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Terrible Golfer After 16 Years - Should I give up
Old 09-10-2016, 09:45 AM   #1
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Terrible Golfer After 16 Years - Should I give up

I am 66 and have been trying to play golf for 16 years. I am terrible. Yesterday I shot maybe 140. I stopped keeping score as it was depressing me.

After many lessons with the best teachers around here, I still sometimes mis-hit half my shots (meaning dribbled off the club for one errant reason or another), cannot drive over 150 (and itis rare to hit 150), cannot putt well and have a short iron game which can work briefly, but often does not. I do not keep a handicap but it would be 36 if I did. It has never moved. On an excellent day, I can get to 110 from the senior tees (5500 yards) on my flat and open course. Add anything tricky and 120 becomes a challenge.

I am big and strong and in good shape but with a frozen left shoulder. I play left handed so it is not too bad.

I cannot believe it is the norm to remain this bad while continuing to play, join country clubs and take lessons. I feel genuinely ashamed of my game and do not like better golfers to see it. (I once had a golfer ask me if I was embarrassed to play).

I like playing when I can at least get the club on the ball (I can even mis-hit putts and short chips). But when it is bad, I get totally depressed, which slops on to other things in my life, and I just want to go home and sulk.

Silly story for sure - it is just a game. But as a guy this is the only thing I do in my life that I do so badly. Anything else I would have improved (practicing law; running; bicycling; weight lifting) or moved on (skiing).

Isnt 16 years too long to still be unable to get the club on the ball on a regular basis? Should I finally say enough or stick to it.

One last point DW is terrible too but just does not care. And she likes playing with me. Indeed but for DW I would never had taken it up at all.

Thanks for reading!
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:54 AM   #2
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If you enjoy the game by all means play! Excellent exercise to keep you moving.

If you feel crappy about yourself and cant get beyond the score then maybe move on to something else. It is an internal thing IMHO.
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:57 AM   #3
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when you swing the club do you use your arms or your body?

watch this a few times

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Old 09-10-2016, 09:59 AM   #4
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Three suggestions:
1. Find a par 3 course and learn to only half-swing.
2. totally change your putting grip. Maybe even start putting right handed... something totally different than what you are doing now.
3. Stop keeping score. Start just keeping track of "good shots." The old adage about hitting the shot that keeps you coming back might be what keeps you playing golf.

I'm not a great golfer, but I still enjoy getting out on pretty golf courses.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:00 AM   #5
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Are you enjoying yourself, over all? It doesn't sound like it. It sounds like it is a source of frustration, and is likely to continue to be a source of frustration. What drives you to go out there and do it? Could you direct that energy into something that would bring happiness right now?

It sounds a little too much like w*rk to me. (And I'm not sure I'd like to be in the foursome behind you.)

My dad played for years, was never really good (12 handicap), but enjoyed the experience overall and it was a source of good times with his friends. Sure, it bothered him that he didn't play better, but on balance it was a source of enjoyment. I think if he had the results you've been having and felt as you do he might have quit, and been happier for it.

I would love to be able to play the piano. But I have no musical talent and am not willing to devote the hours/years of practice to be a good player--I would not enjoy that time at all, and can use my time better doing other things. So, I guess I like the >idea< of being able to play the piano, but not the reality of it.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:01 AM   #6
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If you enjoy the game by all means play! Excellent exercise to keep you moving.

If you feel crappy about yourself and cant get beyond the score then maybe move on to something else. It is an internal thing IMHO.
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Great advice. If it's fun, who cares if you are any good at it? It's great exercise. But if it makes you feel bad about yourself, then it's time to move on to another type of exercise.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:04 AM   #7
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Do you have a par 3 course you could play? Otherwise, if it's not fun, I'd quit or cut back. If you enjoy getting out there, just go when it's less crowded and let faster players through.

I'm kind of in the boat but I can hit the ball a long way, when I connect. But often I push or pull it into the woods. A couple years ago I pretty much cut back to a couple of charity outings I usually do, and maybe a time or two with friends if they ask.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:09 AM   #8
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Golf is all about muscle memory. You can't "think about it" and get better. You need to train muscles to do the same thing every time without thinking. It's really hard to do.

That's why I suck at golf.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:11 AM   #9
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I would love to be able to play the piano. But I have no musical talent and am not willing to devote the hours/years of practice to be good player--I would not enjoy that time at all, and can use my time better doing other things. So, I guess I like the >idea< of being able to play the piano, but not the reality of it.
I am told I have considerable musical talent, and when I was young I went to a conservatory for years and even thought of making my career performing classical piano. For practical reasons I didn't, but it was excruciatingly hard to let go so I completely quit piano to lessen the pain.

I suppose I could take it up again in retirement, but have ZERO desire to do so because I demand so much of myself when I play. Way too much perfectionism, and too little forgiveness of self when it is less than what I could have done. In a sense, this is what the OP's post sounds like to me - - way too much perfectionism and too little forgiveness of self when his golf is less than what he could have done.

In retirement, I need to choose whatever paths will make my final years happy and fulfilling. For me, piano isn't it.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:14 AM   #10
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I am 66 and have been trying to play golf for 16 years. I am terrible. Yesterday I shot maybe 140. I stopped keeping score as it was depressing me.

After many lessons with the best teachers around here, I still sometimes mis-hit half my shots (meaning dribbled off the club for one errant reason or another), cannot drive over 150 (and itis rare to hit 150), cannot putt well and have a short iron game which can work briefly, but often does not. I do not keep a handicap but it would be 36 if I did. It has never moved. On an excellent day, I can get to 110 from the senior tees (5500 yards) on my flat and open course. Add anything tricky and 120 becomes a challenge.

I am big and strong and in good shape but with a frozen left shoulder. I play left handed so it is not too bad.

I cannot believe it is the norm to remain this bad while continuing to play, join country clubs and take lessons. I feel genuinely ashamed of my game and do not like better golfers to see it. (I once had a golfer ask me if I was embarrassed to play).

I like playing when I can at least get the club on the ball (I can even mis-hit putts and short chips). But when it is bad, I get totally depressed, which slops on to other things in my life, and I just want to go home and sulk.

Silly story for sure - it is just a game. But as a guy this is the only thing I do in my life that I do so badly. Anything else I would have improved (practicing law; running; bicycling; weight lifting) or moved on (skiing).

Isnt 16 years too long to still be unable to get the club on the ball on a regular basis? Should I finally say enough or stick to it.

One last point DW is terrible too but just does not care. And she likes playing with me. Indeed but for DW I would never had taken it up at all.

Thanks for reading!
Why not just caddie for your DW instead of playing?
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:21 AM   #11
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I don't play golf ever, so my advice is more along the lines of Gauss's suggestion: just have fun playing golf and stop beating yourself up over the score. Assuming you can have fun, the frustration may be too much.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:22 AM   #12
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Golf is all about muscle memory. You can't "think about it" and get better. You need to train muscles to do the same thing every time without thinking. It's really hard to do.
exactly - you need to remember what a good shot "feels" like

we are getting towards the end of golf season here and frankly, i'm a bit burned out, even with this gorgeous weather - diminishing marginal utility something something
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:22 AM   #13
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As someone who has struggled with the game over 40 years and was previously a 36 handicap but am now playing decently enough that I can enjoy the game, you have my sincere sympathy. I know how hard it is to enjoy the game if you are consistently shooting over 100.

Something sounds horribly wrong with your swing if you are big and strong and your drives are only 150 yards. Straight, hook or slice? There must be something wrong with your mechanics. Have you had someone video you hitting balls from both the side and behind? Often, seeing your swing on video and watching the pros swing can make a big difference.

How old are your clubs? Today's clubs are very good and very forgiving.

Any eyesight issues? It is hard to hit the ball if you can't see it well.

I once did a three-day golf school that almost all we did was to hit balls all day under the watchful eye of an instructor and work on set up, grip, etc. That golf school totally re-did my grip, stance, swing, etc and did wonders for my game.

I now set up, try to flush the hazards in front of me out of my mind and then just hit the damn ball. Admittedly easier said than done but my game is improving.

Finally, you can practice putting and chipping at home in your back yard.

One tip: instead of looking at the ball when you hit it, look at a mark or a couple dimples on the backside of the ball.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:28 AM   #14
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^ good advice - with today's equipment you should be able to consistently hit a fairly long tee shot by putting a good swing on it.

OP if you are brave enough to post a video we'll give you feedback....
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:39 AM   #15
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Don't mean to be sarcastic but you must be one uncoordinated fellow. I can not imagine how anyone playing 16 years can shoot a 140 unless copious amounts of alcohol were involved. Golf can be broken down into its component parts of driving, iron play, short game and putting. It's hard to believe anyone could not master to some degree of proficiency at least one or two of these components.

All that said if you love the game, keep at it and go out with the attitude of having a good time and don't worry about the score.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:41 AM   #16
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The enjoyment of golf is in the environment, do not give up the game enjoy it. Apparently you are not too good at being consistent, I suggest you find your best club between a 5 and 3 iron and use that for teeing off and all shots till you get within 100 feet of the green. Don’t worry about distance just take an easy swing and try to hit straight. 4 140 yard shots with an allowance of 2 mishits will get you in range of the green. Keep working that one club.
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Old 09-10-2016, 10:49 AM   #17
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After playing golf since I was 12 years old and a caddie, my handicap has gone from 11 to 18 and now it's not mentionable.

I suggest, as others have stated, just play for the exercise and enjoy the surroundings. Don't spend a lot for new high tech clubs or any other frivolous equipment at this stage of your playing experience.
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:03 AM   #18
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The enjoyment of golf is in the environment, do not give up the game enjoy it. Apparently you are not too good at being consistent, I suggest you find your best club between a 5 and 3 iron and use that for teeing off and all shots till you get within 100 feet of the green. Donít worry about distance just take an easy swing and try to hit straight. 4 140 yard shots with an allowance of 2 mishits will get you in range of the green. Keep working that one club.
^^^ good advice... as they say, it isn't how, it's how many.

For years I had trouble hitting woods... I used to joke that when I hit a wood there was a direct correlation with the name of the club and where the ball was most likely to end up. So for years I hit a 3 iron off the tee. Similarly, today... I can't hit a driver to save my life (I don't even own one but occasionally use DW's) so I hit 5 wood and 3 wood off the tee depending on the length of the hole... something about my swing as i=I hit a 5 wood almost as long as my playing buddies hit their driver and longer when I catch my 3-wood well.

Part of golf is accepting your limits... if I'm over 220 yards out I have a 1 in 20 likelihood of making the green so if there are hazards around the green then I'll lay up and try to hit a good lob wedge rather than trying to lay into a fairway wood and ending up in big trouble.
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:13 AM   #19
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I am 66 and have been trying to play golf for 16 years. I am terrible. Yesterday I shot maybe 140. I stopped keeping score as it was depressing me.

After many lessons with the best teachers around here, I still sometimes mis-hit half my shots (meaning dribbled off the club for one errant reason or another), cannot drive over 150 (and itis rare to hit 150), cannot putt well and have a short iron game which can work briefly, but often does not. I do not keep a handicap but it would be 36 if I did. It has never moved. On an excellent day, I can get to 110 from the senior tees (5500 yards) on my flat and open course. Add anything tricky and 120 becomes a challenge.

I am big and strong and in good shape but with a frozen left shoulder. I play left handed so it is not too bad.

I cannot believe it is the norm to remain this bad while continuing to play, join country clubs and take lessons. I feel genuinely ashamed of my game and do not like better golfers to see it. (I once had a golfer ask me if I was embarrassed to play).

I like playing when I can at least get the club on the ball (I can even mis-hit putts and short chips). But when it is bad, I get totally depressed, which slops on to other things in my life, and I just want to go home and sulk.

Silly story for sure - it is just a game. But as a guy this is the only thing I do in my life that I do so badly. Anything else I would have improved (practicing law; running; bicycling; weight lifting) or moved on (skiing).

Isnt 16 years too long to still be unable to get the club on the ball on a regular basis? Should I finally say enough or stick to it.

One last point DW is terrible too but just does not care. And she likes playing with me. Indeed but for DW I would never had taken it up at all.

Thanks for reading!
Ive been playing since I was 3. Here are my observations:

1) I've played a lot of sports at a reasonably high level. Golf is the hardest BY FAR. NOT the most physically demanding, but the toughest all around.

2) Picking up the game at 50 is hard. Trying to pick up the game at 50 and become a reasonable player would have to be one of the hardest tasks I can imagine. I would equate it to trying to learn to read music and play an instrument at a reasonable level. Not impossible, but VERY difficult.

3) To expand on #2, have you ever seen someone who didn't grow up throwing a ball, try to throw? It looks really silly and the ball goes no where. And you think to yourself, how can they possibly not throw? It is because they didnt do it growing and probably played soccer all the time or something. It is virtually impossible for them to learn to throw. That's you. You didn't grow up with the golf swing and it is probably very unnatural.

4) Sorry, it turns out that you are in the club. You are a lover of the game. If you have been going back, over and over, for 16 years and still play the...that's you, a golf lover. Good luck giving it up. I have tried many times. Give it up, and you'll probably be thinking about it anyway.

5) I have known many good golfers and they all think the same way. It goes right up to the pros. I've seen pros being interviewed after they walk off the course having shot a 62, "should have been a 59 because I missed three easy putts."

6) EVERY single golfer wants to be better. I know you think that there is a difference between your level/mentality and someone who consistently shoots 90/100/110 because they can at least not dribble it of the tee most of the time. Not true, they are equally frustrated that it doesn't go near the fairway every time and often goes out of bounds.

I regularly shoot around 80. The last time I went out 6 months ago, I lost every golf ball in my bag and had to quit after 12 holes. Trees, lakes, rivers, streams, forests, white markers were all in play many times. It was frustrating, depressing, crazy, etc. There is NO difference between you and me. I have effectively quit and very much miss it. When I start again (I will), it will be to spend time with friends and have a good time.
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:16 AM   #20
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You sound like my DH and me. In my experience a woman golfer isn't expected to be really good (not that many woman golfers aren't) so your DW probably doesn't put as much pressure on herself and can just enjoy it and savor the good shots--I'm not very good but I love to play golf. DH rarely plays and is superfrustrated and self-conscious, but he does like playing with other mediocre guy golfers (and they keep up with the group in front of them, imo the most important thing). He's lefthanded, too, but grew up playing righthanded--he improved quite a bit when he bought lefthand clubs.

DH has commented that not wearing bifocals while playing helps his game, so above advice re vision issues might be important. My left eye is dominant and I have to compensate for that when aiming.
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