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The roller coaster scores


Hello fellow TT members,

Anyone else here experience a pretty significant difference in your score from one round to the next? I'm talking a difference of over 10 strokes between one round and the next. Obviously, the game is about minimizing the inconsistencies (otherwise we'd all be playing on TV), but my score differences seem somewhat extreme to me. Plus, these severe oscillation in score affects my handicap significantly because my low scores lower my handicap significantly whereas my higher scores gets dropped off, as it is not one of the top 10 in the past 20 rounds.

Or is all of the above just a sign that my game is incredibly inconsistent and is in need of a major overhaul?

Thanks for any input!

15 Replies

  1. Ronnie B

    Hey Z, 

    Currently I am dealing with the same thing and it is horrible. But thats golf. It's freaking frustrating and makes you wonder what you are doing wrong. Which I don't know how you play so I can't say if it is a specific part of your game but what I have learned and what I am having to tell myself every day is to be patient. If you watch RM or Zach Johnson they say when their game is up and down they have to relax and be patient because the work will show up. 

    Attack your weak points and remember to be patient, and hopefully you will see a change. Hope this helped! 


  2. Carl T

    Z, I am a roller coaster golfer and have just finally accepted it. My last 20 rounds High 97 low 80 avg. 86.4. I sometimes even have a roller coaster score from the front 9 and back 9. The last round I played was the same 9 holes back to back, 46 - 42. One thing I have noticed when you are this type of player, your high rounds make you feel bad but your low rounds are euphoric. In the long run, just accept that you will have bad days but the good days make up for it.
  3. tdogg21

    I know the feeling.  Last week I was visiting family out of town and had time for two 9 hole rounds.  Day one I shot 49 and it could have been worse.  Day two I shot 39 and that was with a bogey and double on the last two holes.  This is my biggest issue.  I just don't get to play enough to be consistent.  On any given day I could shoot 80 or 100.

  4. James E


    Do you typically have a few bad holes (doubles and triples) on your bad rounds or do you have a string of bogies (the bogey train)? 

    The first could be a few bad swings that cause high numbers and then not "taking your medicine" and possibly getting into more trouble.

    The later could just be confidence driven (which could be manifesting itself in just missing makeable putts).

    I would track your play. Track fairways hit, misses right, misses left, GIR, approach misses left, misses right, putts and try to think about the length of the putts and add up the length of putts made (pace them off), sand saves, up and downs, penalty shots, etc.

    Really analyze why the score is going bad and then work on the aspects of your game that are weaker.

    Maybe it is as easy as a lack of practice. Maybe it is a concentration issue. Maybe it is a putting streak (or lack thereof). But try to isolate where the scores are deviating.

    For example, say you shot 90 with 3 triples and you shoot 80 with one double. The 3 triples could come from 3 OBs and then not making par on your 2nd ball. The double could be a loose drive OB but you made par with your second ball. There is not THAT much difference in how you played probably. Just a few loose shots here and there and then the impact of that on your concentration (do you "give up" a little if things are going badly?).

    Hopefully this kind of helps you think about looking at your game and then seeing where things might be going wrong.Hopefully that then leads to less future rounds that deviate from what you are capable of.

    Good luck, I hope this helps. 

  5. LizzyVal

    I just experienced this as well.  Last week I played on Friday - shot a horrible 92;  Next day I shot 77.  For me it's how relaxed I am (Friday I was still in work mode) and most importantly my putting.  I switched on Saturday to my  1995 Scotty Cameron DelMar - it felt so great - and I made so many putts. 

  6. Z

    Thanks for all the great inputs! I really appreciate it.

    While I do not keep detailed records of where my strokes are coming from, I do keep track of GIR, # of putts, and direction in which I am missing the fairways off the tee. 

    My "bad" rounds (granted, any day spent on the golf course can't really be "bad") typically result from my tee shots getting a bit wild. When this starts to happen, I mentally begin to question my swing, and try to compensate for it during the round which leads to missed greens, fat/thin shots, and sloppy short game.  

    Interestingly, another thread about playing "too much" caught my attention and this may be tied in to the roller coaster scores. Small errors/flaws in swings get ingrained and is practiced, while I try to force a quick fix mid-round which lead to future, exaggerated swing flaws. 

  7. Carl T

    Today is my practice day. I worked on the 20 to 30 yard pitch shots which is what wrecked my score the last two rounds. I executed this shot for 30 minutes without blading or shanking any shots. I feel I can bring this to the game tomorrow but as you well know, something else may go south, e.g., putting, chipping, bunker play, mid to long iron approach shots, etc. I practiced these shots as well. I really think concentration and focus is the answer to my game. I hit a bad shot, get in a position where I am out of my comfort range and the next thing I know I am still in trouble laying 4 150 yards away from the pin on a par 5. Another thing I know about me is that I fatigue easily in the heat. When I run out of steam it is hard to keep a rhythmic golf swing. Heat index tomorrow will be around 100 when I play.
  8. Tracy C

    I am a roller coaster golfer as well. In my last 21 rounds my high is 102, and my low is 78. However the big number came from back tees on a course I don't play very often. I have been doing better lately by not being quite so aggressive and a lot of time on the practice green.
  9. Mike C

    I think a large majority of us probably have roller coaster rounds from time to time.  I used to think whenever I had an awesome round I was certain to follow it up with a bad round (kind of like the post birdie foul up but applied to an entire round).  Now I try to think of it as I have the opportunity to play great each shot I make.  If it doesn't work out one day, I just take the strokes as they come and realize that there are much worse things I could be doing, try to just relax and enjoy my time outdoors.

    One of the most humorous roller coaster rides I had took place all within the same round.  I started off terrible, sending a couple of balls OB and really not playing well at all.  After the front 9 was behind me, I added up the strokes and had a 53!  Not a very legit score to begin with.  As I moved into the back nine, I was able to refocus and scored 33 on the back nine for a difference of 20 strokes between the nines.  If this isn't an example of roller coaster golf, I don't know what is.

    I guess the good thing from this is that sometimes your game is in sync and sometimes it is not.  Whether it is a focus issue, a swing issue, or some other issue, this is going to happen and, as an amateur, I expect these things to happen.  The good rounds and shots keep us coming back and we just leave the others behind.  If I am playing bad I can certainly get frustrated, but then I remember I am on the golf course doing what I love (even if I am doing it poorly) and it doesn't seem too bad after all.

    Enjoy the game, both the good shots and the bad shots!

  10. James E


    When you start having a "bad round" take a step back and regroup in order to build your confidence back. 

    For example, if the driver starts getting wild try using a fairway wood or even an iron just to get it in the fairway to build confidence. If you don't have this shot try to practice it and get it as your backup. Yes you will give up yardage but having 2 clubs more into the green but from the fairway would be helpful (most likely you'll make no more than bogey).

    And hitting a few good shots can "right the train" and help get your confidence back.

     Also, when in trouble think about just getting back into play. Try not to hit the miracle recovery shot and just take the medicine. Sometimes a great bogey can help the confidence.

    It sounds mostly like a confidence issue. Doubt seeps in a causes other issues. Hitting a few good hits in a row might help turn things around during a round. Even if the good shot is a layup on a par 4. A good shot is a good shot and it can turn thoughts from negative to positive.

    Above all, try to stay positive and confident. Think about the target and visualize a good shot. Don't think about the hazards and what happens if you hit a bad shot. I know it is easier said than done but it is very important. 

    And then keep practicing solid fundamentals (if you feel like the fundamentals are slipping think about a lesson). The more practice of good fundamentals the more likely you will play well.

    Hope this helps, good luck. Stay positive and you will get there.

  11. James E


    I love that you practiced your pitches and you are feeling more confident about that shot.

    I wish you weren't thinking about "something else going wrong". Positive thinking is really important. Think about what can go right. Think one shot at a time. Visual the shot you want to hit. Pick your target. Focus on a good swing. Don't think about negatives. Don't think about what can go wrong, think about executing the shot you want to hit. I know it is easy to say but positive thought will help.

    How many times have you played a course for the first time, hit a great shot, walked up and saw a hazard or out of bounds near the landing area and said "wow, I didn't know that was there."? It happens to me all the time. It is because I was focusing on the shot not on the hazards.

    Also, think about getting out of trouble. Get back into your comfort zone as fast as possible. A pitch out from the trees is ok. On that par 5 you mention a pitch out and then a decent shot will leave you laying 3  150-170 yards out. 

    Try not to compound errors.

    Fatigue is fatigue and that is tough to deal with other than to get in better shape. But fatigue can impact the physical swing and the mental aspect, the confidence. Just try to stay focused and try to focus on the positives.

    If you feel the "wheels coming off" hit whatever club you feel confident with to get that confidence back. Sometimes all it takes is one good shot. Practice a "go to" club. Everyone seems to have a favorite. Even if it means a 5 iron, 5 iron, wedge to a par 4. If you execute them all you will have a putt at par. Not too bad.

    I hope this helps. Stay focused, stay positive, focus on the shot, visualize the good shot, and execute. Good luck and play well.

  12. Scott S

    Yes, I tend to hit better on some days than others, but I don't think its a sign of a major overhaul, my opinion is there are a lot of variables that can factor into it.....I compare golf to tournament 3D archery, some days you shoot up, and can shoot the same course the next day and shoot down, some of the factors could be your tired, too hot, too cold, even the group you play with can play into the way you score. 

     I know when I play with one group of guys I consistently hit higher scores than when I play with another group. I think the biggest reason for this is because I try to keep up with those guys (they play way better than I do) so I attempt to keep up and hit like they do, knowing full well I cant hit the way they do, but I give it all I have and try.  My .02 is just go have fun, and know that you will have good days and bad, and don't beat yourself up about inconsistent score too much.  I know I have a lot of improving to do, and I spend a lot of time in the yard chipping, swinging my driver and hitting a lot of practice balls.  I will never be a tour player, so I do it for the fun and love of the game! Hope this helps some....good luck and enjoy being out there playing!  

  13. andy r

    No one who plays golf is immune from the roller coaster on occasion. Am's and Pros alike can shoot 7-10 shots higher from time to time.

    When I get into a streak of poor play I will play without keeping score and just focus on the process, you know the old one shot at a time cliche. Not fancy but effective.

    Good luck and play well.

  14. Carl T

    I just had to add another tid bit to this topic. Played yesterday and shot the best score of the year so far. Here are the facts. A front moved into our area right at tee time dropping the temperature down into the low 80's. I played a muni instead of my usual course and the guys I played with tee it up from the white tees that play 5911 and the slope is only 118 compared to my home course of 136. The next big factor is that my home course greens have not been rolling true due to aeration holes and top dressing that is still making putting difficult after 3 weeks. I putted the ball only 25 times and shot 6 over par. One more fact is that those hours I have spent on chipping and pitching finally came to light yesterday. The last thing is that after my first bad pitch (where I had a difficult lie with the ball below my feet) I focused more and did not hit the ball until I was in a comfort zone at address. Bottom line is perfect golf temperature, not fatigued, played tees that are much shorter than normal, tried to stay focus on every shot, especially putting (25 strokes for the round)and finally lots of practice time bared some fruit.
  15. James E


    That is terrific, congratulations on playing so well.

    Think of your mindset while you were out there. It sounds like you were "in the zone". It sounds like you felt confident, were focusing on positives. And those positive thoughts encouraged great shots and a great score. Great to hear you didn't hit that chip until you were comfortable.

    We can't consciously get "in the zone" but we can put the thoughts in place to encourage great play and maybe fall into "the zone".

    Think about how confident you were, think about how you were focused on the successful shot, how positive your thoughts were, maybe you visualized the shot well and then executed without thinking any negative thoughts. Really look at how you felt about that round and try to continue to do that on your next rounds.  

    Keep up the great play. Congratulations.

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