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How long did it take for you to get "good"?


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Like others, my definition of good continues to change. For the purpose of your question, and where you are in your golf journey, I'll share my first definition of good.  Don't lose too many b

You question is very subjective and I won’t answer the “good” part but the aha moment part. I was a 90s golfer and was tired of scoring in the 90s so I took some lessons. The lessons changed what I

Dunno...it hasn't happened yet and to be honest, I don't think I'll ever class myself as good. Right now I'll say I'm terribly mediocre with some flashes of good mixed with quite a bit of bulls%$#.

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On 4/12/2019 at 7:34 PM, scratchmybirdie said:

Thanks! I actually got fitted for clubs a few months after I started. And now I feel like a gearhead always looking for new thinks to buy. How did you find these much better golfers to play with? Did you join leagues or tournaments?

Both! If your local course offers a men's league - join it. Play in tournaments even if you think you aren't "good enough". If it's open to all players and flighted, go for it!

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On 4/10/2019 at 12:56 AM, scratchmybirdie said:

I just wanted to find out from some of the more experienced members of the forum how long it took them before they felt "good" at the game.

I never made it, but I peaked very briefly at a 7.  That didn't suck.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/13/2019 at 4:36 AM, Jhigdon13 said:

My biggest tip to save yourself strokes no matter what handicap, become a great chipper and putter.

You're definitely onto something. I played a round the other week and my ball striking was better than it ever has been, but I lost a lot at least 5 strokes around and on the greens. Chunked chips, a bladed chip, and not understanding the speed of the green really hurt the round. But I was still pleased with how well I was doing off the tee and on the approach. Gotta keep working at it!

Edited by scratchmybirdie
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All I know is that the more I practice , the luckier I get.  🙂 

I tend to spend 2-3 times as much practice time on the chipping and putting area than I do at the range.  

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You guys are too modest!

 

How long did it take me to get "good"?

The minute I picked up a club!

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Like others, my definition of good continues to change. For the purpose of your question, and where you are in your golf journey, I'll share my first definition of good

  1. Don't lose too many balls
  2. Don't hold up the players behind me
  3. Play a full round without mulligans
  4. Know most of the rules
  5. Know my distances (roughly)

Notice how none of those had to do with score. Of course score mattered, but not as much as getting the basics right.  If you stack those on each other, they'll add up to reasonable scores and you can move onto your next definition of good

Now that that's out of the way, it took me until my second season to break that first layer of good (now on my 9th). I practiced a lot, read a lot, and tried to play with purposes in mind. I was never really the type to get hammered with the bros on the course and screw around. Still not.

Good luck in your journey! Hope we get to hear more as you progress. 

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Stud nailed it, 'good' will always change. I would consider myself good compared to where I was when I first started golfing a few years ago. But, I'm nowhere near where I want to be. I hope in a few more I'll be even better and then I'll be able to consider that good in relation to where I'm at now. 

This reminds me of a Tim Duncan quote I once read.... "Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best."

 
 
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49 minutes ago, GolfSpy STUDque said:

Like others, my definition of good continues to change. For the purpose of your question, and where you are in your golf journey, I'll share my first definition of good

  1. Don't lose too many balls
  2. Don't hold up the players behind me
  3. Play a full round without mulligans
  4. Know most of the rules
  5. Know my distances (roughly)
  6. Have most of my par attempts be a putt

Notice how none of those had to do with score. Of course score mattered, but not as much as getting the basics right.  If you stack those on each other, they'll add up to reasonable scores and you can move onto your next definition of good

Now that that's out of the way, it took me until my second season to break that first layer of good (now on my 9th). I practiced a lot, read a lot, and tried to play with purposes in mind. I was never really the type to get hammered with the bros on the course and screw around. Still not.

Good luck in your journey! Hope we get to hear more as you progress. 

Did you add 6? When I first read it, I could have swore there were 5, and by those 5 standards, I would be "good", even though I don't feel good. I feel decent with the goal of becoming good. 

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1 hour ago, MaxEntropy said:

Did you add 6? When I first read it, I could have swore there were 5, and by those 5 standards, I would be "good", even though I don't feel good. I feel decent with the goal of becoming good. 

Guilty!

Probably should've just left it at 5 because #6 crossed into that next tier for bogey golf. Oh well, it's out there now. 

 

Edit: Since we're here, the next tier....

  1. Have most of my par attempts be a putt
  2. Find my ball after every shot
  3. 1 chip max per hole
  4. Stamina to concentrate for all 18 regardless of score
  5. Use more than 25% of my shots in a scramble (equal 4 man team)
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1 hour ago, GolfSpy STUDque said:

Guilty!

Probably should've just left it at 5 because #6 crossed into that next tier for bogey golf. Oh well, it's out there now. 

 

Edit: Since we're here, the next tier....

  1. Have most of my par attempts be a putt
  2. Find my ball after every shot
  3. 1 chip max per hole
  4. Stamina to concentrate for all 18 regardless of score
  5. Use more than 25% of my shots in a scramble (equal 4 man team)

By far the most difficult one of those is #4.  The number of times I've said "I wonder if.......(something completely unrelated to the shot)" to myself during a backswing is incredible.  It can happen to me on the first tee.

I always try to remember that I'm not good enough to get mad!

 

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2 minutes ago, 00sportsman said:

By far the most difficult one of those is #4.  The number of times I've said "I wonder if.......(something completely unrelated to the shot)" to myself during a backswing is incredible.  It can happen to me on the first tee.

Interesting, I can say without a doubt the most difficult for me is 2. I can usually make a commuted swing, but I do still my fair share off the tee. In all fairness though, I play a really tight course.

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Let’s see, I started in my twenties and I’m currently 68. I’m still trying to get good. I take that back, I’m having fun now by not trying so hard, by not fretting over shooting under a certain number, and by putting more emphasis on leaving the course having enjoyed my day. I’m over getting good and into leaving happy!


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I've been playing golf for 25 years. I'm in my early 30's and I played competitive golf through high school and some in the beginning of college. I play and practice a fraction of what I did in my earlier years, but I'm playing the best golf I've ever played.

I think the availability of laser rangefinders has changed the entire game for me. I had on in high school but it was huge and bulky and I couldn't really use other than to practice and even then I didn't understand the concept of "course management." But now that I am older and the rangefinder fits in my palm, I never hit a shot until I have the full picture. I gather distances to front, back, pin, bunker, water, and my misses. I know before I pull that club that wherever I end up I can handle it and that alone has transformed my game. 

My GHIN is a 1.6 and most of that I attribute to course management. 

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It took me a few years of playing and practicing consistently to have a decent feel for my game. Like you said, 'good' is definitely objective, but for me it was more about being consistent and eliminating big numbers. As I'm sure you've realized by now, this game is humbling and will remind of you of your place without warning especially if you allow yourself to get comfortable. Based on your first post I think you're doing it right and going about it the way you are will allow you to truly enjoy the game and get to your version of 'good'!

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I learned the game with an 8 iron given to me by a friend. My first set was mismatched with wooden woods (in 1999). Started at 18 yo and broke 80 at 19, broke par at 21, and it's been downhill since then. Less time on the course for 15+ years hurt. The last couple years I've been playing more (my boys are 14 and 12 now and also play) and am back down to a 4.3 index. It's different for everyone.

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I got a late start, about 20 years ago when my son started to play. It took me about 4 years to be respectable and was right around a 14 at that time. Best I've ever been, flirted with the high 70's at times, but mostly in the mid to upper 80's. Past 3-4 years (after about a 5 year hiatus and 60 more pounds), I'm a 27. Moments of brillance, but mostly no length, and no short game. Hopefully this year with a couple of lessons I can bring it back down.

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Ah yes, the ever elusive "good"! Reading the thread is a reminder that Golf is completely unbeatable. 5 handicappers saying "I'm not good, but..." And I'm not knocking that thought. I think that's just what golf brings out in most/all of us. We want to CONQUER THIS BEAST!!!

For me, I'm 46. I have hit golf balls since high school. 20 years of banging balls around 5 to 10 rounds per year with a 1 or two range sessions ahead of the rounds to "brush up" before I played. Golf was always at least 4th in line for things to do. Fishing, hockey, poker, golf. 10 years ago I moved to a new town with a range 5 minutes from my house. After we got the kids in bed I'd head over to the range twice a week. No lessons. No reading. Just trying to figure out how to not hit a 40 yard slice. SUCCESS! It was only 20 yards after 10 months of that. Ugh!

2 years ago I took a couple lessons. In hindsight, they weren't very good. The solutions offered were band-aids, not repairs. BUT, the ideas that the teacher provided about how and why the ball goes where it goes got me to thinking.... And then life happened and my attempt to get back to weekly practice disappeared.

Enter 2019. I've given up poker and hockey. I will still fish, but that's rare these days. The kids are old enough that I can get out of the house more frequently. So THIS IS THE YEAR! I've taken lessons that are GOOD lessons teaching me fundamentals. I'm practicing putting and chipping on a regular basis. I'm LEARNING. And I'm getting out and playing. Am I "good" - oh heavens no. But I've posted some decent scores (for me) this year and I see my ball striking getting better on the range. My GIANT slice is gone. It's been replaced by a hook that I need to control. I see hope that by the end of the year my 17 will be down to a 15 and at that point I'll say "no, I'm not good, I hit 6 balls that screwed my round! Some day I'll be good!!!"

The quest continues. Enjoy the ride!

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 4/22/2019 at 8:03 PM, GolfSpy STUDque said:

Like others, my definition of good continues to change. For the purpose of your question, and where you are in your golf journey, I'll share my first definition of good

  1. Don't lose too many balls
  2. Don't hold up the players behind me
  3. Play a full round without mulligans
  4. Know most of the rules
  5. Know my distances (roughly)

Notice how none of those had to do with score. Of course score mattered, but not as much as getting the basics right.  If you stack those on each other, they'll add up to reasonable scores and you can move onto your next definition of good

Now that that's out of the way, it took me until my second season to break that first layer of good (now on my 9th). I practiced a lot, read a lot, and tried to play with purposes in mind. I was never really the type to get hammered with the bros on the course and screw around. Still not.

Good luck in your journey! Hope we get to hear more as you progress. 

Agree completely with the this idea that “good” is an ever moving target. I played my first round at the age of 60, shot 216 (Ed, who took me out on this first round would only record 12 shots per hole no matter how many I actually took) and lost (ahem) 28 balls. Last week (6 years after that first fateful round) I lost 1 ball and 2 weeks ago shot a no mulligans, no gimmes, no bull$hit 101. Is that good? No, but it is better. Still trying to shoot the elusive sub 100 round.

A wiser man than I observed that golf ⛳️ is a game you play against yourself that you can never win.

Enjoy the journey.

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  • 3 weeks later...

As others have said the word "good" is relative and will change from person to person. In my opinion a player is based on their handicaps and breakdown as such:

20+ - golfer

19 to 15 - ok golfer

14 to 10 - decent golfer

9 to 5 - great golfer

4 to 2 - amazing golfer

1 to X+ - "best golfer around"

Personally I picked up the game three years ago after caddying a couple of years and started playing with some friends when the course was closed to members. Last year I decided to keep score occasionally to eventually establish a handicap which at the end of the year was around a 20 index. Upon college graduation this May I wanted to see how low I could get the handicap before started full time work so I started to really take my rounds serious. My goal is to try and get to single figures before the end of the summer. Going back to your question I still only recently started to feel "good" on the course when I broke down one of my rounds shot by shot and figured out where the high scores were coming from.

1. I noticed I was losing a bunch of balls by trying to use driver too much or over swinging with my 3 wood (the course I play is 6400 yards tipped out so it's not too long so no need to use driver really) causing me to either go out of bounds or into deep rough. Use the longest club you can for the given hole that you are confident you can keep in the fairway. 

2. A lot of times I set up my approach shot aimed at a pin and not the center of the green. I now just aim middle of the green no matter how far out I am. I would land the ball pin high then roll off the green no matter what club I was using. Now I take a little less club and have it roll up to the flag and not just always try to land it flag high.

3. Every time I stood on the tee I had 9,000,000 swing thoughts in my head from watching too many Youtube swing coaches. This would just make me nervous and doubt my swing. I would try and make too many swing changes at once rather than tweaking small parts each time I practiced or played. 

4. Have fun it's a GAME ... play with some friends, throw on some music, and relax you're out here to have fun not to be stressed out for four hours. After watching a bunch of Erik Anders Lang videos I always noticed how laid back and relaxed he was on the course and that is how I try and approach golf now. 

TLDR - I only recently felt "good" on the course after breaking down my rounds and figuring out where the high scores were coming from. In short it came from being too aggressive and taking the game too seriously stressing me out.  

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                  Wood:          :taylormade-small:    V-Steel                                    Wedges:      :titelist-small:            Sm7 50, 54, 58

                  Hybrid:        :titelist-small:            816 H1                                    Putter:        :odyssey-small:  White Hot #7

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