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Beginner frustrated with golf. Any advice?


81 replies to this topic

#31 jslane57

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 01:21 PM

Try not to evaluate yourself on every single shot. Let the bad happen. Let the good happen. Are you getting enough practice time in to where you go to your next lesson ready to learn more, or are you covering the same thing over and over? Maybe space your lessons out a bit, no need to pay an instructor to watch you practice. I liked the Tiger gif, I remember seeing that on TV. If Tiger can give himself a pass, maybe we should all be able to do the same...


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#32 Cwing

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 01:24 PM

I would state that you need to stick to the drills and not care where the ball goes for awhile especially while at the range.

I know several that went for lessons. Later went to the range and maybe worked on the drills for 5 - 15 swings and then simply started hitting a jumbo bucket of balls.

In some cases, they care too much about where the ball is going so they go back to their previous swing / habits. In some cases, they simply just wail away at balls with no purpose.

A good rule of thumb would be a small to medium bucket with 3-4 swing drills to every full swing.

Edited by Cwing, 28 November 2018 - 01:25 PM.

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#33 extrastiff

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 01:32 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.
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#34 extrastiff

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 01:33 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.
in all seriousness tho, I got exponentially better when I started golfing with really good golfers.  Just watch what they do carefully,osmosis will take care of the rest.
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#35 Barfolomew

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 01:41 PM

Oh you seem to be coming around nicely...

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#36 GSDriver

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 01:46 PM

It takes time, golf is hard.

Keep at it, keep working with your teaching pro, have realistic expectations.

Most of all, enjoy the good shots....even Hogan said he would only hit one or two shots a round 'perfectly'.

Work on short game, saves most strokes, and anyone can become decent at the short game.
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#37 Barfolomew

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 02:01 PM

Ok rook lets throw you some gold..... besides driver - you are hitting down on ball and taking a divot in front of ball.  Key concept forgotten by even good players sometimes
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#38 Canoe Paddler

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 02:22 PM

If nothing else is working, then I would just hit pitch shots. It’s a mini version of your swing and really simplifies the swing. If you’re struggling with simple pitches (and you probably will for a while) then at least it makes diagnosis much easier and gets you on the right path to begin improving.

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#39 Kjboisen

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 03:15 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.

I am by NO MEANS devaluing instruction, as I myself am at a point where working with an instructor is beneficial for me. But I AM going to suggest this to you because as a beginner, his methodology I believe in (as it pertains to BEGINNERS). Watch this with an open mind and do your best to be athletic throughout trying this.

https://www.youtube....h?v=jfBBVwf07Ek

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#40 Steele47

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 03:34 PM

Fundamentals.  Use a mirror to see what grip,  address position,  position at top,  follow through looks like etc...  compared to pictures of pros or whoever else knows what they're doing.  Mimic them.  It's useful in that a mirror does not lie and makes it much easier to stomach next time your teaching pro (hopefully a good teacher) tries to get you into a position where we all invariably say or think,  "Thanks for the advice but that just feels very uncomfortable."


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#41 mikpga

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 03:39 PM

Not one mention of playing golf or being on the golf course?

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#42 FourTops

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 09:11 PM

Oh Yawn.  When I learned piano I progressed, then went backwards...then progressed slightly more...then backwards but slightly less...rinse repeat over 5 years.  What happens is your brain needs to "see" what your body needs to do on a consistent basis.  Some days it just FLAT-OUT won't cooperate....on other days it's smooth sailing.

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#43 OakLawnGolfPro

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Posted 28 November 2018 - 11:50 PM

Not gonna lie our industry is pretty poor at teaching people golf, especially beginners.  Do research, find instructors who not only offer instruction but must offer engaging ways to keep it fun and interesting.  If an instructor isn’t doing anything to make an engaging environment for learning, you will never get better.  That’s the secret sauce to this game, but it’ll never get mainstream, so if you can adapt that to your process you will have it!
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#44 andrue

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 06:21 AM

View PostShipwreck, on 28 November 2018 - 06:46 AM, said:

Most importantly, have fun and don't take it super serious. You arent relying on golf as a source of income.
This, with knobs on. Personally all I've ever wanted is to be able to play a course with anyone and not feel embarrassed nor upset them through my incompetence. All that's needed for that goal is to eliminate duff ball strikes. As long as the ball progresses a reasonable distance when I strike it in a reasonable direction I'm happy.

Happy to be outside. Happy to be enjoying attractive scenery (the alternatives for me are fields or urban). Happy to have an engrossing, long term hobby.
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#45 andrue

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 06:24 AM

View Postfowlerscousin, on 28 November 2018 - 10:30 AM, 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.

Golf takes years and years of dedicated practice just to get started on the path of calling yourself "good".
Doesn't it just. I started at age 42. I still don't consider myself good (I will if/when my handicap ever drops into the mid-teens) but I've enjoyed most(*) of the journey so far and looking forward to the next stage.

I'd also say that more time should be spent on the course. Range time has value of course but the biggest single drop I got in my scores was when I started playing golf three or four times a week during the summer. That alone took me from scoring in the mid 100s to scoring in the mid 90s.

(*)Losing my swing for long hybrids and driver last summer was a low point.

Edited by andrue, 29 November 2018 - 06:31 AM.

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#46 FourTops

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:15 PM

Don't know your game...don't know the tees you play, etc.  But for starters the tees you play should leave you...on average...a 7 iron approach.  If you find yourself hitting long iron approaches....your playing "too hard" of a game.  Plus, course management.  On a 380 yard par 4, you could maybe hit two 7 irons for 280 yards, then a 100 yard approach which has a much higher probability of landing on the green.  This means working on putting because your goal would be 2 putts.  Keep doing that and shoot for 90.  Let all the other guys blast drives into the trees and duff long irons.

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#47 dlygrisse

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 10:25 PM

If golf was easy, then it would be easy to lose interest.

I personally would spend more time playing than practicing. Enjoy the game, meet people, play new course enjoy nature. Set goals that are attainable. Get good with the short game, focus on fundamentals not mechanics. Take lessons but not too many. If you do make sure some are on putting and short game.

Have fun.
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#48 benhays98

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 12:45 AM

If you like it all, just keep swimming..

Edited by benhays98, 30 November 2018 - 01:47 AM.


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#49 Justsomeguy

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 01:24 AM

Focus on what you did well that day. Even if it's just showing up. Irrational confidence is necessary.
Some days I drive the ball really well or pitch and chip or go a whole round without a 3 putt. I don't mention irons bc lately there's no good news there.
But maybe the takeaway is hope. You can always hope to put it together next time.
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#50 wmblake2000

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 01:43 AM

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.

Welcome to golf.  As people have said, golf is a challenging game.  Part of its real charm is how maddening it is.  But everyone wants to see some hint of success and progress.  

You haven't replied since the opening post or maybe one more time and a lot of guys have shared good stuff.  Part of the problem is golf isn't a simple paint-by-numbers thing and the diverse range of answers here should tell you that one of the biggest challenges is to reduce the next step to something that is pretty clear in your mind and body and let go of trying to do too much at once.

The reality is there is a big step between a lesson and the practice range.  When you take a lesson, get real clear as to what you really want to focus on. It should be a simple one or maybe two things.  Figure out how you're going to know if you are doing these things better or the same.  Feel isn't real reliable especially at first.  Don't worry too much about the shots yet, just get more comfortable with odd feeling motions. Part of why we hit them well in a lesson but not when we practice is a) we feel more confident with a teacher watching is and b) they give feedback whereas we're guessing, often pretty wildly, as to what went wrong.  

Maybe the best thing I can tell you is, golf can be frustrating. Once you make a little peace with that, it gets easier.  Don't worry - keep at it and you'll get better.

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#51 Matt J

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 01:55 AM

Set reasonable playing goals and ditch the lessons.

Figure out the longest club you can consistently hit off the deck and practice it a lot (probably 2 or 3 hybrid or a 5 wood).

Practice driver or 3 wood or 3 iron off the tee off of real grass if possible pretending like it's a real tee box and evaluate how it would play.

Play rounds and count every stroke by the rules and get a handicap index.

Set more goals, enlist a good instructor in helping when necessary.

Leave your clubs in the trunk and stop at a driving range twice a week when possible even if just 30 minutes is possible.

Play a course and a tee box appropriate to your ability as often as you can ideally with a good partner.

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#52 BogeyPutt34

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 02:24 AM

I apologize in advance if I’m repeating anything someone else has already said since I didn’t read through all of the replies.

Where to begin....

This year my intended approach to golf was to be a transition year and start doing things the “proper” way. So I understand your frustration in feeling like you’re just spinning your wheels and want to give up on a daily basis.

There are three things I did this year that really helped me out more than anything I’ve ever done previously. The first was having someone record my swing so I could see what I was actually doing. As we all know feel and real are two completely different things most of the time.
The second was focus on short game, 100 yards in was probably what I worked on more than anything else. I’ve always had issues with ball striking, mostly hitting behind the ball. This has helped me immensely. If I can’t go to the range I’ll chip balls into the couch.
The last one was going to a grass range and never hit off a mat ever again. For myself, hitting off a mat was giving me inaccurate feedback and a false sense of hope for my ball striking abilities.

I also have chronic back issues, several degenerating discs in my lower back. You just accept the fact that some days you’re going to be good, some not so good. Hope this helps

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#53 playa

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 06:36 AM

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.
Taking some lessons is essential early in your golfing life, but the right teacher is crucial. No two teachers are the same, and they can't all be right with such opposing methods. I have seen some golfers destroyed by the wrong teachers, and it even happens on tour. My personal opinion is to go get lessons for the fundamentals (grip, set up, stance, ball position, posture etc) cause most teachers are pretty much in  agreeance on this and it is so important, but after that have an open mind and go to you tube to cherry pick things you like and try to find a swing that suits your body type, age, talent, flexibility etc.  Hogan always said the secret was in the dirt, meaning hard work and figuring it out yourself beats tips and quick fixes.

Edited by playa, 30 November 2018 - 06:39 AM.


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#54 bladehunter

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 09:18 AM

View PostThinkingPlus, on 27 November 2018 - 10:35 PM, said:

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.

best advice yet ...


realize that it cannot be fast .... no chance...  Once i got over this idea and just let whatever happened happen , i started to find "my swing'... its there... maybe great , maybe average ..but its there...  but theres no shortcut to find it ... You have to earn it ... Thats part of what makes this game the greatest game ever invented by humans ....
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#55 DFinch

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 12:30 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.

We almost all struggle significantly with the longer irons. Jumping to long irons is a recipe for frustration.

You have some sessions where you hit the ball well. That's progress. Focus on that. You are going to have periods of time where it feels hopeless. Golf is hard, made harder by the constant battle between conscious, technical thoughts and your natural, unconscious ability to swing a stick or throw a ball.

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#56 nlk10010

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 01:03 PM

View Postsilver504, on 28 November 2018 - 10:52 AM, said:

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.

I couldn't agree more.

OP:  One thing I didn't see (maybe I missed it) is an answer to the question:  What exactly is it that is frustrating you? By that I mean:  Are you upset the shots you hit don't go far or look good, are you upset that you can't take your range game to the course, are you upset that you can't score well once on the course? What would "progress" look like to you?

I heartily endorse the idea of more course, less range; my attitude used to be "I'll get my swing straight FIRST by doing just range, THEN I'll hit the course and go low". Doesn't work like that (or at least didn't for me):  The range is quite a bit different than the course. The mats (if that's what they have) disguise fat shots and even moreso the mental approach to each shot is completely different. Patronize 9-hole or par-3 courses (I have some here which are $9/round and aren't very crowded). If you can hit the ball well THERE (e.g. when each shot counts) THEN you're making progress. Not that ranges are useless, you just have to know how to use them, IMO.

Finally, a piece of advice that may get me hectored, but I used to refuse to hit woods or driver until I could "hit my irons right". Sound familiar? An instructor of no great renown (actually, at one of those county 9-holers) told me I was playing "p***y golf". He said it was a "completely different game" when your second shot is a short iron than it is when you hit the ball 120 yards off the tee and have another 150-200 to the green. He insisted that I start hitting a 5-wood, then graduate to a 3-wood then to a driver. Did I improve much? Well, many of the issues plaguing my swing in general reared their ugly heads with woods, but I COULD hit them much further than irons and my second shots weren't as much of a disaster. Just a thought.

Good Luck.
"I've taken a thousand strokes off my handicap each day, but it never changes".---David Hilbert

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#57 MountainGoat

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Posted 30 November 2018 - 04:37 PM

The whole point of the game, and its only cultural value, is to train you to deal with the frustrations of the game’s fundamental unfairness. It’s a metaphor for life and teaches you to face triumph and disaster with the same even temperament. Your score is largely irrelevant.

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#58 cb24

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 03:52 PM

View PostJames the Hogan Fan, on 28 November 2018 - 12:10 PM, said:

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.

Good advice.  

OP, just know this is the most fun and frustrating game ever.  I was down to a +2.5 with way too much timing and hand eye coordination.  Once I stopped playing as much my handicap went back to around a 1.  Then got injured and it started to balloon on me.  I am getting back to full healthy and finally hitting the ball well and I am actually hitting with the right form.  Wish I had listed when I started 9 years ago, but stick with solid funaamentals and practice the short game like crazy and you will be improving in no time.


Good Luck OP

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#59 Tanner25

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 05:19 PM

Great, advice from sixytsomeping. enjoy the game. Golf is a great escape from the daily grind. On the technical side, what clubs are you using? There's a big difference between Cleveland Launcher HB irons and TM P790.

Edited by Tanner25, 02 December 2018 - 05:20 PM.


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#60 LifeStory

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Posted 02 December 2018 - 05:38 PM

View Postjslane57, on 28 November 2018 - 01:21 PM, said:

Try not to evaluate yourself on every single shot. Let the bad happen. Let the good happen. Are you getting enough practice time in to where you go to your next lesson ready to learn more, or are you covering the same thing over and over? Maybe space your lessons out a bit, no need to pay an instructor to watch you practice. I liked the Tiger gif, I remember seeing that on TV. If Tiger can give himself a pass, maybe we should all be able to do the same...

lol welcome to golf.


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