Well, here we are in November and even though there is more golf to be played the handicap season is over. If finished the year at 4.2 a little up from my recent low of 3.9. I did have a few extenuating circumstances, getting a flu bug in the second week of October that laid me up for a week. Over all my golf game was at least stable this last month. In this blog it is time to reveal the new and rather bizarre putting method I use that turned around this golf season and helped reverse an eighteen month slump.
The date was June 28th, and place was Hartman’s golf course in Harmony, Pa. I had played the first 6 holes terribly, as you will soon find out, and heading toward an index of 7, at the end of the month. On the sixth hole a 500 yard par 5, I had about an 8 foot putt to salvage a par. I came up and out of the putt, which always results in a push, and of course I missed the putt. The next hole is a 340 par 4 that is quite narrow. I hit a good drive, but left my sand wedge about 40 feet short of the hole. It was at that moment, I decided to putt by coming out of the putt on purpose. In other words rather than try to keep my body still, I would move my body forward with the forward stroke and come up a little bit. I even played for the push of the putt. Well, low and behold, I made the 40 foot putt. Probably a coincidence, and mostly luck, but the darn thing went in. I did not get to try the method on the next hole, because from 116 yards I holed a gap wedge for an eagle 2. On 9 I hit a wedge about 10 feet and made that putt for another birdie. Despite those last 3 hole heroics, I still only shot 40 on the front. I continued the improved putting and my play improved to shoot a 77 and the next 7 out of 9 rounds I broke 80, including a 74 and 75 which were my low rounds of the year, up to that time. I continued to tweak the method, by not playing for the push any more, as I was hitting the putts on line and not really pushing them anymore. I just allow my body to move forward with the downswing of the putt. Now I still have some bad days on the green every now and again, but my putting has improved 200% and is the major reason my handicap almost came down 3 strokes in the last 3 months. There have been some other things that I have changed that have helped my game but the new putting method is mostly responsible. I am still doing some tweaking with the method but it has held up well in some pressure situations.
Do I recommend this putting method. Absolutely not. What I do advocate is to forget about all the so called putting rules or fundamentals and find away to get the ball into the hole, not matter what that method is. The one and only fundamental in putting is to get the ball into the hole. Since I have adopted this “method” I have holed more putts in the last 3 and half months than I have in the last 3 years. My stroke is smooth and free and I roll the ball very true. So figure it out and start making putts. In the next few blogs I will discuss other things that have gotten my game back on track.
Well, the summer has come to an end as we head into the first of September, and this has been a good summer, at least the second half, for my golf game. Early to mid June my handicap was at its high of 6.9, and now with the new revision, it is 4.2. I am not quite ready to go into detail, of how I was able to bring it down almost 3 strokes, but I am going to discuss one new aspect of my game, at the end of this blog.
Today, I want to discuss one general aspect of the golf swing. First, you must agree with this one statement. The golf swing is a very physical demanding athletic process. All you have to do is watch the swings of Dustin Johnson, Rory McElroy, Ricki Fowler, and Justin Thomas to believe this. For the average or even a low handicap golfer these swings are really physically impossible to repeat, unless you want to first spend a year at cross fit and then go and try to play golf. One of the main problems with the golf swing, is that you can get into positions of the swing by using your arms and legs, that look pretty good, but are really ineffective when it comes to providing power and accuracy. So what’s a golfer to do? The solution is to make sure you are making a full hip turn. What is a full hip turn? The hips should at least turn 45 degrees on the backswing. That is the minimum. If you can turn them more fine. Can you over turn your hips? No, as long as you obey one simple rule. You must make sure that your weight is on the right side at the top of the swing. As long as you do this, then your hips can turn as much as you can turn them. The more you turn your hips on the backswing the farther you will hit the ball and your accuracy will improve dramatically. It is the purest definition of completing your backswing. By turning your hips fully you will put much less stress on your back muscles and get a much fuller shoulder turn in a very natural way.
Getting back to my own golf game, a couple of blogs back, I mentioned that I am playing the with no swing thoughts, which is what I am still doing. It has really freed up my swing and has contributed to my scoring improvement. I play now with what I call swing feels. What’s the difference. Well according to our language experts, a thought is a mental process, and a feeling is a process of the heart. Now this may be getting a bit sentimental, as far as golf is concerned, but don’t knock it until you try it. My playing golf from the heart has made a huge difference. No more swing thoughts. No more low and slow, pause at the top, smooth transition, get wide, shut face or square, and nice and smooth. I’m feelin it man. Will see what the next month brings. Happy golfing
After a brief res-pet from blogging for a trip to see the Grand kids in San Diego back with another in a series of instructional conflicts. Yes, I am going to comment briefly on the Lexi Thompson incident. This blog is going to concern itself with chipping. The two points of view. You should chip like you putt, or you should not chip like you putt. First we need to define a chip, which to some, has changed. In Utley’s book on the short game he has his own definition of a chip, which I am going to ignore. My definition is that a chip is a shot with little or no wrist action. In other words,the chip has nothing to do with distance. You could chip a ball 5 yards or you can chip it 40 yards or longer. A pitch by my definition is a shot where the wrists will cock from 45 to 90 degrees. Again you could pitch a ball 5 yards or you can pitch it 40 yards or longer. This post is going to discuss only chipping
The first view point is, you should chip like you putt. Since there is little wrist action in both chipping and putting this would seem to make a lot of sense. However, the clubs, ranging from anywhere from a 4 iron to a lob wedge, that are used for chipping, have nothing in common, in design, with the putter. There is going to be some adjustments, you are going to have to make. The first, you must make sure the bottom edge of the club is square. This will put your hands ahead of the club, sometimes as much as 6 inches if you are using the lob wedge. A lot of instructors advocate using the same grip you use for putting, to execute these shots. The weight should be on the left foot a little more. Even though you are using your putting stroke to execute these shots, they still must be hit with a descending blow and not swept along the ground. You must have a good lie to execute a chip. With any method you can not chip from the rough with the ball down a little in the grass.
Some instructors feel you should not chip like you putt. The leaders in this group are Phil Mickelson and Stan Utley. Mickelson has his hinge and hold method and Utley tries to get his hands leading the club head on his chips to deloft the club. You can read or watch their videos to get more details on their respective methods. There are other instructors who have a more handsy approach to chipping.
Now to the Lexi Thompson debacle. The one thing that has got lost in the shuffle is the second penalty that was accessed for the incorrect scorecard. She may have been done in by the new rule change this year on signing for a lower score than you actually made. The LPGA should have never assessed her that 2 stroke penalty, and they had the perfect precedent of the Tiger Woods incident 2 or 3 years ago at the Masters. After Tiger’s ball hit the pin and went into the water on 15, he dropped the ball in an improper spot. The next day he was charged a two stroke penalty, but was not disqualified for the incorrect score card on the technicality that at the time he signed it, the score was correct. If the disqualification rule would have still been in effect this year, do you think the LPGA would have walked up on that tee box and disqualified Lexi Thompson, no way. I am sure the Tiger incident would have been cited. Because now it is a 2 stroke penalty, they in my view went ahead and penalized her those 2 strokes incorrectly. Technically, and its all technicalities, she signed a correct score card when she signed it, just like Tiger Woods. Obviously with only a 2 stroke penalty she would have won the tournament out right and there would have been no play off. Shame on you LPGA.