24/12/11 Saturday. Doing nothing more than casual social nine hole rounds the past week has been enjoyable and refreshing. A modicum of a semi holiday from the golf course after being a greedy guts of late. Since the arm has improved and out making up for lost time was perhaps a little over done but still well worth the effort even if by the end I had nothing left in the tank. Having played myself out in two weeks it only took two days off the golf course to bounce back and be able to play 9 holes comfortably and efficiently again.
This is all part of developing the change in how I play a round of golf, no longer can a competition round be one of playing within myself for 2/3 rds of the holes then having a charge on the last 6 holes. Although my handicap of 12 still gives me strokes on 2/3rds of the holes it is now a matter of getting pars as the standard and setting up as many birdie chances as possible in a round. This is why the coming coaching sessions in January are important. It is vital that my game is now one of getting greens in regulation, which means drives on the fairway, not with recovery shots to get a clear shot at the green. Second shot accuracy for par 4 greens must be improved. Up and down if missing the green with the approach shot has to be perfected more. Last but not least, one putting has to become a regular feature, dropping birdie putts after GIR’s is a must.
Pushing myself to the limit is something that I avoid at all times with only one allowance, golfing. Excess is not a regular feature of my training or playing strategy. Since 2009 and the return to playing the game pushing my limit, has always been undertaken at varying intervals and for increasing durations. In the practise schedule that has worked for me in this time for improving the handicap and competing in championship or club open events, preparation has always included a burst of going marginally beyond comfortable physical limits.
Hindsight is 20/20 after the fact, relying upon hindsight has never been a consideration for my golfing. Certainly there has been moments of revelation from hindsight through the last 3 seasons. It would be disapointing to have not had those blessed unexpected insights which lift a persons motivation, knowledge and enjoyment of the game. In the main though my golf is calculated and works to a schedule, that importantly is flexible to deal with interruptions like injury. Be assured there is not a single successful golfer at the highest levels who can stand up and say that getting to their standard of play has been the result of an unexpected revelation. Look at the most effective advice given to golfers inquiring about what is needed to get better at the game or have a crack at professional qualifications. Practise, practice... is the mantra given by all as the mainstay of improvement.
This past week of casual 9 hole rounds has returned 41-43 round scores , easily getting the required 3-4 pars per round. Setting up 1-2 birdie putts in each nine was not difficult, going straight to the course with no warm up and still playing an adequate game was fun. The point was to be relaxed no competition pressure and the desire to enjoy golf had precedence over the result. There is no way I would go out in a competition round with this attitude. It works fine for fun but the winning edge is not honed with this mindset, in fact the edge is not even in play. How often have you had a great social round and then followed up with an attempt to use that relaxed mindset in a competition round? Only to not get the improved or even an equivelent round as before. Why? The ‘edge’ to go for a winning putt is not in balance with the casual carefree approach of play you are trying to emulate. There is for me definite aspects of the casual golf taken into competitive rounds. The two game styles are totally different, except that one is a good training routine for the other.
Thankyou for your time and attention, “Hit ‘em straight all” Geoff