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Blackjack Don

Anything that will drop a 20 to a 15? A 15 to a 10?

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I'm in favour of the do everything approach. Swing/long game with a coach, short game practice, get fit for clubs, learn to play smart, play, putting distance control, read and line.  I made yards and came down about 5 this year but relatively neglected the short game apart from a couple of sessions. Hopefully that means I've got a couple of shots just sitting there for me to pick up. 

 

 

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Play with better players and be very observant.  I moved out west for grad school and the move brought me very close to my two cousins.  My cousins are both very good golfers, 2 HDCP and a scratch who has won the Regional Amateur multiple times.   After playing multiple rounds with them, I was amazed how they approached shots and what their shot processes were.  I am a highly inconsistent golfer and was very aggressive, always attacking pins, and watching them showed me that managing where you miss the ball is very important.  So instead of attacking that back left pin with OB left, maybe play to the right center of green and leave yourself a 2 putt par.  In hindsight, it sounds pretty simple but I had the 'grip it and rip it' mentality and changing to become a little more conscious of my shot selection saw my handicap go from a 13 to a 9 in 6-7 months. 

Edited by DannyMac

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41 minutes ago, The Recreational Golfer said:

20 to 15 - better short game.

Consider this…

We know that driving and approach shots (to 100 yards) account for about 2/3 of what separates one level of golfer from another. 1/3 of the strokes come from short game and putting.

So consider… a golfer who wants to save 5 strokes just from the short game and putting would have to get to the equivalent of a 5 handicapper with their short game. A 5 handicapper is five strokes better with the short game, and ten with the full swing.

So you're telling people to become a 20 handicapper with the full swing, but a 5 handicapper with the short game and putting.

It's probably a little unrealistic. You can save a few shots pretty quickly by improving your short game, but asking a 20-handicapper to get to a 5-handicapper short game is probably unrealistic.

Spoiler

And that's if you include putting in the short game. If you exclude it, you're looking at becoming one of the best short game players in the world to save enough strokes. (I'll assume that "short game" includes putting.)

Short game is a piece here, but just a piece.

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Buy the most expensive clubs money can buy, buy a bunch of nice swag to go out to the course in, play from the tips, gimmies inside of 10 ft... ehhhh 15 ft., talk about how far you can hit your driver everywhere you go...

 

i think if you do all of these consistently, you can drop 5 easily

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22 hours ago, Psychonana said:

I'd suggest first identifying where you are creating risk or loosing shots in all aspects of your game; errant drives, number of bunkers you get in. How many 3 putts, trebles and doubles do you typically have. Write them All down on a hit-list. Identify the skills that will help negate those more challenging shot scenarios and link them to your hit-list items. Now create a fallback plan for each scenario. E.g. Hybrid rather than driver on the tee, lay up or play around when faced with a bunker, lag putting, etc.  Going forward play only your fallback plan. Set your goals for a limited but realistic period of time. (Eg: hit 8 fairways off the tee rather than 3 or no OABs rather than your usual 3) Take one skill a time and work on it until you can confidently implement the stroke into your game and only then will you allow yourself to retire the fallback option. Bit by bit you will see your hit-list disappear and your scoring improve.

This is the first year I've had statistics to look at. I recorded a pretty high percentage of my rounds in 2016 using GameGolf which does a pretty good job of showing ones general weaknesses.  But following the lead of @RandallT, I dug a little deeper into where I start giving strokes away so that I could hopefully address those issues through practice - just as you've suggested above.

I don't want to turn this into a MySwing thread, but I think having real statistics helps me to not rely less on memory, which in my case consists mostly of delusions of grandeur.

What I found...

Spoiler

 

Finished gathering some GG data and putting it into a spreadsheet. There are inaccuracies through out the process, but I think the information is useful.

Not surprising...

1. Using 36 putts per round as a benchmark, I lost 5 strokes per round due to poor putting. I need to devote more practice time and gain some confidence. But I'm also going to work on getting closer to the hole with my short game.

2. I averaged 3.4 strokes lost to penalties. Just have to improve my full swing (see below).

Surprising...

I divided my clubs into the Driver, Woods, Long irons (4i, 5i, 6i) and mid/short/wedges (7i down to gap wedge). I assumed the highest percentage of penalties might come from my driver, but I was wrong.

1.15% of my fairway wood shots went awry (from off the tee and off the deck). I always felt as though those clubs were solid. A prime example of why feel ain't real.

2. 13% of my tee shots with a driver resulted in penalties.

3. 9% of my long irons.

4. 5% of my other irons and wedges (this category includes more shots than the other three combined. 

My home course requires you carry water hazards on seven of the nine holes. I'll drop some in there on occasions - usually due to poor contact with shorter clubs. But most of my penalties are a result of left or right misses. Tells me I need improvement with keys 4 and 5.

 

So basically I agree with what you're saying @Psychonana. Figure out the reasons for the high scores and modify practice ratios if needed to address them.

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On 2/9/2017 at 0:40 PM, Blackjack Don said:

Is there one thing that a 20 hcp can do to drop 5 strokes? Anything a 15 can do to be a ten?

Become a Stupid Monkey. 

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I'm hanging my hat on short game and course management.

I keep hearing Haney's voice: stop two chipping, stop three putting. I spend way more time in a round hitting from 100 in than I do driver and approach. I believe I'll save more strokes reducing doubles and triples than hitting hero shots to try and make birdie. So stopped hitting a bucket with driver and spend 90 % with target practice on irons and wedges. Time will tell

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On 2/10/2017 at 0:49 PM, iacas said:

Consider this…

We know that driving and approach shots (to 100 yards) account for about 2/3 of what separates one level of golfer from another. 1/3 of the strokes come from short game and putting.

So consider… a golfer who wants to save 5 strokes just from the short game and putting would have to get to the equivalent of a 5 handicapper with their short game. A 5 handicapper is five strokes better with the short game, and ten with the full swing.

So you're telling people to become a 20 handicapper with the full swing, but a 5 handicapper with the short game and putting.

It's probably a little unrealistic. You can save a few shots pretty quickly by improving your short game, but asking a 20-handicapper to get to a 5-handicapper short game is probably unrealistic.

  Reveal hidden contents

And that's if you include putting in the short game. If you exclude it, you're looking at becoming one of the best short game players in the world to save enough strokes. (I'll assume that "short game" includes putting.)

Short game is a piece here, but just a piece.

I post #10, you identified four shots just by being better at short game and putting. Perhaps I should have been more specific and included putting. What I was getting at was saving strokes around the green. But I play with 20-handicappers. I watch what they do. They're clueless when they chip, and their approach putting is terrible. A few fewer three-putt greens, getting a few more chips close enough to get the up-and-down, there are your five strokes.

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11 minutes ago, The Recreational Golfer said:

I post #10, you identified four shots just by being better at short game and putting.

To be fair, I said one to two shots. So call it 1.5, and you're looking at 3.5 shots, which means about 10 strokes, so a 20 handicap ballstriker and a 10 handicap short game/putter. :-)

13 minutes ago, The Recreational Golfer said:

Perhaps I should have been more specific and included putting. What I was getting at was saving strokes around the green. But I play with 20-handicappers. I watch what they do. They're clueless when they chip, and their approach putting is terrible. A few fewer three-putt greens, getting a few more chips close enough to get the up-and-down, there are your five strokes.

The stats don't really support that, though. I think you're letting your experiential bias shade your opinion. You're probably not crediting them the times they hit a few shots better than their handicap level, and things have a way of balancing out. Every time they make an eight-footer, after all, they gain half a stroke on a PGA Tour player.

The short game and putting is still a big chunk of the answer here because it's the easiest areas to improve at quickly. But it's unlikely to be all five of the shots gained.

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About 5 years ago I was sitting at a 20 handicap and decided to do something about it.  This approach worked for me, but take it with a grain of salt as I'm definitely not a teaching pro.

- Find a good teaching pro that you can work with to really understand your swing and ways to improve consistency.  I was lucky enough to work with one when I lived in Minneapolis who wasn't trying to make my swing into that of any specific tour pro.  He shed light on my major flaws, helped me work on a lot of drills at home and at the range to improve my swing dynamics and we communicated really well throughout the process.

- Find more fairways.  For me this meant hitting a lot of fairway woods and hybrids from tees around 5800-6000 yards.  I was losing a lot of shots because I was always off the fairway.  Getting myself into the short grass at least gave me better odds of getting the ball on or close to the green.

- Short game, specifically around the green.  As my FIR numbers improved I noticed I was still missing greens so I worked hard on my chipping to improve my ability to get up/down more often.  This dropped a lot of shots from the scorecard for me.  And yes I know that improving accuracy with approach shots is certainly optimal and that's something I've worked on since but during that first year improving my chipping helped a ton.

That's my two cents.  Best of luck to you.  It's very much doable to get down to a lower handicap.  I was impressed how working on a couple of things really dropped my HC quickly.

Edited by OrangeHog

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No degree of science behind these statement, but I'll take a stab at 3 areas that would significantly reduce hdcp and quickly:

1. Hit more greens in regulation

2. Proximity to hole improvement

3. Hole more putts for birdie

Now, get to work!  :-P

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My guess is that accuracy, and/or distance off the tee, and approaches will shave strokes off a an average score. If the golfer already has these two swing pieces under control, then a better short game will help. 

If the golfer wants quicker results, and has room for improvement in their short game, then perhaps a better short game is the way to go. 

5 strokes is a big drop in average scores, and requires a lot of dedicated time and work from the golfer.

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In a different thread, the OP was talking about teeing off from the blue markers. So I think based on this, being better off the tee would shave the most strokes. 

Personally, I know this is the biggest problem for me. If I could hit my driver reliably I would be a much better golfer. I would shoot in the 80s. consistently. 

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On ‎2017‎/‎02‎/‎12 at 11:53 AM, The Recreational Golfer said:

I play with 20-handicappers. I watch what they do. They're clueless when they chip, and their approach putting is terrible. A few fewer three-putt greens, getting a few more chips close enough to get the up-and-down, there are your five strokes.

If you're talking about guys taking multiple chips on several holes, they're probably not 20 HCPs.  A 20 HCP hits very few greens but makes bogey on the majority of holes. 

On ‎2017‎/‎02‎/‎09 at 7:07 PM, Golfingdad said:

But recognize that improving the iron play will ALSO help the bunker play because you will be in them less often. :beer:

This could be a double-edged sword.  High, soft iron shots that just miss the green seem to plug more often than balls that are hooked, bladed, or shanked into a bunker.

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2 minutes ago, k-troop said:

If you're talking about guys taking multiple chips on several holes

I don't know where you read that. He said chipping closer to get the up and down (i.e. to make the resulting putt).

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1 minute ago, iacas said:

I don't know where you read that. He said chipping closer to get the up and down (i.e. to make the resulting putt).

I'm interpolating (it's a word, I swear) that he's associating really bad (clueless) chipping with bad contact, multiple chips, etc.  Maybe not.

If I had to guess....  Most 20-cappers are missing the green and chipping it onto the green, though rarely inside 10 feet and usually not outside 30 feet.  Their avg stroke count from anywhere between 10-30 feet is probably between 1.5 and 2 (although 30-feet range may be just over 2).  And they're probably not going to be able to improve those averages enough to matter very much.

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8 minutes ago, k-troop said:

I'm interpolating (it's a word, I swear) that he's associating really bad (clueless) chipping with bad contact, multiple chips, etc.  Maybe not.

If I had to guess....  Most 20-cappers are missing the green and chipping it onto the green, though rarely inside 10 feet and usually not outside 30 feet.  Their avg stroke count from anywhere between 10-30 feet is probably between 1.5 and 2 (although 30-feet range may be just over 2).  And they're probably not going to be able to improve those averages enough to matter very much.

Pure speculation on my part, but wouldnt it be beneficial if the 20 hcp could chip it within 10 feet consistently? Wouldnt that help save some shots since they would, in theory, have more 1 putts and possibly more pars as a result of those one putts? 

I typically miss the green with approach shots from 100+ out, but its usually within a few yards of the green, if I was able to chip within 10 feet and 1 putt more often, I feel like I would be able to par more holes and lower my score.

Obviously the bigger picture is to improve the approach shots from distance, but that takes time. I would still like to enjoy playing and see my scores improve while I'm working on the long term approach shots, so that's why I feel if a 20 hcp could get within 10 feet more often it would allow them to drop a few strokes per round possibly?

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