1st September 2010 Bugger! Gave it my best on Sunday and fell 5 Stableford points short of winning the John Leake Trophy. Finished the round with 34 points and gross 93 off the stick, rubbing a bit of salt into the wound was going out to a 20 handicap again. Mind you not unduly concerned about the round apart from three duffed pitch shots and 3-4 putts that just missed. Played one shot that cost me a penalty and that was the result of hitting the ball, my aim was a little wide to the left and into the bushes went the ball. Still not quite used to my improved distance and hitting accuracy which is still a problem for me to adapt too. The wildly varying conditions of late have not been much assistance in getting comfortable either. From stormy winds to calm warm spring sunshine together with my own moderate ability the transition into the ‘teens’ is not easy for me.
The putts that just missed were still good just not perfect and that is still an improvement for me.The Mallet/2 ball style putter has helped my game on the green, considering that it took me 2 months at least before feeling capable to use it in competition since purchase is a satisfying addition. The tendency is to still leave a few putts within 5 cm of the hole either alongside or short on the longer putts 5metres plus. Inside that distance though the accuracy is very good. Not exactly certain why I leave a bigger number of putts short with this particular club. The technique is sound and reading the greens is also another skill that has been concentrated upon in practise of late as well. At best I have narrowed down the fault to a tendency to take too large a back swing with the putter and not strike through the ball correctly on some putts. Instead pulling the forward stroke up too soon and losing distance to the hole with the shot. This in itself is not a problem inside 5 metres but totally disastrous up to and outside that distance. One putt is always better than two and it is no surprise that practise is the only cure.
The pitching whilst again improved still needs to go from the practise area to the game. landing and stopping the ball inside that 1-2 metre area around the hole more often. In this area of practise of late my technique has been given a lot of attention. Previously my pitch was a one technique shot with no variation to adjust for different greens and pin placements apart from flat greens and straight ahead shots. Recent practise has been on opening the blade of the Wedge and imparting fade side spin on the ball which has returned higher ball flight and the ball flopping down and not running on far. I have also began to use the 7 iron around the green on the straight flat surface shots to good effect, chip and running the ball up to and into the hole.
Off the tee with the driver has again been causing some problems. I believed that the period of using the hybrid had sorted the issue of trying to hit the ball too hard and causing the fade/sliced tee shots. It had a beneficial effect but was only part of the solution, the other fault was my grip. Yes that same old horse trotted out again but it is crucial to playing accurate shots. Fortunately I have one of those Grip Tools which does a sensational job correcting grip faults. Slipped the sleeve over the grip and hit 20 balls a day for driver practise and soon began to get the consistency back. This has not ended the problem though, it is an ongoing process to maintain and establish the components of my game to a consistent level. At the minute it is very difficult, balanced on that edge of the handicap of “teens” or twenties.
Dear readers this is not something that I am worried about, all that can be done is to continue plugging away practising the fundamental techniques as in the past. So far in the past year and a half this has worked, changing something that is proven to work so well over time is just foolish. This week has been a little restricted the course has been very wet and muddy played a couple of 9 hole rounds and apart from the driver practise and some long irons so far that has been all I have done. Some pitching and putting practise will be done before the end of the week, this will have me tuned up enough to play in the Bordertown Open on Sunday. Thankyou for your time and attention, “Hit ‘em straight all” , Geoff