Monday, January 28, 2013

Handicap breaking form continues...

28/1/13 Monday. Another weekend of playing two competition rounds, Kingston on Saturday and Robe on the Sunday. This weekend was significantly different in golfing approach on the Saturday. Choosing to experiment in a competition round with using the 56 degree wedge in my approach shots from 70-100 metres out from the green. This was brought about with a combination of harder greens and the need to drop and stop the ball as well as the recent distance improvement I am getting off the tee as well as with all clubs. I had practised during the week with the 56 degree wedge, which I carry for use in sand bunkers and for shots 25 to 30 m out from the green when not suitable for the pitching wedge. Was never comfortable with this club and duffed most of the long shots. Reverted to playing it as before from 30 metres in to the green for the time being. It is going to be a matter of practise to improve results with this wedge. It is possible to not practise with it of course. My choice though is to improve with it and have an extra selection available in my clubs. Day two was a head down and serious golf day as far as is acceptable for my summer rounds. The focus was still on having fun and that perhaps showed in the two double bogies during the last four holes. A few concentration lapses from being relaxed prevented a sub 80 score finished with a gross 82 and nett 69 to break my handicap easily enough. Several birdie putts just lipped out as did 3-4 par putts. None of which mattered, close enough is good enough when gauging the improvement at this early stage of pre season preparation. On the other side of the coin is that I hit the ball 240 metres plus on eight the par four and two of the par five holes and these shots were on the fairway. As well as green in regulation on the three par three holes. Accuracy is always the goal but now the distance is beginning to become regular change in my game. Hitting approach shots to the green from 125 metres or less on ten of the eighteen holes played was a significant advantage. I will add that I played in below avareage physical condition on both days as another guide to the significant improvement in my golfing capability of late. The improvement has been excerbated by an addition to my golf practise regime. The next month will be a defining period in the effectiveness of this recommended tool. Thankyou for your time and attention “Hit ‘em straight all” Geoff

Friday, January 25, 2013

25/1/13 Friday As I do every year this time is spent training and practising for the coming season. 2013 is markedly different with an increased fitness training program that is definitely adding more improvement to my golfing. In addition I have imported a training aid that is designed to improve golfing as well. At this stage after 3 days this is definitely having an effect. Third day with the Dream Swing training equipment. Definite improvement in ease and comfort while using the equipment. Considering the noticeable changes the Dream Swing design is perfectly created to suit any golfer who is serious about improvement. As was proven the day before with hitting the ball on the range a marked increase in club-head speed and ease of swing. At the minute this improvement is coming at a time when I had intensified training and practising in my annual season preparation. To be playing well at the minute and then notice a marked improvement in several aspects of my golfing is no mean feat. The coming weekend of golf competitions on Saturday and Sunday are going to be challenging. Having to adjust to significant game changes and still play consistent and competitive golf at the same time. This is where my attitude of "playing for fun' during this period shows it's benefit. I enjoy playing well and winning, at this time of the year though the focus is on having fun. Enjoying my game improvements in a thrill. Even when it is a challenge to play consistently while adjusting to the effects of the training is why there is no tantrums in my golf. Thankyou for your time and attention. "Hit 'em straight all" Geoff

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fitness means better golf...

22/1/13 Tuesday. A very successful weekend of golfing on Saturday and Sunday again. The fitness training is delivering obvious benefits in tandem with practise. In this my second set of rounds for 2013 after the week before I broke my handicap on Saturday with a 38 stableford point round and backed up on the Sunday with a 36 Stableford point round. These results have got my playing handicap down one stroke to twelve. In the coming weeks I will be adding a new facet to my training which is expected to drop several strokes off my handicap and establish a solid single digit playing handicap. All of the recent improvement shown by the competition results has come from the improved fitness and weight loss. This is not an instant change and the dieting started in August 2012 the fitness training was gradually introduced in December. A daily routine since January 1st, 2013 using strand pulling (chest expander equipment) exercise routines and swimming. My golf practise has not increased or changed from the past 3 years in terms of action and time spent. Whilst this with coaching has definitely developed golf skills, it is the fitness that has made the execution much better on the course. As regular readers will be aware my game has never been a long one due to health and physical condition. Hence my total focus has always been on establishing a proven correct swing technique to make the ball go forward as well as it is possible for me to do so. No prizes for guessing who won the Long Drive competition on the Sunday, it was me. Once again I had a great game off the tee and noticeably consistently much longer. This was also happening with the rest of my clubs and did cause some difficulty with club selection. My game attitude is one of having fun more so than usual at the minute. Taking the opinion that as I am hitting the ball much better than 2-3 months ago, so what if this is causing problems. I had never imagined that hitting the golf ball like I am now, could feel so good! Golfing feels so fresh and new to me every week and these days I hit many shots that are so sweet, it is sensational. Sunday I tied in second place in the A Grade at Kingston SE. Playing for fun is the focus but the success in the competition is still an important motivation behind the enjoyment. There is a consistent fault in my game at the minute and this is exacerbated as a result of the improved fitness. In all of my past two weekend rounds (four) I have belted putts way past the hole. It is in part a misread of the green speed at the time. The major cause is that my strength has significantly improved and these misreads end up with the ball going four to five metres too far. In my reading of other golfers game diaries and many observations on the analysis of our golfing rarely is fitness given as much attention as swing plane or grip, stance etc. My Golf Diaries were not much different. Physical condition was a regular subject in mine, as I have permanent injuries which affect my game so they would get attention. Mostly because of the limitations placed on my ability to swing a club correctly. Fortunately awareness of injury as a regular facet of my life, does make me look at improving the condition, just as I have my golf swing. Rory McIlroy has made significant changes in his physical training and Tiger Woods was always noted for it. There are many lesser contemporary golfers who have done the same as well and this is something that many club golfers have ignored as a way to significantly improve their golf. I fully expect this fitness program I am now doing in tandem with the new golf training system starting in coming weeks to be the cause of a three to eight stroke drop in my playing handicap. Thankyou for your time and attention “Hit ‘em straight all” Geoff

Monday, January 14, 2013

Two competition rounds in two days...

13/1/13 Sunday Hack and Slash attempt. It was a lot of fun and this morning I was feeling the effects of playing 36 holes in two days. Not as much as last night when it as lights out at 9.30pm after going to sleep in the lounge chair well before that. It was harder work on the course yesterday with a strong breeze steady all day and gusting during up several knots during the round. A stroke round so every shot counted and I had a lot more than expected. At the end ofthe day though only three more than Saturday with a 91 Gross for a nett 78 with 31 putts. Now for the good news I continued with the hit the tee shots flat out again instead of reigning in the effort to compensate my current lack of match practise. There was plenty of energy left in the tank thanks to the current fitness program. Two rounds in two days after my last competition hit out on the 23rd there had to be a reckoning. The tally of extra shots and penalties began with an out of bounds on the first hole, lost ball on the fourth, ball bounced up into a tree on the fifth for a penalty drop, lost ball on the 12th. 4 penalty strokes added to the score together with having to play three shots as chip outs onto the fairway from under trees on the 13th,17th and 18th holes for a total of 7 extra strokes from inaccurate tee shots. No happy dance at the end of the day with the final tally. I was satisfied with all of my putting except for a three put on the sixteenth. The putting comp on the day was won with 28 and I had 31 not far off the pace. Short game was also a much improved display. Using the 56 degree wedge and pitching wedge at various times doing lob shots and chip and run all with reasonable results. Golf is good when you can get out on a day like yesterday and take the challenge up without recent match play and relying on practise alone. Thankyou for your time and attention. Geoff

Saturday, January 12, 2013

First competition round for 2013...

12/1/13 Saturday. The desire to play a competition round was soothed today by doing exactly that. Took the trip to Kingston and finished the round at -3 in the Par event. 88 off the stick with 29 putts. The first time in seven rounds I have had less than 30 putts so the practise was a benefit on the greens to begin. Was grouped with two single digit golfers and another on 13 as I am. The three of them are noted long hitters off the tee so my new found driver ability was going to be tested as well. My approach to Par rounds is very different to other competitions, it is one of having fun and going for the gold. No holding back and attacking at all times to try and get + scores on holes. It is a game that I have chosen to accept the challenge and not hold back in going for the wins. This can lead to blow out rounds of course and I am willing to lose when throwing everything at a game to get a result. Off the tee was a revelation in the improvement of this facet of my game. Dear readers I not only matched the big hitters I was longer at times. This alone was worth the day spent on the course. My accuracy faltered at times and even that was not even a concern. Fact is I have never stood up on the tee block in a competition round and on every par four and five hole swung flat out 100% every time. This was all down to the improved fitness and testament was on the final hole a par five into the wind. The tee shot was straight down the centre 230-240m and there was more in the tank and I used it well with the next shot. The putting and short game as well was improved in many aspects. This is early days in 2013 and the round today has been very satisfactory in relation to the practise and training that has been put in. Thankyou for your time and attention "Hit 'em straight all" Geoff

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Hit the Fairways it helps....

9/1/13 Wednesday. After the social hit yesterday stretched out on the couch some time was spent considering the the results and events in the round. For nine holes there were four pars and they all were from greens in regulation on 2 x Par 4's and 2 x Par 3's. Being a social round I was not holding back off the tee and on two par 4 holes in particular I took the short cut across the dogleg. Both times I hit the first ball into the bush. The second balls were all placed perfect, over the dogleg and 50 metres closer to the green than my competition round shot. There was a definite unease when playing the first of the unusual shot choices. Did not set myself up correctly on the tee block etc. only small faults but enough to get off target. The correction and ease of the second shot and accuracy proved the point that my mind not ability is the reason for the fault. For the record both times I hit the greens in regulation from the second ball played. From this it could be said that I managed to par 6 holes. Bogies on the remaining 3 holes in this social round and it is obvious why I was satisfied with the first hit in 2013. The matter which had me still revising this round last night was the importance of hitting the fairway, better described perhaps as accuracy off the tee in my challenge for a single figure handicap this season. Browsing the iseekgolf forum came across another a thread which asked the question of single figure handicappers on what mattered. Five replies included hitting the fairway/accuracy off the tee. This refreshed my mind on the topic. After putting so much effort into coaching, short game practise technique development I realised that all of this has worked well. Yet I rarely practise with the Driver! The big stick has had specific problems in its use by me. Originating from the ever present mva injuries it is only recently that I have been able to take a full swing. This is still such a thrill after 20 years I have to admit even crap shots feel good and I enjoy just being able to do it. Having to now learn how to hit the ball off the tee with a full unrestricted swing is a big step. It is as if I have two game styles, the #3 to putter clubs are all played as a 13 handicapper, the Driver is played as a 27 handicapper. I cannot allow this disparity to continue, it is only an overnight realisation so the first step has been made.It is going to be odd to be out on the range hitting a lot of driver shots in the following weeks. I will have to make a conscious effort to do this and clear my mind of the previous favouritism. Thankyou for your time and attention, “Hit ‘em straight all” Geoff

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

A Social round for fun...

8/1/13 Tuesday Heading out for a social 9 holes this morning. The golfing is going to be secondary to having the walk and hit. This is not a bout of madness on my part this is exactly how I am approaching January. Apart from range practise there is no intention to be out playing competition rounds. At the minute this is refreshing mentally and is allowing me to concentrate on improving my technique and mental state of playing the game.

The other reason is that January is dedicated to the fitness program I am doing. For the past year I have been doing strand pulling (Chest expander equipment) to develop stamina in my upper body. This has never been a specific workout routine until now. This year in an attempt to avoid the regular end of season collapse that has been afflicting my golf for the past three years I have a plan. Doing specific exercises with the strand equipment took some time to develop. I had to do a lot o researching to cobble together a full body program. Using weight is beyond me for some reason now days. This is a gravity based exercise, unlike strand pulling and I have ended up with niggling injuries using weight in th last few years.

Legs, back, stomach, shoulders arms all exercised in unison to have a balance core strength and body. The back was a particular target as this is where most of my problems arise due to m.v.a. injuries.So far a week into doing the program the improvement is noticeable.  Hence I am looking forward to seeing what happens when I try and put a ball in the hole during a round of golf.
There has been one particular surprise revealed in this exercise program. My legs are totally out of kilter comparing their strength and flexibility. This would account for some of my imbalance and lack of consistency in golfing. It is a gradual fitness routine based upon regular set workout routines and it has became comfortable and easy already after a week to complete.
Thankyou for your time and attention, “Hit ‘em straight all”

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Footyhead's 2013 New Year Welcome...

The 2013 season is a few months away and it is good as always to be a Carlton Fan looking forward to the next series of games to play. Changes in the team as well as the coaching staff will have us all expecting results that are improved on recent seasons. Brett Ratten has left a team that is competitive and competent and Mick Malthouse has stepped in to graft his football method into Carlton. This is not just about the playing group it is about the whole club and it is not going to be easy either.


All Footyhead wants is to be able to see the Blues playing in the finals series and having a crack at the premiership title. Top of the dung heap and crowing over every other team at the end of a season with a Premiership Cup is what footy is about. Go You Blues!!!

Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2013 - going for a single digit handicap...

Tuesday 1.1.2013 Sitting here at the minute and it still seems like yesterday I returned to playing golf seriously again. In fact it was in 2009 that I picked up the clubs and started again. Four fun filled golf seasons have passed and it has been exactly that a lot of fun. As a matter of fact it has also been a very intellectually stimulating experience so far and that is something which makes it possible for me to get more from the game than just sporting, social and competitive activity.
The game has changed a lot since when I began playing during the late 1980's. Equipment is far more diverse and there is something to suit every individual golfer it seems. I still recall going to get a new set and being totally bemused by the array of club styles available. Today I have been through the gamut of cavity back styles, old and new blades, shaft varieties and then there are the various balls which come into the equation. To be playing with a full set of hybrids which suit my golfing progress and the specific needs that influence my golfing game now was not easily arrived at. The journey though was a bucket load of fun.
My final range session was using the #5 Hybrid and the accuracy, ease of hitting the ball and the results came from the combination of equipment and coaching that established a decent swing at last.

In 2012 I pushed my self to the limit of endurance. Starting with the goal of getting to a single digit handicap it became obvious that this was too big of a hurdle for my ability early in the season  to achieve. This is where the awareness of what golf involves that has been learnt from online interaction showed its worth. Coaching became the total focus of my season and working on what was taught. Whilst more attention could have been paid to playing the game to win I did well enough in the first half of the year to win two club season trophies. That satisfied my ego.
Letting me become absorbed in the process of getting a decent swing to hit the ball right down pat. It was the effort that went into improving my fitness that made this possible. Losing 8 kilograms was a big help. Not to forget that I also stopped smoking two years ago as well as gradually beginning a new exercise program specifically to assist my golf.

Something that I became aware of in my golfing adventure has been my physical shortcomings. It is very easy to make excuses for not changing how you go about doing many things. Simply because change to a routine is always an unsettling venture for people who generally are creatures of habit. Peoples reaction to natural weather events have me in stitches at times when there is a hue and cry about all of the disruption that happens. Good grief 50 years ago people seemed to be a lot more reliant when the power went off yet now there is almost a need to have a public execution to satisfy the people whose usual day has been disrupted!

Back onto the topic again the previous body training methods used specifically weights were particularly unsuited. This time I chose cable/strand pulling exercises a simple piece of equipment that can be packed and travel with me. In the last two months of 2012 I began regularly using it to do some basic conditioning. In the meantime researching the various exercise sets and which parts of the body they affect. The method is as usual to document the progress starting from today and have a record of the ineffectiveness of my program.
My goal is to develop stamina and the strength to be able to make the same swing every time without tiredness affecting execution. Targeting specific body areas again in the search to improve my damaged bits. As usual I cannot help myself in the quest to get better. Once again I am doing what I have sworn to stop doing, this time though I am not trying to break the restrictions. The point of recording the progress is to be able to see the first sign of discomfort in front of me and stop straight away instead of continuing.
Have a great 2013, thankyou for your time and attention, "Hit 'em straight all"