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kpaulhus

How do you battle frustration due to golf?

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After having been a single digit handicap for the last 7+ years, swing changes and frustration has me at a 9.7 with the next possible round getting me to a double digit handicap. In the grand scheme of things, Im

still a better golfer than a large percentage of people who golf, but at the same time it’s very frustrating to me to shoot in the mid to high 80’s. I know I’m a better golfer than how I’m playing right now and it’s so aggravating. I joke when I tell my buddies I’m going to take two weeks off an quit, and I know changing my swing for the better is going to take a lot of work, but it’s just frustrating sometimes.

Other than my beautiful wife and dogs, golf is up there with one of the most important things I do in life, so it sucks to suck, ya know. 

Take a few days off an keep my head down and working? What do you do when it just doesnt make sense? 

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I really don't do much. I figure there are going to be bad stretches every now and then. I've heard that it takes as long to play good as it took to play bad, so I just stay patient. I play all year in NC, and I expect the quality of my play to decline in the winter. I might take a lesson from a pro that I know that has a very simple approach to teaching. I have a bit of an loop in my swing, and he never fools with that. He looks more at ball position, aim, grip. I don't want to brag, but my mental approach is pretty good. I don't let a bit of bad play bother me. I don't spend too much time on the range when I'm not playing well. That just gets me thinking too much. I just go play, and try to figure out how to score.

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If you're going to keep playing during a transition time (and obviously I know what the transition is for you right now), just play golf. DO NOT work on your swing on the course, not in a scoring round.

Do find a swing that you can play on the course, even if it's just to have stingers, or big slices, or something. Just find something you can repeatedly hit. Find a "get it around" shot.

Practice when you practice, play when you play - even if it's not what your game used to or will eventually again look like.

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1 minute ago, iacas said:

If you're going to keep playing during a transition time (and obviously I know what the transition is for you right now), just play golf. DO NOT work on your swing on the course, not in a scoring round.

Do find a swing that you can play on the course, even if it's just to have stingers, or big slices, or something. Just find something you can repeatedly hit. Find a "get it around" shot.

Practice when you practice, play when you play - even if it's not what your game used to or will eventually again look like.

I think that’s been my issue. I bomb one with the driver with the swing that works that day, then the next hole find myself “working” and hook it. Played somewhere different today with much faster greens than usual so getting up and down was tough with my putting. No question I can spend 2 hours a day on the range working, but need to find something to get it around while playing until the new swing takes over. I go from 80-87 in a two day span where one was just golfing and the other was more of a round where I caught myself implementing my practice. 

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Highly specific advice for you, but since you're so strong/fast with your arms, experiment with this:

  • Set up well left
  • All arms backswing - just pick the club up.
  • Stable lower body, don't worry about turning
  • Shift forward and pull the hands down hard

Experiment with that stuff. You'll lose a little yardage (less than you'd think), but contact should be clean, and flight will maybe be about the same with a bleeding cut. If flight is too low or it doesn't bleed, open up a bit more and make sure the ball isn't too far back in your stance.

And don't really do this too much with the driver.  If you do, tee it a bit lower and experiment with that.

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I always thought it was the frustration that caused bad golf. Not the other way around. That, and there is not too much that is worth getting frustrated over. Certainly not a game.  It's call taking the bad with the good. 

With a swing change, I would guess you just have to work your way through it,  to achieve what you are looking for. I don't think you can put a time limit on it. 

I know what it's like to lose a single digit handicap because of injuries. I was able to get a respectable golf game back by not being self defeating. Frustration to me is self defeating. Hard work, and a stubborn, but positive attitude worked well for me. I made liars out of some experts. Felt good to do so. 

I also think folks who talk about giving up golf, are actually giving up on themselves. 

To answer the OP's question, when I get bored, or complacent with my golf game, I go fishing. I might take a road trip some where. Maybe I will go take a hike with my dogs, and a camera. What ever I do, my golf game always returns..

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12 minutes ago, Patch said:

I always thought it was the frustration that caused bad golf. Not the other way around. That, and there is not too much that is worth getting frustrated over. Certainly not a game.  It's call taking the bad with the good. 

With a swing change, I would guess you just have to work your way through it,  to achieve what you are looking for. I don't think you can put a time limit on it. 

I know what it's like to lose a single digit handicap because of injuries. I was able to get a respectable golf game back by not being self defeating. Frustration to me is self defeating. Hard work, and a stubborn, but positive attitude worked well for me. I made liars out of some experts. Felt good to do so. 

I also think folks who talk about giving up golf, are actually giving up on themselves. 

To answer the OP's question, when I get bored, or complacent with my golf game, I go fishing. I might take a road trip some where. Maybe I will go take a hike with my dogs, and a camera. What ever I do, my golf game always returns..

I’m a pretty up beat guy. Not playing good golf is the frustrating part. To know you’ve shot 67 once, and can’t come within 15 shots of that these days is the frustrating part. 

 

You can be frustrated and still positive. The painful calluses on my hands are proof. I’ve had a golf club in my hand every day since December 1st. Some kind of movement or shot or chipping or putting. There is no question i won’t be giving up on anything golf related. Shoot, I have more golf shoes than I do dress, casual, gym, and sandals combined. 

 

I think the last part is needed. Business trip this week so won’t touch a club for 4 days so we will see how it goes. Next weekend is our club’s Super Bowl Shamble so it should be a fun day drinking with some golf mixed in. Might be just what I need to get refocused. 

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5 hours ago, iacas said:

If you're going to keep playing during a transition time (and obviously I know what the transition is for you right now), just play golf. DO NOT work on your swing on the course, not in a scoring round.

Do find a swing that you can play on the course, even if it's just to have stingers, or big slices, or something. Just find something you can repeatedly hit. Find a "get it around" shot.

Practice when you practice, play when you play - even if it's not what your game used to or will eventually again look like.

OMG! I could not agree with this more! I have a buddy who works on his swing on the course and all it does is screw him up! If we have time, he will "Tin Cup" it the whole way around! I once asked him what good he thought that second, and sometimes third, ball did him. "Well, I'm trying to figure out what I did wrong."

I find that counter productive on the course. It definitely gets him "thinking" too much. My strategy on the course is to relax! Relax, and think only of the shot you're going to play.

Quite a while ago there was a thread on here about "swing thoughts" on the golf course. I quoted Nicklaus who said, "If you can take only one swing thought onto the course, that's still one thought too many!" To my mind swing thoughts are for the practice range. What you want on the course are "shot thoughts". You're trying to make a shot that will enable you to score.

Also, I don't know how old you are, but Father Time is undefeated. You spoke of shooting a 67 one time. Been there! But the me of 40 years ago could stomp the me of today into the ground!

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@Buckeyebowman while a I agree with you on having too many swing thoughts, Jack was also quoted as saying he could think of 6 things before impact and do them. I believe you need one thing to think about.  Right now I can't get it down to one so it shows. When things start to click on the range and I can get back to one thought is when I'll be shooting low scores again. 

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I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to go backwards @kpaulhus, even if it's just temporary. No words of wisdom, but best of luck to you getting back to where you were and even lower.

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I can agree with that. Everybody is different. What works for me may not work for you. I've tried to swing the club "mechanically". I just can't do it! When I'm on the course, all I can do is look at the target and figure the best way to get there.

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I just started playing regularly again last year after stopping in the 1990s. So essentially I am starting over. Since I was a high handicapper to begin with there is really no point in getting frustrated for me. First I want to work on my game and TRY to improve. But mostly I just want to play. Local muni and par 3 courses are sufficient. Maybe if I improve enough I’ll do a Palm Springs or San Diego trip and play a really nice course.

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8 hours ago, kpaulhus said:

Take a few days off an keep my head down and working? What do you do when it just doesnt make sense? 

Great question.

@iacas shared some great info regarding finding a play swing or a "backup" swing. Very important IMO to have that if you want to be a clutch player.

I do a few things when golf isn't going so great:

- Take a few days off but still do some "no pressure" practice at home. Practice swings in the front room or hitting foam balls in the backyard. Something simple that I can be successful at. Give yourself a little time to reset but still stay warm.

- Take a step back and realize at the end of the day it's a game. This can be a tough one because it's more than just something like a summer softball league, golf is a lifestyle sport. We watch it, study it, play it, wear the clothes even when we're not playing, etc. 

- Find something positive to give myself props for. Even if I'm not hitting or putting it well, at least my rehearsals are good or remind myself of a solid shot I hit.

- Remind myself that it's normal to go through bad spurts and that I've gotten through them before.

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I think the guys who invented the game of golf as we know it must of had a pretty sick sense of humour. I mean, they created one of the most addictive yet insanely frustrating pastimes on the planet!!

@mvmacis absolutley spot on with his post. I go through the same feelings quite a lot. The way i see it is this, If im having a bad day on the course i'll close my eyes, take a few deep breaths and consider how lucky i am to be out playing the sport i love. No matter how bad im playing it could be a whole lot worse. Hell, i'd rather be playing crap on the course then cleaning crap out of the toilet!

 

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I don't get frustrated.  I get depressed.  I enjoy the mental aspect of golf, by which I mean the analytical aspect- how to swing a club, how to practice, how to get better.  When I took golf up again a few years ago, I re-started a lifetime quest to break 80 just once.  I made it about 2 years ago, at the age of 62, and since then, it's been a slow slide backwards.  I'm starting to think, maybe that was my peak.  Maybe I'll never get any better than that. 

But then, the days start to get longer, the weather starts to warm up, and I start to have thoughts like, hey, maybe if I shorten my backswing!   Maybe I just need to do this!  Maybe I just need to do that!  And a dozen other possibilities.  And I convince myself I'm going to get better, and all the old enthusiasm returns.  

Yes, I might be fooling myself.  I'm 64 now, starting that slow slide down hill.  In reality, the problem with me getting any better is that I lack ability.   As much as I want to think I can conquer this game intellectually, it's still a physical game, and I am just a nerdy intellectual non-athletic guy. 

I think for most of us, what generates enthusiasm is hope.  I have to have hope.  That's what conquers the depression for me. 

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3 hours ago, Marty2019 said:

Yes, I might be fooling myself.  I'm 64 now, starting that slow slide down hill.  In reality, the problem with me getting any better is that I lack ability.   As much as I want to think I can conquer this game intellectually, it's still a physical game, and I am just a nerdy intellectual non-athletic guy. 

2

I know a lot of guys over 65 who have shot their age. 70 is the new 50. You have plenty of physical ability so dont worry about that. I agree with you that once the sun starts staying out longer and it gets hot again the golf spark will really get hot again. 

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Since I've had a son i usually forget when I'm playing badly pretty quickly. I think it through then just start with fundamentals at the range a few days later. It works itself out. That or i usually go eat something i shouldnt and have some bourbon. 

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