Monday, December 12, 2011

Back in good golf form - Naracoorte Golf Course

12/12/11 Monday. A weekend of golf has passed and 36 holes played at two courses, Naracoorte on Saturday and fronting up on Sunday at my home club, Robe for another round. Finally back into playing without the hindrance of an injury having a major effect, which with a -5 score in the Par Round at Naracoorte on Saturday could be seen as a misnomer. All square after the front nine the wheels fell away on the back nine. Too many bogies and double bogies caused by wandering off the fairways and into the tall timber to lose 5 holes and square 4. The Naracoorte track has always been a challenge for my game, with the natural layout of tall gums and dogleg fairways. It has been the best thing for my game making me have to work on getting accurate, and play technically better golf. Hence on the following day I get on the home track and win the competition with an 82 off the stick (nett 70) It was not arrogance or beer that had me say to my playing partners at Naracoorte that I would be in good form the next day at Robe.

The other benefit was the analysis of my swing by the single handicapper players in the group. After the game passed on the pointers to a problem that was earmarked for attention in the next coaching session. Of late it has been irritating with regular straight pulls of shots with irons and woods. It was nothing major as a fault and had been identified previously, when up in the low 20’s and teens of handicaps. I ‘hood’ the clubs’ at address. Also need to move the ball forward in my stance.

In my case it is the second of the two definitions, “Hooding the club” definitions; 1. In the more common usage, "hooding the club" means pressing the hands forward, which makes the clubface more upright, as a way to de-loft the club. A 5-iron that has been "hooded" will produce a lower trajectory than a normal 5-iron shot. This meaning is used when talking about lowering the ball flight, increasing roll or, on the green, producing top spin in a putt.

2. But some people think of hooding as something completely different. Many golfers and golf instructors refer to shutting the clubface as "hooding." By shutting the clubface, we mean closing it to, among other things, counteract a slice or produce a hook. In this usage, the hooded club's toe is pointing inward relative to the target line, rather than being square at address (a righthander would rotate the club counterclockwise to hood it, in this definition). A club hooded according to this definition can also be used to dig out buried lies in sand bunkers.

In my case it has not been done to counter a slice, simply something my eye has not identified as how the clubface is facing. This is further affected by the other fault identified which was my feet are lined up correctly but I have been letting my shoulders line up to the left of the target. If you set up with your shoulders aimed left of the target, you'll tend to straighten up at impact and hit pulls or weak shots to the right. Another factor identified is that I am not clearing my left hip in strokes either.

On Sunday, made the changes to correct the ‘hooded’ club face and once set up turning my shoulders 2-3 cm to the right. The hip matter can be put aside for the minute. What was noted by the observers was that I strike the ball well and even on mishits the ball travels in a straight line, not sliced or hooked. This has always been my goal, ‘Hit the Ball straight’. My game is attuned to that tenet, to get the ball to the target in generally the shortest distance from the tee. That I could make changes to long term established faults yet were in truth minor tweaks in 24 hours successfully was not good luck. I have never allowed for a slice or a hook in my game. All my efforts in practise from coaching advice was always around the tenet of hitting the ball straight. When my slice was terrible with Drivers I used a 3 iron off the tee in the first season. Winning the club handicap championship and a few monthly medals and other competitions along the way.There are many golfers who when I started are now 10 strokes behind me in handicap. Some definitely because I see them still playing to allow for sliced shots instead of fixing the problem and hitting the ball straight. I can not coach and do not give advice, even when asked except for my stock standard reply. You have a problem or want to improve your golf game, get professional coaching.

There has been another change to my game which was very effective on Sunday and Saturday for that matter. The putting practise in the last two weeks and the correction to a traditional putting grip returned 28 putts and winning the competition on the day. The handle runs under the butt of my left hand and the back of my right is parallel to my left. Position both thumbs directly down the top of the handle and left forefinger lies across the fingers of my right hand to provide unity. It felt good the first time in practise and obviously works for me. A lot of practise coming up to get better with the 460cc driver, accuracy is a must to get the benefit of the 20-40 m longer drives.

All up the coming challenge at the Kingston SE Summer Open, Saturday 17th December, will be a good test to follow up from the past weekend of golf. I carried the camera with me at Naracoorte and put together the round of my playing partners and a good vista of the course to share. There is also a section on an extremely rare orchid on the course. Found by chance recently, when a golfer looking for another’s ball recalled seeing a description of the flower of which approx 200 now known to exist in the world. 50 of those were found at the Naracoorte Golf Course. Importantly the players ball was not found, a one stroke penalty was applied and another ball had to be played. Thankyou for your time and attention, “Hit ‘em straight all”

, Geoff