Sunday, July 10, 2011

No excuses in playing to win

10/7/11 After the week away and making a reasonable effort to stay golf free to recover from the effort of eight weeks dedicated practise, the call of the sticks was too much to withstand in the end. Apart from an hour Friday at the Drummond range in Adelaide, giving the 460cc driver its first decent hit in 6 months and the Knox blades to get my swing tuned up, no golf was in my week. Had the crucial one hour massage to work out some strains and muscle stiffness before hand, first rub down in 3 weeks and not much damage to repair, another good thing.

That 460 cc driver is still staying out of the bag, do not have the time to put into getting my swing right with it at the minute. Regretful decision in this case, the range proved that I am taking 20-40 metres off my drives using the smaller 380cc driver. The accuracy is what matters most in my game plan so the current equipment is staying in the bag. Worked with the mid to long irons on the range #3 to #5 mostly and the #8. As I was not intending to play any golf even at that stage the PW did not get an airing, came back to bite me that omission.

Headed of Saturday morning to return home in no hurry with the idle thought that having a hit at Tailem Bend or Meningie might be fun on drive. Was raining in Tailem Bend and still wet and drizzling in Meningie, with only my basic travelling set no water proofs playing in the rain was never going to happen. Knowing that Robe would be a wet track on Sunday the only problem was my brain had started to think about golf and that pretty much had the addiction in full flight. Considered turning off and heading to Keith or Tintinara along the Coorong as I knew that Kingston’s field would be most likely tee’d off when getting there. I weakened and put the foot down and cut 5 minutes off arrival time and that was enough, catching the last two groups at Kingston and joined the Par round competition for the day.

My motivations for playing were different to the usual. Had the blades with nike shafts and not my preferred set, used the #3 metal after the one and only drive on the first with the Cobra made the hole a struggle and had the old brass PGA putter. Jumped straight from the car had a few putts and was on the tee. Why play a serious comp. round in this case, as I am on the mission to get the handicap down? To prove that the reasons of not having my perfect gear and pre-round warm up were no excuse for having a crack in a round of golf.

Apart from the first hole 7 after a poor drive with the Cobra, the Shark XLT #3 was bloody brilliant off the tee. This club has a large head and regular flex shaft and was the stick that in January kept me on track carrying the back injury that could have derailed the Southern Ports Tournament preparation. Had two poor drives after the 1st that were no great problem in scoring. Putted very good, dropped a sensational birdie on the third hole, 10m downhill, two tiered green, followed with happy dance. Missed two putts that cost me on the day but no 3 putts in the round, the destroyer was the short game. Even the mid irons were okay considering this has been the problem of late, using unfamiliar blade irons made me concentrate to good effect. Chipping though added 5 shots to my round and even though I ended the day Square, with a gross 86, nett 72 (front nine 44 and -1, back nine 42 and +1) Seeing as the next flagged score to drop off is when I was on 17 and played to 12, the handicap predictor has flagged this round and I will drop to 13.2. Very happy with the result considering the circumstances of my preparation and equipment.

Particularly satisfied that I did not have a raft of pretentious excuses in my mind to excuse not playing better. Instead I attacked all day and can recall 3 shots that went so close to perfect execution that even with the 5 short game errors would have had me +3 at the end of the day. Nowhere near the prizes though +6 for first and two golfers on +5 for 2nd and 3rd, (including my mate in golf at his home club) also to note that the top three golfers included a 9 and 15 handicapper for 1st and third place.

The other bonus on a day with challenging conditions weather wise was my playing partners a 7, 10 and 30 handicapper. The former had been down to 4 and the 10 handicapper had not played more than 3 rounds in 6 months. I do not try to match playing partners shots yet once again I noticed that particularly the 7 marker and myself took the same line off the tee. Except the dogleg par fours where a 230 m drive would cut the corner. There is a typical benchmark of the difference between a 14 handicapper and a single digit golfer. With my Driver I have now began to consider that option on par fours, can count on one hand the number of times that I have actually taken that shot, twice at Kingston previously and twice at Naracoorte. It worked but gave me brain ache on the tee and afterwards my ability is only just able to pull it off and on the one hole at my home track where this is a playable option I have tried it once in a competition round in 3 years. Five times it has been a successful shot but only played after a lot of consideration. If I had not played with the low handicap golfers I would not have even considered playing the shot in hindsight. Given my very conservative “percentage golf” game plan of the past years, too much risk would be the decision in looking at that choice.

Day off the track today though and a good choice to play yesterday with the weather at the minute. And g/f here for a couple of days and golf free will get me smiley faces. Hard choice even so as it is a round of John Leake Trophy and I would like to have a crack at the title and will have to play in the next two to have a chance. Thankyou for your time and attention, “Hit ‘em straight all” Geoff

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