Even though there is golf yet to be played in Western Pennsylvania, the handicap season ended on November 15th and the golf will be hit and miss for the rest of the year. It is time to look back at the golf season of 2019 and see what was good, bad, and indifferent. This was the year of 100% mental golf, and it was neither a success or a complete failure. I learned some things, but in the end, did not make much progress in improving my game. I started the year with a 4.1 index and ended with a 4.8. My highest was 5.2, and the lowest, other than my start, was 4.2. Before I summarize the year, lets break down each section of my game for 2019.
Driver. This was the best part of my game. I would have a bad driving day once in awhile, but for the most part I drove the ball well, and kept my driving distance steady, and did not lose any distance this year.
Fairway wood. Contrast this with the worst part of my game. Fairway woods gave me the most problem for the year. I bought some new 15 degree clubs, and they made things worse, and I went back to my old Orlimar fairway woods, of 16 and 20 degree, and this seemed to help some. It was with the 15 and 16 degree clubs, that I had the most trouble getting the ball airborne. This part of my game contributed a lot, to seeing my index go up .7 points.
Irons. I had a fair year with the irons. I changed to Titleist AP3 irons with regular graphite shafts. Theses clubs had strong lofts so a 5 iron was like hitting a 4.5 iron. These clubs gave me such increased distance, that I had a hard time adjusting. I did have some really good days with these irons and will continue to play them. Even though I have been playing them, since Mid May, I still feel I am going through a learning process with them.
Short game. This part of my game improved. I got rid of the chip yips ( another blog) and I am getting better around the greens. My sand game is still bad but hoping for improvement. One of the things that have helped me is, I went back to using a 60 degree wedge with zero bounce. This club is the old Cleveland 485 60 degree wedge. I acquired the club about 2 months ago and have been doing betting around the greens. I use to play this club all the time, and I am glad I went back to it. Will discuss zero bounce more in another blog.
Putting. This was the most inconsistent part of my game. Most recently I have had a good run of putting, which has helped with some low scores, but not quite enough to offset some bad ball striking. Again getting rid of the yips on the greens has helped immensely.
To summarize, the biggest problem I had this year was where my bad shots went. I had a very prolonged slump in golf, that started at the end of 2015 and lasted until about June of 2017, and this was the same problem, except then it was much worse. I had about 10 to 15 rounds in 2016 and 2017, where I did not break 80, but my handicap score was between 76 and 79 due equitable stroke control. I had the same thing happen in 2019, but not as often. When you top a ball 80 yards, or hit it so far off line, that its in the woods, scoring goes out the window. My fairway wood game was this bad. I would hit some iron shots, and trap shots, that were just as horrible. So that will be the first goal, to hit better bad shots. Easier said than done, but I will give it a try. Now to 100% mental golf. I am still undecided about how to split the game up between the mental and physical side, and I hope to come up with a solution soon. First I thought it was a 50-50 split. Then, I went all the way over to 100% mental, and still think that is possible. It is difficult to remove the physical side of the game entirely. Maybe I should go a long with Yogi Berra, when he said, baseball is 90% mental, and the other half is physical. The older I get, which is getting pretty old, I feel that golf will be that mystery game, I will never solve. Maybe in Wonderland, tornado anyone.