12/3/12 Monday. It is great to be this early in the golf season to come and be already able to review the results of the coaching and practice since January with optimism. This seasons coming experience, even with the knowledge picked up in the past three years, is going to test my ability to the limit. Now in the “A” Grade, at the back end of the handicaps there is no room to put faith into luck getting me to a competitive standard. My initial target of having a crack at the Nett Handicap sections of the various open events that will be played in during 2012 is going to take every bit of knowledge picked up in the past three seasons.
This weekends Naracoorte Open has been particularly beneficial, following on from the recent Southern Ports Tournament. This time two consecutive days of competition golf at a course which when played last year exposed all of the shortcomings of my golf at that stage. The inconsistent driving off the tee, fairway shots that were erratic and poorly thought out strategically, short game chipping that was woefully under prepared and putting that was in the same condition. These faults previously were not major concerns when playing through the handicaps on the way down to my current level. Once the handicap is 15 or less the consistency of a golfers game is vital to improving. Whilst I could play myself into a state of good form and get a score comparable to a 10-11 handicap, the following week that could blow out to a 20 handicap level.
It may seem odd to readers that for me it has been a matter of not knowing what was my golfing capability, whilst playing for 3 years. This was never possible until recently when during the last three months coaching sessions established a setup, swing and stance that is reliable and effective with all clubs. The result is that no longer creating different circumstances with irregular stance and setup positions, every shot now has the same swing and power/energy delivered to the ball. All that is different is the club used and that is what creates the desired effect to get the ball to the target.
Following the round on Saturday, it was a golfer with a purpose and confidence that returned the following day. With a front nine score of 43 with 16 putts it was the best round I have had at Naracoorte. The second nine was a failure, not getting a par until the 18th hole finishing with 47 strokes and 18 putts. That was the final confirmation that the flat stick is a major failing in my hands. This was realised early in the round and after that I just played on enjoying the good shots played off the tee, from fairways and chipping to the pin. That I could not get the putts into the hole with consistency did not affect the round. I just kept on playing as well as possible satisfied in the knowledge that after the round I knew what was needed to improve.
There was no despair and nothing but happiness through out the round on my part, the group all enjoyed the company and the banter. Golf is fun, I did not even consider trying to change anything during the round to improve putting results. That is what practise and coaching sessions are for. That the issue is in part to do with confidence and needing to improve my chipping as well as putting practise, playing the round still gave me my best return on the course. A year after the first destructive experience on the Naracoorte course, my game is much improved because of that. That I was up at 5am each morning and worked until 6.30am before leaving on the 120km drive to Naracoorte perhaps added a little to the result. Nothing of consequence in my opinion though, if anything this added mental motivation that countered the physical effect.
Hence I am really looking forward to the coming season and the practise on the putting green while tuning up my mind to be a confident putter. Thankyou for your time and attention. “Hit ‘em straight all”