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Why are you not getting better ?


Ron del Barrio
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I've been improving by about 2-strokes a year on my index over the last few years but I can definitely recall things that became obvious problems at certain points along the way:

 

The early years:

 

(1) Thinking about "working the ball" and shot-making as a novice player.

(2) Not getting lessons from a knowledgeable professional. 

 

The in-between years:

 

(3) Falling in love with the Driving Range (and mats)

(4) Evolving my swing as a function "feels"  (again, trying to instruct myself)

 

The recent years:

(5) Not practicing my putting enough

(6) Not addressing my inconsistent driving

 

 

Thankfully, I've addressed all those things and it was definitely worth it, but I don't think it needed to take 15 years to accomplish. Had I taken lessons along the way and been more intelligent, I probably would've improved at a faster and more consistent pace with fewer gaps along the way.

 

But now, a bad round is still in the 70s and there's even a possibility of breaking par on any given day. It's definitely always possible to improve and you should strive for that.

 

But alas, it's very easy to practice in a way that doesn't really help at all. 

 

.

Edited by MelloYello
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13 hours ago, Albatross Dreamer said:

I dunno if this is entirely accurate. As many people have mentioned we lack time. So it's not that we don't want to improve, but it might not be worth the trade off of how long it'd take for those things to positively affect our scores vs getting more rounds in when possible. It's a lot easier to make changes in your game when you have 30+ hours a week to play vs the <10 many people do.

 

Although if some people spent half as much time getting reps as club ho'ing maybe they'd be a lot better off. 😆

 

I think this is mostly the answer. Guys reach a level that they can have fun out there still, so is it really worth it to them to put in a bunch of hours grinding to shave a few strokes? That obviously varies from person to person

 

I also think a lot of people may start to try and change something, get worse for a short period of time then give up and go back to their old, comfortable ways. Kind of speaking to the above point, is it worth to go through months of worse golf that may not be as much fun? Up to the individual

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I seldom, if ever, practice or go to the range. Additionally, we have first tee time and warm up tends to be in the dark with no ability to see ball flight. About all I'm doing is getting loose. Any swing corrections needed have to take place on the course, which is no place to start making swing corrections.

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Commitment or lack of time has been my excuse for as long as I can remember. 

 

I made a commitment about a month ago to practice in some form everyday. I have a chipping net or putt out mat at home to use on my days I can't make it to the range. I set the goal of Monday, Wednesday and Friday to the range on my lunch breaks to hit full shots. I spend a hourish on Sunday at the local course during my sons lesson putting and chipping. So far I am seeing a improvement in my game. 

 

Now it's just sticking to that commitment. 

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I do see progress and I have dropped from a 5.3 to a 4.7 this year but I have only played 8 times.  I imagine if I played around 30 times like I normally do that it would be closer to a 3 probably. I need to be on the course more. I am really good at having structured practice sessions but I need to be able to get out on the course more.

Edited by stephenmatt
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I actually haven't plateaud, but my short game is what's holding me back. Nice short game facilities are about a 40 mins drive which makes it difficult to get to during the week.

Golf season barely lasts 6 months here, so on weekends I'd rather be playing than practicing.

 

Which I guess boils down to 'lack of time' + 'Canada'.

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Short answer: lack of talent

 

Long answer; lack of consistency in balance.  I was playing a practice round today and working on this: I was 165 out from the hole with a decent headwind.  I pull out my 175 club, a 7-iron. First swing is too quick and I pull the hands down: I get it fat and the ball falls into the bunker 155 out.  2nd swing has too much sway to the trail leg and not enough turn: I pull it and hit it 20 yards right of target, missing the green. 3rd is balanced with the backswing, allowing the hips to open while staying in balance and keeping the club behind and shallow. I hit the ball in balance and with a perfect release: it lands within 5 yards of the hole and the ball spins back 6 inches on a rock-hard green. 

 

The last ball was a legit swing, the kind you see plus golfers making. The trouble is that my misses are just really, really bad.  I rarely have the "good miss" where I caught it a little thin but still end up in the general vicinity of where I wanted to be.  My best 15-hole stretch on a tough course I was 2 under because I was in balance on most every swing: my next best 15-hole stretch was probably +5 because I moved too much, sooner or later, and hooked the ball for a bad miss and a double/triple bogey.   

 

I just don't move well, so any slight loss in balance causes the whole chain to go past the point of no recovery. 

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On 9/25/2022 at 4:27 PM, Chilli9880 said:

Same for me with time, kids and family commitments. When I do have time, I'd rather play than get lessons and work on stuff. I still do practice here and there when I have 30-40 minutes but between finding a coach and booking that time, I'd rather play 9. 

Same. Never had a lesson. Putting saves me. Irons are not bad. I work on wedges. Off the tee or with a fairway wood/ hybrid, inconsistent becomes a common theme 

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On 9/25/2022 at 5:38 PM, Dufferonius said:

@jdl & @BagofToast, y'all might be well-served by reading Zen Golf. He discusses this kind of thing extensively, how it hurts your game, and ways to overcome it.  (Spoiler: You don't "overcome" it, per se, but learn to disregard it.)

 

In another thread, The Inner Game Of Golf and Genie Within Your Subconscious were mentioned.  I don't know those books, but the titles suggest similar instruction.

 

Thanks, downloaded Zen and have read most of it. Some things that could/should help & hope to give them a try soon.

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14 hours ago, jdl said:

Thanks, downloaded Zen and have read most of it. Some things that could/should help & hope to give them a try soon.

One of my other hobbies is handgun target shooting.  During my recent golf hiatus I got back into that.  Was having the same problems I always do getting back up to speed.  Remembered a book by a top competitor that was often recommended.  So I bought it.  His entire first chapter is all about the need to achieve a state of relaxed focus and awareness.  Long story short: I got better, faster, than ever before.  Experiencing that, it occurred to me the same principles should apply to golf.  So, even before reading Zen Golf I was already pursuing those principles.

 

Purchased The Inner Game Of Golf and started reading it last night.

 

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Lack of genuine desire or motivation. There's no reason that I need to be better, I'm good enough to compare favorably with my buddies and enjoy the game with occasional failures and achievements, so other life priorities come ahead of dedicating time/money to practice, lessons, fittings, etc.

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51 minutes ago, skraly said:

My problem is simple-LOFT!

 

Same here. Total LOFT issue. I've taken tons of lessons. Practice multiple times a week. Play 75 times a year. And my neighbor who just picked up the game again and has a classic OTT weak banana slice, but never gets into trouble and has a decent short game is shooting in the mid 80s with his 15+ year old clubs.  He raves about how fun it is to play again. I want to punch him in the face.  I can hit solid shots as good as a single digit, but I am ridiculously inconsistent and struggle to beat him. I hate this fvcking game.

 

I shot an 86 in men's league event. And shot a 104 the next week.  I shot 54 on the front 9 last week and 40 on the back.  I waste hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to suck slightly less than I did 5 years ago.

 

 

Edited by mantan
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10 hours ago, mantan said:

I can hit solid shots as good as a single digit, but I am ridiculously inconsistent and struggle to beat him.

My guess is he's not obsessing over his swing and you are.  Stop doing that.

 

Unless it's entirely unusable, whether your swing is good, bad, or indifferent is less important than it being consistent.  You achieve consistency by swinging more-or-less the same way every time.  You achieve that by trusting your swing and just swinging your swing--without your conscious mind throwing sand in the works with doubts, indecision, and self-criticism.

 

Once you do that you can employ course management to compensate for your swing flaws.  E.g.: If you know you tend to fade off the tee, tee off so as to offset the known result of your swing.  If you're a short-knocker, accept layups, instead of trying hero shots to clear hazards.

 

Then, once you've learned to do those things, dispassionately evaluate how your swing can be improved.  But be prepared to work for it.  It takes a lot of repetitions, thousands, for a new motion to become ingrained.  Even more reps to have a new motion replace an already-ingrained motion.  (I'm dealing with this, right now, with my downswing.)

 

If you're going to continue playing while working on swing mechanics improvements, be prepared to accept your game will get worse until they get there and that it'll take longer to get there.  And don't even think about, much less practice, your swing mechanics improvements while playing.  (See the first two points.)

 

10 hours ago, mantan said:

I hate this fvcking game.

But you can't stop 🤣

 

You might find either Zen Golf or The Inner Game of Golf helpful.

 

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Age, lack of effort, and surgeries. Well saying that I’ve improved by 2.8 strokes . But that’s just from putting and chipping better. Also reworked my swing to being more square to target but still slightly closed. Not with a bunch of practice either just working it out while golfing once a week or on occasions twice. So I’ve peaked. 
  Golfing more would help but I hurt too much playing a 2 rounds in 3 days with aches and pains showing up in my hands or legs . 

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To get better one must practice, and I mean a lot.  Playing more isn't so much the answer because we golf with score in mind, not techniques.  I know a great many guys who have been playing golf for years, since college.  Overlooking medical issues, they haven't progressed pass the skill level they are comfortable with.  Countless people do NOT want to be single digit or better, for fear.  Most are around 12-15 index.  Just the way it is.

 

If you want to reach single digit, you need to change your approach and practice regime.  If you would like to be low single digit or scratch, it's largely about practice but more mentally important, self-control and how you think playing the game.  Self-taught, my low index is 2, and now trend around 4-6 index, depending on time of year and what courses I play.

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I've found a bit of catharsis in letting go of the quest to get better. I still practice, but only because at certain times of the day or in certain weather conditions I find it very peaceful and nearly as enjoyable as playing.

 

I once played at a decent competitive level, but now, I find grinding for that kind of golf just removes the fun from it. Whether I'm carrying my clubs and getting some exercise, or I'm having a carts and cocktails round, I try to throw it on auto-pilot, play fast and loose, completely anger free, roll with the punches, and remind myself it should always be fun.

 

Now... I said all that to say this: for whatever reason, for me, this shift in attitude has made me much better at getting the most out of whatever game I have on the course on any given day. I think it's helped me finally embrace that a decent score on a hole is always just one shot (or one putt) away. 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Dufferonius said:

My guess is he's not obsessing over his swing and you are.  Stop doing that.

 

Unless it's entirely unusable, whether your swing is good, bad, or indifferent is less important than it being consistent.  You achieve consistency by swinging more-or-less the same way every time.  You achieve that by trusting your swing and just swinging your swing--without your conscious mind throwing sand in the works with doubts, indecision, and self-criticism.

 

Once you do that you can employ course management to compensate for your swing flaws.  E.g.: If you know you tend to fade off the tee, tee off so as to offset the known result of your swing.  If you're a short-knocker, accept layups, instead of trying hero shots to clear hazards.

 

Then, once you've learned to do those things, dispassionately evaluate how your swing can be improved.  But be prepared to work for it.  It takes a lot of repetitions, thousands, for a new motion to become ingrained.  Even more reps to have a new motion replace an already-ingrained motion.  (I'm dealing with this, right now, with my downswing.)

 

If you're going to continue playing while working on swing mechanics improvements, be prepared to accept your game will get worse until they get there and that it'll take longer to get there.  And don't even think about, much less practice, your swing mechanics improvements while playing.  (See the first two points.)

 

But you can't stop 🤣

 

You might find either Zen Golf or The Inner Game of Golf helpful.

 

 

I've been down the practice and rebuild path. More than 10 years ago I went all in with Slicefixer when he was on the board. Made the trek to Texarkana many times. Worked on my swing every single day for more than a year. If I wasn't at the range it was slow motion in mirror. I know all about the grind and thousands of repetitions and digging it out of the dirt and getting better worse before getting better.  Practice plans to work on very specific things.  Practice logs. Video taping everything.  I work harder on my game than 90% of golfers out there. Definitely more than anybody who sucks as bad as I do.

 

 I've tried clearing my head, Zen golf, target focus and all of those other things as well. I've seen absolutely wonderful instructors like Monte, Dan Whittaker and Michael Martin. All of them are fantastic guys who I learned a lot from.

 

But for whatever reason, I'm begrudgingly accepting it's just a lack of talent, I can't make it stick consistently on a golf course. There is no such thing as a 'consistent miss' in my game. (Which is why my neighbor's game drives me batty).  I can play decent for a stretch It may be a few holes, it may be a few weeks...but eventually it all deteriorates to the same place I was 15 years ago.

 

 

I'm just learning to accept what it is at this point in life.  I'm stuck as a 15.  I may shoot 86.  I may shoot 106. I may look like I know how to play golf. I may hit push slices or rope hooks or top a ball like I've never played before.  Enjoy the day. Hope things stay together enough to post a decent score that day.

 

Edited by mantan
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I don't have enough time to practice or play. Golf needs time. I have the money to be a great player (close to scratch maybe?) but time, nope. lol The best I did for my game this winter was to read a lot of mental golf books. At least with the very scarce time I have, I can make the most out of it, mentally. So far it worked. I feel better playing now, good or bad and I have posted scores in the single digit over par more than ever. But I wont really call it an improvement because I still suck at some areas of the game, like putting. Again, no time to practice it. 😞 

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On 9/30/2022 at 10:31 AM, ThePaineTrain said:

Tendency to throw away everything I've been working on and chase another change after one bad shot. Even greater tendency to do it after one great shot where something felt "different".

This - YouTube, insta, FB, forums etc. one minor tweak will improve things but vanishes quickly. Rinse, repeat.

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