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2-3 Day Golf School?


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Hi all,

I'd like to see if I can tap the collective golf intelligence of this group and solicit opinions on going to a 2-3 day golf school.  One of my playing partners and I were talking about signing up for a multiple day South Florida golf camp.  We both live in Key West, are over 65, have 12 handicaps (even though we get there differently) and have no real access to practice facilities at the end of US1. 

My playing partner has always wanted to go to an adult training camp and I thought it would be worthwhile as it's been 20 plus years since my last lesson.  I'd be interested in anyone's thoughts on their experience in these types of golf training schools, did they find it helpful and would they do it again.

Thank you in advance!  

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Calloway Epic GBB Epic 20 degree Heaven Wood, with a stock Diamana 40 gram senior shaft
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Ping G hybrid 5 (26 degrees) with stock Alta 70 gram senior shafts.
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Do you have any that you are considering or have looked into at this point? 

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Presuming the camp/clinic has good reviews and competent instructors, I think it would be a great investment of your time.  Florida should be rich with good options.  Keep us posted if you end up going.

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In doing a little digging, it appears some South Florida schools shut down or curtail classes in the Summer month.  Likely some of their staff return to Northern courses and escape the heat.  One that has intrigued me is the IMG Academy three day progressive camp in Bradenton, Florida (South of Tampa).  It's a little farther drive from Key West, but the camp description sounds impressive.  The downside is that IMG runs camps for younger people and this 65 year old might not fit in.

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Ping G400 SFT with a Matrix MFS 5 Korean Prototype Senior shaft, 12 degrees
Callaway Epic Flash 15 degree 3 wood, with a stock Project X Evenflow 45 grams senior shaft.  
Calloway Epic GBB Epic 20 degree Heaven Wood, with a stock Diamana 40 gram senior shaft
Ping G 20.5 degree 7 wood, with a stock Alta 65 gram senior shaft
Ping G hybrid 5 (26 degrees) with stock Alta 70 gram senior shafts.
Ping G30 irons 6-W, Yellow dot with graphite Fujikura EXS 60i R2-Flex shafts
Edison wedges:  50 degrees, 55 degrees and 60 degrees, 2 degrees up with KBS Tour Graphite A flex shafts
Putters:  New Evnroll ER10 Outback
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I haven’t been to any but do want to go to one from Monte Scheinblum.

A longtime friend of mine did one years ago and got some good stuff from it.

The student teacher ratio is key as who the instructor and other instructors there.

I’ve seen videos from Martin Chuck at his schools and he spends lots of time with the group teaching things and then with students individually during the day as well. 

The golfer has to do the work afterwards to see improvement just like and individual lesson

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Over the last 40 years, I've done a couple of golf schools.  They can be fun, especially if you go with a friend.  However, don't go with the idea that your game is going to get cured.  You will find things to work on, but because most schools have a student to teacher ratio of 3 or 4 to 1, so you don't get as much individual attention that you might hope for.  Typically, you'll spend the mornings in a classroom and range environment, where you'll be working on the basics of ball striking, chipping, or putting.  You should get a video analysis of your swing with a critique. Afternoons are typically more instruction and range time followed by on course play.  

Some schools are much better than others and some are more focused on specific subject (i.e. short game school).  If you're going to a better known instructor, you may or may not actually see him, but rather one of his disciples that teach his method.

It pays to do your homework and examine the course agenda prior to choosing a school.  I enjoyed my occasions when I've attended these, but my game has advanced much more due to private lessons than any clinic or group school that I've attended.

Schools I've attended include John Jacobs, Dave Pelz' short game clinic, and a great one in Vegas (can't recall the name of it, but it may have been a Jacobs school) at Stallion Mountain.

I have heard great things about Martin Chuck's schools.

 

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I did a 5 day camp here in Germany last summer and would agree very much with @CarlH and @RickyBobby_PR.

Things I would consider before going:
1) Student/Teach ratio as this of course determines how much time you get with the pro
2) Agenda and general layout of the camp
3) Personal goal for the camp

My goal was to just get in a different environment and purely focus on golf for one week.
We usually did range sessions in the morning focussing on different aspects of the game.
This was followed by an on-course round again with different focus areas.
The week started and ended with a launch monitor session and a small tournament to see if we improved.

For my goal this was perfect. I got to play loads of golf (actually maybe too much as my body was suffering at the end of the week  ) and met great people (students and teachers alike).

If my goal would have been to improve a specific area or have a problem I want to fix the week would have been less successful. Given the layout, you just don't have enough time with the teacher to make big and lasting swing changes.

Edited by Lgebbers
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Thank you all for your comments.  The student to instructor ratio is important and I've sent out inquiries to some places who don't list it on their program.   Since I'll be going with a friend and what will likely interest him the most may differ from mine.  So we'll likely look for a place with broad capabilities (full bag versus just a short game focus). 

One disadvantage of living in Key West (and there's not many) is that there's one other course within 50 plus miles and the closest 18 hole course is 120 miles away.  Any land that would have been a practice facility has long since been converted to condos and houses.  The only "practice" area at our course is a hitting in a limited distance net, a small putting green and an even smaller chipping area.   I love the golf course layout, but there's no real area to work on and improve our skills.   Our feeling was immersion in a skills practice environment will help highlight our areas for improvement, get some focused work on those areas and have a focused a plan that we can go to our local pro to work on.  

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Ping G400 SFT with a Matrix MFS 5 Korean Prototype Senior shaft, 12 degrees
Callaway Epic Flash 15 degree 3 wood, with a stock Project X Evenflow 45 grams senior shaft.  
Calloway Epic GBB Epic 20 degree Heaven Wood, with a stock Diamana 40 gram senior shaft
Ping G 20.5 degree 7 wood, with a stock Alta 65 gram senior shaft
Ping G hybrid 5 (26 degrees) with stock Alta 70 gram senior shafts.
Ping G30 irons 6-W, Yellow dot with graphite Fujikura EXS 60i R2-Flex shafts
Edison wedges:  50 degrees, 55 degrees and 60 degrees, 2 degrees up with KBS Tour Graphite A flex shafts
Putters:  New Evnroll ER10 Outback
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I went to my first 2-day clinic in Naples; the original Natural Golf method.  I had a huge slice, and in two days, I was straightened out pretty well.  I followed that up with a couple of 3-day schools with Graves Golf Academy, who acquired Natural Golf and taught the Moe Norman swing.  I stuck with that for 10 years, but as I got older, that single plane swing cost me yards off the tee.  However, it's still a reason why I am fairly straight with the driver.

Then I found Monte Scheinblum and have attended two of his clinics; the latest the end of March in Orange County, CA.  Monte is worth a visit.  His instruction is unique and is tailored to each individual even in a group.  His online videos are inexpensive and I watch them over and over, always seeing something I missed, and reminding myself what I should be doing.  My extremely poor bunker play was turned into decent sand play that I no longer fear.

I have been to Key West and... well... land is definitely a premium!!  If you have limited to non-existent practice facilities, I would recommend that you consider a week-long school.  I don't think you will achieve an immersion experience in a 2-3 day school, unless it is specific to one aspect of the game; there just isn't enough time to cover all of the basics of the game, as most schools do, in that time frame.  Some teachers have 2-3 day short game schools, which would be an immersion experience. A friend of mine went to a 5 day school in Phoenix; stayed at the course; all meals provided; didn't need a rental car.  He treated it like a vacation, and spent his whole time there in school or practicing each day before and after.  He was already a good player, but I believe he dropped from a 10 to a 5-6 handicap after that week.  Of course, that was 10 years ago, but I believe his total expenses was less than $2500 and that included school and airfare.

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We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry for the delay in responding to the above questions.  Given Summer and South Florida, we found that some of the golf schools were not available which limited our options.  After our first cut, our choices were down to IMG in the Tampa area and Bird Golf Academy at their Boca Raton location.  We ended up selecting Bird Golf Academy for the following reasons:  

  • Student to instructor ratio is 2:1.  My golf buddy and I are the only two golfers with a three time major winner (see below)
  • Boca Raton is several hours closer to Key West
  • Our instructor's impressive resume and reputation:  Director of Instruction for the East Coast, three time LPGA major winner (Mary Mills)
  • Instruction and course access at The Club at Boca Pointe,  private course (therefore likely limited play during the Summer months)
  • Six hours of instruction each day plus 30 minute lunch with instructor; access to practice facilities and course after instruction included
  • Detailed player profile to assess your current game and detailed sections on what you wish to accomplish in your three days
  • Unlimited remote follow up with your instructor after your golf school

As in other schools, we'll be provided a visual record of our "before" and "after" swings to help judge our improvement.  Our contacts with the Bird Golf Academy were very professional, informative and they responded quickly to questions.  Neither of us have had such an experience and we're looking forward to it!  We are scheduled for next Monday through Wednesday (July 26-28).  I'd be happy to share my experience after if people are interested.

 

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Ping G400 SFT with a Matrix MFS 5 Korean Prototype Senior shaft, 12 degrees
Callaway Epic Flash 15 degree 3 wood, with a stock Project X Evenflow 45 grams senior shaft.  
Calloway Epic GBB Epic 20 degree Heaven Wood, with a stock Diamana 40 gram senior shaft
Ping G 20.5 degree 7 wood, with a stock Alta 65 gram senior shaft
Ping G hybrid 5 (26 degrees) with stock Alta 70 gram senior shafts.
Ping G30 irons 6-W, Yellow dot with graphite Fujikura EXS 60i R2-Flex shafts
Edison wedges:  50 degrees, 55 degrees and 60 degrees, 2 degrees up with KBS Tour Graphite A flex shafts
Putters:  New Evnroll ER10 Outback
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We finished our three days of Bird Golf Academy school at The Club at Boca Pointe in Boca Raton, Florida.  As mentioned above, our instructor was Mary Mills.  She is a three time Majors winner (US Open and Two PGA Championships).  The facilities were outstanding.  The Club at Boca Pointe is a private Jack Nicholas designed course.  It had a huge driving range which had mats and grass at one end and grass hitting back at the other.  Their practice green was representative of those we played on.  They had a secluded chipping area which with four traps and areas to chip.  The course itself was great.  Luckily, we caught the best weather we could.  It was hot (hey it's South Florida) with heat indexes over 100.  But we didn't get the typical afternoon showers and it only rained after we were about to leave.  

Mary Mills was great.  She was very observant and picked up on a few things we both needed right away.  Since it was just the two of us, each got a lot of her attention.   She started our experience sitting down and reviewing what we both wanted to accomplish.  This helped set expectation for each of us.  We were handed a notebook where we took notes on what drills we would do and other bits of golf information Mary shared with us.  Then it was off to the range.

At first she was working me on a few drills.  It was interesting that she said it was unusual that both of her students would come in with a similar swing issue.  We would work on several drills, stay hydrated and do some more drills.  After lunch, we would go out and play nine holes with her so she could give us pointers plus see us "in action."  Our time with Mary each day was about six hours.   After nine she would leave and we would finish the other nine.  Though out the day, Mary would take video of our swings on her iPad from the side and back.  On the screen she would annotate with various lines and swing planes and compare them with other golfers of similar builds.  This helped point out what we did right and where we needed to make some adjustments.  She continued the videos on the course.  Every night she would email those videos to us so we had a record of the swings and her comments.

The second day was like the first.  More drills at the range.  We had to hit hundreds of balls each of the first two days.  Luckily the hotel we were staying at had a hot tub!  Both of us then had different drills.  My golf partner's was to pronate more and mine to try to gain more club head speed.  An interesting bit of information was that when hitting the driver, she advised taking a minute or so extra time between shots to let your body rest more.  After about four hours of drills and instruction we had lunch and headed out to the course to play.  Again, we had instruction along the way.  

The third day we started earlier so we could finish earlier and get on the road for our 4 1/2 hour drive home.  We started the day at the practice green with chipping, pitching and sand shots. After about an hour of instruction we headed  the first tee.  This time we had Mary for the entire 18 holes.   She would ask us what we were going to hit and why.  Then she would suggest alternatives or validate we were right.  After the round we showered, had lunch and we were on our way home.

As we talked about our experience on our drive home, we concluded that the experience was excellent and more importantly the start of our improvement, not the end.  We had to commit to practicing and reinforcing the skills we learned with the drills and notes we were given.  Unfortunately, in our Key West course does not have the outstanding practice area The Club at Boca Pointe had.  So we committed to take off from our Thursday men's league for the month of August, walk the back nine in the morning and work together to reinforce the things we learned.  After that, we'll see what happens.

Is golf school for everyone?  Probably not.  For us the lack of a dedicated practice facility, the somewhat minor tweaks we needed in our swings and the emersion into dedicated golf experience made it worthwhile for both of us.  We came out out of the experience physically sore but anxious to apply the new things we learned.

Given my physical limitations, I've had to adopt some swing mechanics to compensate.  I had to develop a solid short game to score as I'm typically short and my GIR is in the teens.  My golf buddy said to Mary during our initial interview that I had a pretty good short game and I'm not sure that she believed him.  As we got on the course all three days Mary was surprised how well I could get up and down.  On several occasions my approach shots resulted in Mary applauding!   At the end, we both decided to have Mary sign our Bird Golf Academy hats.  Here's mine attached.  Having a three time Major winner write that was pretty special!

2029885809_BirdAcademyHat.jpg.78a081e91f636edf078e8aac72f2515a.jpg

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Ping G400 SFT with a Matrix MFS 5 Korean Prototype Senior shaft, 12 degrees
Callaway Epic Flash 15 degree 3 wood, with a stock Project X Evenflow 45 grams senior shaft.  
Calloway Epic GBB Epic 20 degree Heaven Wood, with a stock Diamana 40 gram senior shaft
Ping G 20.5 degree 7 wood, with a stock Alta 65 gram senior shaft
Ping G hybrid 5 (26 degrees) with stock Alta 70 gram senior shafts.
Ping G30 irons 6-W, Yellow dot with graphite Fujikura EXS 60i R2-Flex shafts
Edison wedges:  50 degrees, 55 degrees and 60 degrees, 2 degrees up with KBS Tour Graphite A flex shafts
Putters:  New Evnroll ER10 Outback
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Nice. Glad you had a great time. 

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  • 8 months later...
Quote

We finished our three days of Bird Golf Academy school at The Club at Boca Pointe in Boca Raton, Florida. As mentioned above, our instructor was Mary Mills. She is a three-time Majors winner (US Open and Two PGA Championships). The facilities were outstanding. The Club at Boca Pointe is a private Jack Nicholas designed course. It had a vast driving range, with mats and grass at one end and grass hitting back at the other. Their practice green was representative of those we played on. They had a secluded chipping area with four traps and areas to chip. The course itself was great. Luckily, we caught the best weather we could. It was hot (hey, South Florida) with heat indexes over 100. But we didn't get the typical afternoon showers, and it only rained after we were about to leave.  

Mary Mills was excellent. She was very observant and picked up on a few things we needed right away. Since it was just the two of us, each got a lot of her attention. She started our experience by sitting down and reviewing what we both wanted to accomplish. This helped set the expectation for each of us. We were handed a notebook where we took notes on what drills we would do and other bits of golf information Mary shared with us. Then it was off to the range. If you are familiar with or have ever read analytical essays on spending money (by the way, they can be found here https://phdessay.com/free-essays-on/spending-money/), you will understand what I meant by worth money spent.

At first, she was working with me on a few drills. Interestingly, she said it was unusual that both of her students would come in with a similar swing issue. We would work on several drills, stay hydrated and do some more exercises. After lunch, we would go out and play nine holes with her so she could give us pointers plus see us "in action." Our time with Mary each day was about six hours. After nine, she would leave, and we would finish the other nine

I was thinking about taking 2-3 day school. Thanks for the comments, guys!

Edited by Charlesilkins
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From my comments listed above, I found it to be a great experience.  It was very interesting being immersed in golf instruction for an intense 2 or 3 days.   My goal was honest assessment if given all of my physical limitation I could expect a significant improvement in my game.  The answer was no and that was OK.  Now my focus is on small incremental improvements that I am more likely to be able to manage.  My friend I went with on the other hand found that implementing the new skills he learned yielded a reduction in handicap from 15 to 9-10.  And you can teach an old dog new tricks as he's in his early 70's.  

Just a couple things to look for.  First, what is the student to instructor ratio.  Obviously, the more students the less time for individual instructions and drills.  We lucked out as it was the two of us with an instructor.  Second, check out the instructor and facility you will be at.  Many of the schools have bio's of their instructors which may give you some insight into their game and accomplishments.  Knowing our facility also gave me an idea of what to expect from a practice area, if we had the opportunity to play additional golf and what I should pack.  Given our practice facility was all open in mid-July (and in Florida), I had plenty of long sleeve moisture wicking shirts, large brim hats and sunscreen.  Third, start with some goals.  What do you want to accomplish?  What parts of your game needs help?  Forth, don't be afraid to speak up and listen.  Speak up on what you want to learn and to ask as many questions as you have.  This opportunity doesn't happen very often and you want to get an many answers as you can.  Then listen to their response.  They have likely seen hundreds of students and likely know what they are talking about.  Fifth, be prepared to hit a lot of balls!  I mean a lot of balls! After each day, we were lucky to have a hot tub at the hotel to soak in an help ease the day's demanding activities.  Finally, we found that the school was not the end, but the beginning of our improvement journey.  Even though the two of us play together at least twice a week, we still needed time to practice our new skills.  So, we agreed to take one day a week and walk 9 holes in the early morning.  We'd would both tee off and play multiple balls from each other's drive.  It gave us a way to focus on honing our new skills and playing from different positions with different clubs on our course.  We did that once a week for roughly two months after the golf school to help reinforce what we learned.  

Overall, it was a great experience for both of us.  We learned a lot, had fun and got to play a lot of golf.  Not too much better than that.  

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Callaway Epic Flash 15 degree 3 wood, with a stock Project X Evenflow 45 grams senior shaft.  
Calloway Epic GBB Epic 20 degree Heaven Wood, with a stock Diamana 40 gram senior shaft
Ping G 20.5 degree 7 wood, with a stock Alta 65 gram senior shaft
Ping G hybrid 5 (26 degrees) with stock Alta 70 gram senior shafts.
Ping G30 irons 6-W, Yellow dot with graphite Fujikura EXS 60i R2-Flex shafts
Edison wedges:  50 degrees, 55 degrees and 60 degrees, 2 degrees up with KBS Tour Graphite A flex shafts
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On 7/30/2021 at 7:37 AM, Golf2Much said:

Both of us then had different drills.  My golf partner's was to pronate more and mine to try to gain more club head speed. 

Just curious if she gave you any specific drills that you might be able to share (short of speed stick training) to gain club head speed.  Obviously not asking for any trademark drills, but those we might find available to the general public (golf sites, you tube, etc)

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Irons:  :callaway-small: Apex CF19 6-9, PW, AW -- KBSTour Graphite  70g shafts R +1/2 inch 3* up

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Putter: :odyssey-small: Stroke Lab 7S

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3 minutes ago, CarlH said:

Just curious if she gave you any specific drills that you might be able to share (short of speed stick training) to gain club head speed.  Obviously not asking for any trademark drills, but those we might find available to the general public (golf sites, you tube, etc)

At first it she tried to lengthen my swing by making a bigger turn.  Physically, I had difficult time getting consistent results.  After about 45 minutes and seeing my struggles, her advice was to spend some time with a fitter to find the club head/shaft combination that would give me the best results.  I've since gotten an orange whip to see if that might help as well.

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Ping G400 SFT with a Matrix MFS 5 Korean Prototype Senior shaft, 12 degrees
Callaway Epic Flash 15 degree 3 wood, with a stock Project X Evenflow 45 grams senior shaft.  
Calloway Epic GBB Epic 20 degree Heaven Wood, with a stock Diamana 40 gram senior shaft
Ping G 20.5 degree 7 wood, with a stock Alta 65 gram senior shaft
Ping G hybrid 5 (26 degrees) with stock Alta 70 gram senior shafts.
Ping G30 irons 6-W, Yellow dot with graphite Fujikura EXS 60i R2-Flex shafts
Edison wedges:  50 degrees, 55 degrees and 60 degrees, 2 degrees up with KBS Tour Graphite A flex shafts
Putters:  New Evnroll ER10 Outback
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14 hours ago, Golf2Much said:

At first it she tried to lengthen my swing by making a bigger turn.  Physically, I had difficult time getting consistent results.  After about 45 minutes and seeing my struggles, her advice was to spend some time with a fitter to find the club head/shaft combination that would give me the best results.  I've since gotten an orange whip to see if that might help as well.

What I know about the golf swing could fit on the head of pin, but I'm surprised the solution was to lengthen your swing. I'm in your age bracket and the last lesson I had the instructor said with my age, and normal reduction in flexibility, the goal is not to make the swing longer, but more efficient. We worked a lot on hand position at takeaway and weight shift which produced increased yardage without trying to do things that are tough on an older body. YMMV.

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3 hours ago, Headhammer said:

What I know about the golf swing could fit on the head of pin, but I'm surprised the solution was to lengthen your swing. I'm in your age bracket and the last lesson I had the instructor said with my age, and normal reduction in flexibility, the goal is not to make the swing longer, but more efficient. We worked a lot on hand position at takeaway and weight shift which produced increased yardage without trying to do things that are tough on an older body. YMMV.

Every player has different capabilities and problems, so the solutions are different for each one.  As a general rule, improved turn leads to better distance, and there are a number of different ways to improve turn.  Personally, I do stretching and drills regularly to improve (or at least maintain) a full and controlled shoulder turn.  But that doesn't work for every player, which is just what @Golf2Much found out.  Separately, improving the turn isn't exactly the same as lengthening the swing, its definitely a different mental image for me.  Improving the turn is productive for me, the image of lengthening the swing is not nearly as useful.  In fact, my preferred image is that of improving the turn while shortening the swing.  

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Right handed

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It's often amazing how the more things change, the more they stay the same. 

The previously mentioned list of my physical limitations is fairly extensive.  I have a naturally fused spine (ankylosing spondylitis), a broken neck (due to a hit and run scooter wreck 12 years ago; two plates, six screws), surgeries on both shoulders, a new artificial left knee and neuropathy in both feet just to name a few.  I'm not complaining since I should have never survived the hit and run.  Every day is a blessing and every round of golf is an added bonus!

I have access to our course's GHIN system, so I recently looked up and downloaded all my scores since 2008 into a spreadsheet (downside of being an engineer).  To my surprise, if you take out a few outlier rounds after I broke my neck (and basically had to learn to walk, feed myself and reinvent my golf game), over 15 years and in excess of 800 rounds, my average annual score was 84.6 +/- 0.75.  My average annual scores over that period ranged from 83.9 to 85.5.  So, even with getting older and all my physical limitations piling on over those years, my body and golf game compensated and I basically have been have shot the same scores year over year.  I wish I could attribute it to eating right, exercising and not drinking.  I do live in Key West, so those reasons are out the window.  I think it boils down to knowing your body, what it's capable of doing and finding ways to optimizing what you can do through equipment advances and practice to score.

 

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Ping G400 SFT with a Matrix MFS 5 Korean Prototype Senior shaft, 12 degrees
Callaway Epic Flash 15 degree 3 wood, with a stock Project X Evenflow 45 grams senior shaft.  
Calloway Epic GBB Epic 20 degree Heaven Wood, with a stock Diamana 40 gram senior shaft
Ping G 20.5 degree 7 wood, with a stock Alta 65 gram senior shaft
Ping G hybrid 5 (26 degrees) with stock Alta 70 gram senior shafts.
Ping G30 irons 6-W, Yellow dot with graphite Fujikura EXS 60i R2-Flex shafts
Edison wedges:  50 degrees, 55 degrees and 60 degrees, 2 degrees up with KBS Tour Graphite A flex shafts
Putters:  New Evnroll ER10 Outback
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