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When you need a bogie on 18 to break 80, then have a melt down


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I started playing again in January this year after 10 years off.. I wouldn't even say I was a "golfer" 10 years ago. I just played once a month or so with mates and/or my Father. I never shot lower than 100.

The bug bit me hard after playing a corporate golf day at the beginning of the year, and I've been practicing and playing every chance I can get since then. My goal was to break 90 by July and 80 by New Years. Ended up breaking 90 in February but then things went down hill after things got crazy at work. Since July, I've been back into it hard! got a skytrak setup in the garage and found a new coach that seemed like he was happy to be doing his job rather than the previous.

I broke 90 again within 2 weeks and ever since, I've been focused on breaking 80. I've always lacked touch around the greens so that's been my major focus the last few months. Improving this side of my game has literally overhauled my game. Not just because I get up & down more often, but following an up & down; I'm heading to the next tee with confidence.

Last week I was playing fairly well until I bogied the 7th, double bogied the 8th and bogied the 9th. I knew breaking 80 was a long shot as my local's back 9 is much less forgiving, with lots more water and a few challenging holes!

I managed to play the last 8 holes without what I would call a "mistake". By "mistake" I mean, a shank, chunk, slice, hook, 3 putt, etc (basically unforced errors). Each stroke I made felt like I was playing 'how I should be'. 

I made it through to the 17th with 5 strokes in hand and a par 4 in my way to breaking 80. Duck hook OOB left. 3 from the tee. Made the left rough and hit a tree. 4 iron to the fringe and a 3 putt later and I finish with 81.

There are 20 different ways that I'd play the hole if I had it over again. I was hitting the ball well, with the way I was playing and I didn't want to change things that appeared to be working.

My playing partner summed it up for me. He said "Ryan... Golf. is. hard"

s*** yeah it is!

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We all have faced that situation where we need to something average to break a scoring barrier or set a personal best.

I had that type of opportunity to break 70. Par 17 and 18 for 68. 17 was a tough hole and I bogeyed it frequently. Took double. Needed birdie on a reachable par 5. Took bogey for 71.

Building that skill to be able to perform in those situations is tough. You now know you can perform on the golf course and whether it is next week, next year, or farther out, you will break that scoring barrier

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Breaking 80 ain't easy.  +7 is a hard number to achieve or even go below.  +4 on both sides and you haven't done it.  That's only 4 bogeys and that isn't a lot honestly, especially when you don't make a lot of birdies.

Golf is much more mental than it is physical, especially when you are acutely aware of the goal facing you with one hole to go.  That's why when you are up 2 with 2 to play and your opponent presses you, all of a sudden that freewheeling swing tightens up and you struggle to finish off your opponent (unless of course it's your brother, and you've spent a lifetime betting each other, and the opportunity to bludgeon him even more when he presses brings a refreshing excitement of knowing you can watch him crash and burn and double down on it).

I shot 72 on Saturday, and I'm convinced I was playing well because I spent most of the round "caddieing" around a guest to our club, who didn't know the course, or the breaks on the greens, or where to hit it, etc.  I was so laser focused on showing him the line, or helping him out that I really had no clue where I stood during the round.  Of course, it wasn't until one of my playing partners went out of his way to tell me I was -1 and had the chance to break par.  So naturally I 3-putted the last hole to bogey it and walk off with 72.

Forget the scorecard and just play golf.  That's when the 70's will come.  You can still add it up at the end.

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1 hour ago, ryanokeefe said:

There are 20 different ways that I'd play the hole if I had it over again. I was hitting the ball well, with the way I was playing and I didn't want to change things that appeared to be working.

There was nothing wrong with your strategy, you simply hit a couple of bad shots.  You get a bit of "recency bias" because the duck-hook came on the last hole, but you made a double earlier in the round too, you had another 3-putt.  Bad shots happen, that's life as a human golfer.  But the better you become, the less often those bad shots occur, and the less severe they are.  Keep working, keep putting yourself in the position, and you'll pass that hurdle and be looking for the next one.

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We have all been there, myself countless times where I did exactly that. Unfortunately the only way to get better at these is to continue to put yourself in these spots and then you will come through and it gets that much easier from there. Keep up the hard work sounds like you coach has helped you make some great progress.

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The first time I broke 80 I didn't know I did until the guys in the other cart (they were keeping the scores) told me.  They knew not to say anything until I finished the last hole for a 79. Then they were all clapping and patting me on the back. I was the first one of our group ever to break 80. If someone told me where I was with the score  I'm sure there would have been a different outcome. Not knowing took all the pressure off. From that day on I never kept score. Meaning I would write down the hole score but not add everything up until the end. As you get to breaking 70 that's a different story it's hard not to know. You are writing down par most of the time with a few birdies and maybe one bogie thrown in.

But I remember that last hole to break 80 to this day. Played the Wizard golf course in Myrtle Beach. It was an island tee box to and island fairway to an island green. I found out after the fact that I needed to make bogie for 79. If I knew in advance with all that water the outcome would have been a watery grave for the ball in play and a few extra strokes on the score card.

There is nothing worse then stepping up to the tee on the last hole and someone yells out all you need to do is make par to break X.  Kiss of death! For all you spies out there, think about it before yelling out what someone needs to do to achieve a goal. 

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The closest I have ever come, I needed a par on 18 and I knew it. The course I was playing has a fairly difficult par 3 as the finishing hole - usually a long iron or hybrid for me. I pulled a 4 iron and stuck it about 25 feet from the pin. Knowing I needed only to two putt for a 79, I promptly 3-putted and wanted to go jump in front of a bus.

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Won’t work for everyone, but I don’t pay attention to how I’m scoring while I play, every hole - every shot is a new opportunity. Sure I have a general sense when I’m playing well or not, but I deliberately don’t keep a tally where I stand. A couple weeks ago I had 44 on the front but all I knew was I wasn’t playing well. I lit it up on the last 7 holes and had 36 on the back. Knowing my score, especially on the last hole, would more likely make my score worse, not better. I’ve broken 80 about a half dozen times this year, didn’t really realize it until after. YMMV

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21 hours ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

The first time I broke 80 I didn't know I did until the guys in the other cart (they were keeping the scores) told me.  They knew not to say anything until I finished the last hole for a 79. Then they were all clapping and patting me on the back. I was the first one of our group ever to break 80. If someone told me where I was with the score  I'm sure there would have been a different outcome. Not knowing took all the pressure off. From that day on I never kept score. Meaning I would write down the hole score but not add everything up until the end. As you get to breaking 70 that's a different story it's hard not to know. You are writing down par most of the time with a few birdies and maybe one bogie thrown in.

But I remember that last hole to break 80 to this day. Played the Wizard golf course in Myrtle Beach. It was an island tee box to and island fairway to an island green. I found out after the fact that I needed to make bogie for 79. If I knew in advance with all that water the outcome would have been a watery grave for the ball in play and a few extra strokes on the score card.

There is nothing worse then stepping up to the tee on the last hole and someone yells out all you need to do is make par to break X.  Kiss of death! For all you spies out there, think about it before yelling out what someone needs to do to achieve a goal. 

Not knowing your score is the key, for sure.  Although my wife keeps our scores, I know my score in my head.  That wasn't always the case.  When I was a bogey golfer, I was playing with my buddies in Phoenix at the Wildfire GC Palmer course at the JW Marriott where we had a professional society meeting.  I wasn't keeping score and didn't even know I was playing that well; just having a good time.  Near the end of the round I hit driver left into the desert by a wall next to a house.  My buddy said, "well, there goes your good round."  I had a shot to the green but had to go under a tree.  Bladed an 8i that ran through a bunker and across the green into the rough.  Chipped it in for birdie!  I went on to shoot my only under par round in my life... 69, which for a bogey golfer is just pure luck.  Never had a round like that since, because I know what my score is after every hole whether I want to know or not.

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I won't argue with the suggestions to avoid keeping score, but there's another part of this.  There are lots of times on the golf course that we feel pressure, that we get nervous.  Its important to learn to accept the nerves, and find a way to get through it.  This situation is no different than playing a match and coming to the 18th tee all square.  Its not much different than needing a 6-footer to win a competition.  Heck, its no different that standing on the FIRST tee on your once-in-a-lifetime trip to play the Old Course.  We all need to learn how to hit a decent shot even when we feel the pressure.  

Now I can't tell you HOW to do that, other than through experience.  But the best way to hit good shots under pressure is to learn to hit good shots all the time.  The better your swing is, the better you'll perform under pressure.  To me, pressure is to some extent the fear of "failure".  If I am confident in my success, based on simply being a better player, the pressure is diminished.  I can look at myself, recognize that I feel some pressure, and decide that I will simply go out and hit a good shot just like every other good shot I've ever hit.

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“I just stay in the moment…I never think one hole ahead. I’m not thinking about tomorrow. I’m not thinking about the next shot. I’m just thinking about what I’ve got to do right then and there. It’s very simple.” – Brooks Koepka

FYI... That was included at the start of a newsletter I received (from David MacKenzie, mental game coach, golfstateofmind.com) .. the article was titled, "How To Free Your Mind And Play Your Best Golf" and can be found at.. https://golfstateofmind.com/free-mind-play-best-golf-email/

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On 12/17/2020 at 11:56 AM, DaveP043 said:

But the best way to hit good shots under pressure is to learn to hit good shots all the time.  The better your swing is, the better you'll perform under pressure.  To me, pressure is to some extent the fear of "failure".  If I am confident in my success, based on simply being a better player, the pressure is diminished.  I can look at myself, recognize that I feel some pressure, and decide that I will simply go out and hit a good shot just like every other good shot I've ever hit.

^ That ^ is really great!! Thx 👍
...I'm saving that into the Notes on my smartphone for future, and continued, reference!

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6 hours ago, cksurfdude said:

^ That ^ is really great!! Thx 👍
...I'm saving that into the Notes on my smartphone for future, and continued, reference!

Maybe Yes... Maybe No.

On 12/17/2020 at 8:56 AM, DaveP043 said:

Now I can't tell you HOW to do that, other than through experience.  But the best way to hit good shots under pressure is to learn to hit good shots all the time.  The better your swing is, the better you'll perform under pressure.  To me, pressure is to some extent the fear of "failure".  If I am confident in my success, based on simply being a better player, the pressure is diminished.  I can look at myself, recognize that I feel some pressure, and decide that I will simply go out and hit a good shot just like every other good shot I've ever hit.

Well, I'm screwed!  I am admittedly a poor ball ball striker.  I have been trying to learn how to hit better shots for over 20 years.  Time is running out!!  Yes, I am better than I was 20 years ago after taking lots of lessons, going to golf schools, spending lots of time practicing, and playing 3-4 times a week.  I don't consider myself to be a "better player", and to go out and hit a good shot just like every other good shot I've ever hit isn't going to work.  I feel lucky to hit two good shots in a row, so I can't count on it when I need one.  Maybe that's a difference between a 5 and a 10.

This is probably the reason I play my best rounds when I am distracted, not keeping score, and enjoying rounds with friends rather than tournament golf.  Gave that up years ago.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My brother in law had an even BIGGER meltdown.

Shoots 38 in front 9, followed by a 48 in the back, with a birdie on 18th, so it was not all that bad.

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Before I ever broke 80 I had many rounds where I 3 putted for an 79 or missed a 3 footer for a 79. Very frustrating. 

#17 and #18 at my home course are tough birdies and tough pars when you have a solid round going. Par 3 then a par 5. Ive shot over par on these two holes to  miss shooting a par round several times. 

The pain is real. 

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On 12/17/2020 at 11:56 AM, DaveP043 said:

 There are lots of times on the golf course that we feel pressure, that we get nervous.  Its important to learn to accept the nerves, and find a way to get through it.  This situation is no different than playing a match and coming to the 18th tee all square.  Its not much different than needing a 6-footer to win a competition.  Heck, its no different that standing on the FIRST tee on your once-in-a-lifetime trip to play the Old Course.  We all need to learn how to hit a decent shot even when we feel the pressure.  

 

the body doesn’t know the difference between excitement and nervousness. 

physiologically, they’re exactly the same. elevated heart rate, shallow breathing, fidgety, a little sweaty, etc. 

im not a good enough golfer to give any tips that are better than what’s been given already, but there’s a no-doubt scientific way to calm yourself down and give yourself the best chance at hitting a good shot when you need to:

for those of you who wear a smart watch, this is easily quantifiable. track your heart rate at certain times in the round. if it’s elevated, back off the ball and take 20-30 seconds of quiet, slow, deep breaths, and then return to your ball when your heart rate has come back down. 

you’ll be looser, calmer, faster, and better able to execute what you’re trying to do. 

otherwise the nerves will win 100 times out of 100. it’s just science. 

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6 hours ago, pulledabill said:

Before I ever broke 80 I had many rounds where I 3 putted for an 79 or missed a 3 footer for a 79. Very frustrating. 

#17 and #18 at my home course are tough birdies and tough pars when you have a solid round going. Par 3 then a par 5. Ive shot over par on these two holes to  miss shooting a par round several times. 

The pain is real. 

No doubt that the pain is real, but consider playing a different golf course.  On this fictitious course, the most difficult holes are #12 and #15.  If you bogey those two, but par the easy 17th and 18th to shoot 73, do you have the same pain?  

 

6 hours ago, Chip Strokes said:

for those of you who wear a smart watch, this is easily quantifiable. track your heart rate at certain times in the round. if it’s elevated, back off the ball and take 20-30 seconds of quiet, slow, deep breaths, and then return to your ball when your heart rate has come back down. 

Its probably important to realize that this isn't exactly legal under Rule 4.3a(3), which says:

Quote

Not Allowed.

Using any physiological information recorded during the round.

However, this is a great way to learn during a practice round what "nerves" feels like, and what it feels like when you've allowed your heart rate to stabilize.  

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8 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

 

 

Its probably important to realize that this isn't exactly legal under Rule 4.3a(3), which says:

However, this is a great way to learn during a practice round what "nerves" feels like, and what it feels like when you've allowed your heart rate to stabilize.  

thanks, Dave.  i haven’t played any competition golf, so i didn’t even think how that would apply

the watch/tracker recommendation is more for people who haven’t ever monitored their heart rate before, and like you said is a good way to put a feeling together with some data. 

once you’ve done it a few times (even away from the course) you can feel how it works and don’t need the data feedback anymore. 

i’m assuming that as long as you don’t stand there in a trance for 5 minutes, there isn’t a rule against calming yourself down, is there?

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One of the hardest things to do in this game is separate the results from the strategy or approach. Just because you didn't execute doesn't mean you should do anything different. As you get more opportunities they become less daunting. Sounds like you have made great progress in the last year, keep the positive thoughts and build on what you do good. The results will come with time. 

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Just now, Chip Strokes said:

thanks, Dave.  i haven’t played any competition golf, so i didn’t even think how that would apply

the watch/tracker recommendation is more for people who haven’t ever monitored their heart rate before, and like you said is a good way to put a feeling together with some data. 

once you’ve done it a few times (even away from the course) you can feel how it works and don’t need the data feedback anymore. 

i’m assuming that as long as you don’t stand there in a trance for 5 minutes, there isn’t a rule against calming yourself down, is there?

Not at all, other than the rule for delaying play.  I've learned to feel the nerves, and learned to simply take a couple of deep breaths before I take my swing.  The more often you face the nerves, the better you learn to deal with them.

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:titelist-small: Irons Titleist AP2 714, KBS Tour S, 3 flat

:callaway-small: Rogue SubZero, GD YS-Six X

:vokey-small: 52, 56, and 60 wedges

:ping-small: B60 G5i putter

Right handed

Reston, Virginia

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