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Showing content with the highest reputation on 12/04/2011 in all areas

  1. Tiger, Rory and Lee all winning today, not a bad week to be a golf fan
  2. I've seen quite a few threads tracking progress from a very high score (100+) to a respectable score and trying to get better, and I've seen a few people ask "how do i get better if I'm really bad?" or being very frustrated in the 100s. I have recently finished this transition - 130 to the 80s - and it was a ton of work. I had messed around with golf since about 09, but this past xmas I recieved a new set of irons for christmas, and played a round with my dad in Florida. For some reason, it was really, really fun in a way that it hadn't been before. I also got a lesson for xmas while in Florida. That pro changed my grip, stance, everything and made the game alot more fun to play. With the new irons, I decided to committ to golf. This is my post-mortem of what worked, and what did not work, to improve my game and shoot a lower score. I took approsimately 30 strokes off my game from xmas to July 1, 2011. I consistently shot in the 120s, and now I have a legit handicap around 16.5. My last three rounds were 90 (on a ridiculously tough course), 87, 89, 89, 88. I decided to write into a post what worked and what did not so people can try to do the same thing. Golf is really fun at around 90 strokes because its about where you can really say you've started playing golf as oppossed to just hacking. I'm excited to move forward and would like to break 80 in another 12 months (a big goal, I know). I read several golf books (didn't work for me) and watched countless golf videos. I took lessons, bought new clubs, tried drills. My set schedule was three 18 hole rounds a week: one Saturday afternoon (the money round with three friends skins-style, but with strokes recorded as well), one Wend. night at a muni course thats just alot of fun, and one friday night by myself walking that is a practice round to try new things. Every other day except Monday is a range day after work of about an hour and a half. Monday is rest. Thats six days a week for six months to take 30 strokes off the game. Hopefully, you can do it in less time by learning from what worked and didn't work for me. Again, these are just suggestions on what worked to get me into the 80s from the 120s. Sneak preview: about 70% of it is mental stuff like setting goals and having meaning in practice. I also tried really hard not to have the post be "hit the fairway more" or "don't three-putt". Thats obvious. Hopefully this stuff will show you *how* to get to where you hit more fairways, etc... I put them in order of what I thought were the most important to the least important. I hope this might give some people some ideas. 1. Took 5 lessons from a PGA pro and videotaped them This was far and away the #1 contribution to improvement. THe pro changed everything - grip, stance, swing line, follow through - all of it. I'm not going to write what he said, because its too long, but in five lessons we did grip and backswing (#1), swing plane and follow through (#2), driver (#3), putting (#4) and pitchign/chipping/bunker (#5). After the first, I brought a cheap digital camera I got for opening a bank account to the lesson. Really, the important stuff is the audio, but you can't imagine how much more valuable the money for the lesson was when I could review it whenever I want. For all those who complain they take lesson after lesson and it doesn't work, I'm willing to bet you didn't videotape it. I forgot almost everything after he told me and if I couldn't watch the video I would be lost. In charting my rounds (see number 5), I often watch the video right after playing poorly in certain areas - bad putting day, I'll come home and put on the lesson for an hour. If you don't know the fundamentals, don't figure them out for yourself. Go get lessons. Its worth every penny. 2. Stopped Cheating Seriously, this is important. If you mulligan off the tee four times a round, take foot wedges so you don't have to hit around trees, and take 3 foot gimmee putts, you are only cheating yourself. That sound silly, but you can't imagine how much my game got better when I stopped cheating (notice I didn't say score improved, I said game improved. Two different things). I added about 15 strokes to my score by playing by the rules (seriously) but I got a real look at my golf game not a veiled one (see number 5). You cannot improve unless you know where you are weak. You cannot know where you are truly weak if you cheat. Therefore, you cannot improve if you cheat. Logic! Chart your rounds. Whatever the score is, you will improve it. The key is not the score itself that matters, but the *direction* of the score over time. Stop cheating so you know exactly how good you are. 3. Watched "Golf Strategies", a DVD from 2006 w/Robert Karlsson, and it started me really thinking while on the golf course. The video is availible on netflix play on demand, and it plays 18 holes with Robert Karlsson. It doesn't talk about the swing much. It starts on the range where they go through Robert's practice routine - it is eye opening how focused it is - no banging balls at all - and it is really interesting how he imagines scenarios for himself while practicing (OK, I'm hitting this 6 iron into a strong headwind with water on my right. Now this 6 iron is with a strong wind behind me and a back flag, etc...) rather than just hitting them. IIRC, he even practiced a few 4 irons that were "OK, I'm in the trees". You wouldn't believe how many strokes I shaved off my game when i was at about 110 by learning to hit my 4 iron on a dead line drive about 170 yards as oppossed to trying to get it up. Having a wedge in your hand with three storkes left for a bogey is so much better than being stuck in the trees trying a hero shot to the green over and over (and over and over). My course has three par fives with lots of woods and this shot is amazingly effective and not that hard to hit (you basically take some loft of and make a putter swing as hard as you can). I can be in a position to get a green in regulation with a 7 iron after a drive in the woods with this shot. Anyway, after the practice routine, he goes out on a course and plays a round, talking about what he is thinking. He sees things you don't even think are there as a high-handicapper - for example, that there is a bunker in front, and a large well-mown hill behind with an uphill green and a back hole position - he goes a club up because he can afford to be long and does not want to be short. I never thought of that stuff when I shot 120 - just "How far is the flag?". It is incredible how he takes hazards out of play by aiming right and left and how much you can see on a golf course if you just look for it. Just his discussion of when to fire at the flag versus when to go middle of the green depending on the wind is worth the time. 4. Learned my real, honest, smooth-swing distances and started counting a miss long and short just as bad as left or right when at the range. This was almost number one. I see people at the range all the time swinging irons that are going in a 25 yard spread - but as long as they are high and straight, the swingers give themselves reinforcement that it is a good shot. It isn't. On the course, missing long or short with an iron is just as bad as left or right - might be a hazard, might be rough, etc... You need to train yourself to get into the 80s that hitting your irons *the correct distance* is just as important as hitting them straight. When I was over 100, I honestly thought my six iron was a 170 yard club (See another of my posts), and it was - unfortunately, I had to swing insanely hard and only really hit it one in ten or so. Its much easier, and more confidence inspiring, to know you can swing within yourself on a 130 yard 7 iron and hit it well than try to hit a 9 iron that far knowing you have to swing out of your shoes and make perfect contact. Most people (my playing partners included) try to hit their irons either way too far, or have no idea how far they actually hit them. To figure this out, I stole a drill from Michael Breed on the Golf Fix. Go to a course (not with range balls - you will get fooled but with your ball (see number 12) late in the afternoon. Use 20 shots with each iron (Takes about an hour and a half) and measure your smooth distances - a nice smooth swing with a reasonable takeaway and acceleration through the ball. After doing this, I found my distances were: LW - anything inside 30 SW - 30-70 AW - 70-100 PW - 100s 9 - 110s 8 - 120s 7 - 130s 6 - 140-145 (this is a wierd one, I'm not sure why, but my 6 iron doesn't have the 10 yard spread, I can't hit it farther than 145 with a smooth swing, whereas the 5 with a hard/soft swing has a 20 yard gap. As a result, this club doesn't get hit that often - I find it easier to hit a hard 7 iron or a shorter 5. Not sure why, and kinda flies in the face of what I'm saying here, but the 6 iron for me is a wierd club for some reason.) 5 - 145 - 165 4 - 170s 3 hybrid - 180 to 195 These consistent distances are significantly shorter than the 1 in 10 when swinging as hard as a I can distances. If a shot is beyond 195 after the tee shot, I think about where to leave it - when most players at over 100 are hitting and are out of range of the green, they take their longest club and just whack it as hard as they can without any real target. Don't do that! See #2, above. Try to think about which club you are consistent with and leave yourself that club with a really nice angle into the green, as oppossed to just banging it as far as you can. Let say you have 210 to the green. Do you really have a better chance to beon the green in 2 hitting a hybrid as hard as you can and dealing with the shot whereever it goes (rough, trees, shortside, long bunker, etc...), or hitting a smooth 7 iron to the middle of the fairway and then an easy wedge? For me, its the second. If you can honestly reach the green, hit it. If you can't reach the green, its pointless to get "as close as possible". Give yourself a nice shot from a clean lie with a 9-Sand whenever you can't reach the green. This will cut down on explosion holes and, if you can 2 putt, will produce alot of bogeys. BTW, my last round: 3 par, 14 bogey, 1 double for a 88. Why so many bogies? Layups if I can't reach the green, then a short iron in. You can add distance in practice, but I will promise you in the pressure of a round it is not the place to be trying to pick up an extra 15 yards you don't have. Know your distances and play within them - if you are 220 to the hole it does you no good to hit a wild 190 shot when you can hit a 130 shot and then a gap wedge. This all works together - if you have goals (another section), you will most likely layup and hit the correct shot. 5. Got fitted for a modern driver This is the only place where new clubs really made a huge difference. And I mean huge. With the wedges and the irons, the old clubs worked pretty much exactly the same as the new ones. I was playing an old Callaway Driver with a 360cc head and a graphtie shaft. It didn't do well with mishits. After getting fitted for a Taylor SuperFast Burner 1.0, Blue ProLaunch Shaft, cut down 1" with a slightly thinner grip (small hands), I've added 30 yards and alot of accuracy to the drives. The old drivers just can't cut it. If you have a driver from 3-4 years ago and you are in the 100s, think about paying the $150 to get fitted. My driver cost me about $169 at dicks with all the options and work. You can get some great drivers for
  3. Just thought I'd share with my fellow golfers! It's exciting! http://www.uisprairiestars.com/news/2011/11/30/MGOLF_1130114039.aspx
  4. I went and practiced this technique yesterday and had as much success as I've ever had out of the sand. It'll obviously take more practice to refine distance and accuracy, but hitting solid shots over and over again felt so good after I had been having a lot of issues with hitting them over the green. Thanks for the help!
  5. caniac6

    Pet Peeves

    Twice within the last six weeks I was placed in a fivesome in our gangsome. Yesterday ,it messed up my rythm so much I , picked up my ball and walked off in the middle of the round. That is the first time I have ever quit, and most likley the last.
  6. Yeah I think he will, otherwise the world will implode...
  7. Actually as developing countries wage rates increase transportation costs increase and they start having environmental concerns I anticipate some of that manufacturing may return. Not a lot of jobs will be created as it will be in small run high tech areas or areas where firms are concerned with technology theft.
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