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Hit a plateau?

mddubya

Hybrid convert
Nov 6, 2007
6,029
2
Before I begin, let me say I'm not complaining about my scores recently. Lest I upset the Golfing Gods, or anybody striving to shoot in the low 40's.

But I seem to hit a plateau, I'm tearing up the low 40's, 41, 42's, 43's. But I can't seem to break through and shoot a 40 or heaven forbid, below it. I can string together several pars, maybe even make a birdie. But every single round, I have at least one blow up hole. I don't mind a bogey or 2, even a couple of doubles I can live with. But these damn triples, and that snowman yesterday, are really irking me. Today I honestly thought I was playing badly, and wasn't looking at my score at all. And still had one hole where the wheels fell completely off. A fairly short par 4 that I have pared a thousand times, and managed to make a ugly triple. And had to sink a 25ft. putt to avoid quad.

The shortened driver is behaving nicely, other than one yanked drive that hit the fence and kicked back in thank goodness. But how do you avoid the brain farts? Line up for a semi easy approach shot, and raise up and top it. Or hang back on your back foot instead of shifting your weight, and digging a divot so deep you can hear the Chinese complaining about it. If I didn't know how to play this game, it would bother me. But every time I hit a bad shot, I know exactly what I did wrong. If you know what you did wrong, why can't we avoid doing it in the 1st place?

Ok, rant over, I now return you back to your regularly scheduled talk of who ho'ed what.
 

LeftyHoges

I've got the pants that'll make you dance!
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Jun 11, 2007
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Best advice I ever received for keeping those big numbers of the card???

Dont follow a bad shot, WITH A WORSE ONE!!!

If you play a bad shot, look for the safest way to get back on track. No miracle 9 iron that you'd have to hit through a gap in the trees the size of a gnats ringhole. Instead, take the 6 iron, punch back out in the fairway and try and make bogey, and at worst you should only make double. A lot easier to recover from than a 7 or 8.

And think about your misses. If you're going to miss a shot, where is the best possible place to miss it. Long and left, short right? etc....
 
OP
mddubya

mddubya

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Nov 6, 2007
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Best advice I ever received for keeping those big numbers of the card???

Dont follow a bad shot, WITH A WORSE ONE!!!

If you play a bad shot, look for the safest way to get back on track. No miracle 9 iron that you'd have to hit through a gap in the trees the size of a gnats ringhole. Instead, take the 6 iron, punch back out in the fairway and try and make bogey, and at worst you should only make double. A lot easier to recover from than a 7 or 8.

And think about your misses. If you're going to miss a shot, where is the best possible place to miss it. Long and left, short right? etc....


Excellent point Lefty, and I have improved in that aspect. I used to let a bad hole lead to several bad holes in a row. I've learned to avoid that. I just can't seem to avoid those brain fades I mentioned in the OP. And on my home course, it doesn't take but a couple of them to get you in deep trouble and ruin a score.

I'm playing Saturday with my youngest son at a different course, hopefully the change of scenery and fewer trouble spots will lead to a better score.
 

gwlee7

Ho's from Rocky Mount, NC
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Jun 15, 2005
1,402
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Lefty already told you...Never follow a bad shot with a worse one. This does wonders for your score. Try to keep the triples off the card. NO HERO SHOTS unless you KNOW that there is at least a 75% chance of you pulling it off. Bob Rotella says to score your best think "conservative shot, cocky swing."

Also, find a way to squeeze one more GIR per round and one less putt per round. Get up and down one extra time.

There's several strokes right there.
 

nututhugame

Winter Sucks!
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Dec 29, 2008
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the only problem I have with Lefty's approach is why plan a miss? I always play for a shot to go exactly as I envision it. That's the only way to know how bad you're really missing. What happens when you try to plan a miss to not go left and block it? Then you're super right.
 

gwlee7

Ho's from Rocky Mount, NC
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Jun 15, 2005
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He's not planning a miss so much as acknowledging the FACT that shots are seldom hit perfectly. If the pin is in the front of a severly back to front sloping green, you are better off just short and chipping up to the hole than long and putting back down to the hole. That sort of thing.
 

LeftyHoges

I've got the pants that'll make you dance!
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Jun 11, 2007
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the only problem I have with Lefty's approach is why plan a miss? I always play for a shot to go exactly as I envision it. That's the only way to know how bad you're really missing. What happens when you try to plan a miss to not go left and block it? Then you're super right.

Because if you think that you're going to hit every shot perfect then you're just kidding yourself. Let's use an example:

the green is 160 yards away sloping slightly left to right and fairly severely back to front. 5 yards off the left of the green is a water hazard covering basically the entire side. Front right is a bunker and back right is ok, just longish rough.

Where do you think a tour pro is minimizing his chances of hitting it to?
Where do you think Joe weekend is minimizing his chances of hitting it to?

That's right, they should both be NOT going left AT ALL. The pro will probably start at the flag, maybe 2 or 3 yards left and hit a little draw in. They have the ability to go both ways so may even start it near the bunker with a little cut. But always right of the flag and hopefully short for an uphill putt at birdie.

Joe weekend on the other hand is in all sorts of trouble. He can slice a 6 iron just as easy as hook it. Starting at the flag will only get him in trouble unless he hits a career shot. He has to have a bailout area. The shot he hits depends on his own abilities. If he naturally hits a slight draw with a tendency to hook, start it just inside the hazard and you'll be laughing. If he hits a fade bordering on a slice then starting just right of the flag could still get him in the hazard. My advice would be to start at the outer edge of the bunker and go nuts. If he slices it he's still safe and if it only cuts a little he's hitting an uphill bunker shot, without a stroke penalty and still a good chance for par. If he dunks it in the water on the right he still has a cross the slope chip for par. Lot less chance of up and down.

Plan your miss. We all have a natural shot tendency. There are times to use it and times not to. Always leave your ball in the best spot to make par and avoid the easiest spot to make double or , GULP, worse...
 

ezra76

Well-Known Member
Feb 5, 2006
12,412
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Just try to stay loose and comfortable. You cannot force a good shot in golf, have to let it happen.
Why do we always make the putt the 2nd time?
Why do we hit a 2nd shot perfect when practicing?
Why can we knock a buzzard off a $hitpile from 175 with a layup 6i but then shank it on a par 3 off a tee?
Why do we hit a 40yd. wide fairway 30% of the time and 3" branch 90% of the time?
icon12.gif


My answer to these is pretty much tension, all tension. If you listened to the interperetted Y.E. Yang interview, he talked about how he slowed his breathing and stayed relaxed. This is how we have to learn to play. The same way we swing on balls #10 to about #50 at the range. It's just free of tension, aim at target, hit ball at target.
 

BStone

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Jan 18, 2006
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Most of the time when I have students who reach the point that you have, I try and take them out on the course and see their course management skills. Identifying the "go for it" holes and the "safe shot" holes is key to scoring. When to avoid the sucker pin that can lead to a big number, or when to play a hole more conservatively can work wonders on avoiding a triple or worse.

I really like the point that Lefty made, getting out of trouble as quickly as possible is huge, if you try a hero shot and put yourself in worse trouble adds at least two shots to the hole, one for the botched escape attempt and one more to get out of the new trouble spot. Sometimes a bogey is a good score when all things are taken into account.
 
OP
mddubya

mddubya

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Nov 6, 2007
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Most of the time when I have students who reach the point that you have, I try and take them out on the course and see their course management skills. Identifying the "go for it" holes and the "safe shot" holes is key to scoring. When to avoid the sucker pin that can lead to a big number, or when to play a hole more conservatively can work wonders on avoiding a triple or worse.

I really like the point that Lefty made, getting out of trouble as quickly as possible is huge, if you try a hero shot and put yourself in worse trouble adds at least two shots to the hole, one for the botched escape attempt and one more to get out of the new trouble spot. Sometimes a bogey is a good score when all things are taken into account.

I wish you were near by BStone, my old instructor was going to go out on the course with me during my next round of lessons. But then he got a better job offer back down in Florida and moved before we had a chance to do it.

And you're right Ez, tension kills my game sometimes. But I have this fine line I have to walk, I imagine we all do. If I get to relaxed I tend to get sloppy with my swing, with disastrous results. But conversely, if I get too tense, I start trying to steer the ball, or start hitting them thin.
 

Lefty_SnowBird

Well-Known Member
Jul 6, 2009
45
0
It becomes harder and harder to shave shots off your game as you start shooting low 80's. To avoid the big numbers is one of them. Tom Watson said at the British open that he used to have a game plan ; to not make more than 2 doubles (I supposed that's a long time ago). When you get in trouble on a hole, just aim for bogey the simplest way possible. If you hit your drive OB, then aim for a double. Once you miss a shot, there is no coming back, you need to do your best based on the current situation.

The brain farts happen when focus is lost. A strong routine before EVERY shot can help you minimize them. Not just a physical routine, also a mental routine. Remind yourself of what to focus on in your swing. Can be tempo, keep your eyes on the ball, turn those hips, whatever your current tendencies might be. And by all means, DO NOT incorporate negations in your thoughts ; "Don't hook", "Don't mess this up", "Don't top the ball"... Make sure you pick a target and visualize the shot even before you set yourself up over the ball.

This is not easy, I am fighting with my thoughts constantly on the course, but I can see it's paying off every once in a while... Now if I could just hang on for 18 holes without jinxing myself by stupidly challenging my own concentration with useless thoughts... yeah, i'm a moron, haha.
 

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