May 25, 2013

“Golf is hard.”Dr. Jim Suttie

“Tempo is everything.”Hazur Rai Saligram Bahadur

“You sure know how to throw away strokes…” – Michel the Canadian

One of these days I’ll be able to replicate the same game from driving range to golf course, and from one golf course to another. At least I hope that will be the case, because right now if my golf game feels like a tube of toothpaste with a bunch of little pin-pricks where, if you squeeze one area it would leak one way, if you squeezed another it would leak in an entirely different place altogether.

Take yesterday, for example. I’m back at Trilogy Golf Club at Power Ranch, just three weeks after that horrendous round where I shot a 111 while playing with three sticks. There I was losing balls off the tee left and right, blading chips off the green, and taking multiple strokes to get out of sand traps all day. Yesterday, I’m hitting the ball good enough off the tee and never failed to get out of the sand once all day and what do I shoot? Only a four-stroke better 55 + 52 = 107. So what happened, you ask?

Well first of all, let’s look at the scorecard, because the scorecard doesn’t lie. I had my highest number of putts of the year – a ghastly 40 (!), including a whopping seven three-putt holes. But I can’t blame “old Mr. Three-Wiggle” completely – fact is, I chipped the ball defensively all day, leaving myself too many long, extremely difficult putts well above or well below the hole – something you simply can’t do on Trilogy’s swaley, rocket-fast greens. Second of all, following the best warm-up session I’d had all year where I didn’t miss-hit one freakin’ ball – I mean, I was en fuego – the great tempo I had somehow went bye-bye during the short three-minute walk to the first tee. Thereafter, I struggled with over-swinging all day long and simply couldn’t trust my swing and just play the damned game.

It was after three-putting on nine for the fourth consecutive hole that Michel, my Canadian playing partner (a dead-ringer for Graeme McDowell, BTW) made his remark about me throwing away strokes so easily. We were playing alongside these two twenty-somethings seemingly intent on matching beers for every ball they’d lose off the tee (one had a wicked banana slice, the other a wicked high hook, making it virtually impossible for them to play together all day long) and were comparing scores – Michel had a two-over 37, The banana slicer a 47, Dr. Hook a 48, and I a loathsome 55. Michel was angry at me because, as a good player, he hated seeing someone making chicken sh*t out of a round that should have been chicken salad. “Why are you losing to these two drunks? You seem to have a death wish for playing yourself out of holes, my friend”, he says in his buttery-smooth French accent.

“I know”, I say, feeling like a high-schooler being chastised for yet another pathetic dog-ate-my-homework excuse. “I’ll do better, I promise.”

While I didn’t tear up the back nine by any means, I did take Michel’s words to heart, at one stretch bogeying five straight holes. I also hit fairways on four of the last five holes, and if it weren’t for a chunked 4-hybrid that found the pond after a picture-perfect drive on 18 that left me with a drop at the worst possible angle to the green (I’ll bet Tiger would have somehow found a better place to drop than I had to) I would have broken 50 on the back. But that’s not much consolation at this point – if I can’t trust my swing playing alongside beer-swilling yahoos, how on earth will I be able to function at Goodboys Invitational weekend?

What did me in today was being too passive when I needed to be more aggressive (my short game) and being too aggressive when I simply needed to trust my swing and concentrate on good tempo and lag to make good contact (my approach shots). I’d like to think one day I’ll be able to put it all together, but the only way that’s going to happen is more range work so I learn to repeat more easily and naturally what I do there where it doesn’t count out on the course where it does.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 02:09 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. You’ve reached the hardest part of golf now, bro.

    The thinking part.

    And you’re overdoing it.

    Trust your swing. Every time you stand over a ball on the tee or in the fairway, simply forget about where it needs to go or what you must avoid. Compute your yardage only for what club you’re going to need, then forget about how many yards you need to hit it.

    Clear your mind. It’s just you, the ball, and the driving range where there are no penalties for a bad shot. You’re swinging your 3-wood only, not trying to make 175 yards anymore.

    An early swing coach of mine once told me, “Stop trying to think about the shot; you’re not up to the task. Just swing the CLUB.”

    Comment by Dave Richard — May 25, 2013 @ 7:18 am

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