Tired of being rubbish...how do I improve?

Backsticks

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Can't hit hybrids for toffee. Thin/top almost every single time. I used to hit a good fairway wood off the deck, but that's gone now too.
There's your solution ! Buy a hybrid, and go to a pro to teach you to hit it. There is no such thing as not really being able to hit a hybrid unless there is some serious flaw in your swing. Good when ball up on a tee - but thinning irons and topping hybrids. Something wrong with angle of attack. Dont walk out until you can hit it. Then buy the other two hybrids. You will be off 12 as quickly as you can get the cards in.
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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1. You hit it far enough unless you're playing 7000 yard courses.
2. Keep the ball in play. Being 20 yards shorter and having a shot is better than being 20 yards further on in deep rough
3. Stop trying so hard. Accept you're going to hit poor shots and when you do make sure you get the ball, back in play
4. Try to keep the double bogeys down by being sensible. Keep the ball in play

I'm not a long hitter these days but I've been single figures for 25 years.
Its not about making birdies.. it's keeping those doubles off the card.

5. Keep the ball in play....
100% correctemundo.

On Saturday my ball striking off the tee and fairway was poor…quite often really awful and a few times complete mishits that went nowhere. But I kept it in play; kept it going in the right direction; recovered position as best I could by playing clubs I knew I could (as opposed to would) recover relatively safely and well with; played low risk (mostly avoiding high pitches requiring decent swings) for approach shots of 75yds or less and so avoided thins, shanks and bunkers; and focussed on trying to putt well - which I did. And off our back tees I knocked it round in 5 over gross, with no doubles and nothing worse than a 5 - though did have one birdie…but just one.

Sounds great, but if you were to ask the guys I played with how good was I…they’d probably shake their heads in bemusement.

But am I bothered how poorly I might consider I played…not a jot or tittle - because it really highlighted to me the importance of @Imurg’s 5 point plan and I’ll just get on with fixing things.

I can score well and have a satisfactory outcome without actually hitting the golf ball very well. And that really helps keep spirits up while I work to improve things. And so it can be for any of us. It’s a very tough game to play well, it’s less tough to score well.
 
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ntommo

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Seems to me like you're down on yourself before you start. Just go out to enjoy it and don't expect too much. Get yourself a good CONSISTENT pre shot routine before EVERY shot and just swing it with maybe one swing thought. You're not alone thinking like this but the 5 holes you played aren't that bad for a 15 handicap.
 

bobmac

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It sounds to me as if you have too many swing thoughts from so many lessons.
You need to simplify everything.

Golf is in its simplest form is all about 2 things
Contact.
Direction.

Before I retired from teaching golf, I used to assess the pupil on these two fundamentals.

I see you miss the target on both sides which suggests to me your swing is slightly out to in and your grip is suspect.
When your weak hand (normally left) is dominant, you fade the ball.
When your strong hand (normally right) is dominant, you pull the ball.
I would strongly suggest you get your grip checked as a neutral grip will improve your consistency. Where you hit it.

How you hit it.
90% of pupils I used to see would sway rather than turn which just adds to the inconsistency.
It's a simple check.
Film yourself on the course from face on and that will show if you are in fact swaying off the ball.
The only cure for this is to try and keep your head still. Again, filming your swing will help show the difference between real and feel. Turn, don't sway.

So one change in the set-up (grip) and one swingthought (head still).
Hope this helps
 

chrisd

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It sounds to me as if you have too many swing thoughts from so many lessons.
You need to simplify everything.

Golf is in its simplest form is all about 2 things
Contact.
Direction.

Before I retired from teaching golf, I used to assess the pupil on these two fundamentals.

I see you miss the target on both sides which suggests to me your swing is slightly out to in and your grip is suspect.
When your weak hand (normally left) is dominant, you fade the ball.
When your strong hand (normally right) is dominant, you pull the ball.
I would strongly suggest you get your grip checked as a neutral grip will improve your consistency. Where you hit it.

How you hit it.
90% of pupils I used to see would sway rather than turn which just adds to the inconsistency.
It's a simple check.
Film yourself on the course from face on and that will show if you are in fact swaying off the ball.
The only cure for this is to try and keep your head still. Again, filming your swing will help show the difference between real and feel. Turn, don't sway.

So one change in the set-up (grip) and one swingthought (head still).
Hope this helps

To be fair this is spot on

When I started the intensive school the first thing the 3 of us had was a video on Trackman. All 3 of us had grips that were not near perfect, we all swayed away to some degree, other detected faults were more a consequence of the main two faults and none of thought we were doing those things.
 

Albo

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Okay 5 holes from my home club last week

1 - Par 4 - Tee shot straight down the middle, second shot missed green right but hit off a bank and rolled to about 15 ft, two putted for par. Bit lucky with the approach but was easy enough.
2 - Par 4 - Decent tee shot, found the fairway but a long way back (into wind), had to hit 6i to reach, when short right into front bunker, up and down from the sand for par. Good up and down saved me here.
3 - Par 4 - Dogleg to the right, playing downwind, so right up my street you'd imagine. Pulled tee shot straight left, just missed trees but still had a shot into the green, then shanked it straight into front right bunker, out first time and 2 putted for bogey.
4 - Par 4 - Tight fairway, cant miss right or left due to oob/trees. Hit the ball, it caught wind, careered off to the right and I got stuck behind a huge tree lucky it didn't go oob, took my medicine and chipped out sideways, then I thinned my third over the back of the green, chipped onto the green to about 15 foot then two putted for a double.
5 - Par 3 - 165 yards but downhill. Tee shot flaired off to the right, in the rough, chipped onto the green, two putt bogey.
6 - Par 5 - Uphill and a bit of a brute into wind, but not particularly long numbers wise. Thinned the tee shot with a driver, it rolled for a bit then decided to roll out to the rough. Second shot tried to play for position and just hit an 8 iron to get back out onto the fairway, 3rd shot topped it into deep bunker, two shots to get out bunker, 2 putt double bogey.

The good, bad and ugly.
Ok so if you look at that and combine with your data versus handicap level you are clearly losing all your shots on your irons. Most of these above are missing short right.
What is your aim when you approach a green? Are you aiming at the pin?
Just by looking at the above id try aiming to the left green fringe with a club that you think will get to the back of the green.

So if flag is front right and front of green is say 120, middle is 135 and back is 150, id play your 150 club with an aim point of back left fringe, you’ll hit more greens that way!

As for your question about getting better after lessons etc, yes you would hope so, though we don’t know what happened at your lesson, what’s your errors and misses were prior to or following lessons.
I’m guessing your ball striking is the problem, it’s too inconsistent. Do you usually take a divot? Where is the divot in real to the ball (starting before the ball, at the ball or after the ball?). Try moving your low point forwards that will promote better strike, to practice this if you have a grass area/range you can hit off or at least swing a club off, put 2 tees in the ground level with where the ball would be in your stance about 5 ball width’s apart and take a practice swing, try to move your divot past the tees (in the direction you are aiming), if you can get your divot to start at or after the tees consistently with and have the Sam intention with the ball your strike will be better, once you have a more consistent strike you can look at changing swing path or whatever you want, but if it were me, looking at what you posted I’d work on strike for the time being
 

IanM

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All handicap golfers miss greens! (So do Pros, only less often!!) Scores will come down if you can get down in two more often when you do miss! Practice that more! A good chipper and putter is a match for anyone!

Silly story coming! (But is a good example of a scoring mindset!)

Old guy at Newport didn't hit it far, was always coming up short of a par 3 and in a deep nasty bunker that he rarely got out of first time. He started "laying up" short of the bunkers, a pitch on and two putts he made more 4s than anything higher. He took 5,6,7 out of play. I guess he could have bemoaned his lack of distance, but he understood where he was losing shots, so he found a fix!

And b) listen to @bobmac he is often too sensible for this forum! ;) :ROFLMAO:
 
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Lord Tyrion

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On the hybrid front, I've had years of inconsistencies, improved to straight but largely thinned. If you want to know how to hit a daisy cutter, I was your man. About 6 weeks ago I had a lesson with a different pro. He changed my backswing and my thought process as I'm hitting the ball. Different beast. Yes I can get it wrong still, my fault, but now I have a formula that works for hitting it straight and more importantly, in the air. Revolutionary.

The point of the above is, as someone has already said, get a lesson with someone specifically on that club. Maybe someone you haven't used before, different eyes. (I deliberately haven't said what worked for me as it could be completely irrelevant to what you need)
 

RichA

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All handicap golfers miss greens! (So do Pros, only less often!!) Scores will come down is you can get down in two more often when you do miss! Practice that more! A good chipper and putter is a match for anyone!

Silly story coming! (But is a good example of a scoring mindset!)

Old guy at Newport didn't hit it far, was always coming up short of a par 3 and in a deep nasty bunker that he rarely got out of first time. He started "laying up" short of the bunkers, a pitch on and two putts he made more 4s than anything higher. He took 5,6,7 out of play. I guess he could have bemoaned his lack of distance, but he understood where he was losing shots, so he found a fix!

And b) listen to @bobmac he is often too sensible for this forum! ;) :ROFLMAO:
Your silly story is bang on, for amateur recreational golfers.
Like any other skill, there's a limit on our abilities. However much we practice or take lessons we will, at some point, hit our personal ceiling.
Nothing wrong with endeavouring to improve but there's something to be said for recognising personal limits and working within them.
Assuming you can learn extra talent is a recipe for extended golfing misery.
 

Swango1980

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Everyone has a limit, I suppose. And that limit is probably proportional to the amount of time we play / practice.

When I was at my best, it wasn't really anything to do with lessons. I just spent time at the range, and also played a lot of golf (Saturday and Sunday, plus after work a lot in the summer). I'd go out often as a solo golfer, maybe play 3 or 4 balls, and play approaches to greens (i.e. proper shots, not driving range shots into open space). I'd get to a green, throw about 10 balls down and chip around it for 5-10 minutes. Even during social golf, I'd always choose to chip the ball from just off the green, even on the fringe. It got to the point that I generally averaged around 26 putts a round, and could often shoot low 70's (par 70) or even just under par, yet only hit 4-5 greens in regulation. A chip and run become so second nature, that it felt easier than a 15+ foot putt

You do stuff like that a lot, you just get better without even knowing it. Golf is just as frustrating as ever, as your expectations change and so you still get annoyed by relatively bad shots, but handicap tumbles. I managed to get down to 6 (pre WHS, so might have been an index around 5ish), having started the first few years around 15-18.

The move to a course further away. Barely play midweek ever, nor go to the range. Still play Saturday and Sunday, but handicap index now up around 9, with course handicap of 11. Injury hasn't made me worse, and I'm still many years from being a senior and having flexibility issues. But I just don't play as much, and so I'm not as good. My chipping has also become much more of a struggle

So, if you want to get better, play lots if you can. Lessons can be very good, especially with a good pro. But only if you are prepared to sacrifice the time and have patience. Otherwise they can be a huge waste of time. Clearly a lesson will identify at least one thing you could be doing better. But, even if you have the worst, most unnatural swing ever, changing even the slightest thing to make it better will actually feel horrific, as it isn't natural to you. Furthermore, even if you change that thing, there will then probably be other issues within your swing that cause huge problems, as before they worked as they compensated for the flaw you are now trying to fix. So, after a lesson you probably need to embrace the fact you are going to play horrifically for a while, but commit to the change. At best, your body will gradually eliminate other flaws that are no longer required due to the change you are making, although it might require follow up lessons every few weeks if it hasn't happened naturally.

One last thing, if you are a bit geeky. I have a Garmin golf watch, that measures my yardage (just set it to measure from spot I played from, and then it will tell me how far away I am from that point when I get to where ball ended up). Everytime I hit a decent shot, I recorded the yardage. I also took a note of what I felt the wind was doing (none, light, medium, strong and into or behind), and logged the yardage for every wind type for every club. Tended to keep the record of last 20 shots for any club / wind type to get an average distance. Updated my Excel spreadsheet after each round. I then had the confidence of how far I could hit every club in the bag, and that makes a difference. Even if you only strike it well 50% of the time, at least you know you should be rewarded by being a good length on 50% of your shots.
 

SwingsitlikeHogan

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Your silly story is bang on, for amateur recreational golfers.
Like any other skill, there's a limit on our abilities. However much we practice or take lessons we will, at some point, hit our personal ceiling.
Nothing wrong with endeavouring to improve but there's something to be said for recognising personal limits and working within them.
Assuming you can learn extra talent is a recipe for extended golfing misery.
Yup. Work out what you can safely and consistently achieve - and that might be nowhere near what you feel you are capable of. Stabilise your scoring. Look for the low-hanging fruit in your scoring and work out how you can pluck it - one piece of fruit at a time. I’d be a bit surprised if it wasn’t around your course and game management, and short game.
 

Imurg

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We have an uphill par 3 that, off the back tee, can play as much as 220 yards even though it's less than 200.
3 bunkers in front with about 2 or 3 yards between them.
CVG always tries to make the green even though his driver goes 220 including roll..
He hopes for one of the gaps, ends up in the bunker, takes 2 to get out and then 3 putts....
I've been telling him for years to lay up short, pitch on, 2 putts and walk with a bogey.
Will he do it?
Not getting cold enough in Hell yet.......
 

ThinBullet

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I went from 17 to 11 last season.

Reason? I stopped buying drivers that were not designed for me. I bought a Ping G410 LST and couldn't miss a fairway. It replaced a Stealth Plus, and while it looked good, it was devastating for my game. Confidence grew with the Ping.
I also started working on yardages in from 100. Two wedges 4 degrees apart, and hit even numbers with one, and odd with the other. So I had my 54 going 40, 60 & 80, and my 50 going 50, 70 and 90 with a more full swing at 100, to match my 110 PW.

Dialled all that in, then dropped like a stone. Kept the doubles off the card, the recovery shots, and the penalty strokes.
 

Barking_Mad

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I think it's worth pointing out that you can gain distance by improving your strike, and thus lifting up the poorer tee shots, rather than just focusing on hitting the ball further. (which might just make matters worse).

If you've got it on a your stats take a look at your average drive distance vs your longest drive for each round. The closer you can get these numbers the further you're going to be driving it.

Also approach shots.... If you're leaving your short irons short of green then obviously take more club. But be careful with longer iron approaches. It's easy to get sucked into choosing a hybrid over a 6 iron and ending up in a terrible spot rather than leaving yourself a simple chip up the green.

Obviously if you need to get better with longer clubs, but sometimes straight and short is better than long and wild! This is why stats don't always help when someone says 'take more club'.
 

IanMcC

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With distance figures like you have, and you constantly saying that you hit it 'short', you will alienate half of the people on here, definitely including 11 handicapper me, who is 10% short of you on every club! You cant seem to hit anything straight, by the looks of it, though.
I agree with comments above. Learn to hit hybrids. Maybe something to close that 30 yard gap between 7w and 5iron. They are more consistent for most golfers I know, and definitely easier to hit.
 

Captain_Black.

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First of all, you need clubs that are easy to hit & most importantly keep the ball in play.
You don't need the longest, you need the most forgiving.
Once that's sorted, it's all about having the right mind set, good course management & keeping it in play.
Keep it out of the trees, practice the chips & bump & runs around the greens & try not to 3x putt.
 

Backache

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A personal opinion and I may be wrong it looks like your driving is at least satisfactory and your short game fairly decent, If the strokes gained is accurate. However your approach play is weak both from strokes gained and from your own description.

To me this suggests that you may have issues with consistent ball striking when not playing from a tee.
I might be inclined to look at drills for ball striking and practice hitting shots not just on the range but off different lies working on solid contact.
 

Backsticks

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I went from 17 to 11 last season.

Reason? I stopped buying drivers that were not designed for me. I bought a Ping G410 LST and couldn't miss a fairway. It replaced a Stealth Plus, and while it looked good, it was devastating for my game. Confidence grew with the Ping.
I also started working on yardages in from 100. Two wedges 4 degrees apart, and hit even numbers with one, and odd with the other. So I had my 54 going 40, 60 & 80, and my 50 going 50, 70 and 90 with a more full swing at 100, to match my 110 PW.

Dialled all that in, then dropped like a stone. Kept the doubles off the card, the recovery shots, and the penalty strokes.
😲
Did you just use 'dialled in' seriously there ?
 
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