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What do you do when your game falls apart?


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#1 Shawn Paul

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 05:28 PM

How do you get out of a rut / bad place on a day when your game falls apart?  How do you shake yourself back into focus and get over a bad shot?

When I come of the rails I simply try to remember the basics of my swing.  I slow down, I have a smoke.  I try to block distractions out.  One shot at a time.

The other day my pal and I were playing a round at the simulator (its cold up here in 'sota) and about halfway through he totally fell apart.  To his credit this has happened to him before on epic proportions.  Once he loses it, its over and there is no getting it back.  He would be best served to head to the clubhouse for a sandwich and a beer.  At the end he kept saying, "I just wish this was over."

4 days later we attempted the sim again, after 3 holes he tapped out.  Swing and confidence utterly destroyed.

I think for most of us our first instinct is to give advice when something like this happens but it rarely works for the person at the time.

What helps you when it falls apart and how can I best help someone else?

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#2 Markrip


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Posted 26 January 2016 - 06:11 PM

When I have a really bad round I like to go to the range and get back to basics. I'll slow things down and just work on striking the ball well. This usually helps me.
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#3 dlygrisse



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Posted 26 January 2016 - 06:12 PM

Go work on my short game.  Because I know I will be missing greens.
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#4 Sun Devil

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 06:55 PM

We've all been there.  There's been times that my playing partner just picked up for a few holes to give it a breather.

If I'm in a rut .... I try to remember that there are 18 holes and each hole is like starting over.  I try to slow down and remember some basic fundamentals.  That and beer usually works.
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#5 Exactice808


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Posted 26 January 2016 - 07:04 PM

Hey OP, I might steer this into a whole ball of wax but my thoughts.

I have suffered from PTSD (panic and anxiety disorder) for the last 8 years (Prior military, with a couple deployments),  went into a really bad time for the first 3 years and battled it on as of since....  One thing I learned is its Mental and can either take a HUGE toll on you or it is something you can actually get over and fight quite easily.

If you have the physical skills to play golf and play a decent round, the only thing that can take you down or more so wreck your game when it falls apart is a mental battle.  Learning how to mentally get over the anxiety/panic is the key here.  

Sorry here comes the long story........

Anxiety/panic attacks are fear of the unknown.  Its your fight or flight mechanisms going out of whack.  Think of when you are struggling or stressed, you get a shot of adrenaline, sometimes you shake sometimes you have repetitive thoughts that have the fear of the worse (I just shanked, OMG am I going to do it again, OMG is every shot going to be a shank).

This is no different from being on the 18th hole with a 4ft putt that can win it all or lose it all.  The body knowns no difference between being shot at or having the biggest putt of your life, all it knows is its in shock, there might be danger and the body goes in to protection mode.  I used to have HUGE panic attacks on the critical putts, I wondered why and it freaked me out, I told my self I have been shot at and blown up, but its the same feeling..... Again the body doesnt know the difference.

My point?  Well when you make a bad shot.... panic/anxiety sets in, the severity might not be the same as standing on the edge of a 20 story building, but panic does set in.  Then what happens next, the fear of the unknown, doubts and second guessing sets in.  This is what cause a bad round to get worse and for bad shots to compile on each other.

So what do you do,  Well....

1) A bad shot is just panic setting in, so you need to calm yourself,  get the adrenaline rush out of you.  You might not notice it, but you get that burst, its there be aware of it. That is why the bad shots get compounded because of the adrenaline.  So if its a bad tee shot, dont re-tee,  take a step back, let your playing partner hit, then reset and go for it again.
2) DO NOT CHANGE what you are doing.   This what compounds the panic,  What do I mean, well you have been playing good golf and you had 1 bad shot, all of a sudden you want to change just because of that 1 bad shot.....why?  For me when a panic attack happens, the first thing we think is Something is seriously wrong and we want to fix it immediately, when there was nothing wrong to begin with, we feel like OMG heart attack, or OMG headaches I need tylenol.  Its the same,  OMG I just shanked the shot, OMG I just hooked it.   It was 1 bad shot, if you start messing around with your grip your stance you swing path,  YOUR SHOT WILL GET WORSE!
3) The moment you have calmed down prior to your next shot, you have 2 choices,  dial it back with a less club,  or reset and hit your normal shot,  Dont amp it, dont slow it down, do the same thing you have been doing prior to the bad shot,  It was 1 bad shot, it does not require a swing revamp.  
4) The hardest part...... Forget the bad shot it was 1 bad shot,  You ever noticed how many times you remember your bad shots, but how many times do you remember your BEST shots?  Many times people focus on the negative.  Not the positive, you must overcome this mental block and focus on only your good shots!
5) If you are having a mental block focus ONLY on 1 GREAT SHOT YOU HAD THAT DAY, that pure shot, that one you stoned the flag something positive, get the negative thought out of your head.

Panic/Anxiety/PTSD is not just for war, it happens to everyone,  a bank robbery, a car accident, spilling a glass of water,  anything can trigger the fight or flight mechanism, you just need to know how you over come it an realize its just a misunderstanding. While some peoples situation is triggered differently and more so the severity it is still a mechanism in the body.

Do not compound the thoughts, Realize you were fine before it happened and you will be fine after it....


Edited by Exactice808, 21 July 2017 - 04:09 PM.

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#6 NavyMustangGolf



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Posted 26 January 2016 - 07:47 PM

When It goes really bad, I will usually try to salvage the good in the round. IE. If I am playing for scratch, I just resign that I am not winning today, and start playing for fun. Round usually goes better, and the damage is limited. If its to the point where i am hitting hosel rockets and connot even make a good swing, I withdraw and head to the range for a bit prior to heading home. My personal rule is that as long as I am paying to play, I am going to have fun. If I am not, then I am going home with my wife and kids. Life is too short to pay to be frustrated and pissed off. Now, once Callaway starts sending me checks, I guess I will tough it out. For the fans, of course, lol.
I felt really good about that shot....
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#7 rgk5



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Posted 26 January 2016 - 07:51 PM

Three years ago I was following Sean Foley's teaching(I know his Dad) and played very well.  Last year I tried something different and played like an arthritic octopus. This morning I re-watched his DVD jumped on the Foresight and boom, it all came back in an hour.  I'm staying with him as it has not hurt Rose or Mahan.  Tiger?  Well, he's Tiger.

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#8 Mr22putt


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Posted 26 January 2016 - 07:55 PM

 Shawn Paul, on 26 January 2016 - 05:28 PM, said:

How do you get out of a rut / bad place on a day when your game falls apart?
Call 1-800-GOLFGOD and ask for forgiveness.


#9 Mulligan26


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Posted 26 January 2016 - 08:24 PM

I hit balls with my feet together as most of my bad shots are tempo related, then drink heavily. Following that, I look at the beautiful woman sleeping next to me and realize... life aint so bad.

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#10 Exactice808


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Posted 26 January 2016 - 09:27 PM

Can I throw in a quick short story?

So I have been playing some of the best golf of my life, I made a thread too discussing, when the glass is going to break when this lucky streak is going to end......It hasnt and its seemingly on a great course.  My bad days are actually now my handicap score (11-13),  my Good days are well below my handicap (6-8), so I am trending down fast.

The other day I was working on shots, flighting/knockdowns/punch shots all that good stuff..... and then the dreaded shank appeared (just one).  Prior to that I was smoking the ball hitting crazy shots and even noticed people stopping to watch as I hit the ball.   That shank showed its face and panic set it.  I know some people saw it and I feared the worse.  Embarrassment of course was there and then the adrenaline, the cold sweats and then the negative thoughts.  "OMG am I going to do it again in front of everyone." "OMG is this really happening, OMG is this were my downfall begins"

At that moment, I stopped, Took a deep breath.... I literally laughed at myself with self reflection and realized I was making a mountain out of a mole hill. I realized that this is like a panic PTSD moment, were I am over thinking and amplifying my mistake when it was just that, a simple mistake.

I collected myself. Setup and went right back to hitting my shots,  beautiful shots. No problems...... That is when I realized my deterioration was from me and only me.

I played a round last week, where I was on track for a 79.  I was 6 over on the 16th hole,  17th is a 170 yard par3 into the wind (20+mph) plays like 190-200,  Anyways I hit the green about 20ft away should be easy 2 putt par,  I choke and 3 putt, opponent is laughing and making fun and realizing now, I am 7 over and I must par the 18th hole. The 18th is sort of an easy hole but I think before I averaged double bogey or worse due to the layout does not fit my ball flight.  Panic set in again realizing how important it was and more so coming off an easy 2 putt making 3 putt mentally I was challenged and bogged down.

I sucked it up, forced "forgot" 17..... and piped the best drive I have ever hit into this stupid 18th fairway, leaving me about 110 into the wind.  Excitement and a little fear set it, I hit a shot... I leaked it right pin in the middle I hit the right fringe.....OMG I screwed up damn it........ but that was it, I didnt think about the screw up I went straight to how am I going to get up and down from 25ft away from the pin on the fringe.  I distracted my mind from concentrating on the missed shot, to how am I going to make the next shot...... I chipped up to 4 inches for easy tap in, made par and shot my 79.  Mentally elated as I battled and battled hard a mental game to crunch out a number wanted!

ITS mental!  Focus on the good shots and good shots alone!

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#11 2bGood


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Posted 26 January 2016 - 09:35 PM

For me I always try to grind and just find SOMETHING to feel good about. A putt, a wedge shot, any little thing I can build off of.


#12 halliedog


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Posted 26 January 2016 - 10:26 PM

6-pack @ the turn.  Helps heal what's been ailing you on the front, or helps keep the nerves down if you happen to have a good round going coming down the stretch!
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#13 Nomad Golfer

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 12:42 AM

I cry a lot and then get on with it
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#14 duffer888


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Posted 27 January 2016 - 01:24 AM

Start drinking beer at the turn.

Take a week off.  Oddly enough my swing is sometimes pretty good after not touching a club for a bit.  The challenge is keeping it going before the bad habits creep back in.
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#15 Matt J

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 01:32 AM

First, I limp into the club house.  I think it's nice to have some punch shots, bunt drives, and basic chips and pitches that you feel are very easy to execute.  Limp in with the best score possible.  Sometimes you'll surprise yourself.  Create fewer bad memories if possible.  Then I go straight to the range and figure it out even if your hands start bleeding first. :)


#16 drkhorse117



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Posted 27 January 2016 - 06:17 AM

I noticed that when my rounds starts heading the wrong way, I'm usually too much in my head, thinking about mechanics. When I catch myself, I come back by taking a deep breath and enjoying the scenery and what's around me. This sounds lame but I try to become one with my surroundings. (This is one of the main reasons I started walking the course vs carting it.  Playing the game the way it was meant to be played.). Once I come back to nature, I focus on my target.  Once I start focusing on my target and not on my mechanics, my body starts to feel the shot that wants to be played.  

Tl:dr: I enjoy the natural environment, count my blessings and play the game.


#17 hammy83


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Posted 27 January 2016 - 07:35 AM

go home...and have sex with the wife.  Seems to make me forget about other things.   I might need a new strategy with a baby due in April.

Edited by hammy83, 27 January 2016 - 07:38 AM.


#18 golfandfishing


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Posted 27 January 2016 - 07:40 AM

 dlygrisse, on 26 January 2016 - 06:12 PM, said:

Go work on my short game.  Because I know I will be missing greens.

This is exactly what I do - bunker shots specifically.  Hitting a good bunker shot requires a long swing with an aggressive move through the ball. I'll let this bleed over into the rest of the bag, but a half hour of bunker shots straightens me out every time.


#19 niscur24


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Posted 27 January 2016 - 07:45 AM

Buy new clubs......its obviously their fault anyways....
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#20 Shawn Paul

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 05:13 PM

 Exactice808, on 26 January 2016 - 07:04 PM, said:

Hey OP, I might steer this into a whole ball of wax but my thoughts.

Nice thoughts, good insight thanks for sharing.  My pal is in the military and is deployed every 2 years so maybe there is some PTSD coping that he needs to deal with.

I also think that if you practice the proper way then you're better prepared for when things fall apart.  There's that word again, practice...

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#21 llewol007



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Posted 27 January 2016 - 05:16 PM

Well its obviously the club and not me so back to the BST for my next purchase. Some times i turn to my chrome plated friend who bids me hello. Take a couple of swigs and suddenly my game is not that bad.
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Posted 28 January 2016 - 02:25 PM

I get on WRX as soon as I can and get some new swing crack to give me hope lol
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Posted 28 January 2016 - 04:48 PM

I usually follow my friends advice, "take 2 weeks off, then forget you ever played before". Worthless advice, but it makes me laugh.


#24 tgyphilly



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Posted 29 January 2016 - 05:23 AM

I vow to quit golf forever. Works every time.


#25 mizunoman800



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Posted 29 January 2016 - 02:49 PM

I remind myself it's just a game and not stress about it. Everyone has bad days and we all find our swing again. To limp in I will club up and swing much slower than normal. A lot of times something will just click and I can try going after it again. I also try changing my grip from strong to weak. The different feel  keeps the demons out of my head while I am focusing on that new sensation. Sometimes it just takes a shot or 2 to get your groove back. Beer always helps too.


#26 Millbrook


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Posted 30 January 2016 - 04:09 AM

If your buddy is keen to fix the issue you may want to get him to agree to verbalise his thoughts the next time it happens.

The self talk which goes on in our heads when we stress out can be very destructive. Verbalising it to a trusted buddy may give you both the chance to enable him to dissociate from it.
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#27 playa


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Posted 30 January 2016 - 01:57 PM

I'm assuming by 'falling apart' we are referring to a game wrecking error.entering our round i.e..shank/pulll hook/top etc. Basically,  something that you just can't go with til the end of the round and fix on the range.  In those circumstances I think it's important to have a go to shot to fall back on. It might be a half swing punch shot if it's your irons, a controlled fade with driver, going with 3 wood off the tee etc. You need a plan B.. The other day I was hitting good iron shots and chipping and putting well, but I started pull hooking my driver. I pereservered with it and it ended up turning what could easily have been a 75 into an 82 (tight course where left was dead). I had no plan B. My new priority is to develop a fall back shot which I know will allow me to find the fairway in pressure situations, or when the pull hook with driver turns up outta now where.


#28 toddnt


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Posted 31 January 2016 - 08:48 PM

Light a stogie.


#29 Tanner25


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Posted 02 February 2016 - 07:39 PM

When I am hitting it sideways. I tee the ball up off my front foot and just let er rip. It gets me unstuck and I can go back to my normal swing. Kind of weird. But, it works.


#30 Jasonic



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Posted 03 February 2016 - 10:13 PM

Swing oil - beer.

Actually this thread helped me today. I've been struggling with the shanks for years and finally have gotten it sorted but every so once in a while it popped up on a full iron and happened at range today. Normally I would get tense and freaking out internally and ruin my session but per above, laughed it off and just went back to hitting relaxed, solid shots. A pleasure.

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