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How do you learn how to be aggressive while playing conservatively?


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This is a major mental block for me. When I'm playing aggressively... I'm focused, I know what to do, and my results are good. But as soon as I try to take a bit off an iron, tee off with my DI, or have a tricky putt or chip I turn into a 20 handicapper. I start trying to steer my swings and decelerate hard on my putts/chips. What's the path forward?

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aggressive swings to conservative targets.     pick a small but conservative target , and then swing at it .  That’s the usual mistake.  Iron off the tee , no target.  Just the fairway as a goa

There is nothing wrong with hitting it 30 feet short or 30 feet long when you’re in between clubs.    Most players will choke up a bit to take a handful of yards off a full swing.    You

I think the error becomes when we try to ease up on a shot thinking we are taking some off. When that happens, the swing is different. Instead of easing off on the swing, you have to either set up wit

aggressive swings to conservative targets.  
 

pick a small but conservative target , and then swing at it .  That’s the usual mistake.  Iron off the tee , no target.  Just the fairway as a goal.  I always choose a tree or a spot of turf etc. 

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I second that. One of my faults is losing focus on “easy” shots. When I’m playing well I get myself into the mindset of “aim small, miss small” and that’s really the difference maker for me. 

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8 minutes ago, bladehunter said:

aggressive swings to conservative targets.  
 

pick a small but conservative target , and then swing at it .  That’s the usual mistake.  Iron off the tee , no target.  Just the fairway as a goal.  I always choose a tree or a spot of turf etc. 

 

That has worked for me some off the tee, but it does not help when I'm hitting a softer iron into a green or when I'm chipping. I don't chip to a landing spot, I do it based on feel. I know that when I give an aggressive stroke the spin will keep the ball from rolling too far but I can't get my subconscious to trust it.

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2 minutes ago, xmanhockey7 said:

That’s the game. Interesting you have it on specific parts hitting certain shots. If it’s a matter of taking some off a club it’s still an aggressive swing. Just a shorter/smaller backswing. 

 

I can do that if it is an exaggerated drill. I hit close to 100 left arm parallel 7i swings per day. Punch out shots from the trees is the best part of my game. But turning a 180y club into a 172y shot is a problem. But generally I can just choke down and make it work. However, that is not a solution for the chips, putts, and shorter tee shots.

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I think the error becomes when we try to ease up on a shot thinking we are taking some off. When that happens, the swing is different. Instead of easing off on the swing, you have to either set up with an intention of still swinging fully on a shot. Whether the shot is a half or 3/4 swing, the follow through has to be to completion. And to add like others have said, there still has to be an end goal, not just hitting into a fairway. It has to be a shot ending up before a bunker or to a certain target in the distance.

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"easy" shots should demand just as much of your attention as a hard one because if you screw it up you've really hurt yourself. If you hit an iron off the tee and miss the fairway your SG for that shot is probably pretty bad. or if you have a routine 30 foot pitch and you hit it to 10 feet that's pretty poor statistically for most better players. 

 

if turning 180 into 172 is hard, why not just hit your 170 club or whatever is the next lowest, unless its like 165. 

 

 

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I'm in the same boat as you which is why I always take driver off the tee unless it's absolutely imperative to lay up.  I hit straighter when I swing harder.  When I swing easy, my ball tends to go left.  I've tailored my game around Phil's approach.  Yes it may bite me in the a** every now and again, but I usually score better and it instills confidence when I play aggressive. 

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Generally, if I need to take something off a shot, I just flight it lower, as long as it isn't a front pin. For tee shots, pick an imaginary pin in the fairway and aim for that. 

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Don't ever ease off a long club. Take distance off using spin (learn to fade the ball). 

 

I saw in a reply that you don't chip to a landing spot, that you chip by feel...start chipping to a landing spot. Take the hole out of your mind when you chip. 

 

Same for putting. Find a spot to putt it to. Every putt is a straight putt, you just often aim away from the hole.

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