Struggling for improvement

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By Barkerbob

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  1. I shoot around 100. I can’t seem to be making any improvement. I have done lessons but am still inconsistent from one shot to the next. Bought a net last week so I am going to be able to work more away from the course. Hope that helps. Any tips that helped you lower your handicap from a high one? Can’t move up any more tees due to my age in events at our course. Thanks.

  2. Hi Barkerbob,

    It's a tough old game sometimes - isn't it? Seems like the harder you work, the worse it gets... while to some, it appears so easy. Doesn't seem fair...

    As a full time coach who helps recreational players try to improve, there are a few things that I'd recommend putting your focus on, along with some recommendations to use in your thought process:

    1. Nothing helps more than center contact on the club face.

    2. Nothing makes center contact more difficult to achieve than sudden changes in speed during the swing/stroke.

    3. Once you find a way (hopefully with a coach) to make consistent center contact, pay attention to the pattern of shot that you're producing and play it - exclusively - on every hole. Whether its a ball that curves right or left, don't let the architecture dissuade you. Be stubborn. Play the shot you have and stick to your guns.

    4. Keep expectations realistic at all times. If you have a bad shot, stay conservative on the next one. Try not to follow a poor shot with a poor or hasty decision borne out of frustration. A hasty mind produces changes to acceleration during the stroke/swing and makes it difficult to find center contact, which makes it difficult to create the shot you might envision at any given time, which makes achieving the score you want almost impossible.

    5. Stay away from video of your swing and thoughts about technique.

    6. Become infallible from 6' and in. Making a higher percentage of short putts works wonders on the scorecard.

    7. Revel in the process of improving. Take every opportunity you have and practice things that will help you, such as:

    - Make small, slow swings in which the handle never rises above your waist, both back and through. Find center contact at a high percentage before moving on.
    - Make medium sized, medium speed swings in which the handle climbs above your waist, but not above your shoulder, both back and through. Find center contact at a high percentage before moving on.
    - Make full sized, normal speed swings until you find center contact at a high percentage.

    Once you get used to practicing in this way, you'll find that your balance is better, and hence your contact. Give it a go on the course and see how you do. Golf is a game of control for us recreational players, leave the power game to the guys on TV!

    If you have questions on this stuff, feel free to ask. I hope this wasn't more than you bargained for!

    -BB

  3. Outstanding advice, Ben! Thanks so much for sharing this insight. So many helpful points in here and great reminders for players of all skill levels.

    Thanks again!

    - Mike
  4. Thanks for the great helps guys!
  5. Rick D

    Rick D
    Weston, WI

    I like #7. Develops rhythm. It's how I warm up each time at the range.



  6. Ben Blalock said:

    Hi Barkerbob,

    It's a tough old game sometimes - isn't it? Seems like the harder you work, the worse it gets... while to some, it appears so easy. Doesn't seem fair...

    As a full time coach who helps recreational players try to improve, there are a few things that I'd recommend putting your focus on, along with some recommendations to use in your thought process:

    1. Nothing helps more than center contact on the club face.

    2. Nothing makes center contact more difficult to achieve than sudden changes in speed during the swing/stroke.

    3. Once you find a way (hopefully with a coach) to make consistent center contact, pay attention to the pattern of shot that you're producing and play it - exclusively - on every hole. Whether its a ball that curves right or left, don't let the architecture dissuade you. Be stubborn. Play the shot you have and stick to your guns.

    4. Keep expectations realistic at all times. If you have a bad shot, stay conservative on the next one. Try not to follow a poor shot with a poor or hasty decision borne out of frustration. A hasty mind produces changes to acceleration during the stroke/swing and makes it difficult to find center contact, which makes it difficult to create the shot you might envision at any given time, which makes achieving the score you want almost impossible.

    5. Stay away from video of your swing and thoughts about technique.

    6. Become infallible from 6' and in. Making a higher percentage of short putts works wonders on the scorecard.

    7. Revel in the process of improving. Take every opportunity you have and practice things that will help you, such as:

    - Make small, slow swings in which the handle never rises above your waist, both back and through. Find center contact at a high percentage before moving on.
    - Make medium sized, medium speed swings in which the handle climbs above your waist, but not above your shoulder, both back and through. Find center contact at a high percentage before moving on.
    - Make full sized, normal speed swings until you find center contact at a high percentage.

    Once you get used to practicing in this way, you'll find that your balance is better, and hence your contact. Give it a go on the course and see how you do. Golf is a game of control for us recreational players, leave the power game to the guys on TV!

    If you have questions on this stuff, feel free to ask. I hope this wasn't more than you bargained for!

    -BB

    Man...

    This is so real and needed. Numbers 4-7 are truth.

    Thank you for sharing.
  7. Drew D

    Drew D
    Missouri

    Cannot stress how important short game is. The most common thing I see in guys with higher handicaps is their wedge game is brutal to watch. I know Phil Mickelson isn’t a Titleist guy, but his short game instruction is elite. I’ll try to leave a link for the video below on YouTube, but if it doesn’t show just search Secrets of The Short Game. About the 34-35 minute mark he goes into chipping. If you practice some of those concepts, you will 100% improve. Best of luck, DD.
    https://youtu.be/GhzY7TIMnMU
  8. vurich

    vurich
    First Tee Box

    Hey Bob, I'm sure you well know, golf is an up and down game. Literally. There are no shortcuts to improvement. It takes time, patience and practice. If you're not where you want to be, you have to put in all three. Good luck and keep grinding. #TeamTitleist
  9. Eric H

    Eric H
    Ridgway, PA

    The easiest way to get better is to improve around the green! We all love to work on the full swing and see improvement there but the fact is, if you're shooting around 100 most of your shots are happening closer to the hole. Work on your chipping, bump an runs and all that. The handicap killers are 2 chips and 3 putts! Spend some time closer to the hole and you will see some lower scores.
  10. Scott D

    Scott D
    Lethbridge,

    Make sure you work on your putting and short game. Both putting and short game do wonders at lowering the handicap and scores. A great putting display always amazes your playing partners.
  11. Rick D

    Rick D
    Weston, WI

    Some years ago I was working 12 hour days. I had to get out of there some, or drive me crazy. At noon I'd grab a sandwich and head for a local course 10 minutes away. I'd chip and putt for 20 minutes, then head back to the grind. In one season I went from a 12 to a 6 handicap. Knowing you can chip it close when you miss the green is huge. Knowing you can make the 6 footer to save par is huge.

    Our club built a short game practice area. My wife and I do a session there on Mondays. It's been instrumental in her shaving strokes off her handicap and the practice has benefitted me as well.
  12. Christopher V

    Christopher V
    Edmond, OK

    Have you done any playing lessons? What does a typical 100 look like for you in terms of pars, bogeys, doubles, etc.? Are you putting the ball out of play or keeping it in play? Tons of strokes around the green or struggling off the tee? Getting in trouble and staying in trouble due to course management?
  13. Dr. Kovatchian

    Dr. Kovatchian
    Carlsbad

    Practice your short game...
    Pounding range balls won't get it done.
    Practice every shot imaginable from 100 yards in...
    Spend time with your chipping and putting...
    Develop a consistent pre-shot routine...
    You have to get to a point where your misses are still good shots.

    When I'm playing my best golf my short game is always in great shape.
    I may not be hitting all my zones off the tee and on second shots but by having a solid short game things tend to come together for the positive.



    Practice how you intend to play!

    Cheers,
    Dr. K
  14. BCH

    BCH

    I'll offer a bit of advice.

    This will never be a game of perfect. Two shots to get it close to the green and two shots to get it down (on par 4's). Shots do not need to be perfect, they do need to be smart! Play to the place you make the next shot easier (away from trouble with the fat of the green in front of you).

    Practice chipping and putting. Easier to become efficient on these shots rather than the full swing. A 300 yard drive and a 10 foot chip each count 1 stroke.

    Smile. If you count on this game to make a living, then you can frown after making a double bogey. If not, accept the fact there are 18 holes and you have a chance to get a shot or two back later in the round.

    Lastly, Matthew Wolff thinks his swing is straight back and thru (it's not). From a golfers perspective they cannot objectively see how they are swinging-go see a PGA pro and let him analyze what you are doing and work with them to improve. It will DEFINITELY help.

    Hope you are successful improving and have fun along the way!
    Best wishes
  15. Have not had a playing lesson. Tonight was even worse than usual. Either topped the ball or hit it fat. Here is an example: started on a short downhill par 3. Creek in front sand on both sides. Drive in creek, drop then top next into creek. Drop again and this one is over the water but on the creek bank. Next on green then two putt for an 8! I did par a short par 4 but the rest was horrible. One good shot for three bad ones. Probably shot close to 60. No two swings felt the same.
  16. Darryl M

    Darryl M
    Wichita, KS

    Bob To shoot 90:

    14 Driver shots on most courses, so if you are keeping it in play off the tee, then move to the next thing
    40 approach shots - if missing greens move to short game practice
    36 putts (2 putting every green)

    So if you keep it in play off the tee, and you're a bit off on approach shots then it's your short game that will get you below 100 quicker than hitting full shots with all your clubs on the range.

    I am not saying don't get with a swing coach and put in the range work, but I would double up on my chipping and putting so my scores will start moving down. Once you get the other parts of your swing heading in the right direction your scores will lower quicker & you'll be wanting to break 90 and then 80.

    It's a tough game and it takes as mentioned before. Time, Patients & Practice.

    Good Luck & keep us posted on your improvements

    DM
  17. B.A.

    B.A.
    Los Gatos, CA

    Yeah, While I agree that short game is important, it will not help you break 90. My short game was always fantastic when I was a higher handicapper because I was always missing the green!

    Hit the green, and your scores will drop. That's what you need to ficus on. You need to know how far you hit your irons and you need to get close to your target. At the range, like other have said, don't just whack balls. Pick a target, and hit shots to that target, maybe 3, then CHANGE targets and hit 3 more shots to that target and change again.

    Your irons will get you low scores. Once you are decent at hitting your target, then work on the driver and hitting the fairway. Also work on hitting high, low, draw fade with your irons and driver once you get there.

    Beating balls is worthless because you get into a groove. As soon as you put that club down, the groove is done. It will not come back when you play.
  18. Have not had a playing lesson. Tonight was even worse than usual. Either topped the ball or hit it fat. Here is an example: started on a short downhill par 3. Creek in front sand on both sides. Drive in creek, drop then top next into creek. Drop again and this one is over the water but on the creek bank. Next on green then two putt for an 8! I did par a short par 4 but the rest was horrible. One good shot for three bad ones. Probably shot close to 60. No two swings felt the same.
  19. Speedy

    Speedy
    Newmarket, NH

    Get lessons from a local pro. BEST money you'll ever invest and from there just practice what they teach you.

    When I got my first lessons about 4-5 years ago and i've been playing since High School, the first thing the instructor did was work on my posture. It was like I was starting the game all over again but he had a plan. Posture was chapter 1 and the rest is history. Today I'm playing MUCH better, not great but better than 4-5 years ago and still seeing my instructor today. Cost me a lot but worth every penny.

    The best part now after seeing him for so many years, I'm learning more about my game where if something isn't going right I know how to correct it after i'm done playing. One thing he preaches is to NEVER work on your game while playing golf. Just adjust. Pulling it left, aim more right. Pushing it right, aim more left.

    One last thing, short game. Can't be said enough. To this day me and my instructor will do about 10 minutes of long range stuff and then the rest of the time (40 mins plus) I have with him it's all 120 yards in. He will drill me on that Trackman until I get a decent score.

    Best of luck and just keep grinding!
  20. Jerry M

    Jerry M
    Dallas, TX

    Can not stress enough what Rick, Scott, Eric and others have said about the short game. It is amazing how much you can improve your score thru work on the short game....especially chipping. Even if it is what Rick did (20 minutes during the day). That is where the pros excel. They are very, very good at getting up and down around greens to save par or worse.

    It is a tough game and often improvements come in small steps. Don't get discouraged....we're all cheering for you Barkerbob!!
  21. Frank P

    Frank P
    Port St. Lucie, FL

    It's like the old adage- 60% of your shots come from 100 yards and in.
  22. Mike M

    Mike M
    Salem MA

    I Love #4; Expectation level is so important for not only improvement, but also will add to you having more fun. Isn't that why we all play this game?

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