Seeing if I can get to scratch in 365 days (6.7 to 0.0): First 61 Days

   I know I know I know!!! Another dude who posts on the internet about how he is trying to get from a mid handicap to scratch in one year blah blah blah.  But please just humor me lol.  I played tennis and football growing up, but have always loved golf.  A couple of years ago me and my 3 other buddies decided to form a yearly tournament (The Abe Lincoln Open aka "The Abe") in which we would play 3 rounds, straight up scoring for a Abe Lincoln trophy.  It is mostly about yearly bragging rights, but the trophy also looks good in my office.   I won back in 2017 when I handicap was around a 4.2, but since then it has risen every year.  So about 61 days ago I decided, hey lets see how good I can get at this golf thing if I truly devoted time for it.
   The idea first came to me after I read Tom Coyne's book "Paper Tiger" (Great read if you need a book recommendation).  I then found a blog site call "Par Machine" (Tried to do the same thing), found The Chasing Scratch Podcast, and found Irish Mike (Who also is doing the same thing Fit for Golf on Twitter).  Par Machine and Irish Mike both achieved their goals (Which is pretty darn awesome if you ask me).  While the Chasing Scratch guys haven't (I actually hope they never do because I find their content absolutely top notch).  To make things better being an Engineer, newly married, and about to have a kid I didn't think it was even possible when I started.  However; Par Machine is in the exact same boat as I am with family, job, etc. so he has given me more hope since someone in my shoes has done the same thing.
    I created a practice plan on google sheets that consists of me working on the following things:  Monday - 20 to 90 Yards, Tuesday - Irons, Wednesday - Wedges, Thursday - Variable and Differential Training (Thank you Adam Young Golf), and Friday - Putting.  I have noticed that keeping to this plan has be playing more consistent on the weekend.  I also found a golf league on Saturdays, and have been playing a couple of VGA events (Veteran Golf Association).  Over the last 61 days my handicap has gone up a little, which has made me worried.  I then realized that this is the first time in my life where I have actually had my score mean something, besides a tournament with my buddies.  This added pressure is what I feel I need in order to get better faster because out of the last 10 rounds that  I have played only 2 have been non score counting rounds (Like tournaments or league).  I have shot 74, 74 in those rounds, which are pretty good scores for a 6.7.  
   So why am I writing this right now.  Well if you spend time on Twitter or Instagram and are golf crazy like I am.  You realize how cool and nice the golf community really is, so I wanted to put some notes on things that have helped me during the first 61 days.  Hopefully if someone actually takes the time to read this (Thank you), you will find something that will help you with your goals. Below are some of my recommendations:

Books
Adam Young’s Practice Manual
Unconscious Putting
A Course Called America (Not really a golf teaching book, but it will make you proud to be an American)
Paper Tiger (A good book about how you should make big goals and if you miss them at least you achieve more than you thought)
David Peltz Short Game Bible

Blogs, Twitter Follows, Etc.
Par Machine (Guy got to plus in one year and writes about how he go there)
Here
Fit for Golf (also know as Irish Mike)

Tools/Training Aids
Skytrak (Was lucky enough to get one before COVID happened) - If you are thinking about getting one do. It is some much more cost efficent once you have one. You can also wake up before work and hit some balls which helps.
Flatballs

I will try to add to this topic every 60 days to give updates. Maybe if I don’t hit scratch then this will help someone else and they will.

Sorry for the bad grammar and writing. Had to put this together fast and I am just a dumb engineer lol.

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Good luck!
I’d love to hear how you plan to implement these aids and what your practice plan is. From someone who went from near scratch in my late teens/early 20s to an 8 in my mid/late 20s back now to scratch at +1.7, it’s not easy, but it’s very very doable with a lot of hard work and a plan.

Let us know how we can help!

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Of course it is possible

There are some posters on the forum who have dropped 6+ strokes in a year

Also i think parmachine is a blog about someone with a similar quest

Single digit handicap is quite an accomplishment from any distance. I admire you guys skills, abilities and techniques.
Out of curiosity, are you guys playing tier one golf, hitting from the member tees @ say 6200 yards or back tees at 6700ish yards?

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Agreed…single digit is a wonderful accomplishment - that I hope to reach some day. I play from our “blue” tees at my home course (about 6800 yds)…and have been bouncing between an 11 and 13 handicap for 2 years now. I really need to get serious with a practice plan, or fitness to increase my distance, or just abandon my wife/kids/job and have more time to play than 2 9 hole outings per week…

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@Sully287 - looking forward to seeing how this plays out for you Mike. Best of luck!

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You make a Chasing Scratch reference and don’t mention Chasing Scratch as a resource!

I’m also grinding towards 0, but don’t have a deadline for myself… My goal this season is to get from a 7 back to a 4 or lower…

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My home course plays 7003, can be stretched to 7200. Plays anywhere inside that range, never less than 7000.

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I would set some process goals. If you are really serious pay adam young to draw you up a plan with some periodization

I would love to go all-in like this at some point but family and job make this a no go currently

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Thank you! I appreciate it

I plan to practice for about 2 hours every day after work. I have a Skytrak in the garage so it helps me actually get practice time. I found a google sheet practice plan and plan to use mostly that along with trying to plan twice a week.

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Craigers!!! How could I forget them. I have failed in my recommendation department. Yes all please check our the Chasing Scratch Pod. Hours and hours of enjoyment.

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Don’t worry, I rep the brand here constantly… @jon hasn’t banned me because he’s a guest on this season!

haha I would never ban you for that, I love what those guys are doing. I’ve been told I’ll be on the episode releasing next week!

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Hi Everyone,

Thank you for the comments. I plan on tracking hours of practice, money spent, and how many rounds I play. Is there anything else I could track that people would be interested in?

Thanks

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Strokes gained/lost and how you’re improving them.

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It’s not something you can track, but I’d be interested to hear about any “stolen” practice time you can find… basically anything you do to improve that takes less than an hour total.

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Thank you! I will try to track both of those.

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Day 90 Update:

My handicap has fallen from 6.7 to 5.1.
Practice Time Spent so far: 155.5 Hours (Started on 5 MAY 21)
Money Spent trying to reach scratch: $860.00
Balls Hit (Estimate): Approx 9,800

Started fit for golf to see if that helps, and am about through 5 workouts (Love it). I have learned that while my scores are not getting lower right now my higher scores are starting to fall. I will come back with updates and provide a full update at Day 120.

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If you haven’t already, check out mark broadie and “every shot counts”

Is there any type of practice you’ve found to be especially helpful? Is this all large chunks of time dedicated to practice or have you found any quick drills you can do daily?

Yes, that is a great book. I read it about a year ago (I think, could have been 2). For practice I am using this spreadsheet I found on youtube (Link: https://youtu.be/6G6TENDh8dU). I can’t do all of them every week, but try to get as many of them done as I can. Focused on trying to get alot of the putting ones complete right now. Time wise, my wife has been a champ and usually lets me escape for 2 hours after work. On weekend I can usually sneak out on Saturday to play in the mornings and on Sundays I go to course and knock out the putting drills. I found that I can focus the best if I do drills in 10 ball amounts.

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