Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Hitting the ball forward works best...

Tuesday 7/6/11 Wind, rain and the lazy cold that goes through you instead of around has settled in since Sundays cancelled round, pretty much confirming that winter has arrived. The inner golf nut is not distracted by these changes in weather conditions, in my case it has upped the ante in practise becoming even more important. Having already mapped out the increased commitment in preparation last week, for the start of the Various Regional Opens come July, there is no backing away now the weather has gone crap. Mind you sitting here at the minute I am realising that sometimes my golf obsession does border on the edge of stupid, stupid man behaviour.

The benefit of having made the commitment to get in form for July and onwards did deliver during the cancelled Sunday round. The score was on track for a a good one up until the cancellation of the round due to weather, hail, lightning, wind and big fat rain storms caused a rush for the clubhouse after 6-8 holes play. I was doing damn well with only one wipe and that was caused by the wind blowing the ball off the tee and a ball flying right across two fairways into lost ball oblivion. If it had not been for a playing partner telling me he saw the ball taking off sideways as I played the stroke I would still be wondering what the hell happened. The wind is a major influence here on the coast during winter and must be taken into all game day thinking.

Practise this week, yes out there in the crap weather started with getting the iron play adjusted to hitting into, accross and with the very strong winds. Coming in at 110kg myself it is a struggle to stay in place on the tee and on the fairway, let alone play good strokes.The adage “hit easy when it is breezy” works well with and into the wind. The lofted irons require the most concentration for my game, 20m to 80m out from the green with a howling wind is not easy from club choice to playing the shot. Did my prefered iron tune up exercise using blades and getting the swing down pat then pulling out the cavity irons and sure enough hitting the ball so much better. It does not take many mishits stinging the hands with the blades to stop me making lazy errors in set up and swing.

Even with my much improved swing over the past 3 seasons, my lofted iron shots are not powerful distance eaters. Even with the injury effects on my body that make me take it easy. The preference for me has always been consistent accurate strokes, being able to hit a wedge 100m has no appeal to me what so ever, which is a good thing as I average 80m with the pitching wedge. The 8 and 9 are my club choices for 100m distances, in the winter wind even the 7 iron gets a look in for the shot at times. It adds to my golfing enjoyment to have a lot of versatility with my irons ever since I returned to golf. With the latest leap in improvement off the tee with the driver my game now has a good foundation to be able to add a better short game.

Since the last week I have began to trawl the golf club market in earnest with the nearness of my 10 handicap goal. The time has come to prepare and get the set that will take the next step down to a single figure handicap. Still with 4 strokes to go to ten and having played to 11 and 12 in recent competitions the reason for starting to look seriously is because there are several sets that I have to whittle down. The Bridgestone J series appeal and I will be trialing a set of those in coming months, Titielist AP2’s, TalyorMade Burners, Wilson Ci/9’s, Callaway X series all have been given a run. Taylor made R9’s did not make the grade with me which I was bemused by. R9’s just did not feel good at all yet the cavity back Burners were a delight to hit. Mizuno fans do not feel slighted same as with the AP2’s it is a club choice that is out of my pockets reach for now. Together with the belief that my game is not at a level that warrants those at the minute. As confident as I am in my ability to improve and play a decent round of golf, a reality check that works for me is not to get capability and ambition confused.

After all of the experimenting with various clubs blades and cavity backs the sensation of a beautifully hit ball from either is delightful. The changes in my swing and improvement in my bodies flexibility have gone hand in hand since December 2010. It has not been easy or enjoyable at times as my previous posts reflect when expressing how pain is something to avoid. A game improvement iron is the best choice at this stage, something that will deliver feel and sensitivity to strokes played. Plus give a little tolerance to my shortcomings. Whilst I played well with the blades during the summer months the results fell away rapidly as I could not maintain performance and consistency. Two months of playing well with them was a great learning experience and I will return to them besides use as a practice tool.

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

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