Episode #41: Get a Grip! Having Realistic Expectations of Your Golf Game 11/08/2021
Meredith: Everyone, this is episode forty one of the Gimme Golf podcast powered by MyrtleBeachGolfTrips.com. Today, we're going to have a really fun episode that may be helpful to your golf game. We're going to talk about how to have realistic expectations with your game And joining me today is Nate, Nate. I enjoy our uh, podcast Times together. we have a lot of fun.
Nate: Yeah, especially when you had this topic, it's like no one has a big ego. Right
Meredith: Yeah, nobody has a big ego with golf. We're going to talk a little bit about
Meredith: egos because they can affect our expectations with our golf games. But before we go into having realistic expectations, we should talk a little bit about what are some unrealistic expectations? So the first one that I'm going to mention is not playing a lot of golf and expecting to have a low scoring round. Have you seen that before?
Nate: yeah. yeah, it's not like riding a bike Yeah, takes some work. for sure.
Meredith: Yes, it it does. so I often see that you know, Uh frustrations with uh,students and players on the course. Oh, man, that was the worst round and it's like Okay. Well, when was the last time you played golf? So sometimes that can feel a little discouraging when you have a bad round. but again it's all about having realistic expectations?
Nate: Have you seen naturals in golf That people don't play pick it up for months and they just go back out and play well. I've never run across that person
Meredith: Actually, I have. I. I've seen it in a few cases of somebody who rarely plays golf and they go out and they're able to break. you know, maybe eighty two,eighty three, have a really good round or just around under eighty five. I think that's really good. Especially if you only play like once or twice a year. you go out and you break eighty five or something. That's really.That's good. There's some natural abilities there.
Nate: Yeah, I've never seen it in. Obviously, I'm not one of those people, so yeah,
Meredith: I'm not either. I wish I, I wish I was, but I have seen some raw talent like that. I, in fact, my dad is somewhat like that. He doesn't play too much golf. and when he goes out, he always has good rounds. It's you know what,but he's so relaxed and he has such a good time. I think that Uh, he goes into it with uh, realistic expectations of not playing well and then he plays well and it really enjoys it. so
Nate: that's a good way to be. It's tough to do. It's tough to do that though
Meredith: it is. Number two. Is you know for students that are you know? for golfers that are students and they're getting golf instruction
expecting really quick results after you have a golf lesson? You know is something that I don't recommend. Um, because it takes a few weeks to reallybuild the muscle memory and you know different things that you're learning in the golf swing to really connect with your mind and body. So a lot of times people think, Oh yeah, I'm just going to go get a golf lesson. They get a golf lesson. They go out right after a golf lesson and play and expect to have a really good round when it just doesn't quite work like that. It's somewhat, in comparison to if you start a new workout routine and you go to your first personal trainer and you have one session and then expect to have muscles the same day. Expect to be, you know, ripped and cut. Now it doesn't work that way, Usually, just as if you're working out your own body.It takes a couple of weeks to start to see some uh, positive changes. It is the same thing with the golf swing when you're working on your swing, so
havingrealistic expectations and knowing it takes a few weeks to create change,is a good thing.
Nate: yeah. I was kind of like that with the gym.Expectations when I started it's like Oh, this isn't working. So youve got to get by at least with a gym like a month.
Nate: to get through and not expect to see anything.My experience with going to the gym
Meredith: Mhm. Yeah, I mean it does it. twenty one to thirty days Is is going to be in that time frame that you start to see change and it's just like anything in life. Um, not just with learning the Gosf swing or working out, going to the gym. If you're trying to change just a habit. Maybe it's a behavior. It's still the same principles. It takes time you know for our our brains to somewhat rewire, Because that's actually what takes place in our brains. we're sending. You know this new information. It can be a new concept and we're you know, kind of uh, changing our Neurrow pathways in our brain and that's a whole process, and that takes several weeks, so
Nate: And I think with golf too, its, you got to build some confidence too, right. Youve got to get out and play and actually hit some good shots, bit a string of good shots. And then that builds your confidence in my opinion. anyway,
Meredith: exactly. also, you know I want to mention quick fixes for unrealistic expectations.sometimes somebody can maybe see a golf tip and say Oh, wow, that's what I need to do when it may not be what they need to do. And then they, they make a change, Maybe an unnecessary change in their golf swing And they're expecting these great results and then things kind of get worse or they don't get better, and it's like Hey, that did not work.Therefore that information was not good. When that information could be great. It just may not be a fit for that golfer. and that's why again I always recommend. I know I mentioned this on our last episode episode forty You know getting a golf lesson is great. you know, find, Find a PGA or an LPGA Teaching pro in your area. Go at least try one golf lesson because that way you somewhat get a diagnosis of what is going on with your swing instead of guessing. And I see so many issues with that. You know many people that just don't want to take the time out to just have that one golf lesson to give an accurate diagnosis, and then they try to self diagnose. It's very much like us going on Google. If we have the sniffles, start googling and then we, and then before you know it, you're on this bunny trail of. Oh no, I might have this. I might have that trying to self diagnosed when we can simply just go to a doctor and say hey, I have the sniffles. What is this? Oh, this is your diagnosis. Take this medicine.You're good to go. Everything's say. Okay. it's the same thing with the golf swing. We. we kind of need to treat it that way. you know. Go get a diagnosis. Don't necessarily watch everything that you read on the Internet. With the golf swing, There's go to be great information. There's going to be not so great information. and even with the great information again, it's just like medicine. We don't need to take every single medicine out there right.
Nate: yes, not a one size fits all, kind of thing.
Meredith: exactly so having realistic expectations, how can we do that? how do we solve this issue of our, maybe high expectations that we have when we're out in the course. Well, the first thing that I want to mention is committing to good practice. not just going out and banging balls. You and I have talked about this before it's so easy and we're guilty of it. I've done it. I know you've done it. It's It's so easy to go out there and just hit balls and just feel it and just get know one after another.
Nate: Yeah, I haven't. I haven't done it. I'd do it. I mean, I coninually do it
Meredith: Yeah, well,
Meredith: I mean again, we're all guilty and I have to really. even with myself. Um, be very conscientious of my practice time. And so usually what I do is I create somewhat of a system. I'm all about routines. Because with routines,you're goingnna learn and develop more quickly and again. That's going to give you consistency and confidence and it will help you know, guard your expectations. but for example, uh, when you're out on the range I would recommend you know, truly finding your target and really engaging with yourtarget and trying to hit all your shots to that target. The goal is, we want nice tight ball. dispersion with our practices to where you can look at the area around the pen, your target and say you know what. I got my balls closer
Meredith: to that area today, and you know, picking out whatever yard you want from that pin the diameter, but just picking out an area to where you want all of your balls to go. it may be and you may want to start out. You know, if you're a higher handicapper, don't pick something that's going to be too tight and not realistic. You know you might be, you know, learning how to uh,play the game of golf right now, and your goal is just get the ball in the fairway. You know, it might not be hitting a pin. I mean we have to be realistic. I mean, I know I wanna hit a fairway. That's always going to be my first goal. Let's get the ball in the fairway. And so when you're out practicing, you might want to say, you know what. I'm going to give myself a range of you know, apanse across the range of fifty yards, And if I can keep my ball within that fifty yards, Hey, I'm a happy camper, because I know if this translated out on the golf course, it will be in the fairway. So you know, create simple goals when you're practicing on the range, Because really range practice is, you want to simulate the golf course,So I don't know if you do that Na. But when you're practiing, do you try to simulate the golf course? Like almost pretend you're on the golf course when you're hitting shots.
Nate: I don't. I am completely. I am completely guilty of not doing that. The thing I am starting to do now, though is, I am starting to. Instead of just hit a ball, get another ball. I am taking its time and stepping back and doing what you've always talked about as a preshot routine now, I do have a target for the most part, but I judge my range time on how
Meredith: Mhm, good,
Nate: solid I hit it. Not so much where it goes, which is the wrong thing to do.
Nate: But I think If you you mentioned, if you simulate, that's the way to go right to
Nate: simulate a playing hole is a way to do it.
Meredith: exactly yeah. And because it really makes it easy to somewhat translate your game from the range to the course, and that translation is very hard for many people. I, I have a lot of students that say Hey when I'm on the range, I'm hitting the ball so well when I got in the course. What is going on? And so there's a disconnect there of that translation and it's really engaging the practice and putting pressure on yourself? I'm a big advocate of practicingwith a buddy. There's just accountability in that it's very much like. If you
go to the gym and you have a workout buddy, It makes time go by faster. You enjoy it more, and there's not a competitiveness, but there's you know. it's almost you can create, you know fun in that when you're working out with someone, it's it's just the same when you're practicing. Um, you can create,you know, you can play games with a practice buddy, you know, for example, my son, Soloman and I, when we practice together will often compete with our wedges, so we you know, pick a target, you know, maybe eighty yards out, and you know we'll grab a wedge and we'll see who can get in tighter. who could hit the pin. And so sometimes we'll give ourselves each ten to fifteen balls and we rotate shots, so he'll hit a shot and then I'll hit a shot. He'll hit a shot and then I hit a shot and we watch each other and it slows down the practice session to where he is making sure. because he's competing with me, He's making sure that he's working through the pres shot routine and I'm doing the same thing because we both wanna hit the pin And so that's a lot of fun. And then you can um, also do that with your longer clubs as well,you know with your driver. and, and if you don't have a buddy to practice with, you can do that by yourself. But again I would just select. You know if you are by yourself and you don't have a practice buddy. I would pick maybe five of your most favorite clubs that you use the most out on the course, so I'm a big advocate of not practicing with the clubs you rarely play with. Get really, really, really good at like five to seven clubs in your bag and play them all the time. And then as your scores start to lower, you're going tostart noticing gaps in your game and you'll need to add some clubs to fill those gaps. But you know, start out really simple. you know, Get good at five to seven clubs Don't feel like. Oh, I have to practice in with all fourteen clubs Now you don't. you don't have to do that.
Nate: Yeah, it's funny be cause I have told you this before people. I go to the range. I start with the snadwedge. I see a lot of people go to the range and they start with their driver, or they start with a long iron. and in my view's like that those are the hardest clubs to hit. Start with the easy clubs. first work your way into the harder clubs.
Meredith: Oh, correct, that is, I mean. That is a great tip there, Nate. That's exactly you want to start small with the shorter clubs. It's awful. It's also safer for your body. Uh to do that to prevent injury. Um, you know you're you're going into heavier, sometimes heavier clubs when you move into your longer clubs to longer clubs. A little bit more flexibility you needed with a whiteider arc, and what? Nott But just starting out with, like you said, you know, starting out with your wedge those shorter shots. It actually helps to warm up the body and prevent injury, so that's a really good habit as well.
Nate: It just cracks me up when I see someone do that, then the driver up first swing. I guess they might be simulating, though they might be simulating the golf course, because a lot of people get to the golf course and don't hit any. Don't hit any range balls. And that's the first shot. They hi. right, So
Meredith: That is. that's actually true. Yeah,
Meredith: that could be true for many players. All right, So another thing is how to have realistic expectations. So the second thing would be grading grading your shots. And what I mean by that is I use a scale with my students of one to ten. And if you've ever had a lesson with me, you know I do this because I'm always asking are what would you rape at? What would you rate that shot? Because I, I like to have the feedback of what my student feels versus what I'm seening. And so the scale of one to ten ten obviously is going to be the best shot ever. It is that shot you love. It's that pure shot and then obviously one. Well, that's no good. So I always tell my students this, If you have between a seven and a ten shot that is an A, like, you have an A and the reality is this, Are we going to have tins every single shot when we're out in the course? Absolutely, not not even the tour players, if they.if they themselves were raiding their shots. Y, I think people would be shocked at how they would rate their own shots. Now, you and I, um, are watching them and saying, Oh, my gosh, that was an amazing shot. It's they're just incredible player. That's a tin. but you ask them, they might say. Oh,that's an a, mm, seven and a half. you know, so they know when they know what their ten is. So it's different. you know. the perception and the interpretation of that Scale going to be different for everyone. So what I do is with my students is when they have a shot. That's not a ten, but it's still playable. It's relatively decent contact, Um with the ball. The swings somewhat function, functionable. You know at that point I see it's it's a seven. You know you're fine. You're good with that, keeping it Now if they have a shot that's not so great, but it's still playable. you know there's coming into that shot. If they were to have to hit that shot they could. Probably they have a decent lie. and whatnot I might say. Okay, it's a. that's a five or six. You know B and see golf here, it's acceptable. It's satisfactory. it's not you know. It's not maybe what the goals are, but again keeping it realistic if you can go out on the course and you can say maybe eighty percent of your game was between seven and ten shots, seven to ten on the scale of one to ten. That's really good golf. That's fun golf. It's keeping it realistic. Um, oftentimes again, I see a lot of students that they want tens every shot. And if they don't have a ten and they're just not hitting perfect drives, then they feel like their game is not good and that's just not even the case. Um, again, It's you got to be real realistic in this
Nate: and I always looked at golf as it's not how good your good shots are. it's how good your bad shots are. So
Nate: when you do hit a bad shot, it's not devastating to you. it's not. it's not a top. it's nota fat shot. Those are shots you want to eliminate when you hit a shot that's thin, little thin, or maybe a little heavy. You can live with those shots. But it's the shot that you hit that can devastate a round right
Meredith: exactly. Yeah,
Nate: snap hook, or you look at as a top shot or something like that. You got to get rid of those really really bad shots. That's the barometer. In my view,
Meredith: it it is. and that's exactly using the scale of one to ten. Like you mentioned, you know hitting that thin shot. Um, you know, thin shs, can still be great shots. very playable shots. and those would be in the seven to ten category. You know what I'll give myself. You know what. I'm going to give myself an eight for that thin shot, you know. And and so it's that perspective of all right. I gave myself at eight. don't you don't stay in that place of? Oh man, I hit that. Then why am I hitting it thin? Those are good questions to ask. Maybe after your round. If you just do a review like Hey, you know I notice I hit it. then I need to you know, work on that and whatnot. That's fine reflection after the round. but in the midst of the round keeping it realistic Is you know what? Okay, So what? I hit it then, but you know what? on a scale of one to ten, it was an eight. That's an, moving on to the next shot And it's like you said Nate. You know the goal is, you know when you hit that really fat shot or you top it, or you hook it in the woods. Now now we're talking, you know the one, two, three, four ranking on that scale shot. Those are the ones we want to avoid. And if you come out of a a round of golf and you only have maybe two or three shots that were ranked like one to five on the scale of one to ten, okay, then you go back and you work on that after the round and reflect on that, but again, once If you keep it realistic with a mindset of, if my shots are between seven and ten on a scale one to ten, I guarantee you're going to have more fun playing golf, and that will be the start of more realistic golf for you.
Nate: I completely agree
Meredith: okay, so, uh, we talked about taking our game out in the course. we talked about this scale, Um, all right, Thirdly, I want to talk about having an honest appraisal of your swing. You know, you and I have talked about this before Of this is where the ego comes in of many many players thinking you know what I want to play the backs, or I'm gonna you know. Maybe it's a guy saying you know. I'm just gonna I'm go to play the Men's teas. I would never play. Maybe the senior Tes or the forward Tees. I'm not going to do that because all of my friends are hitting from the M mindsties, Therefore I must hit from the men's tees, and that is just not the case. Um, I, I think having an honest appraisal of your golf swing, No, your yardages. You know, if if you're driving only maybe a hundred and eighty yards off the tea, it it might be time to reflect on. you know what. it's okay if I move to the forward teas.I guarantee you're going to have more fun golf. You're goingnna, and you're going to have lower scores. It's going to be a win win for you. If you, if you do that, have that honest appraisal of your swing. and not only that it will speed course play up, and there's a lot of benefits to that You actually get home a little bit earlier. you won't be. you won't be out there as long and you know you'll have what, maybe a four and a half hour round. Hopefully doing that instead of five and a half hours. Okay, so it will shorten you, a little bit. Maybe your wife doesn't like you out at the golf course. So much. guess what move to the forward Teas. Tell your wife. Im, moving into the forward to use. Honey'll be home an hour early.
Nate: in disregard the colors. You know. The red has always been acquainted to women and gold. or seniors. I wish courses would kind of just reinvent new new colors because men say I not going to play the red tee. Well, there's people that need to be playing the red tees. There's men that need to be playing the red tees. Just like there's women that should probably play the white tees.
Meredith: agreed. yes,
Nate: because they're that good, you know, so we need to judge more upon what we're scoring based upon where we play. I think.
Meredith: Oh, absolutely. I'm definitely a huge advocate for the gender gender neutral tees. We, we've got to get away from the red. Be the ladies. The whites being the men like you said, I mean we. we need to move away from that, and and move away really from that system. I think you know we're We're working toward that I think were making good progress and starting to get away from that. But I think those that have been playing golf for decades still have it kind of in their minds that they're the red as ladies. The yellow is senior. You know you kind of had those colors in your mind, but I think we're finally starting to make that shift, which is great, and I'm seeing more and more people starting to play the correct teass. You know,they've taken honest appraisals of their swings and they're like. You know what I'm not going to play yet know, I'm not going to move back in the teass until I hit a certain yardage with my drives. And what? Nott? So they have
that honest appraisal, It's so much more fun and even myself. You know I grew up playing the men's tees when I was a teenager and in college, and pretty much all through my twenties. It wasn't until I was in my thirties that I started in letting go of the ego and saying, you know, I really think I'm going to play the the red tees for this particular course, And you just look at the yardage of the course that you're playing and you can help make that determination. But I started doing it, and oftentimes I mean, I play the Red tees and the senior teams now more than ever. occasionally I'll play the mens tees, depending on the yardage, but I'm having so much more fun and it really takes the pressure off me. Sp. especially for that second shot on a pa. five. Um, I struggle with that. When I, when I'm playing the minstcause, it really presses me on my yardages, so you know to each his own on that you know you have to determine what you need to do for your swing, But it definitely it will lower your score and you'll have more fun with your swing
Nate: Yeah, I agree, when you, especially you know playing playing a par four. they hit their driver and they got another fairway Wood into
a par four. For it's you know that's not fun. You know, you want to be able to have a six iron most, six through a wedge into a par four to make golf fun.
Meredith: exactly Yeah, And that's key, and that's a really good point Is you know what is what does that second shot on a Par five look like For you? That's something to ponder. That's a good question. It's not just your yardage, it is your yardage off the tee. but but the other component variable to this is what does that second shot look like In? if you're having to really use. you know if you're struggling on that par Five like, let's say you hit your second shot and you're still pretty far out. Yeah, you know, that's something to think about.
something definitely to think about
Meredith: Nate..Do you have any suggestions on keeping uh, your golf game? Your golf swinging realistic. Anything you want to add,
Nate: so I took a lot of time off from the game and like I said, I realize it wasn't like riding a bike. One thing I am doing differently now is I am trying to have a golf club in my hand every three days Now. I practice more than I play.I've got to get better practice habits.
I seem to sometimes Hit the ball better when I'm on the course, because I take my time . On the range. I'm a machine gun like with
but having good practice habits and T being able to take that from the range to groove a good golf swing repetitively to the golf course. I think that's that's important. So good practice habits is is kind of what I'm working on because I like I said, I practice more than I play.
Meredith: right, and you can always make modifications too like, if you like to go out there and just kind of you know, fire them off. I would suggest you know if you were my student, I would say you know what. When you get to the range, you know, warm up and then get ten balls and just just go for it.Just just just hit them. Have fun. Don't don't worry about it. Just blast them. do whatever you want with those tin balls. Then all right now, it's time for work.Yeah, Yeah, and it's funny.Get a kind of get it out your system,
Nate: The very first thing you said about seeing somebody to see your golfswing--something I really haven't done. I know enough about the golf swing to be dangerous to myself. I'll see a golf tip on Youtube or something, and I'll say I think I do that and I always wonder it's like Am I changing something in my golf swing that actually I shouldn't be changing. Maybe I don't do that, so I'm always trying to reinvent my swing at the range based upon what I think I look like. so it's good to have somebody actually take a look at it and say no, no, no, no, you're way off. so even someone like me have been in the industry. I understand the swing a little bit. It's probably not a good idea for me to be just changing things on my own
Meredith: but yes, and the same same with myself. I mean e. even as a golf instructor, you know, I'll have colleagues look at my swing. I don't do it often enough. but I do it once a year. I, I would say once a year. I have my own swing professionally looked at, and it it always, I always go back to the same things. I have things and that just creep up in my swing and they're usually the same issues that I deal with. Usually. I think it's just I've been playing golf so long. Now I. I'm not really adding any other issues to my swing, but I, I still struggle with the same things, so I have a tendency to get for me. My grip gets a little too strong, and uh, I, I block my shots a lot with with my lower bodies, So if you look at my alignment, Uh, I set up way beyond a draw. I'm pretty closed up and so I have to conscientiously open myself up and get square, which for me feels really really open, and I always fight it, and so usually I'll get that
corrected once a year and I'll make the corrections, and then over time I start closing back up. I start, uh, grip, gripping too strong with the position, especially with my my lead hand, so I have the same issue that comes up, but I can't self diagnose, and most people can't self diagnose, So it's even like
Nate: like I cant, but I do so then I go backwards.
Meredith: right, so yeah, it's definitely good. And and you know you mentioned just routine, A consistency in having a routine is gonna be the best thing to help you keep realistic expectations, and you can actually work on your golf swing at home. You do not have to be hitting balls. Um, if you don't have the time to get out and play, You know I mentioned in the very beginning of this episode for people that don't play that much golf and they expect to have you know really low scores or they, or they get frustrated or mad at themselves. if they don't play well, you know you can't do that if you're not playing a lot of golf. but what you can do to have more realistic expectations, as you
can practice at home two to three times a week. if you have a mirror, that you can set up in the garage, or if you have a large bathroom that you could do a full swing in, I would highly recommend working through a pres shot routine. Looking at yourself, your posture, your
aim, your alignment, your grip, you know, and then looking in the mirror and watching yourself, and then taking the swing half way back, checking your plane, getting to the top. slow motion repetition is huge. I think it's better than going out and just hitting golf balls
trying to to make a new motion. I always use slow motion repetition when I'm working with my students, wanting them to feel the change that we're trying to achieve, but feeling it, slow motion repetition in a mirror at home. It does wonders for your game. and especially if you live in a cold climate. You let's say it's winter time. Um, Definitely, you can keep working on your game. You will see a difference if you do that, because all you're doing when you get to the course is again working through the same routine that you motion out at home, and routines create consistency and consistency gives you confidence, and in that confidence you're going to have low rounds. You're going to have fun, Happy golf, which we all want and more realistic expectations.
Nate: it all makes sense. I got a ton of stuff to work on Now
Meredith: Well, I again, I've told you this before a. Your game has really come together. and like I said, it's okay if you want to go out there to the range, and you know your first ten balls or so. just go have a lot of fun and then after that you just get a little bit more focused on your target and and your your favorite clubs that you're practising with and go from there
Nate: better range time.
Meredith: Better range time.
Nate: Sure, utilize it better
Meredith: Yes, Yeah, because then you can translate it to the course.
Meredith: all right, so I hope everybody, uh, watching and listening that you've learned a little bit in this podcast about having realistic expectations with your game. Okay, so the goal is this, We want to have fun playing golf. We really do. I mean, we're not playing golf to have a miserable time. We want to have a great time playing golf, so keep it realistic. Don't be too hard on yourself. You know, you can use that grating scale, you know, if you, if you have a not so great shot, but it's still playable. Hey, you know, give it a seven. give it an eight can keep it realistic and I guaranteed you're going to have lower strokes. You're going to have more fun and you're going to be loving it. So
Nate: I agree.
Meredith: all right Well, this has been a lot of fun. and uh, you know, check out our other podcast on the Gimme Golf Podcastswe have. this is our a forty first episode,and we have forty other episodes lots of great golf information, so go check out our other episodes. Give us a like and we will see you next time here on the Gimme Golf podcast,Thanks
Are your expectations for your golf game too high? LPGA Instructor Meredith Kirk talks about establishing realistic expectations, how to improve your game and have more fun.
To :41 Introduction
:42 What are unrealistic expectations?
1:38 Do “naturals” exist?
2:50 Expecting quick results
5:22 Quick fixes that might not be fixes
7:24 How to establish realistic expectations with your game
8:15 Routines, good practice and goals
13:37 How to begin a practice session
14:58 Grading your shots & getting rid of the bad ones
20:12 Honest appraisal of your swing, egos and playing the correct tees
25:50 Frequency of practice
27:50 Importance of having someone look at your swing (a golf instructor!)
29:36 Easy ways to work on your swing at home, slow motion repetition
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