100% Mental Golf: Rounds 20-26

Played seven rounds of golf since the last blog, and I am floundering a bit, and it may have been because of the last blog.  Lets get to the numbers: Fort Cherry 85   Scenic Valley 78   Ponderosa 77     Fort Cherry 79    Scenic Valley 77    Ponderosa  78    Scenic Valley  78.  Other than the horrendous day at Fort Cherry  the rounds were obviously consistent. If I wanted to be hard on myself, I could say, consistently lousy.  The weather was not great, mostly dark and dreary with some rain here and there, cool temperatures but with little to no wind.  The weather was not the issue.  The Fort Cherry round was a total disaster but I managed to right the ship to the point of making 5 pars and 2 bogeys on the last 7 holes.  Fort Cherry’s par is 70 so I was 13 over after 11 holes and everything was bad.    The rest of rounds were ok  with the normal things from keeping me scoring better.  We all know them.  Putting and short game, with some bad decisions mixed in.

What does the last blog have to do with all this?   I wrote, does 100% Mental Golf mean you totally ignore the physical side of the game.  My answer was no and I explained that I was making sure I was turning my body on my swing and gave this credit for my really good round of 75 at Scenic Valley.  Four days later I follow this round up with one of the worst of the year.  I repeat the question.  Does 100% Mental Golf mean you totally ignore the physical side of the game?  Now my answer is yes.  Now again this is for just us poor pathetic single digit handicappers who are stuck on the number.  How to get to a single digit handicap and be miserable, is another blog altogether.   I am not going to defend this position today, because maybe it will change again, but after the last 7 rounds, I don’t think so.  Obviously turning my body did not help me at Fort Cherry.  In the last blog I made the comment that there is a difference between thoughts and feelings.  Who cares.  Neither one is worth a good crap for very long on the golf course.  It boils down to the body and mind and how they function together.  I think now that some of our preconceived ideas about the golf swing, short game and putting are not right for our own particular golf game.   I am not going to get into specific examples, because this could change  by next week.

We will see what happens over the next few rounds.   I feel there should be 3 golf books that need to be written.

  1.  How to Become a Single Digit Handicap Golfer (At Least a 12)
  2.  How to Become a Scratch Golfer or Die Trying
  3.  Putting:  Get the Damn Ball in the Hole Any Way You Can

See you next week.

100% Mental Golf: Rounds 16-19

Able to play four rounds last week, and it was quite a week.  Played Indian Run 78, South Park 76,  Victory Hills 86, and Scenic Valley 75.  I played Tuesday through Friday, and I managed to sandwich in that 86, among the other pretty good rounds.  The conditions were not too bad, with only a very windy day at Indian Run, which made the 78 a better score than it would seem. So what happened at Victory Hills.  Very fast greens, that were unexpected, and I  was never really able to make the adjustment.  I had 39 putts for the day, but I was on the fringe 2 other times, and 3 putted, but technically only counted as 2 putts.  My ball striking was really good for the first 10 holes, especially the driver. My iron game was off just enough to give me some longer putts, and the score was 8 over after 10 holes.  Then for 4 holes my ball striking just deserted me, and even though I struck the ball better on the last 4 holes, it was a little too late.   I had not played this course for about 3 years, and even though I know the course pretty well, the greens caught me by surprise.  The other odd thing, this was the first course this year, that was playing hard and fast through the green.   On that bad stretch on the back nine, the ball was rolling into trouble to compound the bad ball striking.

The rest of the rounds were pretty good, the Scenic Valley round being the best of the year so far. The putting had it’s moments, which almost made me grade it B, but it was still too erratic to consider good overall.  Does 100% mental golf mean that you totally ignore the physical side of the game.  After all it is 100% mental.  My answer is no, and I am not too sure how I reconcile the concept,  other that to say feelings are different from thoughts.  I have always felt that the golf swing is a turn back and a turn forward.  Even though my ball striking has been good this year, I felt the swing just did not feel right.  The last round of the week at Scenic Valley I made sure that my body was turning and it was controlling the arms and not the arms controlling the body.   I did not try to get the club in any type of position at the top, all I did was turn by body away from the target on the backswing and then turn toward the target on the downswing.   This led to some of the best ball striking of the year.  During the round I was aware of turning the body but I still was concentrating on where I wanted the ball to go and the type of shot I was trying to execute.  In other words even though I was aware of turning my body more, I did not get into the typical things that I think many golfers get into when they hit a bad shot.  Thinking swing easier, swing in balance,  don’t overswing, smooth transition, and lead with the legs.   There is a lot more here but I think you get the point.  Every bad shot and mean every bad shot, is caused by a lack of awareness of the conditions, trying to do a shot you are not capable of, playing the wrong type of shot, picking the wrong club, or the circumstances of the situation, like trying to beat your best score or win a match or hole.  What it is not, is some flaw that has developed mysteriously in your swing.  There are certain principles of the golf swing which must be obeyed but there is a very wide leeway on how to go about these principles.  There is nothing that you have to be very specific about.  The three principles of the golf swing  are 1) Your body must turn.  2) You must lift the club some way with the hands and arms. 3) The belly button must pass the ball before the hands and arms on the forward swing.   That’s it.  Of course there are things you must do before you swing the club, but as far as the swing itself that is all there is.

This week looks like another 3 to 4 rounds should be played  with weather issues maybe making that number less.  The scores are going down some.  The index dropped from 4.7 to 4.1 for the first 2 weeks of the handicap season.  For me putting will be the key.  Still having some issues with that but we will see how all this progresses.  See you next week. Oh, by the way, does anybody out there know who won The Masters this week, I’ve been kind of busy and  just kidding.  What a great weekend of golf.

100% Mental Golf: Rounds 12 thru 15

Four more rounds are in the book since March 28th.  Played at Fort Cherry 76, Indian Run 80, Scenic Valley 80, and Beaver Valley 76.  The 80 at Indian Run was a pretty good score with winds at about 25 to 30 miles per hour all of the round.  I did play 9 holes at Mt. Lebanon yesterday, where I hoped I learned some things about playing 100% Mental Golf.

Again putting was a big issue, although there were some good moments with the book end 76’s, especially the round at Beaver Valley.  One of the things I did which seemed to help, I changed my routine. Most of the bad putts were me reverting back to my old routine, and then not starting over and being frustrated rather than thinking about making the putt.  Every thing else with my game has been A-Ok.   The hardest thing about this whole process is still looking at my swing when a shot goes wrong.  I feel like I am getting there, however.   Let me give you some examples of where poor thinking or a lack of thinking is what really affected the shot not some obscure swing flaw.   Let’s start from the tee box and move through the rest of the hole.    The biggest mistake is hitting driver when less club would do.  Number 2 is hitting the wrong type of shot.   Remember there is nothing wrong on a particular hole of trying to hit the ball straight rather than a fade or a draw.  For the rest of the hole whether a par 5 or a par 4  it is under estimating the effects of the lay of the land.   You would think playing in Western Pennsylvania my entire life, that I would get this.   First of all, I am not sure that the current thinking on how to play uneven lies is even correct.  I have written about this in the past, particularly the ball below your feet shot.    Other issues during the course of the hole is choosing the right club and how the ball is sitting in the grass.  All I can say is, when you figure things correctly, 99% of the time you will hit a good shot.    If you have figured it wrong, or are not aware of something, then the shot will go awry.  This is particularly true of the short game.  If you plan the shot correctly then you will most likely hit a good shot.    If you are hitting it high when you should hit it low or vice versa then the shot will be less than average.

Then there is putting.   The ultimate mental madness, which can freeze your brain and make you dysfunctional.   Here is what I did different, which got me putting a little better, especially on the medium to long putts.  I always looked at the hole when I made my practice stroke.  But my real stroke never seemed to be like my practice stroke.  I have tried putting when looking at the hole and this does not work for me.  Believe me I have tried everything when it comes to putting.  Now I look at the ball and then look up on the practice stroke, just like the actual putt.    Now the strokes feel exactly alike and this started to give me a little more confidence when putting. Plus I seemed to be able to see the line better.  This week looks like another 4 round week.   Remember it’s not your swing.  Remember it’s not your swing. Remember it’s not your swing.