4 Years Playing (frustration, observations, and what I've learned)
This post is part frustration with the golf industry, and some help for those that are just starting out (or play a few times a year with their buddies) .
For reference, I started 4 years ago at age 46, first round was 130 or probably higher, can now play competitive at low to mid 80's. and slowly improving. And legit scores, no one is harder on me than me.
Quick notes for the new person to golf; (this will save you time and money)
That $500 driver will NOT help. My son hits a legit 285-290 carry (with an R5) and turns a 385 par 4 into a 7 because he won't practice **his wedges **
DO NOT go to the range, it's a waste of time, money, promotes poor habits, and doesn't translate to what you'll run across on the course. I've seen plenty of range champions turn into jelly when standing at the tee in sub 40* weather with several people watching, no breakfast ball, and NOW every shot counts. HA!, lets see that 300 yrd to the net now...not a chance...duff it into the woods after 4 practice swings. It's not to say that a warm up at the range is bad when you've already developed good habits (and hit off the grass)...I'm saying stay away from the range when you first start to learn.
I've learned more about my swing never hitting a ball. Swing your clubs in the yard, over, over, over, and over again. Try difference stances, grips, speed, etc....all the time watch your divot and or interaction with the ground. Practice in the rain, after the rain, on the hardest dirt you can find, uneven lies, high winds etc. I even took a junk wedge and practiced hitting shots off the driveway. Do everything you can to be proficient in the worst conditions, and the worst lies, woods, sand, pine needles, in a thunderstorm (not recommended), the list of stuff I've practiced in and on is endless. How about tile floor in the kitchen..got an earful about that one. Or a fractured arm hitting balls off of ice...almost forgot about that one.
The BS that's regurgitated by the "pros" of the local clubs and or golf stores. My lord the things I've heard from these "experts" at the local retail chains. Below is just the tip of the iceberg. They are KILLING their own industry and business. I have numerous examples of misinformation, contradiction, harmful to your game advice. Heck, I don't even allow them to grip ANY of my clubs..they even mess that up.
Unless you're 5'11" to 6" and 175lbs, the "standard" knee flex, and shoulder width are worthless. I'm 5'11" and built like an off season linebacker. My shoulder width is a 1/3 wider than the average golfer...it killed me standing like that for the better part of 6 months. Thank you to the "expert" at the local golf store....the same goes for knee flex with an inseam of 31" AT MY HEIGHT!..yes, you know what their recommended "knee flex" did for my swing plane? Find a genuine and experienced fitter, NOT the guy trying to sell you a $500 driver. If the first words out of the "experts" mouth is "stand with your feet shoulder width apart", RUN. A good teacher will adjust your setup with your body type.
SIMPLE and EFFECTIVE fixes for the causal golfer trying to improve.
GET FITTED for your putter first, and a driver last
YOUR PUTTER is too long.....I don't have to ask the length, I already know it's too long for you. When I'm asked how I putt so well, I respond, "length really does matter". And I play with a ladies Ping after owning 5 SC putters.
DON'T worry about how far you hit your 9 iron....practice hitting your clubs the same distance all the time, no matter how far.
SETUP PROPERLY before you swing...again, SETUP PROPERLY before you swing. it's 80% or more of it
STAND CLOSER TO THE BALL ..if you think you're too close, you're probably not.
SLOW and SHORTEN your back swing
PRACTICE YOUR WEDGES from 100 in PRACTICE YOUR WEDGES from 90 yards in PRACTICE YOUR WEDGES from 80 yards in ...you getting the theme here....PRACTICE YOUR WEDGES. The ONLY thing that separates me from the single digits is the distance they hit their drive and approach. They get to their scoring clubs with fewer swings.... not ONE of the single digit league members in my league can beat me from 100 in..NOT one...but they are at that distance with a less swings...I'm working on it...but Tiger may be right, you are the distance you are.
If it's a bit of rant, it is.......and there's more in days to come.....just all I felt like typing today.