Fighting the Urge to be Perfect….

The perfect shot….at the perfect distance with the perfect landing spot followed up by the perfect roll into the center of the cup.

It’s the shot we all strive for but the problem is it’s unobtainable. There are too many variables for it to happen. We can get close, sometimes very close, but to “fire on all cylinders 100% of the time” is a near impossibility.

With my belief that the above statements are true and accurate, the question that begs answering deals directly with the seeking of perfection and its adverse effects on performance.

Does seeking perfection harm our scores and if so….how badly ?

One area where perfection is sought and the end results of our efforts are immediately visible is on the Trackman. We see in “real-time” our distances, shot placement, landing area, path to target, and a multitude of other relevant data. In my experience, the more I immerse myself in the numbers and shot patterns, the greater the possibility of disappointment in the results. I begin to ask myself why I can’t “pinpoint” my landing area, why can’t I get 15-20 more yards out of my Driver, and why my shot disbursement (shot groups) aren’t in a tighter pattern. The greater the depth of my inquiries, the greater my disappointment in my results. I begin to call adequate shots…inadequate.

I have to often remind myself the following….

1. The fairway is a large area. Pick a general location on the fairway where I want the ball to land and aim for that spot. Hit the spot….fantastic. Don’t hit the spot…it isn’t the end of the world. Let go of the bad….follow up with a better next shot. Lastly….whenever possible, land the ball in the fairway and stay out of the rough.

2. Distance helps….accuracy helps tremendously. 250 plus yard drives are worthless if I can’t find the ball after I hit it. 180-200 yard drives where the ball stays on the fairway will ALWAYS be the better play …at least in my case.

3. The Short Game is my great equalizer. I don’t abandon or neglect the long ball component of my game but a solid short game will allow me to score much better than I have been. I’ve learned to LOVE my short irons, wedges, and putter…and for good reason.

4. Don’t be so hard on myself. Mistakes will happen, bad days on the course will happen, and my best made plans will sometimes fail. To get down on myself for a mistake or allow negative energy to effect my attitude only serves to assure the remainder of my play will be both frustrating and substandard. I have to fight the urge to be perfect.

For me these are not easy tasks to accomplish….but the must be accomplished if I am to score well and meet the performance standards I have set for myself. I have to allow things to happen…allow them to develop…and NOT force things to happen then suffer discouragement when things don’t go as planned.

The Trackman has been a tremendous help to me as it allows me to receive immediate feedback and illustrates not only my areas of deficiencies but my progress in correcting those deficiencies. It also allows me the unfortunate ability to critique every aspect of my game and begin to “sweat the details” in such a manner as to add unneeded stress and doubt in my progression.  I may be criticized for writing this but at this stage in my development does it REALLY matter if I’m 10 or 60 ft. left or right of the center of the fairway when just 10 months ago I couldn’t hit the fairway …period ? Is an accurate drive 180-190yds. in distance a better option than a 220-230yd drive that ends up on the far left rough ?

This game is humbling….as well as being an activity that can take you to the highest highs. The toughest part for me to date is having to fight the urge to be perfect.

…and I suspect it will remain difficult for some time to come.

Fight on…. 

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Fighting Through….

Today was a tough one….

As I participated in my regularly scheduled Friday afternoon Trackman session…it 150327_001became clear that physically I would struggle.

As I worked with the Driver, I noticed my body rotation wasn’t complete, my feet felt as if they were encased in concrete, and my swing was less “robust” than it usually was. It would have been easy to pack up shop and try again another day but I chose to work through it and put in as best of an effort as possible and see where my efforts took me.

When I didn’t rotate completely, I sliced the ball just off the fairway. When I hit it fat I came up short distance wise and left of the fairway center. After a period of readjustment, my accuracy returned but I failed to obtain distances beyond 200yds on a regular basis. In the attached photo, the numbers shown include the carry of the ball which was typically 12-19 yards past the impact area on the fairway.

It’s been  a tough week mentally and physically and I’m pretty “beat up” in both categories. Today was a good test of my mental toughness and my ability to “shake off a bad shot” and follow-up with a fresh effort. I’m not all that happy with my performance but there are more than a few details in which to be proud of and my concentration in those areas will carry me through to the next practice session.

At this point in my development, I’m not going to be a big hitter and concentrating on keeping the ball in the fairway will be my strategy. What I’ve struggled with most is my body rotation…seems I fail to fully rotate so I am on the lookout for new ways to work on that aspect at home.

Fighting through….

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A Mixed Bag…..

It’s been roughly 10-12 days since I’ve been able to get back on the Trackman…and after todays effort…it showed.

It took roughly 20 balls struck with the driver before I got back on track and recorded some decent distances and accuracy. The good news was that after getting back on track, I began to close in on the 225-230yd range with my drives. The bad news was that it appears that long layoffs are not in my best interest.  

I didn’t get the opportunity to work with the 3W today which was disappointing. I did seem t favor the 11g weight in the driver over the lighter 7g weight and through video review I have improved the distance in which I can get the club head back behind my head therefore increasing my flexibility and club head speed.

A few swings at the end of my session with the 5I saw me breach the 165yd mark…encouraging as well.

‘I’ll be back at it Friday…and until then it’s impact bag time.

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Know the Rules….

This morning was the final day of the two-day (consecutive Saturday morning sessions)2bxj5kht_400x400 USGA Rules Seminar hosted by the Rochester District Golf Association.  As I expected, the degree and depth of the information provided has provided me with a greater understanding of the rules of the game.

I wanted to publically thank the RDGA and its instructors for providing a top-notch learning opportunity. The professionalism exhibited by the RDGA and its staff has made me proud to me a member, a participant, and an advocate for all they provide the game of golf in my area.

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Stress Testing….

Today I had the first opportunity to unbox my new Clicgear Rovic RV1C push cart. After 150321_001removing the cart from its box, it became rather clear that my choice of a push cart was the correct one.

The cart arrived without damage and took a matter of seconds to unfold and fully deploy to the point where I could securely mount my Sun Mountain C130 cart bag to it. The ease in which this push cart could be unfolded and refolded is a testament to the forethought Clicgear’s engineering department invested in the basic design. Add in the quality of the materials utilized in its construction along with its ease and convenience of use and I couldn’t be happier with the product.

Stress testing the new cart was the responsibility of my Grandson Christopher who loved the cart so much that he proudly proclaimed that the cart and my golf bag (including all of its contents) are no longer mine….they are now his.

Clicgear’s Rovic RV1C push cart appears to be sturdy enough to pass on to him when he gets old enough…

By then…it will be the perfect excuse for Grandpa to buy a new Clicgear cart !

 

 

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Setting the Seasons Goals and Expectations…

 

The month of April is 13 days away and the weather has finally begun to take a turn for 264DEFFF00000578-2978901-image-a-9_1425460831138the better. Being able to practice outside will be a reality in approximately 2 weeks and add a weeks time to that playing on the course will become a reality.

As with any competitive effort, I took into consideration my progress during the off-season both as a student taking structured lessons and my efforts on the Trackman and crafted a set of goals and expectations for the coming golf season.

Last season my practice to course play ratio was approximately 6 to 1 favoring play. I will reverse this trend in 2015 by scheduling 3 to 4 practice sessions per week with each practice session designed to address a specific area of my game. In an average weeks practice sessions, one session will concentrate on Driver, 3W, and Hybrids, another will consist of both long and short irons, and one will concentrate on wedge play and putting. Course play will occur on weekend days with the exception of Monday tournament play. Practice sessions will be 100% dedicated practice sessions not a shortened practice session combined with a “quick 9 holes” afterwards. This approach will allow me to correct deficiencies, improve my ball striking and accuracy capabilities, and allow me to build confidence…all areas in which suitable performance was lacking in 2014.

Tournament play was restricted in terms of events entered on purpose. Being someone who has “lofty ambitions” and suffers from a lack of patience for structured practice sessions, I believed it to be to my benefit to ease into a tournament schedule that will allow me to gain experience with tournament play without restricting my abilities to practice and train accordingly. I’ve capped my tournament play to 10 events (I have the opportunity and resources at my disposal to enter over twice as many events) of which 7 of them are with the Rochester District Golf Association and 3 of them  are at my home club Southern Meadows of which one of the remaining 3 is the annual club championships. After the 2015 season ends, I will reevaluate my performance levels and it I am making continued progress I will expand the 2016 schedule to include additional events.

What I’m looking for numbers wise is to reduce my handicap to a mid teens range (14-18 handicap) and to score in the low to mid 90’s on courses with a  course rating of 120 or better. By the end of the season I’m setting my sights on shooting mid to high 80’s on courses with the same 120 or higher course rating standards.

The most important aspect for me in 2015 is to honor my commitments to an aggressive and effecting practice and training session and to continue the learning process through tournament play. I am confident that the goals I have set for myself are not only realistic but are obtainable.

Recreational golf has not been lost or abandoned here…there will be a bit of “knock about” fun too…with an emphasis on a good score of course.

My clubs have become my new “personal companions.” I look forward to the future with great anticipation and significant confidence in myself and my abilities to achieve.

April 1st can’t come soon enough ….

Cheers !

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My Day with the RDGA….

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Today was the first of a two-day USGA rules seminar hosted by the Rochester District Golf Association. Classroom instruction started at 9am this morning at the RDGA Headquarters located in the Brighton Campus Park on West Henrietta Road in Rochester.

The RDGA offices can best be described as a modern office and classroom facility where the business of the game of golf and especially quality instruction regarding the rules of the game can be conducted in a professional facility. RDGA history is on display for all to see with the office and classroom facilities showcasing photographs from various tournaments as well as beautifully crafted wooden “champions boards” where the names of each male, female, and junior RDGA champion are displayed next to the calendar year in which the coveted title was earned. This combination of RDGA history and a modern learning environment proved to be a welcoming atmosphere of which I was honored to participate.

This USGA rules seminar was geared towards those whom wished to volunteer for USGA and RDGA tournaments as a rules official/referee. My interests originally resided with my wishing to gain a greater understanding of the game from a tournament participant perspective but as the instructional session progressed, it became clear that the greater my knowledge base, the greater the appreciation for both the rules of golf and my ability to apply them both as a player and possibly a volunteer for future events.

A great deal of time was spent on USGA Rule 20 that covers Lifting, Dropping and Placing as well as Playing from  the Wrong Place on the course. What one may perceive as a simple process actually consists of a number of specific conditions and requirements that exemplified my need for such a training session. Knowledge is king…better to possess it than not possess it and suffer unnecessary stroke penalties because you didn’t possess it.

I look forward to the second and final training session on Saturday the 21st where successful completion of the training program will equip me to be a better tournament player and student of the game. Until next Saturday, my class of 13 students were given homework assignments that will allow me to become intimately acquainted with the current USGA rulebook.

Let the learning and studying begin….

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