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Your Golf Game - The Uplifting Topic

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My long game has gotten a lot better.  I have really been working on some of the COVID-19 drills for impact, and my impact has improved dramatically.  I used to miss most of my shots short and right.  Now, my misses are long and left.  My driver is working really well, and I was striping it yesterday. 

Now, I've got to work on my short game.

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I had been playing better than ever...set my personal best in a tournament with an 82, then about a week later broke 80 for the first time ever...and then some random made a comment about my grip. After having lived between 79 and 88 for a couple weeks, suddenly it was high 90s and a couple over 100. Missing left, right, short, long, just all over the place.

 

Yesterday got my tempo back, got his grip comments out of my head...had a decent round going and then did something I have never done before.

 

On 15, I chunked a 5i off the only got 180 out of it. But then a 6i went 194 and I rolled in the 8' birdie putt.

On 16 I hammered the driver 289 down the left side, decent pitch, rolled in the 12' birdie putt.

On 17,  170 yard par 3, stuck my tee shot to 8' and drained it for a third consecutive birdie...something I had never done before. 18 is a par 5 that after I came out sand left me about a 6' putt for birdie...naturally I missed it but I don't care, I will take 3 straight birdies and a par to finish anytime, and an 81. Felt good  to be in rhythm, scoring well and not be l in my head.

On a related note my previous handicap low was 13.9 but this morning...13.1. I feel like I am on my way at long last to being a respectable golfer.  

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We have a foursome at work that every now and then will play a competitive round.  Its not for anything except smack talk and bragging rights, but we do enjoy taking it seriously.  It's no secret that I'm the weakest golfer of the 4.  But I have improved my game quite a bit since the last time we played.  

We played 2-man scramble on the front 9, and i definitely did my equal share of the work for our team.  On the back 9, we played 2 man best ball, and i completely lost my swing.  It was really ugly.  I played 10, 11, and 12 at 9 over.  And as we finished 12 and headed to 13, i could tell the group had written me off as back to my old ways, and the rest of the round was essentially going to be a 2 v 1.  This feeling was confirmed on the 13th green.

A player on the other team hit his long par putt, and the 3 of them were walking off the green talking about the score as if we had lost the hole.  All while I'm still looking at my 12 foot par putt to halve the hole.  I politely tell them i still have a par putt, and they stand and watch.  I sized up the break, and sunk the putt.  That felt great to literally be written off either as obviously not able to be sitting 3, or clearly not able to make that putt.

The next hole was a 180 yard par 3.  I hit the green, as did a player from the other team.  Neither of us were particularly close to the pin.  The other 2 guys couldnt get up and down, and got bogeys.  My lag putt wasn't great, but left a 6 foot putt straight uphill.  The other guy went past the hole leaving a tricky 4 foot downhill putt.  He missed his, I drained mine, and my team headed to the 15th tee up 4 with 4 to play.

I clinched a least a tie with 2 GIR pars after literally being written off as a non competitor.  Sinking those 2 putts gave me as much of a feeling of accomplishment as anything has in this game before it.

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excited arrested development GIF

My game is coming together.  Off the tee, I am improving from round to round.  There is still room for improvement, but I think I just need to get confident with the driver.  With my irons, I am literally hitting the ball better than I ever have.  My miss is now a thin shot, rather than a weak chunked shot that leaves me a full shot short of the green.  However, most of my irons are pure, or as close to pure, as they have ever been.  Today, I was striping four and five irons into greens protected by water without fear.

My short game, while not getting me up and down for pars yet, is allowing me to limit the damage.  I have played my last two rounds, on difficult, tree lined courses, without a single triple bogey.  My last triple bogey was forty holes ago.  The putts that I am missing are burning the edges, and I stuck several five-to-ten footers right in the heart of the cup.  My lag putting is improving with every round, and my confidence with the putter is rising.

My course management is improving as my swing is improving, because I am becoming more confident in my abilities.  When I am over a shot, my thoughts have shifted from just staying out of trouble, to actually focusing on targets.  My next step is to really get a better handle on my club distances.  As my swing has improved, my distances have increased, and I've got to figure them out so that I can avoid the debacles like happened on the 17th today.  I tried to lay-up with a seven iron, but hit it into the woods.  If I put that one into the fairway, I make par, instead of double bogey.

My handicap is falling as my confidence is rising.

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My latest round, despite driving it poorly (popped up quite a few), I had less than 2 strokes lost approach.  But I had 9 strokes lost putting.  I still hit 4 GIR + another two with a full swing but not for regulation.

So the approach part is nice!

My sand shots have been really good lately.  Despite that I've had sand shots to hit.

Last night and tonight I drained a lot of 3' and 6' putts on the practice green.  Reading Erik's post from a while back about not accelerating, and the pendulum, has helped, and now I'm thinking of that actively when practicing short putts.  I'll do a measured drill on these soon. 

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Playing a lot better recently which is mainly due to watching several videos of Paul Wilson on youtube. His primary theme can be summed up in one word 'loose'. Nothing he says is ground breaking teaching but has been a good reminder for me. Loose or relaxed grip and arms. I focus on this along with starting my backswing with my left shoulder and finishing with my right shoulder. And letting my arms flow through w/o a death grip on the club. My ball striking has been much more consistent with better distance which is important for a senior. And it has helped my putting as I focus on relaxed arms & grip and rock my shoulders for the stroke. The ball is rolling much smoother and online. I'm going to try and stay with this theme and not let tension creep back into my game, 

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Even though I took a step back yesterday with a 93, there were a lot of positives.  The biggest positive is that even though I had a really poor ballstriking day, I still managed to score.  Previously, if I had struck the ball as poorly as I did yesterday, I would have shot over a hundred.  My poor shots were thin, and I know that it was simply because my legs were tired from walking.  Other than the now closed par three course I used to play, I haven't walked a golf course in decades. 

My putting and short game were pretty good, even though my scores didn't really show it.  The greens were ridiculously slow and spongy.  Putts that were on line and rolling well, would just stop like they hit a puddle, and well struck bump-and-run chips would bounce almost vertically, as if they had landed on a trampoline.  I had to resort to flopping my 58° wedge as close to the hole as possible, because the ball just simply wouldn't roll out.  I literally could not hit putts hard enough to get them to the hole.  At one point, I nearly had the putter shaft horizontal to the ground in my backswing, and the putt still came up short.

I am confident that if I had ridden, I would have broken 90 with ease.

Edited by bwdial

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I recently stopped forcing myself to make shots that I haven't solidified as well as concocting creative shots, and somehow thinking that I can pull it off like Tiger Woods. I've been able to score so much better by using the tools that I have such as my short game and mid irons.  With that said, I would divide the holes into manageable distances. For example, a 500 yard Par 5 divided into 3 shots is a mere 166 yard shot each to get on the green. Whether or not I can get on the green in regulation doesn't matter to me because I can also count on my wedges to get me close to the pin for a birdie or par.  To sum it up, a strategy for the entire hole, the big picture that is, has lowered my score and has allowed to play each shot with more confidence.   

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Twice in the last week or two, I've borderline shanked a tee shot on a Par 3...then left my pitch short and ended up chipping in for par.

That and my handicap went down. Other than that, I only crap on my golf game lol

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My driving is starting to come together... at least for now. I've changed my grip to a neutral grip and it seems to have solved a problem with early extension and all the mess that goes with that and has carried over into my iron game as well. Also It's helped with my angle of attack with the driver. Swing speed hasn't really increased and is still 88 - 95 but the angle of attack and launch angles have improved a lot which means more distance... a lot more. 

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I recently switched to the Jim Venetos swing and it completely transformed my game from inconsistent to dependable. I was really struggling this year to about a 14 handicap because, playing only once a week and not going to the range, I could never seem to take the same swing to the course. Plus, I thought I was still back in my college days and was still trying to draw and fade on demand, often crossing myself up. Only my short game was consistently good.  

I was looking for a repeatable swing and found it by viewing Jim's online videos. It is a very simple swing that you can perfect without hitting balls and you use it for everything from driver through wedges. It produces a consistent mild draw. He said anyone properly employing his technique could get down to a 6 handicap. After my initial round of figuring it out with it with no range time beforehand, I have played to about an 8 in the subsequent two. And that's with still trying to figure out the driver.

My irons haven't been this crisp in 30+ years when I was able to play more often. I am finally compressing the ball again consistently. I should be able to get below a 6 handicap because my putting and knowledge of how to play shots around the green has always been there. Really excite

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