“Have I hit a plateau with my golf game?”
“I hardly ever break 90 and have never broken 80! What’s wrong with me?”
These are questions I ask myself way too often and it turns out that I'm sick of them.
I want to get better and am sharing my journey with you via a series of personal blog posts.
I'm Anthony, the founder of the Hole19 Golf GPS app (and more recently, the newly launched Core Golf Driving Range app). I currently play off a 13.3 handicap and it's taken me quite a while to get to this point. Now more than ever, I want to see what it takes to become a consistent single-digit golfer.
I am sure most of us have dreamt of becoming a single-digit golfer throughout our amateur golf careers, and yet, according to the USGA, less than 1% of registered golfers actually have a single digit handicap.
According to GHIN, the average handicap index for golfers in the US is 14.3 and I fall right into that category. They say golf is hard, but I’m on the quest to find out what it takes to become part of that elite 1% and shave at least 5 strokes off my rounds to become a consistent single digit handicap golfer.
I am looking to write a series of posts where I'll share my journey by showing you my scores (tracked via the Hole19 Golf GPS app), practice routines (tracked via the Core Golf Driving Range app) and the progress of my remote golf lessons with my new coach, Shauheen Nakhjavani (coaching me via the Skillest app). It's called #EatYourOwnDogFood because I'll be using some of the tools we have created in order to track & share my progress.
MY GOLF JOURNEY SO FAR
While I did play briefly as a kid, and very recreationally before starting Hole19, it wasn't until 2015 that I received my first official handicap index, starting at 26.2.
Back then, much of my time was focused on trying to get Hole19 off the ground, meaning that I was only a very casual golfer and had played very few competitive rounds. I never really took any proper lessons and thought that I could quickly improve by simply playing more and watching Youtube videos.
As you can see from the graph above which shows my handicap development between 2015 and early 2017, I couldn’t have been more wrong. There was absolutely no evolution and it’s clear that I didn’t know how to become a better golfer.
Fast forward to 2019 and some 200+ rounds later (including lessons with a couple of different local golf coaches here in Portugal) and my scores had improved, while my handicap dropped to around 15. My misses weren’t as extreme and I started to hit some solid golf shots. I was putting in the work to get better, by investing time in short game practice, as well as learning a bit more about course management. However, my misses were still compromising my scores and there was absolutely no consistency in my game.
Even though I was improving, and just when I thought 2019 was going to be my year… I tore my ACL and meniscus in the left knee during the summer playing beach volleyball (after a partial tear playing basketball back in 2011) and underwent reconstructive surgery in October. That meant no more golf for at least 6-7 months and a tough road to recovery to strengthen my leg to get back on the golf course.
Getting myself healthy was my number one priority and that meant over 60 physiotherapy sessions and lots of work at home and in the gym.
I made my first full swing on March 11th this year and played my first 9 holes post surgery on March 15th.
With my knee a little weaker than it used to be, I noticed that my shot shape had developed into a fade (and with longer clubs, it transformed into a nasty slice).
Then COVID-19 happened. Ironically, just when the doctor cleared me to play golf again, all golf courses and driving ranges closed, which meant I had to wait another 5 weeks to play golf again.
During that time off, I decided to set myself an objective: I want to become a solid single-digit handicap golfer within the next 8 months!
When the courses opened up again in May, everything was off. The nasty slice I had mentioned earlier cost me many shots on the course and my scores were embarrassingly high.
Something had to change. Instead of trying to figure things out by myself, I looked to PGA Tour coach Shauheen Nakhjavani (@shkeengolf on Instagram) who, although based in Montreal, teaches many golfers remotely via the Skillest app. I was going to give this a try.
All I did was have my swing recorded and then I uploaded & sent it to Shauheen through Skillest.
A couple of days later, I got my results in. I was anxious to hear his feedback to say the least...
Here 's the first set of videos I got back from Shauheen:
It wasn’t until I really started analysing my own swing and listening to Shauheen’s advice, that I realised I’d always keep my tendency to slice if I didn’t change my hand path and swing plane.
Shauheen gave me some awesome, simple and personalised drills to work on to start fixing my swing.
I took Shauheen’s advice and went to the range to work on some of the things he mentioned. I saw immediate results during my practice and started hitting baby draws.
Now it’s time to put in some more work on the practice range to really dial this in, before tackling the next step in my swing correction. Hopefully this translates less misses on the golf course and lower scores.
I’ll be checking back in with Shauheen in about 2 weeks and post my experience here. Hope you find this content interesting and can relate to the struggles of a mid-handicapper trying to get better.