Monday, September 27, 2010

GOLF - 3rd place again

27th September, Monday. The Wilson 1200 blades are becoming very efficient in my hands during games at the minute. This season has had five different sets of irons pass through my bag up until now. Up until the end of March 2010 the Shark XLT Cavity backs had the prime position then I began to expand my search for a suitable upgrade towards a set that did not have as much influence, as the game assistive oversize irons do on shots. It was not a result of change for changes sake on my part even 20 years ago when playing I had been in the first stages of making the transition to a more responsive iron.

Today thanks to the internet and Ebay it is very easy and inexpensive to explore club selection without interference. Not that I would discount going to a professional/club fitting expert to do the same, in this case the distance of country living and lack of choice made the internet an excellent tool. The cost of my club search has been $380 (Less in fact as some have been sold on after being no longer needed.) for two sets of new irons and three sets of used irons. I will continue using all of the remaining iron sets in practise, this is something that I am used to doing now and enjoy The Wilson 1200 will be first choice and in the bag for competition though. My ball striking and accuracy are the obvious improvements from these, the ‘feel’ of these irons is delightful almost like an extension of my hands and arms. Around the greens in pitch and run and chipping the responsiveness and touch of these irons especially has been a major improvement in my game.

Over the past month an error with my long irons has been affecting my game, the result of this was what looked like a pull/draw of 15-25 metres. last week finally I had got on the practise fairway and concentrated on the fault. Nothing major in fact needed to be adjusted, a combination of two faults was the cause. First off was alignment to the target being incorrect a simple drill exposed that and once aware of it correction was easy. A pull is when the golf ball starts off going left of the target line and continues to go left of the target. There is no hook to it; it travels in a straight line (more or less) and ends up left of where the player thought it was going to land. By putting a club behind the ball and lined up to the target and another paralell to it where my feet went I set myself up and looked over my shoulder and it was all wrong. In my eyes it looked like the ball would be hit to the right of the target. Part of my problem was perspective in my eyesight, the second fault was a tendency to close the face of the irons at address. The result of these errors were not catastrophic, more frustration in getting so close yet so far from the target. The important thing is I have made an effort to remove the fault not adjust to it and further hamper my games improvement.

The round on Sunday was enjoyable and a 3rd place finish also included winning nearest the pin. The success on all the par three holes was a result of correcting the aforementioned problem. Unfortunately the driver was another matter and it cost me a few strokes with wayward shots. Again nothing drastic to worry about and in fact I managed to get the correct rythym and swing into my game on the back nine. The killer of my winning the competition (only two points shy of 1st) was 4 x three putts. Not totally my fault the greens had not been cut for 7 days since coring on Monday. Long grass on the greens, bouncing putts and very slow roll was too much effort to adjust for the one round. Call me lazy if you like, putting is not a strength of my game and has been slowly improving through practise. The risk of throwing away that hard earned touch with the putter, all to play on unusual greens for one round was not worth my while. In 2 weeks it is the Club Championship semi-final matchplay round and at this stage I am the favourite for “B” grade. My game is against a 15 handicapper and it has taken hard work and a lot of effort to earn the respect of my opponents as a valid chance. At the minute my 19 handicap is my best ever rank. The other three ‘live’ “B” grade players have all been below that and it is not going to be any reliance on luck that will get me into the final.

This week the course rating is being done under the new system, which will be interesting and to be honest is a little added excitement personally. I believe that my golf is reasonable and that some of the current holes on the course are open to question as to their difficulty and the over all course rating. My opinion has been influenced especially with having travelled and played on so many other courses this season. My home course is difficult to play and it was a surprise to discover how much better I play away on new courses even for the first time. I do go on about my lack of accuracy yet away from my home course I am surprised how this is not a problem in my game. The pressure is not on every hole at home, yet on at least ten holes, if you hit off the fairway the ball is lost, unplayable (if found) or out of bounds. This has had some influence on my fixation with improved accuracy and the associated search for irons. Hindsight is always 20/20 and in this example I am experiencing the benefits of having taken the path towards using blades. At the same instant the other irons used in the progression also benefited my game to various levels that showed me other changes to consider.

If the previous reads a little complicated it is understandable but I made no hurried decisions and it was improved playing technique that was the main factor in my golfing quest. The irons are just tools that do nothing until picked up and swung. A set of sticks are not the be all and end all of playing better golf your own ability is the crucial tool that must be developed.

Thankyou for your time and attention, “Hit ‘em straight all” Geoff

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