The first week of dedicated practise in preparation for the coming Club Open events starting in July was not the best fun. Being out in the wind and rain with the cold temperature stinging my cheeks and nose did create a mental note of the practical use of balaklava in winter golf. The first session using 3-7 iron blades did not take long to have me get the technique going as it should. A big incentive for improvement is hitting balls and not have the hands stinging from mishits.
Friday night’s 9 hole “Chicken Run” was my first competitive hit out for the week. This is a fun event that I play to enjoy, winning is not the be all and end all of this comp. Even so it is handicapped differently which I use to my advantage. For me that means I am playing off 12 (now down to at least 11) which was 2 strokes less than my official hcp on Friday. (In January everyone starts on their Golf Link handicap, every time you win you lose a stroke plus every score over 20 points lose another stroke.) I also took the 460cc Cobra driver out for its first hit in 3 months. Besides 6 GIR’s with the iron shots, the distance off the tee was significantly longer that with the 380cc Driver. Again the fall down was inaccurate drives with the Cobra and the distance added does not make the effort worth doing to get this club into the bag at the minute.
Interesting bit of detail was discovered mid week while researching in my search for a new set of irons. I have 20 odd year old knock offs of the original Ping irons with Shark stiff shafts. (“Ping's Karsten I irons are a remake of Ping's original irons. They have a barrel hosel construction and deep single cavity located closer to the heel side of the back of the club.”) The review of these irons remarked that this design was not inducive to hitting the ball long. I have often wondered if my inability to hit the short irons very far at all was a swing fault of my own or if the clubs had an influence on this as well.
With improved accuracy with my irons the 10 m shortfall with 7, 8, 9 and Pitching Wedge is literally the difference in hitting the green or missing short. The practise has helped a lot in now being able to take an iron longer and hit it well enough to the green and not go through. I have now invested in a Distance Range Finder as my “eye” is not accurate enough in gauging the distance and I too often end up underclubbing. I am looking forward to combining the use of this piece of equipment in my game to improve accuracy and Greens in Regulation shots.
Now to Sunday’s round, the definitive proof of how practise is a major benefit to playing better golf. A gross 82 for a Nett 68 was full of confident stroke making. Even the mishits shots were a chip away from the green. After two weeks of carrying the 60 degree wedge I have taken it out of the bag, personally I prefer using the set’s sand wedge for lob shots and the pitching wedge for pitch and run on the greens. The group coaching session on short game and putting with the club pro last week has improved my skills. Nothing major yet just the bit of fine tuning that has added consistency by removing technical errors from the strokes played. To also win the putting comp. with 27 and nearest the pin with closest for the monthly competition so far (1.02m) on the day were part of how well I played.
The magical 80 figure was not broken and this time though it would have been nice to achieve I made the errors that cost me in the end. Having played this well though makes it possible in the day after to sit back and after reviewing the score say that 3 strokes could have been shaved off the score. Optimistically perhaps 5 or 6 less shots could have been possible, but dreams have to be a little tempered with reality. The handicap goal has always been 10 and that was seen as an unattainable golf dream by others never myself though. Now as the figure is nearly achieved I can say at the minute, I do not believe there is much fuel left in my tank to surpass that.
Once it is reached though I will begin starting to enact the plan going the next step into single figures. I will continue to follow the steps and procedures written in my golf books that I have published in the last two seasons. Nothing special about them and no “Secret” method revealed to make it possible to play better golf either. Nothing but following the basic techniques of golf swings, getting professional coaching and practise, practise and practise. Sitting here right now making the attempt at single figures is going to take a hell of a commitment on my part and will not be attempted until I can maintain playing to 10 first. This will be easier than last season when I broke the 20 mark and struggled with the transition during winter.
Thankyou for your time and attention, “Hit ‘em straight all.”