This week the blog is coming from sunny San Diego, as I have just arrived. Only able to get in one round this week which was a pretty nondescript 77. Instead of writing about how to execute the answer, which there is plenty to write about, I thought I would go off on a bit of a tangent and discuss certain aspects of playing golf. First we must differentiate between golfers and people who play golf. Golfers are much more serious about the game. Golfers usually only golf, and although they may really enjoy watching other sports do not participate in them. Golfers will play golf in all kinds of conditions. For me it is 38 degrees and no wind. I do not mind playing in a drizzle, and if it starts raining in the middle of a round I will finish it, unless the course becomes unplayable.
Now, that we have define golfers, lets get to two problems common to all golfers. I have played this game since 1958. I had one year off in 1964 and did not play in 1995. I had a time from 1971 to 1986 that I played very infrequent averaging about 3 times per month, during the golfing season. Since 1987 including this year I have played quite a bit averaging about 3 times per week and began having a handicap in 1987. This takes in about 28 seasons. For 96% of the time my handicap has been between 3 and 5. For brief times my index has been below 3 and my lowest has been 1.6. For even briefer times my handicap has been 6 to 7. Despite improved equipment, reading more instruction books and watching more instructional videos that I thought possible, I was not able to significantly make any improvement. This is without a doubt the number one frustration that all golfers go through.
The second problem golfers have, is how they respond to a bad round under different circumstances. Golfers know there are three kinds of golf. Golf where you are either playing by yourself, or with friends and you are just having a good time or practicing. Then there is golf with your buddies when there is a little bit of money on the line, the friendly wager, in other words the competitive round. Finally there is tournament golf. When you have a bad round in the first two types of golf, you may be a little disappointed but you usually shrug it off as on of those days, try to decipher the problem and move on. But when you have a bad round in a tournament, you become the scum of the earth. We all know the words, choker, bum, and the best, ” I was playing so well going into the tournament”. Sometimes I think this post game melt down is more of a detriment to our games that the melt down that happened during the round.
My golf season is probably over for this year but this is what the answer is all about. Having a solid improvement in 2015 and being able to play in the heat, as the name I give tournament golf. I plan to play more tournament golf in 2015 and if I have indeed found the answer the above should be accomplished. The blog will take its College Football Bowl season hiatus and I will see you in a couple of weeks. GO BUCKS!!!
Another two round week, with the weather barely golf able. The rounds were not quite as good as the previous weeks but not bad. I shot 77 at Fort Cherry on Tuesday and a 78 at Scenic Valley. Both days the temps were in the low to mid 40’s and today there was a slight mist in the air. The wind was not bad on either day. The ball striking continues to be very good to down right excellent, but the short game and putting continue to be a problem for various reasons.
First, let’s discuss the good stuff , the ball striking. Going into each round with an open mind, and no pre round mindset has worked extremely well. This has helped me approach each shot with an even more open mind, and my decision making process, while not perfect, has improved dramatically. It has allowed me to totally commit to each individual shot. Let me sight one example in todays round. The 8th hole at Scenic is a downhill par 3 of about 170 yards. Today the blue tee was up and the pin was on the front of the green. It was about 160 to the pin. It was cold and damp and what wind there was, was against. On a normal day this would be no more than an 8 iron. With the cold and the dampness I felt that even a 7 iron would have to be hit hard to get there. However I thought the 6 iron was too much club. Usually when you take too much club you have a tendency to swing too easy which ruins the shot. I did two things to manage the shot. I decided to take a 3/4 swing and to play the ball just a touch forward to get a little more height on the shot. My thinking was that by hitting the 6 iron a little higher, it would help shorten its distance even more with the wind in my face. The shot felt right, and I executed it well, and the ball hit just past pin high, 15 feet left of the pin. As the day went on and I got colder, I went back to that flatter swing the last time I got cold, and continued to hit the ball well. This makes a couple of good points. Looking for that day swing does not mean that you can not go back to a swing that was working before and then failed. Again you have to let this happen not make it happen. Secondly, you can make some changes in the middle of the round if conditions dictate it. That can be something that you had done previously. It really boils down to being open to what your body is trying to tell you.
Now putting and the short game is another story. I actually had a pretty good short game today, maybe the best, since finding the answer. The putting was mediocre at best and I don’t feel any closer to executing the answer in these phases of the game. I literally froze up today which led to a skulled wedge on 17 and a 3 putt on 18. I don’t know if there is going to be much playing time left this year. I am leaving for San Diego on the 21st to spend Christmas with the grandkids. There is an outside chance for some golf in the early part of the week, with temperatures getting close to 50 but it looks like this could be accompanied with a lot of rain. Even if I don’t get to play, there is still a lot to write about the answer, see you next week.
This week I am going to discuss how to try to apply the answer to putting and the short game. Originally this was just going to be a putting blog, but the weeks play changed all that. At first I thought I was going to write about how trying to execute the answer in putting and the short game could be different than trying to execute it in the full swing. This week changed all that. I played two rounds this week. Lets look at each round in depth on how it applies to the answer.
On Wednesday under some brutal conditions, 38 degrees with a pretty good breeze and some periodic mist, I managed to shoot a 75, although it was from the white tees at Scenic Valley which is pretty short, but considering the conditions, this was a really good round. I developed a swing that day that was very flat, but got me turning well, even though my body was pretty frozen. I had my best putting day, since finding the answer, by making some good putts on the back nine to birdie 3 of the last five holes, and even though they were wrapped around a double bogey, I shot one under on the back. I found a particular putting method that worked really well that day. There are two things that make putting different in trying to execute the answer. Putting itself, although relatively simple, can have dozens of ways to make a stroke. Lets face it, one of the things I am not going to do in trying to find my “that day swing” is to put my left hand low. Plus putting results are more black and white. Its either a miss or a make. If you recall last week when I started my nine hole round, I hit a 7 iron with a particular swing, and I considered the shot while not great, very acceptable. I continued to swing that way the rest of the round with good results. I also felt because putting is different, that a successful technique maybe tranferred from one day to the other.
Well today’s round proved me wrong. I had a horrible day putting and my short game was even worse, which led to an 81. The method that I had used on Wednesday failed miserably today and some preconceived short game ideas also were busts. My long game today was again pretty solid with a swing that found me making a solid move to my right side ala Curtis Strange. I did find a putting method on the back. that got me back to shooting a 38, highlighted by an eagle on the par 5 tenth hole.
What are the conclusions here? You must allow all three phases of your golf game to just happen, and not try to make them happen. This is much more difficult to do when it comes to putting and the short game. When you make a full swing there are many things happening to your body. You are turning, twisting, shifting, changing direction and cocking your wrists. All these movements can be felt and lead to you finding your that day swing. In the short game and putting there is not near the movement involved. So it is much more difficult to execute those aspects of the game with an open mind and not revert back to some previous technique. Its even harder to forget what was successful in the previous round. However, you must do this if are going to go into each round with that open and free mind that will allow all three parts of your golf game to function at its best for that day. A very productive week and there is an outside chance for some more golf this week, as I plunge forward to execute the answer.