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The Truth About Lowering Your Score


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I read an article this morning by Practical Golf. It's nothing earth shattering or new really. But, it does once again bring our game into focus. The article is about Time and Expectations. As golfers we all approach this game differently. We'd all like to be +10 handicappers. Right? Yeah me too....  except I just don't know what I'd do with all the money. So, after reading the article which Scenario do you fit into?  I'm solidly in Scenario #2. I've been playing most of the summer between a 3-5 hcp. Not bad but that's about it. I actually have more time to spend on my game but don't. Why? I guess I'm just lazy and expect to magically get to scratch or something. Ain't gonna happen and I know it. Certainly not at my decrepit old age. LOL

Here's a link to the article:

https://practical-golf.com/golf-scores/

 

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I'm right between a 1 and a 2. I play on average once a week but don't have time to practice. But my playing has gotten better this season and have dropped in handicap this year.

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14 minutes ago, PlaidJacket said:

I read an article this morning by Practical Golf. It's nothing earth shattering or new really. But, it does once again bring our game into focus. The article is about Time and Expectations. As golfers we all approach this game differently. We'd all like to be +10 handicappers. Right? Yeah me too....  except I just don't know what I'd do with all the money. So, after reading the article which Scenario do you fit into?  I'm solidly in Scenario #2. I've been playing most of the summer between a 3-5 hcp. Not bad but that's about it. I actually have more time to spend on my game but don't. Why? I guess I'm just lazy and expect to magically get to scratch or something. Ain't gonna happen and I know it. Certainly not at my decrepit old age. LOL

Here's a link to the article:

https://practical-golf.com/golf-scores/

 

I read this one as well, really like his articles for some healthy expectations and keeps me sane (mostly).

I'm also somewhere between #1 and #2, probably closer to #2 more often than not. Need to focus my practice time to really see improvements though.

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Thanks for the article - it came at a timely point.

 I shared it (focus on the graph) with my wife. She reduced her index dramatically this year - but had a meltdown yesterday. She had a lesson on Sunday and yesterday everything fell apart. Tried to explain to her that immediately after a lesson things won't go so well because you're trying to implement new techniques. 

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Good article.  Aligning one's expectations with the reality of your situation would help a lot of people get more enjoyment out of the game IMO.  I am pretty much a Scenario #2 but I will call myself a 1.75.  I play once or twice a week.  I have some time to practice but don't put that much actual practice in.  Golf isn't my only hobby/interest and you have to balance the whole time & money thing.  I've began replacing driving range trips with a quick nine at a local executive course (par 32) as "practice" time.  I find I get more out of it, its more fun, and walking is great exercise.  I will still practice short game occasionally.  I may never become a scratch golfer that way but it's the process of playing that I enjoy the most.  If I can keep double-bogey or worse off my card and make an occasional birdie, I have a great time!

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Solidly a 2. I play once a week and do mostly short game practice. I am playing as a 7/8 now but was a 4 a few years ago.

What changed isn’t really practice but getting instruction. Maybe I have some talent as I seem to pick up things taught in a lesson quickly and don’t have to spend a lot of time practicing.

I have time to dedicate to getting better, I just choose to not make time. After working I just want to go home and relax. I hit a lot of balls during the year doing most wanted testing; it seems to help with wedges and putting but not with full swing. Probably because I am not focusing on improving since it really isn’t practice. Wish I had space to install a skytrak; I know I would use it every day to work on my game.

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I'm a #2, as I play on Saturdays mostly, with little time to practice during the week.  I did enjoy my time in NC though, as I played almost every day.  Hard to do that at home when the wife assumes you'll be home by 6:30 pm for dinner, and that is her love language (quality time).

I also agree with the article that you should spend a majority of your time working on chipping and putting.  When I go to the driving range, all I see mostly is guys banging drivers trying to get longer.  I'm tempted to walk up to some of those guys and say to them, "I'll bet you $20 I can beat you on any par 5 just using a 7 iron and a putter", and see what their response is.

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I've long felt that, for the vast majority of golfers, lowering handicaps follows an asymptotic model - and that breaking into single digit handicaps is roughly where the curve starts to flatten.  It stands to reason that the more time you invest, the better the chances you have in improving scoring stats.  But simply spending time on the course is but a small part of the recipe for getting up that flattened portion of the curve.  I think it often takes wholesale changes to one's swing mechanics - and that involves even more commitment in practice and playing time.  I attempted a swing change in my mid 20's that ultimately had me so frustrated with the game, I gave it up for the most part. At the time I was playing to an 11-12 and really felt like I could (or should) be able to get to mid single digit.  I may not have committed to it long enough (patience has never been my strong suit) and it became a trainwreck. I struggled just getting back to where I was and with other life happenings happening took a hiatus. 

See the source image

I'm fascinated by those of you spies who have recently completed or are going through a swing change - even more, amazed when it works out!  Unlike the pros who have dedicated swing coaches and can work on this endeavour as a full time job, most of us simply don't have the time.  Or, by the time we do (have the time), our physical ability to make any significant changes to our swing mechanics is a challenge.  I probably really need to consider a swing change if I ever hope to beat my lifelong best 11 handicap - but based on my prior experience, not sure I want to commit to it 🤔.  

 

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I'm about a 2.25. I average playing twice a week and practice 1-2 hrs daily EXCEPT.... I live in the New England where I have forced down time due to winter. I want a sim in the house for winter practice and believe it would help tremendously. I get to travel to warmer areas of the country some in the winter due to my job and work in some rounds as often as I can. I hover around 8-10 mostly because I have no home course. The vast majority of golf I play is on a different course every time. Hard to get low doing that. However, I am focusing more on course management since that is my downfall. I research courses in advance of playing them and keep a notebook of each one in case I return to play there. I do tend to score better on courses I am familiar with, but still tend to make a couple of dumb choices each round that keep me from getting where I want to be. Nice article though.

 

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To quite honest, I’m more a 1 right now. I play Sundays, and that’s about it. I hardly get to the range anymore, and it’s all because of work.


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I’m a 2 by his definition but the deeper dive is that I don’t play enough competitive rounds to really improve - hoping to change that in the upcoming year.

Lots of wisdom in this piece.


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Historically, I've been a 1, but this year I was closer to a 2-3 depending on the week. Testing the Epic Flash for MGS really forced me to get on the range almost every day because I wanted to show some improvement to everyone on here! And picking up Stan Utley's book had me working on my short game a lot, too. The only thing I didn't work on much this year was my putting, and looking at my stats I am now seeing how much that held me back this season.

The progress chart he posted is spot on. I shot a 96 the first time out at my home course this year, bounced around a bit in the high 80s, worked my way lower, shot 79 in August and have regressed a bit since, shooting low mid-90s that last two times I went out there. Progress isn't linear and that's really hard to swallow sometimes.

But, I look at it as at one point this summer I shaved anywhere from 12-16 strokes off a round from my previous "normal." I'm thankful for my family and work situation that allows me that time, it really was a lot of work and commitment. 

I desperately need to work on more focused practice time, however, because my tendency is just to hit a bunch balls to develop "rhythm," which I'm realizing isn't really helping my swing all that much.

 

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15 hours ago, fixyurdivot said:

I've long felt that, for the vast majority of golfers, lowering handicaps follows an asymptotic model - and that breaking into single digit handicaps is roughly where the curve starts to flatten.  It stands to reason that the more time you invest, the better the chances you have in improving scoring stats.  But simply spending time on the course is but a small part of the recipe for getting up that flattened portion of the curve.  I think it often takes wholesale changes to one's swing mechanics - and that involves even more commitment in practice and playing time.  I attempted a swing change in my mid 20's that ultimately had me so frustrated with the game, I gave it up for the most part. At the time I was playing to an 11-12 and really felt like I could (or should) be able to get to mid single digit.  I may not have committed to it long enough (patience has never been my strong suit) and it became a trainwreck. I struggled just getting back to where I was and with other life happenings happening took a hiatus. 

See the source image

I'm fascinated by those of you spies who have recently completed or are going through a swing change - even more, amazed when it works out!  Unlike the pros who have dedicated swing coaches and can work on this endeavour as a full time job, most of us simply don't have the time.  Or, by the time we do (have the time), our physical ability to make any significant changes to our swing mechanics is a challenge.  I probably really need to consider a swing change if I ever hope to beat my lifelong best 11 handicap - but based on my prior experience, not sure I want to commit to it 🤔.  

 

@fixyurdivot, It took me all summer to get my drive where I wanted it to be so don't despair. Based on the author's scale I'm more like a 2.75. I play a lot 4-5 times a week and I spent a fair amount of time on the range. Looking back on it now, I'm saying to myself the mechanics of the new (driver) swing are fairly simple - why did it take me so long?  Guess it has to do more with repetitive practice than just knowledge of the mechanics. 

As to the article, the one big element for at least higher handicappers not addressed is the mental side. For instance,  I could start out great maybe a couple of par's and birdies, then I have a blowout hole - maybe it's a triple on a Par 3 which shakes my confidence, it then takes me 2,3 or sometimes 4 holes to mentally get back in the game. An on-course therapist would do wonders for my game 😎

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30 minutes ago, tony@CIC said:

@fixyurdivot, It took me all summer to get my drive where I wanted it to be so don't despair. Based on the author's scale I'm more like a 2.75. I play a lot 4-5 times a week and I spent a fair amount of time on the range. Looking back on it now, I'm saying to myself the mechanics of the new (driver) swing are fairly simple - why did it take me so long?  Guess it has to do more with repetitive practice than just knowledge of the mechanics. 

As to the article, the one big element for at least higher handicappers not addressed is the mental side. For instance,  I could start out great maybe a couple of par's and birdies, then I have a blowout hole - maybe it's a triple on a Par 3 which shakes my confidence, it then takes me 2,3 or sometimes 4 holes to mentally get back in the game. An on-course therapist would do wonders for my game 😎

Good points.  Oh, and the blow-up holes... grrr!  Another way to look at this is how many of us, even with high end club fitting, little or no limitations on time to devote to practice and playing, and a full time teaching pro can get to (or real close to) scratch golf?  

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1 hour ago, fixyurdivot said:

Another way to look at this is how many of us, even with high end club fitting, little or no limitations on time to devote to practice and playing, and a full time teaching pro can get to (or real close to) scratch golf?  

Have you read Paper Tiger by Tom Coyne? Entertaining and easy read about just what you talk about. He devotes a year of sabbatical to trying to become scratch/plus and play on the PGA Tour.

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2 hours ago, edingc said:

Have you read Paper Tiger by Tom Coyne? Entertaining and easy read about just what you talk about. He devotes a year of sabbatical to trying to become scratch/plus and play on the PGA Tour.

No, that sounds like a great read and I'm in need of a new book.  Thanks!

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On 10/16/2019 at 9:07 AM, PlaidJacket said:

I read an article this morning by Practical Golf. It's nothing earth shattering or new really. But, it does once again bring our game into focus. The article is about Time and Expectations. As golfers we all approach this game differently. We'd all like to be +10 handicappers. Right? Yeah me too....  except I just don't know what I'd do with all the money. So, after reading the article which Scenario do you fit into?  I'm solidly in Scenario #2. I've been playing most of the summer between a 3-5 hcp. Not bad but that's about it. I actually have more time to spend on my game but don't. Why? I guess I'm just lazy and expect to magically get to scratch or something. Ain't gonna happen and I know it. Certainly not at my decrepit old age. LOL

Here's a link to the article:

https://practical-golf.com/golf-scores/

 

Thanks for this post and for the link to the article.  It is very timely for me.  I fall into #3 category.  I have the time, I play four days per week and practice some part of my game every day..every day.  I have just embarked on a personal challenge to putt 10,000 putts over the next three months.  Some will be in the house on carpet (actually on a 1 1/2 inch wide 48 inch long steel ruler) but most will be on the practice greens at the course that I play.  My goal is to make everything inside 6 feet, half of the 15 footers, and roll the ball within 3 feet of the hole from all distances.  Daunting? Indeed.  My putting is pretty good, but to break par I need to make more birdies and that means hit greens and make putts.  Since this time of year is better for practice than for golf..now is the time!

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12 minutes ago, deauxrite said:

 My goal is to make everything inside 6 feet, half of the 15 footers, and roll the ball within 3 feet of the hole from all distances.  Daunting? Indeed.  

Daunting? yes.   Unrealistic?  yes.

Below are statistics for PGA pros.  While they get on hot streaks,  an 8 footer is a 50/50  putt.  

KCQfIwBuLlbZrkYYdW92QfpH5uUIsjlMmuYIzNzm

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55 minutes ago, cnosil said:

Daunting? yes.   Unrealistic?  yes.

Below are statistics for PGA pros.  While they get on hot streaks,  an 8 footer is a 50/50  putt.  

KCQfIwBuLlbZrkYYdW92QfpH5uUIsjlMmuYIzNzm

I guess that I will just give up now!  NOT.  I do not play on PGA tour greens, nor do  I play under that kind of pressure.  I think that a good PGA player could achieve the goals that I have set under the conditions that I play.  It does not take any special physical attributes to putt very well..it takes focus and practice, both of which I am willing to commit to.

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2 hours ago, deauxrite said:

Thanks for this post and for the link to the article.  It is very timely for me.  I fall into #3 category.  I have the time, I play four days per week and practice some part of my game every day..every day.  I have just embarked on a personal challenge to putt 10,000 putts over the next three months.  Some will be in the house on carpet (actually on a 1 1/2 inch wide 48 inch long steel ruler) but most will be on the practice greens at the course that I play.  My goal is to make everything inside 6 feet, half of the 15 footers, and roll the ball within 3 feet of the hole from all distances.  Daunting? Indeed.  My putting is pretty good, but to break par I need to make more birdies and that means hit greens and make putts.  Since this time of year is better for practice than for golf..now is the time!

Nice to set goals, but make sure they are achievable. Those putting stats are not achievable! 
If you want to break par, it does not take more birdies, it takes less bogeys. 

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