Thursday, November 19, 2015

BAck on the winners list...

Last weekend was the first serious golf round I have played since starting the gym training and I won the Stroke round competition on the day with a nett 66 (78 0ff the stick) It was a very trying day on the course with a strong wind. It has been a period of moderation for my golfing since playing the championship series. Not through lack of desire, more so using the knowledge of the past five seasons. Knowing that my body needs a rest from the effort put into competition since February, it was time to play and practise less. The new Championship Trophy has joined the family, 2009 and back to back 2014 and 2015.
There has not been a lessening of effort, with now having spent four week in the gym beginning a specific golf orientated training routine for the next 12 months.This has been a gradual realisation of being able to do this. The past two years especially have had more fitness activity included as part of my golf practise. Remarkable to feel the effects of four weeks of light gym work influence my game so effectively. The wind is a major aspect of my home track. The training over the past seasons has not been about increasing strength, it has been to improve my stamina to be able to hit the ball consistently and not play bad strokes through tiredness. In two weeks is our club open and I am looking forward to one more hurrah for the year of golfing. Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff

Monday, September 28, 2015

Back to back Handicap Championship defence...

Golfing is at a very comfortable level for me at the minute.This weekend I won the Handicap Championship semi final and that has me through to the final play-off for the championship in a couple of weeks. It is a repeat of last season with the same opponent except his handicap is a lot less that a year ago. To win on Sunday had me play at my best capability to win 2 up with 1 to play after giving 16 strokes to the opponent. Scoring a 77 off the stick and playing to an 8 handicap which is my best score reached a few times in the past season. Very satisfied with the win and that I can play to an 8 handicap every 4-6 weeks. The improvement in my game is supported with fitness. Currently 3 kg in weight lost and another 5 kg to go at the minute. There are still moments of frustration that pass as always. The continued effort to improve at golf is a major benefit to my life in general. There is no way I could maintain the motivation for fitness and improving my physical being with out the outlet of playing golf. Thank you for your time and attention Geoff

Monday, September 14, 2015

Winning score and long drives at last...

The recent break has refreshed my golf on both physical and mental levels. The improved weather has been a major assistance in playing better also. the last weeks I played it was a battle against the elements, then the effort needed to hit the ball being added.
The weekend past almost by accident without any dedicated decision to make it happen another improvement settled into my game. Every now and then I would take a full back-swing in practise and never in any serious mind set to add to my golf. This was a definite no go area for me mentally and physically to ensure no more damage or pain added to long term injury. My ongoing conversation about training and improving fitness revolves around improving my health from an accident many years ago. The golf is an added bonus which benefits from the effort and is also a sensational benchmark. It has been obvious for some time that my flexibility, movement and strength in all the right places has been improved. During Saturday's round I was hitting the ball well, having fun and enjoying the fine weather. As the day progressed it became obvious that my drives were only 2-3 metres behind one of the big hitting playing partners. Whilst it was noticed my mind was on the game being played and not one aspect. Until the last hole a par 5 and we were desperate for units. I deliberately got up to hit a bomb on the tee. Which I did, still not good enough to win the unit, the big hitting was noticed by the rest of the group and that was the reason I took particular note of it. Sunday's round I did set out with the full knowledge that on the tee I was going to be taking the bigger back swing all day. Even now it is a surprise that is sinking in that I did it all day with accuracy and consistent long distance. What really hit home was how easy it felt, effortless in fact. The ball just flew so much further with out any noticeable addition on my behalf. To be able to espouse satisfaction and enjoyment at the observation of a game improvement is one thing. To have played and won on the day is what give it credence.I relied upon my ability on the day to play consistent and winning golf. Thank you for your time and attention Geoff

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Good scores and good fitness go hand in hand

Have been off the golf course for the past few weeks and refreshing my fitness in fact. I believe that golf is a game that does suit people who are not athletes 100%. In my own situation every time I improve my fitness my golf improves s well. Since returning to the game in 2009 my fitness has probably improved 100% plus. I still have limitations from injuries and that is part of the motivation to improve physically. Without doubt that has happened because of golf that is from my GP and the physical therapists I use to keep in tune. Footy fitness would be terrific in my case to achieve but I could not do that level of training without various part breaking down. At the minute I am in reasonable condition. Played the first 18 hole comp. round in a fortnight and finished with 80 gross and square in a par round. Physically I was tiring towards the end though and that cost me a better score. A few weeks ago I realised that it was time to stop. Was loving playing golf bu could not maintain the effort consistently. Surprisingly after a few Chiro and Bowen treatments the cause was one that had been a goal for some years. I have improved myself physically in movement and flexibility to the stage that I am now able to move and use bits that have been stagnant for 20 odd years. In the competition round Sunday my drives were all on the 220 metre mark and yes there were a couple even longer. That 220m is usually my maximum, not my average and was done effortlessly. The freedom of being able to swing and my hips move through the shot has added the distance to all clubs, WOW is still the reaction to the drives. Now that I am back playing it is the less is more program again. Play a couple of 9 hole rounds and one 18 hole round each week will be the plan or this settling in period. Back on the diet plan as well with 1.5kg dropped in the past 2 weeks so far. Walking 40 minutes every morning except golf days. At this stage last season, I was barely functioning with so many sore bits. This year even though I needed to have a two week break I am travelling 80% better. Working on my fitness is the key combined with the weight loss is the foundation for season 2016 already begun. In 2014 I was so broken down that I could not pick up a golf club from November to February. That will not be the case this year and I am going to be very cautious and stick to my tried and proven plan that has developed in the past six years. Reason is that I have crept out to 10,9 hcp in the past two months after getting to 9.8. The only ambition for the rest of the season is to consolidate the single digit handicap. Thankyou for your time and attention Geoff

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Fitter, stronger, better...

The past fortnights and more of golfing have been fun yet the scores terrible and rounds tiring. A combination of winter weather, adjusting to the new swing and fitness were the cause. Not a single moment of not enjoying being out in the weather, a times a struggle to stay upright in the winds. My game could not maintain consistency in these conditions. That was accepted by me very quickly and I still got out and kept playing as this is the only way to adjust to the changes. Importantly the fitness issue was identified early by myself and in the past two weeks that has countered a lot of the issue with struggling to play with the changed swing. Never would I have expected to make a note of my game in the same light as Tiger Woods. yet today I am. In the past week I came across an article on Tigers game and his swing changes. My changes began a few months ago and still I am struggling to play consistently and not fall back to the previous less effective and efficient swing. There are regular moments of erratic golf which astound me in past weeks while playing. Hitting several irons consistently and well and then hitting the same club so well it flies another 20 metres over a green. This eats away at confidence and has been a major influence on recent very poor scores. Again the weather has made it difficult to get out on the course practise area and hit balls and that has contributed a lot to the struggle. Then the fitness, it is not one thing which makes playing golf entertaining, and engrossing. The regular walking each morning had been a good thing, the omission of my regular strengthening exercises was not even noted. Until I started doing them again and the difference in my game play was literally immediate. Straight away my chipping returned to the previous accurate effectiveness around the green. The consistency with the full swing also had an immediate improvement. Doing strength building exercises makes it possible for my arms and body to maintain the new movement and body actions. Thankyou for your time and attention Geoff

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Winter golf tough conditions, good for your golf...

The grand total of 24 points had me in 4th place. Only 8 ofthe 18 in the field finished the day Lightning it was on the tough side of hard, well worth the effort. A crap score in tough conditions and all I got out of the round was bonuses. The swing settled into the improved groove from the past weeks practise. Putter was on target and the ball went in the hole as I wanted. The game problem was once again not used to playing confidently with the improve capability. It feels strange to be saying this, it has been the problem that has been apparent for several weeks. Usually I pick up a golfing game point and work on it. This is a mental matter though and takes a lot more attention. All it causes is me 'pulling' shots. Not hitting through the ball and finishing the swing correctly. Incredibly irritating on game days as I lack the concentration coherence to do this well at the minute. Time is not the issue and for many there is that self imposed need to get results fast. My approach is not down that path. All that is needed is getting the result right an that takes patience. Today there is more clarity and a better capability to not make the same amount of the same error in the competition this afternoon. Thankyou for your time and attention Geoff

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Attacking golf, a change in play...

The changes to my golfing are still in motion and getting nearer to settled. It has been a good weekend of rounds following the unsettled frustration on the previous fortnight. Briefly as reader of my posts are aware my game has been based on playing to handicap for the first 15 holes and depending on my game state at that point either go for a sub par round or play to par at best. Long established and effective in scoring well for several seasons this has now been targeted for change. One of my golfing foundations is that the game pays for itself, either through winning vouchers or balls etc. in competitions or major club trophy events. This has been lessening over the past two seasons, still wining major club seasonal trophies, which are good for a couple of hundred dollars in vouchers. The weekly voucher wins though have significantly reduced. Winning more second and third placing than firsts now, simply because I do not get those massive 4 to 5 under handicap scores as my playing handicap has lowered. Whilst this has not been a big influence on my game and enjoyment of golf there is an awareness of the scarcity of wins. With the current availability of amateur golf , 'back yourself to win' options I have decided to add this to my golf spend. This is no spur of the moment decision, already well aware of how much in front I would be if this had been started in March 2015. It has taken until now to get more important golf aspects settled without adding a distraction. Instead I can now incorporate this to my game as a reward for the effort put in. Simply every competition I play is now valued added for myself. There is another more active reasoning behind this also. I need to have an incentive to make me follow the new game that is settling into place. Fact is my golf has never been particularly attacking ectept for putting. Generally it is hit the ball forward sometimes get a green in regulation, My GIR 28.36% B Grade 31.37% PGA 64.70% Mostly chip then try for 1 putt up and down pars. Hence my daily 50 chip 50 putt practise session. The past fortnight has seen the addition to this of 100 (minimum) long iron shots #5,6,7,8,9,PW each day to targets fro 100 to 150 metres to the range. I am never going to get the goal and hold it unless I add a minimum of 20% more to my Greens in Regulation average. Adding $20 per round to my weekly competition spend which gives a minimum of $80 in vouchers if playing less than my handicap is well worth the price. The prize is the bonus which makes putting n all the effort worthwhile. It is an incentive to play my best golf all the time and make changes to improve performance. Thankyou for your time and attention Geoff

Monday, June 29, 2015

Winning round and back on target...

Satisfaction, justification, and flaming exhaustion all the good things which came from winning yesterdays club competition and playing to the new handicap for the first time since reaching it two weeks ago. Now sitting on GA 9.6 down .3 from Saturday, with a couple of weeks of hard dedicated effort in training, practise and competition to come and consolidate the number. There was one particular aspect of note from yesterdays result, my fitness is well off the required level needed to achieve my goals for this season. At the half way mark of 2015 and my handicap has dropped from GA 11.1 (Playing handicap 12) since January 4th which considering the injury affected playing condition until mid February is a fair effort. It is only now that I can practise 5 days a weeks and do it in comfort and no risk of a regression. What is noticed in the past 20 results is the regularity of breaking 80 has gone from once a year to every two to four weeks. In the past six weeks four sub 80 gross scores. The good scoring is from consistent golfing capability, not once every now and then results when the moon is aligned with Mars and Uranus. The satisfaction from this is great and so is the realisation that I am nearing my golfing goal. Way back in 2012 I was playing a social round and met up with a guy on holidays out having a whack whilst his wife was out shopping. Ambled around talking golf for a few holes and his story was one had an aspect relevant to my game now. He was once on 4 and playing golf with that driven dedication before love came along. He shared his experience to get from 10 to single figures and the workman like golfing to drop each of those digits off down to four. It was pure god fortune to meet up with an eloquent guy reveling in having a social whack when i was still playing off 18 handicap. That knowledge is part of why I am getting the results needed and I am geared to go lower myself. This is seen as a 100% obsession in some (non golfer) eyes and a 100% commitment to those of us who are golfers. My entire logic is that of a competition playing golfer who wants to win, certainly not an academic or technically opined golfer who may have a more varied golf focus. On my part there is a care factor of zero in how little grace or technically correct my swing is. As long as the ball gets in the hole with as few shots possible and less than my competition partners, I am in rapture. Yesterday it took a dedicated commitment to play. It was a sensational day weather wise to be out doors. Yet I sat at the desk working in the morning and seriously considering not playing. I was tired sore and feeling drained from the past fortnight of golfing. This was not a random musing there was a listing of the why's and why not's to playing. Even with the win there was the glorious observation that I can easliy drop two shots off the gross score and five less is not far off in total. Reaching a GA Handicap of 4-5 in 2015 would be great. My target is lower and is really stretching my capability, if I fail and only reach 4-5 that is a very good result. Again back to the chance meeting and the guys comments. Is was not about refining his swing or improving his stance or grip to play better. Getting his handicap down to 4 came from grinding away and playing competitions and knocking of 1-2 strokes a round week in week out. Thankyou for your time and attention Geoff

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Return to Keith GC Open 2015

A little sluggish at the minute. Completed the 300 km round trip to and from Keith and played 18 holes in their Open Event today. Finished in 5th place with 86 (33 points) not a great round but good enough. Was under a bit of self imposed pressure and was well aware of that. The three missed birdie putts and three duffed chip shots were the main problems to the score. Keith is a course not played in a couple of years and one that I set as a benchmark for my golf game. Could have very easily pulled out of this round in deference to playing at Kingston SE and the familiar surroundings. Which is the total antithesis of my golf ambition. If I was not feeling the pressure I would have charged a bit more instead of putting up the shutters and playing a controlled game. Would have been great to break my handicap at this track and I did have a fair dinkum crack at it too. Putting up the shutters is a tad excessive in truth to describe how I played. It was more a case of percentage shots and no stupid 1 in 100 efforts. The unfamiliar fairways ad lie of the land did create some problems but never did I feel the game was getting away from me. Tomorrow is the home club monthly medal round. This is a no holds barred round and the game is going to be played with every essence of my focus on low scoring. This is a very important game change on my part and is happening now as the target (single digit) handicap is based on this and the future of the season. The aggression is not unrestrained, it is all centered on the golf capability that has been developed through practise this season and competition playing. Thankyou for your time and attention Geoff

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Under double digit handicap again...

The past fortnight has been a disjointed golfing period. Winning the first matchplay on the Saturday then losing the next day to be out of the club championships. Not too perturbed played well enough and enjoyed the games. Was always a month underdone to play my best and no excuse except not good enough. Last weekend managed to get out on the Saturday and play comp and with 28 points the lowest score in more than six months. Still not bothered it was all about getting on a golf course and having a social hit and explore my golf game limits. Today after working on some physical problems with Bowen and clearing the head of baggage went out and played very well. Getting 40 points, 79 off the stick and now with a GA of 9.9. Almost back to the 9.8 GA of last September before the shoulder collapsed. On target for the goal of the season and all from never wavering and working consistently on my golf game. Thank you for your time and attention Geoff

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Just get the Ball in the hole...

Just get the ball in the hole 22 May 2015 by Paul Skinner What do you think would happen if your club took the flags off its greens in Saturday’s competition? Not the holes, just the flags. Well, after the mayhem and initial confusion, I can tell you what would happen. You’d shoot a lower score. I almost guarantee it. The proof comes from statistical evidence – and from the wisdom of some of our game’s greatest players. Jack Nicklaus once said: “I only ever hit it close if I pushed or pulled it.” Greg Norman once said: “If I hit a great 5-iron, it goes to 25 feet.” Essentially, two legendary golfers were aiming away from the flag, often simply to the centre of the greens. Which goes right back to my club competition theory. If you aimed exclusively at the middle of greens, with no other target in mind, you’d find yourself putting a lot more than you otherwise might, especially if you regularly aim at “sucker pins”. Here’s how I know this. As an eight-year-old I was lucky enough to meet Peter Fowler, who quickly became a mentor and the reason I pursued golf as a career. I practised every day and in 2000 earned my Australasian Tour card – my dream achieved. Or was it? I battled for years with limited success. I hit more balls on the range than anyone, trying in vain to perfect my swing. During this time I would caddie for Peter during gaps in my limited schedule, even working on the European Tour for a while. Peter is known as one of the hardest workers on tour and for his meticulous preparation and course management skills. One of the sport’s greatest short-game exponents, he’d consistently amaze his peers with the scores he churned out, even while playing less than his best. In all this time watching Peter, you’d think I’d have learnt my lesson. He was trying to teach me how to play golf; I was trying to play golf swings. Golf is a game of misses. What defines golfers is the quality of their play when things aren’t going quite right; when their so-called “perfect swing” isn’t quite perfect. I once asked Peter to tell me of the better rounds he had through his career and without a moment’s thought, he answered: “I shot 74 in the third round of the Scandinavian Masters back in ’89. Mate, I could not have had one less!” And this from someone who has shot a 63 to win on the European Tour! So I finally learnt the lesson. Even now the best golfer in the world might win three times a year, so there are going to be a lot of weeks on tour that will be a battle. So it’s meticulous course management and preparation when things aren’t quite working that helps us to score. Three years ago, my good friend and Victorian Institute of Sport coach Marty Joyce asked me to present a talk on course management and preparation to Golf Australia’s national squad at a training camp. I’ve since had the privilege of working with Golf Australia as a coaching consultant and they’ve been some of the best times I have had in golf. The kids are incredibly talented and, trust me, are truly the best this country has to offer. And it’s incredibly fulfilling that they are now taking towards having that scoring focus, not just honing that perfect swing. We now have access to myriad statistical data. One we study religiously is proximity to hole – essentially how close Tour players hit the ball, on average, from any given distance. We are using this data to challenge our players to think more about clubs they’re hitting off the tee and, in particularly, approach shots. We use terms “in position” and “out of position” and hopefully getting them to understand that top tour professionals fire away from a lot of pins. One of the theories we pose is that if a top-10 player in the world hits a 7-iron to 25 feet (sorry, the data isn’t metric), if there is any trouble within that radius, we need to aim elsewhere. An example of this for those who know Royal Melbourne is a pin within eight feet of the back left of the second on the East Course. If you go just 10 feet past, you’re dead and cannot get up and down – an automatic bogey at best. Playing into that green with a 7-iron, knowing our likely proximity to the hole is 25 feet, the pin I am playing to is short right of and taking two putts all day long. To hit it close to that pin is a mistake -- which is why I am so determined to make these kids get it! Is this a conservative approach? A lot of people have challenged me on this in the past few years – and the answer is simple. No, it’s not. It’s simply playing to statistical data that cannot be argued. Bernhard Langer used to have a “seven out of 10” rule. He would say, “I need to know I can hit this shot seven out of 10 times today, else it’s a different shot or a different club”. Peter, when asked why his short game was so good, said “a lot of it has to do with where I am chipping and putting from”. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for repeatable technique. I coach it every day. But I think among our elite young athletes, we are starting to get the balance right between good technique and actually playing the imperfect game that is golf. That culture is starting to shift. To have kids the calibre of Ryan Ruffels and Lucas Herbert go to Japan spending nine hours creating their own yardage book; to start hearing them talk about “being in position” and “out of position”; to see them warming up on the range hitting all the required shots for the day; checking pin sheets and weather conditions pre-round; is really cool to me. And I’m pretty sure it will pay off for Australian golf. Paul Skinner is a member of GA’s high performance staff and consults to the VIS, Golf Victoria and state associations. He can be contacted at Martin Joyce Paul Skinner Golf, located at Spring Valley Golf Club. E: M: 0433 122437 Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Championship playoffs this weekend...

Good weekend of golfing just past. My match play rounds are all on the coming weekend, first up the Semi final which I should win on Saturday. Play through that hurdle and it is the Quarter final against the defending club champion on Sunday. The rounds played on the past weekend were all club competition and whilst not too shabby the improvement from Saturday to Sunday was marked. Off the tee was again an issue on the first nine holes and added too many strokes to the score Saturday. Sunday I took the time to get out and warm up and the driver off the tee as back on target. Being a Par competition if it was not for a contact lens malfunction on the 17th hole I would have finished +2. Being +1 at the end of 18 holes was good enough. Same score as the club champion except he plays off 3 hcp and I am off 10 hcp. Fortunately I have this week settled to practise on my game, tuning up a few aspects that will give me a better foundation for the coming matches. Nothing special and no routine for "miracle improvement". Simply putting, chipping, driver and longer irons. The routine is well established the only addition is a routine to lessen the pulls to the left. It is great to play competition if, not the motivation to do the improvement practise would be lacking. With a reliable consistent swing established there is no need for hours of work. Common sense dictate how I practise, focused on targets derived from game results and the physical capability of myself. Thankyou for your time and attention Geoff

Monday, May 18, 2015

Qualified for Club Championships

The final qualifying round for club championships yesterday and the club captain put together a very interesting group that I played in. Including the reigning club champion, the current highest qualifier myself and a visiting 9 handicap golfer. The round was played in perfect weather and make no mistake the game was played in the best of sporting spirit. Best summed up by the vising golfer at presentations when he complimented us on or golfing etiquette and ability. It was perhaps the most I have ever been in the zone while playing a club competition. The results had the qualifying leader post a 75 gross, club champion a 76 and myself a 77 off the stick. I was keeping the champs card and our round within a round soon became an unofficial match play game. Considering he is a 3 handicap and myself 10.7 on the day the end result was gold for me. After 18 holes we were all square, this was the best possible boost that could be in my corner with the first playoff rounds starting next week.The draw has been made and I will not meet the current champion until the final if I win through. Besides the mental confidence booster there has been another major improvement for me course wise. Due to the new development and selling off some current golf land, a par 5 and par four have been taken out of play. Replaced with two par three holes this has been a significant aid to my golf capability. In the 24 hours between rounds Saturday and Sunday, the tee shots and approach shots all settled as desired. The putting even improved with one practise session prior to Sundays round. The foundation has been laid for a red hot tilt at the club championship this season. Thankyou for your time and attention , Geoff

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Playing in carts not for me yet...

Not as successful on the Heywood Golf Course on the second trip over Saturday. No complaints game wise, did not putt or chip as well yet much better off the tee. The big change was playing in a cart. Not something I usually do and it had a significant effect on my game. Where I am usually chatting with players in the group in between shots walking to the ball, in the cart the company is in your face all the time. I could not settle on my short game and putting all day and shot selection was erratic. No great problem as I won the raffle for a dozen beers and the other mate in the car claimed second so 18 bottles started the trip home in the booty chest. This weekend is a working one so apart from playing the 9 hole Friday comp. it may be an enforced golfing break. No complaints as any added rest is a bonus and the driving range at home is getting a good work out. Happy to work on the long iron technique and overall ball striking, with chipping and putting at the club for the week. Thankyou for your time and attention , Geoff

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Win at the 2015 Heywood Autumn Open

Took the drive across the border to Heywood GC on Wednesday, two and a half hours in the car did have me consider how much it would affect my round. Fortunately I misread the start time and arrived 90 mins before tee off and that gave plenty of time to loosen up. A session in the hitting nets and the chipping and putting practise area were good value.
The round obviously with the prizes was good enough 36 points with a wipe and a few single pointers. The course has wide fairways and that is something that suits my game, the tall gums don't but that is a fair trade off. The short game was the key to the good score, did improve on GIR after Saturday's Kingston round. Even so the number of miss hit second shots was too many, although the progress in practise the past week improved a lot. Off the tee the driver was a power house, again the upgrade has proved it's value. Did have a series of tee block failures though and that came from teeing the ball too low and being a little stiff in the hips. The travel up was not that well suited to me physically. No real complaints though as a win is all the proof needed to endorse the golf being played. My mind is working on the next steps of training in May to reach the single figure goal, currently on 10.7 GA handicap. Thankyou for your time and attention Geoff

Friday, April 24, 2015

Right time, get the right equipment...

Dear readers, a long week in golf is the best description for what has past so far. Sunday was a -2 finish in the par round and I charged for the win all day.To no effect with the same problem all day, 'inconsistency'. Nothing would stay steady. A couple of missed putts here, a wayward drive there, with a below average chip or shot for the green. It was not pressure at all it was a fun day on the course it was just not reliable golfing. To follow on as the week progressed I was browsing for a second driver. The Callaway Optiforce has been excellent since 2014. The shaft change to a stiffer flex from the Project X 5.5 had been effective also. Travelling through the week I had a few hours spare and hit the pro shop to trial few drivers, Callaway Big Bertha and Cobra Fly Z alongside my Optiforce. Gobsmacked is the only description. I know my capability I do not have a fantasy of a big drive in the tank, any more than one or two hits a round above my steady 200-220m distance. The Big Bertha threw that out the window. This is nothing more than the result of having a reliable swing. Even so what and amazing result, swinging easy and boom, 10-20m more off the tee. Next day at home using the Optiforce and Big Bertha I had the same result. Then I switched shafts, the Optiforce gained a couple of extra metres and the Big Bertha was on the same length. Fact is the Big Bertha Clubhead with a stiffer shaft has a 10-20m lead over the Optiforce. This is all from my practise with the Dreamswing and establishing a consistent swing. Technology from the manufacturer supplies the equipment and that is in line with my capability. Four or even three years ago this would have been a total waste of resources to use a Big Bertha. This may be the antithesis of what equipment manufacturers want said. Here it is, if you are an 20 plus golfer and improving don't upgrade equipment. Do the golfing practise. I have purchased many golf sets and woods etc in the past but b\never the lats\est best thing. I have got a feel for many different club types. I have a reliable swing developed and established. I have bought two the top of the line equipment in the past four months because I am good enough to use it well. Winning is the proof, Penola Open A Grade Nett is the most recent major win. Caddie Challenge last 20 round @ $10 per round $200 = $347 in Vouchers. Get the game right through practise and then get the equipment and win. Thankyou for your time and attention , Geoff

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Maintaining form and competition performance

First game in the rain for 2015 and quietly satisfied with how I played. Finished with 85 off the stick and a nett 74. Playing off 11.1 GA handicap I have actually dropped down to 10.8 as I had 36 stableford points. This was a stroke round in reality and with a 10 on one hole the only blemish, fact is I did not play to my handicap in the stroke round. Not complaining as this is the official system for all handicaps, it does show how a handicap can be not quite accurate in some instances. The blow out ten came on the 11th hole and I chased the correction hard and that was fun. In fact made up two shots in the next two holes them missed a putt and had a double bogie. Was not enough holes left to pull it back and at the end f the competition was only three shots behind the A grade winner. The overall Nett winner on the day was on 70. Hence a-part from being a loser on the day it was not disappointing. Won a few prizes on the day, nearest the pins and a club specific trophy for hitting all four par three holes off the tee. Today is a Par round at the home club been out for a warm up and if no rain will play. Yesterday I played with a different ball, been using Pro V's, Srixon q and z stars of late and happy with them. Couple of weeks ago won a Callaway Warbird ball and used it in a social comp last week and bit of a wow factor for me. Finally decided to buy a couple of boxes and yesterday played them in the round. The feel off the club is great a crisp hitting feel with no harshness. Distance and accuracy though yesterday was very good, did have a body tune up mid week and that does make a difference. Even so the distance with my irons was exemplary and not one offs I over clubbed the first two holes and quickly changed iron choices. Finished with 8 greens in regulation , plus 8 fairway hits and did not feel comfortable off the tee often in the rain. That is a technique matter but the ball striking was very good except for two holes I was only in the second cut off the fairway in four of the other ten holes and four of those holes were par 3's and I hit the green with those shots. Another day starts this afternoon and the result will be interesting at the end of play. Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Golf fitness equals lees strokes per round

Played my way to the end of the Monthly Medal round for a third place finish. Managed to win the putting competition on the day, not too bad considering there was a four putt in there. Two chip ins, one for birdie and one for par helped out in that result. It was an interesting day of golfing in review. Once again I jumped out of the box and first four holes were pars, yet once again on the 6th and 7th. holes I had brain fades or errors which made the score balloon. In the first instance was a four putt, it came from my body starting to sieze up. The next hole the first ball was pushed wide right and then a totally rank second shot on the par five, from stiffness in my body movement. It took a mental battle to get the focus back. I was feeling the strain to the movement through to the end. The nub was a 46 on the front nine and then coming home with a 40 on the back with one lost ball in that and a double bogie on the tenth as well. The saving asset was my daily chip and putting practise sessions, the chip ins were not flukes I was playing for them. I dropped 28 putts on the day with the 4 putt and two chip shots that went in. Greens in regulation were average for me and this is now becoming an imperative to getting priority in the practise routine. Checked in for a body tune up on Thursday as the strain of the past month is beginning to affect the golfing capability. This is limiting my capability to practise. Today there is significant discomfort and after doing the short game and putting session that was enough. As much as I would like to be having a session on the range, the common sense of "Less is More" rules. I know that there is no need to hurry and push the training effort up a notch. If I do the discomfort will increase and that is a major negative. Instead the exercise routine is given the lead to replace the desired range session. That way still improving my golf capability in another area. Thankyou for your time and attention Geoff

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Winner Penola Autumn Open 2015

Sticking with the training program of "less is more" is returning results. As much as I would like to increase the tempo and try to hurry the golfing progress, the smart choice is to stay with the current intensity. Success today at the Penola Autumn Open winning the A Grade Nett with 73 (84 Gross).
Errors were made that more practise will improve. Specifically the 100-150 metre greens in regulation shots. Putting, Driving, Chipping were all good enough. A few drives went wide and that was the failing, having to recover from among trees. All good in the main and looking forward to tomorrow and the home club Monthly Medal. Keeping the current rythym does not seem to be a problem. The essence of my practise at the minute is to refine the execution. In particular, chipping and putting for finishing holes in as few strokes possible.The Driver, has been performing well enough and this week the 3 Wood #5 iron and 3 Hybrid were given more range time. Not a lot only adding a slight improvement in todays' round and that was value enough. Tomorrow morning will be another light practise session as with today and the inclusion of the Wood, Hybrid and long irons wil be the close for the warm-up again Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Second round and third place...

Third place behind 40 points and 37 points with 85 gross, 35 points at Robe to finish my weekend comps. Dropped .2 for a GA Handicap of 11.1. This round was not bad with two lost balls on front nine (15 points) and coming home with a 39 gross and 20 points. Was not rattled by the day at all, played golf and attacked all day, keeping the game brain engaged in the round. Sitting here showered refreshed and digesting the possibility from today and yesterday that I play to my handicap or close to it when playing slightly below average. This is not only the musings of a satisfied golfer, there has been some analysis of recent scores back to February to check the feasibility of the claim. Firstly this is all from a golfer who is very confident at the minute and that state of gaming has taken three months of dedicated effort. The results are the measure of capability and that is supportive of my assertion. Lastly is the sense of Golf that is the combination of all of the facets in my game. I am not looking for a pseudo crutch to support my game approach. Today when down in the round after a lost ball on fourth and then seventh hole, the game brain did not falter. I knew it was from lax tee shots nothing more, I was working on an attacking game. This delivered without any change in tempo on the back nine. What has been realised once home and looking at the statistics is that I have the game to do better. Fact is I have to work on the long irons more, with the 100 m training plan appealing at the minute. The big fails were the hybrid and #3 wood I am erratic with them accuracy wise, even though I rarely use them in a round the failures are not acceptable. range work is the only fix and that will not take long. Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff

Breaking 80, always a good result...

After having a very good round yesterday 79 Gross/Nett 66 (41 points), the form of the past months is still maintained on the course. I am really crap at false modesty and downplaying my capability. So what if I play well or bad, saying so does not affect the scores to come one iota. What does is the practise and awareness of my golfing game. Yesterday I played steady all day and that came from the past weeks of settling into a routine that takes out the mental distractions especially from the performance mix. Total Golf for me is the physical actions of practise, fitness and mental conditioning. Being capable of playing well does involve the confidence to play well to be running parallel with the efforts. As a typical club golfer my words have no officially recognised base and there is no desire on my part for them to be. They are my words in these posts though, the irrefutable proof is in the resulting scores and victories. I am a follower of The Dan Plan and enjoy his journey and tales. I have never held back when it came to commenting on his journal in particular his lack of competition golf experience. This is no criticism of the goal or ambition of Dan. The Australian Club golf system is far removed from the US. I do believe that is in some part why we have so many quality professional in comparison to the US on a per capita basis. I give my own social round scores nothing more than training day status. Playing square to the card or a couple over in a social round is nothing special. Winning a club competition and having 2-5 more strokes is far more valuable. Even though when playing you do not know the other scores it is a competition being played to win. Presentation of the chocolates at the end show that you were better than the rest of the field in the competition on the day. Today is a new competition at a different club and yesterdays score has no impact on the card at the end of today. What I want though is to play as well again and the opportunity to win is the motivation not the desire to have a good score. Thankyou for your time and attention , Geoff

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Season 2015 all about "Total Golf"

Welcome dear readers, I recommend settling into your seat and perhaps taking the stimulant of your choice as the following may be a boring read. Golf is a game of regularity and consistency for that is what champions do to play and win. Each year I begin a new thread here relegating the previous year to the knowledge bank of experience. In 2014 I won Gold and Silver at the Masters Games, in 2015 at another course I won Gold and Silver. In Southern Ports A Grade 2014 finished 4th in A Grade Nett after 3 rounds. In 2015 I finished 3rd in A Grade Nett, 1.3 strokes behind the tied first and second Nett winners. In 2014 I won the Club Handicap Championship in October and promptly had 3 monthly out of golf as injuries recovered. In 2013 My body and game was shot by August and I struggled to the end of the season easily disposed of in the Matchplay rounds of the Club Handicap Championship. Every season I have had a review and used the postings to analyse the ups, downs and head on collisions to destruction that have scattered through my golfing game. Unlike the figures of statistics this diary of sorts has supplied the details of golf games including, physical, emotional and social events. I am an amateur golfer who enjoys the game in all its aspects. This is why the details are so valuable to my improvement. Today was the beginning of the next physical phase of my golf game preparation. Added to the gym bench is an incline walking machine in the shed. Whilst my game development is delivering results and that proof is not lightly said as the preceding results show. Have no doubt about it. I set myself from last season, to match or do better than the 2014 results in Southern Ports and Masters Games. Fitness has been a major focus as a cause for several failures. As important as being able to drive, chip or putt a ball is the ability to last the full distance of a round and more. The two events I set myself for at the start of the season are 36 hole and 54 hole competitions. I use the Friday 9 hole chicken run competitions to set myself for 18 hole competitions. Two 9 holes rounds that I now charge hard at every round. This has been difficult to assimilate into my golf psyche. My game is still based upon the easiest shot, best percentage of success model. Everything is based around having the shot to be the one to put the ball into the hole as soon as possible.I try to break my handicap in every 9 hole Chicken Run and this is a club competition where every time you win the chicken two shots are dropped off the playing handicap for the next Chicken Run. Last year I had got down to 3 before the annual reset to the official handicap in January. The challenge in 2015 is to set my fitness to a very high level and not create an injury as I did in 2014. My brain is benefiting from this disciplined activity, that is another value added indirectly to my 'Total Golf' approach. Thankyou for your time and attention Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff

2015 Masters Games golfing success...

"Winners are Grinners" bling from the Clare Sth Australia Masters Games on the weekend. Gold won on Sunday for best Nett in 45-54 yr section and Silver for best Nett over two days of the stroke round Tournament.
Every bit of effort put into practice this season is showing its value in golf competitions. There is absolute comfort when throwing everything at getting the best score possible in a round. Matched with the confidence and capability in getting the best out of my golfing game. The odd facet is the analytically focused attitude in playing competitions, which is not affected by the social conviviality that I thoroughly enjoy and does not affect my game. Saturday in the masters round with a couple of blow out holes, I was still only three behind second and five shots behind the leader in the nett. On Sunday with double bogies on the first two holes it was no problem in making up the shots. Even so I was not aware that I was going so well. Aware of my score, yet it was barely registering in the all out attack of my game. Yes, I can play better, not at the minute though. The progress is coming as desired in the future and the weekly results are the proof that supports the goal. How much is possible is not confirmed all can do is continue and see what is delivered. Practice is an exercise that us golfers do to improve. For me only competition results are the only defining core that shows progress or failure. Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Your Golf form needs a plan...

It is an odd experience knowing that I play to win, yet accept the current 'also ran' results so easily. The comfort does sit a little awkwardly at times, usually in the first hour or so after another close finish just outside of claiming some winners chocolates. At the minute my golf is being played at maximum capability and working towards maximum ability. Yesterday with an 86 off the stick and triple times 3 putts causing the pain. There was more than that in the lead up to the putting. Particularly the short fall in hitting the greens all day with 80% of the misses literally dropping 5 metre or less in front of the green. Off the tee though last weeks inaccuracy was blown away into the ether. Nothing major was required to correct this and the 'fix' was started last week, all I had to do was lift the shaft up and stand a little straighter. The ease of the fix was proven from the lack of needing to practise this during the week. The concentration on chipping and putting was well worthwhile. I do need to put in a concerted effort on the 100-150 metres shots again. This is where the quandary comes into my golfing preparation, I am not wavering from the 'less is more' commitment. Fitness is the more effective consideration, dropping off the 6 kilos gained since October is the more important golfing requirement. The putting fault is increased with the lower fitness, as is the greens being missed. Why I am not concerned, I am following a specific preparation plan. One that has me in best fitness and golfing capability when playoff rounds for Championships and seasonal trophies are required. This has come from way to much time, (Not), being spent analysing professional golfers interviews and articles on the senior tours especially. It is not humanly possible for me to play 100% all the time. Nor do I want those horrendous blowout rounds as happened at Naracoorte after playing three good and consistent rounds in Southern Ports in a week. Then going to play one more round and finding there was nothing in the tank. At the minute I can happily play along, competitive and still noting the failings without concern. In fact this is another incarnation of the 'Percentage Golf' I played when on a 20 + handicap. Today is the first championships qualifying round, monthly medal and first round of a seasonal trophy at my home club. This is totally different to playing in the competition at another club yesterday. Now 'Valued Chocolates' are on the table and the game goes up a step or three to win. Thankyou for your time and attention Geoff

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Golf's Associations Have Growing the Game Wrong!

In my time of golfing since 2009 the various ideas put forward have been many and varied. From, get more women, invent hybrid golf games, to changing the basic golf game. None of these make any sense to me. Golf is a sport, hobby recreation activity for many and that is the strength. The weakness is too many individuals tryingto run clubs and associations to suit themselves and not the future. Golf's Associations Have Growing the Game Wrong! by Andrew Wood Feb 14, 2015 According to the National Golf Foundation, the total number of traditional golf facilities in the U.S. fell from 16,052 in 2005 to 15,516 in January 2014, of which 11,505 were open to the public and 4,011 were private. An additional 150 closed by late 2014. According to CEO, Joe Beditz, CEO of the Foundation, the national population of golfers in the USA has declined by 5 million in the past 10 years, dropping from roughly 30 million to approximately 25.3 million. There has also been a 25 percent decline in the number of people who play golf regularly. England is another country where the number of golfers is decreasing. In 2000 the EGA counted 868,966 golfers, compared with only 761,335 in 2012. “We’ve lost one out of four of our core customers, and all core customers are responsible for 90 percent of the spending and the rounds played in golf,” Beditz said in a January news conference at the PGA’s 2014, Merchandise Show. Of course the good people at the NGF were also the people who told us a decade ago to build a course a week to meet demand! Nonetheless I think we can all agree that right now golf does have a problem with play down significantly in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Spain and Portugal. In fact, it’s down in all major golf markets except France! Yea France, C'est Magnifique! There are a few other countries where participation is such as Switzerland, 3,000 new players, the Czech Republic up 4.9% (2,800 new players) to 55,000 players and up in a few of those new countries in Eastern Europe. Lithuania was up nearly 50%, Bulgaria 42% and Serbia 41%, but the later were starting from nothing. What Is the Industry Doing to Tackle This Problem? Most of the stuff I see out there from the various industry groups is like campaign promises from politicians. It sounds good, but in reality are nothing more than a pipe dream, pandering loudly to special interest groups and the media, trying to make everyone look good! Industry groups have little regard for the economics of running a club and even less for the disaster that is a foursome of beginners teeing off in front of you! With all due respect for their efforts, the PGA, USGA, NGCOA and other national and regional associations are far too conservative and politically correct to embrace the out-of-the-box thinking and ACTION that is REALLY needed to tackle the problem! “As an example, Golf 2.0 is a PGA initiative that is heavily dependent upon (and centered around) the PGA Professional. It places the responsibility of marketing and implementing on the already over-burdened PGA member. Many PGA members are incredible golfers, teachers, and operational managers but my experience (I know over 100 personally) is that many do not have strong enthusiasm or training for marketing (especially social media). They are afraid they will do or say something on social media that will have negative repercussions. Course owners are asking them to do more and more for less and less. They, too, are confined by "Codes of Conduct" and risky initiatives could have negative impact on their membership status.” - Excerpt from an excellent article by Kevin Unterreiner, Twin Cities Golf None of these programs like Golf 2.0 even mention the three largest obstacles to growth simply because they are not in their expertise! On top of that, the actual results of the associations existing programs are marginal at best. Let me give you an unwelcome dose of harsh reality regarding the general message from these various, well-meaning groups; You know the drill..... “Get More Women Involved in the Game” Okay, sounds good, Women generally make up about 25% of the players worldwide except in the UK where they represent only 14%, so you would think logically it would be a good market for growth right? Maybe.... Why maybe? Because the game is not and perhaps never will be set up for women. Forget all the male bias for a moment. Firstly courses are set up way too long for 95% of women (even with different tees). Yes, I know there are lots of great women players at the tip of the talent iceberg, who can hit it further than me, but there is not one women at my previous club, that can hit it further than my 5 iron. And perhaps only one or two at most at my previous four clubs! This is a fact, not male basis (see my previous article on why women should play golf ) and it’s a fact that stunts the growth participation among women. For example: A 60 year old guy playing a 500 yard par four hits his drive 220 and hits his 3 wood 180 and has 100 yard wedge left. A 60 year old woman has a 50 yard head-start hits it 150-175 (maybe) and then hits wood, wood, wood and perhaps gets there. Tees should be set up so the average lady has the same club in her hand as her male counterpart for her second shot not her 3rd or 4th! To quote Barney Adams founder of Adams Golf, who recently wrote a very interesting series on the state of the game on Golf RX: “In fact, if you adjust course yardages for a tour professional’s length, you’ll find that average male golfers routinely play the equivalent of 8500-yard courses, and women play courses that are equivalent to a 9000-yard course.” So to start with the fact that the playing field for women is not fair; they have to hit the ball far more times to accomplish the same result as their spouses. This leads to higher scores, longer rounds and greater frustration. More on this later but that’s just strike one! Women also spend a fraction of their male counterparts (I know this is hard to believe guys but its true when it comes to golf) It also costs far more money to reach them and you convert far less of them to long-term customers. These are simple economic facts. If you are a women you don’t have to like it or agree, but it won’t change the facts. I have been in the marketing business 25 years and can tell you women cost more to reach and return far less than males when you are selling the vast majority of sports! If You Own a Business, Return on Investment Actually Matters Long ago, when I was in the karate business, I learned a very important business lesson. If I spent $3,000 of my hard-earned money in the local Penny Saver and ran three different ads, one aimed at women, one aimed at men and the other at children this was my return: The ad aimed at women would get a $100 return on my $1,000 The ad aimed at men would get a $400 return on my $1,000 While the ad aimed at kids would get a $4,000 on my $1,000 Now trust me I wanted women in my school. Women between 14-40 are the number one victims of violence and sexual abuse and are the people who can benefit the most from karate! Women also attract men to the school and they are often more fun to teach! Of course I also wanted adult men also so I could spar with them and bond with them but it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out where I started spending ALL of my advertising dollars. Dollars that came right out of my pocket! As the world’s leading expert in golf marketing (say I modestly) it’s my job to monitor response rates from the thousands of campaigns we have executed. I can assure you that with one exception I can think of from a client who specialized in women they are far harder and far more costly to reach for far less revenue than white middle-aged males. Which by the way, despite all the BS you hear about golf having too many of them, is the very market you should try to re-energize first! Much more on this later! Of course we must do everything we can to attract more women to the game. BUT, if the money is coming out of your wallet, you want quick growth and making a profit actually matters to you, it’s not the first market, the second or even the third market segment you are going to target, no matter how appealing an opportunity it looks on the surface! “We need more Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans playing golf” they say.... You might as well say we need more Arabs, a group badly underserved by the golfing world! They have tons of money but as a percentage of the population very few of them play golf so that’s not a very good market either, it’s just not part of their culture! Morocco for example has 42 golf courses and just 7,000 native players. Loredo, Texas has 300 registered golfers in a town of 250,000 people. It’s not racist, it is just a fact. Arabs are not likely to be a core market worth going after any time soon. Not because we don’t want more of these groups but because the cost-return ratio is simply not there! Preach to the choir, don’t try to convert the Muslims if you want to survive financially! “We Need to Attract More Kids to the Game” Yes we do! But, if you are running a golf course, trying to stay afloat betting on the come line for a 20 year pay off can’t possibly at the top of your agenda. (Although there is a good case for kids attracting their parents see my previous article in getting kids involved.) Remember I am not writing this manual as a politician or the PGA, NGCOA, NGF, USGA, a major manufacture or 1st tee member but as someone trying to help the golf course owner, manger or golf pro make it through the decade and grow their business while growing the game. These groups are NOT going to give you the answers you need! Not that you wouldn’t welcome every single kid you can get, but like women and minorities the cost-return ratio is just not there any time soon! That may change in the future but it’s not there now. Yes, we must plan for the future and attract children, and I’ll share lots of way to accomplish this, but we must also survive in the present! How About 15-inch Holes, Foot Golf, Frisbee Golf or Adventure Golf? Recently Taylor Made Golf funded an organization called HackGolf, which is trying to get more people to play golf by, among other things, introducing the 15-inch golf hole. So what happens when you change the size of the hole from 4.25 inches so something about the size of a large pizza? At the venues that tried it, the average length of an 18-hole round was reduced by nearly an hour, and golfers saw a 10-stroke improvement on their scores. Sounds promising? Not really. I met Mark King (Former CEO, of Taylor Made) once. Smart guy, but with all due respect 15-inch holes is great for a laugh but it’s not golf as we know it. Nor is it the magnet that brings anyone to the game! And why stop at 15-inch holes? Maybe we should try 20-inch holes or 30 inch holes? I played Foot Golf recently. It was fun, a laugh but it’s basically playing soccer on a golf course, nothing more or less. It generates income, brings in new faces and at the same time alienates traditional golfers, not just on the course but in the bar afterwards! One of my clients has had to break up three fights already in the first month! In short it’s a double-edged sword. There is no doubt you can make money with new golf “alternatives”, but at what cost to your core business? I have a couple of client’s who put in adventure golf courses, one in his parking lot and he is killing it in the summer. He’s doing so well he’d rather close down his course and stick to adventure golf. While that’s well and good it’s still not golf. Let’s be serious, all of these things can increase income but they’re not real golf as we know it! I think the game is a great enough game to survive and thrive in a very similar form to what it is now, not as a totally different game. There are still around 50 million people teeing it up across the globe! So What Are My Solutions...? Well Play Golf America, Get Golf Ready For Golf, Golf 2.0 and the like are all well intentioned and may have a small positive impact in the long term, but the first order of business is not to get new people playing; that’s too hard and too expensive. The first key is to get existing people playing more and lapsed people playing again. To quote Barney Adams again, “Golf has 7.6 million golfers who play more than 8 times per year and another 11.3 million golfers who play once annually. They play, but not enough to be considered avid golfers. So we have a pool of 19 million who have shown enough interest to try the game, own clubs and fondly look at courses as they drive by. Our goal is convert 10 percent of these golfers to the avid category, and between us we’d settle for 5 percent and let momentum do the rest.” Start with the low hanging fruit, the lapsed, white, middle-aged male, then expand out for the future.... You get them by nothing more complicated than better marketing! In my manual, How to Really Grow the Game I detail 33 more key points and solutions to growing the game Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff

Monday, February 16, 2015

Holding form with minimal practise...

Sunday's competition round was a test of my golfing game and brain. Leaving Adelaide at 7 am and getting home after a 4 hour drive took a bit of spring out of my step. The decision to golf was well worth it though, early night followed. I had no time to warm up and was playing for the same reason which drives me most, fun. Off the tee was mostly good and that was across the board on the day. Finishing with a gross 87, nett 74 and 34 putts. My handicap has crept out to 11.9 at the minute and lack of game time in the past three months and a broken practise regime is not helping. That is the reality of playing golf as a recreational sport, the rest of your life has precedence at times. Apart from a couple of wayward drives which added two recovery strokes, and putting that included 2 x 3 putts and there is the 4 strokes too many. Putting went way ward after a business call as well as some brain fades that had me misread the pace and hit balls way to soft. I have no complaints with any of the days actions it was fun. I am still working on a few tune up factors, moving the hips and putting the body behind strokes is one. This adds a lot of accuracy and power to the second shots on par fours especially. Hitting 8 fairways and 5 greens in regulation was not too bad a result. Considering the travelling and also 4 drives which were centimetres off the fairway and the same number of shots at the green which were also less than a metre off target, that is another reason for satisfaction from the day. Time is in the now zone for the final golf week preparations. The training schedule will be, Putting first, Driver second, then the short game and irons to the green. Getting the ball in the hole is always the most important stroke. Then having the ball on the fairway after tee shots. Thankyou for your time and attention. Geoff

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Driver shaft upgrades, so easy today

Following on from the mid week club fitting it was obvious that there was a re-fit needed for the driver. At the very least there had to be a checking out of shaft suitability. Given that the current shaft was fitted 12 months ago and if my iron swing speed had increased 10-20 kph the driver shaft had to be looked at. Fact is, since returning from the lay off there was often a feeling after hitting a drive that there was more in the tank but the ball was dropping on the ground sooner than expected. As I am not a long hitter and used to so much variation in shot distance in the past this was put on the back burner of relevance and importance. This is where the technology available improves the golfing experience so much. Simply set up a time with the pro and the ease of changing shafts using my driver head and away we go. With a machine the size of a lunch box recording launch angle, swing speed, flight path, ball speed, and flight distance the change was easy to establish. Swapping between a variety of shafts and sure enough the addition of a stiffer and lighter shaft, combined with increase loft to 11.5 degrees upgraded my golfing capability. Then out for a six hole round late in the afternoon to get comfortable with the change and see what the results were. Three holes off the tee and two things were glaringly obvious. Firstly "feel", I have more control with where I hit the ball to target. The new shaft does not feel like a rigid broomstick it is just right. Secondly the big change for me, distance increased off the tee. I hit the ball and it feels complete, all the energy is fully transferred at impact to the ball. The result on three holes was 20 metres more with one drive 250 metres fading around a dogleg! In the past week the equipment upgrade has included club fitting for Driver, new set of irons and last but not least re-gripping the putter with a fat grip. All of this would have been totally pointless if I had not put in tree year of dedicated practise to establish a reliable swing. Thankyou for your time and attention. , Geoff

Friday, January 23, 2015

"Loft creep" the manufacturers other tool...

I was away last night and this thought crossed my mind while coming home this morning. First thing I did was check the lofts on the Cobra Fly z irons online. No matter how great the irons felt etc I just could not blissfully accept this much of an improvement. The #4 iron in the COBRAFly Z -19*, #5 23*, #6 26.75*, #7 30.5, #8 35.25, #9 40*, PW 45* The #4 iron Taylor Made RSi 1 -20*, #5 23*, #6 26.5*, #7 30.5, #8 34.5, #9 39*, PW 44* All is good as the Cobra still out performed the Taylormade with accuracy , 'feel' work-ability, club head speed and distance when doing the testing. In comparison to the PowerBilt Citation FZ - 1 Irons I have been playing with the #7 iron is 35* hence the 5-10m difference in distance. The ease and comfort in ball striking is still chalk and cheese in comparison with the Cobra's lighter club head and measured and fitted shaft. PowerBilt Citation FZ - Lofts 3 21, 4 24, 5 27, 6 31, 7 35, 8 39, 9 43, PW 47, SW 54. This shows you a chart indicating nominal loft angles for a modern set of irons. Realize that over the last forty years, manufacturers have changed these values considerably in order to make their models more attractive. By slightly reducing the loft angle of a club, the ball travels a bit farther. Distance sells. This is called "creep". The following are typical loft angles for a set of irons. However, there is considerable variability across manufacturers. 4-Iron 25 9-Iron 41 5-Iron 28 Pitching Wedge 45 6-Iron 31 Gap Wedge 50 7-Iron 34 Sand Wedge 55 8-Iron 37 Lob Wedge 60 Thankyou for your time and attention, Geoff

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Club Fitting today better equipment and better swing...

Several days between posts with a lot happening golf wise to keep me occupied. Increasing the playing time is the major change, getting a minimum of 6 holes in every day and nine is the target most days. Whilst still limited with course time available during the holiday season and work commitments, the benefits of the previous practise in the nets has helped significantly. The major change came today, after 5 years of play, was fitted for new irons. Choosing the Cobra Fly-Z gold, after a session including Taylor Made's new selections and Callaway irons. Starting with the irons in my bag of late the reliable PowerBilt FZ-1's as the bench mark, then on the range with each club's results registered and analysed with the Club Professionals electronic equipment. First surprise was the confirmation that I had picked up swing speed, 76-78 mph was my last reading in mid 2014. Now with an 82-84 mph swing speed, this is the definitive proof of how effective strengthening/fitness training can be. The nuances of club fitting today are much easier to settle with as a player. The ease of changing shafts, lies etc with the one club head are a major boost in my opinion. The Taylor Made irons felt great in the stance and did hit them well. Yet the Cobra iron was comfortable, yet felt much different in the stance. The effort to hit the ball was the significant difference and the 'feel' preference in my hands went to the Cobra Fly-Z. Then the defining factor, which took another thirty minutes of hitting balls to convince myself that it was true. I was getting an extra 5-10 metres (155-160 m) hitting balls with the Cobra 7 iron! Dear readers those of you who have followed my last five years of game details know that I am not a big hitter. Of late I had gained distance in the past three months, using a six iron for 150 metre shots. Now in the space of 12 months with improved technique, fitness and now fitted for clubs I have moved two clubs from a #5 to a #7 iron for the distance. The entry form and fee has been sent for the Southern Ports Golf Week 28th Feb to 6th March. After a 4th place in handicap in the A Grade after the three rounds last season, this year my capability has improved. Now for another crack at the title. Thankyou for your time and attention Geoff

Thursday, January 15, 2015

"Two sides to every Swing"

The following is an excerpt from the latest Golf Link edition article, "Two sides to every Swing" by Sam Letourneau I am no coach and since returning to golfing in 2009 have relied upon two coaching professionals for my education and lessons. Both of them taught the same principles of golfing and worked on various identified areas of my golf technique. As wel as reading assorted treatise's on golfing by playing and coaching professionals my golf brain has been informed and educated over time. This article is exactly what my informed opinion is of the way forward for a golfer through coaching is. For me with my physical restraints from the various broken bits, the same applies to other golfers injured or not. Every engine (body) which powers a golf club is different. Some are high performance turbo charged F1 or Indy class engines others are 1970's air cooled VW Kombi Van engines. They all work but have limits. Some have on-board computers and others don't and that is unrelated to this discussion. The essence of p[laying golf is getting the contact between the club and ball to a reliable and consistent standard. Once that is establish you have a solid base for your game. Thankyou for your time and attention "GOLF is a lot easier to get better at once you realise there are two distinctly different avenues to improvement. The trick is to find the one that suits your personality and learning approach best. Most people don’t improve at golf as fast or as much as they could. In teaching golf, I encounter an endless stream of students who are frustrated at their lack of progress, confused about what they should be working on, or how to go about it. These days I pick up pretty quickly on the best approach to take with a new student, and once I’ve sorted them into one of two categories, I can almost guarantee they will start to see real improvement. So, what are the two categories that golfers fall into, and, more importantly, how might you go about identifying the one that suits you best and maximise your chance of reaching your full potential in the fastest possible time frame? Before the grand reveal, please don’t let the simplicity of the following statements deceive you, as after ten years of giving over 50 golf lessons a week (yes that’s 2500 lessons a year, and double yes, that really is a total of over 25,000 lessons), I’m convinced that understanding this information, and basing your improvement plan around it, is the key thing to get right. What’s more, I’ve proven it over and over again to myself and my students. Now a second word of warning; I have to write one before the other, but in no way does that mean I have a preference, or should you, for one over the other. Remember I said that both methods of improvement have been used effectively by many good players. So here goes. In my opinion, to improve at golf you either have to: Totally disregard any perceived faults in your game and work only on making your technique as textbook and technically strong as you possibly can; that is, disregard your ball flight errors and contact issues and bring your swing—and techniques within every department of your game—as closely into line with accepted golf fundamentals as you can, work purely on making your technique better. If you’re not quite sure what these fundamentals might be, have a look at a lot of Tour players’ games and pick out the most common aspects. If you think this approach might be for you, later I’ll give you some well known player examples, and a psychological profile of who this approach generally suits so you can make an educated guess as to whether it suits you . Totally disregard accepted textbook technique and make improvements based only on the feedback your ball flight and contact gives you. Likewise, if you think this way might be the way for you, I’ll be giving you some famous players who’ve taken this approach, and indicate the sort of personality this approach tends to suit." Geoff

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Zen Golf... maybe

Even though the 'Eureka' moments are not a feature of my golfing progress, it is still a great experience when the game comes together. On Sunday with a very easy 30 point score registered in the Stableford competition, my game approach was zen like experience. Dear Readers I had 5 birdie putts in the round, missed every one and three putted each of them. Did not even bat an eyelid in irritation, simply continued on to the next hole. This is perhaps the most rigid I have ever been in a golfing sense to sticking to a plan. The lesson of last season has reached deep into my golf psyche. Following on from Friday's 'wak f@k' at Penola, my focus was on the grip and nothing else was going to distract me from making this correction get established. Why did I three putt was not even attempted to be corrected in the round. I was dedicated to the correct grip which resulted in more power and eradicated the soft flapping at the ball, which was a result of the previous incorrect grip. Not to forget was also part of the cause of the shoulder agony. On Monday it was out for a social nine holes, with the highlight of seeing my cousin smack a 280 metre drive a bonus to my own performance. Again focus on the grip and again a par, par, par, start to a round. With two birdie putts just missing the cup and stopping 5-10cm past it. Yes, the new grip adjustment was established, as was the feel for distance. By not making that fatal error of trying to adjust a correction mid round to improve a score, I am much better positioned for future success. Today it is out for another social 'wak f@k' round to further establish the changes and have fun with friends on a golf course. To sit and write this, feeling calm and looking forward to standing on the first tee without any prior preparation is fun and why I golf. It is this effortless sense of the game, which has been realised from the experience of season 2014. Thankyou for your time and attention Geoff

Monday, January 12, 2015

Grip and swing all work together...

Skipped the Friday Chicken Run in favour of leaving early to drive the 100 km to Penola and playing nine holes there instead of at the home track then leaving. Apart from the advantage of time it also made it possible to play a different course and pretty much all to myself apart from the 'Roos.
The cliche' Australian picture on a country golf course. Course ruling is that 'roo droppings are also a movable item in bunkers. Was a very slap happy nine holes on my part enjoying the relaxing walk and hit. Refreshing the golf brain from playing the same track each week. Took a while to get serious as I settled into hitting the ball correctly. First few drives were in the gums alongside the fairways, just sloppy grip and set up nothing more, hitting two balls the second drive was settling on the fairway. Chipping was poor and the putting terrible on the faster greens, even given the relaxed mental focus. Did par the last three holes easily though. The purpose was not to play well but to get away from the crowd and explore where my game was at. The Driver was beautiful off he tee by the end as were the iron shots. Finally sorted out the cause of the sloppy shots and in hindsight the cause of the residual shoulder pain. The point of contact between my body and the clubs was the problem. Even though it had already been noticed as the sloppy shot cause the shoulder issue had not been recognised. The restriction of the shoulder injury over the last season had been the root cause of my opening my grip. This eased the strain on the shoulder through the swing, at the cost of making the ball fade regularly and slice too often. Until Friday though when I played nine holes with the hands up on the grip again, which of course added the whipping power from the wrists as well, for the first time post round the shoulder did not hurt from being strained. The power in the swing was coming from the body motion and wrists through the ball. The shoulder was not being used to drive the ball, only to move the club back and forth on its swing plane. No freaking wonder after the past few rounds there has been a burning sensation in my shoulder blades, all caused by trying to rip the ball using the wrong muscles. Not angry at myself, quite pleased to have fixed and recognized the cause of two golfing problems. Still feels a little surprising that this is me who figured out the issue, although it was not patently obvious until after the fact only suspected. Thankyou for your time and attention , Geoff

Friday, January 09, 2015

Golf is practice, rest, more practice...

Rest day yesterday, common sense does influence my golfing a lot more these days. Knowledge is a good thing to have having to learn through experience in the first place invariably sucks. For me at least, as this generally involves pain in some form. Intend to amble out for a casual round of wak f@k in the 9 hole chicken run today. Will be interesting to release the impatience to have a hit around a course, combined with focusing on the obvious requirements to hit the ball well. In such a short time, the past couple of weeks, since starting pre-season golfing I am enjoying the game immensely. The facets which have to be practiced have been recognized. The first major improvement has been getting my grip back to where it should be. Such a simple action that is so important to playing well. All it needed was to put the hands back on top of the grip and correct the fault of having my right hand down in particular. This was causing an exaggerated slice/fade on too many strokes. As my game is based upon accuracy off the tee especially, this causes a cascading effect of poor shots. As it should be though golfing is fun and that is a vital ingredient to my success. Thankyou for your time and attention First round results Leaderboard with 38 Australians in the field Geoff

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Second competition round for 2015...

Tuesday and back home after a spur of the moment trip away yesterday.Left the golf clubs behind as well and left before going out an playing nine holes Monday afternoon. Have got the hunger back for golfing again and surprised myself a little as well. Sunday competition and an easy 33 points with three wipes. Poor putting cost me and a couple of crap chips and drives, same as the week before. My game is travelling well considering the extended layoff. A bit of a niggle in the shoulder still, which is not acceptable and will need a doctors visit. Almost did not play yesterday the carpark was full with mostly holiday golfers. Great for the club as the green fees are what makes us financial, social golfers all over the course make it hard to put the game face on though. Which usually does not bother me, Sunday though the serious golf game reared it's head and I got a bit stroppy on the last hole with a large group in front holding up play. Summer holidays is golfing mayhem here and is not the true competition season. Only problem was me, the game brain switched on and through my calm demeanor out the window.
Today I got home and dealt with the irritation by going out for nine holes of serious wak f@k. The problem was caused by my game unexpectedly hitting form. The Driver was hot and today settled into the groove better. It is all in the stance, grip and swing of course yet on Sunday it began to sync up. Today after nine it was wow factor time hitting straight long and with ease. Long irons are reasonable enough for this time of the year and only need tuning for game form. Chipping and 100 to 80m in shots are not any where settled where I want them or next season. Think it is dedicated practise time for the green shots, never been an issue before as I was never this close off the tee before to play GIR shots from here. Last season had the 6-8 irons dialed in for the GIR shots now it is 56 degree wedge shots, it is summer so the 9 and PW need to be improved for winter at the least. Putting and chipping are both rubbish at the minute. That is simply due to no practise for the putter. The chipping is a work in progress as I am trying to get back spin on these shots. What it all comes down to is I b\need the finesse and consistency with all shots and more variety t call on in game play. The single digit is beckoning and I am going to the dance. There is one other vital golf skill I am concentrating on also, fitness. I am certain that this will reduce 3-4 strokes of my handicap alone. Thankyou for your time and attention Geoff