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What do you do when your game falls apart?


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#31 OrangeGravy


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Posted 04 February 2016 - 02:26 AM

I played a tournament round a couple years ago where I came into it expecting to play with the one person I knew that day. Something got screwed up in the pairings and I ended up playing with 3 people I just met on the first tee. It usually doesn't bother me, but mentally I was only playing because my buddy talked me into it and I got a case of stage fright real bad. Almost every iron shot I hit for 18 holes was a hosel rocket! I finally had to dial it down to half swing punch shots just to get in. It was the single most embarrassing round of golf I've ever played in my life. I truly felt bad that the other guys had to endure that for an entire round. When we finished I bought a pitcher of beer for my group to apologize for seeing that and we all laughed about it. It's never happened to that degree again, but when I do get the shanks I usually go to the short game practice area and hit a large bucket worth of chip and pitch shots slowly getting further and further until I'm back close to a full swing. My mechanics are always solid on short pitch/chips, so it brings me back in line

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#32 Hateto3Putt


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Posted 04 February 2016 - 09:13 AM

Laugh it off. It's only a game.

The other day we had an unprecedented Groundhogs day round here in PA.

I started off like Arnold Palmer, but finished like Arnold Ziffell. I won ZERO skins or greenies.

I still had a blast because I'm not dead, sick, broke and I was playing golf at home in February.

Back to the original query, when I suffer mid round, I focus on 3 things, head still, finish the backswing, and don't try to hit anything but a straight shot. Sometimes it works.


#33 Mathy



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Posted 04 February 2016 - 10:12 AM

This is such an interesting topic, so thanks to the OP. Every golfer has their own personal version of an implosion, I feel it's the nature of the game. Occasionally we have those magical days, where everything is wonderful and no wrong can be done.

So, if we assume that some sort of meltdown is inevitable, then for me, the solution is instruction and understanding of what causes the shanks, fades, hard lefts and other assorted rubbish that one's body can deliver on any given day. Most golfers have one or 2 bad habits - get to love them, recognise them and then focus on the recipe for sorting them on the course - which is where a good coach comes into play.

However, the mental is everything. If you stick your ball in the rubbish because of a bad swing, the next priority is how to play the best shot you can, and retrieve the situation. The enemy of the golfer is stress, anxiety, anger and frustration. No-one is perfect, golf is a game of inches and managing imperfection. It can actually be fun to accept the challenge of being where you don't want to be, taking a deep breath, working out the shot and then trusting/committing to playing it. Surprisingly, it works out well most of the time :)

I would also like to add that if one lives with panic, anxiety, depression or PTSD, then golf is actually a marvellous game to help, if you let it assist you in being in the moment - forget that last bad shot and don't sweat the next shot. I've lived with PTSD for the last 14 years. I was at my golf club on Ladies Day (which is traditionally a Tuesday in OZ), having sat down for lunch, when the roof caved in - killing 2 of the Lady members, injuring several others and trapping/traumatising the rest. It was a terrible event that had lasting consequences for all of the women there that day. However, this event has been a great learning experience for me, and golf is a wonderful partner in the process of healing, engagement, challenge and enjoyment, cheers :)


#34 Boricua Golf

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 10:30 AM

This is what works for me, if I had a bad day is the scoring area (playing bad golf beats the best day at work anyday), I go to the range and hit whatever iron I hit best, in my case the 9i, see the flight and the feel the solid contact, then I go the the club that gave most trouble, either driver or long iron, and start to hit it and the feel returns and hit great shots and if I have time I'll play 9 more holes and surely I play better...like stated above, it is a game and it should be treated as such, I understand the OPs friend, I had an accident in Iraq (got blown up) and I was out for 17 months, this put life in perspective and realized that family is way more important that anything else, so, play the game and be happy that you can still play, I love golf, I really do, but a bad score will not mean anything anymore, I'll just try to do better next time or do the practice routine mentioned and try it again...good luck

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#35 Badgergolfer2


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Posted 04 February 2016 - 02:05 PM

I remind myself that Im going to have my ups and my downs and that I dont play golf for a living, so if I have a bad round, it doesnt matter anyways.


#36 Shawn Paul

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Posted 04 February 2016 - 02:20 PM

View PostMathy, on 04 February 2016 - 10:12 AM, said:

I was at my golf club on Ladies Day (which is traditionally a Tuesday in OZ), having sat down for lunch, when the roof caved in

Well that is just awful, thanks for sharing and best wishes to you.  I imagine that's something one never really gets over.
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#37 Mathy



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Posted 05 February 2016 - 11:18 AM

View PostShawn Paul, on 04 February 2016 - 02:20 PM, said:

View PostMathy, on 04 February 2016 - 10:12 AM, said:

I was at my golf club on Ladies Day (which is traditionally a Tuesday in OZ), having sat down for lunch, when the roof caved in

Well that is just awful, thanks for sharing and best wishes to you.  I imagine that's something one never really gets over.

Thanks for your thoughts, it took a long while, but myself and others are pretty much healed. Many of us left and joined other clubs. Recently, I've played that course again during the Pennant season, and it was ok, and I realised how far I'd travelled along that road.

I'm a golf nut, my father was the same, and I've had a golf club in my hand since I was 5yo. Although something terrible happened to me whilst being at a golf club, my love for the game never changed. What did change was my attitude towards playing the game. I was a perfectionist. I went through a time after this event, where I was a horrible person to be around on the golf course, because I existed in a state of stress and nervous reaction. I learnt and healed. Now (most of the time) if things are going bad, I can dig myself out of a hole, because I'm mentally tough and I trust my game/skills - and  (going to have a brag), I'm a hell of a matchplay player. One of the blessings about all of the therapy that I did, was that developing skills for dealing with, living with and feeling comfortable with stress and anxiety works really well for golfers :)

At the end of the day, it's game. The beauty of this game is wonderful surroundings and plenty of challenge to your creative instincts - what more could anyone ask for?

I don't post a lot on this forum, but I do read a lot, it's a fantastic conglomeration of thoughts and teachings, which I very much appreciate, cheers :)


#38 oldschoolrocker


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Posted 05 February 2016 - 06:35 PM

Depends on if you mean a single round, or all out wrfo.  If it's a single round and let's say a bad shot followed by a bad break I try to keep out of the quicksand.  Do whatever it takes to keep the ball in play.  All of us that have played this game for any length of time have had these moments, and all of us that have played this game for any length of time have a go to shot that we can always count on.  May not be the one you can score the best with, but I am willing to bet it's one that you can keep in play and keep your mind from sinking in the mire.  A couple of your go to's, a good chip and a grinding putt, even to save bogey can do a world of good for turning the round around.
If it's wtfo and lasts a couple of rounds, treat it like the flu and get a checkup.  
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#39 Darxez


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Posted 07 February 2016 - 04:36 PM

Well... Harsh topic for myself as I'm ashamed for an action I had a bit less then a year ago, seeing I litterly exploded in pure rage (January 2015 in a winter comp)... Influenced alot due circumstances that include a very close family member being severely sick (last stage Cancer), alongside with stress for school and everything (I am 19), I broke down and broke my club in anger, and walked away from the competition. I still am ashamed of my reaction at the time, but I spoke to most of the members of the golf about it (small club) and luckily, I got forgiven and they said that my reaction was only normal seeing the circumstances.

I tried to get back to golf directly after the passing off the person in June '15, but the same issue was still there; I could not get my head into my game, I had the technique, the knowledge... But I could not apply it. After stepping over the " I quit golf", I decided to prolongue my break till the start of the off season, which was in november. I started to play from there again, and ever since everything has been brilliant

What I wish to point out with this, in my opinion,  Mentallity is something very important in golf... Even more then the physical aspect. If I play bad, which I did at the very beginning off my return, I tend to note down things that I find " odd" feeling when making my swing... I do not get frustated anymore, or think about what I did wrong or anything... Instead, I forget the last shot and focus on the next one (thank you therapy for this). This has allowed me to GAIN in regularity, and thus in score. Applying the knowledge you have along with the experience...
Golf takes my mind away from the issues I have due University and all that, it allows me to have fun and work on something. If I play very bad, which has already happened, I usually spend the rest of the evening on the range alongside my practice sticks to correct my swing... Then leave it for some days and do the same again and then DIRECTLY after go on the golf course...


#40 Bizcut1



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Posted 07 February 2016 - 08:47 PM

I love to break 90.  I do it...oh, about every 10 rounds (or so).

If I billed for my bad shots, I'd be the richest man in Babylon.

It's a game, played with (usually) my friends...I don't do it for a living.

I do THAT the other five days.


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#41 JNZ



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Posted 08 February 2016 - 07:09 PM

Interestingly (frustratingly) while nothing like what the OP has endured, in crisis situations and during really good rounds I get really calm and clearly focussed with no nerves but the first tee / hole I am very nervous and tournaments recently have been disastrous (I actually had to change that bit to the past tense rather than make it an ongoing thing).  

I had been playing consistently this year shooting between par and 5 over, and last weekend had a tournament. I wasn't overly nervous (maybe the same as a usual casual round) on the  first tee but have absolutely no recollection of the swing itself, a complete mental blackout and I topped my tee shot 60 yards but that was only because it was straight downhill otherwise it may have gone 30 at best. When I got to the ball, my heart was racing and the adrenaline was sky high, it was not a great lie in the rough and while it was sitting up a bit I decided to hit a hybrid but was a bit nervous of it popping and hitting branches in front of me, I only just hit it and it actually spun backwards (lucky it didn't hit me). Well you can only imagine how things were then! I hacked an iron out and managed to make double but was a mess eventually shooting 10 over. I hit more bad shots shots that day than the rest of the year so far combined.

I had a similar experience the tournament before that one but that was a putt. Great drive, ok 2nd to 20 feet and then I hit it 3 feet by. One minute I was standing over the ball and the next it was 5 feet past, obviously I hit it there but no recollection of the putt.

I had a long break of over 12 years when I didn't play golf and suspect I am essentially have to 'relearn' how to play tournaments and suspect I need some good recent memories to use as my go to.

Edited by JNZ, 08 February 2016 - 07:13 PM.


#42 donaldp83



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Posted 08 February 2016 - 10:26 PM

This might sound nutty, but I take the old Hogans and Powerbilt persimmons out for a round or two. It is relaxing and my timing comes back in no time... The head weight reminds you just how much the golf club will swing itself... As soon as I begin forcing the clubhead to the ball, the persimmon is there for me :)

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#43 royemans



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Posted 11 February 2016 - 01:33 PM

3/4 swings with pitching Wedge !!


#44 PowderedToastMan


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Posted 13 February 2016 - 12:07 AM

Alex's Damage control protocol: I slow down, find my swing bottom, and focus intently on the shot I'm about to hit. With driver, I focus on target, rhythm, and almost always hitting a controlled, spinny cut. Putts, I just make a good stroke and try to make it and put together a score. Never give up on yourself and don't let the score on your card dictate your self worth.

No matter what, you've got to stay focused on making shots. It requires a lot of mental discipline, but it's necessary for good golf. Hogan's swing was legendary, but his mind was the best part of his game.
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Posted 13 February 2016 - 07:53 PM

How many people out there would be significantly better if it weren't for the driver? I know I'd be a lot better player with more fairways hit. The driver starts the round, and can end the possibility of a good round for me!!.......


#46 wreiman


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Posted 13 February 2016 - 08:17 PM

Back in 1982 I developed a bad case of the 'shanks' that worked its way into my 'Power Fade'..... Needless to say the 'Power Fade' had to go.
But before that when I got to the parking lot, I snapped the shafts in my irons 1-pw. Put them in thr trunk of the ford in a box and did not look at them again for 7 months (this was in July).  That spring, I had them reshafted and then I went to work on my swing to rid my self of my 'Power fade". After 2 month of range work, I developed a drawn and a simple seeing that I could repeat with little or no practice. The 'Shanks were gone and have never come back.... Now my bad shot is a pull hook..... I can live with that.

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#47 taporsnap17


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Posted 15 February 2016 - 06:05 AM

Play faster so I can get to the 19th...


#48 xWinKx_Chatree



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Posted 20 February 2016 - 05:55 AM

Keep calm and carry on.

Edited by xWinKx_Chatree, 22 February 2016 - 12:10 AM.


#49 Jude



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Posted 20 February 2016 - 08:22 PM

As of this morning I shot a whopping 87.  I'm a 4 hcp. So I drank my sorrows away with a 6 pack. On the lighter side it actually helped my game on the back nine. Plus there is a 60 degree wedge in the bottom of a pond.  I hate the 60 degree wedge. .

Edited by Jude, 20 February 2016 - 08:23 PM.


#50 Hateto3Putt


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Posted 21 February 2016 - 08:10 AM

View PostJude, on 20 February 2016 - 08:22 PM, said:

Plus there is a 60 degree wedge in the bottom of a pond.  I hate the 60 degree wedge. .

Last summer, I watched my buddy send his lob wedge swimming, Something I noticed about those high lofted clubs, they fly pretty good, but sink like a stone

He's one of those club launchers by nature though. I've seen him angrily toss at least a dozen clubs in my day

Whenever he starts pitching Pings, I love it when I'm there to egg him on. After he sent his lob wedge to meet Spongebob, I tossed him his Putter and said, "You almost carried the hazard,  try this one."

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#51 scoob



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Posted 29 February 2016 - 11:31 PM

I pull out my driver and just crush it. I dont even care where it goes just as long as i see it fly. My irons are harder to hit for me,.


#52 ParHunter



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Posted 02 March 2016 - 06:34 AM

There is a good blog 'The Golfers Toolbox' by Adam Young where he describes what (and in what order) you can tweak your swing during the round to fix problems. E.g. go with something that doesn't require a different swing (e.g. aim of clubface) first before moving down to more dramatic changes.



#53 oldschoolrocker


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Posted 02 March 2016 - 07:35 AM

Game falling apart.

Finally something I have experience with and I can comment on.  

All joking aside, for me it is almost always, and I believe the same for anyone that has been playing for a bit, and really knows how their best game feels, is that I am trying to take too much control.  Grip, too tight, or a bit off, too much tension developing that weaves its way through my entire body, then this seeds doubt, that harbinger of indecision which is the bane of any golfer regardless of skill level.

Range time, back to basics, practice with a 4/4 waltz beat to develop and reinforce the swing instead of hit.

During a round that catches  the next thing smokin and doesn't care the destination, visualize good shots that I have hit before.  The mind doesn't know realtime, so that has a calming effect and gets me in the proper state of mind.

Sorry for the ramble, but, I have really been trying to zen out when playing recently.


#54 Exactice808


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Posted 02 March 2016 - 03:00 PM

So my game fell apart..........things I did to make it work...

January I made a thread of how this can be real.... 78,79,81,79 lowest posted rounds ever for me especially back to back....

Then the wheels fell off...96,89,89,90,98,  I had a lapse of game....making plenty mistakes, but the biggest thing I noticed though..... Hesitation and no commitment. The next biggest thing, I noticed a slight change in my swing.

First thing I did was work on the slight change.... I went from secondary axis tilt away, to reverse pivot somehow? Was getting steep, and my transition was horrible due to the reverse pivot.

While that was an easy fix and catch the initial problem was extremely difficult to zero in on.

Hesitation and no commitment over the shot......  Mentally the doubts,  mentally the hesitation, mentally the second guessing of shot choice......... IT WAS HORRIBLE.......

first off I worked backwards,  I setup a little chipping station at home,  about 8 ft and chipped ever night for about 30 minutes,  this got me in a rhythm and confidence of simple ball striking.

Secondly I got invited to a tournament...... Where I could swing away freely and even try to test shots.... Its a tournament you have nothing to lose.

I notice in a normal round the amount of pressure I put on myself was debilitating to the game, after you question your shots....its game over. you need to regain the confidence back.....

TL : DR Version....

If its a confidence issues...... STOP....... Play a fun round, play in a scramble tournament, where you dont feel the enormous pressure to perform....... Where it doesnt feel like you have to hit ever shot perfect where the consequences are NOT consequences....

You had the skills before...you had a lapse it happens to the best......

after the 98?...... 82,81 and the tournament Scramble we shot a 9 under.....we did well and had fun!
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#55 bNeill


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Posted 03 March 2016 - 03:21 AM

I don't play tournament golf anymore so I don't really care! I just try to hit good shots and sometimes I do and sometimes I do not.

I have fun playing.

Some days I hit the shot that fits the approach. Some days I hit the shot I feel best with. Some days I fire at the flag every hole.

Boring (tournament golf) answer: hit the shots you feel most confident in, no matter what. Find a familiar feeling and stick with it. Focus on calming your breathing.

And most important of all have a laugh with your fellow competitors!

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#56 jdmccjm



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Posted 04 March 2016 - 10:00 AM

If you're serious about the game, you need to use bad golf as an opportunity.  Being a player isn't about how you perform when things are going well; it's about what you do when they aren't.  So when you're striking it poorly, use it as an opportunity to do 2 things: (1) try to learn what's causing it (i.e., your tendencies) and (2) start figuring out ways to solve them.  I'll be the first to admit, playing bad golf can strike a nerve in me that nothing else can hit.  But as I've started to use these instances as opportunities, it's given purpose to those horrible rounds, taught me a lot, and helped me improve over time.  Consequently, when I'm striking it poorly now, I'm more likely to stretch it out for 36 holes than I am to go home before the first 18.  So I would ask him, do you want to get better or not?


#57 jgan025



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Posted 07 March 2016 - 03:52 PM

For me, if things are going bad I try and look for silver linings... a goop chip, a drive that lands on the fariway.
Focus on one aspect of your game during your round and try to get that going.

If all fails, hit the range for a confidence booster. Nothing like hitting a couple hundred balls with no care of where they go!


#58 GolfiNut



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Posted 13 March 2016 - 06:58 PM

I always revert back to: "I am the golfer my HC says I am"
So when I start hot I can expect the train wreck to come and before the 18th usually...no...before the 6th usually...it does.

OR when I start Dbl Dbl or worse I know that good golf lies ahead because I am who my HC says I am.

The short of it? If you are a 13 then unless you have turned the corner you will play to a 13 on most days, just be patent

Edited by GolfiNut, 13 March 2016 - 06:59 PM.


#59 robdalky



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Posted 16 March 2016 - 02:21 PM

I used to get bent out of shape about the wheels falling off during a round.. Usually be even through six then an 8 pops up and I lose it. Then I had a kid and now I'm always just happy to actually get out of the house. I barely notice a terrible shot anymore! And there's lots of them haha
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#60 presidio



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Posted 16 March 2016 - 02:30 PM

Got the shanks real bad one time, worse than the random shanks. I played with a 9 iron and putter, tee to green. Couldn't fix my swing on the course but wanted to be out there enjoying the company.

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