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How to Get Over a Horrible Round of Golf?

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In all things, even discussing bad rounds of golf, I like to pontificate and talk about how great I am. All things revolve around me. The word "I" appears throughout all of my posts. I do this, I did that, I tell people this, I tell people that, I'm good at this, I was great at that.


I'm a dreadful bore, but I'm very good at it. As a matter of fact, I'm great at it. Here, let me tell you more about how I do everything...


Here's how I drive a car. Naturally, I only drive luxury brands and I always put me left elbow out of the open window so people can admire me as I drive. I like stoplights so people can be in awe of my wealth and power for an extra minute.


Cigars add to my extraordinary charisma. As I sit at the light, I like to tell people in the car next to me about myself. I think they need that to be a better person and more like me.


I like to explain how far I can hit a golf ball and how I win at everything. I'm the only person within three states who can read and understand a P&L. I like to tell people what a tough guy I am.


People stand and clap when I speak.

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2 hours ago, Pepperturbo said:

Yep, it's real.  I hadn't experienced its real effects until one day years back.  A 2-index friend and I, a 3-index, were playing an even-up game from back tees on a challenging course and riding in the same cart.


Background we've been friends for ten years, and I have a minor case of ADD so no matter what I tackle, it demands concentrating on every aspect of what I am doing, otherwise, it can be ugly.  For that reason if it's important and demands my focus, I don't talk much or hold conversations during the activity.  It's what made me a good shooter in my youth.


In any case, from the first tee shot he began whining and complaining about nearly everything, far more than usual.  I tolerate some within reason, but this was non-stop.  Never seen him like this.  Because of my issues I do NOT spend time around whining or complainers.  None of my friends are that way.  It was so constant, it was affecting my ability to concentrate, on every hole up to #9.  He was playing like a 15, while I was struggling but holding my own.  When we finished #9, I'd had enough.  I looked him in the eye and said, you have been an ugly pain in the azz to play golf with, there's no excuse, play by yourself and I left the course.  Haven't played with him since.  Some pros whine too, but it's hard to imagine any of them being total azzes.  But if someone is an azz, least they are walking and can stay the hell away from the jerk.




Very true.


My brother was qualifying for our state am match play and got paired with a 1.5hcp that shot 97 the first day.  I have no idea how my brother held it together to shoot E.  I'd have lost it looking for balls 2-3x a hole for 18 holes, at least he said the kid was nice...

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Drink heavily

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Take a couple days off and then get back at it. Even for the best players, sometimes weird issues fix themselves just as quickly as they pop up. Be process oriented and not results oriented. 

I've found that when I take breaks (by my own choosing, unwanted breaks are a different story), my first round back I'm often hitting it the best because it's back to basics and just survival mode on the course.

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On 7/15/2021 at 1:29 PM, kthomas said:

I'll just chalk it up to a bad day and hit the links with my usual happy go lucky attitude and pretend those 9 holes didn't happen, to the best of my ability.

Yes, the above is a good way to go.  One of the great things about golf is the next round is a clean slate. A new round is just that, new, and it's a new opportunity to hit cool shots. 

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Already said but a few:

1) Drink heavily.

2) kick the dog . If you have a cat kick it first.

3) Take a club and throw into a pond. Or beat it against pavement or a tree unless the tree police are watching.

4) Have sex with someone other than your self.

5) Eat a steak. If you're a vegetarian see 4 and go ahead and do the latter. 

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That's when I get on the range and bang out balls.  I think golfers get things backwards with range time when they are playing.  They try to pound golf ball after golf ball before the round and then don't go to the range after if they play poorly or their swing isn't clicking.  It's more about getting a small quota of warmup with each club prior to the round (12 sand wedge shots, 10 9-iron swings, 6 7-iron swings, 4 4-iron swings, 3-4 3-wood swings, 8 driver swings, etc) then after the round is the time to really go out and pound balls and figure out how to get it back.


You have to take solace that it's part of human behavior and that you probably just played as poorly as you could and that means that you are 'due' to play better golf.







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One bad round... don't give it much credence.  I will think about what was different though.  Was it bad thoughts, bad swing, bad whatever?   Recently, after a spell of really good golf, the wheels came right off.  Nothing was good.  It took me a session on the range and some thinking about what was wrong.  It was a little bit alignment and a little bit ball position.  Each on their own don't make a big deal, but combine them and some bad stuff will happen.  Back to normal after the corrections.  It really helps to have a solid foundation and checklist to work off of when things go bad. 

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As others have said have a short memory. Last weekend worst round of the year. This weekend after not practicing and focusing on stuff outside of work had best round of the year. Golf is a funny game. 

I think of it a lot like baseball and at bats, each hole and each shot is a new opportunity or fresh at bat. I try to take the opportunity to salvage bad rounds by finishing strong because that means more then when everything is clicking. Either way, we pay to play so make sure you are enjoying yourself 

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Remember that Golf is not a game of perfect.  Review the bad round and keep in mind what went wrong.  If what was wrong is a weakness then seek help with it and practice that area until it becomes better and a strength.  If what went wrong was a fluke then forget about the round.  We amateurs often are far too critical of our games but shouldn't be.  Most of us don't put the proper amount of time in constructive practice and playing to be too critical about it.  For us, Golf is a game not a profession.  @kthomasbest of luck going forward.

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I play again in a day or two. Might be way worse. 🤣

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23 hours ago, doobz said:

Be process oriented and not results oriented. 


This is a very important sentence.


6 hours ago, RobotDoctor said:

Remember that Golf is not a game of perfect. 


So is this. 


Bad rounds happen.  For me they happen because I was results oriented (e.g., i have to carry this water and land it to a spot on the green where i have a 5% chance of success (i.e., a stupid shot) to recover from my prior bad shot from trying to kill it off the tee) and not process oriented (grip, aim, alignment, tempo).  Process oriented results in me hitting good shots with good fundamentals.  That may not always get me to the spot I desired or was intending, but it gets me a good fundamental shot and that is what I have to be satisfied with.  I want to be able to say after each shot that, "Okay I hit that like I wanted to."  My playing partners hear me saying this frequently.  The result might not be perfect, and probably won't be perfect, but sometimes it is.


So, getting trapped in a bad round for me is having a long memory, which gets me away from being process oriented and also from taking high percentage shots.  Typically I have a short memory and try to forget the last shot.  Sometimes that is difficult and I am not perfect at doing that.  Sometimes it will bleed over and create 2-3 bad holes.  Once I get my mind back on track and get process oriented, things fall back into place and I start to hit good fundamental shots again.


To have a good shot, you have to be committed to it.  If you are mad about something that happened before, then your mind is not truly clear and you are not committed to the shot at hand and failure is likely. 


All of that sounds easy to do, but it is very difficult to do.  It requires good self-diagnosis skills and that is a stronger trait of better golfers than less skilled ones, simply because they have done more golf shots.  Every shot you take is building your database of swings.  Repetitions matter and that builds the database.  Over time that gets to the point where one can know what they could have done better.  Also a powerful piece of information.



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It's just golf, plain and simple. 


For about two months, my rounds were: 73, 75, 66, 70, 72, 68. 


Every round was one of those days I thought to myself: "Man, I could be a tour player." (Sarcasm)


The 68 I shot was actually the best round of my career on a 7,400 yard course. 


The following day on a 6,200 yard track where several par 4's are near drivable and I can hit wedge into two of the par 5's - - I shot an 89, and that's honestly with an asterisk because I was so ticked off one hole I raked my 4-footer for triple back. 


Don't read too much into it. What people often forget is there are several factors we often forget leading up to a round of golf that can determine the outcome like how your body is doing that week, how your diet has been, your stress levels, etc. 


On top of that, some of my best rounds came after HORRIBLE warm up sessions. Some of my worst rounds came after I flushed everything on the range before teeing off. 


TLDR: forget about it. It also won't be the last time it happens.

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I will add to this again. 


Last week I went 73, 75, 74. Followed up with a 79, 81, and a 82 yesterday UGH. 


Not sure why, Felt like I hit the ball better in the rounds I scored worse as well. It is just golf and sometimes you don't get the bounces or putts to drop. 


Best part is I am playing today and it could be the best round of my life. Who knows...


We are not pro's, I cant expect the consistency of one so it is what it is. 


Go play, move the ball forward, make putts and enjoy the game with you buddies. 

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One bad round last year (on a terribly windy day) sent me on a 6 month bender of lessons, equipment changes, and range sessions. I've learned a lot and taken a lot of swings, but the biggest lesson was to understand that you're only competing against yourself in golf. The course is a machine that feeds on the fuel that you give it. When you can't keep a driver on the course, stop feeding it driver and it'll stop eating you. When you're 3-putting too much, focus on lagging the 20 footer instead of trying to make it.  When nothing is working, chalk it up to "golf is hard" and get back on the horse as soon as possible.


I played the same course this weekend and still had a moment of terror on the 2nd tee box because of how bad of a shot I hit on that hole a few months ago. Rather than feeding the course that same shot, I grabbed a hybrid, put it in the fairway, and made par. Maybe next time I'll challenge it with driver again, but the first mission was to stop being that course's lunch.

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On 7/15/2021 at 10:27 AM, kthomas said:

Need some mental advice/coaching after last nights 9 round social league.


Like everyone, I have good rounds and bad rounds, but last nights round was exceptionally bad.


I started my night off at the range hitting a small bucket of balls to warm up, like I always do. Pretty much every shot I hit was great, with the exception of 1 or 2. Even my driver was acting as a laser beam on the range, which in itself was rare. I felt great, was hitting the ball great. Had a great attitude going into the round, and was feeling really confident as I was riding a wave of pretty good consistent golf. Then the match started...


...And it was if I didn't know how to play golf anymore. Errant tee shots on pretty much every hole: didn't matter if I used driver, 4W, 3H, irons - my shots were everywhere off the tee. Huge slice off to the right, snap hook to the left. Irons, usually the best part of my game, weren't working for me. I also couldn't hit wedges with any consistency. 


It was the most maddening round of golf I've had in memory. I've been playing a lot of golf lately, and have been playing really good golf consistently (for me). I'm now on the hunt to break 80's. However, yesterday if I played ball in hole and couldn't max out score for a hole (3 holes I didn't even make it to the green before maxing out my score per our league), I may not have broken 60 (on 9 holes).


The last hole of the round really summed up the entire round for me: Sliced 4W off the tee into the woods. I teed up another ball and hit an even bigger slice into the woods with a driver. Was a short par 4 and had 100 yards left to the hole from my drop, so dropped a ball and attempted to hit a 52 wedge in, normally an easy shot for me. Hit it fat and it sliced into the woods. Dropped another ball and attempted the same thing, with identical result. 4 lost balls, couldn't even reach the green without maxing out.


Needless to say, was an incredibly frustrating round of golf and very uncharacteristic for me. I have bad holes like every one else, usually one double or triple bogey per 9 holes (which I'm currently working hard to mitigate), but last night was special for that. My score card was littered with double bogeys and triple bogeys, and this was just over 9 holes. 


I'm worried that this exceptionally horrible round of golf may leak into my future rounds if I don't find a way to mentally block it out. How do you get over an exceptionally horrible round of golf? 


Same thing happened to me to many times to count over the course of about 10 years. Finally decided to attempt to "find" and "understand" my good swing enough that the wheels will never completely fall off.


After some experimentation I have focused on the setup and takeaway as opposed to the downswing, because I have back and knee issues and always seem to hurt myself. I know other people do it differently of course.


What I have determined is that my stance must be braced with a little weight to the right, not a lot, and my hands forward of the natural center of my swing. I have also determined that the club needs to turn over early to start. Other than that what I am now working on is the grip to get my hands in a powerful position. I have determined that my hands must oppose during the swing and the left hand needs to push the club away from the body. Maybe I'm 80% to having an understanding that will let me play reasonably well, which for me would be in the hi 80's at worst.

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This was your first problem:


Had a great attitude going into the round, and was feeling really confident as I was riding a wave of pretty good consistent golf.”


Anytime I start to feel even the least bit confident about my golf game, a blowup is sure to follow. And I say this in all seriousness…I don’t know what it is, but I’ve found confidence is an absolute killer to good golf. Doesn’t make sense but that has been my experience. 

But the other thing I do in response to one of those rounds is realize that something is messed up with my swing. It’s a reminder that you aren’t there yet and need more work. After a horrible round, I will try to figure out what fault or tendency has crept in to avoid the bad round from happening next time. I ALWAYS find that my swing had reverted to some fault that I thought was cured. So in a way, it’s a good thing!

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The key is to fake a back, leg, neck, or whatever injury and withdraw on the 7th hole. Pros do it all the time. Remember, its never your fault.

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Based on yesterday's late round collapse....  Get mad.  Beat your bag a few times.  Sulk on the way home.   Not my finest hour.


I get 4 days to ruminate over it before I get back at it.  It will be better next time.

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Unless you get paid to play the game, you take it as a bad day of golf. I experienced the same thing a few days ago where I wanted to leave after 4 holes into our round. Same thing, good warm up on the range, bombed a drive down the middle of the first fairway and for some odd reason, started to pull everything off the tee. We play a tight tree lined golf course so I found myself for the next few holes, stuck behind a tree and having to save bogey and end up a few shots over par. We get frustrated because we know our potential and when we dont execute, our tempo gets thrown off or we begin to force our shots. Just shake it off and come back next round and all you can do is play the shot that is in front of you and not one in the past. 

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Appreciate all the replies, I think this thread served as more therapy then anything 🤣, but it certainly feels good to vent.


Been out numerous times since the blowup round. First 9 holes after the blowup round started on a rough trajectory, but on the back 9 I decided to mentally let it all go and just goof off and have fun. Score improved dramatically.


Back to playing my regular golf - good rounds and not so good rounds. Golf is a humbling sport, and the fact that it can be so challenging makes my desire for the game to only grow stronger and stronger. 


Just when you think you have it figured out, the game can slap you down in a hurry. From here on out I'll just take it for what it is, and just let it go.


I've learned a lot from that session, and my desire to play golf has only grown since. Damn I love this game, I just can't let it mentally get to me again like that. 


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In Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, on page 43 under the heading Do You Need Help? Harvey says:


If you play poorly one day, forget it.

If you play poorly the next time out, review your fundamentals of grip, stance, aim and ball position. Most mistakes are made before the club is swung.

If you play poorly for a third time in a row, go see your professional.

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