Have been able to play everyday since Sunday. On Sunday played Ponderosa and shot 77. Played Scenic Valley two days in a row and shot 81 and 78. The conditions on Monday were worst than anticipated as a light rain started on the 5th hole and really never let up the entire round. The condition were chilly and damp to say the least, especially since the rain wasn’t expected for another 3 to 4 hours. Wednesday went back to Ponderosa and shot 80. Today played Fort Cherry with a score of 81. Even though the scores were not that good, I felt I played 100 % mental golf for the first time this year. With 5 rounds played I am just going to go through the highlights or lowlights which ever you prefer.
The scores were high because putting is still a big problem, with not even some consistency in what the problem is. Sometimes it has been very bad lag putting or distance control with the putts. Other times it is just missing short putts. When you are going through a stretch like this on the greens, it seems like luck is not on your side either. Lots of lip outs, and hitting the pin and bouncing out, and burning lots of edges. I would grade my putting a D minus. If I had been only putting at C level then I would have easily had 2 to 4 shots less per round. There were at least a half a dozen times this week that I would hit a very good putt from 15 to 25 feet, that would just miss the hole and go buy about 3 to 4 feet, and I would miss the putt coming back. The frustration can affect other parts of your game as well, which can contribute to poor scoring. The short game is ok, but when you are not making putts, then any mistakes in other parts of your game is magnified. My ball striking is good, but even that looks or feels worse when you are not scoring.
I do want to discuss what I mean when I wrote that I felt I played 100% mental golf for the first time all year. We have all been told that in order to play well, you have to trust your swing. I think it goes a little further than that. Once you have decided on the shot, then you have to trust that your body will perform the task that your brain has visualized for the shot. We all talk about the repeatable swing. Depending on shot, many times you have to swing differently to produce that shot. What’s interesting is your body will perform the task correctly, if your brain has chosen the right type of shot to play. This is how you play with no swing thoughts. However, if the brain has chosen a faulty shot, then the body will not make a good swing at the ball. I believe this is the essence of 100% mental golf. It becomes more clear every time you play. I will give examples of this as the year goes by.
The top priority now is too find a solution to the putting problem. May not be able to play until Monday for various reasons. Hoping to start scoring better soon.
I was able to play on Wednesday and Thursday of this week with both rounds at Scenic Valley. The scores were 78 on Wednesday and oops 84 on Thursday. Not very inspiring rounds, and they were different types of rounds even though the conditions were about the same, with it being just a bit cooler on Thursday, but there was a little more wind on Wednesday. Scenic Valley for this time of year is in great shape and the greens had been cut and were very smooth to putt.
The Good: Again, the ball striking was good on both days. I could nit pick on some things but my driving was good and my iron play was very good on Wednesday. My short game was not spectacular but was not at the root of the bad scoring.
The Problem: Putting was an issue, especially on Wednesday with 4 putts under 5 feet missed, and although I did make two nice birdie putts, missed another 2, between 6 and 10 feet. I admit the short putt misses started to get to me and did affect my concentration as the round wore on. My putting was again the problem the next day, but of a different type. I had terrible distance control with the putts on Thursday, which led to a number of three putts. This coupled with a slight decline in ball striking, that easily led to the 6 shot increase the next day. The biggest problem especially on Thursday, was my visualization process was not working. I just couldn’t get a good feel for shots I was trying to play. I did not have any zone outs but I almost fell back into the trap of looking at my swing as the problem. It was just one of those days where the picture would not happen. It did a few times and when it did the shots were very good if not great. There were some other problems that were related to what I call cart golf syndrome. You can’t go off the path and you think you have taken enough clubs over for the shot, but when you get there, you don’t really have the club you need and go ahead and hit it anyway. Yes, I know, but it’s March and it is chilly and my happiness did not depend on me hitting a good shot and of course I didn’t. The solution to that problem is easy. Hopefully, the other problems of the round will be that easy to solve.
Should be able to play about 4 to 5 times beginning this Sunday to the following Sunday, so will have many opportunities to find the solutions.
This week I was able to play golf on Thursday and Friday after about a one month break, due to something called winter. Thursday played Scenic Valley and shot 77, and Friday went to Ponderosa and shot 80 where the weather and golf course conditions were a little tougher. At Ponderosa, we had a lot more wind and the golf course condition was very wet with the greens being very soft and slow.
The Good: My ball striking was very good, considering the layoff. I drove the ball well and my iron play was good. I struck the ball solidly from all positions and was able to play the desired shot most of the time. My short game continued to be more than adequate, as the early changes I made have helped. For the most part my mental process worked fairly well and I made good decisions most of the time.
Problems: Putting was the biggest issue. I did not putt horribly, but the best way to sum up my putting, was that I had no birdies for 2 days of golf. I missed a couple of short putts at Scenic for pars, and some makeable birdie putts which kept that round from being a really good round for early in the season. At Ponderosa the greens were really slow but I was ready for that, and my speed on greens was not bad but I could not get the ball in the hole. I got off to another bad start at Ponderosa but only lasted 2 holes and some par saves on 3 and 4 helped get the round rolling a bit. The other issue was that 2 to 3 times in both rounds I completely zoned out while hitting a shot. My mind went completely off on other thoughts that had nothing to do with the shot I was planning to play. This happened completely out of the blue and at different parts of the round. Needless to say the results of the shot were horrible. Considering I am not thinking about my swing at all and just thinking of ball fight and shot planning it is surprising. The definition of a loss of concentration.
Overall I was happy with the way I played during the two day. Here is one principle, that forms one of the basic fundamentals of 100% Mental Golf. Every golf shot is totally 100% unique. I have stated that I do not have swing thoughts any more, which is true. However, I certainly have awareness as to how a certain swing feels in a particular situation. When a shot really turns out well, that swing has a certain feeling to it. This can be particular true on a tee shot. The trap comes when you try to repeat that feeling on the next tee shot. In fact this is often recommended in golf instruction to have a repeatable swing. Believe me the shot will not be as good as the one on the last tee shot, because the next tee shot is unique from the previous tee shot. The mind was not built to repeat, anyway. Here is nice little test. Get a piece of paper and make sure it is wide enough to sign your name about 5 times across. Sign your name 5 times across the paper as naturally and with as little thought as possible. Maybe your signature will even look exactly the same each time or there may be some slight differences. Now drop below about one inch each signature and try to copy that signature. Take one look at signature for as long as you want and then right underneath the signature write it again and see how you do. First it will take you longer to write the signature and you most likely will fail. Part of the reason you fail is your trying to copy the exact signature. This happens with the golf swing for even more reasons, but mostly because no two golf shots are ever exactly alike so why should you try to swing the same way a previous golf shot felt. More on that later in the year. Hopefully a little more golf this week as the weather looks better in the middle to the end of the week. See you then.