how I use it, high fps vs actual speed, face on vs down the line , proper angles, frequency of usage, not using a swing analyzer (it goes hand in hand w/video.) It really is an art utilizing video.

One con I think the golf industry helps propagate is that there's one key thing to fixing your swing. It's not one thing and overdoing that one thing will kill you. It's everything in the right sequence in the right amounts. But no one wants to hear there's no quick fix.

I am definitely guilty of using video improperly and conning myself into thinking I knew what I was doing.

I would film my swing to compare it to a pro's swing and I thought it looked very similar.  I had NO IDEA what I was looking for.  Nothing was close to being right/similar to a pro's swing.

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When I first took up the game in 1988, I conned myself in general about my skill level. I thought my drives went 240-250; I thought I had a great short game. I played with my older brother and another guy at a hi end daily fee course and immediately saw how bad I was. But before anyone feels too guilty about this, I'd like to offer that I don't think "conning ourselves" is the best way to describe what happens here. I agree with iacas that many, if not most, poor golfers overestimate their ability in some ways. But this is an experimentally confirmed psychological phenomenon, a form of cognitive bias described as the "Dunning-Krueger effect." https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect Other forms of cognitive bias that we all suffer from to some degree exist here....perhaps confirmation bias....specifically, most of us like to have positive thoughts about ourselves, so we have selective memory. We remember the two great shots and forget the 95 bad ones. I'm arguing semantics, but the reason I take exception to the term "con," is that it implies deliberate self-deception, and suggests sneakiness or dishonesty. I think what goes on mostly is simply ignorance and normal human nature. This applies to the guy iacas describes, the man who claims to play to a level that is patently ridiculous to a knowledgable observer. Most people who genuinely want to excel at golf eventually learn the truth about their game. Whether they have the patience and courage to address what is wrong is another matter. If someone says they want to be a low single digit but only hits 6 greens/near-greens per round and says "my ball striking is fine," well yes that person is conning himself. If they are vanity posters and create a fake handicap, then the con runs deeper. I play at a pretty average club. A Golf Digest article in 2014 reported the average index for men is 14.3, and that a 5 index is better than 90% of players with handicaps. That data correlates well with the players at my club. Among this cohort of regular, avid golfers, there are very, very few who have irrational, overinflated notions of their ability. Personally, I conned myself with selective posting for a few years. It got ridiculous to tell people I was a 12 when it was really more like 16. Eventually I realized I wasn't really doing my ego any good, and so I began posting honestly. It was only then that I actually really began to do the things I needed to improve. Great thread.
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When I first took up the game in 1988, I conned myself in general about my skill level. I thought my drives went 240-250; I thought I had a great short game. I played with my older brother and another guy at a hi end daily fee course and immediately saw how bad I was.

But before anyone feels too guilty about this, I'd like to offer that I don't think "conning ourselves" is the best way to describe what happens here. I agree with iacas that many, if not most, poor golfers overestimate their ability in some ways. But this is an experimentally confirmed psychological phenomenon, a form of cognitive bias described as the "Dunning-Krueger effect." https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

Other forms of cognitive bias that we all suffer from to some degree exist here....perhaps confirmation bias....specifically, most of us like to have positive thoughts about ourselves, so we have selective memory. We remember the two great shots and forget the 95 bad ones.

I'm arguing semantics, but the reason I take exception to the term "con," is that it implies deliberate self-deception, and suggests sneakiness or dishonesty. I think what goes on mostly is simply ignorance and normal human nature. This applies to the guy iacas describes, the man who claims to play to a level that is patently ridiculous to a knowledgable observer.

Most people who genuinely want to excel at golf eventually learn the truth about their game. Whether they have the patience and courage to address what is wrong is another matter. If someone says they want to be a low single digit but only hits 6 greens/near-greens per round and says "my ball striking is fine," well yes that person is conning himself. If they are vanity posters and create a fake handicap, then the con runs deeper.

I play at a pretty average club. A Golf Digest article in 2014 reported the average index for men is 14.3, and that a 5 index is better than 90% of players with handicaps. That data correlates well with the players at my club. Among this cohort of regular, avid golfers, there are very, very few who have irrational, overinflated notions of their ability.

Personally, I conned myself with selective posting for a few years. It got ridiculous to tell people I was a 12 when it was really more like 16. Eventually I realized I wasn't really doing my ego any good, and so I began posting honestly. It was only then that I actually really began to do the things I needed to improve.

Great thread.

Good post.

The D-K effect is why unskilled people often think that they are better than they are and why skilled people think they are not as good.

However, self conning in golf goes deeper.

The root of the problem is ingrained in our nature. This self con thing stretches to everything from height and strength and many other physical and/or mental attributes. People like to feel that they are superior to others in any way possible so they feel like they can live their lives better, I suppose. Of course, the source of this con is that you already assume you know how well someone else is doing at whatever activity you are involved.

Everyone is subject to this self con, and some people even need it to "survive". They size someone or some group of people up and immediately look at things they can do better than the group they are observing. European explorers immediately thought of themselves superior to all other races wherever they went. Charles Darwin in the " Decent of Man " wrote that different races were potentially parts of different evolutionary stages, and that Europeans were at the most evolved level. Other races also think in similar fashions, only putting their own race or ethnicity at the top. It just depends upon who is holding the pen at the writing. It's part of human nature to think our own group of people as superior, and that you as an individual are likely to be superior to others.

Getting back to golf, how many times have you gotten to a driving range, for instance, and immediately thought "Gee, the person next to me has a really nice swing, and is hitting pretty well." versus the times you think "I know what's wrong with his swing." or "My swing is better than his, obviously." The honest answer will likely be anything but the first thought. Only in rare instances do people see good in others, or if the person is a lot better in which case you might think "I can get there with a simple fix." or something else that's unrealistic. It's against our fundamental nature to evaluate oneself in a logical and unbiased manner.

It's natural to self con yourself regarding how well you are doing in comparison to others and of course how well you are doing as a consequence of comparing yourself up to the people around you.

Another big reason for self conning yourself could be as a means to keep motivating yourself to do something that you might not otherwise continue to do. If you are not as good as you think you are, especially when you are not that skilled, you could easily give up the game completely without the self con that you are "improving".

You can stop conning yourself when you have reasonable skill at golf, and then motivate yourself through specific improvements at a game with which you are already reasonably good.

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I don't think this is Dunning Kruger. DK is more about intelligence or at least knowing one is ignorant vs. thinking you are an expert and everyone else is stupid.
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I don't think this is Dunning Kruger. DK is more about intelligence or at least knowing one is ignorant vs. thinking you are an expert and everyone else is stupid.

Yes, it is.

One example is they asked different groups of people how they thought they did on a test. The people who scored higher generally thought they scored lower than they actually did and those that did not do well thought they scored higher.

However, it somehow applies to many different physical and mental skill related activities.

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I used to con myself by thinking I was a good putter because I average about 30 putts per round and it turned out I was just a bad ball striker with a descent short game. Speaking of ball striking, I also used to think I was a good ball striker because I could hit it solid but my GIRs just didn't reflect it. Now I con myself into thinking I can go at certain tucked pins because it's only a wedge (or 52, or 56)...
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I'm conning myself I'm sure. I don't think I'm good in any one area and when I play I'll use a mulligan here or there (maybe a hole or two on the front nine and one or two on the back nine) and I'm happy with where I'm at because it's just a game and something fun to pass the time. Are my low rounds of 85 (twice) and 83 legit and to the rules? No probably not but I'm never gonna play in a league or professionally and it keeps me coming back. I'm happy I can admit I'm conning myself....but it makes the game that much more fun for me. It is what it is I guess
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Quote:

Originally Posted by rkim291968

"I think I got it!"   - that's the most oft repeated con for me.

I fall victim to this at times. It mostly happens when I have a good round and assume that the good round is due to successfully changing my swing instead of simply having a good timing day. It's usually a slap in the face the next time I go out and play.

This is one of the reasons I don't pay much attention to individual scores. I like to see the overall range trending downwards, but the odd low round isn't really a good indication of how I'm improving.

... or an odd high round.

BTW, I am gonna keep conning myself that I can get my HI down another 5 points or to 12.5, whichever comes first.  Who's gonna stop me? B-)

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Because I have seen so much of this sort of thing I try to avoid it as much as possible, however when I first started posting scores in the GHIN system I was guilty of shaving a stroke here or there for the first few months until I saw the first calculated index then stopped altogether, I felt I was definitely a single digit index and didn't want to have to post anything over a double on my scores so when I shot a 85 or 86 I would change it to 84 or 83 for one reason or another, the course was rated fairly high so my index scores would be single digits, once I got more familiar with where I was playing the scores dropped into the mid 70's some days and before I knew it I was down to a 4.3 which I think is a little bit low for me, mid 5's to mid 6 is probably right. Honestly that is probably as far as I go into conning myself and that was 4 years ago, I see and hear what people say about others who think they are way better than what they are and don't want that to happen to me so I stay as humble as possible.

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A lot of golfers (often high handicappers) con themselves in regards to their skill levels. I here it time after time at the range, 2 guys turn up in the best clothes and gear money can buy and it always starts the same.. They stand there talking for a while about their recent exploits in the course. Guy turns to Guy 2 and tells him how he was left with a 120 yard approach, easy sand wedge for him, which he hit 10 yards past and spun to a foot of the whole.

By this time im intrigued so stop to do some "stretching" and watch, i mean, he talks the talk and has the kit to match so what could possibly go wrong?

The following is inevitable. He shanks a wedge into the bay divide almost wiping out an entire family next to him before skulling a couple of irons 60yrds across the floor then slicing a couple of drivers into next week, "not sure what happend there" he says "i was killing it the other day".

Every golfer, whether low or high hcp, needs to be honest with themselves. if you can play the shots the pro's play then brilliant but most of us cant. Play to our strengths and leave the ego's back at home.

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