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Fell apart


Hi fellow TTers

Hope this finds everyone doing well.  Just sharing an experience of a falling apart, a meltdown of sorts.  The last few rounds I have played I've shot 80, 88, 86 and 85, playing pretty consistently.  Last year I also shot mostly mid-80s and had two rounds in the 70s, 79 & 77. 

This past Sunday my foursome had the final round of our year-long tournament (called the Fed-Up Cup), I was in the lead but pretty nervous leading up to the round.  During the week I was reading some of the books I have on the mental side of the game, and also started going through one of my favorite instructional books by Leadbetter.   

Well, I imagine this was all a mistake as Sunday came and I had no game and no feel, and just basically couldn't get anything going.  I had a mini-run of a few pars on the back nine where I hit the ball very well, but other than that my game just fell apart.

Thoughts, suggestions, etc?  What I've re-learned from this is that you have to play the game without technical, mechanical thoughts going on.  I think my mind was just churning with too many swing thoughts and too many "what ifs?".  One last note, not sure if it effected me much or not, but I was also playing with a pulled muscle in my left leg.  It did hurt but I as able to walk and swing without too much discomfort.



20 Replies

  1. Steve H


    Well....what a story.  Sounds like things that every golfer experiences each time they tee it up.  Been there myself this year.  In the hunt for the Club Championship only to take a 9 on an easy par 5.  Two choices came to mind: Quit, which means not caring about the rest of the front nine let alone the back nine, Or, dig deep and tell myself that I need to shoot 4 under on the back to clear the slate.  I think we all prepare for for those times when things go south.  However, we also know that it takes alot of couracge, guts, grit, and mostly grind to dig out of it.  Sometimes it works, and some times it doesn't.  However, we LEARN each time we taste success or in some cases like yours(and all of us), defeat.  That is what draws us to the game of golf and that's why we play.  My suggestion is simple....take a couple of days off, then get grinding because there are plenty of opportunities for you to shine, improve, and WIN out there.  Best of luck.  BTW, as you can see.....It worked!!

  2. AJAR


    It seems you not only overloaded yourself but may have also brought your practice/range work on the course. I am hitting similar scores and notice that I consistently blow-up holes when i get mechanically-concerned. This is why I am trying to work on pre-shot routine now as this takes my concern away from technique and mechanics (as well as nerves) and makes me focus more on the routine and setting up correctly and comfortably.

    Mechanics is for range time.

  3. Adrian J

    Sorry that happened to ya. I think its a great learning opportunity.

    From reading your post I believe you just overloaded with information. Seems like your game was always on your mind. What I have read from sports magazines or online articles and what helps me is distracting myself with other things during the off time. I then focus all my attention to my game when I am warming up and playing.

    Let me ask you this. Did you sleep well? or were you up thinking about golf? also If nothing was "broken" in your game why read anything about golf? seems you were doing well. 

  4. george t

    I had an all too similar round during our men's club championship.  The event is 54 holes, stroke play, conducted over the course of two weekends (1st 36 on Sat/Sun, final 18 a week later).

    After 36 holes, I found myself in the unexpected position of leading by 4 strokes.  So having 7 days to contemplate my position, I chose to pursue the same practice routine as the first week, plus I re-read one of Bob Rotella's books, "Golf is a Game of Confidence".   I knew I would have to concentrate on staying in the moment.

    Well, the final round started and I narrowly avoided bogeying the first two holes, but then ran off a streak of 4 consecutive bogeys. After the round, I had later learned that while I was on the 10th tee, I had lost the lead to someone in a group ahead of us.  Fortunately, I played a strong back nine to reclaim my 4 stroke lead and win the club championship.

    Looking back on the round, I feel that while nerves were clearly acting up, I was trying so hard to mentally focus, that I was over analyzing each shot on those first six holes.  Like everyone else, I've hit so many shots over the years, but I'd forgotten to just trust my swing.  What turned it around was when I stopped thinking and just started doing!

    Hope you're feeling better and the next round goes well for you.


  5. Allen L

    Hey JPHB...  Everybody has bad spells.  I sometimes have a train wreck, a plane wreck, and a meteor strike all in one.  Been reading the sports psychology books and they have helped me a lot, haven't had a serious crash since.  I think you're right, when you take a shot just take the shot without all of the complications.    Been watching the guy's on TV more closely since reading up on sports psychology, from a lot of their facial expressions it seems as though they clear their mind and let what they know how to do already just flow.  You'll work things out, there's always tomorrow and a new round, good luck ...

  6. Ruben A

    The two books that have helped me the most have been "Golf is not a Game of Perfect" by Rotella and "Golf in the Zone" audiobook by Jim Fanin.  The two have done wonders for my game.

    Both authors make a point that you must 'practice' taking your mind out of the game.  It's not the kind of thing that you can read a book and then step up to the first tee.  But if you keep at it, you will quickly see benefits.

    Good luck!

  7. bigearnucsd

    i was reading and thought that's exactly what happens me too. i usually shoot in the 80s and very few occasional 70s during the year. i realize i consistently have bad rounds if i start watching swing fix, youtube and read about different tips.  not that they are giving bad tips, it's just that those tips make you think and try different techniques that you're not used to during a round.  

    so now days if i know i'm playing a round within a week, i stay away from any instructional material. If i know i'm just going to hit the ranges for awhile, that's when i start looking into some instructional material.

    one thing that i do when those different swing thoughts creep into my mind during a round is i just step up to the ball without any practice swing and just swing at the ball. 

  8. JPHB

    hey George,

    Congrats on the club championship.  I also read Rotella's book that week - I'm sure he's a man of infinite wisdom, but I also don't think it's a good idea to start applying some of his principles during an important round.

    Thanks for reply!

    I haven't played since then, but had a really solid practice session recently, so I'm sure I'll be back on track.



  9. JPHB

    Thank you all very much for the kind, encouraging replies - much appreciated!

    One good thing came out of that bad round, my buddy has a good round, won, and can now use the money to buy himself a much-needed new push cart! (his old one was literally falling apart)

    Cheers guys,


  10. Brad m

    Sorry to hear things came apart for you on the last day. For me, when I am in a tournament, I try not to get too technical, but I try to have a plan to follow. What club I am going to hit on every hole, my plan B if I catch the rough on a hole that I have to go over water, whether to go for the pin on certain holes, or play to the meat of the green. If I stick to the plan, I believe I will be successful. A bad shot, or a bad hole should not change the plan, unless you have rapidly taken yourself out of contention. The other key for me is hitting fairways. If my driver is working, then I can attack greens rather than playing defensive trying to save pars. Another key for me is don't be afraid to layup. I am not a long hitter, but I have a very good wedge game, and once on the green, I believe I can make any putt. So, if I can't get there, or it is a low percentage shot, I will play for par, and take double bogey off the table. You can always recover from a bogey, doubles and triples, not so much.
  11. Scott S

    I just started playing again after a 20 year hiatus from golf (dedicated myself to Archery mostly).  It has not been without its challenges, but I can honestly say it is the most frustrating sport of anything I have ever done.  What I have done is listen to guys that have been playing for years, stop trying to kill the ball and concentrated on hitting it straight.  I dont know if any of you have ever heard this, but something that we live by in the archery world is, shoot  with someone better than you.  I have adapted this to golf and honestly it has helped my game cosiderably.  I am by no means a great golfer, I usually hit in the 90's, but I dont play as much as others.  Dont get frustrated, and definately dont quit......just relax, and swing like you know how too!! This game like archery is 90% mental! You will hit those shots on a hole and that my friends is what keeps you coming back!! Just like shooting 3D archery, you hit that 40 yard 12 ring...BAM, back in the game!!

    You guys are great here!! Thanks for all the advice!

  12. Carl T

    I find this topic very interesting as I have been in a rut for the past three weeks where I have two to four blow up holes that end up as train wrecks. I have analyzed the situations and most of the train wrecks occur when I hit a bad drive and like being in jail trying to hit out between the bars (trees). I am not trying to be heroic by hitting a shot that even the pros would find difficult but just trying to get back in the fairway and end up hitting into a fairway bunker, hitting a tree, hitting the ball too hard and ending up in the rough on the other side of the fairway, etc. I love to practice and at one time greenside bunker play was the most dreaded situation for me because it was almost a automatic two stroke penalty or more to get out. With lot's of practice now I have no fear of bunkers. What I am working on now is using my 4,5 and 6 iron to hit shots from 30 to 100 yards trying to imagine low tree limbs, bushes and trees I have to get around when I am on the driving range. Most people myself included go to the practice range and go through their bag hitting full shots. For me to get back to the low 80's and high 70's I have to be able to get out of trouble and stop the train wrecks. Today and until I feel confident, I am going to practice hitting shots low and short where I can escape the woods. Golf is a continuous game of learning new things and trying to remember old things that have worked in the past.
  13. James S

    To quote Paul Bertholy, "The number one enemy of playing golf is mental tension. The father of mental tension is imprecise thinking."  It boils down to having a swing system you can depend on under pressure. My game went in the tank last fall. I had no feel, no rhythm, no tempo; nothing. In December I discovered the Bertholy Method, and it's turned my game around. I used to swing and hope the ball went where I wanted it to, now the ball goes where I hit it. Big difference. Paul Bertholy was the father of golf drills. The man was a genius. You should check him out. :)

  14. Scott S


    I will check him out for sure....I agree, just like I said in my post, this is a very mental sport, if you "think golf" you will start making things happen that you dont want too.  I found that out the hard way when I played in Destin, I was thinking walking up to Tee off, "have to have my feet this way, make sure your hands are right, ect, ect...." that just made me do horrible, once I quit doing that I started to play much better and felt much more relaxed!

  15. James S

    Hi Scott. Sadly, Paul has passed on. His longtime assistant, Doug Ferreri, now carries the torch for "The Bertholy Method". Doug has been a super help with implementing the program into my game. The program, by the way, is based on the swings of Mr. Ben Hogan and Mr. Sam Snead. If you've had the chance to watch a Moe Norman clinic on YouTube you've heard him use some of Paul's terminology: "vertical drop", "horizontal tug", "rod and claw", "hit impulse", "the Master Move"; all straight from Mr. Bertholy. I hope you look into the Bertholy Method. I know it will be helpful.  Best, James.

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