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My son is a range champ, course chump.


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My son is 14 and by consensus of peers, local pro etc absolutely flushes it on the range. But he is a complete mess EVERY time he goes on the course. This includes practice rounds and low level competitive rounds. His peers who hangs with him on the range cant believe the 89, 95 type numbers he brings back. I deliberately don't watch him tee off or follow him around for fear of bringing him unnecessary pressure. But I have watched him from distance. His motion looks like that of a completely different person.

 

Advice?

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Play more, spend less time on the range.

WITB:

Driver: Taylormade SIM 8* @7.25* with TPT (15/LKP/MT/SW).
3 Wood: Taylormade SIM Titanium @14.25* with Japanese B70X.
5 Wood or Hybrid, Searching for SIM MAX 19*
Driving Iron: Callaway 2018 CF18 18*  with KBS Prototype 105X
Irons: Sub70 699 Pro, 4-PW with Recoil 110 F5
Wedges: Sub70 Raw Milled 50, 54, 60(59) with Recoil 110 F5.
Putter: Directed Force Reno at 34 inches and 69* lie angle (Stability Tour Only blacked out putter shaft) and custom site line. 

Ball: Snell MTB-X Yellow

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Rather than just flushing balls on the range, he needs to shoot at targets on the range. Buckets and buckets of full swings aiming at nothing on the range is a waste of time.

 

No word of a lie, he really does this and does it really well. But soon as he is on the course, it literally looks like a different swing. It's not like it's the same swing and the ball just isn't behaving. It's not as bad as Charles Barkley, but it is night and day. It doesn't remotely look like Faldoesque motion on the range. Everyone is at a loss.

 

Re psychologist, money is a rather big factor. On the back of the promise he shows on the range, we get free balls and free afternoon access to the course. But yes, if this were possible, I would totally do it.

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It's about handling pressure and the mental aspect of the game. I had similar issues at times when I played in high school. While I was popping 75's to low 80's some of my teammates were popping 68 to 74's with an occasional low 60's. I never did solve the issue in school but later understood that I was losing the competition between my ears. It may seem counter intuitive but you may try following him and encouraging him a round or two and see if it helps.

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On the range I setup scenarios with my son just like he is on the course. Still, hitting balls with no consequence is night and day to playing. He might try going straight to the course and just playing and avoiding the range a bit. Get loose, and go play. Work it out on the course, not the range.

 

And don't let him keep score. Treat the course like it's the range. Just go hit and get through the course.

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I’ve got zero experience in this because I picked up golf after my teens, but perhaps going around the course with the pro may help. Little subtleties in shot selection, routine, etc. may be beneficial.

 

...of course I also tell myself to think about course management before I tee off and as soon as I hit one good drive I disregard all intentions of smart golf.

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Stopped the range rat stuff a while ago. I have been playing a little Par3/4 nine hole course near my house instead of hitting irons and drivers for a half hour.

It's made a big improvement.

 

I try to play a cut and a draw and then change it up every 9 on every hole. Twice a week. Then play 18 on the weekend. I'll also go to my local course that has a great short game area and spend an hour there if I don't play 9.

 

I like to have fun doing it. One day I played all cuts off every tee. The next all draws. Next one I'll rotate etc....it ends up giving you confidence on the course where banging balls at the range IMHO is worthless to many...

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Is he having fun on the course?? I would completely forget about competition at the age of 14 for right now and just let him go have fun. If peers are looking at him sideways on course and the local pro has his hand in there i would say there is way too much pressure on him to be some sort of protege. Just enjoy the sport with him, and if he is miserable on course put the clubs down for a while.

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It sounds like once he gets on the course he's deathly afraid to make a mistake and is likely attempting to steer the ball, hence the different looking swing. A lack of time spent on the course time is translating to a lack of confidence on the course.

 

One of the hardest concepts for most golfers to grasp is bad shots are going to happen. Even the pros hit bad shots, just go to a tour event. The difference between a mediocre golfer and a good golfer is the ability to understand and accept this notion.

 

Your son needs more time on the course and less on the range. This doesn't mean he needs to go out and play for a score every time, all the time. Some of the best practice is just getting out on the course and hitting shots from different spots and different lies.

 

If he can learn to go out on the course and hit shots and not keep a score, or worry about score, he will improve. You have to get out there and just focus on hitting shots and not shooting a score.


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It's important to play more but you also have to track his shots to know why he is not scoring low. You need to know what he is doing to blow up his score and fix it.

 

Get something like game golf and then work on their issues. I would say good chance it's one of 3 things. Missing Greens, Putting or can't save par.

 

He's at the age that he needs to be aware of every shot so always practice keeping a real score for now. If you don't keep score how is he going to know how to score lower.

 

The other thing you may need to do is lots of small tournaments. If a kid is nervous doing tournaments they usually need to do more to feel comfortable. Just make sure there one day events if there scoring 95 not 2 day ranked events.

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Re psychologist, money is a rather big factor. On the back of the promise he shows on the range, we get free balls and free afternoon access to the course. But yes, if this were possible, I would totally do it.

 

Yeah, that’s an expense that can get out of hand. Maybe try reading about it, exploring possible emotions? I’ve been reading this book, has some good examples. Bob Rotella is kind of the King of golf Psych, too.

 

The MindSide Manifesto: The Urgency to Create a Competitive Mindset https://www.amazon.com/dp/0998217409/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_PR-iBbCCC8XFE

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Has he ever competed in other forms of competition?

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Golf is a game that is meant to be played. Too many kids now days have beautifully grooved range swings yet lack the ability and creativity to score on the course. I take my kids out on the course and teach them how to get the ball in the hole from all over the place, then to the range to work on the swing. It's all about the score, not how pretty it is.

 

Play a worst ball scramble with him. It will test his creativity and patience, 2 things he'll need. Don't do the sports psychologist route! Let his brain work it out himself, if he doesn't, he'll be reliant on others to solve his problems his whole life.

WITB:

Driver: Taylormade SIM 8* @7.25* with TPT (15/LKP/MT/SW).
3 Wood: Taylormade SIM Titanium @14.25* with Japanese B70X.
5 Wood or Hybrid, Searching for SIM MAX 19*
Driving Iron: Callaway 2018 CF18 18*  with KBS Prototype 105X
Irons: Sub70 699 Pro, 4-PW with Recoil 110 F5
Wedges: Sub70 Raw Milled 50, 54, 60(59) with Recoil 110 F5.
Putter: Directed Force Reno at 34 inches and 69* lie angle (Stability Tour Only blacked out putter shaft) and custom site line. 

Ball: Snell MTB-X Yellow

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He's still a pup keep the stress levels way down. If he is anything like I was at that age I couldn't sleep the night before my Pops would take me golfing. Maybe he's just to excited and the moment gets to big for him. Let him enjoy the range if that's what he likes he will eventually transition the experience to the course when he's ready.

Irons: 19' Cobra CB's
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2 iron: Ping Rapture
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Putter: Evnroll 9.1
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Lots of speculation, but you need to find the reason, and to get there he needs to be honest, and truthfully he may not even know himself. It could be a stimulation thing, way more things to think about and worry about on the course vs. range. It could be a pressure thing. It could even be difficulty making a decision and committing, maybe he's a perfectionist and at the 1st sign of a shot he perceives to be inferior he mentally gives up, maybe he would rather be doing something else for 4-5 hrs,... What I would suggest... Is a way to have fun with it while working on things and probing deeper, role play. If he's down, go play a practice round with him but caddy for him. Do it on a course that's easy to walk and isn't busy and walk it with him carrying his bag and discussing his plays. Do all the little things, clean his clubs, ball, take care of the flag... And see what happens. Don't be Dad, pretend he's the pro and the boss. Be objective, treat him as if you would a buddy who needs you to caddy in a usga am event or something. Working mentality.

 

Discuss every shot, find out what he's thinking, how he's thinking... It's much easier to get a feel for what's going on when you're in the middle of it as opposed to watching it. I bet you will learn a whole lot about what's going on with him.

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Two step process:

  1. Pareto Analysis. This is primitive quality control. Chart his rounds, and find the area where he is losing the most strokes. Have him focus remedial on-course practice on No. 1 problem. Then, have him work on No. 2 problem. He keeps doing this until he starts delivering lower scores on course.
  2. On-Course Practice during Slow Time. Several teaching pros told me about their high school days when they would go out on the course in early evening and hit multiple shots on a couple of holes. Try a couple of full driver shots off the tee, and maybe a couple of safety 3 Woods. If the green has three bunkers, drop a few balls in each bunker and hit some explosion and pick shots. This will train him to see how the ball will release from the different angles coming into the green.

On the range, if I hit three solid 7i shots and one clunkler I feel good about the solid shots. But on course, I risk a double bogie with the clunker.

 

Practice on the range is good for developing form and working on swing fundamentals. But what you can do on the course is what counts. (If you're playing for a $5 Nassau, you get no bonus points for best practice swing.)

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Driver:  Tour Edge EXS 10.5°, weights neutral   ||  FWs:  Calla Rogue 4W + 7W

Hybrid:  Calla Big Bertha OS 4H at 22°  ||  Irons:  Tour Edge CB Pro Tungsten 4i-9i

Wedges:  Calla MD3: 48°, 54°... MD4: 58° ||  Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne (face-balanced)

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As said above me, the practice range and playing are two completely different animals. You add in competition and some pressure....well....

 

I haven't experienced this with my kid, but I personally can hit it well at the range but under competitive pressures I can easily play about 10 strokes higher than my index. the only way I go around this was to put myself in more competitions to feel pressure. Eventually, I actually got used to the pressure and could perform. Right when this happened, I had my first kid and things went to sh*t again. LOL

 

I see that your son is 14, but when did he start playing 'competitive' golf?

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