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Golfers who get appreciably better overnight....


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Just wondering how many stories are out there of golf who got much better in a matter of days/weeks?

 

I only know one. He was 3-4 handicap for years and years and years and never got under a 3. Not the type that worked on his game, but played 2 or 3 times per week. One day he goes and plays a new course with friends that are largely high handicappers and catches fire. Shoots his career low 7 under (it was a low rating/slope)! His handicap goes down and he backs it up with several other high 60 rounds. Over 2 weeks he goes from a 3 to a +2. That was about three years ago and he has stayed in the 0 to +3 range ever since. 

 

Has anyone else done something like this or seen it?

 

 

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I had a college teammate that was recruited by the new coach.  Problem was the teammate had signed up for this recruiting service that would make a weekend hack look like the next coming of Tiger Wood

I have made a big jump this year, although I did it late, like in the past 5 or 6 weeks.  Monte and Chase cleared some things up for me both with the short game and long game and now my scores are dro

A pro I worked with in Georgia. He’d play in section PGA events but was pretty much a mid 70s player. He put time into his game, but one year decided to still play in some events just no practice. Tim

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I keep hoping to witness this kind of thing in myself, but hasn't happened yet. 

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That's bizarre. Almost too bizarre to believe. I would like to see that guy's lifetime index history. Would also like to know if there are/were extenuating factors? Did he recently retire? Start taking lessons? Have you witnessed any of these rounds in the 60's?

 

Is it possible he had already started moving down towards zero and you just didn't know it?

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29 minutes ago, Obee said:

That's bizarre. Almost too bizarre to believe. I would like to see that guy's lifetime index history. Would also like to know if there are/were extenuating factors? Did he recently retire? Start taking lessons? Have you witnessed any of these rounds in the 60's?

 

Is it possible he had already started moving down towards zero and you just didn't know it?

 

He is young (early 30's), played junior golf but was never that great (6 or 7 index in high-school). Did play Junior College golf, but again not great as he was a 3-4 (not on scholarship or anything). Nothing fancy happened other than playing lights out one round and seeming to gain confidence. If you saw him swing a few times you would not have trouble believing he could be good. Kind of Dustin Johnson style of player/build and hit long ball. 

 

I have played around 50 rounds with him over the years both before and after he got 'good'. I have also followed him in the final round of some local events (he won one of them). I can vouch for his scores personally - nothing to question in this regard. 

 

 

 

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It shouldn't take weeks, months or years to get better. No offense to anyone but I think most golf instruction is the blind leading the blind. 

58 minutes ago, 2bGood said:

Just wondering how many stories are out there of golf who got much better in a matter of days/weeks?

 

I only know one. He was 3-4 handicap for years and years and years and never got under a 3. Not the type that worked on his game, but played 2 or 3 times per week. One day he goes and plays a new course with friends that are largely high handicappers and catches fire. Shoots his career low 7 under (it was a low rating/slope)! His handicap goes down and he backs it up with several other high 60 rounds. Over 2 weeks he goes from a 3 to a +2. That was about three years ago and he has stayed in the 0 to +3 range ever since. 

 

Has anyone else done something like this or seen it?

 

 

Sounds like he got on a roll. Mindset may not be everything in golf but it's a  lot. 

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2 minutes ago, Zitlow said:

It shouldn't take weeks, months or years to get better. No offense to anyone but I think most golf instruction is the blind leading the blind. 

Sounds like he got on a roll. Mindset may not be everything in golf but it's a  lot. 

 It was like a switch went off and he realised he was very good. 

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If I'm not mistaken Ben Hogan said he dreamed about his "secret" technique before trying it. The backswing is complicated but sometimes I think we get the correct sequence in our head and it's there to stay - I think this may explain your friends improvement. I have had it at times but it goes away just as fast probably due to not understanding my setup and swing in the first place.

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There's something to be said for putting up a good score and being motivated to have that be your new normal. Just the confidence of seeing it done goes along way. 

 

My story, which I've heard the same from many other players, is that once I broke 80, I almost found it more difficult to not break 80. Started this stream of 77, 79, 78, 75, 77. Its like I turned 80 into an expectation now and not a dream. 

 

On the flip side, wow many people have never broke par put were even through 14? You start thinking I'm a 7. I'm a 7. I'm not scratch. How am I going to hold onto this. When is the blowup coming? You shoot a 77 and it's almost a sigh of relieve. Back to the comfort zone. What are you working for on the range and on the practice greens. You bring your skills to near scratch. but play to your cap on the course. Don't pigeon hole yourself as a number and just get after it. 

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1 hour ago, 2bGood said:

 It was like a switch went off and he realised he was very good. 

I've personally never witnessed that type of leap but this is an interesting topic.

 

I think you (or someone else) mentioned confidence being a factor, I'm just curious if there were any other appreciable improvements, like he started putting lights out from inside 10 feet, or he added distance throughout his bag, eliminated a common miss, etc.? Or was it just across the board improvement?

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3 minutes ago, soonernick said:

I've personally never witnessed that type of leap but this is an interesting topic.

 

I think you (or someone else) mentioned confidence being a factor, I'm just curious if there were any other appreciable improvements, like he started putting lights out from inside 10 feet, or he added distance throughout his bag, eliminated a common miss, etc.? Or was it just across the board improvement?

Sounds like I going to have to chat with him about it soon again. It happened a few years back, but the biggest shift was he became more more aggressive in his strategy and chased after birdies and eagles rather than protect par. (not the best approach for everyone)

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In 2009 I went to a golf school in VA for two days...  At the time I was a 7 or 8 cap.  After coming home my next two rounds at home course were the best ones I ever shot.  The first one I hit EVERY fairway and EVERY green and shot 66 (-6)  then the next round was a 69 (-3) .   Now in the last 11 years I have broken par probably 10 more times.  But only 3 under 70.  So it can be done.  BY the way Right now I am a 3.4 index.

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3 hours ago, dlow206 said:

I keep waiting for my overnight improvement to happen. But I am a 22 handicap and fairly new to golf, so a decent jump could happen. Probably could drop at least 2 or 3 strokes off my handicap if i could figure out how to hit the ball out of the bunker.

 

I read something once that I vaguely remember - the majority of golfers never get significantly better after they have played golf regularly for 3 years. 

 

In my experience I found it roughly to be true. I am long time member of golf club and typically when a new members joins they go from playing golf 20 or 30 times per year to 80-100 (ie regularly). IF they get better, they seem to drop their cap in the first few years and stay as good as they got. I always find interesting to watch really athletic guys work hard on the game for years and not get better then being a bogie golfer, well other guys seems to have their handicaps drop fast and get to the single digits and stay there without much trouble.

 

Mindset is a really interest part of it. I think golfer do decide in their head how good they are and play to that. That is one of the reasons why I think junior golfers progress fast if they jump in to the game with both feet. They don't have the same fixation on score or the same psychic scares. 

 

This long rambling is to say if you are new the game and a 22 cap, I think the best thing you could do is go crazy playing and learning and practicing allot right now and not get used to being a 22 cap.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, 2bGood said:

 

I read something once that I vaguely remember - the majority of golfers never get significantly better after they have played golf regularly for 3 years. 

 

I my experience I found it roughly to be true. I am long time member of golf club and typically when a new members joins they go from playing golf 20 or 30 times per year to 80-100. IF they get better, they seem to drop their cap in the first few years and stay as good as they got. I always find interesting to watch really athletic guys work hard on the game for years and not get better being a bogie golfer, well other guys seems to have their handicaps drop fast and get to the single digits and stay there without much trouble.

 

Mindset is a really interest part of it. I think golfer do decide in their head how good they are and play to that. That is one of the reasons why I think junior golfer progress fast if they jump in to the game with both feet. They don't have the same fixation on score or the same psychic scares. 

 

This long rambling is to say if you are new the game and a 22 cap, I think the best thing you could do is go crazy playing and learning and practicing allot right now and not get used to being a 22 cap.

 

 

That makes sense. I learned to play golf when i was a kid, but only played like for a year as a kid. And i started playing again in July 2019, so definitely still consider myself a beginner. And I didn't really start playing on the course consistently until about Feb 2020.

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I know two stories, both great friends

 

one an erratic 3 at ages 17-37, +3 from 38-55.  
 

shot 4 course records in 3 weeks after finding “it”.  Has two US Senior Opens under his belt 

 

second guy, captain on my university golf team in early 90’s.  1990 ... he is a streaky 4 cap.  Goes to live and work with Ben Doyle (friend of family) for 3 weeks and comes home a plus 2, still a scratch 

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I havent seen that personally.

 

I have seen a great friend and regular playing partner go from a 19 cap to an 10-11 cap over the course of 4-5 months (Canadian golf season).

 

I would love to say it was a light switch or amazing swing change but the reality was he started keeping his driver in play and probably cut 8 strokes off his game by simply playing a shot he could trust off the tee. 

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4 hours ago, scooterhd2 said:

 

 

On the flip side, wow many people have never broke par put were even through 14? You start thinking I'm a 7. I'm a 7. I'm not scratch. How am I going to hold onto this. When is the blowup coming? You shoot a 77 and it's almost a sigh of relieve. Back to the comfort zone. 

 

I've seen it happen over 100 times... Folks get to thinking about everything except get the ball in the hole. 

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I had a recent bump after playing a lot. I experimented with s n t with irons only and have taken the worst part of my game and shored up a lot of holes with better low point control.

Same time period, have gotten back into fitness, and am increasing speed throughout the bag, albeit slowly.

These technique and fitness changes are going to get me into singles if I keep moving that direction.

That being said, room for improvement for me was much less difficult to fathom than for a 3.

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8 hours ago, 2bGood said:

 

I read something once that I vaguely remember - the majority of golfers never get significantly better after they have played golf regularly for 3 years. 

 

In my experience I found it roughly to be true. I am long time member of golf club and typically when a new members joins they go from playing golf 20 or 30 times per year to 80-100 (ie regularly). IF they get better, they seem to drop their cap in the first few years and stay as good as they got. I always find interesting to watch really athletic guys work hard on the game for years and not get better then being a bogie golfer, well other guys seems to have their handicaps drop fast and get to the single digits and stay there without much trouble.

 

Mindset is a really interest part of it. I think golfer do decide in their head how good they are and play to that. That is one of the reasons why I think junior golfers progress fast if they jump in to the game with both feet. They don't have the same fixation on score or the same psychic scares. 

 

This long rambling is to say if you are new the game and a 22 cap, I think the best thing you could do is go crazy playing and learning and practicing allot right now and not get used to being a 22 cap.

 

 

I read the same thing and tend to agree. I think it depends too on how much effort one puts into the game. I have been playing for 15 years and am substantially better than I was after playing for three years.

 

As to the original question, I have never seen anyone improve the way the OP describes. I know one golfer who made that a similar kind of leap, but it took longer then a year. 

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When I was a freshman on my high school varsity team, I was a 12 handicap.  Sophmore a 10.  Junior a 9.  Then during Senior year, my handicap dropped to a 2.  I pretty spent 5 days a week either on the weekends or weekdays after homework and studying was done, at the range.  It took me maybe 3 months until I saw dramatic improvement in my game especially my putting which was the weakest part. 

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I have a friend who this year has dropped his handicap fairly significant this year. 

 

He started at a 5, crept up to 7 then suddenly plummeted to 2 in a few weeks. If you understand how the UK handicap system works currently (we're still not in the WHS) you will appreciate how impressive these two movements are. 

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My observation is that improvement doesn't occur in a linear fashion but rather a stair step fashion.  Your handicap is whatever it is because of things you don't do well.  You correct that flaw and your index may improve by several shots because your flaw was causing more than on miss per round.  Work on your biggest flaw, improve by several shots, then work on your next biggest flaw.

 

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I think step level improvements in golf are very possible, not due to technique changes but to mental understanding of what the golf swing actually is.

Like the guy at the range yesterday that was tensing up and trying to hit the ball while the club was still behind him.  You could see the muscles in his forearms bulge as he started his downswing.

Until this guy understands what the proper swing tempo is, no amount of technique improvement will help him.   But if he gets in his head the knowledge of what the swing actually is, he could dramatically improve.

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I think it makes sense cause golf is a mental sport specially once your physical game is decent...

 

There are so many mental blocks of intimidation in the game of golf and the industry is overly laden with how difficult the game is.... then one day you realize that par aint no big deal and that bogeys happen when something goes really wrong which it doesnt have to if you can adjust your mental game to help improve your game and not hurt it as is so common.... jus sayin

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It's unique but in the better player world, crazier things have happened.  US Open qualifiers, among other demands, requires a 1.4 index to sign up for a qualifier. 

 

Though not common, some players want something so bad they respond to what others see as intense pressure conditions, in a surprising positive way.  Under the right conditions, anyone can swing their score as much as 10 strokes. 

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I don't know many golfers to comment, but golf, to me, seems like a bunch of somewhat unrelated parts, with the mental ability to put it all together.  Sometimes, it may just be the mental focus. 

 

A pitcher has to be able to move past a home run and pitch to the next guy. A homerun could be the only hit given up in a 1-hit, 1 run pitched complete game.   Perhaps a golfer has the physical tools to be elite, but they crash and burn after hitting a hazard ball or making a bad putt.  Suddenly they go from shooting 72 or whatever to 85.  

 

I played a lot as a kid competitively for a couple of years and was pretty decent; I could shoot between 75-81 most of the time from the mens tees as a 120lb, dripping-wet 14 year old.  But if I made a bad mistake, I had trouble moving past it.  Literally, I had one round where I was at the top of the leaderboard after 9 holes. I made a bad mistake on hole 14 (OB to the right) and proceeded to card a 61 on the back 9.  Some people lose confidence and start overthinking things: it all falls apart.  

 

Physically, it would be tough to be that much more accurate with irons or to pick up 5 strokes in putting in very short time frame. Diminishing returns applies here: going from a 90 to 85 is not the same as 77 to 72.  

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1 hour ago, Lobby said:

On another note, I know a guy who can't break 100 during casual rounds, but during tournaments he breaks 90.

People call him a sandbagger.   He's not.   He just flips a switch when he's playing tournaments

 

Same here.  I've had my best rounds this year playing with one of my good friends.  He's a +2 and was on the UC Riverside golf team all 4 years.  We play for fun, but subconsciously I feel as though I have to perform at the highest levels when I play with him.  One round I vividly remember was at Green River GC where he shot 3 under and I shot even par.  Best round of the year for me which was just over 2 weeks ago. 

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Not overnight but I have a cousin who was about a 12 then got very serious and dropped down to a 6 in a few months and then got really serious and moved to Florida dropped below scratch the next year and won a prestigious club championship.  He left Florida and quit golf.  


I went from a 9 to a 5 this summer and it feels like I've improved my game a lot than only 4 strokes.  One day I'll drain everything inside 15 feet and shoot 65.  Until then...

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