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Chasing Scratch (the Podcast)


iacas
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Thanks for the link @amished. I’ve got (and have read) the LSW book and I’m taking monthly lessons from my local professional (after 20 years away from the game), but that SSSS&S article really struck a note on how to practice and is now bookmarked.

Just got to keep the kids out of the way so I can swing a club in the garden now! 😁

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  • 1 year later...
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Well, in the "Summer Rush" or whatever they're calling it, they talked about…

  • How they should get frequent (i.e. monthly) instruction, partly to help make sure they're not getting off-track with anything.
  • How they should learn to do course management.

Hmmm. 😛

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Just finished listening to their Antle match (literally that part: they’re home and I have 45 minutes left in that episode). Having never seen their swings, or anything like that… I think that, if they truly want to get to scratch, they need to do a few things better. (Again I’ll emphasize that I don’t know very much about their swings, their games, etc. I know only what I know from casually listening to most of the podcasts, and that’s filtered through my own opinions about instruction, playing, etc.).

  1. They should commit to regular instruction. I’m not saying weekly or even bi-weekly. Maybe even once a month (though for 90 minutes if that frequency, possibly). It seems like they kind of hunt for band-aids, and try to go back to things that kinda seemed to work once before. I think a good instructor will be able to get them on a good plan, working on their priority piece, and will help them with #2.

  2. Through the regular instruction (or, less likely, on their own), they should find a pattern. Whether it’s a ball that curves left or a ball that curves right, they should find a pattern and stick to it. Their misses will be more predictable. They seem to hit draws, fades, straight balls, slices, hooks, high, low… Many (most?) good single digit players and scratch players have a pattern. They know that their ball starts out to the right, for example, and usually draws. It makes it easier to have a “shot cone” for good GamePlanning, and it makes it easier to have confidence. It’s tough to be confident if your hope is to aim at the flag and you don’t know if the ball will fade or draw.

  3. They should learn to practice effectively. I suspect they just hit balls. Yeah, I suspect they “try” things, but I think they probably “try” to do “something” at nearly 100% speed/length/etc. Whether it’s in the Carl Weathers Learning Center or at the range, I think they’re closer to “ball bashers” than practicers. 5S words for effective practice. (I think their swings look more similar to what they looked like two or three years ago than they “should” at this point.)

  4. They should learn to GamePlan well, and have a better understanding of expectations, realities, etc. As I said above, I think they fire at flags more often than they should (it’s tough, but even from 70 yards they often should be aiming away from the hole). Like I said above, they have LSW, and I don’t need a mention or anything like that - I sent them a copy willingly and freely, just to help out two guys and as thanks for the laughs - and if they don’t like LSW or hate the color orange (or me), there are other things out there that can teach them somewhat similar things. I think they over-value putting (though it may be a glaring weakness in need of more attention - we can’t know at all, as they don’t do #5).

  5. I think they should commit to Arccos, GAME Golf, ShotScope… something. Get some actual, real-world data on what their weaknesses and/or strengths are. People tend to be very bad at understanding that a tee shot might cost you 0.3 shots, an approach shot might cost you 0.4, and you might gain half a shot with a short game shot, lose it on the putt, and bogey, and golfers will blame the short game shot and the putt when they were at PGA Tour level (0 SG for the two shots combined), and they bogeyed because of the first two shots. Shot trackers aren’t perfect, but they’re semi-objective.

I'll tag @ChasingScratchPod so as not to subtweet them or anything.

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I really enjoy the podcast and there are definitely some things i relate to in their quest.  Some of your points here @iacas are really good reminders for me too.

4 hours ago, iacas said:

They should commit to regular instruction.

It seems like they have had more lessons this season than in the past, maybe.  And they kicked off the year with the trip to see Adam Young.  They've talked about this recently, and i can relate somewhat, but they seem to have a hard time being technical when practicing and then when they are playing....just play.  But i agree at least from what we hear, it sounds like they are getting voices from a lot of directions and bouncing back to old thoughts and tips.

4 hours ago, iacas said:

It’s tough to be confident if your hope is to aim at the flag and you don’t know if the ball will fade or draw.

I need this right now.  I've tended to draw/pull-draw my wedges and short irons and fade/pull-fade my longer clubs. I usually hit the ball without a lot of curve in general so many times i just aim straight.  But it's a really bad feeling standing over a ball, specifically driver, and fearing a miss on both sides.  i need to work towards having one pattern.

4 hours ago, iacas said:

Get some actual, real-world data on what their weaknesses and/or strengths are

I also need to commit to figuring out my actual weaknesses and not just my perceived ones.

4 hours ago, iacas said:

They should learn to GamePlan well,

Yeah, i would agree they tend to be too aggressive in general.  They have kind of talked about how it's sort of at odds with making the podcast entertaining at times, and probably just against what they are used to doing.  Mike talked about playing with that scratch golfer who when he asked him what to do on a shot, basically called him crazy for considering anything other than just getting the ball back in position on the hole.  

 

 

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48 minutes ago, Wanzo said:

Mike talked about playing with that scratch golfer who when he asked him what to do on a shot, basically called him crazy for considering anything other than just getting the ball back in position on the hole.  

Yeah, which is also a dumb thing.

I mean, it can often be dumb. The "always" and how obvious it might seem to that guy are dumb. Sometimes it's worth punching it down a hundred yards even with a little risk.

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On 10/5/2020 at 4:17 PM, Wanzo said:

It seems like they have had more lessons this season than in the past, maybe.  And they kicked off the year with the trip to see Adam Young.  They've talked about this recently, and i can relate somewhat, but they seem to have a hard time being technical when practicing and then when they are playing....just play.  But i agree at least from what we hear, it sounds like they are getting voices from a lot of directions and bouncing back to old thoughts and tips.

 

Well, the big reveal at the end of the season was that Mike was going to be taking regular lesson from Adam.  We’ll see if he keeps up. I suspect if he does, the improvement will be substantial. Also, I enjoyed Eli’s goal of getting to 120 mph clubhead speed.  That’s a pretty big goal though it does sound like he can already move it.

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2 hours ago, Daveje97 said:

Well, the big reveal at the end of the season was that Mike was going to be taking regular lesson from Adam.  We’ll see if he keeps up. I suspect if he does, the improvement will be substantial. Also, I enjoyed Eli’s goal of getting to 120 mph clubhead speed.  That’s a pretty big goal though it does sound like he can already move it.

Care to define “substantial”?

To put a number (handicap) on it?

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2 minutes ago, Daveje97 said:

Maybe he cuts his handicap in half? 

What did he finish the year at? Because he was a 3.5 or something at one point, and so going to a 1.8 isn’t what I’d call “substantial.”

I thought by “substantial” for someone with a stated goal of getting to scratch and in, what, year three or four you’d say he’d get to +1.5 or something.

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5 minutes ago, iacas said:

What did he finish the year at? Because he was a 3.5 or something at one point, and so going to a 1.8 isn’t what I’d call “substantial.”

I thought by “substantial” for someone with a stated goal of getting to scratch and in, what, year three or four you’d say he’d get to +1.5 or something.

I think 50% improvement is pretty substantial especially for a guy who has been stuck in the same spot with seemingly  little hope for further improvement on the current trajectory. I’d also add that I’d expect a lot less volatility which may not get captured in the handicap but is also a sign of improvement.

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15 minutes ago, Daveje97 said:

I think 50% improvement is pretty substantial especially for a guy who has been stuck in the same spot with seemingly  little hope for further improvement on the current trajectory. I’d also add that I’d expect a lot less volatility which may not get captured in the handicap but is also a sign of improvement.

Yes it’s a 50% improvement… but it’s also only a 1.5 shot improvement (and it’s only that in 8 of 20 rounds).

So I think he might get to a 1.8… but that’s nowhere near “substantial” to me. I don’t think he’s going to get to a +1.

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23 hours ago, iacas said:

I don’t think he’s going to get to a +1.

Just curious of your reasoning.  Do you think it's because of their current plan on how to go about it, or getting to that handicap is just not likely in general for their situation?

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25 minutes ago, Wanzo said:

Just curious of your reasoning.  Do you think it's because of their current plan on how to go about it, or getting to that handicap is just not likely in general for their situation?

Both. I think getting to a +1 given their real lives and kids and wives and things is going to be difficult as it is, but they’ve added so many of their own roadblocks that they really don’t have much of a chance. It’s non-zero, but it’s not high. They don’t practice well enough at all, they don’t know how to build a game plan (or stick to one), and they don’t have anything close to a good understanding of expectations. This feeds into not only their lousy game planning, but their emotional reactions, etc.

C’mon… their whole schtick is about getting to scratch, and they didn’t know for like a year and a half that nine-hole rounds counted toward your handicap? They still seem to act like scratch is about shooting par, when that’s often not the case (either high or low). I think they’d answer that question correctly, but emotionally they don’t understand that a 74 might get them to scratch from a certain tee on a certain course than a 71 (-1) which might be a 2.4 differential. They’re funny, and probably great guys and good people, but… they’re flying blind and swinging hard and “integrating” new equipment. I don’t see a solid plan. They’re constantly applying band-aids and putting out fires.

I know they’ve said they’re going to get instruction. They should have done that a long time ago. But they’re also going with someone who doesn’t really talk about mechanics much, and they need more than “hammering nails” to get better over the long term.


What do you think? What do you think they’re going to do next year? What’s their handicap at now (for two guys with a podcast and all their talk about handicaps, they don’t seem to list themselves on GHIN…).

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At my peak I played +3 golf (I play to around a 1 or 2 these days) and had plenty of people ask me how I got there. Ive never really had a good answer for them other than trust yourself. Theres no formulaic process I took to get there. It just sort of happened. I had priliminary instruction, but hitting a golf ball has been mostly instinct for me. I cant really fully explain it, but I can feel that 6 inch area around the ball through to club and into my hands. I came to golf from baseball so I had good athletic gifts. Maybe that had something to do with it. 

I did practice a lot. I think the adage of practicing with a purpose is very true. Things that were particular to me. Self Identifying issues with can be a big advantage in growing your game. I have a habit of aligning my body too far right and I do that I block and push fade the ball. I made sure I always practiced with a club or stick on the ground to help curb that.  I practiced bad lie shots a lot when I had access to grass hitting areas so that I had some baseline of what the ball would do out on the course in those situations so I made better course management decisions. 

But ive met plenty of players though who get more joy out of shooting 90 than a better player does out of shooting 68. So scratch isn't everything, either. 

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

What do you think? What do you think they’re going to do next year? What’s their handicap at now (for two guys with a podcast and all their talk about handicaps, they don’t seem to list themselves on GHIN…).

I'm not sure where they are now, but they said at the end of the final episode the lowest they got was 3.1.  Yeah, if they don't make some big changes in how they approach things, it's not likely they will get much lower.  But they made some comments about knowing the right things to do (we'll see if they are "right), but if they just stick to a plan for a whole year and stop looking for quick fixes it will be interesting to see what happens.  It's entertaining.  

 

2 hours ago, iacas said:

They still seem to act like scratch is about shooting par,

They do seem to have an obsession with shooting par in a round, no matter the differential.    

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1 hour ago, Wanzo said:

They do seem to have an obsession with shooting par in a round, no matter the differential.    

Which is one of the reasons why I've recommended that they just play the forward tees a few times.

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

Which is one of the reasons why I've recommended that they just play the forward tees a few times.

They did do this in an episode, and I believe Mike shot -2, the differential was like 1.9 though.

One thing that was brought up to them by a playing partner was it's one thing to carry a 0.0 handicap at a home course, but another thing entirely to do it at a larger group of courses. They said "that makes sense" "good idea" etc., but did not stick to that plan either.

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