Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The game is simple...

2/1/12 Monday The pre-Tournament training kicked off this morning with an 11 am coaching session. This year is coming up to 3 years of becoming a better informed golfer and improving the physical capability to play the game. It has been a continuing period of improvement in this time, moving from 36 to a 12 handicap. The game itself has grabbed me like many golfers and besides the enjoyment of playing the game there is the pleasure of being a student of golf. Even the dedicated atheist can become a religious fanatic of the game. The human mind is not limited to the pursuits of the other carbon based life forms on the planet. Thinking about more than eating and breeding for us can cause throbbing brain ache and golf is the perfect cure. Enough philosophy, lets get back to important golf stuff.

With a body that is a car crash, the physical improvement that has occurred since 2009 was brought home with resounding effect in yesterday’s coaching session. The original coach and the same practical coaching to establish the correct base for my golf game. There, a very simple summary, to encapsulate the simplicity of golf and that the onus is upon the player not some “Magical Secret”. In September 2011, taking lessons with another professional coach, he coached exactly the same things. I am certain that many golfers have had the same epiphany during the development of their game. For me there is no frustration that it has taken almost three years to be physically capable to be able to actually achieve the golf model the professionals have coached. Not to forget the voracious ‘student’ of the game in me which has read countless books now has the knowledge to understand the theory that was behind the coaching.

Having dropped 24 strokes using a golf swing and stance which has been gradually improving towards the proven correct style, now I am about to take a large leap to bridge the gap. There are two choices available, stay the same and fiddle with peripheral influences on the ball flight. Or make the change to the correct stance, removing the cause of the faults. People who have been regular readers of my golfing journey will be aware that since 2009 there has been several months being incapacitated. Recuperating from torn scar tissue. Doing more exercise than my body could sustain and not being able to do the basics, enduring the repair of my body again from doing simple things. The leap is not inspired by impatience, it is from the unquenchable desire to win.
3/1/12 Tuesday. Golfers have a fluency with words when talking about the game, this comes a distant second to the number one interest, Playing the Game. After yesterday’s coaching session there was no desire to get out and practise, the heat was part of the lack of interest on my part, I needed time to absorb the changes mentally and the body was feeling the strain from the new stance.
Today it was up at 4.30am into the days work and out on the golf course by 6am. Can’t beat living a 3 minute walk from the 7th fairway if you have a golfing obsession. With another coaching session at 11 am today on short game and putting, all I was out to do this morning was practise the correct stance while having a walk and a hit. After a good nights sleep the stiffness from yesterdays session was gone and I surprised myself how quickly easing into the changes happened. The achievements of the past 3 seasons established one crucial element to make the transition, I have a credible golf standard. Like a pyramid or any construction the base has to be there to build upon.
What the coaching session has done is change the base which my game was played from, the stance. With that came a consistent swing plane and the resulting hitting of the ball forward to the target with improved accuracy. This is not a small change, now I have a straight back, stand upright, shoulders back, head upright. Gone are the bent knees and bowed stance, shoulders curled forward with chin in my chest. After nine holes this morning the changes were noticable, the ball striking was effortless compared to previously with so many parts of my body working during a swing. I am sure the professional coaches can better describe what I term the “simplicity of straight lines” in this correct stance. Like a capital letter “I” that is my legs, at the top of that is a backslash “/” bending at the hips and pushing my backside out. My head is an orb “o” looking down at the ball with my eyes not burying the chin in my chest to do this.
Set up with the club behind the ball the backswing goes straight back, no longer bending the front knee in various directions. The hips rotate and once the club has reached it peak in the backswing, released forward through the swing. No longer cutting across the ball slicing or pulling to the left, hitting the ball crisply and sweet. Hitting the ball along the same trajectory with each club straight with a slight draw. Consistency with each shot has never been a regular part of my game, I could play shots well then for no reason I understood, suddenly slice or pull the ball with any club. Having removed the myriad of faults that are a result of having an inefficient stance is the benefit of persisting with coaching and practise. A golfer pivots on that front leg, bending that knee to varying degrees changes the entire swing tragectory. So a golfer makes automatic adjustments to counter the effect of the change. There you have a simple explanation of one way to destroy a swing and a golfer has lost control over where the ball is going.
I took the 400cc driver with me this morning it is easier to control, no other reason. The need for more distance has became a must in my game now that I am into A grade. The 200m drives have been no great problem previously, being on the fairway was important. but GIRs were not possible with any certainty with the former stance. The reliance on having an above average short game and putting was far too much for me to be able to maintain without blowouts when not on song. PGA players at the top are averaging 28-29 putts per round in a season, and these players are well above my standard. I need GIR’s to be reliable possibilities in rounds now, so accurate shots are a must some extra distance is needed also.
Today I got two glaringly obvious returns from the coaching, I could rely upon the ball to go on the same flight path. The surprise bonus was hitting the ball was so crisp and effortless, there was nothing else interfering with the swing as was happening previously. It seems to add power to the ball striking that was previously being taken to keep the club on target to just hit the ball. I am not saying it has added distance, a handful of driver hits is nowhere near enough to establish any statistic. There is a hint of more carry in the air though. The inspiration from this coaching session has been enormous. The carrot on the stick has been the instant results, it has me champing at the bit to get onto the practise fairways and hit balls to get in form for the Southern Ports Tournament in March. Thankyou for your time and attention, “Hit ‘em straight all.”

Thankyou for your time and attention, “Hit ‘em straight all”  Geoff