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Going Low

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Phew - set a new personal best last week  = 71 (one under par, a -1.2 differential on the handicap). My previous best ever was 74 (done twice) and my lowest this year prior to this was 77. Someone asked me how I did it (e.g. driver, short game, putting) and I could only answer "sheer will". My normal golf game is that I don't know what my ball flight is going to be until I hit the range , one aspect of my game is usually very good and one aspect is usually unusually bad and I sprinkle in a random assortment of common stupid errors. For my career best round, all aspects of the game were pretty mediocre until my putter got hot on the back nine, but what I mostly remember was calculating what I had to do to just get a good number for the day, then mentally resetting and just playing it one hole at a time knowing that I could afford a screw up. Each screw up I made (e.g. greenside bunker, missed fairway) I was able to recover from and get par. What was weird was that each recovery seemed how hum at the time and then seemed like a miracle afterward. What was really weird was how tired I was after I was done. Keeping that intense level of focus that I had through the back nine took a lot of me. For my previous low rounds I remember feeling a sense of freedom. Everything just came easy (Ernie Els style). This was different and of course I want to figure out how to replicate the experience.

 

Of course, the rounds I've played since have been back to normal. Sooner or later I manage to put a couple doubles on the card via penalty strokes, 3 putting, or just simply not being able to execute whatever shots I've planned to hit that I would normally get right 95 out of 100 times. I can feel stretches where the pars come via autopilot, but I can't get a whole round in. I can't just "throw the switch" and get the magic back. I'm sensing that this is "the thing" I need to conquer to move my 6-8 handicap range to the 2-3 level. I track my stats for fairways hit, GIR, putts, etc. I've been focused on doing things to eliminate the contributors to bad stats, It feels like this effort has opened the door to allow me to go to the next level and apply sheer will to go lower. When I caddied for the USGA amatuer qualifier this summer (2 days), all the guys in our groups played like this. Last summer I tried playing from the red tees (to help feel the "go low" experience, but none of my lay up or bomb it gambles paid off. Two of the guys I play with regularly on the weekends are 2-3 handicappers.

 

So my questions are:

Am I on the right track?

Any tips from those who've been there?

What have you done to "go low"?

post #2 of 26
The rounds when I go low are usually unremarkable. The constant seems to be that I am carrying an injury, don't feel well, or am not really into it that day. These apparent negatives seem to allow me to play within myself and create good, but oddly unsatisfying scores. The days when I feel great and try hard rarely result in to low days. The difference appears to be minimizing mistakes rather than playing great shots. For me, willing myself leads to disaster.

Golf is an odd game. The first time a shot par for nine holes I missed every green, but got up and down to save par. I fact my first GIR was the twelfth, which I then uncerimoniously three putted for bogey!

Your scores are getting lower, you are on the right track.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks. Unremarkable is a good characterization for the front nine of my low round. I'd already shot a few rounds of nine holes with scores of 36 or 37 this season, so it did not catch my attention. But I'd either already screwed up the front nine or proceeded to royally turn off for the back nine if the front nine was my good nine. That was what my attention was focused on at the turn. I consciously let the "don't F it up thought" pass through me and replaced it with just deciding where to put the ball on the next shot. Part of it was just sticking with the shots and swing thoughts that had been working. the rest of it was just looking for easy shots, visualizing them and then pulling the trigger. Lots of times when I do that, the gun fires off in a totally unexpected way/direction and post shot I realize some piece of the mechanics was broken. This time, all of the broken shots were recoverable. 

 

Now taking a second look at my stats I see that I made 70% of my putts from 9-15 feet (7 out of 10). That's roughly double the PGA tour level. 98 feet of made putts was also way higher than the 2013 tour leader (Snedeker at 80' 10"). Yes my # was from a single round vs the tour leader over the whole season, but it's an indicator. 98 feet also matches my best putting length day from 2015. The rest of my putts were about PGA tour average (28 total putts for tour average of 27.51). See these links putting expectations and short game cheat sheet. Hmm - maybe I should figure my strokes gained putting. That's a couple of steps up from my normal results. Sand saves was 2 for 2. That's double the tour average (2013#s), but not saying much. Fairways hit = 43% places me just outside of the top 200 was a tad higher than normal.

 

Sorry for the boring drivel. Just trying to see if I can find some insights. 

post #4 of 26

Going low is easy.  I had a mentor that taught me score keeping.  Just tell me how low you want to go and voila you got it. ;).

post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 

So far, all of this thinking has not helped. I've had 5 scores in a row, that have not counted for handicap. I had this pattern earlier last month where I put together 5 good rounds in a row and then 5 bad rounds. I've got two more "open" rounds, which means no matter what I do, I'm gong from a current 7.1 index handicap down to at least a 5.3, but I need to "validate" that one "really low" round with more "just a little lower" rounds. I need more pirate golf (i.e. where you make a lot of parrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs).

 

Looking back, one of the trends that set me up for my low round was setting new records for longest drive ever on different holes, getting to easy wedge distance (80-125 yards) and either knocking it close on my approach shots or hitting my spots on the green when pins weren't worth shooting at. The reason for the length on these drives was hitting more accurate drives with the right trajectory shapes and then hitting spots on fairways where the ball would run the extra distance to a good spot. There's a big difference between hitting the fairway and ending up in the right spot on the fairway to get the easiest approach shot/best angle to the pin. At my course, there are several holes where the best strategy is going to vary by pin position, wind direction/intensity and length off the tee vs which tee you're playing from. Even though I'm playing most every day, I'm still learning these things through trial and and a lot of error.

post #6 of 26

Rusty are you recording these rounds in MD or UT?  I was going to ask how elevation around Park City would affect scoring?

Can't help with advice on going low, never done it.  :newkeyboard:Can't help with going long either, as I'm a very short hitter.

I'm a lousy golfer and don't play much these days.  About 20-30 years ago I played a bit more and was an 18 handicapper.  It's only gone downhill from there.:o I played terrible about a month ago on a nine hole course in Fairfax.  My ball striking was horrendous.  A few days later I went to a range for the first time in years and it helped a lot.  I was standing too close to the ball. Then I played at short but pretty course two weeks ago in WV (The Woods, all par 3s and 4s) and shot a 79 and enjoyed myself.  Haven't played since.  I'd like to gradually get more into the game again now that I'm semi-retired, but I still have trouble making time for it.

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
I'm in MD for the summer. Just off hand elevation is supposed to add 10% for every 1000 feet. My course is about 500 feet. I don't see any difference playing at sea level. Elevation change from course to course hurts your game until you recalibrate your yardages. Temp changes make a difference too. Today at 96, the ball was going a little farther.
post #8 of 26

I'm a 9.? index, best ever 74, and I don't see the 10% difference between MT and TN either. 

 

I agree that frequently I'll play some of my best golf after a layoff or early in the season. The common denominator is that I'm just trying to make contact and don't have high expectations. I also think that eliminating the doubles is the key to playing in the 70's and sometimes it's just making a 10 ft putt at a key time to keep an otherwise mediocre round going. If I concentrate on playing free of doubles it seems I'll frequently much in a birdie and then everything is GOOD!

post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks Steve!

 

I play my best golf in the middle of the summer. Maybe it's because the heat makes the ball fly further? Although this last week it's been so hot and humid that it's been hard to keep a decent hold of the club even playing with gloves on both hands and changing gloves throughout the round. This last week since my 71 has been utterly depressing. It's like a switch has been thrown. I too had been focused on trying to eliminate the doubles, but my key scoring thought to going really low was saving pars and the key for that was making good misses that gave me the opportunities to recover. After this week, I've given up any hope of quickly repeating my low score. I desperately need remedial work in eliminating stupid mistakes.

post #10 of 26

I'm not usually one to pay too much attention to the hype of new golfing technology. In fact I tend to be somewhat of a minimalist and try to focus on my technique for game improvement. But.......I was given a sleeve of Callaway Chrome Soft golf balls and they have revolutionized my wedge play. I used to be able to stop the ball on soft greens, but had to let it run out on harder ones. With the new Chrome Soft I can actually back it up for the first time ever. I don't notice any difference with my woods and long irons, but around the green, WOW! If you can get over the crazy red soccer ball design, it's worth a couple of strokes a round. 

post #11 of 26

I recently changed to the Foot Joy Stay-Cool glove as my summer season glove. They are similar to the wet weather glove that doesn't get slippery when wet. They are thinner, lighter weight and only cost half as much since you only need to buy one instead of a pair and they are white instead of black. They work much better than leather in a summer shower too. They do not give you the "Wow this feels good" feeling you get with a new $20+ top of the line leather glove but I guarantee you they will give you a better  grip after two holes on a 95 degree, 65% humidity day. I don't even bother to take them off when I putt! One reviewer said they did not hold up as well a leather but I've played 10-15 rounds now and don't see any wear yet. They also do not get stiff when they dry out between rounds.

I tried the Chrome Soft soccer ball recently. I liked them. They might even help concentrate your attention on the ball like they claim but I found them hard to find in the rough. The extra pattern worked like camouflage to help them hide in the tall grass so I went back to white "reconditioned" Titelist.

post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 

I've tried the Chrome soft too. I like them, but not enough to pay full price.  I didn't think they spun a lot more than the other tour balls that I play (e.g. Bridgestone B330S, Taylor Made Tour Preferred, Pro V's). I did get a groove sharpener for my wedges and noticed a wicked improvement in "reverse gear" of my golf balls. I finally was able to hit one of those low, hop once and stop shots. I have some cotton rain gloves around here somewhere, but I'm too lazy to go find them. I'll have to look for the FJ cool glove. It's been a wicked hot summer and I'm not even from Maine.

post #13 of 26

My summer retirement job has me working with the carts at my favorite course.  People routinely leave balls in the carts when they come in and I toss them in a bucket to add to the range ball inventory.  If I have the time I'll pick through them to see if there are any new Pro V1s.  Lately I've been conducting unscientific bounce tests by dropping balls onto a concrete floor from a height of about 40 inches.  Two balls consistently bounce higher than all others:  The Calloway Diablo and the Calloway SuperSoft.  I tried them on the course and had career drives on a couple of holes.  I was surprised at how well the Supersoft checked up on short iron approach shots.  WIth my gap wedge I even got a fair amount of backspin (usually when I didn't want it!).

 

Nearly twenty years ago my youngest daughter borrowed my Tommy Armour 845s for the New England High School Championships.  She liked them so much she never returned them. I got a set of the newer 845 Evos and then the 855s.  From there I opted for an Adams model with a big sole.  Over that time my HC went from 5.8 to 11.8.  Last summer I was in England visiting my daughter and I "borrowed" my old 845s for a round.  I really liked them.  A few weeks ago I found a set (4 - PW) on eBay for $49 + $20 shipping.  They arrived in pristine shape and even had new grips.  I'm getting reacquainted with them and I have to say that 1988 technology works great today.  Now if I could only putt.....

post #14 of 26

Pat, I did the opposite.  Last year I bought the cheapest new set of clubs I could find, Orlimar:  

The irons were instantly so much easier to play than the 35+ year old Hillerich & Bradsby blades I was using.  It is also the first time I've used a larger headed driver and that gave me a bit of much needed extra distance.  BTW, I got a senior five round (nine holes) card for $60 from my nearby muni and have been playing about one weekday a week lately.  Now I just have to update the 35 year old golf balls I'm playing with:D 

post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 

Golf and skiing share some interesting similarities and differences. In golf, custom fit equipment can make a huge difference in playability. When I got my custom fit irons, it took me about a month to get a 2 extra club increase in distance (e.g. using a 9 iron instead of 7 iron). Custom fitting can make a difference for every club in the bag. In skiing, custom fit boots can do the equivalent in terms of making skiing that much easier. But custom fit skis? Not so much. In golf, newer isn't necessarily better (especially for putters), but for drivers over the last decade or so that has been the case. In skiing, about every 3 years there's a wave of new technology such that when comparing any new skis and boot to a new version of 3 year old gear, there's a big performance boost.

 

Golf ball tech is marching along. There's a huge performance difference between cheap Surlyn cover balls and "tour" urethane covered balls with regards to green side control, but the surlyn balls can hold their own when comparing distance. Plus golf balls lose distance as they age. You just gotta love new balls. That's probably another valid comparison. New rental skis perform favorably to most all round 3 year old skis. A new cheap surlyn ball is going to perform favorably compared to a 3YO Pro V1 for most golfers.

 

hmm - I've gotta work on these comparisons. There's a lot of room to argue here.

post #16 of 26

The key to going low, putting, putting, putting. You mentioned it in your opening post. Your putter got hot on the back 9, and you shot your best score. All my low rounds were due to a hot putter.

 I wish I could figure out what makes it get hot, but it's golf. Just when we think we've got if figured out, it disappears. I'm not disciplined enough to practice my putting enough, but when I do put in the practice I do see results. 

post #17 of 26
I think in golf the new technology is a double edged sword. The design features tthat allow beginners to get the ball in the air and keep it straight also limit your ability to shape the ball. As a beginner I bought the Big Berthas back in the nineties and saw an immediate improvement in my game. They were so easy to hit! But as I improved I found them to limit my ability to flight the ball and shape my shots, so I went back to a simpler iron. I'm not sure if it's true in skiing, but sometimes in golf, less is more.
post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Levy24 View Post
 

The key to going low, putting, putting, putting. You mentioned it in your opening post. Your putter got hot on the back 9, and you shot your best score. All my low rounds were due to a hot putter.

 I wish I could figure out what makes it get hot, but it's golf. Just when we think we've got if figured out, it disappears. I'm not disciplined enough to practice my putting enough, but when I do put in the practice I do see results. 

I had the same number of putts today as my low round and shot 13 strokes higher. Arrrgh.  I don't practice my putting a lot, but I did sink a 58 footer from off the green today. And missed two putts from inside 4 feet. One thing I've been using for practice is an elevated starting line. I use about 10 feet of elastic string tied to a pair of knitting needles. You put one needle into the green about two feet behind where you going to putt from, then set the other needle down to create your starting line. Set a marker down a little off to the side to mark your exact spot to putt from, then set your ball down directly underneath the string. The first thing this does is give you feedback on whether your putts are starting on the line you intended. No matter what your read of the break is or how your speed is off, if your putting mechanics aren't consistent you're dead meat. The next thing is to use your misses to tell you if your speed is off or if your read of the break is off. If you can hit it consistently 18 inches past the hole and are consistently high, you've read too much break and need to adjust your line by moving the end needle.If you're hitting it more than 18 inches past, than you're too fast and so on. Thus this tool gives you direct feedback on mechanics, green reading and speed control. If you try this, please be nice to your practice green and don't spend more than 10 minutes making the same putt because your feet will hurt the grass.

post #19 of 26

@TheRusty

 

Golf is like skiing.  Its not you so it has to be the equipment.

 

Your golf clubs are out of date, you need clubs that have an early rise for those morning shots and a chamber to counter act those hooks.  Your balls, well they shouldn't be fuzzy except for tennis, they should be smooth and hard for better bounce and run.

 

Don't forget your shoes. Did you get them fitted by a professional? And at the fitting did you have on the old socks or new.  New socks interfere with fitting, old socks tend to be hard on fitters.  Hard choices.

 

Also your bag, does it hang low or does it still ride high.  Could explain some of those strange shots!

 

.......

 

Please let it snow soon.

post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGolfAnalogy View Post

I think in golf the new technology is a double edged sword. The design features tthat allow beginners to get the ball in the air and keep it straight also limit your ability to shape the ball. As a beginner I bought the Big Berthas back in the nineties and saw an immediate improvement in my game. They were so easy to hit! But as I improved I found them to limit my ability to flight the ball and shape my shots, so I went back to a simpler iron. I'm not sure if it's true in skiing, but sometimes in golf, less is more.

Shaping shots is soooo beyond me, I'm just trying not to shank them.  The new big driver has helped a lot to reduce my chronic slice.  Lack of a reliably straight drive, even if modest length, has always cost me a lot of strokes.  Short game used to be my strength, but as I got older I got Tom Watson disease.

 

This is where I've been playing lately, you guys could probably only use your drivers on two holes.  But its a good nearby place for me to practice, interestingly I played this course as a youngster with my mom around 1970 and now I'm playing it as a senior:eek

post #21 of 26

I have found the secret to shooting sub par golf this year. I am living almost across the street from the local muni, and slipping over there whenever I think I can get away with it. But first equipment.

 

Balls Galloway is the answer. Costco 2 dozen for $30 works. The numbers may not always match but they are consistently the same ball and that seems to help. 

Grips; over sized on the wedges and putter (with more practice) seemed to help a lot.

Driver and 3 wood are old friends, some Burners that are about 10 years old. If one is an issue the other seems to work.

Scoring, this is the 1st year I have ever shot below par, and part of it has to do with work; when the phone rings quit. If it rings after about 15 or 16 I seem to be able to break par. 

I have no honest idea what my handicap is running at but my game actually is better.

 

An odd thing earlier this season were the greens. There were holes that looked all over the greens that looked like erosion. There is even a course rule letting you change the lie of your ball if they come into play. They are from the local geese digging worms on the greens, the city won't let them do anything to relocate the geese. You gotta love Oregon.

post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldschoolskier View Post
 

@TheRusty

 

Golf is like skiing.  Its not you so it has to be the equipment.

 

Your golf clubs are out of date, you need clubs that have an early rise for those morning shots and a chamber to counter act those hooks.  Your balls, well they shouldn't be fuzzy except for tennis, they should be smooth and hard for better bounce and run.

 

Don't forget your shoes. Did you get them fitted by a professional? And at the fitting did you have on the old socks or new.  New socks interfere with fitting, old socks tend to be hard on fitters.  Hard choices.

 

Also your bag, does it hang low or does it still ride high.  Could explain some of those strange shots!

 

.......

 

Please let it snow soon.

It's the shoes. It's all about the shoes.

 

FYI - All this talk of my smooth bouncing balls and where my bag hangs falls under the category of - TMI. But it does explain those strange shots.

post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGolfAnalogy View Post

I think in golf the new technology is a double edged sword. The design features tthat allow beginners to get the ball in the air and keep it straight also limit your ability to shape the ball. As a beginner I bought the Big Berthas back in the nineties and saw an immediate improvement in my game. They were so easy to hit! But as I improved I found them to limit my ability to flight the ball and shape my shots, so I went back to a simpler iron. I'm not sure if it's true in skiing, but sometimes in golf, less is more.

Shaping shots is soooo beyond me, I'm just trying not to shank them.  The new big driver has helped a lot to reduce my chronic slice.  Lack of a reliably straight drive, even if modest length, has always cost me a lot of strokes.  Short game used to be my strength, but as I got older I got Tom Watson disease.

 

This is where I've been playing lately, you guys could probably only use your drivers on two holes.  But its a good nearby place for me to practice, interestingly I played this course as a youngster with my mom around 1970 and now I'm playing it as a senior:eek

James,

 

Polite golfers do not use the "S" word.  Shaping shots is not very hard. Most golfers already have the fade shape down pat :)

 

I'd invite you up to play golf at my home course, but at 7035 yards from the tips and a course rating of 74.7/145 you might run out of golf balls before finishing. So instead I'll invite you to take the virtual tour.

post #24 of 26
I forgot to mention the wood. You sure you have the right partners in the group? rolleyes.gif
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRusty View Post
 

James,

 

 

 

I'd invite you up to play golf at my home course, but at 7035 yards from the tips and a course rating of 74.7/145 you might run out of golf balls before finishing. 

Is this like inviting an EZ Rider quad skier to try Daly Chutes? :D

post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 

Pretty much. But you could play from the red tees. I've actually done that once. It's actually fairly difficult to play while wearing a skirt kilt.

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