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Planning/Rambling for 2021 - Shooting For + Cap


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Hey everyone!  Just wanted to put together somewhat of a summary of my game and my thoughts about what to work on heading into 2021.

 

I've been a solid player since high school (Class of 2004, age 34 now) - breaking 80 most of the time, but never really playing more than once a month or so for years due to college, work, marriage/young kids, etc.  I finally decided to get back into things more seriously toward the end of 2018 (including tracking my handicap/etc from that point on).  

 

Between 2018 and July 2019 I tracked between a 3.5 and 4.5 handicap.  New clubs arrived on the scene in spring 2019 (previously I had been playing essentially the same bag I had in high school - Cleveland TA-3s, Steelhead Plus Fairway, r510 driver, etc).  On somewhat of a lark, I decided to enter my club championship in the summer of 2019 to help spur things along as far as getting some good competition.  Well, I ended up winning the thing (three rounds of match play after qualifying).  Shooting even par in the final and winning on the first playoff hole - my best round ever to that point.

 

I continued my good play through the end of 2019, getting down to a 1.5 handicap.

 

Going into 2020, my ambitions were high.  I decided to sign up early for the Ohio Public Links Championship (36-holes, originally scheduled in June), but that ended up being cancelled due to COVID.  After the cancellation, I managed to get into the Ohio Mid Am (54-holes, cut after 36), which was to be contested in late August.  My club championship was not contested this year due COVID., so I didn't get a chance to defend my title.

 

From the spring of this year into mid-July, I played the best golf I have ever played.  I got down to scratch (0.0 exactly) for a few weeks in July.  A combination of kids going back to school, me going back to work, selling our home/buying a new one/moving in August->September led to a bit of a dip in playing time/form heading into he Mid Am, however.  I shot 81-80 and missed the cut at Springfield (OH) Country Club (usually a US Open qualifier site - tough track), but honestly felt that I played some great golf there - as my ballstriking was notably absent both days, but I managed to still put together two reasonable scores while playing amongst some excellent competition (ten under par scores out of 144 players, with the winner lighting it up at -14 across three rounds, winning by seven).  I certainly had some nerves affect my rounds as well, particularly in my chipping game.

 

Going into 2020, I had NEVER broken par (I even started a thread earlier this year asking if anyone had been a lower handicap without breaking par).  I ended up breaking par five times this year - 69 (Par 71), 67 (Par 71), 70 (Par 71), 69 (Par 72), 70 (Par 71).

 

Anyway, at the end of October 2020, I sit with a 1.0 handicap.  I feel good about my game, but know I can get better.  I've never had any formal lessons and really don't practice (couple times at the range this year, 2-3 times at the practice green) - if I have time to devote to golf, I typically just go out and play.

 

I want to change that going into 2021 and specifically work to improve parts of my game.  Here are two things I want to work on for 2021 that I feel will result in the most improvement to my handicap:

 

1) Hit More Fairways - My fairway accuracy for 2020 thus far is 42.4%.  I'm not a particularly wild player, so a lot of my misses are just off of the fairway, but even so, the data speaks for itself:  My GIR when I hit the fairway has been 76.24%.  My GIR when I miss the fairway drops to 53.25%.  I hit the ball a long way, typically around 300 or more, depending on turf conditions.  I don't need to hit it any farther, but do need to tighten things up.  I'm not a "driver all the time" guy either - I play a lot of fairway woods, 4 irons, etc off the tee as called for.

 

2) Improve Iron Game/Approach Proximity - GIR by par:  Par 5 - 73.6%, Par 4 - 58.6%, Par 3 - 42.7%.  I hit a lot of greens, but a lot of those greens on Par 4/5s are hit with wedges in my hand.  That Par 3 GIR% in particular feels terrible.  I should be hitting more greens on Par 3s and birdieing more Par 4/5s given how short my approaches usually are into those holes.

 

Some other stats from 2020:

 

Putts Per Round - 30.3 (GIR Putts - 1.89/hole, Non-GIR Putts - 1.46/hole)

Scrambling - 53.11% (43.39% Sand Saves)

 

 

Feel free to ask me anything about my game or offer any suggestions on what to work on/ways to work on it!  Also, I do want to look into getting lessons - if anyone has recommendations for instructors in the southwest Ohio area, let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1. Work on the driver. Sounds like you got distance and some control, but upping your FIR% to 55% will be huge for your game. Your stats shows how much better closer your approach is from the fairway.

I played my first round yesterday after deciding to abandon my LW-all-the-time approach around the greens.  Hit two bump and run chips with my 50*, one snuggled up to a tap-in and the other about 5 fe

Hey everyone!  Just wanted to put together somewhat of a summary of my game and my thoughts about what to work on heading into 2021.   I've been a solid player since high school (Class of 20

1. Work on the driver. Sounds like you got distance and some control, but upping your FIR% to 55% will be huge for your game. Your stats shows how much better closer your approach is from the fairway. So that has to be priority number 1. In the short stuff off the tee.

 

 

2. The game always intertwines, so that if you miss greens you want to work on approach shots, but if you miss greens you should probably be working on chipping and putting. Especially since that practice always carries over. You will always use the putter more than any other club, and your wedge more than any particular mid iron. So that is always number one. 

 

Since you asked, let's go into GIR. I agree that your par 3 GIR does seem low. But your total GIR on a traditional par 72, looks to be 58.4% which is consistent with a scratch golfer.  

 

I'm sure there are better stats to use, but PGA tour average from the fairway at 150-175 yards for GIR is historically around 63-64%. 175-200 yards is about 55%. I dont know how long your par 3s are, but seem like you should be able to get your number up to 50%.  Maybe not as good as PGA tour average, but you likely have some shorter holes and hitting from a tee versus the fairway stats should be an advantage. But for arguments sake, let's say you got your number up to 55%. At most now you are hitting 2.2 greens instead of 1.68 greens on par 3s. Not even a full extra birdie chance a round. That would be a welcomed improvement, but what's more relevant is the up and down percentage on missed greens. Of course some improved ball striking will carry over to other hole types, but so does chipping and putting. 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Rory4Pres said:

It's always good to have goals set for yourself.  I'd go opposite of your goals though and focus on practicing putting and chipping more than irons and long game.  Obviously like the idea of setting a goal to shoot 68 next year as well.  Best of luck to ya.

 

4 hours ago, scooterhd2 said:

1. Work on the driver. Sounds like you got distance and some control, but upping your FIR% to 55% will be huge for your game. Your stats shows how much better closer your approach is from the fairway. So that has to be priority number 1. In the short stuff off the tee.

 

 

2. The game always intertwines, so that if you miss greens you want to work on approach shots, but if you miss greens you should probably be working on chipping and putting. Especially since that practice always carries over. You will always use the putter more than any other club, and your wedge more than any particular mid iron. So that is always number one. 

 

Since you asked, let's go into GIR. I agree that your par 3 GIR does seem low. But your total GIR on a traditional par 72, looks to be 58.4% which is consistent with a scratch golfer.  

 

I'm sure there are better stats to use, but PGA tour average from the fairway at 150-175 yards for GIR is historically around 63-64%. 175-200 yards is about 55%. I dont know how long your par 3s are, but seem like you should be able to get your number up to 50%.  Maybe not as good as PGA tour average, but you likely have some shorter holes and hitting from a tee versus the fairway stats should be an advantage. But for arguments sake, let's say you got your number up to 55%. At most now you are hitting 2.2 greens instead of 1.68 greens on par 3s. Not even a full extra birdie chance a round. That would be a welcomed improvement, but what's more relevant is the up and down percentage on missed greens. Of course some improved ball striking will carry over to other hole types, but so does chipping and putting. 

 

 

 

 

No debate about improving the short game.  I suppose I picked the two points that I did since they feel like low-hanging fruit given the rest of my game.

 

One thing I do want to add to my game next year is more variety around the greens.  I've tended to be a 60* all the time sort of player.  I want to get confident with and use my 50*/etc when appropriate.

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1 hour ago, Celebros said:

 

No debate about improving the short game.  I suppose I picked to two points that I did since they feel like low-hanging fruit given the rest of my game.

 

One thing I do want to add to my game next year is more variety around the greens.  I've tended to be a 60* all the time sort of player.  I want to get confident with and use my 50*/etc when appropriate.

 

With occasional practice, your 8 iron-sand wedge would be great options around the green.  Focus on light grip pressure and a super basic swing.  

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I could give some suggestions based off stats, as I am kind of a "similar sort" of player type who hits it relatively long and not particularly wild, but also doesn't hit very many fairways (lots of near misses). 

 

My stats: 

FIR: 41.9% 

GIR: 67% (58% par 3, 62% par 4, 88% par 5) 82% from fairway, 61% from rough

Saves: 40.5% from turf, 52% from bunker

Putts: 31.9

Scoring Average: 72.9

HDCP=+1 to +2

 

Based off this, I think you would be well served sharpening up your iron game to hit more par 3's and par 4's  while working on killing the par 5's with your length (I average 4.6). Provided this because I felt it might help with the type of game you already have!

 

Mindset helps too. Set a goal of shooting -5 or better next year. 

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Not sure where you play in Dayton, but 300+ off the tee should leave you with some fairly short yardage into Par 5s?  What's your Par 5 scoring average, if you have it?  Also, unless you are consistently playing in US open rough, I would also think you have lots of wedges in hand to approaches, fairway or no?  I would probably focus on my 100 yd and in wedge game, as you should have plenty of birdie opportunities.

 

As for Par 3s, playing them at +1 or +2 consistently should be your goal, because that should be offset by at least two birdies on par 5s (assuming you are playing courses with 2 of each)?  But overall I would recommend getting as close to the hole as possible off the tee, then working on your wedge game to give you lots of 10-15 footers for birdies, and hopefully chips/putts for eagles on par 5s?

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1 hour ago, jmkenn0 said:

Not sure where you play in Dayton, but 300+ off the tee should leave you with some fairly short yardage into Par 5s?  What's your Par 5 scoring average, if you have it?  Also, unless you are consistently playing in US open rough, I would also think you have lots of wedges in hand to approaches, fairway or no?  I would probably focus on my 100 yd and in wedge game, as you should have plenty of birdie opportunities.

 

As for Par 3s, playing them at +1 or +2 consistently should be your goal, because that should be offset by at least two birdies on par 5s (assuming you are playing courses with 2 of each)?  But overall I would recommend getting as close to the hole as possible off the tee, then working on your wedge game to give you lots of 10-15 footers for birdies, and hopefully chips/putts for eagles on par 5s?

Provided a decent drive pretty much all Par 5s are reachable that I normally play.  Cassel Hills is my home course but I tend to play a lot of different courses around the area as well.

 

Scoring average on Par 5s this year overall is 4.9 (4.5 for my handicap scores).

 

Cassel Hills does have five Par 3s (Par 71), so the Par 3s do impact my scoring there more than most courses.

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8 hours ago, b.mattay said:

Mindset helps too. Set a goal of shooting -5 or better next year. 

Yep, I think something like that is a good goal to shoot for.

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27 minutes ago, mikpga said:

Kevin Jones

Tim Lambert

 

What courses do you typically play?

Looks like both of those instructors are in Lebanon?

 

Cassel Hills (Vandalia) is my home course, but I play all over the Dayton area throughout the year.

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On 10/28/2020 at 4:53 PM, Rory4Pres said:

 

With occasional practice, your 8 iron-sand wedge would be great options around the green.  Focus on light grip pressure and a super basic swing.  

I played my first round yesterday after deciding to abandon my LW-all-the-time approach around the greens.  Hit two bump and run chips with my 50*, one snuggled up to a tap-in and the other about 5 feet out - got up-and-down on both.  Good start!

 

Shot 70 (Par 70), with four birdies.  50% GIR, 62% Fairways, 27 putts.  Handicap dropped to 0.7 from 1.0. 

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Play as many tournaments as you can playing the ball down and in (club, local am stuff, etc.). Seek out better players than yourself, observe how they handle themselves in various situations i.e. "get it done", and play them for money that makes you feel uncomfortable even if you are donating. You'd be amazed at how much easier the casual game gets the more you put yourself in high leverage situations. 

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18 hours ago, PureStrikes54 said:

Play as many tournaments as you can playing the ball down and in (club, local am stuff, etc.). Seek out better players than yourself, observe how they handle themselves in various situations i.e. "get it done", and play them for money that makes you feel uncomfortable even if you are donating. You'd be amazed at how much easier the casual game gets the more you put yourself in high leverage situations. 

Yep, I'll be looking at playing in as much as I can next year.  After playing in just my club championship in 2019, I played in the Ohio Mid-Am and two other local amateur events this year.  TheGrint Tour is coming to Ohio next year (I played in a "preview" event for the tour last month), so I'll probably jump into a few of those events if the courses match up to the quality I see them playing in other states.

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On 10/28/2020 at 12:47 PM, Celebros said:

 

No debate about improving the short game.  I suppose I picked the two points that I did since they feel like low-hanging fruit given the rest of my game.

 

One thing I do want to add to my game next year is more variety around the greens.  I've tended to be a 60* all the time sort of player.  I want to get confident with and use my 50*/etc when appropriate.

 

Be careful with the short game change of going to more clubs. Nothing at all wrong with it, but it will, almost certainly, be a tough transition. 10 to 20 rounds while you "figure it out." You will be indecisive quite a bit and there will be a lot of second-guessing.

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22 hours ago, PureStrikes54 said:

Play as many tournaments as you can playing the ball down and in (club, local am stuff, etc.). Seek out better players than yourself, observe how they handle themselves in various situations i.e. "get it done", and play them for money that makes you feel uncomfortable even if you are donating. You'd be amazed at how much easier the casual game gets the more you put yourself in high leverage situations. 

 

End of thread ^^^^^

 

That, more than anything, will take you to + territory. An absolute refusal to keep losing money to guys who you KNOW you can compete with if you only get a bit better here and there. But you need to really pay attention out there. Seems like you have that going for you already, though.

 

In short, you need to be, simultaneously: relentlessly self-critical AND optimistic and competitive and "can-do," if that makes sense....

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31 minutes ago, Obee said:

 

Be careful with the short game change of going to more clubs. Nothing at all wrong with it, but it will, almost certainly, be a tough transition. 10 to 20 rounds while you "figure it out." You will be indecisive quite a bit and there will be a lot of second-guessing.

It's mostly going to be relevant in situations where I'm short of the green (my usual miss is a toe strike that flies straight but lands short) and the pin is middle or back.  I think my plan will mostly devolve into using my 50 if I have plenty of green to work with and my 58 if not.  In general I'm a decisive player and not prone to agonizing over which club to hit.

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5 hours ago, Celebros said:

Yep, I'll be looking at playing in as much as I can next year.  After playing in just my club championship in 2019, I played in the Ohio Mid-Am and two other local amateur events this year.  TheGrint Tour is coming to Ohio next year (I played in a "preview" event for the tour last month), so I'll probably jump into a few of those events if the courses match up to the quality I see them playing in other states.

 

Awesome. Sounds like a great plan. We're all rooting for you and do keep us posted on the progress. 

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