The journey from 28 to 18, 18 to 12, 12 to 9 and 9 to 5

Stan Yarmez

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Thanks for taking the time to write this post it makes me feel a whole lot better about my situation.
I contracted the virus 8 months ago and am now a fully paid up owner of a 28 handicap. I've been beating myself up over last couple of weeks because I am just so inconsistent. I feel like I'm doing everything in my power to get that first cut but it just isn't quite there yet. Lessons got me to break 100 for the first time, twice weekly range sessions have seen my iron play go from almost inevitable thin bullets to things that look like golf shots. The chipping green is my current best friend which is nice. But come comp day and it all deserts me and I'm back to carding 8 & 9s. That being said I do feel like there is a decent golfer desperately trying to break through but the hacker just keeps pushing him back under and waiting until the bubbles stop. Fingers crossed and with the wind in the right direction it's only a matter of time.
 

Curls

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Thanks for taking the time to write this post it makes me feel a whole lot better about my situation.

No worries, yeah it's just a matter of figuring out where your bad shots come from and not allowing them to create more problems. I posted this elsewhere but worth repeating if this is your main issue at the moment.

Did you ever stand over a putt or a shot and think something wasn't right?

Ever question your choice of shot or club moments before take away?

Ever make your mind up to play one shot, and then as you stand over the ball think of another and then play that?

Or just not really have a completely defined plan before taking the shot at all? This in particular around the green.

If you've done any of the above and taken the shot, you're asking for a nightmare. The brain requires at least 5, maybe 10 seconds to change the message already sent to your muscles when you envisage a shot. And if there's something in the way of the communication, like feeling something isnt right, or thinking of something completely different to executing the shot, then the result will rarely be the one you want. Nightmares occur as the result of bad shots, usually compounded by another bad shot. But what causes that? We have inconsistent swings, no question, and you cant reply on the swing being capable of producing the desired result every time. But what you can do at any level is program your mind, the more committed you are to the shot the greater the chance you have of achieving it.

And if you stayed in the moment and messed up the shot with a dodgy swing, be kind to yourself, no point beating yourself up over a bad swing when you play golf recreationally. The only thing you can do is make the right choice for the next shot, and give that 100%.

Happy golfing Stan!
 

Mitchell89

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This looks like solid advice. I'm currently a 21 handicap having been 24 earlier in the year. Keeping the ball in play from the tee is definitely my biggest weakness and I think I should start to hit my hybrid more often than my driver.
 

Simbo

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9-5 is a massive difference in skill level IMO. While I have seen 5 cappers with unorthodox swings these guys tend to have been playing for donkey's years, and although they aren't technically good, they know what's going to happen and how the ball will react. Iv seen plenty 9 cappers with dodgy swings that play once or twice a week. I done so myself, but I found that each small swing flaw I had was being brutally exposed as I came down towards CAT 1. I invested in lessons at this point. Going from 9-5 is about concsistency IMO. Being just that little bit closer with your wedges, I worked on these relentlessly, still do. being a little bit better with your mid irons. A little bit better in your head. I very seldom practice 5 irons and below, as amateurs we simply aren't consistently accurate enough to worry about them. The work you put in to get to 9 will probably need to double to get to 5, and for double the work you'll get half the results you did at a higher handicap, this is where most people fall by the wayside as they aren't seeing as big a progression as they did coming down from 28-9. And they become disillusioned. This is where you find out how much you want it. Double the work for half the progression rate. Late nights at sundown on a quiet course chipping and putting, launch monitor sessions to evaluate your driving skills, putting sessions at 6.30am before you go to work. How much do YOU want it???
And you probably won't crash into CAT 1 either, you'll more than likely scrape in unnoticed and then slip back out again the following few weeks. Rub of the green!
Most of all enjoy it and NEVER EVER give in.
 

Curls

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9-5 is a massive difference in skill level IMO.

Thanks for the reply Simbo! Very interesting reading, the main points I took/address are

Being just that little bit closer with your wedges

Yep I copped that already, definitely needs improvement, I've replaced my crumby old MD 52* with a shiney new Ping Gorge which should be here by next week. Also lost faith in my ability to use the beautiful Vega sand wedge so replacing it with a Vokey 56*. Not only will these clubs probably suit me better but they'll also provide the impetus to get out and practice hard with just them.

I very seldom practice 5 irons and below, as amateurs we simply aren't consistently accurate enough to worry about them.

Very interesting concept, I think I probably go through the bag fairly regularly at the range but you're right, perhaps fewer strikes with the 4i, 4h and 3h are actually required. Nice advice.

This is where you find out how much you want it. Double the work for half the progression rate.
That’s what I was afraid of
How much do YOU want it???
That’s what I don’t know. And I guess even having the doubt means I’m in trouble, right?! I love my golf, I don’t want it to become a chore. I play once a week, twice if I’m very lucky, maybe range once a week too. If that has to step up then I probably won’t enjoy it as much. Unlike some on here I actually enjoy spending time with my misses ;) So I don’t want it enough to affect home life.

And you probably won't crash into CAT 1 either, you'll more than likely scrape in unnoticed and then slip back out again the following few weeks.
That’s an interesting thing and when I consider the 0.2 and 0.1 cuts at these low numbers it makes complete sense.
Most of all enjoy it and NEVER EVER give in.
I guess I need to have a long think about what I want to do with my golf. I am fully aware Cat 1 won’t come to me. I guess up til recently it wasn’t even on my radar as something I could realistically achieve. Obvs I can’t with the game I have, it’ll be a lot of improvement and work. Do I want it?
Mmmm….

Thanks for the response chap seriously, food for thought
 

Region3

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I disagree a little bit with Simbo, in that I've got to 5 without being great with my wedges. At the moment they are shocking, anything from 40-80yds is lucky to finish within 20'.
I know I need to practice them, but range balls are useless for anything to do with distance so it's taking me a while to get round to getting on the course (or par 3 course) to do it.

I hovered around 10-12 for a couple of years, then went from 10 to 8 in a few weeks with improved putting.
The following year I went from 8 to 6 with improved chipping.

Getting from 6 to 5 was just a little more consistency in my mid range game, hitting 1 or 2 more greens, and putting mid/short irons a little closer to the hole.

I guess there's more than one way to get there, but the above was my route.


Playing off 5 I can find to be more than a little demoralising. You just can't afford to screw up like you can off higher single figures.
A few mistakes yes, but the big miss is a no-no.

Case in point last Saturday. Played really solid to be +1 after 17 then lose my tee ball on 18. Bogey with the provisional for a 7, and even though it's a 6 for hc purposes I've played a really good round of golf with 1 tiny screw up and got a 0.1 cut for my troubles.

If I go back up to 6 in the short term I'd be confident of getting back to 5, because every now and then I'll throw a 73/74 in and the 0.2/shot moves you quick enough.
Getting to 4 from 5 though with 0.1/shot is another level, and one which my current game isn't at.
 

patricks148

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9-5 is a massive difference in skill level IMO. While I have seen 5 cappers with unorthodox swings these guys tend to have been playing for donkey's years, and although they aren't technically good, they know what's going to happen and how the ball will react. Iv seen plenty 9 cappers with dodgy swings that play once or twice a week. I done so myself, but I found that each small swing flaw I had was being brutally exposed as I came down towards CAT 1. I invested in lessons at this point. Going from 9-5 is about concsistency IMO. Being just that little bit closer with your wedges, I worked on these relentlessly, still do. being a little bit better with your mid irons. A little bit better in your head. I very seldom practice 5 irons and below, as amateurs we simply aren't consistently accurate enough to worry about them. The work you put in to get to 9 will probably need to double to get to 5, and for double the work you'll get half the results you did at a higher handicap, this is where most people fall by the wayside as they aren't seeing as big a progression as they did coming down from 28-9. And they become disillusioned. This is where you find out how much you want it. Double the work for half the progression rate. Late nights at sundown on a quiet course chipping and putting, launch monitor sessions to evaluate your driving skills, putting sessions at 6.30am before you go to work. How much do YOU want it???
And you probably won't crash into CAT 1 either, you'll more than likely scrape in unnoticed and then slip back out again the following few weeks. Rub of the green!
Most of all enjoy it and NEVER EVER give in.

I disagree a little bit with Simbo, in that I've got to 5 without being great with my wedges. At the moment they are shocking, anything from 40-80yds is lucky to finish within 20'.
I know I need to practice them, but range balls are useless for anything to do with distance so it's taking me a while to get round to getting on the course (or par 3 course) to do it.

I hovered around 10-12 for a couple of years, then went from 10 to 8 in a few weeks with improved putting.
The following year I went from 8 to 6 with improved chipping.

Getting from 6 to 5 was just a little more consistency in my mid range game, hitting 1 or 2 more greens, and putting mid/short irons a little closer to the hole.

I guess there's more than one way to get there, but the above was my route.


Playing off 5 I can find to be more than a little demoralising. You just can't afford to screw up like you can off higher single figures.
A few mistakes yes, but the big miss is a no-no.

Case in point last Saturday. Played really solid to be +1 after 17 then lose my tee ball on 18. Bogey with the provisional for a 7, and even though it's a 6 for hc purposes I've played a really good round of golf with 1 tiny screw up and got a 0.1 cut for my troubles.

If I go back up to 6 in the short term I'd be confident of getting back to 5, because every now and then I'll throw a 73/74 in and the 0.2/shot moves you quick enough.
Getting to 4 from 5 though with 0.1/shot is another level, and one which my current game isn't at.

Yep i also disagree with you about the diff between 9 and 5.

I 'm a no better driver than i was when i was off 9 and i don't hit my irons any better and have certainly not played for donkeys years.

The difference, i take my medicine if i hit a bad shot and am a better putter.
 

HickoryShaft

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Great post!

Not only interesting reading and great tips for all but very helpful to be able to see the same issues through someone elses perspective and realise that it isn't just me!.

After droping a couple of shots each season recently I have been static around 15 and despite good showings on bounce games really not putting it togehther when it counts. Some of the thought processes you suggest are just what I needed to realise my areas I need to focus on to keep the movement forward going.
 

Simbo

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I disagree a little bit with Simbo, in that I've got to 5 without being great with my wedges. At the moment they are shocking, anything from 40-80yds is lucky to finish within 20'.
I know I need to practice them, but range balls are useless for anything to do with distance so it's taking me a while to get round to getting on the course (or par 3 course) to do it.

I hovered around 10-12 for a couple of years, then went from 10 to 8 in a few weeks with improved putting.
The following year I went from 8 to 6 with improved chipping.

Getting from 6 to 5 was just a little more consistency in my mid range game, hitting 1 or 2 more greens, and putting mid/short irons a little closer to the hole.

I guess there's more than one way to get there, but the above was my route.


Playing off 5 I can find to be more than a little demoralising. You just can't afford to screw up like you can off higher single figures.
A few mistakes yes, but the big miss is a no-no.

Case in point last Saturday. Played really solid to be +1 after 17 then lose my tee ball on 18. Bogey with the provisional for a 7, and even though it's a 6 for hc purposes I've played a really good round of golf with 1 tiny screw up and got a 0.1 cut for my troubles.

If I go back up to 6 in the short term I'd be confident of getting back to 5, because every now and then I'll throw a 73/74 in and the 0.2/shot moves you quick enough.
Getting to 4 from 5 though with 0.1/shot is another level, and one which my current game isn't at.

I agree with what you've said there, but it's minimal differences that make the difference at mid single figure level. Hitting that one more green/fairway a round.
I never said great with wedges but a 5 capper needs to be a little bit better than a 9 capper. 20 ft isn't that bad from 80 yards tbh, not great from 40 though.
The 40-80 range is the most difficult range in golf IMO and the difference between low single figures and mid singles. I know it was the most glaring difference between me and my ex playing partner (0-+3 capper). Although he was a little bit better all round the difference wasn't as big as in that 40-80 range.
All IMO of course.
 

Curls

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Thanks Region3, Patricks148, I guess it depends on what your strengths were to get to 9, some folk are better at certains aspects either naturally or through greater application in those areas, so its the other areas they need to see improvement in to take them down significantly.

What I do understand is that its a long way to go, and life in Cat 1 is difficult to maintain when an error or two can make an otherwise solid round of golf a costly +0.1. A tip of the cap to all those who live/have lived it.
 

patricks148

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Thanks Region3, Patricks148, I guess it depends on what your strengths were to get to 9, some folk are better at certains aspects either naturally or through greater application in those areas, so its the other areas they need to see improvement in to take them down significantly.

What I do understand is that its a long way to go, and life in Cat 1 is difficult to maintain when an error or two can make an otherwise solid round of golf a costly +0.1. A tip of the cap to all those who live/have lived it.


I suppose i was always pretty straight off the tee, though not long as such.

Biggest difference for me is not the only getting cut 0.1, its the only 1 shot buffer now
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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Great post curls. @10 I'm in your 9-12 band - and though I got to 6 a long time ago I pretty much have known for quite some time that I can't get back there without lessons - but I have been in denial. I have to tell myself that I can't do it by myself - but so far I haven't absolutely accepted that. Your post tells me that I must and I now feel that acceptance in me - and hope has sprung :)
 

Curls

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Great post curls. @10 I'm in your 9-12 band - and though I got to 6 a long time ago I pretty much have known for quite some time that I can't get back there without lessons - but I have been in denial. I have to tell myself that I can't do it by myself - but so far I haven't absolutely accepted that. Your post tells me that I must and I now feel that acceptance in me - and hope has sprung :)

What a lovely, unexpected result - don't let the grass grow now and get stuck in, good man :)
 
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