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JonMA1

Thoughts on Scoring Well vs Improving

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JonMA1    351

I'm not looking for advice as much as opinions on how others might approach my situation.

I have a membership at my home course which means I don't pay a penny to walk the course. Relative to distance, the course has a much higher rating and slope than any other course in the area. For the next couple of years, I've put myself on a tight golf budget. While I will occasionally play other courses throughout the season, I keep it to a minimum.

The white tees at my course play at just over 5,000 yards but have a rating similar to most of the other courses which play closer to 6,000. The blues at my course play at 6,000 and the blacks at 6,700. By far, the majority of players - many of whom are more skilled than I - play the white tees.

The issue is that from playing those short tees, I don't get much work with my fairway woods and driver which are the clubs that may be hurting my score the most in terms of penalties. On all but the par 5's and one par 4, I'm using irons from off the tee. That's not to say my irons, short game or putting is tight, just that right now those are hurting my scores a bit less.

The trouble is, those blue tees simply kick my butt - even when my long clubs aren't as bad as they are now. So it's kind of a catch 22. I want to enjoy the one day a week when I play a round of golf, but I'd like to improve a bit on my weaknesses. The only practice I get any more is hitting irons and wedges into a field and there isn't much room out there to practice driver or woods.

My approach right now is to continue playing these short tees until I get to the point where they are no longer as much of a challenge... I don't know, maybe start breaking 90 on a regular basis. If or when I get to that point, start mixing in some rounds from the blue tees. I don't think it will happen this year.

Any thoughts?

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bkuehn1952    461

You might create your own set of tees.  Play 1,2 or 3 of the less difficult holes from the Blue. The balance from the middle or forward tees.  Force yourself to use woods or driver a few times.  You could actually come up with a rating and slope using the USGA chart for unrated tees.

Alternately, if the course is not the busy, hit several balls off the tee.  Use shag balls so ones deposited in the forest can be abandoned.

 

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dennyjones    185
1 hour ago, bkuehn1952 said:

You might create your own set of tees.  Play 1,2 or 3 of the less difficult holes from the Blue. The balance from the middle or forward tees.  Force yourself to use woods or driver a few times.  You could actually come up with a rating and slope using the USGA chart for unrated tees.

Alternately, if the course is not the busy, hit several balls off the tee.  Use shag balls so ones deposited in the forest can be abandoned.

 

I've done what Brian is suggesting.  Changing tees give you a different perspective and look at different distances.   There are tournaments that use this concept and alternate between red, white and blue.   

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iacas    4,064

@JonMA1, you asked for advice on how "improve" and unfortunately I can't ignore your past. I know it, and it informs  the conversation.

You can get better by practicing properly and improving the things you do on the course OFF the course.

I know you've struggled to find the best way to improve, but that's critical. Playing different tees, or playing a different course, or whatever… those are fluff. They're not the solution, they're tangential at best.

 

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NJpatbee    43

If you evaluate the state of your game using a handicap system the slope and difficulty of your blue tees should even things out.  It sounds like you have the distance for the blues.  If that will not work for you may want to consider a different club for next season.

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JonMA1    351

@bkuehn1952, @dennyjones - Those are good ideas. Mixing up the tees really does change the course. There are so many bottlenecks and hazards that come in and out of play when I do that. I played several balls today. It was a solo round and I was stuck behind some slower players.

2 hours ago, NJpatbee said:

If you evaluate the state of your game using a handicap system the slope and difficulty of your blue tees should even things out.  It sounds like you have the distance for the blues.  If that will not work for you may want to consider a different club for next season.

They should even out but with my struggles with those clubs, the longer tees are much harder - relatively speaking. I guess that makes me somewhat of a vanity capper because I can get a lower differential by playing these shorter tees.

3 hours ago, iacas said:

@JonMA1, you asked for advice on how "improve" and unfortunately I can't ignore your past. I know it, and it informs  the conversation.

You can get better by practicing properly and improving the things you do on the course OFF the course.

I know you've struggled to find the best way to improve, but that's critical. Playing different tees, or playing a different course, or whatever… those are fluff. They're not the solution, they're tangential at best.

 

As alway, I appreciate the candor. I know I can practice better/smarter and it's something I've been working on since late last year. 

Spoiler

 

This isn't a rant, nor am I whining about a first world problem. I also don't want to be that guy who argues or makes excuses when given good advice. The last thing I need is to drive others away from offering it.

I know this game isn't any harder for me than it is for others. It's hard for everyone. But the feeling of doing everything right (or as close to "right" as I can) and continuing to fail wears thin after a while. If there's one thing worse than being bad at something I truly love, it's being bad in spite of putting every resource and spare minute of time into trying to improve for 6 years - 4 of those years here trying to comprehend and apply what I know is the best information available.

So if I've dialed the effort and expectations back a little this year, maybe you can understand it's to preserve what little sanity I have left (hyperbole).

FWIW, I believe I'm doing better at a "Simple, Specific, Slow, Short and Success" approach. Not a day goes by where I don't apply at least some of this into my practice.

But yes - I can do better and will continue to work on developing those practice habits. I haven't given up, I just have to make the most of what I have available.

Again, thank you for the advice Erik.

 

 

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Midpack    17

I also play on a short course though I'm playing white tees on all holes, and I can (easily) reach GIR on every hole without woods. I've been teeing off with irons and avoiding woods most of this season (first year back playing after a very long layoff), and there's no question I've scored better in league doing so. I was trying to revive my woods on the driving range, and floundering, but I think I finally figured it out less than two weeks ago. Where I was hitting 2 of 3 unplayable/OB with woods the few times I used them, I've been using my woods much more often and hitting 4 of 5 playable/fairway more recently. I regret avoiding my woods now, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Confidence is paramount for me...

Edited by Midpack

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JonMA1    351
50 minutes ago, Midpack said:

I also play on a short course though I'm playing white tees on all holes, and I can (easily) reach GIR on every hole without woods. I've been teeing off with irons and avoiding woods most of this season (first year back playing after a very long layoff), and there's no question I've scored better in league doing so. I was trying to revive my woods on the driving range, and floundering, but I think I finally figured it out less than two weeks ago. Where I was hitting 2 of 3 unplayable/OB with woods the few times I used them, I've been using my woods much more often and hitting 4 of 5 playable/fairway more recently. I regret avoiding my woods now, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Confidence is paramount for me...

I'm with you on the confidence. I can incur penalties with my irons, but not to the extent of my woods or driver. It's one thing to miss an occasional drive and quite another to miss the first and not have any confidence that the second (or third) shot will be ok.

The weird thing is that earlier in the season, I felt like I had nearly complete control over the driver. Hitting fairways was easy, not to mention keeping it in play. Right now, not so much.

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sjduffers    79

I would say that without working out your longer clubs elsewhere (on the range, taking lessons, etc...), you need to make sure that those clubs are used regularly in your on-course practice. If that means, going to the blue tees, making a mixture of tees, or hitting drivers and woods from the white tees, you'll have to do something or your game won't be able to travel.

Do it in a way where you don't have to "pay" for the consequences, by not keeping score, hitting multiple balls, using shag balls off the tee, etc... You already are not paying in the monetary sense by having "free" access to the course with your membership. The only way to build confidence is to do it: confidence doesn't happen just because one day you wake up and say: "I feel good and confident today".

Pay your dues and it'll work out. :beer:

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