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Long story short: My gut tells me I can get an extra 5-10 out of the shorter club, turns out my gut is wrong, how do I "accept" that it's perfectly fine to take another club?

 

Long story long:

 

Late 40s, athlete, 6 index, "bomb and gouge" style player for a lot of years. Last few years I've dropped some distance, as expected. Like a lot of others, I used COVID and telework to put in a little more time on my game. I've dropped about 3 strokes off my average from 2019 and feel really good about my progress but I'm stalled and having a hard time reconciling it. A couple times a round I will make a club decision and then "adjust" my swing to do something different. I feel like my mental game is respectable, I play for position off tees and only hit tee balls "full speed" on the more forgiving holes. What I struggle with is iron selection into greens, I will default to the shorter club nearly every time and try to muscle it. This results in some crisp contact and WAY off line shots and some very poor contact shots. I full on chunked 3 swings in my last round.

 

Recent prime example in contrast: 4th hole Saturday I had 178 into the 4th hole, had to keep the ball down so I pulled a 6 iron and hit it to 12 feet. If I was 5 yards right I would have been clear of the limbs and would have pulled 7 and probably left it short left or long right. External conditions "forced" the right decision. Fast forward to 12 and I have 165 in from the middle of the fairway to a front pin (15 yards of green over it at least) and I pulled the 8, chunked it 120 into a lake and walk away with 7 on a par 5 where an eagle putt or chip would have been simple.

 

I'm looking for anything here that can help with the acceptance of strategy. I know what I need to do but I cannot convince myself to do it, the indecision over the ball is killing otherwise solid play. I shot 80 on the day with 2 doubles, 5 bogeys and 1 birdie. 11/14 tee shots put me in very good spots, none of the other 3 were jailed, but they required shape or height control to recover.

 

My short term game plan is better understanding of my carry distances, playing in the desert I know I have an inflated sense of my length because of the dry and firm conditions, but even on the shorter clubs I will pull the "max distance" number club more often than not... "It's 124, perfect gap wedge" "But it's uphill like 20 feet and the pin is 3 paces on!?!" "So what... shut up and hit it harder..." "Ok."

 

 

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If you can't convince yourself, I won't be able to convince you.   The people we are best at lying to is ourselves.

The easiest solution I came up with is add 1/2 club, 6-7 yards to every approach shot. Then calculate shot from there. Takes a bunch of tension off swing.

One way to convince yourself would be to go out late one afternoon and find an approach to a flag in the middle of a nice flat green.  Go to a distance where a solid hard hit 9 iron is the perfect dis

Knowing your carry is the biggest thing.  If you can get on a launch monitor it really helped me.

 

As far as strategy, most times you never need to blast a club. The few exceptions is you have to get the ball high with a lot of spin to get the ball to hold the green. Learning to flight the ball down and take spin off is more advantageous most of the time.

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One way to convince yourself would be to go out late one afternoon and find an approach to a flag in the middle of a nice flat green.  Go to a distance where a solid hard hit 9 iron is the perfect distance. Hit 3 balls into the green. Then hit 3 balls with your 8 iron. Which balls are closer? Which shots had a better line?

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3 minutes ago, SNIPERBBB said:

Knowing your carry is the biggest thing.  If you can get on a launch monitor it really helped me.

 

As far as strategy, most times you never need to blast a club. The few exceptions is you have to get the ball high with a lot of spin to get the ball to hold the green. Learning to flight the ball down and take spin off is more advantageous most of the time.

I would tend to agree with this. Knowing and trusting your carries makes club selection far easier and you can quickly find out that trying to juice a shorter club rarely results in the desired outcome for both distance and direction. The rest is discipline and accepting a 25-30ft putt is a good shot 

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Take a day and go play. Commit yourself to hitting the longer club softer every time you have to choose. Chart how those turn out. 

 

Sometimes you just have to force yourself and then measure the performance difference. Same often goes for course management. 

 

I LOVE it when an in between yardage comes up early in a round. I don't always choose the longer club, but early in a round I almost always will. There is nothing better for getting a smooth transition feel going than to hit that 3/4 7i instead of the hard 8.

Edited by getitdaily
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Club up...

 

Get creative how to "remind yourself"

 

Tell your playin partner to remind you

Put a "club up" note in middle of cart's steering wheel

Remove all "club down" clubs from bag 🤣

Order club sandwiches with frilly toothpicks all month

Buy a club up towel for bag, or write on it w Sharpie

Have some discipline

Write CU on balls w Sharpie

 

 

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1 hour ago, MrJones said:

One way to convince yourself would be to go out late one afternoon and find an approach to a flag in the middle of a nice flat green.  Go to a distance where a solid hard hit 9 iron is the perfect distance. Hit 3 balls into the green. Then hit 3 balls with your 8 iron. Which balls are closer? Which shots had a better line?

 

This is good advice.  It will also help you figure out whether you're a player who should generally go to the longer club on in between yardages, or the shorter club

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11 hours ago, b.helts said:

If you can't convince yourself, I won't be able to convince you.

 

The people we are best at lying to is ourselves.

 

Yep, use Monte's Nike drill for choosing the right club.

 

Alternatively give a playing partner a cattle prod and tell him to zap you every time you leave an approach short of the green

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On 4/19/2021 at 1:56 PM, MrJones said:

One way to convince yourself would be to go out late one afternoon and find an approach to a flag in the middle of a nice flat green.  Go to a distance where a solid hard hit 9 iron is the perfect distance. Hit 3 balls into the green. Then hit 3 balls with your 8 iron. Which balls are closer? Which shots had a better line?

I've attempted to do this several times, it's an excuse but the course I play 70% of the time is jammed 7 days a week with a LOT of sundown golfers. The other track I play regularly doesn't have 100 yards of flat ground in any direction 🙂 

 

100% on my to do list, it's been bad timing on my attempts thus far.

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On 4/19/2021 at 1:37 PM, SNIPERBBB said:

Knowing your carry is the biggest thing.  If you can get on a launch monitor it really helped me.

 

As far as strategy, most times you never need to blast a club. The few exceptions is you have to get the ball high with a lot of spin to get the ball to hold the green. Learning to flight the ball down and take spin off is more advantageous most of the time.

I can probably get some time on a launch monitor but I'm limited to outside, on the range using range balls or "thinning my shag bag" to hit decent golf balls.

 

I have worked on hitting the ball lower recently and that has helped when I'm disciplined enough to allow it to work 🙂

 

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On 4/19/2021 at 2:28 PM, getitdaily said:

Take a day and go play. Commit yourself to hitting the longer club softer every time you have to choose. Chart how those turn out. 

 

Sometimes you just have to force yourself and then measure the performance difference. Same often goes for course management. 

 

I LOVE it when an in between yardage comes up early in a round. I don't always choose the longer club, but early in a round I almost always will. There is nothing better for getting a smooth transition feel going than to hit that 3/4 7i instead of the hard 8.

This has been successful for me in the past, I played some of my best golf last summer by forcing myself to take an extra club on nearly every shot. Then the "slow body/fast hands" guy showed up and I reverted back to my instincts 😞  Time to take another go at it.

 

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On 4/19/2021 at 2:30 PM, b.helts said:

If you can't convince yourself, I won't be able to convince you.

 

The people we are best at lying to is ourselves.

I'm not asking to be convinced, I know I'm making a bad decision, I'm asking if anyone has any experience or advice in the mental process. I'm a "risk averse" human in all regards but golf... My approach to the game has always been "You don't tell stories for 15 years about the time you punched out to the fairway and made a smart 5." It's fun, and it leads to turning 75s into 82s.

 

I played this game for 24 years for "fun" and only competed against friends on annual trips and weekend nassaus. I've played in local, low stakes, tournaments for the last year plus and am trying to overcome all those years of match play mindset and laughing over beers afterwards.

 

I'm not lying to myself, I've programmed myself to play hyper aggressive for a LONG time and as age creeps up on me, I don't have the hand/eye coordination or body awareness or whatever to just "trust the athletic ability" anymore.

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Just now, Long_Left said:

I'm not asking to be convinced, I know I'm making a bad decision, I'm asking if anyone has any experience or advice in the mental process. I'm a "risk averse" human in all regards but golf... My approach to the game has always been "You don't tell stories for 15 years about the time you punched out to the fairway and made a smart 5." It's fun, and it leads to turning 75s into 82s.

 

I played this game for 24 years for "fun" and only competed against friends on annual trips and weekend nassaus. I've played in local, low stakes, tournaments for the last year plus and am trying to overcome all those years of match play mindset and laughing over beers afterwards.

 

I'm not lying to myself, I've programmed myself to play hyper aggressive for a LONG time and as age creeps up on me, I don't have the hand/eye coordination or body awareness or whatever to just "trust the athletic ability" anymore.

 

 

I appreciate the point you're trying to get across. But the fact is that playing aggressive does not equal swinging hard.

 

You can absolutely feather a soft cut 7 iron from your 8 iron yardage to a tucked pin and that may be the most aggressive play available.

 

Aggressive is a mindset, and it does not have to be accompanied by a full throttle swing.

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1 minute ago, b.helts said:

 

 

I appreciate the point you're trying to get across. But the fact is that playing aggressive does not equal swinging hard.

 

You can absolutely feather a soft cut 7 iron from your 8 iron yardage to a tucked pin and that may be the most aggressive play available.

 

Aggressive is a mindset, and it does not have to be accompanied by a full throttle swing.

100% agree, I simply struggle in trying to convince myself of it in real time.

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1 minute ago, Long_Left said:

100% agree, I simply struggle in trying to convince myself of it in real time.

 

Don't make the decision real time.

 

Decide before you tee off that anytime you have, say, anything more than 2 under your stock shot you are going to take one more club.

So if you fly your 8 iron 168 and your 7 iron 180, anything between 166 and 177 is a 7 iron. Anything 178 - 190 is a six iron, etc. See how you fare.

 

If you aren't a "gameplanner" (I'm not) then somehow you have to come up with an approach that convinces you that taking more club is better. And........ who knows, maybe it's not.

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31 minutes ago, Long_Left said:

I can probably get some time on a launch monitor but I'm limited to outside, on the range using range balls or "thinning my shag bag" to hit decent golf balls.

 

I have worked on hitting the ball lower recently and that has helped when I'm disciplined enough to allow it to work 🙂

 

I'm sure you could ask around to find someone to rent you mevo or if there's any local teachers or fitters that have a trackman or flightscope theyd do a session

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2 minutes ago, SNIPERBBB said:

I'm sure you could ask around to find someone to rent you mevo or if there's any local teachers or fitters that have a trackman or flightscope theyd do a session

I have an "on course" lesson with the guy I'm currently working with coming up. I'm looking forward to it as his goal is to act as a "lite" caddie to make me talk through my options, take 5 seconds to read the lie, etc. The fitter at the club has a trackman, he's the only game in town that anyone I know of knows of. He works out of the club I play at, I'm sure I can get him to give me a couple hours on it.

 

My other option is going on a road trip to visit a buddy in Phoenix and pay for some time...

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11 minutes ago, b.helts said:

 

Don't make the decision real time.

 

Decide before you tee off that anytime you have, say, anything more than 2 under your stock shot you are going to take one more club.

So if you fly your 8 iron 168 and your 7 iron 180, anything between 166 and 177 is a 7 iron. Anything 178 - 190 is a six iron, etc. See how you fare.

 

If you aren't a "gameplanner" (I'm not) then somehow you have to come up with an approach that convinces you that taking more club is better. And........ who knows, maybe it's not.

I went down this rabbit hole yesterday evening, I have a course book that has a page for club carry distances that I've never filled in and don't use because of the number of times I've played the course. I think it may be time to break it out and force myself to play 3ish rounds using it... combined with more confidence in carry numbers it's a solid enough place to start 🙂

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I used to always pull out the shorter club because I felt that muscling the ball would benefit me more than clubbing up.  It was also an ego thing.  10 years ago, I learned to hit a variety of shots from the 3/4 punch, stock and of course the nuke iron.  It really helped me in all different situations and conditions out on the course.  I'm long enough that I don't need to go full bore all the time with any of my clubs.  There are greater chances at eagles and birdies taking the high risk balls to the walls swing, but those opportunities are few and far in between. 

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Take one more club EVERY time. Doesn't matter the situation. If you think 8, pull 7 etc

 

I've done this for 6 months and changed my game.  Sure I've gone over a few greens but have stopped swinging out of my shoes and really controlling the ball.  My array of shots has gone up. I can nuke an 8 iron 170 but I can easily hit 7 and even easier to hit 6 if I want the ball down.  Try it out

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35 minutes ago, jamgam said:

Take one more club EVERY time. Doesn't matter the situation. If you think 8, pull 7 etc

 

I've done this for 6 months and changed my game.  Sure I've gone over a few greens but have stopped swinging out of my shoes and really controlling the ball.  My array of shots has gone up. I can nuke an 8 iron 170 but I can easily hit 7 and even easier to hit 6 if I want the ball down.  Try it out

While I agree with this, I would say some of this is linked to target selection and expectations of the shot.  Sometimes the flag just isn't the target and much of these issues are linked to that. Tucked back pin where a long or directional miss brings in trouble or short sides you? Sometimes trying to get all the way back to the pin just isn't smart. So it's less club selection, more trying to get all the way to the pin in the first place. Instead of trying to nuke the shorter club or take more to get it all the way there, stock shot to the middle of the green and be happy with a mid range putt. Same goes for tucked front pin with a small landing area, stock shot past the pin is the smart play. 

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@Long_Left You want to be less stupid, yeah?

 

Well, to give you the best possible advice, you're going to have to tell us what optimal level of stupid you're shooting for?

 

If, say, you're a 7 or 8 on the stupid meter, are you shooting for a 5? Or are you shooting for a 1?

 

Maybe reevaluate the question. Every time you walk up to a shot, ask yourself "Am I being a 5? Or a 1?"

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The only way to accept it in my opinion is to just start doing it and see what happens. I'm not good by any stretch of the definition and here is my personal example from earlier this year. Take it for whatever it may be worth.

 

Something I have seen is to hit greens in GIR + 1. The idea is accept that GIR + 1 is good and will lead to lower scores since if you 2 putt, it's bogey golf aka shooting 90. Get some pars in the mix and you're sub 90 etc. When I first saw this I was very skeptical. I started to apply this concept when I got in trouble.  Say topped my driver 100 yards on a par 4 and I have 225 to go and there's a hazard/trouble in the mix. I can take my 4w and try to get inside 50 yards with higher risk such as a top that leaves me out of range with a short iron or a mishit into a hazard. Or I can hit a  anything from a 7i - 9i to get myself someplace from 100 - 125 yards out with much lower odd of making a mistake that will add additional strokes to my score. I found that my scores dropped because i wasn't losing as many strokes to higher risk shots. I have started to apply the full concept to some of the holes I struggle with as well.

 

One side effect of this is I don't get as frustrated when something does go astray now. As a 25 index, I will mishit the ball, it is a given. Now I look at it as okay, I still have one more shot to get on and 2 putt for bogey, which is good. This is helping me not let my mental game go south and snowball my scores as I start to get frustrated.

 

So my advice is to start hitting the longer club and see what happens. it's okay to be skeptical and not buy in right away. Ya gotta try it though or you never will be able to accept it. Gotta have proof that it does or does not work.

 

Good luck out there!

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16 hours ago, betarhoalphadelta said:

@Long_Left You want to be less stupid, yeah?

 

Well, to give you the best possible advice, you're going to have to tell us what optimal level of stupid you're shooting for?

 

If, say, you're a 7 or 8 on the stupid meter, are you shooting for a 5? Or are you shooting for a 1?

 

Maybe reevaluate the question. Every time you walk up to a shot, ask yourself "Am I being a 5? Or a 1?"

If 1 is "perfect discipline and strategy" and 10 is "I saw Phil do this once on Twitter" I'd say I'm a 4 for 13-15 holes per round and a 6-9 for the rest.

 

When I'm facing a punch out situation I'll take unnecessary risk to get 10 yards further etc...

 

I like the suggestion, I already talk to myself on the course, maybe I just need to change what I say 🙂

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1. Know carry distances.  Make a chart/list and consult it.

 

2. Try to only have one swing/shot.  Golf is hard enough to do one shot very well, let alone a fade, a draw, a change up, a fast ball.  Whatever the number is, pick the closest club you got and swing your normal shot.  You can't really try to make birdies/knock it stiff - you will be better served letting the birdies come to you. 

 

3.  Check out Decade by Scott Fawcett.  Big fan and really insightful content on how to play this game.  He says the paradox of golf is that it is so hard that you have to play it correctly, which in turns makes it easy.

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