"Slump"
By mustang6560 on 8/8/11
I'm starting to think Brian "bkuehn1952" Kuehn's guest columns do not need an introduction. By now, everyone knows who he is and that he shares great content with the oobersphere. Enjoy Brian's latest submission.

Merriam-Webster defines slump as "a noticeable deterioration in performance or quality".

The golf gods are a fickle bunch. One day you are on top of the world and can do no wrong, the next day nothing goes right. Most of us amateurs are all too aware of the speed at which our games can leave. Still, when you suck on Saturday, there is often a pretty good chance Sunday will be better. The beauty of golf is each new round typically brings one a clean slate. That is unless you are in a slump. Once you become mired in a golfing slump, the sun doesn’t shine very brightly, the birds won’t sing and each poor round is inevitably followed by a worse one.

If you haven’t had a golf slump, pray you never have to deal with the demons that plague the slumping golfer. I just fought my way out of a 7-week slump and it was painful. At the nadir of my golfing funk not a single club in my bag gave me any comfort. Fat, thin, slice, duck-hook, push, pull, there wasn’t a bad shot that I couldn’t summon up at the wrong time.

Fortunately for all of you, over the years I have discovered a number of methods to break a slump. Let me assure you that each of the following techniques has been carefully tested and evaluated by me over the past 50 years. They are guaranteed to work.
  • Change Your Ball Marker: This one is pretty simple and generally is the first thing I attempt in order to break out of a slump. It has been scientifically proven that the type of ball marker one uses has a direct bearing on one’s results, not just with putting but in all phases of the game. If you have been marking your ball with a penny, switch to a dime or quarter. Using a foreign coin? Switch to the USA and vice versa. Recently my Canadian penny was causing a problem but I figured out it was the Queen of England’s fault, not the penny. Now only the maple leaf side is allowed to face up.

  • Change Ball Brands: Yes, Titleist is the #1 ball on every tour and many of us are kind of partial to Pro V’s. However, a slump calls for desperate action. Load up the bag with an assortment of balls and rotate them during the round until you manage to hit a couple decent shots in a row. That ball then becomes the new “go to” brand. True, there is a downside to this method; sometimes the anointed ball is not exactly one that you want to brag about. A couple years ago it was a little embarrassing for me to play a “Flying Lady”. But what the heck, at least my slump was over.

  • New Club(s): When you can’t hit a shot to save your life, a new club or set of clubs is a great palliative. The more expensive the club(s), the greater positive effect the purchase will have on your game. Surprisingly, a new $500 driver will not only improve one’s performance off the tee but also result in more holed putts and stiffed irons. Similarly, a $250 putter not only finds the cup more frequently but tends to straighten out one’s drives.

  • Radically Change Your Swing: A random series of adjustments should be employed until you strike golfing gold. Weaken or strengthen your grip. Open or close the stance. Force your swing to be more upright or flat. Tuck the elbow or let it fly. Which elbow? It doesn’t matter because sooner or later one of these adjustments will coincide with a drive in the fairway or a GIR. At that point, work the new move into your swing and say so long to your slump.

  • Ask Strangers for Help: There is a lot of untapped genius wandering around on the nation’s golf courses. Recently Burt, a guy I met at our local Muni, showed me his modified baseball grip after he learned I was in a golfing slump. True, Burt was having trouble hitting the ball more than 100 yards but there was something about his advice that resonated with me. Next slump I may need to hit the range and work on Burt’s advice.
* * *

So what does everyone else do when your game is circling the porcelain bowl? Any solid tips for the rest of us Oobers? Let’s hear from you!



This was written by Brian Kuehn, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not necessarily reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.

photo by Mr.Thomas


[ comments ]
birdieXris says:
I find that "slumps" are nearly always mental. Unless you have a glaring physical defect that you should probably think about getting surgery for -- the problem is between your ears. Which is actually why all of these things mentioned above actually work for a time. When i'm in a slump, i just drink some scotch. Funny, i don't remember that i'm in a slump then and everything seems to be fine. :)
8/8/11
 
TeT says:
I personally like asking total strangers what to do about my pull...

Looking at your scores, last 3 were better but overall the slump only cost you a couple strokes a round. Thats the worst kind of slump... If you are going to have a crappy round, you should have a 107 to show for it!!!
8/8/11
 
mjaber says:
Usually, my slumps revolve around a specific club. Sometimes it's my driver, sometimes my 7-iron. Whatever club that happens to be, I give it a time out. I put it in the bag and tell it that it's not allowed out until it can behave like all of his compatriots. I allow a few holes, or a round, for the club to cool off and come to grips with the realization that I'm serious. Usually, the club starts to behave again after that.
8/8/11
 
sepfeiff says:
Hahah I vote for that as the best article you have written to date, love it. I think BX hit the nail on the head. I've played golf long enough to know that I am not going to be 100% with every shot, I think that has helped me to at least avoid feeling like i'm in a slump. None of us are Tiger Woods... Lower your expectations and have some fun, you may not play any better but you will feel a whole hell of a lot better about playing.
8/8/11
 
SteveMM says:
I've tried to the timeout method on my 3W. Sadly, that timeout has been going on for about three months now. That club is showing no sign that it understands I'm serious. I even left the club at home when I went on a weekend golf trip ... and not even THAT made a difference!
8/8/11
 
Banker85 says:
One way for me to get out of a slump is to call up a friend who sucks and play with them, usually feel better about my game after that.
8/8/11
 
jrbizzle says:
Best advice for a slump - go to the range, get a small bucket of balls, and stretch out good. Warm up with a few swings, then pound the crap out of every ball. Do not think about your club position, hips, shoulders, etc, just swing from the heels through the whole bucket. Get it out of your system.

Then come back a day or two later and start playing golf again.
8/8/11
 
thetomwalsh says:
Bad drives = no club cover for the offending club. I'll be damned if I'm going to clothe a misbehaving stick in a snazzy gorilla head cover. Bad driver! Bad!
8/8/11
 
billbadaz says:
This is easy. Swing Grease, otherwise called BEER!

The biggest slump buster of all, SHORTEN YOUR BACK SWING.
8/8/11
 
mjaber says:
@Banker... I usually go the opposite route. I call up the friend who I usually can keep up with, or only lose to by a couple strokes. I find the competition brings out the best in me.

It was the same way when I played pool. I'd almost run the table against someone I knew was really good, and then miss shot after shot against someone I knew I should have been able to beat. It's probably a problem with my focus.
8/8/11
 
ToddRobb says:
On the golf channel today they were talking about someone that shot 83 on Thursday and 65 on Friday of a tournament on the tour and it wasn't a record! The record was a 21 stroke swing, like you said "The golf gods are a fickle bunch".
8/8/11
 
homermania says:
When I'm in a slump, I just remind myself that I'm not at work.
8/8/11
 
legitimatebeef says:
@jrbizzle: I like that advice.
8/8/11
 
mootruck98 says:
@Banker85 - That's my definition of a "Slump Buster" for sure, I guess it applies to golf as well.
8/8/11
 
dottomm says:
107 isn't a a slump!!! It's my average!!!
8/8/11
 
srogers13 says:
I am surprised BK did not bring up his number one slump buster, the ugly one.
8/8/11
 
legitimatebeef says:
Good topic Bri. I feel its important to always hang in there. I mean don't mentally quit on a round or even a shot. Eventually you will hit a good shot and hopefully discover something to help you play your way out of the slump. Sometimes a scrappy birdie or par can remind you that you can play this game, and give you a boost. That can lead to a good nine hole score or whatnot, and you build from there. Golf would be boring without the slump.
8/8/11
 
Swingem says:
About the middle of last year I began to notice that I couldn't get off the couch and shoot a decent score anymore. I began to make a couple swing changes based on input from a lesson. While I was was making the change my scores spiraled higher. A few months ago, once the changes were ingrained, I got fitted for a new set of irons (my first set of fitted clubs). Since June the game has turned around. Properly fit equipment and a commitment to range time a couple times per week seems to be getting results.

That being said, in my experience, drivers and putters can usually be brought back in line mid-round by discussing their replacement with your playing partner, within earshot of the offending club(s). results should be immediate but tend to be short lived. The other clubs seem to be indifferent to threats.
8/8/11
 
DougE says:
I find that giving my wife (or similarly swing-challenged novice) a lesson, really helps me to think about and demonstrate proper technique. Within a few swings, my tempo is back and my ball striking gets consistent. Basically, whenever I need a lesson, I just give one. Works every time.
8/8/11
 
Agustin says:
Follow Romeo's advice (from Tin Cup).
8/8/11
 
falcon50driver says:
Banker85 says:
One way for me to get out of a slump is to call up a friend who sucks and play with them, usually feel better about my game after that.......Problem......None of my friends suck worse than me.
8/9/11
 
BAKE_DAWG40 says:
I have a golf trip this weekend and when I do get to go I usually suck. Anyone have any advice on how to preempt a slump??
8/9/11
 
Matt F says:
Dawg - just hack up your backyard for a few days and get rid of all the bad shots.
8/9/11
 
legitimatebeef says:
@bake_dawg: You can start by having a more positive attitude. Sounds like you are pre-anticipating a slump.
8/9/11
 
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