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How to be content with your golf game? Surprise, surprise I'm not!


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2021 has been interesting for my golf game. I've been playing less, and in a sense have been more consistent.

My current index is 9.1 and to date I only have two rounds in the 90s (two 91s). Outside of those rounds I'm usually in the mid to low 80s with the occasional 70s round. 

On the equipment front, aside from the top of bag, my gear hasn't changed much and at this point I know my clubs aren't even close to being the issue. 

I find myself in a strange position where I'm extremely unhappy with my swing (too vertical), but I don't do much about it because I simply don't have the time to really make the changes I know need to happen. The main thing I've been doing is working on some slow swing drills with my GBox since my right elbow is one of the issues along with questionable rotation. With my current schedule, I could probably squeeze in a day of practice and that's likely what I'll do since I know it'll make a difference.  

I don't compete in tournaments and my drive to improve comes from my desire to constantly get better and not be okay with things as they are. I have golf goals that I'm chasing, but as of late I've become increasingly frustrated and have a hard time accepting that mediocre golf is what I'm destined to play. Alright, maybe it's not that serious, but I'm just curious to see what others do when they feel stuck in this crazy game. Looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts!  

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I am reaching the same kind of frustration point as you are. Been working hard on my short game which has significantly improved but my scoring really hasn’t. Same basic scoring range as you; occasional 70s but most everything in the 80-85 range.

Just at a loss as I can play some really solid golf during a round and can them play some really awful golf.

My coach has been busy but I am going to try and get some ideas from him. I know I can be playing 70s golf

Sorry no solutions but understand the feelings.

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26 minutes ago, mr.hicksta said:

I have golf goals that I'm chasing, but as of late I've become increasingly frustrated and have a hard time accepting that mediocre golf is what I'm destined to play. Alright, maybe it's not that serious, but I'm just curious to see what others do when they feel stuck in this crazy game. Looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts!  

Welcome to the club!

In all seriousness, what I've bolded is something I've been struggling with as well. Despite putting in a lot of practice, I just haven't found the "ah ha" moment where everything just clicks. I understand bad shots are part of the game (sometimes self-induced, sometimes poor luck), but lately every time I feel like I'm making progress in one area I fall back in to bad habits in another. It feels like a constant cat-and-mouse game patching up my full swing, so much so that I don't always get to practice other areas of my game that need help. Doesn't matter if I can chip and putt if I'm constantly in the trees off the tee!

You and I sound like similar players, only I have loads more time to practice than play. I know I need to get out on the course more often if I'm going to see improvement there, and now that we are turning the corner into mid-spring I hope that I'll be able to get out more soon. I'm a practice player and have trouble translating stuff to the course. I played so poorly the only time out at my home course this year and legitimately had thoughts about just throwing in the towel.

This is often made worse by the fact I seem to "find" my swing during lessons and get good feedback, hit great shots and the next day will go out and feel/look like I've just picked up a club for the first time. Frustrating!

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As a 9.1 you are not playing mediocre golf, that is good golf. That is one of the hardest things to understand. There are a lot of people that play golf and many would kill to be at your level. All that being said I understand where you are at. I set a goal a few years ago to improve from a 2 to scratch. It took a lot of work and while I did get there maintaining it is difficult. I am not that good. I have to work to stay there. BUT one thing I noticed when I was playing my best was that the round itself was extremely boring. I mean I would go out there feel like I was going through the motions and post a good score. 10-14 greens miss a couple of putts make a lot of pars. The problem being is that is not what my game was used to. I was a 3-6 birdies with 4-8 bogies kinda player. So I have been unmotivated to continue to practice (plus life gets in the way). My index is up almost 4 points from my low but I will get it back down there. 

One thing that is super frustrating about this game and why it takes a special person to play and continually improve is that the improvement is so small it is almost immeasurable. Fractions of improvement is not what that human mind is designed for. If you never hit a baseball you could start 1 day and by the end of the day have the majority of the swing down and be making good contact. On the golf course it could take a year before that happens. Expectations are a huge issue for all golfers. 

What helped me continue to improve and work on my game without getting bored was focusing on one aspect at a time. Not my entire game as a whole. But practice would be focused on a certain facet and that would be it for a month or so. And then move to the next facet. 

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I'm not a good golfer at all, and would still consider myself in the beginner category in terms of duration i have been playing. Have my ups and downs and right now am frustrated but will get over the frustration. As @THEZIPR23 mentioned, you can learn to hit a baseball in one day. But golf is weird. You can go from hitting well to not even feeling comfortable standing over the ball at setup. I'm not even sure how I forget what my optimal setup is. When I stand to make a baseball swing, its consistent, but I can easily mess up my setup in golf. 

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Why is it you can hit a round ball in motion coming at you with the round barrel of a bat that is smaller than the ball with no problem. But when you have a small ball sitting still you can't hit it with the flat face of a golf club which is larger than the ball?  Mind = Blown.  🤪

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I can relate to your frustration.  I started a series of lessons from a notable teacher in our area and, while I feel I'm making progress, my scores have not been getting better and, in fact, my handicap index has risen from a low of 6.9 to a current 10.6, where it's soft capped by the system.  It's difficult to keep doing what my coach wants me to do, but I know that eventually, decades of bad habits will give in the the new way to swing and it will become a more natural movement for me.  For now, however, I'm constantly focusing on what I'm learning and not relaxing and striking the ball like I know I can.  It is frustrating!  

Over the last 20 years, my handicap has fluctuated between 8-12, mainly staying in the single digit range.  I want it to become more consistent, hence the focused lesson block.  While I recognize that I'll likely never reach a level where I'm satisfied, I'm hoping to find it more comfortable shooting low to mid 70s rather than high 70s to low/mid 80s.

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3 hours ago, cnosil said:

I am reaching the same kind of frustration point as you are. Been working hard on my short game which has significantly improved but my scoring really hasn’t. Same basic scoring range as you; occasional 70s but most everything in the 80-85 range.

Just at a loss as I can play some really solid golf during a round and can them play some really awful golf.

My coach has been busy but I am going to try and get some ideas from him. I know I can be playing 70s golf

Sorry no solutions but understand the feelings.

Appreciate the thoughts, and I can completely relate to what's in bold. There are times when I feel comfortable over the ball and my swing feels fluid and then the next round it's like I have no idea where the ball is going to go. My short game and putting are decent enough to keep things from getting too out of control, but rounds that depend on that are a grind. It's a crazy game!

2 hours ago, edingc said:

Welcome to the club!

In all seriousness, what I've bolded is something I've been struggling with as well. Despite putting in a lot of practice, I just haven't found the "ah ha" moment where everything just clicks. I understand bad shots are part of the game (sometimes self-induced, sometimes poor luck), but lately every time I feel like I'm making progress in one area I fall back in to bad habits in another. It feels like a constant cat-and-mouse game patching up my full swing, so much so that I don't always get to practice other areas of my game that need help. Doesn't matter if I can chip and putt if I'm constantly in the trees off the tee!

You and I sound like similar players, only I have loads more time to practice than play. I know I need to get out on the course more often if I'm going to see improvement there, and now that we are turning the corner into mid-spring I hope that I'll be able to get out more soon. I'm a practice player and have trouble translating stuff to the course. I played so poorly the only time out at my home course this year and legitimately had thoughts about just throwing in the towel.

This is often made worse by the fact I seem to "find" my swing during lessons and get good feedback, hit great shots and the next day will go out and feel/look like I've just picked up a club for the first time. Frustrating!

Funny, I'm in the opposite in that I know I need to get on the range to smooth things out since full swing (particularly driver) is where things have been bad for me. And ultimately that's why I keep playing, because I'm determined to figure things out so I can at least get to a point where I'm more comfortable. 

2 hours ago, THEZIPR23 said:

As a 9.1 you are not playing mediocre golf, that is good golf. That is one of the hardest things to understand. There are a lot of people that play golf and many would kill to be at your level. All that being said I understand where you are at. I set a goal a few years ago to improve from a 2 to scratch. It took a lot of work and while I did get there maintaining it is difficult. I am not that good. I have to work to stay there. BUT one thing I noticed when I was playing my best was that the round itself was extremely boring. I mean I would go out there feel like I was going through the motions and post a good score. 10-14 greens miss a couple of putts make a lot of pars. The problem being is that is not what my game was used to. I was a 3-6 birdies with 4-8 bogies kinda player. So I have been unmotivated to continue to practice (plus life gets in the way). My index is up almost 4 points from my low but I will get it back down there. 

One thing that is super frustrating about this game and why it takes a special person to play and continually improve is that the improvement is so small it is almost immeasurable. Fractions of improvement is not what that human mind is designed for. If you never hit a baseball you could start 1 day and by the end of the day have the majority of the swing down and be making good contact. On the golf course it could take a year before that happens. Expectations are a huge issue for all golfers. 

What helped me continue to improve and work on my game without getting bored was focusing on one aspect at a time. Not my entire game as a whole. But practice would be focused on a certain facet and that would be it for a month or so. And then move to the next facet. 

You sir, are correct, and perhaps changing my perspective is a good start. My index has been in the 7-10 range for months now and with a deployment coming up I should probably enjoy where it's at now because minimal golf for months likely won't help, haha! Definitely going to start looking at things in small slices, too. I think that will help!

51 minutes ago, dlow206 said:

I'm not a good golfer at all, and would still consider myself in the beginner category in terms of duration i have been playing. Have my ups and downs and right now am frustrated but will get over the frustration. As @THEZIPR23 mentioned, you can learn to hit a baseball in one day. But golf is weird. You can go from hitting well to not even feeling comfortable standing over the ball at setup. I'm not even sure how I forget what my optimal setup is. When I stand to make a baseball swing, its consistent, but I can easily mess up my setup in golf. 

Totally understand the frustration part as I'm sure mine is evident in this post! 

10 minutes ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

Why is it you can hit a round ball in motion coming at you with the round barrel of a bat that is smaller than the ball with no problem. But when you have a small ball sitting still you can't hit it with the flat face of a golf club which is larger than the ball?  Mind = Blown.  🤪

I swear my practice swings are picture perfect, but lately when I get over the ball it's a different story. Yet I keep coming back for more, haha!

6 minutes ago, CarlH said:

I can relate to your frustration.  I started a series of lessons from a notable teacher in our area and, while I feel I'm making progress, my scores have not been getting better and, in fact, my handicap index has risen from a low of 6.9 to a current 10.6, where it's soft capped by the system.  It's difficult to keep doing what my coach wants me to do, but I know that eventually, decades of bad habits will give in the the new way to swing and it will become a more natural movement for me.  For now, however, I'm constantly focusing on what I'm learning and not relaxing and striking the ball like I know I can.  It is frustrating!  

Over the last 20 years, my handicap has fluctuated between 8-12, mainly staying in the single digit range.  I want it to become more consistent, hence the focused lesson block.  While I recognize that I'll likely never reach a level where I'm satisfied, I'm hoping to find it more comfortable shooting low to mid 70s rather than high 70s to low/mid 80s.

I've worked with several coaches online with mixed results. When I was in Hawaii I had a nice range close to my house that I was at regularly and I've since abandoned that routine. The more I think about it, the more I think it would benefit me instead of chasing some swing change that will cause more harm than anything. I can honestly say if I can get to a point where I'm hitting the driver better, I will be much happier. I could nitpick and come up with a laundry list of things to work on, but if I'm being real getting off the tee with some competence would make a huge difference for me. 

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3 hours ago, THEZIPR23 said:

As a 9.1 you are not playing mediocre golf, that is good golf. That is one of the hardest things to understand.

---

What helped me continue to improve and work on my game without getting bored was focusing on one aspect at a time. Not my entire game as a whole. But practice would be focused on a certain facet and that would be it for a month or so. And then move to the next facet. 

Totally agree with both of these points. Any time I feel like I am having a bad day but then look at the end score and know that many others would kill for that score it puts it into perspective. I think it is best to just make sure that you are having fun while still trying to improve. Stay Positive! 

I also agree that focusing on 1 aspect at a time is crucial. If you focus on getting off the tee, approach shots, Wedge shots, chip shots, Lag putting, and short putting all at the same time then none of them are going to drastically improve very quickly. Pick one thing and hone that until it becomes 2nd nature, then pick another thing...repeat. Eventually you will have big improvements in each aspect.

 

For the last 2 weeks or so I have been focusing on my 50-125 yard wedge shots. I figure I have 4 wedges, 3 different swings each (1/2, 3/4, and Full), and 3 Ball positions (Front, Middle, Back) in stance. This gives me 36 combinations of shots with my wedges to really attack for birdies, or save par after a bad shot. Being able to confidently say I can hit this wedge, with this swing, onto that shelf of the green with no worry about going to long has already helped on the course. Once I have this drilled down (probably a few more weeks still), I'll move on to a different shot. 

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The reality of it is NO ONE IS EVER CONTENT WITH THEIR GOLF GAME.  A 30 handicap wants to be a 20. A 20 wants to get to a 10,  a 10 to a 5, a 5 to scratch. And a scratch wants to make money at the game. And really who wouldn't want to be a tour player making millions. 

We all can look back at our last round and find things that we could have done better. Things we should work on, things we tried that didn't work. If I only___________ (fill in the blank).

I'm a pretty consistant scorer so I shouldn't complain. I shot even par on Sunday but wasn't happy. Not that I wanted to score better but I only hit 50 % of the fairways and I usually am in the 85% range. I was also about 10 to 15 yards shorter. So I can mark this off as just a bad day and move on or choose to go to the range before my next round.  My answer is hit the range or the simulator or both. Because I know I can do better.

Each golfer has to make a decision for themselves. Do I want to get better or am I ok with where I am. Some of us are driven, some just want to have fun, if your reading this you want to get better. Good start.

Its about commitment to your goal, lessons if that's whats required for your level, practice, play time, and more practice.  Ok true story time... went to my pro at my course. Asked him to look at my swing and tell me what I needed to do to get from a 10 handicap to a 5. After hitting a dozen balls he stopped me and said. "All you need to do is play more".  So that was the only thing I did. I went from once a week to two to three times. So in the last 4 years I was able to go from a 10 to my currentl 1.6. Can I get better? Can I maintain? Will I commit to work at it, absolutely.

 

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13 minutes ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

The reality of it is NO ONE IS EVER CONTENT WITH THEIR GOLF GAME.  A 30 handicap wants to be a 20. A 20 wants to get to a 10,  a 10 to a 5, a 5 to scratch. And a scratch wants to make money at the game. And really who wouldn't want to be a tour player making millions. 

We all can look back at our last round and find things that we could have done better. Things we should work on, things we tried that didn't work. If I only___________ (fill in the blank).

I'm a pretty consistant scorer so I shouldn't complain. I shot even par on Sunday but wasn't happy. Not that I wanted to score better but I only hit 50 % of the fairways and I usually am in the 85% range. I was also about 10 to 15 yards shorter. So I can mark this off as just a bad day and move on or choose to go to the range before my next round.  My answer is hit the range or the simulator or both. Because I know I can do better.

Each golfer has to make a decision for themselves. Do I want to get better or am I ok with where I am. Some of us are driven, some just want to have fun, if your reading this you want to get better. Good start.

Its about commitment to your goal, lessons if that's whats required for your level, practice, play time, and more practice.  Ok true story time... went to my pro at my course. Asked him to look at my swing and tell me what I needed to do to get from a 10 handicap to a 5. After hitting a dozen balls he stopped me and said. "All you need to do is play more".  So that was the only thing I did. I went from once a week to two to three times. So in the last 4 years I was able to go from a 10 to my currentl 1.6. Can I get better? Can I maintain? Will I commit to work at it, absolutely.

 

I had to clap when I finished reading this. Absolutely nailed it. Nice work. 👍 

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5 minutes ago, ParFore74x said:

I had to clap when I finished reading this. Absolutely nailed it. Nice work. 👍 

Thanks.  I play a lot of solo rounds so I don't get many golf claps. 😄

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16 minutes ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

Thanks.  I play a lot of solo rounds so I don't get many golf claps. 😄

Same here, lots of solo rounds. I try to remind myself to wave and thank the gallery when I have a good hole. 😆

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10 hours ago, Tom the Golf Nut said:

The reality of it is NO ONE IS EVER CONTENT WITH THEIR GOLF GAME.  A 30 handicap wants to be a 20. A 20 wants to get to a 10,  a 10 to a 5, a 5 to scratch. And a scratch wants to make money at the game. And really who wouldn't want to be a tour player making millions. 

We all can look back at our last round and find things that we could have done better. Things we should work on, things we tried that didn't work. If I only___________ (fill in the blank).

I'm a pretty consistant scorer so I shouldn't complain. I shot even par on Sunday but wasn't happy. Not that I wanted to score better but I only hit 50 % of the fairways and I usually am in the 85% range. I was also about 10 to 15 yards shorter. So I can mark this off as just a bad day and move on or choose to go to the range before my next round.  My answer is hit the range or the simulator or both. Because I know I can do better.

Each golfer has to make a decision for themselves. Do I want to get better or am I ok with where I am. Some of us are driven, some just want to have fun, if your reading this you want to get better. Good start.

Its about commitment to your goal, lessons if that's whats required for your level, practice, play time, and more practice.  Ok true story time... went to my pro at my course. Asked him to look at my swing and tell me what I needed to do to get from a 10 handicap to a 5. After hitting a dozen balls he stopped me and said. "All you need to do is play more".  So that was the only thing I did. I went from once a week to two to three times. So in the last 4 years I was able to go from a 10 to my currentl 1.6. Can I get better? Can I maintain? Will I commit to work at it, absolutely.

 

dhMeAzK.gif

Love the perspective, especially the part in bold! Work will keep me from playing as much as I'd like to, but there's light at the end of the tunnel and I plan on getting back to my regular ridiculous amount of golf. I know, without question, that I want to get better so I'm going to keep grinding away and will make the best out of each round along the way!

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Go buy more clubs.

 

 

😜

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In my  :wilson_staff_small:  carry bag:
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:callaway-small:  GBB 3W (lofted to 4W)
:callaway-small: V-Series Heavenwood
:cobra-small: Baffler XL 5i-PW
:cleveland-small: CBX 54*
:ping-small: iWedge 58*
:cleveland-small: #10

Twitter: @russtopherb

 

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I am going to ping off @Tom the Golf Nutwhere I am never satisfied where I am in my golf game, always trying to do a little better, that's what makes it fun for me anyway.

I will say I always go back to "bogey golf is good golf" we are not professionals and as a 9.1 you are better than the majority of golfers. You should take pride in that alone

Currently I am stuck in the low 80's range and have kind of done a pretty drastic overhaul on my swing getting away from alot of tendencies that got me to where I am but will not get me any further IMO. Like you I do not have a whole lot of extra time but that extra time I do have I try to focus on the golf game because it brings me a lot of enjoyment and self fulfillment. I think if getting better is something you really want to get to setting that time aside is key. Dedicating that time can be hard but can also become part of your routine. 

 

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55 minutes ago, russtopherb said:

Go buy more clubs.

 

 

😜

I can confidently say that won't help 🤣

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:callaway-small: Epic Speed 🔹🔹🔹 9º | Fujikura Ventus Blue 6S
:callaway-small: Epic Speed 3W 15º | Fujikura Ventus Red 7S
:callaway-small: Apex 21 3H 19º | Fujikura Ventus Blue HB 8S
:srixon-small: Z785 4-PW | Project X LX 6.0
:cleveland-small: RTX ZipCore Tour Rack 50, 54, 60 (Mid) | Project X LX 6.0
:EVNROLL: ER5 | BGT Stability Tour
:bridgestone-small: Tour B X

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4 minutes ago, mr.hicksta said:

I can confidently say that won't help 🤣

You know you want to try it though, just to play it safe LOL!

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In my  :wilson_staff_small:  carry bag:
:callaway-small: Big Bertha Mini (the :wilson_staff_small:  D7 is in time out)
:callaway-small:  GBB 3W (lofted to 4W)
:callaway-small: V-Series Heavenwood
:cobra-small: Baffler XL 5i-PW
:cleveland-small: CBX 54*
:ping-small: iWedge 58*
:cleveland-small: #10

Twitter: @russtopherb

 

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Things have to be going extremely well in your life to play to a single digit handicap which puts you in the top 10-20% of all golfers worldwide, these include:
- Be in relatively good health to play (especially to a high level)
- Have the disposable income to afford equipment, and green fees to play often 
- Have the time available to play and practice frequently to maintain a single digit
- Live in an area where golf is available to the masses

Your personality traits that frustrate and drive you to improve are the same things which helped you reach this level. The challenge then becomes to seek enjoyment from the grind of picking up those fractional strokes out on the course through: more distance, better accuracy/distance control, strategy, learning new shots, etc. 

Look for other ways to practice instead of "setting aside 1 day". Changing right elbow position in the backswing can be drilled at home without a club, then with a club and no ball. 5 swings at a time takes 2 minutes throughout the day and will better engrain the feels than doing it 1x/week at the range. My new putter stays in my living room. I hit 1 putt when I get up from my desk to go to the bathroom or the kitchen which then becomes a habit, by the end of the day I've hit 30 putts but I've allocated no time to golf practice. I track how many I make in a row with a mini goal of 10, while always trying to work toward a new high score (21).

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4 hours ago, BMart519 said:

Things have to be going extremely well in your life to play to a single digit handicap which puts you in the top 10-20% of all golfers worldwide, these include:
- Be in relatively good health to play (especially to a high level)
- Have the disposable income to afford equipment, and green fees to play often 
- Have the time available to play and practice frequently to maintain a single digit
- Live in an area where golf is available to the masses

Your personality traits that frustrate and drive you to improve are the same things which helped you reach this level. The challenge then becomes to seek enjoyment from the grind of picking up those fractional strokes out on the course through: more distance, better accuracy/distance control, strategy, learning new shots, etc. 

Look for other ways to practice instead of "setting aside 1 day". Changing right elbow position in the backswing can be drilled at home without a club, then with a club and no ball. 5 swings at a time takes 2 minutes throughout the day and will better engrain the feels than doing it 1x/week at the range. My new putter stays in my living room. I hit 1 putt when I get up from my desk to go to the bathroom or the kitchen which then becomes a habit, by the end of the day I've hit 30 putts but I've allocated no time to golf practice. I track how many I make in a row with a mini goal of 10, while always trying to work toward a new high score (21).

I must say I disagree. I have been a sub 10 handicap for probably 10+ years playing once a month with little to no range practice in between rounds (this last year that has changed as I have a home practice set up now). Also very rarely do I upgrade my equipment. When I bought my last set of irons my old ones were so worn that I was not able to trade them in for anything. 

 

 

 

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Driver: :titelist-small: TSi4 8* w/ Tensei AV Raw White 65gr X shaft set to D-1 Hosel
3 wood: :taylormade-small: M1 13.5* Head set open w/ Fade bias weights. 
Irons: :ping-small: I-Blades PW-3i, 2* up standard length.
Wedges: :ping-small:Glide 1.0 TS 60*, :ping-small: Glide 2.0 56 ES, :titelist-small:Vokey 52* 
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Ball: Various: Testing: :titelist-small: AVX, :bridgestone-small: BX, :taylormade-small: TP5x 
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