When you haven't played the game for a long time.....

Don Barzini

Assistant Pro
Jul 4, 2017
I'm an infrequent golfer with an unofficial handicap of 24. Usually when I play, I have far too many duff shots, lose far too many balls, miss far too many putts etc. Plus I have this natural fade to my long shots which I can't seem to get rid of.

I've spent plenty of time on the range and in lessons in the past and have improved a bit. But not to the degree I hoped for with the range time and lesson time I'd invested in. Then COVID came along which scuppered golf for me. So (prior to the weekend just gone) I hadn't played for around two years.

This weekend saw me play two rounds of golf with some friends. It had been in the diary for a while, so I'd been to the range last week for a session. But apart from that, as said I hadn't picked the clubs up for two years. With that in mind, I wasn't expecting it to be pretty.

Well I played the best golf of my life! Virtually everything dead straight, hardly any duff shots. Pitching was great, even putting (which is usually a very weak area of my game) was good.

For whatever reason, my head was just in a good place. When standing over a shot, I just had two thoughts going through my head - keep your head down and don't try and swing too fast. I was able to picture the shot and somehow deliver it. In the past I've had all the stuff from lessons going through my head and that's what's messed me up.

I have actually found this before. If I don't play for a while, I play better than I do when coming off the back of a load of lessons and range time. It should be the other way round shouldn't it?!?!?!

Has anyone else had a break from golf and found this sort of thing happens?


Tour Winner
Nov 1, 2016
Coming back from both lockdowns I have generally played pretty well. I think sometimes a long break helps you forget some bad habits that you might have picked up where you were compensating for certain things, and helps you reset back to the basics.


Journeyman Pro
May 20, 2017
The first rounds after lockdown 1 and lock down 2 were two of my best.

My problem is playing too much really and getting tired.


Apr 1, 2010
I think for me, it comes down to expectation and pressure. I don't have any natural ability and didn't start young so need to practice to become OK / consistent.

Hence first round back when I haven't played for a while, I don't expect to be much good and I can play what's in front of me a bit more and just try and put a swing on it. I tend to play alright and surprise myself. Often, the first round back after a lay off is OK followed by a dip in scores in the rounds thereafter.

As the more I practise, the more pressure there is to deliver and there is a dip where I underperform despite putting in the hours, only for it to then come good again... at least that's my theory....


The Grinder Of Pars (Semi Crocked)
Mar 15, 2008
Aylesbury Bucks
Coming back from both lockdowns it took me at least a month to be able to post a respectable score.....