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edhalsim

The harder I try, the worse I get

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Hi,

I'd like to hear from people who have fallen into this pattern.  I've been playing for 30+ yrs.  I practice usually twice/week for an hour or so and play once/week on the weekends.  I've taken lessons over the past few years from three different teaching pros (several with each pro).  I seem to get a bit better for a round or two (high 70s), then everything seems to go haywire and I can't seem to hit the ball solid anymore and I start shooting upper 80s or worse (my short game especially putting isn't good enough to salvage days of bad ball striking despite practicing that as well).  Sometimes my putter feels like I'm holding a snake the way it wanders around during my stroke (when I saw Els six putt from 4' I feel like saying "welcome to my world.")

I feel like I should be improving considering all the effort I put in.  It's very frustrating to have a session with a pro and hit it pretty solid, then 1-2 weeks later can't hit it to save my life.  I feel like my problem is I want it (improve, shoot low scores) too badly, but I haven't found anything that works.

Thanks for listening.
 - Ed.

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This might be a case of getting close to your native playing ability.

7.7 is already pretty good. Do you feel like perhaps you've reached the pinnacle of your game potential?

IDK if I've reached mine yet, but it seems like it's pretty close at 9 to 10. I doubt that I'm going to be hitting much farther or more accurate from outside 150 yards than I am already. I can improve my short game and possibly get a couple strokes off my better games. Someday, I hope for an Eagle. I've come close a few times already. My putting is not too bad, although I might be able to get more 8 foot putts than I currently do. Realistically, this is about it for me, I think. . .based upon my years of experience doing other sports. I pretty much know when I am maxed out, and know when I am not. In my case, I feel really close.

It's likely you might be able to get down to a 5 or less? But maybe not scratch? Most of the scratch players I know carry 260 yards or more even near my age or they really straight and carry only 250 yards. The ones that hit shorter tend to hit their irons pretty high, long and straight with soft landings. Every time there's a scratch or better SCGA event at my home course I get to see a couple hundred of these scratch or better players at the driving range.

It's really frustrating when you are near your potential and want to improve a lot, but your game is really good already and if you sit back and smell the roses you will realize how good you are already and maybe that will let you reach your fullest potential?

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36 minutes ago, edhalsim said:

Hi,

I practice usually twice/week for an hour or so and play once/week on the weekends.

That's not what I would call a lot of effort.

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8 minutes ago, bm85 said:

That's not what I would call a lot of effort.

It depends upon the person, for my son, that's a good amount of effort*** and he is improving at a much faster rate than me with my hour a day and 2 to 3 rounds per week. :whistle:

 

 

***Of course, during his team season he practices daily for 3 hours and plays about 5 rounds per week.

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52 minutes ago, edhalsim said:

I've taken lessons over the past few years from three different teaching pros (several with each pro).  I seem to get a bit better for a round or two (high 70s), then everything seems to go haywire and I can't seem to hit the ball solid anymore and I start shooting upper 80s or worse (my short game especially putting isn't good enough to salvage days of bad ball striking despite practicing that as well).

Just being honest (and blunt) here. These are signs of either:

  • A bad instructor.
  • A bad student.

Not guarantees. Just signs.

Lessons are not things you "take" and then just magically improve. You have to keep working at the same thing. If the proper priority item is found, you might work on it for years before you move on to something else, but you should generally be improving (or not back-sliding) the whole time.

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1 minute ago, iacas said:

Just being honest (and blunt) here. These are signs of either:

  • A bad instructor.
  • A bad student.

Not guarantees. Just signs.

Lessons are not things you "take" and then just magically improve. You have to keep working at the same thing. If the proper priority item is found, you might work on it for years before you move on to something else, but you should generally be improving (or not back-sliding) the whole time.

Yup, and it's incredible that good instructors know what a golfer needs to fix too! :beer:

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I work on my game when I practice. Once I get on the playing field for a score, I am like the old ***** who does the best she can with the tools she's got......that day. I just play with what ever swing I have that day. Playing, and working on my game at the same time, has never mixed well for me. 

Seeing a pro is a good thing, but imo, the student has to keep seeing their pro to keep what they have learned, and for further improvement. I think at the very least, twice a month for as long the student can keep going will make the student a better player. Seeing a pro every few months (or years) is not going to work long term for most students. 

Now for those players who do not see a pro very often, or those who choose to learn on their own, they will only become so good with their own game. This group will really learn that some days are really better than others.

Myself, I only work on 4, maybe 5 things every week. Most are on my short game. This regimine keeps me comfortable (relaxed) in my own game, for the time I have available to practice. . 

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I find when I'm learning something new, it doesn't "last" all that long . .especially at first.  So, in my practice sessions . .I'll warm up, do the drills I'm working on and then make some full swings.  Those full swings will typically be pretty good. 

Then I'll go to the course and use what I'm starting to think of as my "playing brain" . .so maybe I'll hit it all over the place but I'll have no idea why and I refuse to try and fix it on the course - I'll just try to get around as best I can with it.  Then I'll go back to my practice area and *immediately* realize what I was missing during my round. 

So I'm starting to think of practice as something like "feeding" my "playing brain".  My playing brain does not think about swing planes and positions (that's the idea, anyway).  It doesn't have a video camera so it has no idea why I just thinned that last iron shot.  The best it can do is try to hit a good one next time. 

So  I guess for me it would be expectation?  I don't expect a particular practice session to have any impact on my next round . .it's all the practice that slowly improves my rounds.

Edit - I practice about 20 minutes every day (usually) and go to the range a few times a month.  Lessons a few times a year.

Edited by Rainmaker

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The main thing that kills my game is thinking.  Some instructors give you swing thoughts. That just shot you down in flames.  When you practice and hit that amazing shot with each club, remember how it felt.  

The secret to golf is in the feel.  Feel the release as though you are holding a sword and are slicing a melon.  Take your stance, flip your club over and hold by the club head in one hand.  Use your golf swing and swing through the melon.  Change hands, slice the melon.  Flip over and hold the grip with both hands, slice the melon.  That is the feel you're after.  Feel as though if you let go of the club after impact the club would follow the ball.  Try gently throwing the club in the direction you want it to go.  It may be harder than it sounds  When you set up to a ball now feel the release in the direction you want the ball to go.  

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Lots of good feedback.  Thanks.  I don't feel like I've reached my potential;  on those rare days when I'm striking the ball well I'll hit 12 greens;  that's 78 all by itself assuming I don't three putt (which I unfortunately do too often).  Yes I'm over 50 although I'm in pretty good shape;  I can still swing around 100mph with driver and hit it 270+.  I might try a larger putter grip.

As far as "bad teacher" vs "bad student", I think it's probably the latter.  I sometimes feel like the "anti-testimonial";  opposite of the guy who says "I took lessons from this person for three months and knocked 5 shots off my handicap!"  I have a very analytical brain so sometimes it's tough to take what someone is telling me without fully understanding, then I see something online that says basically the opposite so then I get confused.  For example.  My pro wants me to swing more inside out to start the ball right with a baby draw.  My miss is a ball that starts straight (or slightly left) of the target and hooks further left.  This makes me think I need to swing more in-to-out, but then I read that too much of an in-to-out path with a square (to the target) clubface basically equals a snap hook.

I need to somehow get tougher mentally on the course so that two early doubles don't derail me for the rest of the round.  Too much of my self image is wrapped up in how well I score since this is the only competitive thing I do.

Thanks again.

 

 

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On 4/11/2016 at 0:26 PM, iacas said:

Just being honest (and blunt) here. These are signs of either:

  • A bad instructor.
  • A bad student.

Not guarantees. Just signs.

Lessons are not things you "take" and then just magically improve. You have to keep working at the same thing. If the proper priority item is found, you might work on it for years before you move on to something else, but you should generally be improving (or not back-sliding) the whole time.

And you said you took lessons, in the past few years, off of three "different" teaching pros. Why is that? I suppose that is explained by your latest post.

12 hours ago, edhalsim said:

Lots of good feedback.  Thanks.  I don't feel like I've reached my potential;  on those rare days when I'm striking the ball well I'll hit 12 greens;  that's 78 all by itself assuming I don't three putt (which I unfortunately do too often).  Yes I'm over 50 although I'm in pretty good shape;  I can still swing around 100mph with driver and hit it 270+.  I might try a larger putter grip.

As far as "bad teacher" vs "bad student", I think it's probably the latter.  I sometimes feel like the "anti-testimonial";  opposite of the guy who says "I took lessons from this person for three months and knocked 5 shots off my handicap!"  I have a very analytical brain so sometimes it's tough to take what someone is telling me without fully understanding, then I see something online that says basically the opposite so then I get confused.  For example.  My pro wants me to swing more inside out to start the ball right with a baby draw.  My miss is a ball that starts straight (or slightly left) of the target and hooks further left.  This makes me think I need to swing more in-to-out, but then I read that too much of an in-to-out path with a square (to the target) clubface basically equals a snap hook.

I need to somehow get tougher mentally on the course so that two early doubles don't derail me for the rest of the round.  Too much of my self image is wrapped up in how well I score since this is the only competitive thing I do.

Thanks again.

 

 

It doesn't surprise me that your "big miss" is a ball that starts left and goes further left. This means that your clubhead path is out to in, and your clubface is closed to it. Better players fight the shot to the left. I'm not sure that I buy the idea of an in to out swingpath with the clubface square to the target equals a snapper! That would depend on how out to in your swingpath was. If it was that extreme, I'd have to believe that your instructor would say something about it.

So, you may have more of a clue than your instructor does. If it works, use it. If it doesn't, discard it!

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14 hours ago, edhalsim said:

Lots of good feedback.  Thanks.  I don't feel like I've reached my potential;  on those rare days when I'm striking the ball well I'll hit 12 greens;  that's 78 all by itself assuming I don't three putt (which I unfortunately do too often).  Yes I'm over 50 although I'm in pretty good shape;  I can still swing around 100mph with driver and hit it 270+.  I might try a larger putter grip.

As far as "bad teacher" vs "bad student", I think it's probably the latter.  I sometimes feel like the "anti-testimonial";  opposite of the guy who says "I took lessons from this person for three months and knocked 5 shots off my handicap!"  I have a very analytical brain so sometimes it's tough to take what someone is telling me without fully understanding, then I see something online that says basically the opposite so then I get confused.  For example.  My pro wants me to swing more inside out to start the ball right with a baby draw.  My miss is a ball that starts straight (or slightly left) of the target and hooks further left.  This makes me think I need to swing more in-to-out, but then I read that too much of an in-to-out path with a square (to the target) clubface basically equals a snap hook.

I need to somehow get tougher mentally on the course so that two early doubles don't derail me for the rest of the round.  Too much of my self image is wrapped up in how well I score since this is the only competitive thing I do.

Thanks again.

 

 

In to out works a lot better. It's much more controllable.

 

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Maybe your just working hard in the wrong area of your game? Even it out try to hit more greens and less pressure will mount up on your short game. take a 5 from 150 yards if you have to and just hit the green. great golf is great golf but even scrappy golf can make par's all day if you just mange to make greens 2 putt and move on. Forget your previous high scores and focus on straight. You would be surprised how satisfying it is to shoot one or two over for 9 holes from just hitting it in play and striking it poorly. Face it as a 7.7 handicap you could shoot 4 under when your on fire and puring it as intended. In other words you should always manage to score well enough all the time regardless. If your on let it ride if your off slow it down take 2 maybe 3 more clubs and keep it in play without steering it and your consistency will improve score wise.

Edited by Mike Boatright

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Note: This thread is 1694 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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