Monday, April 16, 2012

Back on the practice range...

16/4/12 Monday. First round of the John Leake Trophy was played in fine weather yesterday and scoring 37 stableford points was good enough to have me in 7th place. Trailing three pairs of golfers with 41, 39 and 38 points respectively. It was particularly enjoyable playing a round of golf that required me to draw on every bit of my ability to get a good score on the board. By the end of the day I was struggling physically to play my best, the last three holes were played with very little energy left in the body and mind for golf. Finishing with two bogies and a double bogie on the 18th hole, (there I missed a 10cm putt for bogie) just nothing left to drop an un-missable putt.

Started the round with a wipe on the 1st hole and finished with a wipe on the 18th, end result was scoring 18 points on the front nine and 19 points on the back nine. In a week of experimenting with drivers my practise on the range was maintained. The specific routine on the range was using a 6 and 9 irons alone, establishing a consistent swing and accurate pattern with the balls. The confirmation of this effective practice was five GIRs and birdie chances, only got one and that was satisfying. There was several near misses in shooting for the green and this was given further support with much improved chipping. Unfortunately the putting let me down, the frustrating regularity of the putting failure was the ball being online and stopping short of the hole. This is a combined execution/mental fault with the stroke and I have worked on it in practice. When I say the ball is short of the hole this is 5 cm or less, whilst a miss is the same result be it a metre or one centimetre, the fault in my case is very small.

Sitting here now I can visualise the putting on the day and the balls trickling into the hole or stopping short during the game. This is never the case when on the practice green which I put down to; as it is practice I putt aggressively at the hole without any fear. In the putting routine of ten ball sets 2-3 will be slightly short and the rest in the hole or past it. Yet on game day short putts are nearer the 60 % mark. There is no excuse for not improving this and more practise is the key to drop 3-4 shots off my scores. Two of the Birdie attempts were short and that was really irritating.

Today it was back on to the range the added challenge was taking the Titleist AP2, 6 and 9 irons, using them in rotation with the Bridgestone 6 and 9 irons that are in the bag. What was satisfying is that there is no real difference between the distance that the irons get no matter what the brand name. The Bridgestones are the better choice for my game at the minute. Especially as they have thicker grips and this is a very noticeable variation that affect my control on the balls flight. After hitting 50 balls it was enough for the session, still feeling a few stiff spots in my body at the time. Went out 4 hours later and hit 20 balls with the Mdd 380 cc Tour and the Dynacast 400cc Fastrax, drivers. I was a little erratic off the tee yesterday and while feeling okay decided a little session would be fine.

Had a mixture of shots off the tee on Sunday and while it was nothing too bad made the smart choice of using the #2 iron off the 11th, 12th and 13th tees, were missing the fairway is a disaster. All three shots were in the centre of the fairway with enough distance to make the holes winners for my score. The #2 iron was very handy on the day on several holes and the mid size cavity back is definitely assisting my game. In the range session the 400cc driver was the better consistently with accurate shots, distance was the same with either length wise. The Dynacast driver performed a lot better than it did with the original shaft. I am tending towards removing the shorter Taylor Made 370 driver shaft and getting a new stiff flex shaft for it. Nothing urgent but if there is another 10m available for me with a change to this driver it will be a bonus that cannot be ignored.

The coming weekend if the weather is fine with no rain, a carload of us are heading off at 6.30am to play in the Heywood 27 hole event on Sunday. It is also a qualifying round for the Handicap Championship at my home club on the same day. There is a second qualifying round the following weekend so there is no need to play both. Unless I dont make the cut, that would be my own fault for playing crap though.
Thankyou for your time and attention. “Hit ‘em straight all.”