The Goofy Game of Golf Trying to Execute the Answer

Trying to execute the answer has proven to be much more difficult than I anticipated to say the least. The weeks scores continue to be horrible ranging from 76 to a wonderful 89 but I think I may have discovered the folly of my ways.

When I first came up with the answer, which is finding your “that day golf swing” as quickly as possible, it was at the end of the golfing season last year. I came up with a method of accomplishing that goal which I discussed in previous blogs. The main principal of that method was to start each round with an open mind about your swing and feed off the results of the shots and make adjustments. Because it was at the end of the golfing season I played most of my golf at Scenic Valley, but it would not have made any difference what golf course I was playing, it was the fact that I was playing the same golf course. Obviously when you play the same golf course the opening tee shot is exactly the same. Once I started this process of trying to execute the answer my scores were very good and ball striking improved dramatically.  One of the few times I did not play well is when I went to Lindenwood and my ball striking was not as good for 8 holes, until I started to draw all my shots and I played the last 10 holes 1 over par. This should have been a tip off right there but I am a slow learner. I did go out to San Diego and shoot a very good round, but its opening tee shot has similar characteristics of the opener at Scenic Valley. Because the opening tee shot was the same all the time, I don’t think I was being as open minded about my golf swing as I thought I was. Now, I don’t think this is even the way to go about finding you “that day golf swing”. The opening tee shot of a round is very important. It’s not to say it is round maker or breaker, but it is important non the less. I have hit great opening tee balls and have had bad rounds, and on the other side of the coin, had a very bad opening drive and shot one of the best rounds of my life. But because of playing the same opening tee shot, I think this led me astray on how to execute the answer. I still feel you should abandon that swing thought before it abandons you, but I think there is a different way to go about doing it.

The way I felt going into this season is, that if I was playing as bad as I am playing right now, I would be getting ready to shut everything down including the blog. I have a little more than half the season to go, and with this new direction to take, I am going to continue to plod along and see what happens. With golf it is easy to see if you are going in the right direction, all you have to do is look at the number.

The Goofy Game of Golf Trying to Execute the Answer

It’s been two weeks since the last blog and not to much positive has happened. The golf has been mediocre at best, with score ranging from mid 70’s to the mid 80’s with no end in sight. It appears executing the answer is going to be just as difficult as finding the answer. I am going to discuss one interesting thing that I am doing with some positive results.

In some areas of the country, this is not a concern, but in Western Pennsylvania playing from uneven lies is an every day problem. The basic lies are uphill, downhill, ball below your feet and ball above the feet. The general advice has been to play the slope. If the ball is above your feet you are suppose to aim to the right of the target and allow the ball to draw, right to left. If the ball is below your feet then you are to aim to the left and allow the ball to go from left to right. A  lie that is downhill will go from left to right and an uphill lie will have a tendency to be pulled, so you aim a little right.  Now there are all kinds of address position adjustments that you make for each lie and any instruction book will go through them and many of you already know this. What I have been doing the last two months with some pretty good results is trying to fight the slope. If the ball is below my feet I will aim a little right of the target and try to hit a draw. With the ball above my feet I will aim a little left of the target and hit a fade. The result is a shot that travels pretty straight or does draw or fade a little bit. This move has been particularly effective when the ball is below my feet. The shot flies a little lower but is very straight and carries much farther than the typical way you play a shot that is below your feet. This has also worked well for the ball above your feet trying to hit a fade, and trying to draw the ball off a downhill lie. Where it has been a little less effective is on the uphill lie and trying to hit the fade, but it’s not been bad. So try this, you may like it, remember fight the slope.

Needless to say the last 3 to 4 weeks have been pretty frustrating and discouraging but trying to find your that day golf swing will continue. I have one 36 hole tournament this week and another 18 hole tournament later in the week. I am not brimming with confidence right now but you never know. That’s why I call this game goofy.

The Goofy Game of Golf Trying to Execute the Answer

Back in the Burgh, and three rounds into a stretch of time where I will be playing a lot of golf. I am not going to comment on these first three rounds and the next blog will be 2 weeks from today at the end of the golf fest. During this time I will be playing in three tournaments. If I am ever going to execute the answer this should be the time.

Do you remember that old Memorex cassette tape commercial where they would ask “Is it live or is it Memorex?” and they would show a famous artist singing or playing and you would have to figure out which one it was. This is similar to when you hit a bad shot on the golf course. Was the bad shot caused by a poor swing, or was it from a pre swing  problem. Even though I feel that 85 to 90% of all bad shots are caused from pre swing problems, how do you know for sure? Lets define pre swing problems. First there is the fundamental address position. You could be misaligned, too far or too close to the ball, or you could have poor posture. At this stage of the game I doubt it would be a grip issue. Then there are other pre shot factors. The lie of the ball, the lay of the land, your club selection, the conditions of the course, the weather, and how the shot fits your eye. The last one is particular important on the tee ball. Now I realize that any of these things, can lead to a bad swing which will result in a bad shot. If all the pre shot elements are right that still does not guarantee that your swing can not lead to a bad shot. So when the shot doesn’t turn out well which one is it? Is there a way to know? I am not too sure, but I do think this is one of the keys in trying to find your “that day golf swing or game”.   Naturally, just playing the odds, when the shot does not come off it is probably something that has happened before you took the club back. I really don’t have the answer to this question quite yet. I think in trying to figure this out will help in managing a round. One final point is that sometimes bad shots should be looked at as just one of those things, that are going to happen and sometimes should just be ignored or forgotten. The next two weeks should be interesting.

The Goofy Game of Golf Executing the Answer

Another three round week, and again a repeat of the previous two weeks. The mid week rounds were good, 77 and 75, with the weekend round on Saturday this time, being bad shooting an 81. This was a good week in many regards. Putting was about as good as its ever been, since trying to execute the answer. There was one very good lesson learned this week.

I fell into the trap this week of falling in love with my driver ball flight. This goes against all the principles of trying to find your that day golf swing. I was hitting the greatest little power fade off the tee for the entire week. I found myself really relying on that ball flight pattern during the round despite what my opening drive was. This part of my game worked really well, as I hit many fairways and had good distance. I did this even when my opening drive was fairly straight with maybe a baby fade at the end. I kept to my plan of having an open mind and feel on the opening tee shot, but then kept going to fade way too quickly. What I should have been doing was playing a  straight drive based on the opening swing and result. This resulted in having an adverse affect on my fairway game. In fact most of my irons and fairway woods on my 77 round I hit with a draw. In my other two rounds I  was not hitting very crisp or accurate shots. My 75 round was the result of some very good putting. What’s interesting here is that I had no trouble of finding my that day swing in the fall and sticking with it, which brings up another good point. Those of us who have to go through the winter lay off , in this case for me was 2 months, we often emphasize getting our golf muscles into shape. There is no doubt that this is a good thing, but we need to get our golf thinking back in the groove, too.   This week, the weather in the middle of the week is looking very iffy, but hopefully I can still get a couple of rounds in between the thunderstorms. I will be playing in my first tournament of the year this Sunday. I better get my brain in shape fast.

My Masters pick: J. B. HOLMES he’s going back to back.

The Goofy Game of Golf Trying to Execute the AnswerI

Another Monday blog due to another busy week, and that darn NCAA basketball tournament. The golf week was a carbon copy of the week before with some solid play on Tuesday and Wednesday and then a big fat number on Sunday. The bad round Sunday was mostly brought about by the simple fact, that I broke a cardinal rule and did not dress warm enough. I know, I broke the number one mother rule,” you can always take it off but if you don’t have it with you, you can’t put it on”. Once I got cold I could not really swing that well and this led to an 83. There were some other problems but being cold was not good. The Tuesday and Wednesday rounds were solid with scores of 78 and 76. The Wednesday round finished strong, playing one under par for the last 7 holes. This was also the warmest stretch of play for the season, with temperatures in the mid 60’s  The month of March has been good as I have played 7 rounds so far, and there seems to be about a 50-50 chance of playing tomorrow. I feel I am making progress in all three phases of the game in executing the answer. Lets look at each one up to this point.

Ball Striking: This is still the best phase of the game so far. The thing that has happened since the start of the new season, is that I have a harder time not trying to grab onto an anchor or swing thought. This I am sure was brought about by the long lay off and just very rusty golf thinking in general. It’s particularly hard after a few errant shots. I have also hit some really horrible shots in the middle of some pretty good play.  I feel a lot of this will work out as season continues, and I play more. Sometimes I get into working the ball more than I should. Again this is an example of trying to force an issue. You have to let your that day ball striking determine how you are going to play a certain hole. If the draw or the fade is not in your repertoire that day, then don’t try to do it even if that is what is call for. Take a more conservative approach and just make a par.

Short Game: For chipping and short pitching, two things have really helped me. Visualizing the shot seems to be very important for the short shots, even more so than the long game and putting. Getting the ball on the ground faster seems to be the other key for success. Using different grips on different days is still something that I think helps in executing the stroke. I have used various grips, ranging from the normal grip to my putting grip to chip and pitch.

Putting: This phase of the game is the most difficult not to go back to the previous days  thought or technique. But success in putting is as fleeting as the long game.  I still think the grip is the real key here but time will tell. A lot of the issues in all three phases comes from just a lack of concentration. This really shows up in putting.

So there you have it, this week’s update on trying to execute the answer. The week coming up looks like there will be more golf to be  played. Let’s hope the progress will continue.

The Goofy Game of Golf Executing the Answer

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.

The Goofy Game of Golf Trying to Execute the Answer

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.

The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answere

I haven’t blogged for about 2 and a half weeks for various reasons. My grand kids were in town for a week and golf took a back seat for that week. But most of all just not a lot of progress made on finding the answer. The scores the last two weeks have been about the same with most in the mid 70’s and a couple of 80’s tossed in just to make sure that I know I haven’t found the answer. There has not been a lot of stimulus to write, but today I thought I would like to discuss a subject not directly related to golf, but with some of the things that I am doing right now, it may have more meaning, if by some flukey chance, these things turn out to be successful.

I would like to discuss our perceptions, or the way we perceive things. In some cases this could be about a particular subject. Let’s take the example of Obama Care. There is one side that feels this is the greatest thing since sliced bread. The other perception is that Obama Care threatens the very existance of the American way. Each side argues passionately for their point of veiw and thinks the other sides perception is skewed or wrong. This ends up with neither side  coming close to convincing the other side to change their mind. I can tell you that that there are two areas where our perceptions are definitely skewed or wrong. This is in the area of time and speed. Time is a constant. A second is a second, a minute is a minute, an hour is an hour and so on and so on. But in your feeble little mind 5 minutes can seem like an eternity, if you are waiting for someone or standing in line. On the other hand if you are engrossed in a book or a video game, an hour can fly by in the blink of an eye. We look up from the game or book and say, “Oh my God where did the time go, I’m going to be late for work”.  The same thing can be said about speed. Most of us have to drive a little way through congested streets and neighborhoods to get to the freeway or interstate. When you first get on the interstate and get into the flow of traffic and hit the 55- 65 mph speed you really get that feeling that you are hip hopping right along. Before long however, as the traffic keeps moving you accelerate up to 75 and 80 mph and don’t even know it, because now that feels the same as when you were going 65. Then when you get off the interstate, maybe on a two lane highway, where the speed limit is 55, that will feel like you are just crawling. Even though the speed can be pretty much the same if will feel different depending on when and where you are doing that particular speed.

Now what does this have to do with golf. Your golf swing has these two components, time and speed. There is a certain amount of time you will have to take to make a golf swing. Your swing, and I am not talking about the amount of clubhead speed you can generate, will also have a certain speed. It will be your perception of the time and speed of your golf swing that will dictate how you make adjustments during a round of golf. My guess here, and I am dealing from my own experience, that these perceptions are wrong. I am not sure how they are wrong and they may not be wrong all time. I may have some conclusions on this in a later blog. Anyway, just food for thought, don’t let it give you indigestion. See you when I have something to write about again.

The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answer

This week I am going to break down to the bare bones the best way to go about trying to hit a golf ball. Those of us who have played this game for a long time know there is so much more to this game than just making solid contact with the ball. Those of us that are just starting out this can be a formidable task. Even for us that have played the game for awhile, there can be times when this is difficult to do. As I go through the process I will reference the dates where I discuss each step in more detail.

The very first principle is that 85% of all bad shots are caused by what you do before you swing. This is not to imply that the golf swing is not important. Let’s say that all of a sudden you got 15% less of a paycheck or your car got 15% less gas mileage. You would be upset. The swing is still a factor but it’s not as important as many people think it is.

There are four things you have to do before you hit a golf ball. 1. Grip the club. 2. Create a stance in relationship to the ball. 3. Aim the clubhead. 4. Have a posture. The first two can very quite a bit according to personal preference, strength, and ability. Aim and Posture have to be done one particular correct way or hitting a golf ball will not become reality. (1-8-2012)

The Golf Swing. The swing is not the thing. (12-2-2011). There is only one principal of the golf swing: The belly button must pass the ball on the downswing before the arms (1-22-2012). The wrists are going to do whatever they are going to do, don’t think about them, just know what they are doing (1-6-2013). The shoulder turn is the controlling factor of the golf swing(1-13-2013, 1-20-2013, 3-9-2014, and 3-16-2014).

Two other things related to hitting the golf ball: Practice (3-10-2012 and 3-25-2012). and my take on Ben Hogan’s Five Fundementals of Golf, it will save you a lot of heartache (12-9-2012.

As I wrote at the top of the blog there is so much more to the game of golf than hitting the ball, but this is the first step. If you follow the principals above then you will be making solid contact in no time.  See you next week.

The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answer

This week I am going to review the last 2 years of my playing this goofy game. Why the last 2 years? There is quite a contrast between the years, which has led to the conclusions of trying to find the mind body connection. 2012 reinforced my belief that the key to the golf swing is, that it must be controled by the turn of the shoulders. That the enemy of the golf swing is the arms and the legs. I am going to discuss this more next week, as I review this concept, with some added information from the original post. This is not a method. This is not a swing change. This is just a different way to execute the swing that you have. By allowing the shoulders to control my swing, I hit the ball and scored the most consistant I ever have in some 50+ years of playing this game. There were two other interesting things that happened that year. I developed the chip yips and I finished the year on a down note by not breaking 80 on 7 out of the last 8 rounds I played. I had various excuses for this poor finish, and none of them were right. This poor finish did not affect my handicap as they were all after October 31, when we stop turning in scores. I considered the year a great succes and my handicap dropped from 5.1 to 3.2.

As I was heading into the 2013 golf season I was ready to tackle the mental side of this game full force, since I felt I had the physical side down. I have already written about some of the mental experiments I tried during the golf season, with some pretty disasterous results. I knew there was going to be some trial and error just like trying to find a key to the golf swing. Naturally my game suffered some, but at times it suffered greatly. Twice during the season, once in a tournament, I did not break 90. If someone would have wanted to bet me that I would do that once let alone twice, I would have lost everything I owned.  My handicap went up to a season ending 4.3 but it was even higher, back into the 5’s at times during the year. However, this year I finished stronger by shooting my last 7 out of 8 rounds in the 70’s. Nothing spectacular but the consistancy came back and I started playing much better, in less than ideal conditions. I was able to do this by paying more attention to the physical side of the game. In other words I got closer to getting the mind and the body connected and to the conclusion that even for a good player the game is 50% mental and 50% physical.

As I head into the 2014 golf season that will be the concept that I hope to prove or disprove. Again this will be a trial and error procedure. What is great about golf is that the numbers will tell the story. See you next week.

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