How to be "scratch"?

 jportz ·  
jportzjportz  336WRX Points: 0Members Posts: 336
Joined:  in Instruction & Academy #1
I'm a 5 hc...how do I shave those final strokes?
Just asking you scratch or better players out there....do you remember when you were a 5 hc? How did you shave those final strokes? How long did it take to get from 5 to scratch?
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  • JohnnyJohnny Get Kwok'd  8708WRX Points: 61Charter Members Posts: 8,708 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Mar 5, 2006 #2
    I'm a 7...but it takes..



    short game : sand saves, averaging less then 30 putts per rounds

    and course management
    Posted:

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  • bladestrikerbladestriker No. Cal. 1198WRX Points: 131Handicap: 1.4Members Posts: 1,198 Platinum Tees
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    Yes, short game and putting will shave those few extra strokes off.
    Posted:
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  • jportzjportz  336WRX Points: 0Members Posts: 336
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    I know putting would shave a few strokes for sure...that's probably the weakest part of my game. Obviously, I'm a good enough putter to be a 5 hc, but often finish a round feeling like I left a lot of opportunities on the course. You know, 5 or 6 putts missed inside of 10 feet...some for birdie and some to save par. Those strokes are crucial to posting a low score.



    Putting putting putting putting putting......dang it, I wish I had a putting green in my back yard.
    Posted:
  • Pole_PositionPole_Position  276WRX Points: 1Members Posts: 276 Bunkers
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    After playing to around a 5 for 25 years I've dropped my handicap to +1 in the last year and a half. My biggest problem used to be inconsistency - I could shoot anywhere from 69 to 85 on a given day (shot 69 - 89 in a 2 day tournament) - and the 2 or 3 "blow up" holes where I would hit horrible shots that seemingly came from nowhere.



    While I did spend more time on my short game, my biggest improvement came from video-taping my swing and eliminating some pretty bad things I wasn't even aware of. And I wasn't even aware they were bad until I started studying the swing (lots of reading) and visiting sites like golfwrx. Now, instead of "trial and erroring" it I pick out something to work on based on the video and my research, go to the range with an agenda, and work on that one thing until I see the results I'm looking for. I'm much more consistent now and shoot in the 67 to 75 range.



    The problem with video-taping and working on your own swing is that you really have to have a good understanding of the swing (he who represents himself has a fool for...). A good instructor using video could probably accomplish the same thing quicker. On the other hand, nobody in the world knows my swing like I do now image/wink.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':kewlpics:' />
    Posted:
  • larslars  272WRX Points: 55Members Posts: 272 Bunkers
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    It truly depends on where the weaknesses in your game are. Do you track stats like up and downs, sand saves, GIR's? Those are important to identify improvement areas.



    For example, If you only hit 4-5 greens a around but get up and down 80% of the time, then i would suggest iron striking.



    I did this last year and was surprised my up and down % was not very good. I worked on that all last year and dropped from a 5.5 to a 1.2 index.



    hope this helps.



    L
    Posted:
  • TigerStrongTigerStrong Ack...Ack...Go Mr. McIver  2894WRX Points: 0Banned Posts: 2,894
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    Johnny wrote on Mar 5 2006, 08:22 PM:


    I'm a 7...but it takes..



    short game : sand saves, averaging less then 30 putts per rounds

    and course management




    Hey guys i'm a scratch golfer and the reason I shoot under par and around par most of the time is because I strike the ball solid 99% of the time. I just don't miss the center of the club. Sure I hit some bad shots from time to time but if you hit it solid you hit greens. Greens in regulation is the key. Example form yesterday: I hit 34 putts for my round and shot even 72. I hit 14 greens with 2 three putts one time on a par 5 for par. When my putting in on and I have under 30 putts thats when I have the really good round. IMOP I think ball striking and GIR are the most important things in becoming that solid scratch player. Putting comes and goes with each round but ball striking is the key. The more consistent your swing and ball striking is the better player you are.
    Posted:
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  • jportzjportz  336WRX Points: 0Members Posts: 336
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    Yeah I know putting is important for scoring but I agree that ball striking is critical as well. I know that GIR is one of my weaknesses....I drive the ball well, long and relatively straight. My problem is that I'll hit 9 or more fairways but only hit 9 or so GIR. My iron play is a little inconsistent, always a solid shot but not always on target and my distances aren't as dialed in as they should be. One shot I'll hit my 8 iron 160 and the next it will go 150...it's hard to play well like that.



    I guess I need to work on ball striking and putting to get to the scratch level.
    Posted:
  • tariktarik  380WRX Points: 0Members Posts: 380
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    I'm fairly new to the scratch territory and the main adjustments I made to get there from a 5 HC were the absence of a few little mistakes. I have always been pretty consistent from the fairways and my short game has always been my forte.



    I used to miss about three putts a round from around 5-10 feet due to lack of focus and would leave a ball or two in a hazard from pulls off the tee. I fixed these for the most part by good old fashion practice. I took a tip from Tiger's book and made myself hit 100 five footers in a row w/out missing one every time I practiced. I also put my putter practice to within 15 feet, as were I used to practice allot from 20-25 feet. As far as the driver goes I would routinely video tape myself and I gradually (about 6 months) worked out an over the top problem I had.



    Course management is also an intrinsic part of becoming a scratch golfer and I have learned when to go for it and when to hold back (as much as it hurts).



    Good luck jportz, you'll get there soon enough. image/drinks.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':kewlpics:' />
    Posted:
  • jportzjportz  336WRX Points: 0Members Posts: 336
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    Putting drills from ****....I know that's the way to get better but how the heck do you hit 100 5 foot putts in a row? Do you use 5 balls, 1 ball, 100 balls....the cup would fill up with about 5 balls in it so you'd have to empty and reset every 5 balls or so....how do you do that drill?



    And if you get to 99 and then miss, you start over? Yikes! I guess that's the price you pay.
    Posted:
  • tariktarik  380WRX Points: 0Members Posts: 380
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    I find a flat roll on the practice green then, using five balls I just knock them out. It actually goes faster then you think and your muscle memory takes over after about 40. When you get to 90, each one is a pressure put and it rely helps me on the course to when pressure putts really count. If its to much for you you may want to start with 50. When your done move on to 10 footers...........just joking, that would be the drill from **** image/diablo.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':kewlpics:' />
    Posted:
  • theblctheblc  11WRX Points: 0Members Posts: 11
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    In my experience it came down to three major things;

    1) improved iron play due to aiming at the center of the green instead of flag hunting. Resulting in more GIR and less up and down.

    2) improved putting due to working on putting during the winter on putts of less than 10 feet on one of the ball returns with astroturf. I make 3 from 3 feet, 3 from 6 feet and 3 from 9 feet in a row or i start over. Five days a week in the off season.

    3) working on my short game (40 yards and in) more than hitting balls. Probably 70% to 30%.
    Posted:
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  • Sam-Tee-TimeSam-Tee-Time  1444WRX Points: 108Members Posts: 1,444 Platinum Tees
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    This text has been combined and modified from various posts on the internet golf forums................



    The number one thing about getting to scratch (IMHO): Time and commitment.



    You have to make a serious commitment to get better and then have the time to implement your decision. Specifically, it means playing a lot of golf. Not necessarily practicing 5 hours a day pounding balls, but playing 18 holes every day, or at least 4 times a week, or 9 holes very frequently. If you cannot afford the time, it will literally take years and years for you to accumulate the "talent", experience, and savvy to become a scratch golfer. I say this only if you've never been a scratch golfer. If you've been a 1 handicap or scratch golfer before, you don't need to play everyday or hit balls. You can play once a week or 2 times a month and shoot even par. But if you've never been there, it takes time, a passion, and a total commitment.



    Play as much as you can, and play as many tournaments as possible. (I can't emphasize this enough). When you're not playing a tournament, make sure you are playing a competitive match with someone as often as possible, and make sure you have some money on the line. And make it enough so that if you lose, it stings a bit. I know this (the wagering part) is a bit controversial, and not everyone will agree, and that’s fine.



    When you do play, make sure you play on a variety of courses with a variety of conditions. Bermuda greens, bent greens, poa annua greens. Hot, cold, rain, wind. You name it. And whatever the conditions are, those are the conditions that are just perfect for you that day. Never use the conditions as an excuse. Never.



    It’s about learning how to play the game and not learning some new golf swing. Start learning how to get the most out of what you already have instead of relying on the pipe dream that some day you will “fix” your golf swing.



    Try to learn something from every single experience on the golf course. Pay attention to how you feel, what your tendencies are, and your self-talk. For instance:



    * What did you feel like when you hit that 100 yard sand wedge to 5 feet?

    * How about before you hit it?

    * How did your state of mind prior to the shot influence the outcome, if at all?

    * What did you say to yourself prior to shoving that tee shot out of bounds late in that one round when you were 2-under par and about to beat your personal best?

    * Why did you snap-hook that 3-iron into the water from that ball-below-your-feet lie? Isn’t the ball supposed to go right off ball-below-your-feet lies?

    * Why do I always miss left from uphill lies?

    * Why do I always miss left from downhill lies? (Yes, the dominant miss for many good players from uphill and downhill lies can be a pull, but for different reasons).

    * Why do I leave so many 50 yard pitch shots short?

    * Why do I have so much trouble on fast greens? Slow greens? Big breakers?



    Do not let pride get in the way of sound reasoning. Finally, don't be judgmental – that’s a killer. Just pay attention and learn from your tendencies without beating yourself up and being overly critical. In my opinion, to become a legitimate regionally or nationally competitive amateur golfer (generally in the +1 to +4 index range month after month after month), you need to master the following:



    1) Drive the ball relatively straight and relatively long (250 to 300 yards).



    Spend some time perfecting a solid, repeatable swing with the driver. And you should be comfortable on right-to-left holes and left-to-right holes. This is a must. I play with lots of players that can only hit one shot with the driver – this is a recipe for disaster under pressure on a hole that doesn’t fit your eye. Notice I didn’t say you must be able to both draw and fade the driver. That’s nice, but not necessary.



    You must, at a very minimum, be able to hit the ball straight when called upon if what you normally do is draw or fade the ball. Too many holes just do not fit a draw or a fade. If you can’t work the ball both ways, at least be able to hit it more-or-less straight when necessary. Even noteworthy faders of the ball like Lietzke and McCumber were able to straighten out their tee ball when necessary. You need to learn to do this also.



    Be LONG. IMHO, you cannot be a scratch golfer and hit it 230-250 playing on 7,000 yd courses. You can by playing on 6300yd or 6700yd courses but not on long demanding courses. And you've got to trust your driver. You can't steer it. Let it go. Freewheel it. Trust it and bomb it. Don't be long and dumb. But it is possible to be smart and long. Too many times people equate being long with being risky or stupid. Not always true!! Look what the yardage and hole gives you and use the big dog for what it's supposed to be used for. To gain an advantage to making your approach shot easier by having less yardage into the green.



    If a hole really doesn’t fit your eye, then take out the 2-iron and rip it. One of the biggest mistakes I see otherwise good players make is that when they do decide to “play smart” off the tee, they somehow become dumb when they actually execute the shot by trying to “guide” it. Remember, the whole reason you’re hitting 2-iron instead of driver is so that you can swing freely and aggressively at it without having to worry about spraying it. That’s why you hit 2-iron instead of driver.



    1.1) FW/Hybrids.



    Be smart with these clubs. Use them around the green too. Expand your short game with these clubs as they will improve anyone's short game.



    2) Know your yardages!



    If you don’t know your yardages, you cannot play competitive golf, and I’ll tell you why: The ability to know your yardages with each club through the bag is an invaluable tool in your fight against nerves, and nerves are an omnipresent part of tournament golf. Pros know within a couple yards how far their carry each one of their clubs. You should know within 5 yards for sure. When you know those yardages, it makes the game simpler. When the game is simpler, there are fewer things to worry about.



    And you need to keep track of how your yardages change with the seasons. For instance, I hit my 7-iron 165-170 during the cold winter months, but 170-175 during the summer months when the ball carries farther. You need to know this.



    3) Hit the ball solidly with reasonable accuracy and repeatability from 130-179 yards.



    So work a bit on your ball striking with 6-iron to pitching wedge. But don't get too caught up spending time here. You will yield much better results by spending your practice time on the driver, full and three-quarter wedges, putting, and chipping/pitching.



    4) Be a great full wedge player (80-120 yards).



    This means when you have gap wedge, sand wedge, or lob wedge in your hands from the fairway, you should expect to get the ball within 30 feet almost every time. PGA Tour average from 75 to 100 yards is 18 feet. The very best on Tour in 2004 was Scott Hoch at 13-feet. If you want to be a scratch player, you should certainly average 25 feet or so, which means eliminating the horrible wedge shots from your bag. Absolutely zero: chunks, skulls, shanks, or duffs.



    You must be rock solid with a wedge in your hands and feel like you have a better chance of knocking it in the hole, than missing the green. Now will you occasionally blade one or chunk one? Sure, but for most scratch players, that should be a very rare occurrence indeed.



    You've got to be able to hit the green from 100-135 yds EVERY SINGLE TIME. Not once should you chunk, blade or skull a wedge from this distance. Hitting the green is crucial here.



    5) Be able to hit the ball solidly from 180 to 220.



    You certainly don't need to spend much time here, you really only need to be able to make consistent contact such that your distance is repeatable with the longer clubs. You're not going to hit a lot of greens from this distance, so don't fret when you miss from here. Just use your short game to get up and down, and try to stay away from the short side – especially in tournament play since the rough is usually up.



    From 140-175, you should strive for 50% minimum. You've got to feel like you can hit greens from here half the time at the least. 175- on up is a crapshoot. You've got to get it on or near and feel like your short game will take care of the rest. Missing the green from this distance doesn't bother you in the least because you know you will get up and down.



    6) Have a good to great short game.



    Spend lots of time on the practice green, and when you’re there, use your imagination! Practice some short pitches and chips, and ask yourself how many different ways there are to play the same shot – then execute each and every one of them. I'm talking bunkers, long rough, nasty lies, boring standard chip shots, downhill chips, flops, you name it. You've got to feel like you can get up and down from anywhere. Experiment, and don't be afraid to look bad. Just get creative and do it! High, low, cut spin, go spin, bump it through the fringe, flop it up and stop it on a dime. You name it.



    If you're good enough to be a 2-handicap, you can play all of these shots, but can you play them when it counts? That's the question. If you don't practice them, you don't own them. And to have a great short game, you need to own all the different shots. If there is ANY time where you feel you CANNOT get up and down from ANWHERE around the green, then you need to practice that/those particular shots until you feel you can get up and down from ANYWHERE.



    One quick caveat: Do not fall in love with the flop shot. It’s a valuable tool to have in your “golf belt,” but it is over-used by many near scratch players that learn it and then want to use it every time there’s an opportunity. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use the lob wedge – I’m saying don’t use it to flop the ball, unless the situation demands it.



    Find wedges that you like then stick with them. Don't change. Find your wedges then rely on them and trust them. They won't let you down.



    7) Be a good lag putter, which means controlling distance and seeing the line on longish putts.



    The longer and tougher a putt is, the more conservative you must be with your line. And when I say conservative, I mean erring on the high side. On many tough putts, you should really visualize the ball slowing down and literally trickling into the hole from the very top of the breaking point.



    The reason? Balls coming in from the high side are working toward the hole, whereas balls on the low side are working away from the hole. It’s amazing, but this seemingly simple little distinction eludes so many otherwise good players.



    8) Be good inside 6 feet with the putter.



    All I can say here is: Practice, practice, practice. Groove a stroke, and become confident with it. Practice at home, practice at work, practice anywhere you can. There is no “correct” putting stroke, period. Find one that works for you and that you feel comfortable with and groove it. And don’t be afraid to switch to a mid-putter or a long-putter if necessary to fight off the occasional bout with the yips. I’ve done that several times in my life, always with excellent success.



    8.1) Putting Mentality



    5 feet and in, you've got to feel invinceable. But realize no matter how good you are or will get, you'll still miss 2 and 3 footers. It happens to everyone. Don't beat yourself up. Be positive, creative, and mentally strong. Bob Rotella says the heart of the game, the essence of golf is putting. You've got to LOVE putting. He says if you think of putting as kind of a side game, or not really that important, what you're really saying is that you don't really love golf.



    You've got to love putting. Embrace it. Look forward to it. LOVE IT. That's the best advice I could give you on putting. Of course putting well means making more putts. Anyone can tell you that. But try loving it!! It's **** hard because putting can be brutal on the mind and soul. But it is, I feel, one of the secrets to not only becoming a scratch golfer, but becoming a scratch golfer quicker. Truly love putting and the challenge of making all your putts!



    9) Keep detailed stats on your rounds.



    It really helps when you can look back over 40 rounds or more at your strengths and weaknesses, since many of us have a skewed view of our games. For instance, if you think you have a pretty good short game, but you're only getting up and down 45% of the time from inside 30 yards, then you're really not as good as you think. Keeping meticulous, detailed stats will tell you where you really are, not where you think you are.



    And set some goals with your stats. My goals are for all of my stats to be in the middle of the PGA Tour pack, and most of mine are except driving distance, which I don’t track anyway. Now of course I’m not playing courses that are 7,100 to 7,500 yards long with 3-inch to 4-inch rough every week, so the numbers are misleading if you compare them to PGA Tour pros. But I think those numbers are realistic for good players to attain playing most of their golf on courses in the 6,500 to 7,200 yard range with light to moderate rough.



    10) Read plenty of stuff on the mental game:



    Golf is Not a Game of Perfect

    Extraordinary Golf

    Pressure Golf

    Zen Golf

    Going Low

    Golf: How Good Do You Want to Be?

    Etc. etc.



    I saved this for last, but at the near-scratch level, developing and improving the mental game is probably the most important. Learning to control your emotions and your mind on the golf course is absolutely crucial to playing your best golf.



    There are thousands of golfers out there with the athletic and ball-striking ability to compete at the regional/national amateur level or even the mini-tour professional level that will never know how good they can be. Why? Because they refuse to conquer the inconsistent thinking that leads to so many of their poor decisions and shots.



    Mental. This is the biggest hurdle if you will. Number 1, you've got to believe in yourself. Not David Leadbetter, not Butch, not Hank, but YOU. Your way. Your rules, your swing, your strength, your ability, your passion. And don't go searching for the perfect swing. Doesn't exist and nobody has one. Your swing is the best. Not Tiger's, not Adam's, but YOURS. Do you realize there were literally thousands of pros and teachers who sneered and snickered at Jim Furyk? Look at him now. They said with that swing, he'd never make it. Look at him now. Believe what you're doing and stick to it. Don't waver. I"m not saying don't get a teacher or don't use video. They can obviously help. But believe in yourself and good things will happen.



    Finally, have a support group. Your friends, your family. They'll keep you grounded. Trying to get to scratch can lead to burnout, stress, and even anger. This game is truly what you make it. As long as it's still a game, it'll be fun. Rotella also says to make the journey the fun part, make the practicing, the hours the fun part. Don't wait until you get to the end of your journey expecting then you'll enjoy the benefits and rewards. It won't truly satisfy you. At the end of the rainbow, you may be scratch and find that what you thought would be there when you arrived actually isn't even there at all. As they say, be careful what you wish for, it may come true. That's what makes this game great isn't it? It's a beautiful, beautiful game. The hardest game to truly excel at.
    Posted:
  • cleatsupkeepcleatsupkeep  350WRX Points: 60Handicap: 4.9Jr. Boomers Posts: 350 Greens
    Joined:  #14
    Thank you Sam, that is one of the best posts I have read on here. Everything clicked and this will be really helpful for me.



    I am around a 6 right now. Averaging about a 79/80 on 6600-6900 yard courses.



    My last round is pretty much what happens to me consistently, 79 with 36 putts. I hit 10 or 11 greens, 9 or 10 fairways, but just could not buy a putt.



    I was mainly having trouble from 6-8 feet for par or birdie. I missed 4 putts inside 10 feet on the back 9, 3 for birdie, one for par.



    Any drills you recommend for those? Besides just hitting a lot of putts.
    Posted:
  • mobonicmobonic  168WRX Points: 0Members Posts: 168
    Joined:  #15
    I play to about a 7 (used to be a 5) but my ball striking has gone to crap. I'm actually getting worse i feel recently. If I'm hitting the ball solid i can easily shot in the mid to low 70's. But lately i have been struggling hit the ball solid (perhaps only 5 shots a round!!!) but still posting 84 & 85's.



    For example yesterday I palyed Torrey Pines. I hit 1 fairway and 1 green in regulation!!! I had 24 puts and 1 birdie and 2 double bogeys. I calsify thgis round as a very bad round but score were OK.



    If i can shoot 85 on a very bad round I know i can go low when I'm striking the ball well. I just have to many swing thoughts and changes I'm gooing through latley and its a uphill battle.



    My goal is to get to a 2 or below by the end of summer.
    Posted:
  • Sam-Tee-TimeSam-Tee-Time  1444WRX Points: 108Members Posts: 1,444 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited Mar 7, 2006 #16
    cleatsupkeep wrote on Mar 7 2006, 10:51 AM:


    Thank you Sam, that is one of the best posts I have read on here. Everything clicked and this will be really helpful for me.



    I am around a 6 right now. Averaging about a 79/80 on 6600-6900 yard courses.



    My last round is pretty much what happens to me consistently, 79 with 36 putts. I hit 10 or 11 greens, 9 or 10 fairways, but just could not buy a putt.



    I was mainly having trouble from 6-8 feet for par or birdie. I missed 4 putts inside 10 feet on the back 9, 3 for birdie, one for par.



    Any drills you recommend for those? Besides just hitting a lot of putts.




    No problem! I actually cut/pasted/modified that information based on various thread such as this.



    Well, I"m no instructor, but..............it appears that PUTTING is your problem. Putting is very personal and different for everybody, but here's some drills I do.........



    * Always take the flag out, especially for short putts - I find it easier to relate to the "on-course" experience if I see the hole as I would on the course.



    DISTANCE Control

    * Focus on pendulum motion (same distance back/thru), with a natural putting arc. (like a small golf swing)

    * Keep the same tempo for all putts, regardless of distance. (think "tick-tock" tempo)

    * Visualize the shaft extending towards a spot on your left shoulder during the backswing, and the equivalent spot on the right shoulder on the follow-thru.

    * Putt balls to various distances, standing in the same place. Sometimes, I focus on how far BACK I take the putter (Example: 24", 22", 20"……..8", 6", 4". all the way down to only 2" behind the ball for short putts)

    * Putt balls to the same hole, from different distances and locations around the practice green.

    * "Calibrating" your distance. After testing the various distances back/thru on your stroke, notice how far the ball will travel on the green after you stroke the ball, and pace off the distance. This will "calibrate" your putting, so you KNOW that if you pull the putterhead back a specific distance, the ball will travel a designated, consistent distance every time. Make sure you "calibrate uphill, downhill,and flat putts on the practice green, and that will set you up for the round.

    * Place 5-6 balls spaced approx. 3', 6', 9', 12', etc. etc. away from the hole. Starting from the shortest ball to the hole, putt all the balls to the hole.

    * Place 5-6 balls spaced approx 3' from the hole in a circular pattern (this is also known as the "circle" or "clock" drill), and putt all the balls to the hole. Expand the circle of balls to 3', 6', 9', 12', away from the hole.



    TECHNIQUE

    * "Push" the ball towards the hole with the putterface. Don't make a stroke, but rather use the putterface to push the ball. Helps alignment.



    * String drill. I use two chopsticks with an ~8' string tied to each one. Place one chopstick ~4" behind the hold, align the string through the hole. When you place the ball under the string and are setup properly, the string should bisect the ball, and align with your alignment mark on your putter. Stroke putts into the hole, this will help your ability for short putts tremendously. From above, it should look something like this:



    * Chopstick

    - String

    O Hole

    @ Ball



    *----O
    @
    *



    * Left Hand Only - putt with left hand only. Helps your stability tremendously, and grooves your stroke.



    * Right Hand only - putt with right hand only. Smooths your stroke out.



    * Putt with right foot behind left foot (like Briny Baird) - encourages stability and balance.
    Posted:
  • cleatsupkeepcleatsupkeep  350WRX Points: 60Handicap: 4.9Jr. Boomers Posts: 350 Greens
    Joined:  #17
    Sam-Tee-Time wrote on Mar 7 2006, 02:42 PM:

    cleatsupkeep wrote on Mar 7 2006, 10:51 AM:


    Thank you Sam, that is one of the best posts I have read on here. Everything clicked and this will be really helpful for me.



    I am around a 6 right now. Averaging about a 79/80 on 6600-6900 yard courses.



    My last round is pretty much what happens to me consistently, 79 with 36 putts. I hit 10 or 11 greens, 9 or 10 fairways, but just could not buy a putt.



    I was mainly having trouble from 6-8 feet for par or birdie. I missed 4 putts inside 10 feet on the back 9, 3 for birdie, one for par.



    Any drills you recommend for those? Besides just hitting a lot of putts.




    No problem! I actually cut/pasted/modified that information based on various thread such as this.



    Well, I"m no instructor, but..............it appears that PUTTING is your problem. Putting is very personal and different for everybody, but here's some drills I do.........



    * Always take the flag out, especially for short putts - I find it easier to relate to the "on-course" experience if I see the hole as I would on the course.



    DISTANCE Control

    * Focus on pendulum motion (same distance back/thru), with a natural putting arc. (like a small golf swing)

    * Keep the same tempo for all putts, regardless of distance. (think "tick-tock" tempo)

    * Visualize the shaft extending towards a spot on your left shoulder during the backswing, and the equivalent spot on the right shoulder on the follow-thru.

    * Putt balls to various distances, standing in the same place. Sometimes, I focus on how far BACK I take the putter (Example: 24", 22", 20"……..8", 6", 4". all the way down to only 2" behind the ball for short putts)

    * Putt balls to the same hole, from different distances and locations around the practice green.

    * "Calibrating" your distance. After testing the various distances back/thru on your stroke, notice how far the ball will travel on the green after you stroke the ball, and pace off the distance. This will "calibrate" your putting, so you KNOW that if you pull the putterhead back a specific distance, the ball will travel a designated, consistent distance every time. Make sure you "calibrate uphill, downhill,and flat putts on the practice green, and that will set you up for the round.

    * Place 5-6 balls spaced approx. 3', 6', 9', 12', etc. etc. away from the hole. Starting from the shortest ball to the hole, putt all the balls to the hole.

    * Place 5-6 balls spaced approx 3' from the hole in a circular pattern (this is also known as the "circle" or "clock" drill), and putt all the balls to the hole. Expand the circle of balls to 3', 6', 9', 12', away from the hole.



    TECHNIQUE

    * "Push" the ball towards the hole with the putterface. Don't make a stroke, but rather use the putterface to push the ball. Helps alignment.



    * String drill. I use two chopsticks with an ~8' string tied to each one. Place one chopstick ~4" behind the hold, align the string through the hole. When you place the ball under the string and are setup properly, the string should bisect the ball, and align with your alignment mark on your putter. Stroke putts into the hole, this will help your ability for short putts tremendously. From above, it should look something like this:



    * Chopstick

    - String

    O Hole

    @ Ball



    *----O
    @
    *



    * Left Hand Only - putt with left hand only. Helps your stability tremendously, and grooves your stroke.



    * Right Hand only - putt with right hand only. Smooths your stroke out.



    * Putt with right foot behind left foot (like Briny Baird) - encourages stability and balance.






    That is awesome, it should really help? Any ideas for green reading besides practice and more practice?
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  • Triple-DoubleTriple-Double  533WRX Points: 0Members Posts: 533
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    Simple. 100 Yards and in!!! If you can get up and down anywhere from 100 yards and in, then you will never shoot a round over par, EVER!! Keep working hard, and good luck in your quest.
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  • Sam-Tee-TimeSam-Tee-Time  1444WRX Points: 108Members Posts: 1,444 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited Mar 7, 2006 #19
    cleatsupkeep wrote on Mar 7 2006, 03:04 PM:


    ...................That is awesome, it should really help? Any ideas for green reading besides practice and more practice?




    I suffer from greenreading myself. Here are a few things I've worked on to help that help this out.........



    * Learn the True AIM LINE. You need to understand that the VISIBLE break is very different than the TRUE break. Dave Pelz' Putting bible talks about this a lot, and it's very important to getting the proper aiming of your putterface. Check out this picture, it will make some sense - you actually AIM much higher than the visible break you can see with your eyes.



    http://www.pelzgolf.com/NewsInfo/Tips/21.html



    tip21_3.jpg



    * Read the greens both in front, behind, and from the side of your intended putt. You really need to know what goes on at the beginning, middle, and the end (near the hole) of your putt, for slope, grain, and speed. I have a mental process where I work BACKWARD from the hole, all the way to where the ball is sitting, and I think it helps me visualize my aimline better.



    * Focus on a natural stroke where the distance you pull your putter BACK determines how FAR it goes, and then accomodate for up/downslopes. I don't believe in "Feel" putting - I take a scientific approach that translates the distance you take the putter back......to a pendulum stroke, which relates to the DISTANCE of your putt.



    tip22_2a.jpg



    * Thirdly - get yourself FITTED for a putter, and ensure your putting stance and setup is correct. Here are my thoughts on putting SETUP:



    * Assume a comfortable stance with your putter. Ball position should be directly under your collarbone, or perhaps 1-2 ball widths to the left of center.

    * Bend over at the waist (keep your back fairly straight) until your eyes are directly over the ball (or perhaps slightly behind the ball)

    * Allow your Arms and hands to hang down comfortably, let your shoulders relax. (let Gravity do the work here!)

    * Swing your hands inward towards the putter handle, and take your grip.

    * Check the toe-up position of the putter when you get into the proper position. It should be parallel to the ground or only slightly toe-up.

    * This stance will easily show you your correct putter length.



    This allows your arms to hang more naturally, with a "V" formed by your arms (if you look at yourself in the mirror). Tiger Woods looks great on his setup (from a front view). If your putter is too long, and you automatically grip the putter at the END of the grip, your arms will look "scrunched up", and I don't think it's possible to putt steadily. Your putter length should be appropriate for the ball to be directly under your eyes, and your hands to fall naturally on the grip, maintaining a comfortable "V" position.



    These weblinks and pictures show what I mean by forming the "V". You can see how the arms hang very naturally downward (forming the "V"), rather than looking bunched up (with the elbows sticking out). Phil Mickelson takes this to the Extreme, and uses a very short putter as a result. To me - Tiger looks more natural at this, and of course Brad Faxon, Loren Roberts, and other putters are similar in their setup:



    http://www.golftipsmag.com/content/2003/july/putting.html



    PUTT004.JPG

    woods_harmon.jpg



    Here's a good website with more articles to read, hopefully it will help a little:



    http://www.puttingzone.com



    I hope this helps a little. I think with good SETUP, focusing on fundamentals, and learning the magic of greenreading will help. Make sure you focus on good DISTANCE CONTROL, I think this is actually probably more important than learning the proper aimline.
    Posted:
  • jportzjportz  336WRX Points: 0Members Posts: 336
    Joined:  #20
    Sam the Man is what your name should be! What an awesome couple of posts. Trust me when I tell you I'm printing out your posts, folding them up and keeping them in my golf bag.



    Great stuff man, thank you very much for taking the time to put some good info out. Even if you did "cut and paste"...you still took the time to do it.



    I'm sure you remember being that 5 handicap that just couldn't break through to the scratch level....it's like the barriers we all faced trying to break 100, 90, 80...except 10 times harder and we need all the help we can get.



    You mentioned getting fitted for a putter. I've never done this before....who does this? I mean, I've seen my club pro giving lessons and he does his occassional iron fitting but I've never seen a putter fitting kit. I'm afraid of getting a half-a55ed fitting if I don't go to someone who knows what they're doing. Any suggestions?
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  • joesgonegolfingjoesgonegolfing Older But Better Rockville, MD 1424WRX Points: 124ClubWRX Posts: 1,424 Platinum Tees
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    As a 5 HCP you are probably hitting the ball reasonably well and leaving some putts on the course. For me the biggest difference was course management.



    From a 5 to 0 for me was about playing all the time and charting my rounds. As long a hitter as I can be I was horrified to find that I bogeyed more par 5's going for it. My birdie % greatly increased with a reasonable drive, solid mid to long iron, and a good wedge in.



    Little things like that make the difference for me each round, what's worse on a par 5 than a bogey.



    Joe
    Posted:
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    Wood: Ping 14.5 G410 EvenFlow Black 6.0 85g 
    Hybrid: Ping G410 19 and 22 EvenFlow Black 6.0 95g 
    Irons: Ping i210 4-PW DGS105
    Wedges: Ping Glide 3.0 54/SS 60/TS DGS105
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  • jportzjportz  336WRX Points: 0Members Posts: 336
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    See I think I'm a little different than most...course management and my mental game are 2 of my strenghts already. I probably hit the ball more like a 10 handicap but play to a 5 because I can "play" golf.



    After reading everyone's posts and evaluating my own game I think it's going to come down to hitting more GIR and falling in love with my putter.



    My ball striking is inconsistent and I think it's due to an inconsistent set-up and routine. Some days I'm playing at a nice pace and my routine is the same for every shot but I know that other days I get lazy with my routine...not intentionally, but it just happens. Maybe from trying to play a little faster, catch up to the next group or just trying to get done before dark.



    Putting is going to be my new love. Whether she likes it or not!
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  • TNSoonerTNSooner Sooner Born & Sooner Bred  401WRX Points: 79Members Posts: 401 Greens
    Joined:  edited Mar 8, 2006 #23
    I'm a +4.



    Here's what got me there:



    1. Know when to put the driver away. DRIVE THE **** BALL IN THE FAIRWAY!!! PERIOD!!! Simple as that. It looks great and feels great to smoke it out there 300+ yds., but sometimes a 2 iron/hybrid off the tee is all you need.



    2. Become a great "lag" putter. Most of the wasted shots I see from the 5-15 handicaps that I play with come from blowing 30+ footers by the hole by 5-8 feet (or more). Work on the "peach basket" theory.



    3. Be patient. Have the confidence to KNOW that you are not going to hit two bad shots in a row and if you do, take your lumps and get the **** out of there...



    4. Keep track of your stats. Fairways hit (if you miss, did you miss left or right), greens hit (if you miss, short or long; l or r), number of saves (up and downs; greenside or bunkers), number of putts. This will give you a baseline for the things you need to spend your time practicing.



    5. This one is the most important (in my mind)...CHECK YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR! The golf course will ALWAYS get the best of you, no matter how well you play. You will always leave a few shots out there, so just accept it. Evaluate your round when you are done, look at what you could have improved on and work on not making the same mistake the next time.
    Posted:
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  • atlanta golferatlanta golfer  3598WRX Points: 2Handicap: 7.6Members Posts: 3,598 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #24
    jportz wrote:


    Putting drills from ****....I know that's the way to get better but how the heck do you hit 100 5 foot putts in a row? Do you use 5 balls, 1 ball, 100 balls....the cup would fill up with about 5 balls in it so you'd have to empty and reset every 5 balls or so....how do you do that drill?



    And if you get to 99 and then miss, you start over? Yikes! I guess that's the price you pay.




    Honestly, I am not sure even a machine could do that.
    Posted:
  • tfishtfish  491WRX Points: 2Members Posts: 491 Greens
    Joined:  #25
    ^^^ that's a 5 year old thread bump, but a good point.



    in phil's short game dvd he sets a goal of 100 3 footers in a row, iirc. but 6 footers he's basically satisfied with 70-75%, because the speed and break come in to play so much that it's really difficult to do better.
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  • CobberCobber  341WRX Points: 60Members Posts: 341 Greens
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    Thanks for reviving this post.... good reading!
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  • 360_CS360_CS  4257WRX Points: 132Members Posts: 4,257 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited May 30, 2011 #27
    This is a good read. I'm no scratch handicap, 10 for me, but i would have to say keeping stats is great i do it and it gives you a really good idea on what to work on.



    To OP: Have you reached scratch yet?
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  • Justin_EllisJustin_Ellis  829WRX Points: 87Members Posts: 829 Bunkers
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    I am going to go a different route than the rest of the posters and say that there is not one way to get to scratch. Obviously you need to be solid in several areas but I honestly think that you need to play to your strengths and not put yourself in situations that are going to cost you strokes. If you are excellent from 120-100 yards but awful from 50-75 yards avoid putting yourself in that situation! This advice can go for a bunch of different course management areas and will make a world of difference in your scores at the end of the day.
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  • scifisickoscifisicko  813WRX Points: 0Members Posts: 813
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    Im in a similar boat. Great advice in this thread. From analysis of my stats I know if i can consistently drop 3 of 5 from 8 feet (instead of 1 of 5) ill get there. My putting coach has me do a drill where i putt 5 balls from each of 4 stations around the hole at 3 feet, then 5 feet then 8 feet. I can go home when i putt 3/5 from each station (minimum of 36 putts to complete the drill). If i fail at any station I start again. I start to feel the pressure on the last station at 5 feet and it builds from there. Having to drop the last from 8 feet to avoid starting again is almost as much pressure as i have felt in any tournament. He says that when you can consistently complete the drill you are as good as an average touring pro. 100% agree with advice on getting your putter fitted and grip properly aligned. My putter is shorter, more upright, delofted, counterbalanced and grip aligned after the fitting. Analysis of your stroke on a Sam putt lab is also well worth the investment.
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  • mesegrnmesegrn mesegrn Georgia 1152WRX Points: 132Members Posts: 1,152 Platinum Tees
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    Wow, Sam was very helpful!
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  • swing981swing981  696WRX Points: 0Banned Posts: 696
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    This is where an instructor will help you alot
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