Do You Play Better After Time Off?
By Kickntrue on 10/1/09
I hear a lot of people say they play better golf after some time away. Can it really be true? The two times I hear it most are when someone plays their first round after a winter layoff, or when someone who usually golfs often ends up missing a month or so. Sometimes I feel like this can be true in my own game but it really doesn't make any sense.

What I could maybe see is that someone with swing flaws (everyone, right?) or someone who tries so hard that they end up over-thinking and over-tinkering. Maybe that first time back in awhile lets you just do what you do- without all the extras. Still- seems like you'd be better on the 10th day playing in a row than the 1st of 10.

Thoughts and experiences?

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[ comments ]
bducharm says:
I do think someone can play better after a bit of time off. I shot one of my best rounds (65) after a 2 week layoff. One of the reasons is that I concentrate on fundamentals and doing things very slowly!!! I think this helps immensely.
dc8ce says:
I don't think it's the case for me. My best score ever has been after playing & practicing consistently for about 2 months straight. Recently I've been bogged down and haven't been able to get out as much and I'm hovering around the same below average (for me) score.

The key for me is limiting the "holy crap, what was that!?!" shots from my rounds, and if I'm not out there often they have a tendency to creep out.
helfon says:
I tend to play well after short breaks. My putting is usually the x factor though. This seems like something you could test though with all the data you have.
PingRhoda says:
@ dc8ce. U'm right there with ya. If I have some time off I can't see, to make a shot to save my life.
jerdman says:
I've had a lot of great rounds after not swinging a club for weeks or months. My swing is pretty well ingrained so I don't have to do a lot of thinking about it. But after I play a lot I tend to start thinking about mistakes made here and there, thinking leads to bad habits, and those bad habits end up with some high scores. Putting almost always suffers without practice.

On the other hand there have been plenty of occassions where I just flat out forget how to play and feel completely uncomfortable and end up 25 shots on the other end of the spectrum.
jevans says:
I have been wondering about this myself. Lately I have been playing 3-4 times a week and seem to be getting worse. I don't know if I'm a bit tired/sore? Is it just a concentration thing as you get tired?
I really enjoy fall golf so don't want to miss any opportunities. But I am really curious as to how I would play if I took a few weeks off.
Changed out says:
I think that you're more relaxed after a lay off I know when I start the year off I usually hit the ball pretty well. I may or may not have a short game on any given day but my expectations aren't as high so I tend to feel like I'm playing better even if the score doesn't reflect.
greendevil says:
This is me to the tee; "But after I play a lot I tend to start thinking about mistakes made here and there, thinking leads to bad habits, and those bad habits end up with some high scores".

However, the longest I can take off from golf and still play up to my standards is about a week. If I go longer than a week I seem to forget how to play the game altogether.
The Full Monty says:
Before playing 2-3 days per week, I would agree that time off can seem to improve your game because you remove the biggest obstacle - your brain.

However, I've spent more time golfing this year than any other and have gained better control and confidence in all aspects of the game through routine and muscle memory. Also, the # of penalty strokes has dropped to 1 or less per round.

For me, 2+ weeks off causes a good 3-5 stroke increase per round. You lose the touch in your short game, putts, stiffing the pin from 120, and ability to control long drives.

For the first 5 weeks of this season, I had a serious case of the "S Words" with all irons over the 7. For anyone who's had this, it's scary beyond comprehension. Working on the problem at the range and course, as opposed to time off, helped me shoot scores under 90 consistently and shave 5 strokes off the handicap.

Different strokes for different folks though...
Banker85 says:
@amonty: that is one of the scariest words in the golfers dictionary! i had a case of them in june earlier this year. it was awful! back to the article i find that when i take a couple weeks (no more than two) it helps me relax and justenjoy it a lil more. where when i start playing alot 3-4 times a week i start raising my expectations. also when you take some time off you better get to that putting green before your round cause that is where you forget your feel.
rynolinks says:
i hadn't broken 90 yet playing consistently 1-3 times a month, then after a month and a half off, i shot an 85: it seemed that a lot of the mechanical swing thoughts i had forgotten and was focused on each shot and feel and just a single swing thought or two.
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