What to do next?

TigerTime

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Hello,

So, played on and off for a few years until last year where I got my first membership, took winter off completely then back at it again from March this year. Got my first official handicap from WHS of 23.4.

In between this time golf has literally consumed my mind almost every day, I've done so much research, reading, listening and watching in an attempt to try and improve and become more consistent. I had 3 lessons last year with a coach with a good reputation and who is slightly more expensive than average around here. He changed my grip, then gave me drills for hip rotation which I then went away and worked on. They worked to some extent, but I wasn't scoring any better. I then went back after a month for lesson number two and he got me doing the complete opposite to what he told me to change the last time. So I went away once again and practiced, went back for lesson 3 and he then completely changed it up again. I left each of those two lessons completely frustrated and feeling low on confidence despite understanding what and why he wanted me to change it, I couldn't figure out why he kept flip flopping. I just got the impression I was being taken as a bit of a mug.

So I made the decision just to not go see him again as it really never done anything for my game despite me putting in lots of practice and effort and money into it. I then just went along and played instead of worrying about swings. Sure enough I started to figure little things out on my own over the months as time went by and I played more and my handicap index is now down to 18.5. I've also been labelled at the club as a bit of a bandit as I am capable of shooting 84 one day, then 98 the next. I'm so inconsistent. I must be doing something right at least surely or is it just because I'm playing 2/3 times a week? My putting has improved, so if my putter is working then I tend to score alright for me.

I decided I wanted to improve further on that and decided to go for another lesson, this time with a different coach just to see how we got on. He diagnosed that I was bringing the club inside on the takeaway and opening the face, which meant I was having to work really hard on the downswing to try and square the face and that was leading to inconsistent shots. He kept it really simple, gave me a very, very basic drill. Thought I'd give it a go at least, and I did practice with it, but I've seen absolutely zero improvement with it at all in a few weeks. I can do the drill easily and I understand what he is trying to get me to do, but I can't put a swing together with it and strike the ball properly.

I am trying to look at the positives, I met a good group of guys who I play with regularly, I've somehow managed to get my handicap down by 5 shots in the space of 4 months and I won a competition this year. But it just sucks, because I know I am capable of better, but I just can't get things to work. That's two different coaches I've tried over the year, and by all means I do not expect instant results, I've went away for a month after each lesson and practiced and I just end up even worse than what I was before the lesson. It gets me down and it's got to the point where I don't really enjoy playing as much now. I've seen one of the guys I play with, he's went from playing off 19 to 7 in about 6 months. Never had a lesson. Yet here I am, so determined to improve, spending my hard earned cash on lessons, practicing almost every day even just 10 minutes here or there if thats all the time I have, and still being so inconsistent. My swing is inconsistent, my ball striking is inconsistent and my scoring is inconsistent, and it just sucks. I have the distance to be a single figure handicapper, but I don't feel as if I am getting anywhere. I think the only reason I've dropped shots off my handicap is because of regular play time and knowing the course, not because I've improved as a golfer. I'm thinking of just packing it in to be honest. I don't expect to be consistent like a pro or anything either, I'm aware I'll never be that consistent and I'm aware that improving takes time, but it's been a year, and I've not improved from a technique standpoint. If anything, I've got more physically fit and stronger over the last year due to regular gym time too, so it's not like I've piled on the weight or whatever. From a physical fitness standpoint I haven't been this fit since my early 20's. I'm 30 now.

I don't know what to do now. I took week off from golf altogether not that long ago, and it helped as I was excited to get back out playing after not playing for a week, but I'm just getting more frustrated and disheartened as time goes on. Not sure what to do now to be honest, for me apart from the social side the best part of the game is knowing you have the technique and ability to hit the shot you want, and when you pull it off it's a great feeling. That's all I want really, that and to eventually be single figures but I can't keep going through this cycle of lessons - practice - playing - not improving.
 

Miller

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I’m no expert at all, but it sounds as though you’re over thinking and over playing.

It might be worth taking two or three weeks off and realigning your thinking - aim to just enjoy playing golf instead of being fixated on improving your handicap. The more you relax, the more comfortable you’ll be and the more you’ll enjoy the game. Hopefully being more relaxed will result in a natural lowering of your handicap.
 

TigerTime

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I'd agree with that, but it's not just about improving my handicap for me. I want a better technique too, for some more consistency and longevity.. I want to be able to stand up to my ball, picture the shot I want and execute it. I can't even predict what's going to come just now.
 

Miller

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Just ask someone to take a slow motion video of you taking a swing. You should have enough experience to see what’s happening. Do this a few times and you should be able to see the variations.
 

IanM

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There's no guarantee a coach has a style that suits you. Find another one.

Chill a bit. People improve at different speeds, and it is not linear. :)

Lots of 18 handicappers score the range you are... as you remove errors, scores will improve. Errors are not just bad swings.

Read some Harvey Pennick. Its entertaining and contains some real nuggets!
 

Imurg

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Whilst not wishing to put even more of a downer on things and not for one moment suggesting that you won't improve, I think its important to realise that the majority of golfers will never break 80..Golf is Hard is the saying....it is.
Some people never get even half decent at it.
Manage your expectations - it's a long hard road.
 

jim8flog

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I've also been labelled at the club as a bit of a bandit as I am capable of shooting 84 one day, then 98 the next. I'm so inconsistent. I must be doing something right at least surely or is it just because I'm playing 2/3 times a week? My putting has improved, so if my putter is working then I tend to score alright for me.

I.

Welcome to my world and I have been playing for over 30 years, although my lows are a bit lower.
 

Depreston

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Hello,

So, played on and off for a few years until last year where I got my first membership, took winter off completely then back at it again from March this year. Got my first official handicap from WHS of 23.4.

In between this time golf has literally consumed my mind almost every day, I've done so much research, reading, listening and watching in an attempt to try and improve and become more consistent. I had 3 lessons last year with a coach with a good reputation and who is slightly more expensive than average around here. He changed my grip, then gave me drills for hip rotation which I then went away and worked on. They worked to some extent, but I wasn't scoring any better. I then went back after a month for lesson number two and he got me doing the complete opposite to what he told me to change the last time. So I went away once again and practiced, went back for lesson 3 and he then completely changed it up again. I left each of those two lessons completely frustrated and feeling low on confidence despite understanding what and why he wanted me to change it, I couldn't figure out why he kept flip flopping. I just got the impression I was being taken as a bit of a mug.

So I made the decision just to not go see him again as it really never done anything for my game despite me putting in lots of practice and effort and money into it. I then just went along and played instead of worrying about swings. Sure enough I started to figure little things out on my own over the months as time went by and I played more and my handicap index is now down to 18.5. I've also been labelled at the club as a bit of a bandit as I am capable of shooting 84 one day, then 98 the next. I'm so inconsistent. I must be doing something right at least surely or is it just because I'm playing 2/3 times a week? My putting has improved, so if my putter is working then I tend to score alright for me.

I decided I wanted to improve further on that and decided to go for another lesson, this time with a different coach just to see how we got on. He diagnosed that I was bringing the club inside on the takeaway and opening the face, which meant I was having to work really hard on the downswing to try and square the face and that was leading to inconsistent shots. He kept it really simple, gave me a very, very basic drill. Thought I'd give it a go at least, and I did practice with it, but I've seen absolutely zero improvement with it at all in a few weeks. I can do the drill easily and I understand what he is trying to get me to do, but I can't put a swing together with it and strike the ball properly.

I am trying to look at the positives, I met a good group of guys who I play with regularly, I've somehow managed to get my handicap down by 5 shots in the space of 4 months and I won a competition this year. But it just sucks, because I know I am capable of better, but I just can't get things to work. That's two different coaches I've tried over the year, and by all means I do not expect instant results, I've went away for a month after each lesson and practiced and I just end up even worse than what I was before the lesson. It gets me down and it's got to the point where I don't really enjoy playing as much now. I've seen one of the guys I play with, he's went from playing off 19 to 7 in about 6 months. Never had a lesson. Yet here I am, so determined to improve, spending my hard earned cash on lessons, practicing almost every day even just 10 minutes here or there if thats all the time I have, and still being so inconsistent. My swing is inconsistent, my ball striking is inconsistent and my scoring is inconsistent, and it just sucks. I have the distance to be a single figure handicapper, but I don't feel as if I am getting anywhere. I think the only reason I've dropped shots off my handicap is because of regular play time and knowing the course, not because I've improved as a golfer. I'm thinking of just packing it in to be honest. I don't expect to be consistent like a pro or anything either, I'm aware I'll never be that consistent and I'm aware that improving takes time, but it's been a year, and I've not improved from a technique standpoint. If anything, I've got more physically fit and stronger over the last year due to regular gym time too, so it's not like I've piled on the weight or whatever. From a physical fitness standpoint I haven't been this fit since my early 20's. I'm 30 now.

I don't know what to do now. I took week off from golf altogether not that long ago, and it helped as I was excited to get back out playing after not playing for a week, but I'm just getting more frustrated and disheartened as time goes on. Not sure what to do now to be honest, for me apart from the social side the best part of the game is knowing you have the technique and ability to hit the shot you want, and when you pull it off it's a great feeling. That's all I want really, that and to eventually be single figures but I can't keep going through this cycle of lessons - practice - playing - not improving.

I’ve went from 21 to 18 in 2017 then 18 to 15 2018

2019 was a tough one and I hit a bit of a plateau ended up floating around 15 all summer and was disheartened probably where you are

2020 was crazy and I flew down and broke 80 in multiple comps 9.6 was my HI when WHS came out and 9.2 has been my lowest this year I would never have thought I could get to that and keep it at that... the games frustrating and plateaus are normal you’ll get lower than 18

Marcus bells videos (zengolfmechanic on youtube) was the catalyst for my huge drop last year his philosophy clicked with me

check him out it’s a different approach from inside takeaways and hitting positions in the swing
 

JustOne

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Apr 6, 2009
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March you were 23 now you are 18
5 shots dropped in a few months - that's pretty darn good - by Christmas you'll be off 13 :p

Most forumers h/caps haven't changed in years!! (despite their amazing knowledge)
 

Bratty

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You're practicing for a month between lessons, but are you sure you're practicing exactly what he wants you to do? I've been guilty in the past of having a lesson and then thinking I'm practicing what he taught me, going back after a month and finding out I'd either underdone or overdone the drill and have ruined the potential fix.
Practice makes permanent, not perfect. So maybe consider having another lesson if you got on with the guy, practice three or four times in the week and then see him a week after to check (and dont play a round of golf in that week, just practice).
I know that's more expensive up front, but you may find it saves you money in the long term not needing so many fixing lessons.
Also, read "Golf is not a game of perfect", by Dr. Bob Rotella; it'll give you an interesting perspective on the game.
Don't beat yourself up. As others have said, this is a game for the longhaul! Enjoy the journey!
 

Orikoru

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I don't think anyone needs lessons, unless you have a game-breaking fault like a huge slice or can't get the ball off the ground. There's no substitute for just getting out on the course and playing more. You seem to be massively overthinking it and risking death by a thousand swing thoughts. The thing I try and remember most of all is, golf is supposed to be fun, not hard work. Just breathe and try and enjoy it a bit more. Don't beat yourself up on bad holes, just walk it off and enjoy the good stuff. No matter how bad you play it's better than being in the office or shopping with the wife, and there's always a pint at the end of it.

Also, read "Golf is not a game of perfect", by Dr. Bob Rotella; it'll give you an interesting perspective on the game.
This is good advice, I also read this book a couple of years back and it genuinely change my mindset on the course. I still get frustrated sometimes obviously but nowadays I manage to let that frustration go before I tee off the next hole, and it makes a world of difference. As opposed to holding onto it and one bad hole becomes three bad holes on the trot.
 
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