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When did it click for you

Hi, this is my first post here, just thought I'd tell my golfing story and see how it compares to others.

I've been playing for around 20 years on a very casual basis, probably averaging about 15-20 rounds a year. I started when I was 16 with no lessons, just going out there and playing. After a year or so I reached a level where I would shoot anywhere between 90-110 and stayed there for about 10 years, making some decent shots and some pretty bad ones, with no real pattern to my game. I then started thinking about improving my game and had some lessons, I went with several different local pros at different clubs, but was never really satisfied with the advice they were giving. I didn't make any tangible progress and non of them gave me a great deal of confidence in their teaching ability.

Finally, one pointed out that I played with a very strong grip and refused to give me any further lessons until I made it more neutral. I set about making the change, spending hours in my living room hitting practice balls against the curtain, but it just ended in complete frustration, I simply lost the ability to hit anything at all, everything I tried was uncomfortable and I just couldn't play any more. Even trying to go back to my strong grip but I ultimately lost all confidence in my game and gave up playing.

Now, 5 years on from that, I am playing again, and remarkably I feel comfortable with a neutral grip. My scoring hasn't improved, but I occasionally play shots now that look and feel like proper golf shots, they are just few and far between. I think to an extent, that pro was right and I'm glad I have changed my grip, it was just a lot more painful to get there than I ever imagined.

Anyway, now my goal is to achieve a sub 18 handicap and I'm working with a pro again, with my 3rd lesson coming up next week. I'm doing all the drills he's given me but still feeling a little frustrated with progress. I guess I'm just looking for a bit of encouragement and hoping to hear from people like me, who the game obviously doesn't come naturally to, but have stuck with it and something has clicked, to a point where you're playing some decent golf. How long did it take, and what was the defining moment that changed you from hacker to golfer?

I'm not so much worried about course management and scoring right now, I just want to get some confidence back and start striking the ball well consistently so I can enjoy the game.

Comments

  • scottyc15scottyc15 HoustonMembers Posts: 46 ✭✭

    I started playing 12 years ago when I was 19 and was probably around a 20 handicap or so. Fast forward to today and I'm now a +4. It took a lot of work to get to this point, but once I was able to develop a one-way miss or at least be able to move the ball in my intended direction consistently was when I really started seeing progress. I'm sure you'll receive many different answers as to how to improve and everyone has their own way of doing things, but it sounds like you have the right attitude to get where you want to be. I always thought it sounded cliche to have a defining moment in golf, but I actually did have one in 2016 during a tournament round and I'll always reflect back to that day as the turning point that led to where I am now.

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  • JohnnyCashForeverJohnnyCashForever From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish. PAMembers Posts: 369 ✭✭✭✭

    @scottyc15 said:
    I started playing 12 years ago when I was 19 and was probably around a 20 handicap or so. Fast forward to today and I'm now a +4. It took a lot of work to get to this point, but once I was able to develop a one-way miss or at least be able to move the ball in my intended direction consistently was when I really started seeing progress. I'm sure you'll receive many different answers as to how to improve and everyone has their own way of doing things, but it sounds like you have the right attitude to get where you want to be. I always thought it sounded cliche to have a defining moment in golf, but I actually did have one in 2016 during a tournament round and I'll always reflect back to that day as the turning point that led to where I am now.

    What happened on that day in 2016?

  • scottyc15scottyc15 HoustonMembers Posts: 46 ✭✭

    I shot 65 in the 2nd round of an event here in Houston. It wasn't necessarily the score I shot, but the way I felt and how I was able to just play golf and not golf swing. So, I guess it was more of a management break through than anything else. It was sort of like using the Decade program before I even knew what that was (understanding my own patterns, where to aim, when to be more aggressive, etc.)

    Taylormade M5 9 - Aldila Rogue White 130 70TX
    Taylormade M4 Tour 15 - Aldila Tour Green 85TX
    Srixon Z U85 2 - DG TI X100
    Srixon Z 765 4-PW - DG TI X100
    Taylormade MG 52,56,60 - DG TI S400
    Taylormade Spider Limited
  • scooterhd2scooterhd2 Members Posts: 392 ✭✭✭✭
    edited Sep 12, 2019 4:45pm #5

    I technically started playing golf when I was 13. My buddy and I would play a local par 3 course in the summer because it was free for juniors. I probably played 4 times a year from 13-18. And then abandoned the game for a good 7 years after while I went to college and settled down some. From 25-33, I would play maybe 5-10 rounds a year. Just out to have fun with friends or workmates. I really didn't care what I scored and was just out to get some fresh air, drink a few beers, and hit a few shots that would be fun to watch. Usual score was 91-105.

    This year I moved to Phoenix, started work with a new company that has a lot of good golfers, and I decided that I was going to get better at the game. This was the mental switch. The click. I started truly practicing. Not just hitting balls at the range off the mat, but actually chipping and putting a couple of hours a week. I hit balls out of a practice bunker, after having never done that before. Hitting mostly wedges at the range, trying to hit shots. High, low, draw, fade. I take a minute to hit each ball, following a routine, actually aiming at something, and trying to hit a predetermined shot at that something. Practice that I believe is actually ingraining something. I usually make practice swings in the garage now every night. Putt down the hallway. Just have a club in my hands more. I've never had lessons before, but found a golf instructor on youtube that I align with and have started learning about the swing and how to correct faults or hit different shots. I've focused on making my grip and setup consistent. I've played at least 3 times a month since April, which is absolutely unheard of for me, and every round I am actually concerned with my score. I am trying to shoot low. Sounds funny, but before I would try to hit the best looking shot. There's no laying up, no punching out to the fairway, no hybrid off the tee box. I was out to hit shots, now I am out to score. So I play smarter. I pretend I have a caddy with me and I talk to myself out loud on the course to commit to the type of shot I want to hit. I didn't turn into an amazing golfer or anything, and I still have a long way to go, but I have virtually eliminated the 7s and 8s on the scorecard. My last 5 rounds I shot 83 (par-71), 84, 87, 85, 84. I had never been under 90 before in my life. I'm focused on continuing this process and improving my swing and ball striking and putting, with eyes set on shooting under 80, and hopefully making 85 a poor round in the future.

  • SminglesSmingles Members Posts: 17 ✭✭

    After playing for about 20 years self taught and getting down to roughly a high single digit handicap, this year was the first year I got to hit on a trackman and see my swing in full speed and slow motion from face on and DTL. I've never been a great ball striker, my best scores were basically from a combination of just keeping the ball in play off the tee and then scrambling well. Seeing my swing on video was an eye opener, you didn't have to be a genius to note that my swing was way too long, which itself was mostly a combination of being too armsy, and a huge cupping movement with my wrists getting them way overextended. The combination meant with a mid-iron my shaft would be about 35-40 degrees past parallel at the top (seriously, it'd be pointed pretty far down at the ground). In turn, I flipped at the bottom, and my good days just meant my timing and coordination was very good. But even on good days you never know when it would all fall apart at random.

    Seeing that video made it clear where I needed to make pretty big changes to my swing (which after ingraining for 20 years, has not necessarily been easy). Making those changes has led improvement of my swing off the tee, irons, and even short game all the way down to putting. Lessons probably could have saved me years of anguish, but I've enjoyed the process of betterment nonetheless.

  • BarfolomewBarfolomew #worstWRXer Members Posts: 1,546 ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Tell your coach you wanna learn how to work the ball already... even if its tough for you to hit you have to at least understand how to do it so you can know why you curved the ball when you didnt want to and how to fix it. Plus now you'll understand how to hit that straight shot and you'll have a basis to work towards... vs flailing in the dark not knowing these principles. Firm believer even guys shooting way above bogey should learn the concepts and practice them but industry has wrong out look on it

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  • scooterhd2scooterhd2 Members Posts: 392 ✭✭✭✭

    @Barfolomew said:
    Tell your coach you wanna learn how to work the ball already... even if its tough for you to hit you have to at least understand how to do it so you can know why you curved the ball when you didnt want to and how to fix it. Plus now you'll understand how to hit that straight shot and you'll have a basis to work towards... vs flailing in the dark not knowing these principles. Firm believer even guys shooting way above bogey should learn the concepts and practice them but industry has wrong out look on it

    This is so true. I mentioned in my post about practicing hitting shots versus just mindlessly pounding balls at the range. I used to never care to want to hit a draw or fade. That's for pros. I just wanted to hit the ball straight. But in this quest, I only ended up missing both ways at times, and rarely hitting the ball straight. I remember being awed watching pros warm up live at the 2015 US Open. I was watching down the line and expecting these guys just to hit continuous high, straight shots. After all, that's what I tried to do on the range. They would surely do the same thing but much better. I was completely wrong. These guys are hitting the same club the same distance with 5 different ball flights. Practice hitting cuts and draws. High and low. You'll become much more accurate because you can generally eliminate one side of the miss. And if you pick the correct shot for the layout of the hole, you can mishit the ball slightly but still end up with a long putt versus in the water or in a bunker.

  • northgolfnorthgolf Pork Members Posts: 4,101 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I started playing golf when I was 8. My handicap index has ranged from 36+ when I started, to 2.3 in my early twenties, to 5 a couple of years ago, to 10.1 as I am about to turn sixty this November.

    It has never clicked, but I still worry the bone in the off hope that it will.

    If I do this 11,548 more times, I will be having fun. - Zippy the Pinhead
  • Exactice808Exactice808 Just want to hit ball far and go find it... Members Posts: 4,676 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    @northgolf said:
    I started playing golf when I was 8. My handicap index has ranged from 36+ when I started, to 2.3 in my early twenties, to 5 a couple of years ago, to 10.1 as I am about to turn sixty this November.

    It has never clicked, but I still worry the bone in the off hope that it will.

    LOL, Hit the driving range ball picker since I was 12, played a live course when I was 19, Started to play REAL focused golf about 8 years ago....... 6 Year ago on Golf WRX I had my first click moment. (I suck)
    Then I had many more of those AH HA, Click moments. all small revelations but nothing game changing. As golf is an evolution when you change one thing it effects a whole bunch of other things...i.e. you hook on 1 hole so you "change" then it slices the next hole and you "change" again.

    I honestly can say the biggest "click" moment for me though was about 4 months ago, after shooting decent rounds in the 70's but blow ups in the 90's and it "CLICKED" I wasnt really that good. So I am currently revamping my whole swing.... BUT I am armed with a lot of golf knowledge, from ball flights laws, Angles of attack, spin loft blah blah blah. So my revamp is a little more focused rather than just trying to hit it straight and as far as I can.

    But honestly outside of the above..... like you mention still looking for more clicks out there and have not really found one significant enough unfortunately.

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  • SNIPERBBBSNIPERBBB Hit Ball Hard SE OhioMembers Posts: 2,797 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    I wish I could really point to something....
    Closest thing that I could possibly point to is when I first started playing qualifiers for our clubs interclub match, the Southeast Ohio event and the River Cup, teams. The drive to make those teams I think spurred my improvement from my 12 cap at the time to the 3 cap I am 9 years later. No real aha moments.

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  • Golf ScientistGolf Scientist Members Posts: 121 ✭✭✭

    @billbring said:

    .

    Anyway, now my goal is to achieve a sub 18 handicap and I'm working with a pro again, with my 3rd lesson coming up next week. I'm doing all the drills he's given me but still feeling a little frustrated with progress. I guess I'm just looking for a bit of encouragement and hoping to hear from people like me, who the game obviously doesn't come naturally to, but have stuck with it and something has clicked, to a point where you're playing some decent golf. How long did it take, and what was the defining moment that changed you from hacker to golfer?

    I'm not so much worried about course management and scoring right now, I just want to get some confidence back and start striking the ball well consistently so I can enjoy the game.

    Like another poster has said it isn't always a defining moment. If I were to reflect on the times where I've seen long patches of consistently good play it's been after periods after I gained an understanding of why something is a superior position or movement compared to previous or alternative position or movement. Then having the confidence to stick with and repeat it in the future instead of experimenting with something else in the spur of the moment. Mcilroy recently made a similar statement about how he planned to stick with particular swing keys for the entire season. That may be one of the reason he has been pretty consistent with his play this year.

    I would question the drills he has given you. Are they drills that have you repeating a position or movement pattern that you know is fundamentally better than what you normally do, or is he giving you a task, but not telling you how or why to do it? If an instructor can't explain how and why to do something, or why it's better than what you already do then it might not be the right thing to be doing. Likewise if it's not resulting in you being able to hit the ball in a way that you desire with a high degree or repeat-ability it might not be the right thing to do. If you're being told to do something, but you're seeing it fail more times than it succeeds then it's something to be wary of. Many people have trusted instructors, and done what the instructors told them only to get worse not better. If you feel like you get worse then you should probably seek your instruction elsewhere.

    Current set makeup:
    M5 driver with Evenflow shaft
    M5 3 and 5 metals with Evenflow shafts
    GAPR 4 and 5 hybrids with KBS hybrid shafts
    P790 irons 6-AW with Nippon 950 shafts
    Callaway PM 60*, PM 56* wedges with KBS Tour-V shafts
    Spider putter





  • Santiago GolfSantiago Golf I Strive to make you Better Members Posts: 5,061 ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Passing my PAT prooved to alot to me. It showed me i could handle pressue. My biggest belief is for the most part (iteach will disagree with this and he has every right too) there isnt a big ball striking ability difference between an 8 and scratch. Same how i believe there isnt a difference between your state am champ and a tour pro. It all really comes down fo being able to handle difficult situation and learning to overcome pressure.

    Driver: Taylormade M2 '17 10.5*; Accura Tour Z Pink, 85 M5 (285, can get one or two to carry 300+ if needed)
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    LOOKING FOR A 7 Wood (probably gunna be 230-235 club)
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