30/4/12 Monday Second qualifying round for the club Handicap Championship played out as well as could be expected. The result reflected the last few weeks of preparation with an 84 off the stick giving a nett 71 (32 putts) and establishing me in the top five at worst in the final sixteen players for the matchplay section. The fine weather on the day set up the charge for position in the finals and I was one of the four in the two weeks of qualifying who played to handicap or better.
Handicap Matchplay is a fun challenge, with the players handicaps coming into the scoring. Depending on the final table (once it is sorted who is competing due to availability), at this stage my opponent will be have seven strokes in their favour. All that means is that in the first seven holes on the matchplay index the opposing player has a one shot advantage. IE Opponents gets a Par I have to get a Birdie to halve the hole. Being in form and playing to handicap was the key to this years finals challenge for me. That has been established and it is time to move on to the next phase of the golf season.
I had been considering during 2011, to set up the 2012 golf season into a series of specific performance periods. The effort put into coaching and practise in the build up for Southern Ports from January to the beginning of March , was well directed but beyond my capability at that time. After the tournament this season I maintained the golf conditioning with playing competition golf on Saturdays and Sundays. Four months into 2012 it seems that I can undertake two month stanzas of golf conditioning, which entails rest, practise and playing, comfortably.
The structured approach to golfing is not a new thing for me, making a conscious decision to establish a schedule of club and tournament events and training together with a management plan is. That it has been in progress for eight weeks and already the first positive results have been delivered. While this will not win golf events, I do believe it increases the ability to win. Actions are what wins and there are many things that I am doing to make that happen. The mental side of the game for me I began to see a need to give this intangible facet of the game a solid form.
All of my energies in golf are directed at overcoming obstacles whether they be swing or grip mechanics, mental strategies, physical preparation or opponents in competition. The last one is the most important, as much as it could be termed that golf is a solo sport, each golfer is competing against a field of opponents. In the coming Matchplay events this is the spread of other handicaps I am up against, two on 6hcp, three on 11hcp, two on 13hcp, three on 15hcp, four on 20hcp and one on 30hcp. Five of these golfers had scores as good as or better than my qualifying score. I put very little stake in the personality of the opponent in matchplay, my approach to this is best described by a short version of a quote from Steven Bowditch;
“It all comes down to what you really want shoot.. ( your goal) once past that you have to use the great line.. F@ck it!!.... You have to want it and have to be prepared to crash… Do not ever let fear hold you back!!!”
My positive attitude to golfing is not one of blind ignorance to the various other facets of the game which have to be dealt with. At the minute I am playing well and have to improve by three to five strokes by the end of the season to be a chance in the club championships. This season has seen a return to the club of several low handicap golfers who are currently playing themselves into form. While they are doing that I am putting in the effort to have a game that can challenge them.
Today as has became the Monday exercise on the golf course, no range or green practise instead going for a nine hole walk, belting golf balls. Competition golf I play within my limits, minimum risk for maximum result works for me. I play with many golfers who load up and belt the ball and I do take notice of the good and bad shots. Mondays during the nine hole walk is the only time that I let rip off the tee, unconcerned about making bad shots as well as good ones. The bad shots mean I have to practice the recoveries from impossible lies. It also means I get to experience the two shots today that showed there is a big drive in my playbook. The best of these today had me with a forty metre second shot to the green after carrying 250 metres in the air. This practise is fun, that now has me with the information to take to the driving range and explore the 250 metre drive that is possible.
Thankyou for your time and attention all “Hit ‘em Straight”