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The "Epic" lowering your handicap "mega" thread

  • 02-10-2013 12:38pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 802 m r c


    There has been enough talk about high handicaps on this forum so this thread is for people to discuss ways, tips and ideas as to cut out mistakes at all levels of h/c.

    I'll start, I'm off 24.1 ATM just lost .4 the last time I played, my strategy was as follows.
    I put priority on hitting the fairway off the tee, and if I missed I wanted my miss to be as near as possible. I managed to hit 9 fairways and finished with the ball I started with.
    My current thinking about missed greens is to go for the fat part of the green regardless of pin position to again attempt to take the big numbers off the card and this puts more pressure on the putter which is where it should be. Any time I manage this plan it gives me a putt at par which is never a bad thing. I've noticed that I've had a lot more of them now than before.

    It'd be great if any views to the contrary were put forward in a positive manner I'm fed up with bickering and they could be really useful to all if helpful


«1345

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,374 ✭✭✭✭ GreeBo


    m r c wrote: »
    There has been enough talk about high handicaps on this forum so this thread is for people to discuss ways, tips and ideas as to cut out mistakes at all levels of h/c.

    I'll start, I'm off 24.1 ATM just lost .4 the last time I played, my strategy was as follows.
    I put priority on hitting the fairway off the tee, and if I missed I wanted my miss to be as near as possible. I managed to hit 9 fairways and finished with the ball I started with.
    My current thinking about missed greens is to go for the fat part of the green regardless of pin position to again attempt to take the big numbers off the card and this puts more pressure on the putter which is where it should be. Any time I manage this plan it gives me a putt at par which is never a bad thing. I've noticed that I've had a lot more of them now than before.

    It'd be great if any views to the contrary were put forward in a positive manner I'm fed up with bickering and they could be really useful to all if helpful

    Would you consider not going for the green at all (in regulation) on at least the holes where you have 2 shots?

    /edit
    One thing to note is that if you do change your strategy, you have to allow several (maybe 10 or more) rounds before you can determine if its having a positive or negative effect on your scores.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 802 m r c


    GreeBo wrote: »
    Would you consider not going for the green at all (in regulation) on at least the holes where you have 2 shots?


    I would, but it would depend on how I was feeling on the day.
    Also if I'm less than two full gap wedges out as I find I have best results on a full swing. So if I'm inside say 200 the percentage shot could be to go for the front of the green for eg with my most common miss being a bit fat. So unless it's a forced carry wouldn't be a bad miss.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,374 ✭✭✭✭ GreeBo


    m r c wrote: »
    I would, but it would depend on how I was feeling on the day.
    Then it probably wont work as you will have no idea why its working or not working when you look at the stats.
    Develop a plan that has the best chance of you not ending up more than 24 over par and stick to it.
    Everytime.
    m r c wrote: »
    Also if I'm less than two full gap wedges out as I find I have best results on a full swing. So if I'm inside say 200 the percentage shot could be to go for the front of the green for eg with my most common miss being a bit fat. So unless it's a forced carry wouldn't be a bad miss.
    if you are 200 yards out when not hit something to a layup distance that you have practiced and are comfortable with rather than risk a bad long iron/wood that can be 80% perfect but still put you somewhere horrible that you cant recover from?
    there is a reason you are off 24...you need to find what it is and improve that, the only way to do that is determine a plan to play to 24 and see what shots are causing you to miss this; otherwise you are just "trying stuff" and will be off 24 for a lot longer than you need to be.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 802 m r c


    GreeBo wrote: »
    Then it probably wont work as you will have no idea why its working or not working when you look at the stats.
    Develop a plan that has the best chance of you not ending up more than 24 over par and stick to it.
    Everytime.

    if you are 200 yards out when not hit something to a layup distance that you have practiced and are comfortable with rather than risk a bad long iron/wood that can be 80% perfect but still put you somewhere horrible that you cant recover from?
    there is a reason you are off 24...you need to find what it is and improve that, the only way to do that is determine a plan to play to 24 and see what shots are causing you to miss this; otherwise you are just "trying stuff" and will be off 24 for a lot longer than you need to be.

    There's a lot of truth there greebo. And as I said I'm trying to work some of that into my game.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,801 PRAF


    I'm toying with the idea of trying the Hank Haney 100 swings a day method over the winter. Has anyone on here tried it? Very simple idea, you take a club and swing it 100 times every day. Just practice swings, you don't have to hit the range and can do it from home.

    http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-instruction/2013-05/hank-haney-practice-swings

    However, the best way to lower your handicap is to work on short game and putting


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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 15,088 Mod ✭✭✭✭ slave1


    Hybrids - get those wayward drives back into play
    Lay-ups - don't risk it
    Course Management - everywhere


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 802 m r c


    Hadn't heard of that before looks like it could have merit.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,047 ✭✭✭ Dbu


    m r c wrote: »
    I would, but it would depend on how I was feeling on the day.
    Also if I'm less than two full gap wedges out as I find I have best results on a full swing. So if I'm inside say 200 the percentage shot could be to go for the front of the green for eg with my most common miss being a bit fat. So unless it's a forced carry wouldn't be a bad miss.

    hi mrc,
    i mean this in the nicest possible way, you shouldn't be mentioning gap wedges with a handicap of 24.
    i was there before and just found as you rightly described keep the ball in play. i also found out that i dropped 11 shots over 2 years by mastering short chips in and around the green and my putting (mastering the pace of the greens and not over complicating the line) you will be surprised how many will drop if you have the pace right and aim at the hole...just my tuppence


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 802 m r c


    Dbu wrote: »
    hi mrc,
    i mean this in the nicest possible way, you shouldn't be mentioning gap wedges with a handicap of 24.
    i was there before and just found as you rightly described keep the ball in play. i also found out that i dropped 11 shots over 2 years by mastering short chips in and around the green and my putting (mastering the pace of the greens and not over complicating the line) you will be surprised how many will drop if you have the pace right and aim at the hole...just my tuppence

    Thanks and it is taken the right way too, I think for me getting lower will hover around fir's because one thing that jumps out at me is when I look at my stats is that I tend to play the par 3's between par and plus 2 gross. Which is unusual for a 24 man. I think its because the driver is under the cover on the par 3's.


  • Registered Users Posts: 589 Dealerz


    Man I need this thread!

    Stuck on hc 17-19 for two years and have had spurts of good play but just can't find consistency to shoot my handicap and lower on a regular basis-

    Spent money on clubs and lessons and, clubs feel great- lessons were frustrating and tbh I'm not sure I believed in what I was been asked to do.

    Here's a quick overview of my last 2 yrs results

    2012 : of 25 qualifying comps I had 11 0.1's and 1.8 of a cut with an annual review cut of 1.0.

    2013: of 15 qualifying comps ( new baby this year- I realise I'm lucky to be out considering the other child is 3yo) I had 9 0.1's and 6 buffer zones.
    Avg putts per round would be 33

    My strategy on the golf course would be conservative.
    A common playing thought I would have is to keep scratches off the card but these days I would normally have about 2 and then the one pointers keep the card "respectable"!!
    Any help/thoughts?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,712 ✭✭✭ alxmorgan


    Dbu wrote: »
    hi mrc,
    i mean this in the nicest possible way, you shouldn't be mentioning gap wedges with a handicap of 24.

    I'm intrigued...why not ?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,712 ✭✭✭ alxmorgan


    Dealerz wrote: »
    Man I need this thread!

    Stuck on hc 17-19 for two years and have had spurts of good play but just can't find consistency to shoot my handicap and lower on a regular basis-

    Spent money on clubs and lessons and, clubs feel great- lessons were frustrating and tbh I'm not sure I believed in what I was been asked to do.

    Here's a quick overview of my last 2 yrs results

    2012 : of 25 qualifying comps I had 11 0.1's and 1.8 of a cut with an annual review cut of 1.0.

    2013: of 15 qualifying comps ( new baby this year- I realise I'm lucky to be out considering the other child is 3yo) I had 9 0.1's and 6 buffer zones.
    Avg putts per round would be 33

    My strategy on the golf course would be conservative.
    A common playing thought I would have is to keep scratches off the card but these days I would normally have about 2 and then the one pointers keep the card "respectable"!!
    Any help/thoughts?

    Could you give us more details on this ?


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,374 ✭✭✭✭ GreeBo


    alxmorgan wrote: »
    I'm intrigued...why not ?

    because you are not off 24 due to the gap between your SW/LW and your PW?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,712 ✭✭✭ alxmorgan


    GreeBo wrote: »
    because you are not off 24 due to the gap between your SW/LW and your PW?

    I realise that but pitching could be his strong point and he may have a 3/4 swing with SW, GW and PW to give him 3 distances no ?

    Or am I being optimistic :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,082 ✭✭✭✭ PARlance


    Maybe it would be better to give some more detail on history m r c?
    How long you've been playing, lessons, strenghts/weaknesses etc.

    For me, I'm playing golf 3 years now. Had never played before.
    Year 1 2011: Casual: About 15 or so rounds with one lesson and a bit of range work. (HC 22-24 est)
    Year 2 2012: Casual: About 20-25 rounds with a lot more range work, a series of 3 lessons during the winter and working loads in between the lessons: (HC 20-22 est)
    Year 3 2013: Joined a club in April, was given initial HC of 17, drifted to 18.1 but am back to 17.2 now. Play most weekends (be it home or away) and a spell of 9 hole midweek rounds during the summer. Little or no range work this year due to becoming a parent.

    The only thing that is constant over the 3 years is that I've been a golf nut from the start and still am hooked on it.

    What has worked for me over the 3 years!

    I could get real specific into my game but it won't be of use to others.
    But a high level view is that it took the first year and a half before I swung enough clubs to even begin to become familiar with my swing.
    (Maybe linked to PRAF's post)

    I maintain that a high HC'er won't see much improvement until they are able to "feel" what their doing wrong with their swing.
    I think it's the biggest hurdle to jump.
    Lessons tend to focus on working on doing the right thing, I think Pro's should start out by making sure you can feel what your problem swing feels like.
    This happened in Aug/Sept 2012 for me, it wasn't at a lesson, it was after seeing one track-man video where everything just hit home.
    My bad shot was a slice, a crippling slice, after the video and some work, only then did I figure out my problem.
    It was a real light bulb moment, I was amazed that I hadn't figured it out sooner, but I think it just takes time.... I've been progressing steadily since then I'd say.

    Even now, I'll "practice" the odd slice swing on the tee... just to get the feeling of what not to do.
    I've seen a lot of Pro's doing something similar, think it's Jimenez that takes 3 practice swings: One that's too fast, then one that's too slow, then his ideal swing.

    Anyway, figuring out my problem was a great foundation to build on.
    I went for 3 lessons over three months Oct-Dec and worked like a dog in between them, working with the pro, trusting him and taking his advice completely on board.
    Range sessions went from a basket of 100 over an hour, to a basket of 40...but still over an hour. I told the Pro my plan in advance and we had a 3 month time frame in mind to get as much out of it as possible.
    Too many people go for the quick fix with a Pro, a low HC might be able go for a quick fix I think (or quicker fix) as they should be better able to adjust, but for us, we need to grind it out big time.

    To stop myself from rambling on (even more) and to summarise what I feel that needs to be done is by a high HC to get down are:

    *Figure out your problems
    *Don't avoid them, work on them, try to get all areas of your game up to a certain level
    *Join a club, competitive golf is a completely different ball game
    *Figure out the mental side of the game (Course management but also your frame of mind) whilst continuing to work on all other areas. Mental game is key, an area that I'm still trying to get my "head" around at present.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,374 ✭✭✭✭ GreeBo


    alxmorgan wrote: »
    I realise that but pitching could be his strong point and he may have a 3/4 swing with SW, GW and PW to give him 3 distances no ?

    Or am I being optimistic :D

    If its his strong point then why work on improving it though?

    clearly there is a problem somewhere, if its technique then that needs lessons if its course management that just needs thinking about.

    Easiest way to check course management is count the number of "penalty" shots you end up taking. so OB, in water, chipping out sideways, not being able to play/aim where you want etc and then figure out whats causing you to end up in that position.

    I dont care if you hit a driver or a 5 iron, if more often than not its leaving you in trouble then its the wrong club, for you.

    5th hole in my course is a short dog leg par 4 that I cut the corner on every time, I can hit it far enough to avoid all the trouble 90% of the time, playing less club brings in more trouble. But if I havent thought about it and analyzed it Im just guessing and probably working on improving the wrong thing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,047 ✭✭✭ Dbu


    alxmorgan wrote: »
    I'm intrigued...why not ?

    Hiya,
    because you wont drop your handicap from 100-200 yards out, you will drop your handicap in and around the green (short chips from the edge of green and putting. when i was off 24 i had a PW that i played all the time from 100 yrds and in, and a SW that was exclusively used from sand(got plenty of practice:D)
    I have recently bought a 50 and a 56 degree mizuno wedges now that my handicap is down and Im playing sufficiently well to be able to hit full shots with either.
    off 24 I just concentrated on getting the ball near (or hopefully on the green) and didnt worry which 'gap' wedge would get me spinning the ball back to the hole:D.

    In other words, editing my waffle...keep it simple


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,712 ✭✭✭ alxmorgan


    Dbu wrote: »
    Hiya,
    because you wont drop your handicap from 100-200 yards out, you will drop your handicap in and around the green (short chips from the edge of green and putting. when i was off 24 i had a PW that i played all the time from 100 yrds and in, and a SW that was exclusively used from sand(got plenty of practice:D)
    I have recently bought a 50 and a 56 degree mizuno wedges now that my handicap is down and Im playing sufficiently well to be able to hit full shots with either.
    off 24 I just concentrated on getting the ball near (or hopefully on the green) and didnt worry which 'gap' wedge would get me spinning the ball back to the hole:D.

    Fair point :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 589 Dealerz


    alxmorgan wrote: »
    Could you give us more details on this ?

    Pro felt I needed to "stretch wider with my arms and body away from the ball " and to "move off the ball in backswing" in order to create width- it felt really wooden and the results were mixed after 6 months.
    However when it did work I went from a fader to a drawer but that was after so much frustrating shots.
    Felt as if I was going to fall over to my right side and that my arms were completely disconnected and to get back to the ball needed me to lunge.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,906 ✭✭✭✭ PhlegmyMoses


    My big thing is practicing my short game. This allows me to think about laying up. Only playing a few months and I'm 24 too and just about playing to this already. One good day will see a big cut.

    My problem previously was that my short game was so bad that laying up or playing safe guaranteed nothing. The only time I'd score is by going for it. Now, I almost exclusively practice short game and it's improved massively. It allows you to manage the course as you're reasonably confident that you can get up and down if you play safe and don't go for the green every time.

    I usually practice anywhere inside 80 yards and then putt from whatever position I land on the green. I don't like taking multiple putts or chips from the same position as that's not how it works on the course - you have to play to your lie. I'd now say that this is the strongest part of my game. Next up: long irons.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,712 ✭✭✭ alxmorgan


    Dealerz wrote: »
    Pro felt I needed to "stretch wider with my arms and body away from the ball " and to "move off the ball in backswing" in order to create width- it felt really wooden and the results were mixed after 6 months.
    However when it did work I went from a fader to a drawer but that was after so much frustrating shots.
    Felt as if I was going to fall over to my right side and that my arms were completely disconnected and to get back to the ball needed me to lunge.

    I get the width bit but I disagree with the moving off the ball in the backswing. The swing takes about 1 second and its very difficult to shift your weight properly in that time. It can end up causing you to leave your weight right which causes loads of issues - fat, thin, slice etc

    I will be working this winter on starting weight left and keeping it there.

    But overall if you don't buy into what a pro is telling you then find another one.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 802 m r c


    Dealerz wrote: »
    Man I need this thread!

    Stuck on hc 17-19 for two years and have had spurts of good play but just can't find consistency to shoot my handicap and lower on a regular basis-

    Spent money on clubs and lessons and, clubs feel great- lessons were frustrating and tbh I'm not sure I believed in what I was been asked to do.

    Here's a quick overview of my last 2 yrs results

    2012 : of 25 qualifying comps I had 11 0.1's and 1.8 of a cut with an annual review cut of 1.0.

    2013: of 15 qualifying comps ( new baby this year- I realise I'm lucky to be out considering the other child is 3yo) I had 9 0.1's and 6 buffer zones.
    Avg putts per round would be 33

    My strategy on the golf course would be conservative.
    A common playing thought I would have is to keep scratches off the card but these days I would normally have about 2 and then the one pointers keep the card "respectable"!!
    Any help/thoughts?

    I'm in the same situation as you baby wise, wife 3yo+1yo and I do forget but I made it my target to maintain my toe in the water as it were. It's easy to forget that most likely at no other time will it be as hard to keep the golf up time wise.

    That's the first thing IMHO pat on the back mate you are still playing.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 802 m r c


    ajcurry123 wrote: »
    Maybe it would be better to give some more detail on history m r c?
    How long you've been playing, lessons, strenghts/weaknesses etc.

    For me, I'm playing golf 3 years now. Had never played before.
    Year 1 2011: Casual: About 15 or so rounds with one lesson and a bit of range work. (HC 22-24 est)
    Year 2 2012: Casual: About 20-25 rounds with a lot more range work, a series of 3 lessons during the winter and working loads in between the lessons: (HC 20-22 est)
    Year 3 2013: Joined a club in April, was given initial HC of 17, drifted to 18.1 but am back to 17.2 now. Play most weekends (be it home or away) and a spell of 9 hole midweek rounds during the summer. Little or no range work this year due to becoming a parent.

    The only thing that is constant over the 3 years is that I've been a golf nut from the start and still am hooked on it.

    What has worked for me over the 3 years!

    I could get real specific into my game but it won't be of use to others.
    But a high level view is that it took the first year and a half before I swung enough clubs to even begin to become familiar with my swing.
    (Maybe linked to PRAF's post)

    I maintain that a high HC'er won't see much improvement until they are able to "feel" what their doing wrong with their swing.
    I think it's the biggest hurdle to jump.
    Lessons tend to focus on working on doing the right thing, I think Pro's should start out by making sure you can feel what your problem swing feels like.
    This happened in Aug/Sept 2012 for me, it wasn't at a lesson, it was after seeing one track-man video where everything just hit home.
    My bad shot was a slice, a crippling slice, after the video and some work, only then did I figure out my problem.
    It was a real light bulb moment, I was amazed that I hadn't figured it out sooner, but I think it just takes time.... I've been progressing steadily since then I'd say.

    Even now, I'll "practice" the odd slice swing on the tee... just to get the feeling of what not to do.
    I've seen a lot of Pro's doing something similar, think it's Jimenez that takes 3 practice swings: One that's too fast, then one that's too slow, then his ideal swing.

    Anyway, figuring out my problem was a great foundation to build on.
    I went for 3 lessons over three months Oct-Dec and worked like a dog in between them, working with the pro, trusting him and taking his advice completely on board.
    Range sessions went from a basket of 100 over an hour, to a basket of 40...but still over an hour. I told the Pro my plan in advance and we had a 3 month time frame in mind to get as much out of it as possible.
    Too many people go for the quick fix with a Pro, a low HC might be able go for a quick fix I think (or quicker fix) as they should be better able to adjust, but for us, we need to grind it out big time.

    To stop myself from rambling on (even more) and to summarise what I feel that needs to be done is by a high HC to get down are:

    *Figure out your problems
    *Don't avoid them, work on them, try to get all areas of your game up to a certain level
    *Join a club, competitive golf is a completely different ball game
    *Figure out the mental side of the game (Course management but also your frame of mind) whilst continuing to work on all other areas. Mental game is key, an area that I'm still trying to get my "head" around at present.


    Will do aj am on the phone ATM but when I'm home I will give more detail. Only thing I'd say is I want the thread to be of use to anyone interested in what works for others too/mostly


  • Registered Users Posts: 589 Dealerz


    m r c wrote: »
    I'm in the same situation as you baby wise, wife 3yo+1yo and I do forget but I made it my target to maintain my toe in the water as it were. It's easy to forget that most likely at no other time will it be as hard to keep the golf up time wise.

    That's the first thing IMHO pat on the back mate you are still playing.

    You wouldn't believe the amount of chores I've to do to get to that 1st tee on a Saturday morning... But it's worth it!


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,374 ✭✭✭✭ GreeBo


    there was a good thread on here a while back on practice drills...always good to have a few drills over the winter!


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,082 ✭✭✭✭ PARlance


    m r c wrote: »
    Will do aj am on the phone ATM but when I'm home I will give more detail. Only thing I'd say is I want the thread to be of use to anyone interested in what works for others too/mostly

    Ah ok, I get you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,317 ✭✭✭ Dublin Spur


    try to be on every

    par 3 in 2
    par 4 in 3
    par 5 in 4

    do this regularly and you be down to 18 in no time
    Unless your putting is horrific


  • Registered Users Posts: 787 ✭✭✭ mafc


    try to be on every

    par 3 in 2
    par 4 in 3
    par 5 in 4

    do this regularly and you be down to 18 in no time
    Unless your putting is horrific

    Best piece of advice for a high handicapper & quite easy to achieve


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,821 ✭✭✭ spacecoyote


    For me getting down from 22-11.5 over about 3.5-4 years, these were the things I found most helpful:

    1 - go for lessons & persist with the tough times as it will pay off

    2 - this was one of my major action points from 22-17. Always look to give myself a par putt (don't get too focussed on gir). That way a 2 putt gives you a bogey & if the one putt drops you walk off with a few bonus pars

    3 - just because you flushed an 8 iron 150 yards once doesn't mean An 8 iron is your 150 yard club. Your 150 yard club is the one that on average travels 150 yards. Don't get caught up in the macho bullsh1t of feeling you have to hit less club, it's about scoring not hitting it further than the other guy.

    4 - generally when measuring your approach (from say more than 120 yards) take a look at the distance to the back if the green & select the club that corresponds to that distance. Most often you don't hit a perfect shot, so you should hit more greens. Niklaus reckoned he hit maybe 3 perfect shots in a round, so how many do you think you manage? Eg, green is 130 to front covered by bunkers, middle is 140, back is 150. Take your 150 club. You hit it perfect(unlikely), you're on the back of the green, you hit it a little off, you're in the middle if the green, you hit it a little worse, you probably still clear the bunkers & land in the front. Doing this definitely improved my odds of hitting greens.

    5 - work on your short game, a lot!

    6 - try forget about the course being 2 sets of 9 holes. That way if you start with 2 bad holes you can just write off the 2 bad holes, rather than start thinking "front 9 is ruined, I'll start playing on the back 9". Think about each hole as a game, or if that's too much, break it unto 6 x 3 hole sets. & don't add up your scores after 9 holes to see how your doing, if you're playing well youll probably change your game & start trying to protect your score

    7 - know when to take your medicine.if you're in the trees & have a choice of knocking sidewise easily onto the fairway or taking a 1% chance shot through a 2 foot gap in the trees towards the green, 99% of the time you'll score better on the hole by knocking sidewise

    These were all helpful for me coming downwards, and hopefully something there might help someone


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  • Registered Users Posts: 275 ✭✭ J6P


    Join a Pitch and Putt Club for the winter months.

    Guaranteed lower h/c next year.


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