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Getting Better!

  • 25-10-2020 7:49am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 45 faffingaround


    So i'm playing off 18 and consistently seem to shoot 20-24 over. I guess I'm not an 18 then?!

    I have had lessons twice with different instructors. The first guy gave me the basics a few years ago and the second guy improved my striking and made me more consistent and hit the ball further.

    I have a decent drive, a fade that goes about 220. Give or take 10 yards. I hit about 32-34 putts usually. I suppose I could shave off a few strokes there. Hitting the green with my second shot (or third for a par 5) is a real challenge. That might only happen 2 or 3 times in a round out of the 13/14 par 4/5 holes. Is that normal for my handicap?

    As a result I'm used to bump and run chips and get up and down maybe 1 in 3 times or better. I have improved in the bunkers (usually get out) and with my course management. I play once a week or so and get to play a lot more in the summer.


    A massive problem for me is hitting anything under a seven iron. My 7 and 8 are my go to clubs and I try and use them the most. The long 400 yard plus par 4's kill me. Every course seems to have about at least three of them. Even trying to play them like par 5's.

    I do not have a regular shot that goes more than 160 yards. 3 woods and 4 or 5 irons off the fairway are Russian roulette. These clubs are longer and lead to chunks. Sometimes I'll shy away and lay up but that is very hard to do for 18 holes.

    Not looking to moan but just wondering would people think a further lesson on long irons would be a good idea? Also the mental game... I will often start very well like maybe 3/4 over for 6 holes and then fall away. The good score becomes a burden and adds pressure even internally.

    Any tips to shave off a few shots? The last three or four rounds I have played makes me think consistently shooting 90 for 18 is very achievable.


Comments

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 16,082 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    Why not get rid of your low irons and invest in hybrids, added bonus they are much easier out of the rough


  • Registered Users Posts: 656 ✭✭✭ hurleronditch


    So i'm playing off 18 and consistently seem to shoot 20-24 over. I guess I'm not an 18 then?!

    I have had lessons twice with different instructors. The first guy gave me the basics a few years ago and the second guy improved my striking and made me more consistent and hit the ball further.

    I have a decent drive, a fade that goes about 220. Give or take 10 yards. I hit about 32-34 putts usually. I suppose I could shave off a few strokes there. Hitting the green with my second shot (or third for a par 5) is a real challenge. That might only happen 2 or 3 times in a round out of the 13/14 par 4/5 holes. Is that normal for my handicap?

    As a result I'm used to bump and run chips and get up and down maybe 1 in 3 times or better. I have improved in the bunkers (usually get out) and with my course management. I play once a week or so and get to play a lot more in the summer.


    A massive problem for me is hitting anything under a seven iron. My 7 and 8 are my go to clubs and I try and use them the most. The long 400 yard plus par 4's kill me. Every course seems to have about at least three of them. Even trying to play them like par 5's.

    I do not have a regular shot that goes more than 160 yards. 3 woods and 4 or 5 irons off the fairway are Russian roulette. These clubs are longer and lead to chunks. Sometimes I'll shy away and lay up but that is very hard to do for 18 holes.

    Not looking to moan but just wondering would people think a further lesson on long irons would be a good idea? Also the mental game... I will often start very well like maybe 3/4 over for 6 holes and then fall away. The good score becomes a burden and adds pressure even internally.

    Any tips to shave off a few shots? The last three or four rounds I have played makes me think consistently shooting 90 for 18 is very achievable.

    Without knowing anything about your swing, you clearly have some reasonable basics if you can play to the level of shooting in the mid 90s consistently. If you can hit your 7 and 8 well, maybe use that as a springboard to your other irons. I play off 9, and I carry around a 4 iron that I genuinely haven’t used in 20+ rounds so don’t worry about that for now.

    I’d head for a range with a large bucket of balls, take a nice warm up hit some wedges to targets and work up to nice full swings. Then I’d get your 8 out, do some target practice on something fixed in the range and once you are happy you have hit 5 good strikes in a row on a reasonable line to target, move on to your 7 and do the same. Once you have 5 good ones in a row, pull out the 6. The progession from consistently hitting your 7 well to hitting a 6 shouldn’t be challenging. If you feel it’s going well, move up to the 5, but if not, stick with the 6. If you feel you’re not connecting well and hitting thins or fats, I’d bring it right back to a half or 3/4 swing, and really focus on the contact and connection with the ball. Once you start hitting the little chopped off ones cleanly, I’d work back up to a full swing.

    Plenty of people jump straight to the hybrid or 4 iron, and try hit it cold, which is tough for a lot of golfers. I’d use progression training, and it might take you 2 or 3 trips to the range but once you feel happy with the 6, move up to the 5. If you got to the point you could hit your 5 and 6 well, and got a nice middle of the road 4 hybrid, unless your course is a monster there shouldn’t be many par 4s you can’t get home in 2 on.

    The other point is, it might seem a bit demoralising, but you have a shot on every hole, if you don’t think you can hit the green, a well struck 7 iron to 50 yards short still gives you a chip and 2 putts for a 2 pointer, and there’s always a chance you’ll stick it close and make par.


  • Registered Users Posts: 45 faffingaround


    slave1 wrote: »
    Why not get rid of your low irons and invest in hybrids, added bonus they are much easier out of the rough
    I had a hybrid before and it was nice especially out of rough but again it's not consistent for me especially off fairways. Those chunks/mi****s lead to doubles and trebles! If a ball lands in the first cut propped up like on a tee the 3 wood is generally good.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,308 ✭✭✭✭ prawnsambo


    I had a hybrid before and it was nice especially out of rough but again it's not consistent for me especially off fairways. Those chunks/mi****s lead to doubles and trebles! If a ball lands in the first cut propped up like on a tee the 3 wood is generally good.
    Not saying this is you, but the temptation is to try and swing long irons harder and faster in the belief that this is what gives them distance. It's not. The loft will do that for you and you'll actually get better results if you try and make a smooth swing with the longer irons. Tempo is everything with them. Concentrate on getting a smooth swing and also hit on the sweet spot. So the basics really; don't stand too close to the ball and swing easy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 255 ✭✭ conor-w


    I would do the opposite of the above advice haha, and basically only use a low iron when practicing. You really don't need to practice 7/8/9 iron at all, use your 5 iron and hit 50 balls with it twice a week for a month, varying the shots you hit and the targets you're aiming at, the rest of your balls should be driver and wedges. Don't put it back in the bag if you're hitting it badly, you will figure out how to use it eventually.

    Also, lessons should be constant to some degree if you want to improve, going to 2 lessons in the space of a few years isn't going to do much for you, I stayed at 19 for 4 years trying to do it myself after having 1 lesson at the very start of taking up golf, I then did a lesson a month over the winter as I was sick of shooting crap scores, and dropped 4.5 shots the next year. Getting lessons over the winter will 100% make you better, there isn't a piece of advice anyone on here could give you that would help you more than doing 3/4 lessons before next spring.

    Finally from the mental aspect, I know how you feel, as I should be a good few shots lower than I am, but I sabotage myself mentally every time I'm closing in on shooting in the 70s. I can be hitting the ball beautifully and randomly ruin my round on a completely straightforward shot, because I get nervous about how much under my hcap I am. One thing I've found to help is to stop writing my score down every hole/totting up what I've shot so far. Just try and completely ignore your score and concentrate on hitting the next shot well.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,552 ✭✭✭ dan_ep82


    I was in a similar position as yourself for a few years. I had a handicap of 21 and my highest points for a few years was 28.

    I went for a few lessons but if I'm being honest never really put in the effort needed to get the most out of them. I got fit for irons which more than anything made me want to get better after the investment.

    So I got another lesson, made sure I got one or two drills to work on and had the coach step me through what a good move felt like and what a bad/old move felt like. Then I practised until I felt I could go back with a visible change in my swing/flight.

    I got a playing lesson that looked at my bunkers,putting,driving,approach and chipping along with course management. This can highlight some issues you won't notice during a lesson.

    I'm off 16 now but shoot under that often as I'm still on the way down thank god.


    The hard truth on why I've lowered my handicap is I simply hit better shots more often and usually don't hit two poor shots in a row. There was no secret sauce. My course management was good, my putting was good enough, my short game was better than it needed to be,my driving/woods got more consistent as did my irons. All my improvements came from making better swings which came from drilling lessons. A better swing will go throughout the bag. Your short irons have more loft/shorter club which will lead to more forgivness in a poorer swing.


    Mental thing, the practice will build up a few good memories of good swings that will help with the crumbles but they will always be there. Just last year I went level on the front 9 and just lost it on the back and shot my full handicap on the back haha. Playing with better players I found helps, they tend to be more focused and it can help get you in the same mindset. Take everyshot like it counts and only rate your commitment to the shot.



    You may pick up one or two tips that help but they should be more to refine your game (above your feet goes left,keep the clubhead low for punch out of trouble etc) but no one can say why your not able to hit a long iron or wood unless they've seen your swing and know what they're talking about. You can try the advice for sure but I wouldn't change my swing based on it.


    Now excuse me while I fight all the low guys who probably know better than me haha


  • Registered Users Posts: 555 Jim Stynes


    I was off 23 this time last year and now I’m playing off 9. The first few months I started playing were horrendous and I couldn’t break 100 never mind 90. I went and got lessons and worked bloody hard on my game. The first thing that was annoying me was taking a divot. I never used to hit the ball cleanly and take a nice divot. I got a lesson on the this and he fixed my grip and swing path nearly instantly. I went to the range over and over and worked on what the pro showed me. I got down to 15 and stalled there for a while. Since then I came down slowly by working on my short game. My chipping was terrible and was costing a lot of shots each round. I then watched this video
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?index=1&list=PLwgDn1PHxlWKBMQ8ynQw-8GIVXP_ieVte&v=9E-gdx-o1sg

    This made total sense to me and has made a massive improvement around the greens. The next bit I am focusing on is my putting stroke. I have a lot more progression in me if I sort my putting out. I have played sport all my life and just retired from GAA a couple of years ago so I needed something to replace that. Golf has been brilliant but it’s a very difficult sport and needs time put into it. I am a bit of a organisation freak and I schedule out my week with golf training like I did with my Gaelic football. 3/4 practice sessions a week for an hour each time and then I try to play Saturday and Sunday. I’ll try get a lesson every 4-6 weeks. I wouldn’t recommend getting too many close together. Get a lesson and then work on those things.

    In short, get lessons and work bloody hard on it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 255 ✭✭ conor-w


    Jim Stynes wrote: »
    I was off 23 this time last year and now I’m playing off 9. The first few months I started playing were horrendous and I couldn’t break 100 never mind 90. I went and got lessons and worked bloody hard on my game. The first thing that was annoying me was taking a divot. I never used to hit the ball cleanly and take a nice divot. I got a lesson on the this and he fixed my grip and swing path nearly instantly. I went to the range over and over and worked on what the pro showed me. I got down to 15 and stalled there for a while. Since then I came down slowly by working on my short game. My chipping was terrible and was costing a lot of shots each round. I then watched this video
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?index=1&list=PLwgDn1PHxlWKBMQ8ynQw-8GIVXP_ieVte&v=9E-gdx-o1sg

    This made total sense to me and has made a massive improvement around the greens. The next bit I am focusing on is my putting stroke. I have a lot more progression in me if I sort my putting out. I have played sport all my life and just retired from GAA a couple of years ago so I needed something to replace that. Golf has been brilliant but it’s a very difficult sport and needs time put into it. I am a bit of a organisation freak and I schedule out my week with golf training like I did with my Gaelic football. 3/4 practice sessions a week for an hour each time and then I try to play Saturday and Sunday. I’ll try get a lesson every 4-6 weeks. I wouldn’t recommend getting too many close together. Get a lesson and then work on those things.

    In short, get lessons and work bloody hard on it.

    Stalled at 15 "for a while", must have been 2 or 3 weeks if you've come down 14 shots in a year :P Nice work!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 79 ✭✭✭ Scarlett Slimy Giant


    My two cents..

    Get your starting postion to the ball, posture, and grip correct. Drill this into your memory. This can improve your game before you even try to improve technique.

    In terms of ball striking, a great drill I find is to keep a towel pinned to your chest using your armpits.. forces you to rotate rather than just lift your arms.

    Practice chipping and putting ( 2 things I never do!!!)


  • Registered Users Posts: 555 Jim Stynes


    conor-w wrote: »
    Stalled at 15 "for a while", must have been 2 or 3 weeks if you've come down 14 shots in a year :P Nice work!

    Yes it was only a short while. June and most of July at 15 and then got cut steadily. Aimed to finish on single figures and I got there just in time and finished on 9.3. Big winter practice scheduled!! Would love to get to Cat 1


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,331 mike12


    What irons do you play?
    There are loads of super game improvers which are a cross over between iron and utility that you could get for a 6 and 5 iron.
    I honestly wouldn't bother with anything lower. If you don't like hybrids they are a good compromise

    The obvious answer is gain more distance off the tee so you are hitting in your 7 iron more often.
    GIR are the quickest way to lower scores.

    Putts are a funny thing the more greens you hit the higher the number of putts.


  • Registered Users Posts: 45 faffingaround


    mike12 wrote: »
    What irons do you play?
    There are loads of super game improvers which are a cross over between iron and utility that you could get for a 6 and 5 iron.
    I honestly wouldn't bother with anything lower. If you don't like hybrids they are a good compromise

    The obvious answer is gain more distance off the tee so you are hitting in your 7 iron more often.
    GIR are the quickest way to lower scores.

    Putts are a funny thing the more greens you hit the higher the number of putts.

    Taylormade rac irons but the PW is an old ping!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,331 mike12


    Taylormade rac irons but the PW is an old ping!

    RAC irons I think I had a set and they are really for a single handicapper.
    I play off 9 and I would fancy hitting the 5 or 6 iron.

    Mark crossfield did a what's in the bag putting in the most forgiving irons possible.
    I'd have a Wilson launch pad 5 and 6 iron or even any of the ping sets like the g30s.
    I have the p790s and I never use the 5 iron going to get something super forgiving to replace it


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,817 ✭✭✭ whizbang


    Forget the Irons or Hybrids or whatever, its all about a consistent strike. Bad workman etc...

    I lost 6 shots this summer. I put it all down to better focus on swing. Dont get overloaded with adding in all sorts of compensation for lie, grass, the wind, etc.. Just learn how to narrow your headspace to just that tiny rectangle of grass that is your swingpath.


    When you play with a low handicapper, watch how they focus on the basic setup, stance. Very often you won't see them targetting a very specific point. Same as you should be; you have already picked a club before you go near the ball. Pick your target line as you approach from behind. Than as you take you stance, you can clear those 2 out of your headspace. Nothing left in your head except swinging through.

    Then spend 10 hours per week on that swing headspace alone.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,817 ✭✭✭ whizbang


    Sorry if im pushing it...
    The hard truth on why I've lowered my handicap is I simply hit better shots more often and usually don't hit two poor shots in a row. There was no secret sauce. My course management was good, my putting was good enough, my short game was better than it needed to be,my driving/woods got more consistent as did my irons. All my improvements came from making better swings which came from drilling lessons. A better swing will go throughout the bag. Your short irons have more loft/shorter club which will lead to more forgivness in a poorer swing.


    Mental thing, the practice will build up a few good memories of good swings that will help with the crumbles but they will always be there. Just last year I went level on the front 9 and just lost it on the back and shot my full handicap on the back haha. Playing with better players I found helps, they tend to be more focused and it can help get you in the same mindset. Take everyshot like it counts and only rate your commitment to the shot.

    Play 1 round, with the only marks on your scorecard are for the quality of each shot. Forget the result, just quality of strike.


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