Sunday, August 17, 2014

Blind golf is better than no golf...

Change in the practise routine this last fortnight instead of me hitting the balls, I was watching them for a mate of mine who is blinded by Stargart disease. His eyesight deteriorated over past years and up until last season was still playing golf off a 14 handicap. Previously he had been down to 3 handicap and a past club champion. A very competent golfer, this year he decided to not renew his membership for several reasons, one being he was not enjoying playing competition golf. His right eye is blind and the left has partial vision and as long as there is somebody to watch the ball in the air he can hit the white blur at his feet that is the ball reasonably well. A month or so ago he contacted Blind Golf SA after hearing about the World Cup of Blind Golf success by Australia. He has decided to have a crack at the game again as a blind golfer and see how far he can go, nationally at the least. His personal goal is to get back to a 3 handicap. Since then he has set up his practise net and been hitting a hundred plus balls a day with the 8 iron only. The first time on the range and after hitting 80 balls the results were good. 75% were in a 25 metre wide grouping at 130 metres. The ball striking is okay the hardest thing is the mental golf thoughts. He still hits the ball with the expectation of a 3 handicapper with sight and has to rationalise that with not being able to see where the ball goes. That is the nub of the frustration,in a way it is about dumbing down the thoughts and have some one else tell you where the ball has gone, then adjust your next shot. Perhaps not the most precise explanation, yet I think most readers could visualise what this means. You are blind folded and over one eye was a small pin prick you could see the ball through. Then you start hitting the balls to the target area and somebody tells you the result how would you go? Out again Thursday with him for the latest session we have made some major changes. It is all to do with the mindset of golf, not his technique. All small things which are a hindrance to a golfer without sight are just as much part of the game for the blind. First was his over use of the hands, As a quality golfer in the past the 'feel' of the swing and contact with the ball has been causing him to over compensate/react. His game was based around a slight draw as the base shot. What was happening with the sight loss was the draw went from 1-2 metres to 15-20 metres. This was all from relying upon the'feel' during the swing and his hands are much more sensitive now and doing too much. This was corrected by playing all the shots from the same spot, putting the ball at the beginning of the divot for each shot. The resulting 'snake' from the divots is straight and more importantly we have established the two shots that are the standard at the minute. within a 15 metre arc there is the slight draw of 1-3 metres and a straight push to the right of 1-12 metres. At this stage the time schedule is another six months of practise before playing competition golf again. Not that my blind mate could not return to golfing right now. It is the need to adjust his game from playing with a sighted attitude to the blind game style that is now required. What is interesting is the amount of golfing drills that involve golfers to practise with their eyes closed or not looking at the ball. This is very helpful in analysing what is required to play golf with out full sight and the various game facets which need to be focused on in preparation. Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A fun gig... Australian Pistory II

The Robe Home Brew Festival was a success all round for both the event and myself performing at The Book Shop. Thoroughly enjoyed the gig and the venue itself was sensational. The next shows will be during the "Feast of the Senses" weekend 23-24th of August at The Book Shop. With a special gust appearance of the Bogan Gnu. Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Golf injury rehab over...

Rehab is over, I will be still watching out for overdoing the golf effort as the training schedule returns to the optimum effect level. Since cutting back as part of the recovery process my golf has deteriorated, score wise. A good part of that was the result of the injury not from doing less practise. Yesterday I went out and into full flight training testing the limits of my body. Apart from some slight tenderness at the end of the day all was good, the horse liniment was applied liberally afterwards and once again excellent results. Still not craving oats and hay for meals either so there has been no side effects apart from great healing properties. There has been an associated improvement golf wise in the rehab period. Hitting less balls and maintaining the exerciser equipment routines my wrists have finally regained the strength to be able to rip through the swing. This has never been possible in the last 5 years of golfing due to the motor vehicle injuries from the 1980s. Yesterday I was a little thrown with this unexpected ability happening in my swing. With the Dreamswing it was easy to adjust to the change. It took a good workout with the PW and #5 iron, without the Dreamswing attached to realise the swing change was established. It is going to take some adjusting through practise for this to settle in my mind. Went out and played four holes with just a #5 iron to finish the day and the added power in hitting the ball was obvious and really great to experience. This weekend I have a stand up gig so will not play golf on Saturday. It was too good an opportunity to pass by appearing at a Beer Festival. I had no idea there was actually real organised beer Festivals in existence, this could become a religious calling. Actually considering not playing Sunday and dedicating the weekend just to golf practise. I feel this is the best way to regain the playing standard that was in my game prior to the rehab period starting. Hit the ball, Find the ball, Hit the Ball. Thankyou for your time and attention.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Steady progress and much better game play...

Yesterday the practise was in a different set of routines. Chipping into a bucket from 10 m and 5 m get twice as many balls in from 5 m compared to 10 m. Good fun though and enjoyed the session. Then setting up the Dreamswing and hitting 50 foam balls into the driving net at home as well. Will be practising putting in the house passage tonight as well. A physically lighter load than the rest of the week to give the shoulder a bit of a rest. Then played nine holes with two balls to get some walking into my legs and see what the game is like after the weeks practise so far. Very happy again with the accuraccy off the tee and hitting greens. Chipping also showed the benefit of practise and the putting was acceptable either two or one putt per hole. All will be improved more with continuing the practise regime. There was one unexpected result that has given me a major confidence lift. As regular readers are aware distance is not a facet of my game nor is it a particular goal with my practise either. I have been happy with the consistency in my game and that is much more valued than adding 10-20m to tee shots or other clubs. It has been apparent that there has been some slight distance gains already with various clubs thanks to the better technique. Today though I decided on the last three holes to really let the tee shot have everything in the tank, continuing to play two balls off the tee as well. First hole good distance and 1st ball 210m 2nd ball 220 m and two pars GIR. Second hole a par five 464 m 220 and a 230m drive off the tee. Hitting one second shot ten metres short of the green was excellent. Was not trying to smack the ball just lined up and hit it straight and true with the #3 wood. That this was into the wind and done without labouring to hit a 100/1 chance shot was the bonus. I now have more proof hat the game that was my standard as little as a month ago is still improving. Two pars were the result on the hole. The third and final hole I let the driver fly again and both drives were within 20 metres of each other on the same line with the best only 100 m from the green a massive, for me, 235 metre drive. A par and a bogie followed. All in all a very relaxing and satisfying trial of the weeks practise done. With more to come before the first match play round next week. With the playoff schedule now settled I have this weekend free to play club golf and the first match play the following week. This is very satisfactory for my 5 iron to PW workouts to improve the Greens in Regulation statistic. It also has made it possible to maintain the physical demands at an acceptable level. Not 100% in the shoulder just yet, the groin injury is a big winner though. Up until Sunday I was still concerned it may relapse. After the weekend rounds though all was good. Some tenderness as to be expected but the strengthening and stretching exercises have done the job. Will continue being sensible with the effort,, it's not just about hitting golf balls it is about being able to hit them well. This afternoons casual 7 hole hit out showed the improvement coming from the practise. The driver was given a searching review and making one standard action when teeing off had the balls all on target. It is a concentration lapse where instead of taking the club head back low and slow and then unleashing and hitting low and through the ball, I had been swinging high and loose. The mid irons where a step closer to the accuracy wanted again. Still a way to go but not as far as there was on Monday. Every day is a little closer to getting the standard I want. The related benefit for all my golf strokes from the practise routine is the establishing of a confident rhythm when I set up to play all shots. Thankyou for your time and attention. "hit the ball, find the ball, hit the ball" Geoff