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Realistic Expectations

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Very good post. To get some perspective if you have the golf channel record some of the early rounds on Thursday and Friday and watch the non leaders. You will see a lot of missed shots.

And then there is this.....

http://golfweek.com/2017/04/23/bud-cauley-suffers-double-hit-at-valero-texas-open-but-still-manages-to-save-bogey/

 If it happens to the pros it can happen to you. So stop beating yourself up about it.

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A little late but I read through and thought I'd post a question. I agree of course with Iacas regarding expectations. My issue is more general than being upset if I hit the backside of a green when the pin is up front. I'm fine with that. I'm the classic case of feeling I just don't see results any where near satisfactory for the amount of work I put in. No, I don't just bang balls out there. I'm very focused and work on specifics.

Case: I was at the practice area (beautiful academy all to myself). I was focusing on shortening my backswing as I tend to let the club dip below parallel causing my grip to actually lose the club for a millisecond only to re-grip during the start of the downswing. I spent about 3 hours hitting very controlled shots. Slow, making sure to 'feel' the backswing position. I worked this piece with my wedge, 7i and 5i. I was striping these clubs and hitting my targets all within an acceptable shot zone.

Took a 15min break and relaxed. I hit 5 drives all very solid and where I wanted them to go. I then went to the short game area and practiced 50yd, 30yd shots then greenside chips. This took about 1 1/2 hours. Went back to the range area. I played the 10th hole in my head (par 4 324yds) which is adjacent to the practice area actually. I started with the Drive which was a nice fade ending within my mental boundaries. I imagined about a 60yd shot to the green so hit my 56s wedge. Very solid strike, nice divot in front of the ball and landed it about 6' right of the pin on the target green. Voila. 

I go to the pro shop where they confirm I can go off the 10th tee and play the back if I'd like to. Grab some water and off I go, feeling so confident and excited to play. My drive goes well and lands on the left side of the fairway. Good. I end up having 54yds to the pin which is about in the middle of the green. 56s wedge comes out (which I literally hit just minutes ago and practiced with for quite some time wonderfully), shank. Ball went off to an unplayable area so I just dropped another one. Shank into the pond. I left the hole and went to 11 (Par 4, 445yds) Nice drive on a big dogleg right. Middle of the fairway with 165yds left. 7i. Shank into the woods. I admit I hang my head and just don't get it. I try to shake this off and get another ball. Breathe, focus, come on..you just did this all morning. Shank. Not into the woods so I go to this ball and have about 60yds in the rough way left of the green. Shank the sand wedge.

Pick up and go to the next hole which is a par 5. Great drive. Great 3W, nice SW within about 8'. Make par. I'm fine with that. Next hole is a par 3 189yds. I take a 5i and think about my swing, of course it feels just like I was doing that morning. Same thoughts, same feels. Shank. I proceeded to take out 3 more balls (no one behind me) I shanked all of them. Four shanks all in a row.

Anyway, this is how the round continued. Just devastating. No, I didn't enjoy this. No I don't just admire the trees and listen to the birds and watch the alligators. I can do that anywhere. I wanted to play golf. I honestly thought this would be one of my better rounds being that I really thought my groove was on. Felt great, striping the ball just that morning so effortlessly. I managed to scrape out more pars but it was from my chipping and driving going well. But overall my ball striking was just a mess.

Is it really possible that I just have to start playing more be it mental or not in order to start seeing better results on the course? Do I really just have some 'mental hang up' with being on the course that I may not even be aware of? 

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@Vinsk,  I don't know what your normal practice session is like, but you've described a session that lasted about 5 hours.  If that was me, I'd be pretty tired, but more importantly, my brain would be exhausted.  I'd suggest that its unrealistic to expect to be able to focus on "playing golf" when you've already been poracticing out there for 5 or 6 hours already.

My personal preference is to keep practice sessions pretty short (under an hour) and focused.  My ability to concentrate begins to fade after an hour or so.  I also prefer to keep practice separate from play.  If I'm going to play, I'll warm up on the range, but that's not the time to really work on changes.  

Edited by DaveP043

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5 hours ago, Vinsk said:

I take a 5i and think about my swing, of course it feels just like I was doing that morning. Same thoughts, same feels. Shank. I proceeded to take out 3 more balls (no one behind me) I shanked all of them. Four shanks all in a row.

Hi Mr. Golf Channel Celeb. Good to hear from you again. :-)

I think you experienced a "Mental Block" which is caused by expectations from the long practice session.
When I Sh___  several multiple swings, I'm not typing it because it might be contagious, it's generally due to -
too much swing thoughts, hands here, take-away here, etc, which will cause "Tension"
Tension is a Swing Killer....  All sort's of things go wrong when I tense up.

Like the good Doctor say's "Drink two beers and call me in the morning" we will tee it up again.
Golf requires a Very, Very short memory...  :whistle:

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Excellent responses from both of you. DavePO43, I did consider the fatigue aspect. I'm 48 but when it comes to golf I 'feel' like I can go at it non-stop...lol...maybe 'feel ain't real' applies beyond swing mechanics? And Club Rat you too make a fine point. Tension may have been there despite my attempts to stay relaxed. I believe I do have a bit of anxiety as my misses are not slices/pushes or hooks/pulls. It's always the sh----. And I don't believe there is a worse shot to wreck one's nerves.

My plan is to play more and shorten my practice sessions. It's just so inviting since I literally have such a nice academy usually all to myself.

Thanks guys.

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10 hours ago, Vinsk said:

 

Is it really possible that I just have to start playing more be it mental or not in order to start seeing better results on the course? Do I really just have some 'mental hang up' with being on the course that I may not even be aware of? 

IMO, yes. I think you have to hit critical mass of continuous daily or some sort of high frequency practice, 3/4 times a week (hopefully not 5 hour marathons) for quite some time (I think it would be a few months if I was doing a combo of a hour range + 9 hole round, not sure how much for you) to perform at somewhat of a similar level on the course compared to your range performance.

My expectation is that I think I will be at best a 7.5-8 at the current level of practice + play frequency.  

Edited by GolfLug

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I read the original post again and the responses. Like someone shined a light on my game.

In a tournament years ago, a guy said "You know, you're a better player than you give yourself credit for", referring to my habit of not being able to accept a compliment when given or of saying "I wish it had been better." The same guy later remarked, "You would be a better player if you didn't play with so much fear." He wasn't giving me the needle; he was being honest.

I think my ego tells me I should play so much better than my capabilities. That sets up stress and tension to perform at that high level. At the same time, not being able to recognize that yes, I really can play the game, is the opposite side of the same coin. In fact, last week, I played well below my handicap on the second day of a tournament, but let the first day's core (which wasn't that bad) overshadow it. Looking back, on the second day, my only thoughts were picking a target for my shots and enjoying what happened next and getting on the green.

Great topic! Lots to consider.  -Marv

 

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Great post, and something I need to keep in mind as I continue to work on my game.  My next golf purchase with be LSW as I really want to work on all aspects of my game, not just my swing.

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4 hours ago, Antneye said:

Great post, and something I need to keep in mind as I continue to work on my game.  My next golf purchase with be LSW as I really want to work on all aspects of my game, not just my swing.

I think you'll find that book will help and it's very much related to this thread.

Many of us believe we should be better at a certain skill or misjudge the values of those skills we're not very good at. In addition to on-course strategy, LSW provides statistics of the how skilled the best golfers in the world are with a certain part of the game as well as statistical data on how important each of those skills are. The book also offers tips on how to achieve improvement.

I had most of that wrong before I bought the book. So when I thought I should be hitting more than 33% GIR as a 24 hc, that just wasn't realistic. I should be working hard at improving that skill because of the value it provides, but not simply expecting it.

Also, since other skills such as tee shots have such a direct impact on approach shots, those shots may be the issue more than how well I hit my irons.


I heard an interesting comment yesterday from Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers. The team is playing very poorly lately, losing several in a row and are far below .500, despite having a lot of talent. When a reporter asked if he thought the team was better than their record, he replied... "No. We are exactly as poor as our record indicates. If we were winning a lot of games, that's exactly how good we would be" (paraphrased).

It made me think of my golf game and how I can con myself into thinking I'm better than this and am just going through a rough patch. Nope. Looking at a large sample of rounds, I suck as bad as my average score or handicap is.

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