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Anyone Ever Shoot Lights-Out After A Prolonged Layoff?


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#1 EmperorPenguin

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 12:10 AM

I hurt myself about six weeks ago, pulling a muscle on my upper back when I lifted something too heavy.  The immediate pain went away in about two days, but the day after the pain was gone I went to the range and tried hitting shots and ouch!  I couldn't hit any shots without feeling pain.  I gave it a few days and played golf on my birthday and that, too, proved to be a mistake; my back was stiff and I swung so poorly I couldn't shoot my weight.  The day after I decided to take a break from golf.  The layoff was about a month, with no practice, and not a club was swung even once.

Just this past Tuesday my buddies and I were playing in our usual annual golf match.  My playing partner was trash-talking and I quickly scolded him because I thought my game was completely gone and we would get closed out on all our bets.  The morning of the match we all had breakfast together and carpooled to the course.  We arrived about ninety minutes before to allow for ample time for warm-up and practice.  When I hit my shots the pain was gone and I was hoping that I finally recovered from my upper back injury.

It turned out I was fully recovered.  To my surprise, we played very well and closed out our opponents for the front, back and overall.  I had not swung a club for at least a month, and suddenly my golf game came back to me so quickly and soon, and I played well.

Anyone ever had a similar experience?  Take a long break from golf, and when you finally tee it up, you shoot lights out, when you feel you will play poorly.

Oh well, that's golf.


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#2 Justsomeguy

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 12:27 AM

My version of lights out is what some guys here would consider predicate to suicide, but yes, I've played after an injury layoff before to find that everything is rested and pain free, and have had some of my best rounds.
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#3 RSinSG

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 12:29 AM

I’m hoping to. I haven played in 3 weeks due to travels and weather. Forecast is rain next week too so it will be a month. Plus, I just got a new set of irons that I’ve only had two brief range sessions with. I figure anything could happen once I finally get out.

In the past taking a break from the game has been beneficial. Not a long time away, but a month or so.
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#4 LeftDaddy

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 03:27 AM

Iím usually awful after a lay-off. But years ago, I did break 90 for the first time after not touching a club for 2.5 months.

I seem to do a lot better when all Iím looking for out of my swing is to keep the ball in front of me.

Edited by LeftDaddy, 13 January 2019 - 03:28 AM.

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#5 kejoal11

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 06:09 AM

I didn’t play for 3 months due to deployment.  First round back I shot a 75. I have had other times with a layoff and struggled to keep it in the 90’s

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#6 sevenfourate

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 07:09 AM

Around 25 years ago when i was an Assistant Pro i had a couple of months off after an accident. Did literally a few hours practice the day before and then came joint 1st in my home Clubs Pro-am winning £1000.

I also remember going away on Holiday for 2 weeks, and coming back to the club and the boys were having some sort of money game on the Par 3 course. I got roped in, walked to the first (About 135 yards) and slammed it right into the hole for an ace. Lucky or what !

I do think to a certain degree; that if you're really into it and strong mentally - a short lay-off / break can make you stronger / want it more.
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#7 KAndyMan

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 09:50 AM

Usually always do. In MI we all get prolonged layoffs (almost 6 months sometimes) and i have found usually the first few weeks back is when i play my best. For me it has something to do with just thinking about making a smooth swing to make solid contact and not trying to do anything fancy. After the first few weeks i start to get over confidant, swing harder and try "fancy tricks" causing everything to go in the toilet. Then it usually turns into a mental mind f*@# and its like Chris Farley is living in my head screaming "YOU IDIOT!!!!" Then that just makes things worse.

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#8 Jagpilotohio

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 10:13 AM

I haven’t figured it out yet, but since I’ve moved to Ohio and actually had an “off season”, my first round back in the spring the last few years has been no worse than even par to two over.  

I guess it’s like I’m rebooting the swing and forgotting  any bad habits or swing quirks from the fall. It’s just really “easy” golf  the first few rounds of spring.

I’ve been as low as a +2 in the past, so, it’s not completely bizarre scoring for me, but I still think it is a bit odd after a significant amount of time off.
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#9 gripandrip

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 10:22 AM

i've had some good rounds after a layoff, but I attribute it to having no expectations and just playing. I don't expect too much, so have little pressure.

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#10 Matt J

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 10:36 AM

Always and it's maddening.


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#11 jdl

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 10:39 AM

Yes. IMO it's because expectations are so low, in my case I was simply trying to make solid contact and keep the ball in play. Maybe there's a lesson there?

The tough part is the short game, that's something that usually doesn't work so well after a layoff.

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#12 EmperorPenguin

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 10:48 AM

For those of us who often have these good rounds, you wonder what is the point of even practicing?  I guess that after playing and practicing all those years you develop fundamental movements that lead to a repeating swing.  As someone posted earlier, the layoff would be like rebooting and getting rid of those detrimental viruses (i.e., quick-fixes and gimmicks) and you go back to basics.

Of course, this thread pertains to golfers who have played for quite some time and certainly not for beginners who need to practice.

When I played my good round last Tuesday, I concentrated on my pivot, positioning, rhythm and tempo during my warm-up, and on the course I trusted my swing and had only one swing thought when I pulled the trigger.

Now that I am better, I am dubious about going back to my routine of practicing like I used to, fearing that my game will get worse if I do.

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#13 EmperorPenguin

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 10:49 AM

View Postjdl, on 13 January 2019 - 10:39 AM, said:

The tough part is the short game, that's something that usually doesn't work so well after a layoff.

I think you are right.  I did putt well, but several times I had simple chips which I duffed.

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#14 Jagpilotohio

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 11:14 AM

View PostEmperorPenguin, on 13 January 2019 - 10:48 AM, said:

For those of us who often have these good rounds, you wonder what is the point of even practicing?  I guess that after playing and practicing all those years you develop fundamental movements that lead to a repeating swing.  As someone posted earlier, the layoff would be like rebooting and getting rid of those detrimental viruses (i.e., quick-fixes and gimmicks) and you go back to basics.

Of course, this thread pertains to golfers who have played for quite some time and certainly not for beginners who need to practice.

When I played my good round last Tuesday, I concentrated on my pivot, positioning, rhythm and tempo during my warm-up, and on the course I trusted my swing and had only one swing thought when I pulled the trigger.

Now that I am better, I am dubious about going back to my routine of practicing like I used to, fearing that my game will get worse if I do.

After 30 years of playing and 25 of that being pretty serious about the game, I honestly think that if I spent 90% of my practice time with just my driver, wedges, and putter I would be just fine and never have my game go backwards....at least until age really starts to get me.

My full swing after so many years is pretty much set in stone. I find as I get a bit older that I really need to mainly keep on top of short approaches, chipping, pitching, and putting to keep my scores low. 120 yards and in is the main focus for me now.  

Probably most importantly, If I don’t spend some decent  time each week with my lob wedge I get a little yippy and my scoring suffers quickly.  I’ve found The nerves connecting the brain to the hands aren’t quite the same anymore.
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#15 Mr. Grumpy

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 01:29 PM

I had a knee injury at work in April which required surgery. Long story short, workers comp decided to take the slow lane and I had surgery the 3rd week of july. 6 weeks later I played my first round since early April,,, I shot an 80. (it's been down hill since).....


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#16 vbb

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 04:07 PM

One of my golf buddies. First day of our golf trip last year.  He hadn't been playing, I'd easily put in twice the rounds that he had. He's usually a few strokes better than me but we have competitive matches. A score around 80 will usually take all the bets between us.  I'm figuring he's good for upper 80s on this day due to his time away and the fact that it is an unfamiliar course, so I'm thinking anything below 85 is going to win.  Finally got him where I want him.

He smokes me with a 1-over par 73.

After his 37 on the front we stopped even talking about the score because I didn't want it to be in his head.  I kept grinding just to make sure he kept grinding, but I had the scorecard and knew I was getting my clock cleaned.  

The wallet got a little light on that first day.

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#17 golfgirlrobin

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 06:37 PM

Hasn’t happened to me, but it certainly did for my husband.  He’s got peripheral artery disease and it got bad enough that he needed a femoral artery bypass.  Didn’t play for nearly three months, it’s not a recovery you want to rush, and played his first round without so much as chipping and putting.  He was an occasionally break 80 guy and he shot 74.

It didn’t last long, of course, but it was fun to watch after all he’d been through.
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#18 Go_Time

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 06:46 PM

All the time. Ask my wife.

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#19 PMACGolf

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 06:51 PM

After a 7-day cruise, I car back and took second place in the county championship, did the same thing the next year

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#20 iKOH423

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 11:53 AM

I haven't played since Sept/Oct.  Mostly due to weather here in the Midwest.  I guarantee that my first round out for the year will be the best.  A natural swing that hasn't been sweat over much during the winter months, trying to be perfect and it will be smooth.  Then throughout the summer i will think too much and it will get worse and worse as i wonder why I am getting leakage too the right..

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#21 DavePelz4

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 12:17 PM

View Postkejoal11, on 13 January 2019 - 06:09 AM, said:

I didn’t play for 3 months due to deployment.  First round back I shot a 75. I have had other times with a layoff and struggled to keep it in the 90’s

Thank you for your service to our country!

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#22 bazinky

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 12:35 PM

It's not that uncommon for me to play really well the first time back after an extended lay-off. I'm usually pretty conservative in how I play and my scoring expectations are usually low.

It's that second round back that usually is a real doozy ...
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#23 jpking17

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 03:11 PM

Some of my best rounds come in the winter...when I have no swing thoughts, nothing I am working on, and have zero expectations.  Just happy to be out on the course.

Edited by jpking17, 14 January 2019 - 03:12 PM.


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#24 taylormade113

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 04:40 PM

This just happened within the last 2 weeks.  Haven't played in a month, no swing thoughts, laughing the entire way around and boom 72 (even) with a boogie on the last (3putt).  I am normally in the 70's but this was not expected at all.  The part that was the shock was just the ease of the 72, no work, as in I was actually thinking that was the biggest # I could have shot.  No miraculous recoveries or 50" bombs just fairway, green and ho hum 2 putt. I was even on the par 5's and they are normally my bread and butter.  I truly am a believer that getting away from the game is as good for me as grinding on the range sometimes.   There are times to bang balls and then there are times to just set the clubs down and go fishing.  When I do practice, if I feel off and cant get in a grove within the first 10-15 balls, I will normally walk away.  I don't want to ingrain a bad thought that might take me a month to recover from.  Just not worth it with the infrequency that I am playing now.

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#25 Obee

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 06:20 PM

Yep. 2008 had three surgeries in a one year period, one of them major abdominal surgery. Long story short, did not touch a club for over a year. First round back with only one 30 minute range session the day before: 69 at Landmark in Hemet with my son and one of his buddies from the high school golf team.

They were not pleased. LOL

Like others have said, you are just going completely on feel and activating your "inner athlete." Also, the course was easy: 6500, 71.0/125(?)

And then, as others have said also: The next two months were HELL. I think it took me another 20 rounds (at least) to break par again.

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#26 okie21

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 10:42 PM

Absolutely. usually works this way. But chipping and pitching is a struggle every time.
For some reason, this is when my putting is the best, which seems to be abnormal?
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#27 rxk9fan

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 05:14 AM

Ugh....No.  My prolonged period after injury was 9 years and I sucked first round back!  Great course and I threw a 98 on the card.  
I need repetition but admire those who have fundamentals so ingrained that they can pick em up or put em down anytime and still score somewhat.  I can always hit the ball but the short game turns to s*** fast :-(

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#28 justwellsy

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 02:15 PM

I've played very well after long layoffs and I think it's because my expectations are so much lower that I play a lot looser. If I've played 4 times in a week previous to a round, I'll expect to play great. It's all about expectations
Taylormade M2 9.5 set to 7.5 (Matrix Ozik 70 X-Stiff)
Callaway X2 Hot 3 Deep 14.5 Deg X-stiff (Aldila Rogue Green)
Mizuno MP-64 3-PW (DG X-100)
Callaway MD2 50 deg
Vokey SM4 54 Deg
Callaway MD2 60 Deg
Odyssey White Hot #7
Ball: Apply for position

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#29 cwglum

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 02:52 PM

Had 1 of my best rounds ever as the first round of the season, three months after 2nd degree shoulder separation on my left shoulder.  Really had to adjust my through swing path way left to compensate for pain, and for whatever reason on that day I barely missed.  I was happy just to be on the course and ended up playing great.

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#30 vaca22

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Posted 16 January 2019 - 04:09 PM

I'm always surprised by the first round of the year. Once it was lights out, but most of the time those rounds have been really pleasantly surprising...like one of those "what if" rounds...
  • What if I had practiced throughout the winter (applies to me because I live in New England)?
  • What if I had just warmed up longer?
  • What if I didn't have that beer?  LOL


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