Excellent golf in exotic locations….
As a BIG fan of the MENA Tour, I’m Ready !!!
Excellent golf in exotic locations….
As a BIG fan of the MENA Tour, I’m Ready !!!
Today was the day I dedicated my entire practice session to putting. In previous practice sessions I would combine chipping and putting practice by putting out each chip…today was a bit different.
I started out with the 3ft drill and progressed to the 6 foot drill and ended the day with lag putt drills from as far out as 40ft. I emphasized the side hill-down hill putt as this is the putt I tend to struggle with the most.
The weather certainly wasn’t ideal with morning temps below 50* and wind gusts up to 20 plus mph. This made for some challenging conditions. The practice green condition could best be described as “fast” as the green was adequately hydrated by a soaking type overnight rain.
I concentrated on proper green reading, set-up procedure, and pace. I managed to “lip out” quite a few putts as it seems my pace was slightly off for the conditions but I also managed to make quite a few putts from outside of 20ft from various locations on the green. I lag putted exceptionally well from the fringe as well as just off the green…even sinking a few from an off the green uphill direction.
I am trying to lessen the probability of “3 putting” and expand my mental inventory of green reading and pace/feel data. After a solid 1-1:15 minutes of practice, my database has expanded to include additional information that can only assist me out on the course.
I plan on additional dedicated putting practice sessions from this point on as they will no doubt assist me in reducing 3 putts out on the course.
All that’s needed now is better conditions weather wise…..
This morning I played 9 holes at my home course with a different perspective on what constitutes making improvements.
In the past I concentrated on what can best be described as “big number movements” as in cutting 4-5 stokes of my game at the end of the day. When I approached play in this manner, I was often disappointed and discouraged at various points during the round and almost always at the end of the round. I began to play the “numbers game” where I would drop a shot here then place additional pressure on myself to “make up a shot” on the next hole. This practice never led me to believe I would accomplish my goal that I set for myself at the onset of the round which was to chop fairly significant numbers of strokes off my score.
Today I tried something new. As I concentrated on each individual shot my sole focus was to REDUCE the number of triple bogeys on my scorecard. That was my only goal…reduction of triple bogeys. As I chip away at the number of strokes needed to successfully complete a hole, I focused on taking one specific category of deficiency out of play throughout the day and I tailored my course strategy in such a fashion to allow me the opportunity to execute my game day plan. Mistakes were not “brooded” over but were experienced, evaluated, and forgotten about when it was time to hit my next shot. I seldom looked at my scorecard except to record my score and I didn’t tally up any numbers until the round was completely over.
My result was the most consistent round of golf so far this season and no triple bogeys made it on the scorecard. As I continue to develop this new strategy, I will target double bogeys next and so on and so on as my skills continue to develop and evolve.
I’m not rushing this approach either. This is a work in progress and with everything else in my life that really means something, it will be a time and effort consuming process. I look forward to practicing, training, and playing with a focus much less dependent on playing the “numbers game” and focusing significantly on the elimination of a single category of adversities starting with the most damaging and working my way down to the least damaging.
The work…and learning continues.
You’re supposed to learn something new every day…
With that said….as I spent almost 2 hours on the practice tee/green today, here is what I learned.
Regardless of the iron, if I can build a smooth rhythmic swing and let the club do the work for me, I get better than acceptable centerness of contact on the clubface, decent distance, and much improved accuracy. I have trouble doing this as under pressure I tend to overswing. This is a “mental game” issue and I will be testing a new approach to my mental game tomorrow where the inclusion of a standardized “pre-shot” routine is combined with a newly crafted though process that I hope will calm the nerves and reduce anxiety.
My play with the driver is vastly improving due specifically to my adopting the same smooth rhythmic swing to my play off the tee. I’m developing a specific and unique swing “sensation and process” for each club in my bag. This will no doubt take a significant amount of time but I’ coming to the realization that there is no “one size fits all” approach to hitting a quality shot. There are too many variables to apply a generic thought and action process.
Hybrids still elude me. What has seemed to help me a bit is to place the ball just slightly forward in my stance (ever so slightly) and not lean the handle of the club excessively forward like I do with my irons. When I did this, I managed to strike the ball fairly well and not “top” the ball which is my achilles heel with the hybrid. More work needs to be done in this area but I may be FINALLY on the right track.
Technique wise, I’m working on holding my finish as I execute the shot. It appears that when I do, I experience a truer flight pattern. I would normally finish the swing then allow the club to drop and not pay much attention to my body position at the secession of the follow-through. Holding the finish seems to help me hit accurate shots, now all I need to do is to remember to hold that finish and not revert back to old habits.
Chipping quality is dependent upon my finishing the shot and not stopping my hands once I strike the ball. I’m working on feel….and there is much work in this arena that remains to be completed.
On the putting green the hole was cut on an angle which caused me to “lip” more than my share of putts. I can’t be too upset with this condition as I was rather accurate in the distance and speed category. I need to work on my properly reading these “angle” hole positions. I am getting rather competent with the putter when putting off the green and that’s a welcomed addition to my game.
I amaze myself with the degree and volume of information I can acquire on a daily basis when I practice and train with a purpose and an open mind. The next challenge is to translate those knowledge based learning opportunities to the course.
This coming Sunday the 10th is an 18 hole outing at Old Hickory Golf Club in Livonia NY where the course looks to be a combination of an “links” style course with an Upstate NY “flavor” to it. It’s a place I’ve looked forward to playing for a while and I’m glad I’m finally getting the opportunity.
My weekly practice/training sessions will continue throughout the month of May with the weeks activities being divided equally between putting/chipping efforts, short irons/pitching efforts, and long iron/hybrid/driver work. Glaring deficiencies will be addressed during an extra practice/training day.
My next RDGA Play-Day tournament is on Monday June 8th at the Mendon Golf Club. My game plan is to play a “warn-up” 9 hole round on Sunday the 7th and concentrate on specific areas of my game that need work prior to the tournament. At several times during the month of May, I will be playing several 9 hole rounds at my home club Southern Meadows.
It’s going to be an exciting and busy month!
One thing I’ve discovered…having a routine on the golf course is a must when it comes to mentally and physically preparing for each individual shot.
I say mental and physical because for me at least my physical routine helps me prepare mentally and visually to execute the shot. In anxious/nervous situations the routine allows me the time and space to calm myself and refocus on the task at hand. From the physical perspective, the routine allows me the time and space to properly aim my body and the clubface in an effort to execute an accurate shot. Visually….I must be able to see in my mind’s eye how I want the shot to look like then execute the shot based on my visualization.
I’ve been working on this quite a bit in the past couple of months and I’ve seen benefits off the tee and on the putting green. I still suffer from doubt and apprehension with the medium and short irons and as I continue to work on my pre-shot routine I hope to build confidence with these clubs in the process.
The most frustrating parts of this game are also the most challenging and rewarding…once you gain an understanding of their nuances and are able to execute these components when you need to.
Building routines….one component at a time.
My very 1st tournament is in the books….
Irondequoit CC’s RDGA Play-Day Tournament was an awesome event with 92 participants, beautiful weather, and a well groomed course.
My play wasn’t as expected but there were more than a few high points on the day, especially my play off the tee with the driver. After a rather productive session on the driving range, my intermediate and short iron play was inconsistent and as the day progressed I began to push shots to the left. My putting was decent, I reduced my 3 putts somewhat even though the greens were never level ground and difficult for me to read.
Regardless….the course was tough and I fought hard throughout the day. My score may not have been what I hoped for but I had NO REASON to be ashamed of my effort.
A special Thank You to the staff/volunteers of the RDGA and the Irondequoit CC for such a warm and welcoming event. I look forward to the next one at the Mendon Golf Club in June.