The Single Digit Project

The Long Road to a Single-Digit Handicap

I never had a good swing. I’m 6’3 with a big, loopy, outside-in swipe that helped me get to know the right side of every fairway – or 30 yards right of every fairway. I could scramble from the rough and had a killer short game, mainly because you can’t slice a wedge or a putter. I probably played to a 14 at my best so I was never that good to begin with. Enter a new job, first kid, and then a 2-year hiatus after baby #2. It’s hard to come back after a few weeks off, much less a few years off.

Single Digit Project Green LogoAfter several 99s in 2018, I knew I needed to change my swing so I enlisted the help of Chase Duncan (Own Your Golf Game) and together we vastly improved the mechanics of my swing. New swing, new clubs, right? I got fitted for new Ping G700 irons and G400 driver, 5 wood, and hybrid. Better swing, new technology, and continued coaching from Chase put my scores in the mid-90s and a handicap in the low 20s. I was hitting my irons a club and a half further and finding fairways off the tee on occasion, but the improvement stalled out once I moved away.

In 2021, I tried out GolfTec and instructor Robert Graves. His coaching and the new GolfTec technology helped to diagnose and correct lingering issues with my swing. He also corrected some bad habits in my short game. Now I’m typically low 90s and ready to make a move. I’m taking this in phases so the next step is to break 90, which hasn’t happened since the oughts. After that, the goal is to score consistently in the 80s and have a sub-15 handicap. Then a 12 handicap, breaking 80, and finally those glorious single digits, which I expect to be at least five years from now.

Split screen video of golf swing at GolfTec.The biggest change I’ve made to my game is actually playing. Regular play is the key to any kind of consistency. (I know, very unique insight.) I’ve found a lot of useful info so far. I’ll update my progress and share tips and drills from the best teaching pros in this blog series and on the TGA Instagram account. I may even muster the courage to share a before and after video of my swing instead of just this cowardly screenshot.

Be sure to share your best tips and swing thoughts with #singledigitproject.

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Chris Austin — Founder, Editor, Writer, Average Golfer