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Example of Multi-Year Plans to Get to Scratch


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Hi All,

 

Won't bore with the backstory other than to say I'm planning on taking the pursuit of scratch seriously after not making time for golf for a few years. (The wife plays disc golf so I've been into that, but it just isn't the same.)  I was high 80's / low 90's player who just put up my lowest score this past weekend (an 83 on a 122 slope /6600 yard course).

 

I like developing long term training plans and goals and am looking for examples of people who were mid-to-high handicap golfers that set out a plan, stuck to it, and got down to scratch or near scratch golf.  Ideally in the form of a blog or an article detailing the plan and what went right/wrong, but I'm looking for examples of average people doing it with careers/families, not people with endless time/money to spend on getting there.  Anyone have any examples to share?

 

My thought was a 5 year plan based upon 6 rounds a month, putting practice in the home (would love feedback on this as I really don't know how well home training translates to real results), bi-monthly or monthly lessons, and 4 hours a week of hunkered-down practice. (I.e. practice with a plan, not just randomly putting and chipping.) 

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1. It's not exactly what you are asking, but I highly recommend the Chasing Scratch podcast... They started at 11 handicaps in Season 1. If you like the first episode, you'll like the whole thing... i

Rich has almost gotten to scratch I believe    Schnee has gotten to scratch   There are some common denominators..quality instruction and quality practice. 

Thanks for the detailed inputs, I've ordered the book and you've got some great points in there!

I went from never having swung a golf club to a plus in two years.  I was young athletic and had a great coach.  My advice to anyone wanting to improve their handicap is don't neglects the golf course.  The range is a good place to learn how to swing but the golf course is where you learn to scoring.  Getting to scratch is about scoring.

Good luck

Steve

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1. It's not exactly what you are asking, but I highly recommend the Chasing Scratch podcast... They started at 11 handicaps in Season 1. If you like the first episode, you'll like the whole thing... if not, oh well. 

2. What sort of coaching do you have access to? If you are willing to pay for monthly lessons, find a coach who wants to work with you to make it happen. They will be able to help you find the right path.

3. Have some way of tracking your rounds. It helps a ton! I use an S62 watch from Garmin. It's not perfect, but I like it... definitely helps me focus on what I need to improve (personally, putting was a HUGE issue)

4. Learn the difference between block and random practice, and make sure you are doing both. I really liked the way Sieckmann explains it in "Your Short Game Solution" but it's a pretty common topic. Basically, don't just bang balls on the range. That's not going to do anything... spend 20% of your practice solidifying your swing thoughts / motion and the rest of the time varying swings and targets like you are actually playing a round of golf... Look up games to play on the range. 

5. Think about what sort of practice facility access you have... One of my biggest problems with my home course is our short range is terrible to non-existent... the chipping green is covered in ball marks, so nothing runs true, and there are always tons of range balls, so I can't practice "on course" shots... We also don't have a pitching range... These are the two shots I want to work on most, so I've been trying to find creative solutions... I've hit some balls on non-practice areas, and I'm hoping we have a simulator soon to work on more consistent distance control with my wedges... but you want to practice with as close to real world conditions as you can (or figure out how to work around limitations... in the simulator, I can focus on hitting the ball a consistent distance, even if that number is different than what I hit on the course, the skill translates)

 

I think the key here is to actually FOCUS on getting better, figure out where you are losing the most strokes, focus on that and then repeat the process... Just keep finding weaknesses and make them better. I play golf with some guys who play all the time and never get better... They don't put any effort into really improving. You need to assess your skills critically (and a good coach can help) and figure out how to ACTUALLY improve those skills. 

 

One of my golf buddies LOVES to watch YouTube videos and change his swing... he's been a 4 handicap as long as I've known him... Honestly, he's got a pretty good game overall and his mistakes tend to be mental... but he blows up a hole, blames it on the swing and goes to the range and builds a new swing. If he figured out a better strategy, he'd be a better golfer. Oh well.

 

Just focus on your goals, swallow your ego, and figure out where you are going to gain the most. Every Shot Counts is a GREAT book for this.

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1 minute ago, Replant said:

Thanks for the detailed inputs, I've ordered the book and you've got some great points in there!

No worries. It's a great book as it talks more about strategy than anything... it's good to make rational decisions on the course. 

 

Steve is also correct that playing is important... More rounds is always good... but don't get lost in result over process (I had a 9 hole round with 12 putts... including a chip in and some tap ins... that doesn't mean my putting is fixed!) I think tracking your results and comparing them to where you "should" be is the best way to find opportunities to improve.

 

Also, confidence is huge... Figure out how to build that and you will do better on the course. My putting nosedived the day I convinced myself I was a bad putter. I've been practicing technique and everything else, but also with a focus on "I'm going to make this putt"... once one drops, more tend to drop... at least for me.

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As of 6/5/20

9.5 Cobra LTD Pro with Aldila Silver 110

13 Degree Adams Speedline with Aldila Alpha 

18 Degree Adams A12 with Proforce V2

4 Utility Sub70 699u 22 degree Proforce V2

5 iron Sub70 639 CB with S400

6-PW Adams CMB with Project X 6.0

50, 54, 60 Vokeys

Tank Counter Balance #7 

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Oh, also highly recommend a good fitness and stretching program... great for general health, but a good golf one will help you improve at golf.

 

I like the Fit for Golf app.

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As of 6/5/20

9.5 Cobra LTD Pro with Aldila Silver 110

13 Degree Adams Speedline with Aldila Alpha 

18 Degree Adams A12 with Proforce V2

4 Utility Sub70 699u 22 degree Proforce V2

5 iron Sub70 639 CB with S400

6-PW Adams CMB with Project X 6.0

50, 54, 60 Vokeys

Tank Counter Balance #7 

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I think the most important thing to do is find players at that level and play with them - even if it means paying for a playing lesson just so you can observe and see what that level of golf looks and doesn't look like. 

 

My takeaway anytime I play with great players is that they hit plenty of bad shots, but almost no "very bad" shots. Hard to describe without seeing it in person.

 

Second important thing to do is start tracking stats for a few rounds so you can see where you need the most work. If you read the book "Every Shot Counts" by Mark Broadie, one of the important findings is that approach play and driving are usually the biggest separators between "levels" of play. If you're hitting fairways and greens, it's hard to put up a bad score, whereas scrambling and putting have much more uncertainty involved and are difficult to be consistently good at. 

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I was sitting on a ~9 for several years then two years around 5. Last two years sub 2.

 

No real plans or instruction really.  A few monte vides(drive for show, use the bounce) and aimpoint express video. Biggest thing I really did was kept taming down the driver , dialed in the 50-100 yard wedge approaches and started playing a lot more money games. Last two years I have been a birdie machine. Been averaging 4 birdies a round in money games. Club champ last weekend in brutal conditions had 11 birds in 3 rounds. It was the other holes that got me sadly, still finished 4th

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3 hours ago, Replant said:

Hi All,

 

Won't bore with the backstory other than to say I'm planning on taking the pursuit of scratch seriously after not making time for golf for a few years. (The wife plays disc golf so I've been into that, but it just isn't the same.)  I was high 80's / low 90's player who just put up my lowest score this past weekend (an 83 on a 122 slope /6600 yard course).

 

I like developing long term training plans and goals and am looking for examples of people who were mid-to-high handicap golfers that set out a plan, stuck to it, and got down to scratch or near scratch golf.  Ideally in the form of a blog or an article detailing the plan and what went right/wrong, but I'm looking for examples of average people doing it with careers/families, not people with endless time/money to spend on getting there.  Anyone have any examples to share?

 

My thought was a 5 year plan based upon 6 rounds a month, putting practice in the home (would love feedback on this as I really don't know how well home training translates to real results), bi-monthly or monthly lessons, and 4 hours a week of hunkered-down practice. (I.e. practice with a plan, not just randomly putting and chipping.) 

 

I know it's no longer current, but The Dan Plan was interesting given it's premise and the trials and tribulations that Dan went through over the years.  The site is still up, so you can read it from the beginning while knowing that there is already an end...

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First, I give you props and tons of encouragement.  Good idea to request to hear from those who have done it.  I'm not one of them.  61 year old 6 cap -- live on a Pete Dye course and retired for last 8 years and this handicap appears to be where I've landed although I keep trying!  

 

It's still a mystery to me what it takes for players to go to the scratch level.  We have a couple in our senior group (one a  5 time state am champ) and their styles and athletic abilities are miles apart.  We have some younger ex-pro athletes at the club and one made himself into a great player, and the others range from a 4 up to 10.  No rhyme or reason as to who progresses in golf and who doesn't among them.

 

Best of luck finding the secret sauce.  Great genes are always a big plus.

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