Coming from San Diego this week, where I am missing some pretty brutal Pittsburgh weather but I will be going back on Tuesday. It does not look like golf in the Burgh anytime soon. The family is doing well and I am having a great time with the grandkids and the new addition is doing nothing but doing well. It’s great being a baby, eat and sleep, eat and sleep.
This week I thought I would write about some things about the golf swing and clarify some things, on what it means to find your that day golf swing. The other way I like to put this is, how to play your best golf on the day that you play. How do we go about this?
The first thing is, you must go into each new round with an open mind. Now, most of the time this is going to mean that you can not fall back on what was working the day before. However, if you just can’t help yourself, because you just really liked this swing thought, go ahead and try it on the first tee. If it does not work then abandon it immediately. Pay attention to what your body did and remember the way to get back on track. If it went left, aim left on the next shot and if it went right aim right on the next shot. I went into this is in more detail in a previous blog.
Now some of you may be wondering, should you make some in round changes if you start out well and then start to hit some bad shots. The short answer is absolutely. It depends on what caused the bad shot. It may not be always a swing issue. Many pre shot circumstances can cause a poor shot. These can range from selecting the wrong club, the wrong type of shot or not paying attention to the lie of the ball. However, if you think your swing was bad, again make the above adjustments to get on track. The thing to remember is to be a results guy on the course. What I mean by that, is that during the round your swing may begin to do something that your not that pleased with. Its getting a little quick or you feel you are getting out of balanced at the finish. If the results are good, do not let this bother you or try to correct it. This is the way your swing is behaving today and let it happen. This again is where I think a preconceived swing thought gets you in trouble. You are trying to get your body to do something that it may have felt fine doing yesterday, or on the range but under the heat of the round does not want to do anymore.
As I wrote before, I am heading back to the Burgh and the miserable weather, with not much golf in the future. You have to play in order to execute the answer, so I don’t know when the next blog will be. I am working on some other projects, and if they inspire me I will be writing again. Each new round will be an adventure and hopefully I will be playing in the not to distance future. See you then.
Naturally it is winter in the Burgh and not much happening on the golf front. In order to execute the answer you have to play the game and that is not happening in the near future. I thought I would write about two subjects today. The first one is one of the things I tried this past year to connect the mind and the body that work for a least a few weeks and to discuss a little more about trying to execute the answer in the short game and why I think the grip is the ticket.
The thing I did about in the middle of the summer that worked pretty well for awhile, was to swing at the ball as hard as I could, while maintaining my balance. Now I didn’t do any Happy Gilmore swings, but I went after the ball pretty hard. Let’s face it I thought this was the ultimate mind body connection. The body is always wanting to swing hard, but it is the mind that is telling us to keep it smooth, and at less than full throttle. Sam Snead said he felt he swung at about 85% of his power. Well for about 4 weeks I went at it full throttle, and the results were not bad. What was amazing, was I didn’t notice a great deal of increase distance with my woods, but I was hitting my irons a lot further. I would hit my 8 iron about 170 yards, with accuracy. I was scoring pretty well and I felt the game was really becoming fun. I don’t remember all the reasons I quit doing it, but I do remember it became physically taxing, and it was getting hard to control distances and finesse anything. For awhile though, the mind and the body were really connected.
Here is the reason that I think the grip may be the key in finding your that day short game and putting method. Lets look at all the putting methods. Here are the basics: The long putter, the belly putter, left hand low, claw grip, split grip, and for a lack of a better term the conventional method. There have been probably other bizarre methods, but with the exception of possibly the belly putter, these methods have one thing in common. They all change the position of the hands on the putter. One thing that may be interesting would be to use a 36 inch long putter but grip in the same way the players grip the long putter. It would be like a reverse claw grip. You would take your left hand and grip the top of the putter with the elbow pointing at the target, and the right hand would be more or less in the standard grip. This could be a solution for these guys once the long putter is banned. In trying to find your that day putting or chipping method you would grip the club in the most comfortable position for that day and the grip would change from round to round. Only time will tell if I have lost my mind, but it did work for 27 holes. I will be in San Diego next week to meet the new grandchild and who knows might get a little golf in. See you next week.
Today I am going to discuss the attempts I have made on trying to find the “that day method” for both the short game and putting. I am talking about shots that are just around the green and not pitches of around 30 yards or more. For those shots I think you can still use your full swing method for the day. Speaking of short game how about Tiger Woods. I have only listened to a few of the comments concerning Tiger’s short game problems, but I have not heard anybody say the dreaded word. Tiger has the chip yips. Some of the commentators have said that it could be mental. DO YOU YA THINK? As a man who has battled the chip yips off and on for the last 2 years, you can practice all you want Mr. Woods but you have got the biggest challenge of your career coming up. Maybe Tiger can find the cure for the yips and help all of mankind. Wouldn’t that be something. I guess the other question might be would he tell us?
Now getting back to finding the best method for shots around the green and putting on the day you are on the golf course. There are some unique challenges. On one occasion, I started off my round with some great ball striking and hit the first 10 greens in regulation. The 11th hole was a 190 yard par 3 and i pulled my shot about 5 yards left of the green. So here I was 11 holes into the round and my first short game shot of the round. Since I have started trying to execute the answer in all three phases of the game, my putting has been mediocre. What was interesting is, that I never had a really bad day on the greens, one of those 38 to 40 putt rounds which really ruins the way beer tastes. My chipping and short pitching around the greens was also just mediocre and yips were few and far between. Both chipping and putting are very simple procedures with very little body movement, unlike the golf swing which has a multitude of body actions which can give many feels.
What I am about to explain I only did the last 27 holes of golf I played and I usually don’t reveal this kind of stuff without a lot more playing time doing something. This is more of an up to date progress report and this could change as new season develops. My last round in San Diego my chipping and short pitching were excellent to good and then my last 9 hole round was my best putting round since finding the answer. In previous rounds trying to find my “that day method” to chip and putt always involved trying get a feel of what my body was doing just like my full swing. What helped get better results in those two areas of the game was to get a feel for what my hands were doing. I used a unique grip in both the short game and putting. I’m not going into what these grips were, just yet, but I allowed my hands to do what they wanted to on the golf club just like I allowed by body to to what it wanted to do on the first swing of the day. These grips were nothing exotic or weird, they were just different from the way I usually gripped the club when I putted and chipped.
Here we are on Super Sunday again and just like Christmas, since the Steelers aren’t playing I will be glad when its over. Unlike last year, I don’t see a blowout but defense wins championships and unfortunately I think Seattle wins it 20-10. I would say unfortunately too, if I thought New England was going to win. See you next week.