18/6/12 Monday. Yesterday on a day that the score really mattered I broke 80 for the first time in competition. The score that returned the result for a Monthly Medal win and defending the Caledonian Inn Trophy for a third consecutive win was 78 Gross for a 65 Nett with 26 putts. The practice for the past month has been directed towards putting in a good effort in defence of the title on my part. Before the days play a score of 71 nett was the maximum score I could have to possibly defend the title. After the days play a 69 nett was the maximum that would have won for me.
Considering that the first five holes were played in steady rain on a course that had been soaked for the week prior it was not a day of golfing in premium conditions. Fortunately the prevailing weather condition of the coastal winds on the home track was not at it’s howling gale strength and was manageable. Once again it was not one thing that coaxed the best golf out onto the scorecard either. The preparation over the past months has been following my usual tournament preparation program.
There are no swing, grip or stance adjustments in the game plan, that is the foundation of my golf and has been established by sticking to the coaching direction given by professionals in January this season. Regular practice that makes playing each shot the same as the last one as often as possible is all that matters. The only difference being the clubs used. There was one thing alone that did give my last two rounds the booster that resulted in this landmark score.
As readers would be well aware of my golf philosophy puts hitting the ball accurately before distance. There are some at my own club and I am sure readers as well who have been bemused by my choice of smaller drivers that limit the distance achievable off the tee. There has been no wavering on my part as the need to be accurate with the smaller drivers combines with the need to be consistent with good second shots to score well. That has never meant that I would not return to using a lager driver off the tee and I have been researching various club options to purchase for some time now.
On Friday my purchase choice arrived, several days earlier than expected, which required a hurried change of practise plans to get used to the new piece of equipment. The driver chosen is a Cleveland TL310 Driver 440cc clubhead size. After a twenty ball hit on the range on Friday it was off to the club and a social nine holes in the afternoon chicken run for a 17 point score. The new driver worked well in my hands and the improved distance was already apparent. I had realised over the last couple of months that I had to get another 10-15 metres off the tee and the smaller drivers max out at 220m in the heavier winter conditions. The Cleveland driver immediately delivered that distance even on mishits.
Hence Saturday morning after a 30 ball session on the practise fairway I decided on a trip to Kingston to play in their competition. The nearby course is a little more open to recovery with wayward shots off the tee. It has always been a favoured choice of mine when looking to fine tune my game. Greens are usually faster than the home track and the doglegs make it a course which rewards attacking stroke play, if you have the ability. Got myself around in good order finishing with an 87 gross/74 nett with 35 putts. Importantly the driver was given a thorough work out in a competition and I handled it well. What was especially noticed was the improvement in the set up for second shots on par 4 and 5 holes. The added distance off the tee immediately had a beneficial effect in my golf game.
The improved accuracy in approach shots on Sunday that came from using the shorter irons had a lot to do with the low tally of 26 putts on the day. Instead of getting greens in regulation I had several shots the at were on the fringe of the green and the third shot with the wedge or putter were up and down plays. My satisfaction at getting this score after three seasons of improving gradually is fantastic. There has been times when I was faltering mentally in my attempt to get to a ten handicap and have a crack at a single figure number. Recent scores have not given any hint when this landmark score was going to occur only that it was possible. I did it with ease not scrambling to the tally with a last gasp effort.
Next weekend is the Keith Open Tournament on the 23rd and 24th of June an course I have only played a couple of times and it is back to a new start for another week..
The moment has past and is now consigned to history as a perpetual figure of proof to what I can do in a game of golf. Which brings me to the things that almost happened on the day and that the score does not show. The game was played with no penalties and with a couple of scrambled shots to get on the fairway very few errors in conditions that were not easy to play in. There were three putts that literally stopped a roll of the ball from dropping dear readers. Yes, I have played to a six handicap in a stroke round, it was very nearly a three handicap round! Thankyou for your time and attention, “Hit ‘em straight all”