Am I at the end of my golfing road ?

hitogami

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Good afternoon,

Long time hidden reader on this forum so thought I would start 2022 re-evaluating a few things in my life including a big time and money sink, golf.

Hopefully some advice will steer me right or see some bigger picture I am struggling to see.

In my late 30's, I am currently a 12 handicap (ranging from about 11-14 over the years) golfer and have been playing off and on for about 10-12 years. I am a member of a fantastic golf course with great competitive membership and facilities; everything you could want from a golf club. The big problem is me and I am struggling to get any enjoyment out of the game for the first time since I took it up. I know myself pretty well and my biggest strength is also my biggest achilles heel, which is I am a complete perfectionist. I don't bother continuing with things or wasting time on it if I am not good at it (I know good is a relative term here). I have been fairly successfully sporting wise in my life, competed to a fairly high level in tennis and skiing which is why I am struggling to cope with the fact golf is currently punching me in the face.

I currently just am at a point where I think I simply don't have the skill required to get me any less than a 10-11 handicap and the way my brain works (as mentioned above) I am just thinking about jacking it all in. I have had numerous lessons from 4 coaches lasting 8-10 months per person in the last 4-5 years trying to get me down. I do relentlessly practice between lessons and have spent a lot of money in this department. I have the best fitted clubs I could buy so there isn't a stone unturned. I think I am in denial that I basically am not very good, I get away with keeping my handicap where it is because I do hit the ball a very long way for the average amateur. I did set the goal to get to scratch but I am so far away after all this time its a delusion frame of thought now.

I know some will come on and say well look to other parts of the game for the enjoyment, I do. I chew the fat on the way round, bit of piss taking, bit of gambling for 9,9 and 18 its great but that isn't the main reason I get up and play. I play to be good & in my eyes my goal of being good is to be an extremely low handicap golfer. I can do all that other stuff on WhatsApp and with mates at the pub. I am now in a position where I think I could spend this time on other hobbies I have and I am 90% going off the cliff edge on this one so was just wondering if anyone has been here and what they did. The only thing that hasn't made me jump yet is the club I am in is a once in a lifetime kind of course to be a member at and if I left I wouldn't get back in or get in anywhere remotely as good. I would hate to stop playing and want to pick it up again in a few years time and find that I would have to join a club where the course itself couldn't quite match what I have now.

Any advice would be great.

Cheers John
 
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bobmac

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It sounds as if you've got no challenge.
While 12 isn't a bad h/cap, it's not brilliant either.
I would suggest you identify your weaknesses and work on them but also set yourself realistic goals.
Have you ever been off single figures?
 

patricks148

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If you don't enjoy it that would be the issue for me anyway. I don't enjoy not playing well, so time might come for me too in the future,vesp as I'm pretty competitive by nature. I knew two guys who like you don't like the fact they got stuck at a certain handicap. One was off 4 and wanted to get to scratch, when he couldn't manage that gave up and a guy who could not get lower than 10, same.
You may be able to ask your club to freeze or defer your membership, have a rest and see if you miss it.
 

Imurg

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Everyone has a point at which they have peaked, that point where you're simply not going to get better.
It could be age, injuries, lack of practice time or simply ability.
Some peak early and will remain high handicappers until the day they pack it in, some peak late and reach low singles past 60
And everything in-between
Only you can say whether you've reached that point and whether you're able to accept it and carry on enjoying the game as it is or decide to pack it in.
Golf is hard..always has been, always will be.
As they say...if the fun stops..stop.
It's your spare time and money - you decide what you want to do with it.
 

fundy

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Welcome

Without being rude, the bar you are setting for yourself is clearly too high and the focus you put on being very good and I expect overthinking almost every aspect of the game is most likely putting a ceiling to how good you can get

Ultimately you have 2 choices, reframe how you perceive golf (including the time and money you spend) so that you are able to get what you need, or give it up and find something else to go through the same process with :)
 

chrisd

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If you're late 30's and off 12 there's plenty of scope, and time, to get down to single figures and you are obviously lacking certain parts of the skills you need to achieve that. I think it's just a simple decision as to whether to knuckle down and do what's necessary or just give up and do something else, personally I'd be working on my game as hard as possible to get where I believe I can
 

Oddsocks

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I’ve been in a similar situation getting as low as 7.something and having an outstanding year, but it come crashing down and was hard to recover from so much so that I had some time out. By the sounds of things your competitiveness is killing the enjoyment which is understandable if you’re cut from competitive cloth but to be fair there are people that play this game their whole life and don’t get to your level so I’d take something from that.

If you’re ultra competing in the other hobbies, why do you have to be so good at golf? Why not treat it as a pressure relief from the other hobbies where you play to a good standard but it’s a switch off to the other sports.

From a personal experience my best golf was from playing when I just enjoyed it, didn’t chased scores, it was just fun!! I’ve reinstalled this mentality this year after 18 months off and I’ve had some good scores, some bad scores but have smiled. I’m at 11.5 and if it goes no lower so be it, it’s better than being stuck at the laptop which is what I would do if I wasn’t playing.
 

hitogami

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It sounds as if you've got no challenge.
While 12 isn't a bad h/cap, it's not brilliant either.
I would suggest you identify your weaknesses and work on them but also set yourself realistic goals.
Have you ever been off single figures?
I think I was 9.9 for one week under the old system a few years ago.

Problem is my weaknesses are numerous :)

If you don't enjoy it that would be the issue for me anyway. I don't enjoy not playing well, so time might come for me too in the future,vesp as I'm pretty competitive by nature. I knew two guys who like you don't like the fact they got stuck at a certain handicap. One was off 4 and wanted to get to scratch, when he couldn't manage that gave up and a guy who could not get lower than 10, same.
You may be able to ask your club to freeze or defer your membership, have a rest and see if you miss it.
Yeah i could ask the club if they would do that but the demand is so high for membership I can see them saying no as they will get paying members to replace me. I know I would miss it if I stopped but the same feelings would quickly return.
 

hitogami

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I’ve been in a similar situation getting as low as 7.something and having an outstanding year, but it come crashing down and was hard to recover from so much so that I had some time out. By the sounds of things your competitiveness is killing the enjoyment which is understandable if you’re cut from competitive cloth but to be fair there are people that play this game their whole life and don’t get to your level so I’d take something from that.

If you’re ultra competing in the other hobbies, why do you have to be so good at golf? Why not treat it as a pressure relief from the other hobbies where you play to a good standard but it’s a switch off to the other sports.
You mentioned something interesting here this was the reason I took up golf in the summer in my 20's to give me a release from skiing for 4 months but my mind took over and I wanted to be the best in golf after I went from 28 to 18 in about 4 months. The bug got me bad I don't think my brain will let me just go out for fun, my fun is playing well. I do hate myself for the way I am wired sometimes.
 

Maninblack4612

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Believe me, if you stop now you'll regret it. As you get older it will be the ONLY sport where you will still have the prospect of improving. If you hit the ball a long way there's no reason why you can't play to low single figures. I know that if I had another 20 to 30 yards I'd knock a few strokes off my index. However anno domini has overtaken me.

You don't say what your weaknesses are but if you spray it about & you can rein in the length a bit & give yourself a short iron from the fairway to the green you shouldn't drop too many shots. It sounds as if you haven't found a coach who suits you yet. Would a playing lesson perhaps highlight the fact that you're adopting the wrong tactics when putting together a round? Have you ever analysed where all the dropped shots are coming from?

I've played golf for 65 years, with a six year break, when the kids were small. I've felt like you at times but every time I go out there's the possibility I'll play really well &, even when I don't, there will be a couple of really good shots to give me delight. Does this not happen to you? Does that not give you enough pleasure?

There isn't more social game than golf. Try having a chat while you're skiing or playing tennis.

Don't be a quitter. Golf is simply harder than most sports to master. NSomeone as young as you who hits it a long way should, with the right advice, play to a low handicap.
 

Blue in Munich

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Good afternoon,

Long time hidden reader on this forum so thought I would start 2022 re-evaluating a few things in my life including a big time and money sink, golf.

Hopefully some advice will steer me right or see some bigger picture I am struggling to see.

In my late 30's, I am currently a 12 handicap (ranging from about 11-14 over the years) golfer and have been playing off and on for about 10-12 years. I am a member of a fantastic golf course with great competitive membership and facilities; everything you could want from a golf club. The big problem is me and I am struggling to get any enjoyment out of the game for the first time since I took it up. I know myself pretty well and my biggest strength is also my biggest achilles heel, which is I am a complete perfectionist. I don't bother continuing with things or wasting time on it if I am not good at it (I know good is a relative term here). I have been fairly successfully sporting wise in my life, competed to a fairly high level in tennis and skiing which is why I am struggling to cope with the fact golf is currently punching me in the face.

I currently just am at a point where I think I simply don't have the skill required to get me any less than a 10-11 handicap and the way my brain works (as mentioned above) I am just thinking about jacking it all in. I have had numerous lessons from 4 coaches lasting 8-10 months per person in the last 4-5 years trying to get me down. I do relentlessly practice between lessons and have spent a lot of money in this department. I have the best fitted clubs I could buy so there isn't a stone unturned. I think I am in denial that I basically am not very good, I get away with keeping my handicap where it is because I do hit the ball a very long way for the average amateur. I did set the goal to get to scratch but I am so far away after all this time its a delusion frame of thought now.

I know some will come on and say well look to other parts of the game for the enjoyment, I do. I chew the fat on the way round, bit of piss taking, bit of gambling for 9,9 and 18 its great but that isn't the main reason I get up and play. I play to be good & in my eyes my goal of being good is to be an extremely low handicap golfer. I can do all that other stuff on WhatsApp and with mates at the pub. I am now in a position where I think I could spend this time on other hobbies I have and I am 90% going off the cliff edge on this one so was just wondering if anyone has been here and what they did. The only thing that hasn't made me jump yet is the club I am in is a once in a lifetime kind of course to be a member at and if I left I wouldn't get back in or get in anywhere remotely as good. I would hate to stop playing and want to pick it up again in a few years time and find that I would have to join a club where the course itself couldn't quite match what I have now.

Any advice would be great.

Cheers John

I severely doubt that anyone on here hasn't at some time fallen out of love with the game; I know I certainly have. The answer in my case was some lessons to get me back on track and meeting some different playing partners, which gave me a different perspective on the game.

When you had your previous lessons, how were the instructors; extremely technical, or did they work with what you had? Getting the right type of instructor will pay dividends. I find it hard to believe that you have too many faults if you can knock it a long way; that's not luck or brute force, there has to be a degree of technique there.

Besides, with that forum name you can't just walk away... :)

Best of luck with the decision.
 

Oddsocks

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You mentioned something interesting here this was the reason I took up golf in the summer in my 20's to give me a release from skiing for 4 months but my mind took over and I wanted to be the best in golf after I went from 28 to 18 in about 4 months. The bug got me bad I don't think my brain will let me just go out for fun, my fun is playing well. I do hate myself for the way I am wired sometimes.

Here’s another way to look on it.

1) during the time you are usually playing golf which you are not enjoying could you be investing that time into the tennis or skiing which you clearly enjoy more.

2) if the answer to above is no you could not invest that time into them sports, what would you do during this time and would you enjoy that more?

3) what would you miss if you quit.

These was the questions I asked myself which then led to

1) what do I want from my golf ?

2) could I get that elsewhere?

It was clear, I wanted to have a giggle with the lads, a bit of breaky etc without it being all around alcohol (meeting at pub etc) and as a shut off from work. I also wanted my shut off not to take a whole day/weekend which my motocross did.

I would guess if you’re competing in tennis and skiing your fitness is important so again something like footy in the pub etc would negatively impact your main sports
 

Grizzly

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Haha as someone who is of a broadly similar mindset, I can sort of empathise. But my advice - and I'm going to be blunt here - is get over yourself.

Context - in everything but golf, I am hyper competitive. I've played cricket and rugby to a very good standard, got myself into hill walking and ended up climbing Mont Blanc out of sheer bloody mindedness. I've driven my better half to distraction with my ability to stew over some small thing that went wrong at the weekend well into the second half of the following week. I do the same at work - I have to be good at everything I do, or I just refuse to do it.

And about three years ago, I got into (technically back into) golf. And I love it - despite being, by any reasonable standard, jaw droppingly awful at it. After the usual earl fluctuations, my handicap has settled in the low 20s, and if I'm honest, I can't even manage that with any consistency. Hell, at the H4H meet I more or less forgot how to hold a club. But...I can appreciate that it is a tough game, and I enjoy all of the parts of it that I maybe didn't in my rugby days because I was so obsessed with not only winning but doing it in what I perceived to be "the right way". There are always moments when the game surprises you, and those ones live much longer than the frustrations - I've dined all winter on a putt holed across and down the 17th green at Northwood immediately after reminding our opponents "I'm still in this hole you know".

So, accept that you will get older, things will get harder (well, not all of them) and you will need to fill your dotage. Be glad of low teens - there are people who would be ecstatic to get close - and perhaps if you let up the tension you'll improve a few shots!
 

Foxholer

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Good afternoon,

Long time hidden reader on this forum so thought I would start 2022 re-evaluating a few things in my life including a big time and money sink, golf.

Hopefully some advice will steer me right or see some bigger picture I am struggling to see.

In my late 30's, I am currently a 12 handicap (ranging from about 11-14 over the years) golfer and have been playing off and on for about 10-12 years. I am a member of a fantastic golf course with great competitive membership and facilities; everything you could want from a golf club. The big problem is me and I am struggling to get any enjoyment out of the game for the first time since I took it up. I know myself pretty well and my biggest strength is also my biggest achilles heel, which is I am a complete perfectionist. I don't bother continuing with things or wasting time on it if I am not good at it (I know good is a relative term here). I have been fairly successfully sporting wise in my life, competed to a fairly high level in tennis and skiing which is why I am struggling to cope with the fact golf is currently punching me in the face.

I currently just am at a point where I think I simply don't have the skill required to get me any less than a 10-11 handicap and the way my brain works (as mentioned above) I am just thinking about jacking it all in. I have had numerous lessons from 4 coaches lasting 8-10 months per person in the last 4-5 years trying to get me down. I do relentlessly practice between lessons and have spent a lot of money in this department. I have the best fitted clubs I could buy so there isn't a stone unturned. I think I am in denial that I basically am not very good, I get away with keeping my handicap where it is because I do hit the ball a very long way for the average amateur. I did set the goal to get to scratch but I am so far away after all this time its a delusion frame of thought now.
I know some will come on and say well look to other parts of the game for the enjoyment, I do. I chew the fat on the way round, bit of piss taking, bit of gambling for 9,9 andits great but that isn't the main reason I get up and play. I play to be good & in my eyes my goal of being good is to be an extremely low handicap golfer. I can do all that other stuff on WhatsApp and with mates at the pub. I am now in a position where I think I could spend this time on other hobbies I have and I am 90% going off the cliff edge on this one so was just wondering if anyone has been here and what they did. The only thing that hasn't made me jump yet is the club I am in is a once in a lifetime kind of course to be a member at and if I left I wouldn't get back in or get in anywhere remotely as good. I would hate to stop playing and want to pick it up again in a few years time and find that I would have to join a club where the course itself couldn't quite match what I have now.

Any advice would be great.

Cheers John
Admit you are never going to be the scratch golfer you were aiming for and start consciously enjoying the other aspects of Golf! Facing up to your own 'inadequacies' is one of the 'hidden lessons' of Golf!
 

Tashyboy

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I think I was 9.9 for one week under the old system a few years ago.

Problem is my weaknesses are numerous :)


Yeah i could ask the club if they would do that but the demand is so high for membership I can see them saying no as they will get paying members to replace me. I know I would miss it if I stopped but the same feelings would quickly return.

heyup Hitogami me man.

If you playing off 12 and hitting it miles. I would suggest your weaknesses are not as numerous as you suggest.
A list of said weaknesses may help. A couple of the posters are very good and would give you the right advice. List them. Sometimes we look at what is bothering us and realise that actually there not that bad.They just need pointing out there not that bad. I get that you want to be single figures, but. Two years of COVID has helped some to re focus, it has helped some to get into golf for the first time. I think your right to question where you are re golf, I don’t think quitting may be the answer.
good luck in your quest me man.
 

HomerJSimpson

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Even at an elite level, golf will still smack you in the face more often than you beat it. Look at how pro golfers who are doing it every day can fluctuate in performance. The OP has a decision. If he can't reconcile not being as good as he hoped even though there is time to improve (and I'd be questioning what he has been working on with the various pros and why he keeps changing) then he'll not find any inner peace. If he can find a way of enjoying the highs we can all get, and ignoring the lows then I am sure he can find a way to enjoy the game.
 

jim8flog

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As the ads about gambling say - when the fun stops - stop.

Just remember though you are not doing this to earn a living so a change of perspective might work.
 

Neeko1988

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I didn’t want to read and not reply. However I was playing off 18 and decided to myself I wanted to knuckle down and do everything I can to get to single figures. I really enjoyed this journey and I’m now down to 3.2 and I did this relatively quickly. However I will say that now I’m down to 3 it’s the least I’ve enjoyed golf.

I find every single shot counts now which can mean my round it basically finished if I have a bad hole or two. Not too mention winning a monthly comp now is basically impossible on the WHS.

What I’m getting at is don’t think if you manage to get low you will enjoy it more as the opposite happened to me. I still
Enjoy the social side though which is the main thing for me.

All the best
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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30yrs ago I was down to 6, since then have have drifted up and up until 13 a few years back. Very frustrating and depressing. Thought about chucking it. But over a few years got it back to 8 but with significant flaws developed getting it back down, and so I went back up to 12. Struggle, struggle and depressing refecting on what was; once more thought about chucking it in; but decided to get lessons and work on it.

Now I am retired and ploughing into my 60s and it’s coming back down. Now 10 but can see the light and if I keep working on my short game and keeping ball in play off the tee, almost irrespective of distance, then I KNOW that my handicap WILL come down - to what I have no idea…and I’m not in the slightest bit bothered about that.

This is what golf is about. It’s bleeding difficult game; and one almost none of us ever come close to mastering…we just look for where we can work on something to bring about an improvement and from that improvement we get satisfaction and ENJOYMENT. And just occasionally, no matter our handicap, it all comes together and we have one of these rounds.

I say keep going; set mind on improving one, maybe two, aspects of your golf…but don‘t set handicap objectives - the handicap will sort itself out off the back of the improvements you achieve.
 
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