Monday, July 05, 2010

GOLF - Achieved first goal of 2010 Season

After 6 months of seriously trying to improve my playing handicap ,the target of 20 has finally been reached. In that time I have dropped 5 strokes through a combination of professional lessons/coaching, practise, practise, a bit more practise and last but by no means least equipment changes. Also included in the mix is the Mental conditioning and thought put into the game when playing and practising.

To finally reach the target has been a concentrated effort on the course and ignoring the “IF” factor. It is nothing new in golfer’s language we have all experienced the “IF’s” during a round of golf. Those shots that “IF” they had done this instead of that and hence saved a stroke here or there, your score would have been better. There is nothing wrong about the IF’s of the game in many cases, they can be inspiring and give the little bit of belief and confidence boost to improve your game. On the other side of the coin the IF’s can become excuses and the beginning of a litany of hard done by tales why a golfer never manages to play as well as they think they can.

Imagination is a part of golf usually about the visualising of shots to be played, this is not fantasy and the “IF factor being used as an excuse is a fantasy and never a reality. Results are what matter on the scorecard not what could have been the score “IF” something had been done different. In the round this weekend that finally got me to the 20 handicap I had a 10 on the par 5 first hole which after my handicap allowance deduction was 4 strokes over. As I have mentioned previously I break a round of 18 holes up into 4 parts. The first four holes, then the next five to complete the front nine. The next four holes is the 3rd section of a round with the final five holes played at my best possible standard to get the score I am chasing. It was very plausible for me to use that first hole hole score as; “IF it had not happened my score could have been better”, excuse.

Instead my approach was to put my head down and attack the next 17 holes and not go over my handicap allowance. Playing off 21 minus the 4 strokes over on the first hole I had to play bogey golf for the rest of the round and try to get a few pars along the way. I went one better on the ninth hole and scored a birdie 3 which was the equivalent of an eagle with my one stroke handicap allowance. On the front nine I had a 47 off the stick which is acceptable and I came home with a 45 on the back nine a Gross 92 for a nett 71 with 33 putts. I finished 3rd in this medal round one stroke behind the second place getter and five shots behind the winner on a nett 66.

What cost me a better score was not the 10 on the first hole, through the next 17 holes it was the short game, which I have just began to practise with more preference than the long game. I have reached a standard off the tee and with the second shot to be either, 5 or less metres off the green and on in regulation occasionally. Not being able to stop the ball within the 1-2 m area around the pin often enough, more concerning is missing the close putts from 30-60 cm, (two misses in the last round) are what I have to improve now. With a very good selection of clubs at my disposal, my first choice is to practise and refine my technique, not select a particular club to cover my lack of practical ability in pitching.

Making the improvements to the golf game I play has been successful for several reasons. One of them is that after reviewing my games standard, the corrections were targeted one at a time and not all at once. In effect each time one fault was corrected or execution of a shot became consistent through practise, my game stabilised a little more. When it comes to golf, my knowledge is at the level my handicap in playing represents. A playing handicap of 15 is the current goal, I have enough knowledge and developing ability to reach that over this season, together with another couple of coaching lessons and the observation of playing partners games.

The round was also the first in a best two of three, Club Sponsor's trophy and I am 5 strokes behind the current leader. Next week is the 2nd round of another best two of three Sponsor's trophy which I am currently leading. This time last year was about learning to play the game let alone being able to think about having a dedicated crack at winning club trophies until the end of the season. This year I am using these trophy competitions as added incentive to maintain and improve my playing standard. It seems to be working and the success is a bonus with the satisfaction of playing better golf all up. Thankyou for your time and attention. Hit ‘em straight all

Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff

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