95, bloody 95!!!!

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95, bloody 95!!!!
First medal of the year after all the rain, beautiful sunny day, two hours of lessons over the last two weeks and hours of practice at the range. Then I card a 95. I haven't shot over 90 for the last year and was hoping that this year would be my best ever. Will I ever play again?

95??? What's that net?? I had my first medal round of the year on Sunday and shot net 1 over. Played "real solid" (as the Yanks say) BUT holed nothing all day! One day...one day eh? Oooh a seriously handicap bustin' round is a comin'

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We all know it's a game that builds you up only to knock you down and reminds us frequently that we haven't actually got it sussed after all...

Good luck for your next Medal Alan.

Chin up, eh!

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I wish I could shoot a 95!!

Easy Nick, just walk in after 15.....(only kidding!)

Suzanne, I couldn't agree more. Two seasons ago I got a new set of clubs (new to me, they were second hand). I played loads during that summer, and went down from about 22 to playing off about 15. Last year I'd set myself the mental goal of improving to a similar extent over the summer. Not surprisingly it proved to be an unrealistic goal, and instead (having had a series of lessons for the first time ever) I went back the other way, as I lost all my confidence, and mental control. (My mental game is fundamentally flawed at the best of times)!
So far this year (having only played a few times), I've shot 13, 26, 18, and 24 over-par gross. I'm a golfing nomad, so I assign myself a handicap of 20 now, but the situation is not satisfactory.

Any hints / tips / comments / advice please folks?

Seriously though, best advice I ever got when I couldnt break 90 in medals was to "give" myself a bogey at each hole. So, on the 440 yard par 4 I hit my second shot with a 7 or 8 iron rather go at the green with the "long stuff." Only going for the green in 2 on holes where I am hitting a "COMFORT" club. It took the 7s and 8s off my card! Made lots of 4s and 5s too! Now....need to stop taking 3 from the edge to break 80 "every time" and I'm laughing! My mate who is in the County side want to hole more putts to turn his 70 into a 66!!!! Its never ends mate!!! Just need to learn the "next lesson!"

Just checked a few of my recent cards, 15 is about right Ian.

The only problem that I've experienced with that approach Ian is that when you start bogeying your 'treated-as-a-par' bogey, you can rack up bad scores.

You are right! A "snowman" is always a "snowman!" But sticking the seven iron "in play" is always better than the wood sliced OB or the long iron topped into the bunker!

You all got it easy i have never broke ninty that I remember of . oh yea! There was that one night when I was a sleep and I hit a 198 yrd, second on a par 5 18th bounced twice and wholed in to when the masters. yup, that round was a solid 22 under par.

I agree with Ian, about just aiming for a Bogey. For mid-handicappers, it takes the pressure off "slogging it" onto the green. If the ball is up there towards the fringe, then a chip and two putts will see you right. Of course, if it's a good chip/wedge in, then you could be on for a par!

I don't have mega-distance in my game, so I normally find my second shot to the par 4's won't reach anyway, so I'm quite good now at the chip and two putt theory and usually end up with around 88-92 gross. But if my chipping and putting is on form then, wey-heeeey...

Take the rough and the bunkers out of play for your second shot and 90 is always realistic.

Jeff, that was a pretty sensational finish. Did you beat the course record?

Ah we're playing fantasy golf are we,now? C'mon you lot, get real. Give yourself five minutes before you start to 'feel' a few 8-iron and wedge chips around the green. From good lies 'hood' the face a little and watch it roll, from poor lies open it up a little to let them land softly and roll. Get the feel of the short clubs 'soft hands' then roll in three successive three footers - and off you go to the first tee. Do a little bending and stretching, swop cards and you're in business. Trust me, I'm a doctor. Ooh and don't forget to give the face of your putter a little rub, there's a genie inside every one.

Bob - can you explain a bit more what you mean by "hooding" the face?

Around the green I have slight problems sometimes when the ball is on quite a bare lie, as I either duff it or hit it a bit thin - I find it much harder to strike / stroke cleanly. Is that common?

Yeah - it's an impossible shot. Just get used to stubbing it Adam.
You don't see Tiger duffing shots like that, but then how often is he playing a ball of a baked mud lie?

Thanks for the tip Alex - I'll just stub it. Which means, if I ever play you, you give me at least four extra shots, right?

Adam, when it's on a bare lie I tend to do the old 7-iron trick and use it like a putter - most times it works. It just lifts the ball over the long stuff then rolls onto the green.

Anytime I try to throw the ball up in the air from a bare lie, like you, I either thin it a mile or duff it a couple of feet.

Sometimes I think we watch too much golf on telly, with their perfect greens and immaculate fairways leading resulting in good lies. After the winter we've just had, our conditions just don't compare and I'm sure even Tiger would have to think twice if he had his ball on bare mud with a tuft of long grass in front and a wormcast behind...

Suzanne's right, of course. Using a 7-iron is a good ploy from bare lies but it needs practice, gripping down the shaft with a putting grip. Regarding hooding the face. The term implies using a wedge or 9-iron, usually from a reasonable lie around the green and closing the clubface (pointing slightly to the left for a right-hander) with hands just ahead of the ball. Play it with feet together off your right foot, weight, favouring your left side. Keep the wrists firm, (hands soft) through impact. Feel the distance through your fingers - like a lawn bowler trying to draw to the jack - and picture the ball hopping on to the green and rolling up to the hole.

Wow - lots to think about. Doesn't that put the line off, if it's pointing slightly left of the hole?

It makes no difference where I'm pointing, It doesn't go in that direction anyway!!!

Nick, try aiming for the lakes, trees and bunkers. What happens then? I bet you nail it, straight as a bullet?

True, I used to aim left to try to offset my horrible slice off the tee. It always went straight as a die. I now aim where I want it to go and when I'm practicing, try getting my stance, grip, swing, etc., all correct to ensure a straight hit. It works on the range, but still slices on the course. I suppose it's because I'm more relaxed on the range.

I think possibly I rush a bit too much on the course, because I'm afraid of holding up the group behind!!

All the lessons I have been having recently with my wonderful 'old pro' have been concentrating on getting me to 'draw' the ball. Apparently this gives more distance and control. My slice only comes intermittently with the driver now.
Problem is, the course that I play is quite forgiving to a slicer but punishes hookers cruelly. Hence the two - three off the tees, two in the ponds left of the par threes, one out of bounds over the hedge, God knows how many bunkers and repeated visits to the bluebell woods, to card a 28 point stableford on Saturday. HELP!!!!!

Alan - what does the pro tell you to do that makes you draw the ball? I have found myself drawing the ball recently (without really knowing why) and I think it's down to having the ball a bit further back in my stance. Could this be right? It definitely helps get extra distance, I just wish I knew what I have changed to bring it about!

Wrists mainly - through the ball and also the right arm position at the top of the swing

Alan, you poor thing. Sounds like the experience that I had last year, when a series of lessons ruined my game. I guess it's all very well learning how to draw the ball, but surely you still want to be able to hit a fade if required? (Like at your local course).

Lessons and persistence have paid off Alex, played Saturday, shot 35 gross on the front nine (par)- 45 coming back(par 36), but not bad for a 17 handicapper. That was general play, however.

Carded an 86 today (Sunday)in the medal for a net 69 (won't win any prizes but a nice number)

Just keep on keepin' on is the order of the day.

You be careful Alan, as you know, my game fell apart after a series of lessons last year, and my scoring went majorly down hill. I hope you enjoyed the 69 on Sunday, it could be the last one you have for a long while.


Hey sorry for sounding discouraging Alan. Congrats on your good scoring. Have you ever broken 80 gross before?

I've never broken 80 Alex - best in an medal competition was 82 last year off 19 handicap. The 80 on Saturday was the best in general play. Next objective, sub 80 - in a competition.

82 off 19?? Do you enjoy drinking on your own! Only kidding....a guy I know only started playing 12 months ago....he shot some seriously "low" (net) numbers while his major improvements were happening!

Yeh, Ian I was cut to 16 but have crept up to 16.6. At the start of this year I was struggling for previous form, hence the '95 bloody 95' start to the thread.
With a bit of luck will now reach my target handicap of 12 by the end of the year as I have run into form again - funny 'ole game innit?

I know the feeling....can't get all the bits firing together! One week drive great but can't putt, the the reverse happens!

I wonder whether setting time-related targets for handicaps in golf is a good thing? I improved loads two summers ago, and then set myself a target for the following summer. During that summer I was well short of it, but beating myself up for not playing like it. I think I ended up thinking I should be able to play better than I really could, and consequently got really pissed off every time I went out on the course.

I think your right Alex. I've got this bug in my head that I've got to crack the 100, and am disappointed when I dont. If I just go out to enjoy myself, then the sub-100 will come easier.

I am sure you are right. I was stuck on 13 for 4 years, but murdered it regularly on "away days!" The best way to break 100 is to forget about what club you "ought" to play and play within yourself! Woods/long irons to get on long par 4s are a kiss of death! Avoid the trouble play safe!

Hmmm! Think I'll stir it a bit here - if you don't set goals, then don't be surprised if you don't achieve them.
For anyone who loves the game and wants to improve (that is probably most of us) then goal setting is the difference.
I didn't used to bother - played for fun and avoided competition like the plague. Stayed on 22 Handicap for ages.
Changed to a friendly and sociable golf club and played competitive golf. Never had more enjoyment out of the game - it's what it's about.
I do not like playing competitions just to make up the numbers - I want to win, otherwise why bother?

Fair enough, but if you set an unrealistic target like "being off 12, or 10, or 8 in four weeks time" if you're currently playing off 18 - my point is don't beat yourself up about it.

But its the beating up I'm good at Alex - it's the playing that's the problem.

Fair enough. I was just speaking from personal experience. I went from about 24 down to about 15/16 in one summer, and thought I'd be down to 10 by the end of the next summer. Got really fed up, and didn't feel inclined to play at all after the following summer's disappointment. Now I'm happy enough playing off 18, feel resonably confident off it, and can even win a few quid of my mates along the way.

There's a happy ending!!

I think if you really want to chop your h/cap you must spend time working on your game at the range/practice ground and work on the short game because thats where we lose it compared to the single fig h/caps.

How many times do we get up or near in 2 only to thin/fat a chip and end up taking 4 to get down from .mind you i hate practicing which probably explains my short game?

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