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Beginner frustrated with golf. Any advice?


81 replies to this topic

#1 Temple90

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 09:40 PM

I have attempted to start playing golf for the last three years and have just started taking it more seriously this past summer. I have been going to the driving range and taking lessons with a course pro.

So far I have taken six lessons and I feel like my progress has been very slow. I understand that it will  not be linear, but at times I feel like I am barely making any progress. For example, some lessons I am hitting awesome balls with minor form mistakes, but when I go to the range I can't hit a single ball well.
So far i am only practicing with irons and find that I am struggling significantly with the longer irons.
To add I have prior back issues (herniation) so my lower back is very tight. Makes for some discomfort during the swing, but never any pain.

Anyone have any advice? I want to continue going, but it is discouraging feeling like I am not getting anywhere with it.


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#2 ohioglfr

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 09:48 PM

Not a very technical answer from me, I'm afraid.  At the range, I start with wedges, through short and then long irons.  I groove my tempo better that way.  I don't feel comfortable hitting long irons first . . . but thats just me.

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#3 FourTops

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 10:24 PM

View PostTemple90, on 27 November 2018 - 09:40 PM, said:

I have attempted to start playing golf for the last three years and have just started taking it more seriously this past summer. I have been going to the driving range and taking lessons with a course pro.

So far I have taken six lessons and I feel like my progress has been very slow. I understand that it will  not be linear, but at times I feel like I am barely making any progress. For example, some lessons I am hitting awesome balls with minor form mistakes, but when I go to the range I can't hit a single ball well.
So far i am only practicing with irons and find that I am struggling significantly with the longer irons.
To add I have prior back issues (herniation) so my lower back is very tight. Makes for some discomfort during the swing, but never any pain.

Anyone have any advice? I want to continue going, but it is discouraging feeling like I am not getting anywhere with it.

OK.  So when i first started playing the piano....it took me about 6 months to play basic scales without looking...and to a metronome.  There were days that my progress reversed....the "I quit' days....then suddenly a break-through.  But one thing I found was to NOT self-teach and get into bad habits because it's 100X harder to unwind.  Find a teacher and just absorb...don't question every move.

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#4 Temple90

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 10:25 PM

View PostFourTops, on 27 November 2018 - 10:24 PM, said:

View PostTemple90, on 27 November 2018 - 09:40 PM, said:

I have attempted to start playing golf for the last three years and have just started taking it more seriously this past summer. I have been going to the driving range and taking lessons with a course pro.

So far I have taken six lessons and I feel like my progress has been very slow. I understand that it will  not be linear, but at times I feel like I am barely making any progress. For example, some lessons I am hitting awesome balls with minor form mistakes, but when I go to the range I can't hit a single ball well.
So far i am only practicing with irons and find that I am struggling significantly with the longer irons.
To add I have prior back issues (herniation) so my lower back is very tight. Makes for some discomfort during the swing, but never any pain.

Anyone have any advice? I want to continue going, but it is discouraging feeling like I am not getting anywhere with it.

OK.  So when i first started playing the piano....it took me about 6 months to play basic scales without looking...and to a metronome.  There were days that my progress reversed....the "I quit' days....then suddenly a break-through.  But one thing I found was to NOT self-teach and get into bad habits because it's 100X harder to unwind.  Find a teacher and just absorb...don't question every move.

I have been taking lessons weekly. Unfortunately I do not think I am absorbing what is coming through.

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#5 FourTops

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 10:28 PM

View PostTemple90, on 27 November 2018 - 10:25 PM, said:

View PostFourTops, on 27 November 2018 - 10:24 PM, said:

View PostTemple90, on 27 November 2018 - 09:40 PM, said:

I have attempted to start playing golf for the last three years and have just started taking it more seriously this past summer. I have been going to the driving range and taking lessons with a course pro.

So far I have taken six lessons and I feel like my progress has been very slow. I understand that it will  not be linear, but at times I feel like I am barely making any progress. For example, some lessons I am hitting awesome balls with minor form mistakes, but when I go to the range I can't hit a single ball well.
So far i am only practicing with irons and find that I am struggling significantly with the longer irons.
To add I have prior back issues (herniation) so my lower back is very tight. Makes for some discomfort during the swing, but never any pain.

Anyone have any advice? I want to continue going, but it is discouraging feeling like I am not getting anywhere with it.

OK.  So when i first started playing the piano....it took me about 6 months to play basic scales without looking...and to a metronome.  There were days that my progress reversed....the "I quit' days....then suddenly a break-through.  But one thing I found was to NOT self-teach and get into bad habits because it's 100X harder to unwind.  Find a teacher and just absorb...don't question every move.

I have been taking lessons weekly. Unfortunately I do not think I am absorbing what is coming through.

You won't in the beginning...stop setting artificial goals.  You will hit well one day and stink the next even with a swing that you "think" is better.  I've seen this over and over, and been there done that.


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#6 homergolf

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 10:31 PM

One thing that kept me playing when I was a beginner was playing with a good friend who was also a beginner.  We literally laughed at each other to tears, we still do.   We had great times learning the game.  Neither of us are really good golfers, but we love the game.
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#7 Markrip

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 10:33 PM

A lot of people have problems hitting long irons. I’ve played with people who don’t like to hit anything lower than a 6 or 7 iron. Maybe you should try a couple of hybrids. You’ve only had 6 lessons. I can tell you from my experience with taking lessons this summer for the first time that sometimes  I felt caught between what I was doing before and what I was learning and it wasn’t always pretty. It took me a lot of practice to learn what I was being taught. I still struggle with the grip change my instructor made with me. My ball striking improved quite a bit as summer went on and my 4 iron has actually become one of my favorite clubs in my bag. Hang in there and have many have said on this site “ Golf is Hard!”
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#8 ThinkingPlus

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 10:35 PM

Golf isn't a sprint, but a marathon. It can't be forced or measured moment by moment.  Even the pros speak often of being patient and letting opportunities come to them rather than forcing them to happen.  Enjoy the journey.  Stay dedicated and persistent and you will improve.
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#9 BrianMcG

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 10:41 PM

Here's the winner of  14 majors and considered by some the GOAT.

Posted Image

Edited by BrianMcG, 28 November 2018 - 08:27 AM.

Walter: Tell me Bobby, why do you play this game?
Bobby: I play because I love it.
Walter: Well I play for the money. I have to win. That is why every time we face each other I will always beat you.

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#10 ThinkingPlus

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 10:43 PM

View PostBrianMcG, on 27 November 2018 - 10:41 PM, said:

Here's the winner of over 14 majors and considered by some the GOAT.

Posted Image
Chunkadelic!

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#11 FourTops

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 10:45 PM

How about Sergio's 13 at Augusta?  LOL!

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#12 sheldonjhacker

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 10:47 PM

Advice?  Keep at it !

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#13 FourTops

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Posted 27 November 2018 - 10:49 PM

Let's level-set.  Nobody talks about the pro's who missed the cut on Friday....blew-up and shot in the 80's. The Tour makes one think they all play lights-out every week....they don't.  There's only about maybe 50 Tour players who can hang week after week, and even then I question how they do it.

Edited by FourTops, 27 November 2018 - 10:50 PM.


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#14 SixtySomePing

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 05:32 AM

I've been playing since 1965, so next year will be 54 years, and I still enjoy it. My progress is slow, but I still hit some awesome drives, approach shots, and putts, not like I would like to, I'm still learning but I enjoy it. There will be days when I struggle with my longer irons, or maybe my wedges, but I enjoy it. I'm not aloud to drive the course any more because of my epilepsy, my wonderful family will take me, but I still enjoy it. I used to love walking and playing but I got a thing on both ankles a few years ago called drop foot, so I have to wear braces to walk now, I can only ride in the cart and walk a little bit- but golf, I really enjoy it.
So what did I just say? Enjoy golf! I see where you started out by using words like 'frustrated', 'seriously', then 'progress very slow', 'struggling', and discouraging'... But what I don't see is anything referring to fun, like, enjoy, happy, or anything else that says golf means something positive to you. But I think it does, I just believe you need to even your mind's playing field and approach to it. It seems to me that perhaps whatever we do, if we approach it in a positive way, then we will have a positive outcome. So my advice to you is enjoy golf more, expect to have a good positive result, and expect it to take time. Don't see negative outcome as failure, but opportunity.You aren't failing, This is golf. If everyone on WRX thought of ourselves as a failure each time we couldn't immediately overcome our mistakes and struggles, we would all be a very sorry lot. It does take time, so relax, and learn how prepare a plan to improve on each part of your game in a positive, enjoyable way. You can't go out today and be a scratch player, but you can go out today and have a heckuva good time...  my two cents

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#15 SBH9458

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 06:00 AM

 SixtySomePing, on 28 November 2018 - 05:32 AM, said:

I've been playing since 1965, so next year will be 54 years, and I still enjoy it. My progress is slow, but I still hit some awesome drives, approach shots, and putts, not like I would like to, I'm still learning but I enjoy it. There will be days when I struggle with my longer irons, or maybe my wedges, but I enjoy it. I'm not aloud to drive the course any more because of my epilepsy, my wonderful family will take me, but I still enjoy it. I used to love walking and playing but I got a thing on both ankles a few years ago called drop foot, so I have to wear braces to walk now, I can only ride in the cart and walk a little bit- but golf, I really enjoy it.
So what did I just say? Enjoy golf! I see where you started out by using words like 'frustrated', 'seriously', then 'progress very slow', 'struggling', and discouraging'... But what I don't see is anything referring to fun, like, enjoy, happy, or anything else that says golf means something positive to you. But I think it does, I just believe you need to even your mind's playing field and approach to it. It seems to me that perhaps whatever we do, if we approach it in a positive way, then we will have a positive outcome. So my advice to you is enjoy golf more, expect to have a good positive result, and expect it to take time. Don't see negative outcome as failure, but opportunity.You aren't failing, This is golf. If everyone on WRX thought of ourselves as a failure each time we couldn't immediately overcome our mistakes and struggles, we would all be a very sorry lot. It does take time, so relax, and learn how prepare a plan to improve on each part of your game in a positive, enjoyable way. You can't go out today and be a scratch player, but you can go out today and have a heckuva good time...  my two cents


Great perspective, and great advice to me (won’t speak for all of us). Enjoying what we are doing, especially when it comes to golf, often starts with the mindset. Thanks for your post!

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#16 GoGoErky

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 06:03 AM

 Temple90, on 27 November 2018 - 10:25 PM, said:

 FourTops, on 27 November 2018 - 10:24 PM, said:

 Temple90, on 27 November 2018 - 09:40 PM, said:

I have attempted to start playing golf for the last three years and have just started taking it more seriously this past summer. I have been going to the driving range and taking lessons with a course pro.

So far I have taken six lessons and I feel like my progress has been very slow. I understand that it will  not be linear, but at times I feel like I am barely making any progress. For example, some lessons I am hitting awesome balls with minor form mistakes, but when I go to the range I can't hit a single ball well.
So far i am only practicing with irons and find that I am struggling significantly with the longer irons.
To add I have prior back issues (herniation) so my lower back is very tight. Makes for some discomfort during the swing, but never any pain.

Anyone have any advice? I want to continue going, but it is discouraging feeling like I am not getting anywhere with it.

OK.  So when i first started playing the piano....it took me about 6 months to play basic scales without looking...and to a metronome.  There were days that my progress reversed....the "I quit' days....then suddenly a break-through.  But one thing I found was to NOT self-teach and get into bad habits because it's 100X harder to unwind.  Find a teacher and just absorb...don't question every move.

I have been taking lessons weekly. Unfortunately I do not think I am absorbing what is coming through.

Maybe cut back to every other week. This gives you more time to engrain the feelings and work on the things from your lesson before seeing your instructor again.  On the range work on the drills, hit a ball, rinse an repeat

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#17 Ferguson

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 06:13 AM

In the words of E. Fritz Roberts - "Golf is a game that requires inner strength and determination, enough so that it helps us to fight the urge to quit while at the same time keeping us interested; notwithstanding the cost of time required to maintain oneself as a so-called decent player."  

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#18 Shipwreck

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 06:46 AM

I’d honestly say that weekly lessons might not be the best thing, because you aren’t giving yourself ample time to actually absorb any swing changes. Maybe spread them out to 2-3 weeks apart and see how that goes. Also set smaller, obtainable goals. Don’t try and work on everything at the same time either.

Most importantly, have fun and don’t take it super serious. You arent relying on golf as a source of income.
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#19 Boricua Golf

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 06:55 AM

I think that fun has to be part of it, make it fun on the course, play a game within the game and don't worry about score...challenge yourself, but make it fun and always remember "golf is a game, treat it as such"
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#20 coreyl

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 08:05 AM

 BrianMcG, on 27 November 2018 - 10:41 PM, said:

Here's the winner of over 14 majors and considered by some the GOAT.

Posted Image


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#21 fairways4life

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 08:25 AM

1.) Put the long irons away for now. Focus on hitting the shorter (and easier to hit) clubs.

2.) Is there a decent par 3 course in your area? Good place to get the hang of the game without beating yourself up.

3.) Maybe take a break from the lessons. We all learn differently and some people just don't learn well from lessons. Spend more time just experimenting on the range with different things rather than always trying to do what the instructor said. You might find that you're able to "dig it out of the dirt" on your own and figure out what works for you. You can always revisit the lessons later on.

4.) Be patient. It's hard, I know. I'm one of the least patient people in the world. But golf is freaking HARD. And that's why when you finally do improve, the rewards are so great. Everyone has a different learning curve. Not everyone is going to see big gains early on. Some people (like myself) are the opposite. I was very slow to improve at first but once the light bulb clicked, my handicap dropped like a bag of rocks. Keep at it.

Edited by fairways4life, 28 November 2018 - 08:26 AM.


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#22 KMeloney

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 09:26 AM

Temple -- Who are you seeing for lessons?

The game is hard, and it takes a lot of time, effort, and focus for most to feel remotely good about their game. That being said, we also don't know what your idea of "progress" is, so it's tough (impossible?) to know if you're even being reasonable in your expectations.

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#23 GMR

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 10:20 AM

The response that compared to piano was very apt.  Golf is much like learning a musical instrument. For some reason, though, no one takes up the piano and thinks they are going to be playing Debussy in 12 months while in golf people seem to come in with some unrealistic expectations on the rate of improvement.  Sure there's the rare guy who can take up the game and be breaking 90 consistently in 6 months, but that only really tends to happen with individuals who are both very athletically inclined and also come from a strong background of stick-and-ball sports--much the equivalent of a lifelong orchestra member who decides to take up another instrument (all the theory and musical intuition is already in place, just a matter of ingraining the specific mechanics).

With that said, my advice to you would be to approach it the same way you would if you were learning the piano from scratch.  Break it down into small and achievable goals.  See your instructor as much or as infrequently as you'd like, but make sure you leave each lesson with some specific goal in mind that is clearly defined and measurable (i.e. half swings reaching a specific top-of-backswing position).  Don't be overly focused on the results just yet, just enjoy the process of building your swing up one small brick at a time. Work on achieving the small goals that your instructor lays out for you and before you know it more and more you'll be playing a game that looks like golf.

Best of luck to you!

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#24 fowlerscousin

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 10:30 AM

 Temple90, on 27 November 2018 - 09:40 PM, said:

I have attempted to start playing golf for the last three years and have just started taking it more seriously this past summer. I have been going to the driving range and taking lessons with a course pro.

So far I have taken six lessons and I feel like my progress has been very slow. I understand that it will  not be linear, but at times I feel like I am barely making any progress. For example, some lessons I am hitting awesome balls with minor form mistakes, but when I go to the range I can't hit a single ball well.
So far i am only practicing with irons and find that I am struggling significantly with the longer irons.
To add I have prior back issues (herniation) so my lower back is very tight. Makes for some discomfort during the swing, but never any pain.

Anyone have any advice? I want to continue going, but it is discouraging feeling like I am not getting anywhere with it.

Golf takes years and years of dedicated practice just to get started on the path of calling yourself "good".

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#25 silver504

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 10:52 AM

From my personal experience, I didn't see progress until I started playing more golf and spending less time at the range. I used to spend 2 to 4 hours at the range 2 to 3 times a week the first 5 years. I could not bring my range game to the course. Then I just started playing more golf and time practicing was on chipping and putting. I hope this helps. I know everyone is different.


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#26 KGilma

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 11:12 AM

I just started playing golf again in September, after a 12 -15 year break.  I was never great but I was pretty good, and had played with my grandfather since I was 5.  I came out of "retirement" thinking I would be shooting in the 80's again after a round or two and a few range sessions.  Man, was I wrong.  I'll be playing par or bogey golf for  4 or 5 holes hitting solid drives and approach shots, then I'll go 3 holes where I top my drive, chunk the approach, 4 putt and make an 8.  My point is golf is hard... its frustrating, but it's fun.  Try what others have said and space your lessons out more, and absorb what you're being taught.  Practice when you can, and things will change.
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#27 DavePelz4

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 11:25 AM

It was 57 years for the Eagles to go from winning the 1960 NFL Championship to the 2017 Super Bowl.  These are professional athletes who have trained their entire lives to be successful and it was 57 years of failure.  Don't lose perspective that golf is supposed to be fun and view the journey as fun as the outcome of playing better.  3 years isn't a very long time...

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#28 MaineMariner

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 12:03 PM

I'm no expert, but I think beginners sometimes get hung up on form. Personally, when I get too technical in my swing, I become more tense and less athletic. If you find yourself in a bad range sessions (we've all been there), relax, take a deep breath, back away, shake out the cobwebs, and hit some loosey goosey light and easy pitch shots. You don't need to be perfect, you just need to find your athleticism.

I've become a pretty big adherent to Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson's school of thought when it comes to the golf swing. Balance, tempo, and tension are the three main components, and once you get those locked in, everything else will fall into place. Stop worrying about tucking in your elbow or bending your knee or whatever and get in tune with those three components.
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#29 James the Hogan Fan

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 12:10 PM

This is a game that chews you up and spits you out, kicks your a** and takes no prisoners. Even Tiger is not immune. And yet for every 10 balls we put in the woods, for every f bomb we drop, every once in awhile we hit a cut 5 iron to 4 feet and walk up to the green imagining the “usually reserved Augusta crowd on its feet in appreciation”

Now I understand that in your case, you might be aways away from ”cut 5 irons,” but simple, more modest goals can be your ”Augusta moment”. That might be ”hit an 8-iron 100 yards” or a pure contact with a 5 iron. When I was learning my dad said I couldn’t play on a course until I could hit a ball 150 yards. That became my big goal, and I can still remember the day that ball soared over the tire with the 150 painted on it.  

So keep working on it. For more instant results try a hybrid with a ball teed up about 1/4” just to get contact/ball flying. If it gets frustrating, take a break, head to the putting green, etc.

And I think the most important thing: it’s ok to give up on any given day, as long you come back to try again. Enjoy the pursuit, I have for 19 years, and Im only 23.
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#30 macedan

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 01:09 PM

The easiest and simultaneously hardest things to realize is that golf is not easy, nor is progress linear. It is very helpful to set goals for oneself, but not exceedingly high goals, take baby steps to meet. If my goal was to break 80 every round, there's no way I would still be playing because I would be too upset with my "failures". But these aren't true failures as my goal was not attainable to myself in the first place. I don't have low expectations for myself but I have reduced how high of expectations I set for myself allowing me to see smaller improvements and enjoy the journey more.

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