June 15, 2013

Five weeks away from Goodboys Invitational weekend and I’m finally starting to feel all the work I’ve been doing starting to pay off. On a hot, dusty, and breezy Superstition Springs course I carded a 53 + 49 = 102 that easily woulda-coulda-shoulda been ten strokes less. I know I said a while back that golf school was over and the days of using the golf courtse as a laboratory were over with, but that was either naive, premature, or a combination of both. A lot went right today but there are still areas that I need to attend to if I have any hope of competing at Goodboys. Let’s take a look at the positives first:

1. My new senior flex driver hits like a dream. Because Superstition Springs is a classic “second shot course” you don’t get a lot of opportunities to drag out the big dog, but today I had eight chances off the see and hit or near hit seven fairways – not too bad. Unfortunately, the only hole where the dreaded duck hook showed up was where I least needed it, dumping on in the water on 17. But I hit my penalty off the tee and drilled it down the fairway in fine style.

2. My Ping Scottsdale putter is deee-lightful; I really like it. I’ve hit a couple hundred putts on putting greens since I got it two weeks ago and the work really paid off – not just because I’m comfortable with how it feels and hits, but it helps take the pressure off my chipping game, allowing me to relax a bit and try not to be too perfect. Today I reduced the number of putts attempted from the lower 40s to 32. There’s still work left to do there – while I had six one-putts I also had four three-putts – but I’ll take 32 putts any day.

3. My decision to go with driver or 3-hybrid off the tee is a great strategy for Goodboys weekend. On the five holes I chose the hybrid I hit fairway four times (don’t ask me about the fifth!). With Goodboys weekend coming up quickly I’ve decided to leave the 3-wood in the bag and use the 5-wood only when I’m on a wide-open par 5 with more than 200 yards to the green.

4. I’ve decided after much comparison on and off the course that when it comes to hitting irons I’m more comfortable (at least for this year) being a picker instead of a trapper. Whenever I’ve tried to trap the ball like Alex Black wants me to out on the course there’s just no consistency and feel for distance, whereas when I try to pick the ball I’ve got a better feel for what I want to do and don’t over-swing. I’m more than willing to trade a few yards for lack of ball compression for more consistency and accuracy. (Although I will admit trapping the ball is more fun and feels really great when you’re out at the range!)

5. Between now and Goodboys weekend I plan on trying to hit my sand wedge a lot more often when the opportunity presents itself. Two of my pars today were direct results of short pitches with the sand wedge – when chipping isn’t an option or a short, high flight is needed it’s a great weapon to have in my arsenal.

Now the negatives:

1. I’m back to learning distances with my irons and hybrids. I struggled today with a lot of approach shots because I simply don’t trust my distances. This is where the range really doesn’t help – if you want to score better you have to play more golf and all the various kinds of shots required. You can’t have, say, a 7-iron go 134 on one hole then the next hole fly it ten yards further. Same with the hybrids. I got in a lot of trouble today guessing clubs and guessing wrong. I’ve figured the 3- and 4-hybrids at ten yards further than I originally thought (190 and 180 yards, respectively), so that will help, but I’ve simply got to trust my swing and my irons enough to get a better gauge at how far I hit them.

2. I need to stick to the same set-up routine on every shot. All my best shots today were made after taking the time to see the shot, set up, square up, and let it fly, but too many times I just grabbed a club and hit without really thinking about what I was trying to do. I’m doing better, but I do need to get a little more disciplined in that area. Going forward I need to really focus on the same pre-shot routine every time: 1) Pick out a target, 2) Set club behind the ball and square up, 3) Keep those hands quiet, and 4) Did I mention keep those $#@%$& hands quiet?

All in all a good day, considering that the 49 on the back included a triple and a quadruple bogey, but I got sloppy on some holes you really need to focus your attention on. Can’t do that during a Goodboys weekend! I’ve got one more round planned for Superstition Springs next week and my final round in Arizona for the year the week after, and then everything gets shipped back to Massachusetts in preparation for my arrival the second week of July. There’s still much work left to do, but I’m gaining confidence that I’m back to making good progress.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 03:27 | Comments Off on A Step Forward (Updated)
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