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Hackers: What handicap would make you not embarrassed about your handicap


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#1 jaxbeachpackerfan

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:50 AM

Today, wrote a couple of long posts on the subject of "What is your true handicap", the gist of which was that I used to play on a course that was easier than it's rated, so my handicap was probably too low and now I play on a course that is way harder than rated, and my handicap is way higher, even though I think I have significantly improved overall as a golfer. My handicap is at the level where I am frankly embarrassed, at a level that I used to categorize in my mind as a hacker. Got me to thinking (I've already had two glasses of wine and a glass of white brandy (just saw that at the liquor store, never had it before and its VERY good) so I am waxing philosophical now). What handicap would I no longer be embarrassed to have? I think, as I look back to my days in Wisconsin on the easier course, a course handicap of 13 (maybe 14) would do it. I know that I tend to view any 9 score of 43 or below to be acceptable given my game and the time I'm able to devote to it (bad back severely limits practice time), and that translates pretty good to a 13 or 14. I'd strive for better, but I wouldn't feel embarrassed to walk up to the tee with strangers and announce that number (I have the distance to play any of the tees except the tips, my scores don't change much between tees).

You'll note I have not yet put my handicap in the signature. I'm a 14.6 index, course handicap 17. There you have it. I am "embarrassed". I feel somehow that I shouldn't be discussing merits of equipment and custom shafts and course strategy with 2, 3 or 6 handicappers. I know I have I educated opinions on things, that I love the consistency of steel irons over graphite, that I hit a stiff shaft much better than regular shafts and a TP driver much better than the regular and my drive on seven last Tuesday with a 3 wood, non-wind aided on a moist fairway went 258 yards perfectly straight, but damn, none of that matters with a 17 handicap.

Time for another white brandy.

I know every good golfer can play, and enjoy playing, with golfers of any reasonable playing ability (as long as they don't play slow, take dozens of practice swings and don't ****** about every bad shot as though they are surprised they hit one), but I can't help but feeling the "decent" golfer respect level is 3 or 4 strokes below my current handicap.

Ummm, that white brandy is a keeper.....

Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts.

In my Ogio Ozone XX Cart Stand Bag:

Ping G30 10.5 Deg Driver, stock Stiff shaft
TM Rocketballz 19 Deg 5 Wood, stock Matrix Osik Stiff shaft
TM Rocketballz Stage 2 21 Deg Tour 4 Hybrid, Rocketfuel 80h Stiff shaft 

Callaway Apex CF 16 Irons, 4-P, Stiff Shafts
 
Scor 48 and 55 degree wedges.  
Renegar 60 Deg Steel Shaft Lob Wedge

TM Ghost Spider Si 38" Counterbalanced Putter


#2 whiskey golf

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:00 AM

13-14 is where I wouldn't mind telling people. Around 15 is pushing it.

#3 GolfSpy WD

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 01:20 PM

The whole point of the handicap system is to even the playing field, so I never got why people get embarrassed about their handicap. It's also an awesome way to judge how you are doing and to set goals to get better. IMO, it's kind of like finances, it's much worse if you don't look at it and pretend it's fine.

Personally, I think it's far more embarrassing to say you're a good player, and then shoot over 100.

#4 GolfSpy Bones

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:19 PM

Personally, I think it's far more embarrassing to say you're a good player, and then shoot over 100.

I agree with everything that WD said, I don't think anyone should be embarrassed about their handicap.

To touch on WDs comment above; someone who says they are good and shoots 100 is flat out lying. I don't think I've shot 100 since I was about 12 years old and never even really flirted with it when I was a 15 handicap. At a 5, I'm more disgusted than embarrassed, with anything over +10.

I think you're being way too hard on yourself.



#5 jaxbeachpackerfan

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:41 PM

I agree with everything that WD said, I don't think anyone should be embarrassed about their handicap.

To touch on WDs comment above; someone who says they are good and shoots 100 is flat out lying. I don't think I've shot 100 since I was about 12 years old and never even really flirted with it when I was a 15 handicap. At a 5, I'm more disgusted than embarrassed, with anything over +10.

I think you're being way too hard on yourself.


Kind of my point. The life of a 17 handicapper like me now is inconsistency. My current handicap card has an 81 and two 84's. It also has a 98 and a 104. I'd like to think I have some talent, I can actually hit lots of good shots (not lucky) shots in row or in a round. I can also have days where it goes south of the equator. I never know when the bad days are going to show up.

Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts.

In my Ogio Ozone XX Cart Stand Bag:

Ping G30 10.5 Deg Driver, stock Stiff shaft
TM Rocketballz 19 Deg 5 Wood, stock Matrix Osik Stiff shaft
TM Rocketballz Stage 2 21 Deg Tour 4 Hybrid, Rocketfuel 80h Stiff shaft 

Callaway Apex CF 16 Irons, 4-P, Stiff Shafts
 
Scor 48 and 55 degree wedges.  
Renegar 60 Deg Steel Shaft Lob Wedge

TM Ghost Spider Si 38" Counterbalanced Putter


#6 GolfSpy Bones

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:54 PM

Kind of my point. The life of a 17 handicapper like me now is inconsistency. My current handicap card has an 81 and two 84's. It also has a 98 and a 104. I'd like to think I have some talent, I can actually hit lots of good shots (not lucky) shots in row or in a round. I can also have days where it goes south of the equator. I never know when the bad days are going to show up.

This is where not only course management comes in, but also swing management. I have days where my swing is off and I'll play 3/4 punches around the course. I'm consistently good at chipping, so I know on days when I'm off and I have to manufacture a swing, I have a chance to score well with my chipping.



#7 BK in TEXAS

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:55 PM

Personally, I think it's far more embarrassing to say you're a good player, and then shoot over 100.

I agree with everything that WD said, I don't think anyone should be embarrassed about their handicap.


Exactly!

which brings me to 2 points....

First, the guy who says he's better than he is before the round usually gets all pissy when he plays to his real skill and is no fun to play with. Which leads to...

Second.....guys who are having fun and keep it positive are enjoyable to play with....even if they are not good golfers. I'll join these guys for a casual round any day!

In my bag, April 2017
:cobra-small:  Bio Cell 10.5˚ Paderson Shaft (Regular Flex)
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#8 BK in TEXAS

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:04 PM

Kind of my point. The life of a 17 handicapper like me now is inconsistency. My current handicap card has an 81 and two 84's. It also has a 98 and a 104. I'd like to think I have some talent, I can actually hit lots of good shots (not lucky) shots in row or in a round. I can also have days where it goes south of the equator. I never know when the bad days are going to show up.

I don't think that ever changes. Heck look at even the pros....65 one day....75 the next.

I think once one starts honestly breaking 90 they have quite a good grasp on the game. They just have a few (or several) small things to work out that add up to many strokes on the course. It does not.......by any stretch of the imagination.....mean they are clueless.

In my bag, April 2017
:cobra-small:  Bio Cell 10.5˚ Paderson Shaft (Regular Flex)
:cobra-small:  Bio Cell 14˚ Fujikura Fuel Shaft (Regular Flex)
Adams Super 9031 18˚ Hybrid - Diamana D+ Shaft - (Regular Flex)
:mizuno-small:  850 Forged 4-PW; KBS C-Taper Shafts (Regular Flex)
:mizuno-small:  T4 Wedges 50˚,54˚,58˚ KBS C-Taper Shafts (Tiger Stepped)
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#9 jaxbeachpackerfan

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 06:28 PM

This is where not only course management comes in, but also swing management. I have days where my swing is off and I'll play 3/4 punches around the course. I'm consistently good at chipping, so I know on days when I'm off and I have to manufacture a swing, I have a chance to score well with my chipping.


I do have to admit I don't do that. I'm always trying to fix it, a fiddler with my swing. I used to have a really good punch three wood now that I think of it, but haven't tried that in years. Maybe I'll go practice that, along with my chipping, which has been abysmal lately.

Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts.

In my Ogio Ozone XX Cart Stand Bag:

Ping G30 10.5 Deg Driver, stock Stiff shaft
TM Rocketballz 19 Deg 5 Wood, stock Matrix Osik Stiff shaft
TM Rocketballz Stage 2 21 Deg Tour 4 Hybrid, Rocketfuel 80h Stiff shaft 

Callaway Apex CF 16 Irons, 4-P, Stiff Shafts
 
Scor 48 and 55 degree wedges.  
Renegar 60 Deg Steel Shaft Lob Wedge

TM Ghost Spider Si 38" Counterbalanced Putter


#10 jaxbeachpackerfan

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 06:47 PM

On the other hand, if I had done that in my last round (the one that got this introspection started), I would have foregone one of my best 12 hole stretches ever. I had the lefts off the tee and had a triple and 3 doubles in the first six holes--at that pace I'm clearly headed to triple digits. In taking a few practice swings, I realized I was taking the club back too far inside. Boom, starting striking the ball great and went 5 over par the next 12 holes, and that with 2 three putts and 2 up and down in threes from the fringe (short game again). Rarely happens like that, but that's what keeps me trying to fix rather than scale back.

Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts.

In my Ogio Ozone XX Cart Stand Bag:

Ping G30 10.5 Deg Driver, stock Stiff shaft
TM Rocketballz 19 Deg 5 Wood, stock Matrix Osik Stiff shaft
TM Rocketballz Stage 2 21 Deg Tour 4 Hybrid, Rocketfuel 80h Stiff shaft 

Callaway Apex CF 16 Irons, 4-P, Stiff Shafts
 
Scor 48 and 55 degree wedges.  
Renegar 60 Deg Steel Shaft Lob Wedge

TM Ghost Spider Si 38" Counterbalanced Putter


#11 Der_Dachs

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:52 PM

IMO, a 20 is where you shouldnt feel embarassed. If you can play bogey golf most of the time, thats nothing to sneeze at.
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#12 wbealsd

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:14 PM

At age 60, having started playing 9 summers ago, I worked hard to get to a 17.3 handicap ;) I just really started taking the game seriously about 5 years ago with the goal of becoming a bogey golfer. I got to that point about a year and a half ago and my new goal is to try to bring it down another 2-3 strokes this year. I'll never be a great golfer, but I'm happy with where I'm at now, as long as I keep having new goals each season and enjoy the company I'm playing with. I just try to be realistic about my game and happy to be playing it, although I wish someone had introduced it to me when I was a lot younger - lol

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#13 Blade

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:25 AM

I know it's easy for me to say this, though I can tell you that if you try to play by the rules, keep the pace up and are pleasent to be around, you can play in my foursome any day.


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Great post Richard! Great way to sum it up too!

I know for myself, I'm more interested in becoming a better more consistent ball striker than what my actual score is right now. That's why I chose to play with blades, for now anyway. Feeling where I'm striking the ball on the face keeps me from thinking I'm doing better than I am which is what happens with SGI clubs that don't give you the feedback. Anyway, my point is, I go out to have fun more than compete. I don't like making bad shots anymore than the next guy. But does it really matter? Not really. Disappointing when you know you can do better, but losing your temper? Yea, that's hard to be around. Just have fun and keep moving. It's just a game after all!

#14 Tyk

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 02:28 AM

What R.P. said!

I do know what you mean though JBPF (and welcome to the forum!). I don't really think it's necessarily about a specific number regarding handicap, there's just a certain point where you kind of feel like you are capable of getting around a golf course without embarrassing yourself. Where you might not score great all the time, but you're going to hit enough good shots, and even a few great ones where people give you a bit of credit for being able to play, where at least you're able to get into a bet and not be "dead weight", where you're able to get a birdie and not feel like it was luck, or a scramble for a tough par, get it up and down out of a bunker or chip one in on purpose. It's when the things that require actual GOOD golf shots start to happen, even though the bad shots still happen too often.

For me, I think that feeling started to come when I was around a 15-17 index. That just seems be the point at which a person has the skill to do all aspects of the game well, but is still struggling to put it all together. At that point it seems the game changes a bit, at that point, a player has the fundamentals of the game, they're developing a repeatable swing, starting to get a predictable ball flight and starting to expect the ball to do what they want it to do. At that point the game moves a bit from the physical to the mental. Then it starts to be more about if the player has the discipline to play the smarter shot, can they conquer the nerves in a pressure situation, can they start to cut back the penalties, and can they at least sometimes get themselves out of trouble and save bad hole?

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#15 jaxbeachpackerfan

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:51 AM

Great post Richard! Great way to sum it up too!

I know for myself, I'm more interested in becoming a better more consistent ball striker than what my actual score is right now. That's why I chose to play with blades, for now anyway. Feeling where I'm striking the ball on the face keeps me from thinking I'm doing better than I am which is what happens with SGI clubs that don't give you the feedback. Anyway, my point is, I go out to have fun more than compete. I don't like making bad shots anymore than the next guy. But does it really matter? Not really. Disappointing when you know you can do better, but losing your temper? Yea, that's hard to be around. Just have fun and keep moving. It's just a game after all!


Blade and Richard--I agree, great comments. But just to be clear, my dilemma or embarrassment is not with worrying whether I'm worthy to tee it up with the low handicappers or whether they really would not rather play with me. I comply with and embrace the fast play, good attitude, good times regimens and our group ranges from 4 to a 21. I don't doubt that most that played with me would not hesitate to play with me again. I'm referring to the pride thing that when you introduce your game level, what's the initial visceral reaction (not that that is really important). To get to the level where if I hit a long drive or stick an iron with good "soar factor" (e.g. it's a good looking shot), that the "good shot" compliment is not said with a hint of surprise. Where I could comment on the spin characteristics of a certain ball (yes, I spin and back up 7 irons on down), without feeling that "they" are thinking, what the f*** does a x handicap know about spinning a ball, or a certain shaft or whatnot.

It's not how does a high handicap cope, it's what handicap do you have to have to cross the threshold where you're not a "high handicap" in others' minds? Me thinks its 14.

Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts.

In my Ogio Ozone XX Cart Stand Bag:

Ping G30 10.5 Deg Driver, stock Stiff shaft
TM Rocketballz 19 Deg 5 Wood, stock Matrix Osik Stiff shaft
TM Rocketballz Stage 2 21 Deg Tour 4 Hybrid, Rocketfuel 80h Stiff shaft 

Callaway Apex CF 16 Irons, 4-P, Stiff Shafts
 
Scor 48 and 55 degree wedges.  
Renegar 60 Deg Steel Shaft Lob Wedge

TM Ghost Spider Si 38" Counterbalanced Putter





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