Well the 80’s streak is broken with three rounds in the 70’s this week. Nothing spectacular but 77, 77, and 76 today felt mighty good. Yes I did some things different this week with the hope that they might be long term solutions. I made a radical address position change and I had a new idea on how to perceive your golf swing. If these things prove to be worth while then I will discuss them in detail later.
But tonight I want to discuss something that was brought up in another blog, All About Golf, by Brian Penn. What is the best way to go about getting the most out of your golf game and still be able to recognize members of your family. Not only to balance that, but also to balance the time you have between practice and playing. Now, Brian already knows I believe playing is more important than practice. But the real problem may be trying to do the balancing act, rather than just accepting the fact that you are doing the best you can under the circumstances. Just because you do not get in the practice time because real life gets in the way, does not mean that you are doomed for a bad round. Let me relate what happened to me from 1994 to 1996. In the fall of 94 I decided to get away from the game for awhile. No golf the rest of 94 and none in April and May of 95. Then low and behold I get an invite to play Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio. Now I could have recieved this invite any time in the previous 20 years and needless to say I was flabbergasted to get the invitation on the one year that I decided not to play golf at all. If you don’t know, this is the golf course that Jack Nicklaus grew up on. There was no way I was going to pass this up. I was scheduled to play on a Tuesday. The Thursday before was the South Park men’s championship, a 36 hole event. So I figured, what the hell I’ll sign up for the tournament, and get a solid 36 holes of golf in before I play in Columbus. Even though I wasn’t playing that year, I was hitting balls about twice a week, just to keep my golf muscles in shape, because I knew I would be getting back into golf in a year or maybe two. I shot two 78’s in the tournament and felt I at least would not make a total ass of myself at Scioto. So five days later I played Scioto and I was more nervous there, than I was at the tournament, the week before. I got off to the typical shaky start and shot a 6 over 42 on the front. But then on the back nine something just clicked and I started hitting the ball well and got into the fairways and greens rut and made a birdie in the middle of the back nine and stood on the 18th tee one under par on the back nine. I hit a great drive down the middle and had a 7 iron in to back pin. I smoked it right at the pin, but with adrenaline flowing, it hit about 10 feet past the pin and went over the green in the rough. I had a tough little pitch to a short pin and executed the shot perfectly but the ball still went about 4 and half feet by. I really wanted that 1 under par back nine, and with a very still head I stroked the ball right in the middle of the cup. So you could say with 45 holes of preparation, I shot a 1 under par 35 on one of the best golf courses in the United States. I did not play another round of golf until May of 1996.
So what’s the point of all this. To be able to prepare to play your best golf is great. But if something comes up, that you can’t, just accept it, and feel you will still play your best, by finding it on the golf course. Just go play, because you never know what is going to happen and that is what makes this game just so DAMN GREAT.
Well, another week of scores in the 80’s and one less round this week because of rain yesterday. I almost did not do a blog this week just to see if this would help break the slump. Today I shot 80 at Fort Cherry a fairly easy course with a par of 70. In fact I three putted the last hole for a double bogey to ensure that the failure to break 80 streak reach a nice round figure of 8. Todays round was just a plethora of mental mistakes. In fact my ball striking this week was probably the best of the year, but this streak is really getting to me. Trying to look on bright side of things, I am hoping that I will find something that will leave a lasting positive impact on my game. It is amazing to me, when you are on a streak like this, that every little mistake you make seems to be magnified. The putts never seem to fall and your concentration is out the window.
During the winter I talked about the mind body connection and how I think this game is an even split of 50% mental and 50% physical. I still believe that, but right now my mental game is definitely been out to lunch. I can tell that my mind is not focused on the task at hand. Let me give one great example early in today’s round. I hit a great drive right down the middle and only had about 110 to a slightly elevated pin. This was a nice solid 50 degree wedge for me. Even though I was in the fairway I could tell the ball was sitting slightly down. Not as bad as a divot but there had to be a small hole there. Now I knew I was going to really have to dig that ball out and I also knew that the ball probably would not fly as far. Did I go back and get my wedge. Of course not. I hit the ball a good 10 yards short of the green. I was able to get the ball up and down to save par, but I should have had a 10 to 20 foot birdie putt. This was one of many mental blunders today. We will see what happens next week. If you don’t see the blog next week, then you know the streak is still going and I have resorted to that, to try and stop it.
Well, here we are on another Sunday night wrap up and not much has changed. The frustration continues, with bad weather, only two rounds in, and both in the 80’s. This makes five straight rounds in the 80’s. This has been one of the longest dry spells since I have begun the shoulder swing. I could go into many reasons why this has been happening but basically it is in the past. I tried some new grip ideas this week with the goal of developing a more natural hinging and unhinging of the wrists. I gripped the putter in way I felt would allow the wrists to be in a more natural position. At times, this seemed to work and I putted pretty well today, but in the end I felt I had come to another dead end.
I think my main problem this year has been my lack of awareness as to what the hell is going on, on the golf course. As far as the other mental A’s are concerned, I think I have done well. Despite my problems I have kept my anger under control. I don’t think anxiety has played a major role in my scoring woes. I have accepted what’s been happening. But it is my awareness that has really faltered. Because this has been my big short coming, I have not made the proper adjustments on the field of play. That will be the goal this week to improve my awareness on the golf course and get back to having some mind body connection on more than just two shots a round. We all want to be more consistent. That all can now include Phil Mickelson who went something like 12 or 13 shots higher from one day to the next. For whatever reason it makes one feel just a little better when a top player has the same problems as all of us. The weather is looking better this week and hopefully this will contribute the end of the run of 80’s. I feel better already.