3/3/12 Saturday. The last round of the tournament had my game come together at last. With an 82 Gross for a 69 Nett and 28 Putts and tied for best Nett on the day, losing on a countback to the tournament winner of the A Grade Nett competition. Hopefully that is not a sign of the season to come, the winner was our current club champion who had my measure and then some in the playoff last season.
This afternoon I have been out and played another nine holes to stretch my legs and enjoy the return to form after the week of golf. It has been some time since it has been possible to play 18 holes several times in a week. Back in 2009 that was one of the features of my regular practise and I believe successful results. Alternating between 9 and 18 holes a day 4-5 days a week. That was realised as something which was lacking in my practise several months ago. It has not been possible to return to that with increased commitments off the golf course.
Being totally absorbed in the competition the past week released the influence of outside distractions on my vision of golfing. In the past two years I have been at my best form during the tournament and played very well in getting 2nd place. This time the task was beyond me with the move into A grade and the higher quality of opponents. The experience has been invaluable and hopefully I will be able to have another crack at the title in 2013. Todays round was testament that my form has returned and the past three months of coaching improvements have established themselves. The longer drives, also longer irons with accuracy now making Greens In Regulation an expected game facet. Short game and putting can always be improved in regard to my ability for a lot more time yet.
On Thursday while practising I had an epiphany whilst hitting balls on the range deep into the ‘mental golf zone’. Nothing new to many golfers I am sure, for me though it was the culmination of the past three months of coaching, playing and practising. “My body and the club are a single unit creating the power to strike the ball and send it to the chosen target.” Having practised for so long to establish the stance, and swing from the coaching it has now became automatic. My mind is no longer having to consciously oversee what was happening during a swing. Now it is free to see the ball, feeling the club head on its path of sending it to the target. while my body provides the power. That is the only thought in my mind while playing any shot with a driver, iron or putter.
After the first two rounds the professional coach brought up the topic of my mental state. Citing an example of his early days and playing in a state tournament at a course which he had been successful on many times. Yet in these games he failed, alluding to the fact that he was focussing on a ‘figure’ to be scored and this did not have a positive effect on his game. In analysing this, I first thought did I get ‘stage fright’? No I did not, and that was not what the coach was trying to impart on me. I was confident in having a crack and was aware that it was a big ask to be successful with my standard of golf.
After two competition rounds of erratic golf the third was a smooth as silk. I was 100% immersed in the moment while playing shots and still managed to be sociable. Definitely a detached person from the group at times, which I kept in check by walking by myself for fifty or so metres on each hole. Then being convivial and chatting as per usual on the tee, green or between shots. This state of mind was not in the slightest bit emotive, a pure golfing experience with plenty of laughs and fun hitting the ball with a group of other golfers. Which is why after the round in an ego-less analysis of the score I found 7 to 9 shots that were total cock ups in the round. These were the result of brain fades and that is why I am on a 13 handicap. Now that the club professional has brought up the mental side of the game to me I can now work on improving this side of my game and continue the journey to the single figure mark.
Next weekend is the two day Naracoorte Summer Open and I will be returning this year to the course that severely opened up my games short comings in 2011. The current Club Champion is returning as well as we both had a visit last year and failed. Interestingly both of us have began the year with improved games and definitely new outlooks on golf and what we want from playing the game. With a week of travelling coming up for me I will play the home club competition Sunday. Have a social round lined up for Tuesday and will be satisfied with a session at the Drummond Golf Range on Thursday. That should keep my form constant and in fine fettle for the Naracoorte event on the weekend.
Thankyou for your time and attention, “Hit ‘em Straight all.