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FrivolouslyWasted

Ball Striking Is Improving, but Scores Are Not

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After really struggling to find consistency with my ball striking over the past few months, I’ve seen some marked improvement over the last couple of weeks. I’ve put a lot of work into my irons and it is really showing, and I’ve found myself in a rather unusual position. I’m a high handicap player playing with classic muscleback irons and my iron play is definitely the strongest part of my game.

 

Today I really saw some improvement off the tee too. I had been struggling mightily with my driver, but today I hit 11/15 fairways, including 10 in a row, after hitting only 7/13 yesterday (on a different course, obviously).

 

My problem is while I’m definitely getting better at striking the ball, I can’t seem to avoid meltdown holes - at least 2 or 3 a round. I’m having fewer severe mis-hits, but when I do have a bad stroke, it seems to always find the worst possible place on the course. Even when I do seemingly everything in my power to take the worst outcome out of play, my ball occasionally decides to home in on exactly the thing I’m putting all my effort into avoiding. I can’t figure out if it’s just bad luck, or my head f***ing with me and making me do the thing I most want to avoid.

 

TLDR: my game feels like it’s really getting better, but my scores are not. I’m trying to learn to avoid making mistakes at the worst possible times. How do y’all keep the hazards and worst case scenarios from f***ing with you pre-shot? I just can’t make it through a round without at least a few disasters along the way and it’s making me crazy.

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when you practice, what's your priority piece?

Try to play 6 3 hole rounds forgetting the issues of the previous round.    

Purchase LSW, it's a game changer.  

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Have you read Lowest Score Wins (LSW)? The section on game planning is very good. Without getting into too much detail, it talks about shot zones and how to incorporate them into your game plan in order to help avoid penalty(s) and other spots that will result in more strokes. The GIR and nGIR that @DeadMan is referring to is also in LSW.

Just now, dennyjones said:

when you practice, what's your priority piece?

Try to play 6 3 hole rounds forgetting the issues of the previous round.    

Purchase LSW, it's a game changer.  

You beat me to it!

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9 minutes ago, FrivolouslyWasted said:

After really struggling to find consistency with my ball striking over the past few months, I’ve seen some marked improvement over the last couple of weeks. I’ve put a lot of work into my irons and it is really showing, and I’ve found myself in a rather unusual position. I’m a high handicap player playing with classic muscleback irons and my iron play is definitely the strongest part of my game.

 

Today I really saw some improvement off the tee too. I had been struggling mightily with my driver, but today I hit 11/15 fairways, including 10 in a row, after hitting only 7/13 yesterday (on a different course, obviously).

 

My problem is while I’m definitely getting better at striking the ball, I can’t seem to avoid meltdown holes - at least 2 or 3 a round. I’m having fewer severe mis-hits, but when I do have a bad stroke, it seems to always find the worst possible place on the course. Even when I do seemingly everything in my power to take the worst outcome out of play, my ball occasionally decides to home in on exactly the thing I’m putting all my effort into avoiding. I can’t figure out if it’s just bad luck, or my head f***ing with me and making me do the thing I most want to avoid.

 

TLDR: my game feels like it’s really getting better, but my scores are not. I’m trying to learn to avoid making mistakes at the worst possible times. How do y’all keep the hazards and worst case scenarios from f***ing with you pre-shot? I just can’t make it through a round without at least a few disasters along the way and it’s making me crazy.

Buy a gamegolf device to track where the majority of your lost shots are coming from. Full swing is likely the issue, but maybe there is a glaring weakness somewhere.  

You may be hitting the ball well, but getting too aggressive hence when you do miss it could be costly. Learn your shot zones (from LSW already mentioned). 

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49 minutes ago, dennyjones said:

when you practice, what's your priority piece?

Try to play 6 3 hole rounds forgetting the issues of the previous round.    

Purchase LSW, it's a game changer.  

I really do need to get that book. I’ve heard so much about it on here.

 

Shaking off previous holes is something I’m working on right now. I felt I improved on that over my two rounds this week. I do tend to be extremely self-competitive and I can get tilted, to borrow a poker term, during a round. I’m trying to work on my mental game as well as my physical game, and I think I’m making progress there.

 

As to your first question, I’m not quite sure what you mean. I’ve been trying to build up my swing, so I often have a different focus from one practice session to another, depending on how my previous session went.

 

I’m thinking about splurging for a few lessons soon. To this point I’ve been pretty much self-taught, so there’s a huge amount of trial and error involved in trying to analyze my own swing and make successful tweaks. Sometimes I have an idea that takes me in the wrong direction. Lately I’ve been focusing on shortening my backswing and rotating more from my lower spine, where my rotation had been mostly arms and shoulders. These two things seem to have made a huge leap forward. My head seems to be more stable and I’m able to keep my clubhead on path.

 

With my swing seemingly improving, I think a lot of my problems may come at address. Maybe it would benefit me to figure out a good, constant pre-shot routine and perhaps slow down a bit sometimes. If I’m doing something basic like standing a little too tall, it shouldn’t surprise me when I blade one.

1 hour ago, DeadMan said:

How many GIR and nGIR (near GIR) do you get per round?

Not a lot. I typically track fairways, greens and putts on my scorecard, but not nGIR. Maybe I should add it. I had a couple of greens yesterday and managed to card a birdie. I didn’t manage any GIR today, but had quite a few that came close, plus one that was perfectly struck but I didn’t club up enough for the stiff wind, and another that was struck perfectly off the tee and did make the green but was a provisional after slicing my first into the woods.

1 hour ago, DeadMan said:

How many GIR and nGIR (near GIR) do you get per round?

How close is considered nGIR?

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1 hour ago, FrivolouslyWasted said:

How close is considered nGIR?

IIRC it’s 20 yards but not in a bunker. 

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2 hours ago, FrivolouslyWasted said:

As to your first question, I’m not quite sure what you mean. I’ve been trying to build up my swing, so I often have a different focus from one practice session to another, depending on how my previous session went.

Buy the book...your practice shouldn't be all over the place.   Find your priority weakness and focus on that until you have improved that before moving on to another weakness.  

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4 hours ago, FrivolouslyWasted said:

Not a lot. I typically track fairways, greens and putts on my scorecard, but not nGIR. Maybe I should add it. I had a couple of greens yesterday and managed to card a birdie. I didn’t manage any GIR today, but had quite a few that came close, plus one that was perfectly struck but I didn’t club up enough for the stiff wind, and another that was struck perfectly off the tee and did make the green but was a provisional after slicing my first into the woods.

Hate to break this to you, but it's hard to call ballstriking a strength when you don't hit a GIR. Your swing probably needs a lot more work. I would recommend starting a My Swing thread and uploading some videos.

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11 hours ago, DeadMan said:

Hate to break this to you, but it's hard to call ballstriking a strength when you don't hit a GIR. Your swing probably needs a lot more work. I would recommend starting a My Swing thread and uploading some videos.

Part of that is down to not solidly knowing my distances yet. I seem to always be a club short on my approaches. Sometimes I’ll strike the ball solidly, but come up short of the green. Occasionally I have the right club and make good contact but my aim is a little off and I miss the green left or right. In either of those cases I’m fairly content at having made good contact, even though I don’t get a stat to put on my scorecard.

 

I’m trying to focus more on the quality of my strike than the outcome of the stroke. I expect that as I continue to become more consistent striking the ball, better results will follow.

 

And my use of the term “strength” is relative to the quality of my other skills. I know I’m not a great golfer. My point was simply that my irons are, somewhat oddly, the thing I feel most comfortable with right now. I’ve been trying very hard to get better with them, and it’s starting to feel like I am

 

As for the My Swing thread, that’s also on my agenda. Every time I go out I intend to film some strokes and make a thread, and I always forget about it once I get out there. I’m considering hitting the range after work today. I’ll try to remember to get some film there.

 

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This is where I'm at too.  Much better ball striking and consistency this season.  I'm actually not sure it will get any better as 75% or greater of my shots go as planned.

I lose a lot of shots around the green but despite practicing chipping, pitching, and putting and even playing a lot of rounds at a local par 3 to really hone in my wedges I can't bring the score down.

I've found avoiding 3-putts and getting closer on chips and pitches to be the hardest aspects to transfer to the golf course.  I can do it all day on the practice green but can't seem to actually score when I have to.

I thought that when I got to the level that I'm at now with my full swing, scores would automatically come down.  Not so.  For most of us recreational golfers, even ones with a solid full swing, short game and putting is vital to bringing scores down.

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2 hours ago, FrivolouslyWasted said:

Part of that is down to not solidly knowing my distances yet. I seem to always be a club short on my approaches. Sometimes I’ll strike the ball solidly, but come up short of the green. Occasionally I have the right club and make good contact but my aim is a little off and I miss the green left or right. In either of those cases I’m fairly content at having made good contact, even though I don’t get a stat to put on my scorecard.

I’m trying to focus more on the quality of my strike than the outcome of the stroke. I expect that as I continue to become more consistent striking the ball, better results will follow.

It's entirely possible that what you think is solid contact is not actually solid contact. I used to think I made solid contact with my irons before I got lessons. Turns out, I was hitting everything a bit on the toe. I would check your contact with impact tape or foot powder sprayed onto your irons at the next range session. You might not have a feel for what is actually good contact.

If it's truly a not knowing your distances thing, that will come with time and experience. I'm guessing it's more than that.

Bottom line, the two most important skills in golf are, by far, driving and approach play (we normally put those in to one category here, the long game). If your scores are high, it's almost definitely because your long game isn't all that good. If you are taking 2 chips per hole or 3 putts per hole or something like that, then maybe it's not your long game. Assuming that's not the case, it's your long game that needs improving.

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22 hours ago, FrivolouslyWasted said:

my game feels like it’s really getting better, but my scores are not.

Just a point of semantics, but if your game was improving, your score would be, too. Your swing and contact could improve and not necessarily reflect in your score, but that's not the same thing as your game improving.

An example of your game improving would be scoring well despite having a "B" day because you've gotten better at putting the ball in the hole in fewer strokes and avoiding big numbers.

22 hours ago, FrivolouslyWasted said:

I’m trying to learn to avoid making mistakes at the worst possible times

I'm not sure you can "turn off" the propensity to mis-hit the ball. Sometimes you duff an approach shot and it dribbles 50 yards down the fairway and other times you do it when you're trying to carry a lake.

22 hours ago, FrivolouslyWasted said:

How do y’all keep the hazards and worst case scenarios from f***ing with you pre-shot?

I don't think about it. I get my yardages and figure out what I need to carry or stay short of and then choose a shot based on that information. Once I have selected my shot, my sole focus is on executing it. Sometimes I miss. Shit happens :-)

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3 hours ago, billchao said:

I don't think about it. I get my yardages and figure out what I need to carry or stay short of and then choose a shot based on that information. Once I have selected my shot, my sole focus is on executing it. Sometimes I miss. Shit happens

I try to use LSW as much as possible. 

Know my shot zone. Know where the hazards are at. Elliminate the hazards. 

I agree, really bad shots just happen.

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11 hours ago, FrivolouslyWasted said:

Part of that is down to not solidly knowing my distances yet. I seem to always be a club short on my approaches.

I will second what everyone else has said about LSW. I want to add what I have said in another post: I had to learn to hit the ball with my irons (instruction). Then I had to learn the distance on average that I hit each iron, under what conditions (eg, 10 mph wind at me, behind me, etc.), and whether the distances were efficiently hit to my target or inefficient (offline, etc.)  And I had to learn how to manage myself on the course. All that takes much more instruction and practice and play. It is a lifetime job. You can only focus on what TSW teaches...What will pay me the greatest benefits to work on? What can I realistically do on course to avoid penalizing myself or at least put the odds in my favor? Tough game, good game. Best, -Marv

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not scientific, but I read an article somewhere claiming the brain will disregard certain words in context. For example, you might say or think "Do NOT hit in the water"....The brain then ignores the negataive modifiers DO NOT, and therefore is left with "Hit in the water".  Or DON'T go right...….and of course you GO RIGHT.

Edited by Hacker James

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I understand. I've been crushing the ball lately. Basically whatever I'm doing keep doing it. Yes there's still the mishits, but even those aren't bad. My last round I hit my driver between 230 and 255 yds. and kept it on the short grass. I'm getting nGIRs. I've read LSW. I know it's about distance and getting the ball onto the center of the green. I'm learning how to take trouble out of play by not trying the hero shot. It's about working on the shots that matter. The ones you're hitting the most. For me that's hitting a driver well and hitting an iron approach shot. If I don't hit my driver well, I'm dead. I have to work it out on the course. And unfortunately I've been practicing with the wrong irons. I can hit 3W, 24 degree, 6, 7, and 8 easily. But that's got me making center contact so it's not lost, is it?

So why haven't scores been improving? I need to work more on my 125 yds and in game - as my ball striking improved these have taken over as approach shots after driver except on a couple of holes and par 5s - and on par 5s I'm hitting a wedge for approach now. I've been practicing more for those three longer par 4s where I hit 7 or 8 iron for approach. That will get me on the green or near green. Wedges are different. They're short. They're heavy. They feel different. Then there's chipping. My chipping sucks. For the amount I do you'd think it would be better, but it really sucks. But we're in our last week of nice weather before it turns to crap, so... I'll just suffer through the winter with a bad chipping game - I suppose I can chip a few balls off the mat... I'll groove what I've been doing full swingwise and work on chipping and putting when the weather breaks at the end of March.

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