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If You Had To Start Again - What Would You Do Differently?


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#31 uitar9

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 09:02 AM

Started late in life, this will be my 8th season. I have learned it know but...learning to enjoy the moment. Golf is hard for most of us and its a journey. Nobody told me the pros you see on tv spend up to 6, 8, 10 hours a day practicing. One round a week and an hour at the range gets me what I have.

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#32 Jacob Mac

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 09:17 AM

I wish someone would have taught me the importance of closing the clubface in transition.  And then just played a lot.  



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#33 CasualLie

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 10:42 AM

If I could change one thing a la "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"...I would never have played this game in the first place.  But I did...so I go on suffering!  Someone has to do it!  :tongue:

I suppose while I am at it, I am just going to have to wrestle back my club championship title lost a few years ago!

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#34 Nard_S

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 09:50 PM

Several things:

!) Would have stuck to "R" shafts longer
2) Learn the game from green back & spent a ton of time on wedge and putter
3) Took more lessons from the one guy who knew his stuff and wished I utilized him a lot more
4) Got a lot more technical about swing mechanics and made serious attempt to integrate sounder swing principles
5) Play more.

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#35 Obee

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 09:58 PM

I would have played the game young, instead of playing baseball through college.

I also would have focused on becoming a GREAT putter, technically, early on.

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#36 mukster

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 10:11 PM

I would not have thrown a hissy fit at the age of ten when my dad took me to the golf course to get me interested and I refused to even try.
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#37 b.helts

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 10:21 PM

I’d have found a range where the prevailing wind was into me.

Nothing develops crisp striking and ball control like practicing into a wind.

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#38 Obee

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 10:26 PM

View Postb.helts, on 09 January 2019 - 10:21 PM, said:

I'd have found a range where the prevailing wind was into me.

Nothing develops crisp striking and ball control like practicing into a wind.

And nothing give a a bigger false sense of security than hitting downwind! LOL
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#39 b.helts

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 10:35 PM

View PostObee, on 09 January 2019 - 10:26 PM, said:

View Postb.helts, on 09 January 2019 - 10:21 PM, said:

I'd have found a range where the prevailing wind was into me.

Nothing develops crisp striking and ball control like practicing into a wind.

And nothing give a a bigger false sense of security than hitting downwind! LOL

Exactly. I got good at Sandpiper. You know that range. It’s always downwind. Especially in the afternoons. I grew up learning to hit high rope draws into the 16th fairway/tee lol

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#40 Obee

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Posted 09 January 2019 - 10:38 PM

View Postb.helts, on 09 January 2019 - 10:35 PM, said:

View PostObee, on 09 January 2019 - 10:26 PM, said:

View Postb.helts, on 09 January 2019 - 10:21 PM, said:

I'd have found a range where the prevailing wind was into me.

Nothing develops crisp striking and ball control like practicing into a wind.

And nothing give a a bigger false sense of security than hitting downwind! LOL

Exactly. I got good at Sandpiper. You know that range. It's always downwind. Especially in the afternoons. I grew up learning to hit high rope draws into the 16th fairway/tee lol

Love it!

Every afternoon when you're out there on 16, you see the fairway and tee box littered with balls from the range. LOL!

Edited: Well maybe not "littered." I didn't mean that just anyone could pepper the 16th, just bombers like you. I sure couldn't!! ;-)

Edited by Obee, 09 January 2019 - 10:38 PM.

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#41 Jesterdoc

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 09:59 AM

I would have

-taken a lesson w/ a reputable PGA Pro instead of listening to my buddies or trying to “fix” me myself
-started playing w/ clubs that fit me and were the right flex, length, loft, lie, etc, in other words GET A FITTING!
-quit worrying about not being the longest, straightest, best chipper, putter, etc in my foursome and just enjoy MY game



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#42 MelloYello

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 04:16 PM

Great topic!

First off, the question is what you’d have done differently if you had the chance to start again, so I don’t think “starting earlier” is really an answer, haha.

The one thing I'd change if I could start over is simply how I treat people. The one thing you’ll always wish you had more of were golf partners because you'll always want to play more golf. I’ve got a decent handful now but just a few years ago I was living on my own in a rural area and had none. That was rough, despite the fact I could play nearly all the time on decent courses.

As I look back, there are scads of people I wished I played with more than just once or twice. Maybe I was too shy to ask them to play again or maybe I felt I didn’t know them well enough and I'd be out of line. Either way, you aren’t given a million chances to find people. And as time goes on the people you do meet fit along fewer dimensions like personality, sense of humor, skill-level, attitudes about playing, etc.

As time goes on, those seem like bigger and more important obstacles. I might meet someone who’s reasonably skilled but they’re overly serious when on the course. Or maybe someone is a good partner but the disparity in skill is a little distracting. Other times, you meet the perfect person but they're just never freakin' available!



If you're asking for something more technical, I’m not sure what I’d say. I don’t think I committed any major sins when I first got started. I’m not as good as I want to be today but I don’t think I made any truly awful decisions early on. Most importantly, there are several things I feel I did right, if only by luck, that I bet a lot of other folks did too:

#1 – I started at a relatively young age (22) when I was totally healthy. I think it’s awesome that some folks do discover golf later, but I can tell that it’s really hard for them to make progress. I’m thankful to have discovered the game when I did.

#2 – I began when I had ample free time and could really throw myself into it. The economy was down when I graduated college so I worked part time. The upside was that I worked in a golf shop and made a few golfing friends, one of which I still play with today. It was a difficult time in my life emotionally as I struggled to get going, but somehow I emerged with golf as a hobby and my career rebounded just fine. Like I said above, in the long run I have to be thankful for how things happened.

#3 – I went to the range a lot and developed an appreciation for (quasi-)practicing. I still do more posing than I should at the range, but I do practice more than some people. I hope to get better at practice this year, if only on the putting green. I started doing that last year and I started to even out a few of the wrinkles in my putting.

#4 – When I started, I would read all kinds of magazines and books from which I learned a ton about peripheral stuff like putting, chipping, etc. Those things often get neglected when you’re a beginner. I think most everyone develops a sense of how to move their 8-iron. Seeing people using proper technique on short game shots is really important though. Magazines do a good job of giving you good visuals.

#5 – I watched a lot of PGA Tour coverage. That inspired me to like the game. PGA Tour coverage does make the game exciting. It does get you pumped the way they promote the players and their abilities. I probably followed things more then.

#6 – I watched old videos and read books about Tiger, Augusta, Hogan, Nicklaus and others both to learn the history of the game and to study the swing. That really gave me an appreciation for what kind of community we have as golfers. It’s really special.

#7 – Not knowing anything, I purchased a set of blades early on based purely on looks. I seriously did. I didn’t have a clue. I remember looking at Callaway Great Big Bertha’s on Ebay and comparing those to Nike TW Blades. I honestly had no clue about the differences in design and technology, haha. I bought the blades because TW played them as well as his dedication to practice and his inspiring form. The rest, as they say, is history. Maybe blades were a bit crazy, but at least I got good experience and exposure. I look back on the last 10 years, and I’m really glad I’ve used forged irons this whole time versus GI clubs. Whether it’s a CB or a MB, golf is just more fun with forged irons if you can manage it.


There are a couple things I think could’ve been different:

#1 – I managed my own swing for the first few years. My swing was pretty hack-y (I think). I was 22 and I was pretty coordinated so it wasn’t “bad,” but I lifted my left heal early on, I took it inside for quite awhile and had I had it laid off at the top for a long time. I would inevitably drop it inside and push everything to the right with a medium-trajectory fade. I would manage my way around the course hitting it that way and surprisingly, it wasn’t bad with the driver. Just having a consistent shot helped a lot.

I got to where I could shoot low-80s doing that. I broke 80 a few times as well including one round on an easy course where I was only a few over par. Yes, I could’ve taken lessons but with all the info out there on the web and in books, I could work at my own pace on whatever I wanted and watch how the results changed. I got some reasonably good results early on, probably because I was obsessed with it, but I also got a sense that it was “my” swing. I’ve worked on fixing some of my flaws since, but I still value the sense of it being “my” responsibility and I still look back on those good rounds whenever I’m struggling.

#2 – I burned through a lot of used equipment via Ebay. On the one hand, I got to experience a lot, but on the other I probably made some unnecessary changes because of stuff I found or stuff that wasn’t a great fit and maybe it made equipment more of a distraction than it really should have been. I might’ve been better just splurging on clubs that I knew fit me and staying off the used market. At this point, my equipment varies from a relatively new set of irons (716 line) to a couple fairways that are 8-10 years old. I don’t surf for gear the way I used to, but maybe that’s just because I experimented so much and finally put together a bag of stuff with no obvious holes. Maybe if I assembled a similar bag sooner, I’d have been content sooner.
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#43 gators78

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 04:46 PM

Watch about 3 Youtube videos on the basics, buy a Flightscope and learn to swing as hard as possible with path and face numbers relatively in line.

Only practice the 9 shot windows.

Spend the rest of the time on the putting green.
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#44 nemoblack

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 05:43 PM

Like many here, I wish I would've started earlier, and played in more official/competitive tournaments.

I've been involved in other sports (tennis, ski racing) where I've managed a decent level of competence, and by far, the best way for me to improve was not hyper-technical instruction (though some instruction and coaching was certainly involved). Instead, the biggest leaps in my skills were accomplished mainly through playing with, competing against, watching and being around much better players/skiers. Nothing like the crucible of competition to strip out what doesn't work and reinforce what does work. I didn't have much of this in golf as I didn't take the game up until my mid 30s and then other things in life took priority.

I have had some very good golf instruction, and did play some competitive golf, so I'm pretty happy with my game given those constraints. I'm primarily a "feel" and visual player, which surprises some as my career has always been in the technical/analytical side of things. Suffice it to say my sports life and my professional life are very different things.

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#45 ferrispgm

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 06:16 PM

I didn't start playing until I was 16 so I would have started younger and started immediately with a good instructor instead of with the horrid person I was going to at the time and consequently messed me up worse than what I was doing on my own.

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#46 LeftDaddy

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 08:22 PM

1.  Sometimes I wish I had never started golf at all...

2.  But we all know that wasn’t going to happen, so I wish I had taken it up when I was a kid. I saw golf ruin a baseball teammates swing, and so I vowed that I would never let golf ruin my baseball swing. That was stupid.
3.  I wish I had learned to play the course rather than play “swing thoughts”. I had a big banana slice back then but I could have gotten it around if I had tried to “score” more than “achieve swing perfection”.
4.  I wish I had taken lessons sooner.
5.  Somedays I wish I had decided to buy a righty set of clubs instead of lefty when I had to decide which way I would swing it (I’m somewhat ambidextrous).
6.  I wish I had learned a slow, smooth, 3/4 swing or even a bump and run first, and slowly worked my way up to full swings.
7.  I wish I had realized that I wasn’t so bad after all a little earlier than I did. I believed that I totally sucked at golf for 20 of the 23 years that I’ve played it. I’ve only in the last handful of years started to play golf as if I were a decent player and should expect pars, rather than played as if I were still a 30 handicap and played scared to death of every shot I face.

Now, on to some things that I did that I’m glad of:
1.  Sort of a contradiction of above, but I always aimed every shot as if I were going to hit it straight. I never wanted to “get good” playing with a bad swing. I was convinced that I would one day figure out how to swing it properly.
2.  I realized early on that although I could move it ok, I was never going to be a bomber, so I tried to develop all facets of my game instead of just the driver.
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#47 OakLawnGolfPro

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 10:56 PM

Find a coach sooner, and not one that was dead set on video, but more so trying to guide me through concepts and exploring the game and how to play it.
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#48 chiva

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 11:55 PM

I would have laid off for two weeks and then quit altogether!
OB and water hazards you flunkies

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#49 vitalesan

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:14 AM

I’d not buy crappy mags with “quick tips,” I’d get Hogan’s five lessons and do it properly.

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#50 RobertBaron

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 03:57 AM

View Postvitalesan, on 11 January 2019 - 02:14 AM, said:

I’d not buy crappy mags with “quick tips,” I’d get Hogan’s five lessons and do it properly.

I’d unlearn a few things from 5 Lessons. Especially the constrictedness of the swing. My swing feels so much freer and relaxed now since I said “F it, this has never felt right.”


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#51 GolfChannel

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:00 AM

I would appreciate the game more at a younger age. I enjoyed golf, but I never saw it as "cool" when I was a kid, even as Tiger's aura grew, so I stuck to traditional sports.

Given how much I love the game now, it's one of those things I would like to have back in terms of poor life choices. My grandfather was a PGA Professional. I was an elite 4 sports athlete (I went to college for 3 of them. Flirted with the US National Team for 2 of them). I have no doubts given proper interest, drive, and instruction I would have played golf at an elite level as well.

They call it the "folly of youth" for a reason.

Edited by GolfChannel, 11 January 2019 - 10:00 AM.

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#52 crapula

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:11 AM

I would not hurt my knee at 13 and not hurt my back at 17. Starting golf at 28 wouldn't have been so restricting.
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#53 nevets88

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 02:17 PM

I would have made use of video from the get go and looked harder for good instructors.

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#54 Tanner25

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 08:46 PM

I wish I had played less golf when my kids were ages 6-16. Left the family many a Saturday for the day with the boys. It was fun. But, I should have spent more time with the kids. Now, they're out of the house, there's plenty of time to play.

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#55 brianmontgomery2000

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:31 PM

in no particular order:

start golf at a young age so I wasn't so analytical
take some lessons to establish fundamentals earlier
not stop playing for about 10 years in my prime
Never, ever "learn" to roll my hands/wrists through impact (i.e. "L" to "L")


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#56 80sFredriksson

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 04:33 AM

Wish I learned much earlier that on the course I should play golf not golf swing

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#57 OTT

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 05:28 PM

Probably the same attitude to the op..
I'm off 5 had my fair share of lessons and faults, every pro i used had a different way of teaching. I like all the technical stuff but get a bit too focused on it to my own detriment.
From my perspective I always saw a draw as being the proper way to hit a ball. All you have to do now is look on tour to see the amount of pros going to a fade.
My biggest mistake was going into one pro after getting to a 6 handicap and telling him I'm an open book have at me. They way he was teaching me I was starting to draw the ball but never felt comfortable with it. And under pressure I always fall back on fading it.

I'm not at a crossroads as to whether to keep struggling and digging it out of the dirt and risk either staying at a 5 or going up in handicap just to be able to draw it..

I'm big on sports psycholy and Bob Rotella.
So a lot of what he preaches I sit up and listen.
I also like Monte's angle.
I suppose long story short if I was to go again I'd get lessons from the start so that no bad habits could ingrain .
I've done it with my son since 2 yrs ago and even though he's only 11 he has a really good swing with some very solid ground work already laid down so he doesn't fall to the same faith I did.


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#58 AlexCzervic

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 08:22 PM

Educate the hands and hit a million chip shotAC

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#59 deadsolid...shank

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 10:38 PM

I would have tried to be born taller and with more “lasting”hair!��

In all seriousness, I probably started early enough. I just didn’t get serious about the game until college. I always wonder what might have happened if they hadn’t dropped golf as a high school sport my freshman year.  The reality is though that I’m pretty sure my sports temperament wasnt well suited to the game. Maybe a good coach could have knocked some sense into my head, or the temper out of it. Maybe.
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#60 LeftDaddy

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 01:02 PM

View PostTanner25, on 11 January 2019 - 08:46 PM, said:

I wish I had played less golf when my kids were ages 6-16. Left the family many a Saturday for the day with the boys. It was fun. But, I should have spent more time with the kids. Now, they're out of the house, there's plenty of time to play.

Man, this one hits home a bit. I have a 15 and 13 year old. About 2 years ago I started to realize how little time I had left with them at home, and so I consciously started to plan my weekends / free time a little differently. I still play golf but don’t do it too often on the weekends. But my kids are both starting to develop their own lives / routines that don’t involve their parents, and so I can already see them “slipping away” so to speak.

Good advice!

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