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Practice makes perfect?

The old adage is not quite correct. It should read “Perfect practice makes perfect”.

Swing changes don’t get established in one day, it takes much more than that.  Perfect practice is needed. Just two days (= two practice sessions) after the lesson I played a competitive round of golf.

Result: 30 stableford points. Verdict: satisfied.

Despite being six shots over my handicap, golf on Saturday was OK.

The negatives:

  • One three putt – forgot about the downhill slope
  • Two  wipe-outs – one drive pulled way left followed by a thoughtless provisional, the other a ball (slight fade) we lost sight of in the air and could not find in the rough
  • Two approaches went long. Each shot travelled at least  ten metres further than anticipated. Is that just better ball striking or is it bad judgment?

The positives:

  • 64% driving accurracy including 5 of the last 6 driving holes
  • Approaches between 50 and 100 metres (six shots) were all on line and covered the pin – just got to work on distance
  • Pin high for 2 on the reachable par 5’s
  • Shot shape good. The slight sliding fade that had developed was not in evidence.

All in all a satisfactory golfing day, if not a good scoring day.

What next?  Practice fairway twice this week, and nine holes Friday night.  No golf for me Saturday so the real test will have to wait for a fortnight.

A place for the bunker rake

The rake goes here.

A check up….

There is a big difference between what you think you are doing and what you really are doing! Thursday lunchtime was a reality check.

To achieve my golfing goal this year I figured a lesson was needed. My club pro is AAA rated, and has a good reputation with the members. So off I went.  After the introductions it was down to business. I shared my general stats and error patterns before hitting a few balls. It was the normal “OK, let’s have a look at your swing” exercise.

Half an hour later I have a changed set up, a different  follow through line, and some new swing thoughts and images to apply. Interestingly enough a couple of the points he made were exactly the same made by Rohan Dummet three years ago. When he identified that flaw in my set up it was another one of those ‘aha’ moments.  My concentration had been so focussed on alignment that I had forgotten about setting up so that my weight can be behind the ball at impact.

The challenge now is embed the new setup and swing path, and put it into action.

The lesson was Thursday, I hit 50 balls on the range Friday afternoon and then played a 2 ball nine holes before dark. Along the way the new set up and swing image were my priority, so the score was irrelevant (sort of).

Until the ninth I would hit one straight drive and one off line. On 8 and 9 all drives went close to the lines intended. Long irons were not fantastic, but the short shots (less than 100 meters) went straighter.

State of Play: More work to be done but positive signs.

Next action: Practice adjusted swing tomorrow morning, then play in the competition.  An update will hit the net tomorrow evening.

State of Play

My first competition round in three weeks was OK.  The handicap remains at 4.6 after a 78. 

The Club

%th GreenThe decision to join Royal Hobart was fairly clear. Tasmania is a more spectacular course, and there was some attraction to that club. While the costs are comparable the major factor in my choice was the differnece in practice facilities. The range at Tasmania is a “pro balls only” range. There is a  similar area at the Royal, but they also offer alternative areas including a short game range, and a chipping green.   Currently Royal Hobart is ranked in the top 50 public access courses in Australia, while Tasmania makes the next 50. Reports on the condition of the course confirm that ranking.  

The  Round

My first round was OK, marred by one three putt at 18, a bunker to bunker double bogey on 14, and some bad thinking  on my final hole, the 9th.   Aspects that I continue to work on are Driving (too many drives just off the fairway), approaches between 120 and 50 metres, and putting.  34 putts is at least 4 too many!

Subtle slopes on the greens continue to confuse, and increased familiarity with the course can only help in the green reading process. Then I will need to get the putts on line!    

Practice

Practice this week….not really. A few one hand swings indoors,  nine holes Friday night, and nine holes at Richmond Valley Course on the previous weekend.  More intentional practice and a chat to the pro are on the agenda for this week.

Leishman vs Baddeley – and then there’s Roberts

2009 PGA Rookie of the Year Marc Leishman continues to perform well on tour.  With the Northern Trust Open coming to a conclusion Leishman sits T15. A bogey free 65 propelled 27 spots up the leaderboard him up the leaderboard.

His main stats for the round (as per PGATOUR.com):

  • Driving Distance 288 Yards
  • Driving Accuracy 85.7%
  • Greens in Regulation 77.78 %
  • Puts per hole 1.643
  • Ave distance to the pin 25′ 6″

Aaron Baddeley continued to be off the pace but made the cut and finished T54 afer an even par final round.

His stats:

  • Driving distance 282.5 yards
  • Driving Accuracy 57.7%
  • Greens In Regulation 44.4%
  • Puts per Green 1.843
  • Ave distance to pin 35′ 2″

The final score shows a difference of just 6 shots. Driving distance shows little difference – it is insignficant in the big scheme of things. Driving accuracy is more important, not just hitting fairways, but putting the ball in the right areas. Shots played to the green set up the score, and fairway position sets of the approach. When Aaron Baddeley was putting he was starting, on average, 10 feet (3 metres) further away than Mark Leishman.   It  doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up to about 6 shots and lots of $$$$$$!

For someone playing for pleasure my stats on the weekend added up to +6.

  • Driving distance  252 metres (275 yards)
  • Driving Accuracy 42.9%
  • GIR  61.1%
  • Putts per hole 1.889
  • Average distance to the pin  24′ 11″

The difference is in the number of shots taken to the green, and the PPH comparison with Marc Leishman is worth 4 shots a round.

* Driving distance is calculated on two selected holes only the course. These holes will be played in opposite directions to balance out the influence of the wind.

Didn’t make the headlines.

Robert Allenby almost played an excellent final round at the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday.

As I headed off to work Michael Sim and Robert Allenby were hot on the heels of eventual winner Ben Crane, and Marc Leishman was climbing the leader board.  With no radio coverage the shot tracker at PGATOUR.com allowed me to tune in for a while. Allenby was -11 at the ninth hole. After the 13th he was 12 under and going strong.  Then it went pear shaped.  Two bogeys, a par and then a disastrous triple ended his run. An eagle finish jumped him up the money list to a creditable ninth, two places better than his overnight spot.

PGATOUR.com has included information about the spat involving Phil Mickelson and Scott McCarron around the new rule on grooves.  For some reason they didn’t bother to include dialogue with Robert Allenby ( see espn sports) who is in favour of the new rule, even though it was a flyer from the rough that cost him dearly.  Without the new rule he may have been right in the mix at the 18th.

I wonder if Allenby would have attempted the 235 yard carry over water if the title was still on the line?  I suspect the answer is “Yes”.