Entries Tagged as 'lesson'

Achieving Goals

After four and a half months my 2010 golfing goal is still unrealised. My handicap is 4.9,  a long way from the 2.4 that will mark achievement.

What have I been doing to move toward the goal?

Lessons:

Two of a three lesson series have been completed, with a third not too far away. My set up has changed signficantly.  I have changed from a left side focus to a right side focus, trying to hit through the ball with my right hand rather than my lef t arm pulling the swing. Slowly my finish is becoming more upright and square to the target.

Results thus far: the straight hits are straighter and the default error seems to be a fade

Practice:

During the summer a weekly after work visit to the course was easy. Daylight saving is fantastic.  With sunrise after 7.00 a.m. and sunset at about 5.30 p.m. that is now much harder. Work pressures don’t help either. Where possible I will spend a little time hitting balls during the week, and ‘in house’ chipping and putting is the norm. 

Results thus far:Putting with more confidence and constency, but this is not being seen on the score card.

Thinking

Tips are not on my agenda, but the mental game has been a focus of my reading.  A sound pre-shot routine before every stroke as well as thinking positively about every shot are a couple of foundational aspects that need to be developed further.  Everything I have read about the mental game encourages me to take the final score out of my thinking, and to concentrate on each shot without mentally keeping score. For someone who is striving to reduce his handicap, and can talk through a round a week after, that is difficult.  I’m working on it.

Results thus far:  Pre-shot routine is Ok, but not totally consistent. Being totally confident about swing and shot is difficult after letting a couple of drives slide right of the fairway.

Course Management

For years I have used a course book, and know where the major markers are on the courses I play regularly. Course management takes this a step further. Planning the way you play the course – including which clubs to use for particular tee shots – is another step that needs to be taken. The aim is to step up to the ball with confidence, using the club you know will give the best chance of success, and put the ball in the best area for the next shot.  This means using a 3 wood or hybrid off a couple of tees, and a change in my approach to the game.

Results thus far: This is the latest step, and after one week I can see the sense in it, but am yet to hold back at times when it might be the wisest course.

Summary

This is my approach to golf improvement, with the aim of getting my handicap down. As yet there has been no major step forward in my score.

The best advice has come from W. Timothy Gallwey “The Inner Game of Golf”.  He suggests that the PEL triangle is a key. If the score is all that counts golf will be regularly frustrating. Even the best rounds can be better. Perfection is a round of 18 shots! So we need to think about Performance, Enjoyment, and Learning. If performance is not up to our hopes the game can still be enjoyed, and learning can still take place. 

I am enjoying my golf, and learning.

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.