June 1, 2014

It’s nearly June, an I’m wondering where the $#@$! is Exec-Comm (that’s them to the right and top, BTW) as I’m driving east toards Superstition Springs golf course to kick off the final phase of my 2014 golf year. In a little over six weeks we’ll be (I’m guessing) somehere on the Portsmouth, NH seacoast and we’ll have just wrapped up Day 2 of the Goodboys Invitational, but Exec-Comm has gone mustang and I’m playing music from The Sandals, wondering the obvious…

Where are we staying?
Where are we playing?
Who will be my partner?
What will it take to lure Exec-Comm out of hiding?
Where will we be eating?
What’s the itinerary?
How much will it cost?

The outside temperature is 107, and the sky the familiar (at least for this time of year) electric shimmering blue, but it doesn’t – and won’t – bother me: I’ve got work to do, and I look forward to seeing the Superstition Springs practice area nearly, if not actually, empty. I’m thinking about my golf year to date and the disappointing way it has turned out thus far. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, primarily mentally, trying to lower my handicap too aggressively instead of just playing the game and letting it take me wherever it leads, but that’s all in the past. I’m feeling good out my swing and – more importantly – aware of its limitations, so on this Saturday I’m just going to use my time in the heat to practice making good swings and start ramping up my short game.

As expected, the range is nearly empty except for two of the regulars I remember from last year. One guy on the far left in my usual spot – he’s a lefty also, and it looks like he’s still fighting that big hook I remember him having, and a gorilla on the far right bombing one big drive after another. I find a spot in the middle, take a long swig of my 32 oz. ice tea (unsweetened) and begin limbering up. The only swing though I’m taking with me today is to try and be a little quieter with my upper body and my hands. I remember two particularly long drives from my last two rounds in Massachusetts and remember particularly the feeling of more hip turn with less upper body, so that’s what I’ll be working on.

I work through my large bucket in a systematic way, starting with a few sand wedges and work my way down the bag. I recognize (and, most importantly) accept the results of over-swinging – I either hit it fat or hit a big pull. Mr. Shank even makes an appearance once or twice, but unlike that pre-round warm-up at Papago a few weeks ago, I don’t let it bother me. Instead, I remember a line “The Funny Guy” Andrusaitis said after that disappointing round at Portsmouth Country Club, mimicing Quint from Jaws and saying, “Not like playing some Scottsdale muni, is it chief?”, and I laugh and make the necessary correction.

I’m very pleased with the way I’m hitting my hybrids and 3- and 5-woods, not over-swinging and letting the clubs do the work. When it comes to my driver, I move the ball back in my address a few inches and make that conscious effort to not over-swing and emphasize my lower body, and find I’m back to banging them straight like I was a month ago. “So now you show up!”, I say to my driver, “but let’s see if you can do that in competition!”

I finish off the bucket working on my sand wedge and pitching wedge, aiming at the 75 and 100 yard markers and parachuting balls all around them in a ten-foot circle. I wish I knew how far I hit my sand wedge, as that’s a club that could come in really handy. The next hour is spent at the chipping area and putting green. My goal for Goodboys weekend is to play aggressively but sensibly, not trying to be too fine. The Superstition Springs greens are their normal lightning fast, but I figure I’ll compensate for the slower greens I’ll see during Goodboys weekend by taking the same swings, but drop down from my pitching wedge to like a 9-iron. I’m not really pleased with my focus and effort today, but the heat is really something, and it’s time to head inside for a cold beer before heading home and my 88-degree pool.

A little over six weeks left, and I’ve started down the road to Portsmouth.

Now where the $#$@! is Exec-Comm???

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 12:29 | Comments Off on On The Road to Portsmouth
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