June 27, 2018

Less than a month from Goodboys Invitational weekend. I’m in regular contact with Foxwoods Hotel & Casino in Connecticut, working out the finer logistical details: checking in, checking out, where our Champions Dinner will be held, shuttles to the Lake of Isles Golf Course, etc. In between, I’m trying to clear my desk of all kinds of work ahead of heading back to Massachusetts on the 14th – there’s training I have to get done, “The Client Who Shall Remain Nameless” keeps on putting demands on both my team and my patience, and there’s all kinds of other work-related stuff going on.

Had a rough outing at Superstition Springs Golf Club last Friday when all kinds of old demons crept back into my game. Part of it was the abysmal setting I was playing golf in – a grandfather teaching his 12-year old granddaughter how to play golf with me trying to offer words of encouragement as best I could while we backed up two groups behind us. By the time I shook them and the foursome in front of me it was just getting way too hot to golf and my attention (and my swing) began to wander. Ended up with a 51+54 for a 105, but it looked a lot worse than that.

My glass of Pinot Grigio wasn’t even half empty when I realized the bad habits I had fallen into, all the signs were there: fat hits, a few yanks, banana slices with the driver. I remembered my last session a couple of years back with my swing coach Alex Black, and the drills forcing me to shift my weight and take a divot in front of the ball. Woulda been nice to recognize that on the field of battle, but no one ever accused The Great White Shank of situational awareness when it comes to his golf swing. Me, I need a little separation from the action. A few years ago, I’d need weeks (if not months) and perhaps a lesson to work these things out; now I’m down to a half glass of white wine on the 19th tee.

Now that’s what I call progress!

Golf is a funny game. Every time you think you got things nailed down it comes back to bit your ass. What separates the good hackers in Goodboys Nation – Skeeta, Killer, The Funny Guy, and Deuce, for instance – from the average to mediocre everyday hackers like the rest of us is that they have a greater self-awareness about their swings; they can feel when they need to gear down and make the necessary adjustments then all of a sudden rip off four or five pars in the next seven or eight holes. I’m obviously not there yet.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not creeping closer, if only in tiny increments. On the front nine at the Springs I was spraying my driver everywhere. On the back nine, I made an adjustment and all of a sudden got the accuracy and distance back that I had been missing the day before at Papago Park. It’s all about weight shift and (for me) a mental picture of keeping my lower body quiet.

And that’s what I’ve been working on at the Kokopelli G.C driving range the past few days – crawling out of the abyss and getting back to the fundamentals of weight shift and keeping my lower body quiet. It was brutally hot out there today, me being the only one on the range. On days like this, where the temps are 110 or higher, you just get in, work on what has to be worked on, and make tracks to the A/C in your car. But I love the solitude of the range, playing games in my mind with where I want to place the ball and seeing how close I can get it.

Sometimes I wonder how long I’ll be able to hit balls at the range. My logical mind says I’ve got another twenty years or so of ball-hitting ahead of me, but you never know, do you? So I try to get the most out of my time there: if the mourning doves and foo-foo birds are making a ruckus I’ll talk to them. I don’t care what the “professionals” in their Titleist gear and designer golf clothes think. If a sudden breeze comes up to rustle the palms or stir the pine trees lining the first fairway I’ll stop and just listen for a minute. I like it like that. Not today, though – it was too damned hot to waste time.

I think I’m going to play this weekend and then next weekend and that will be a wrap ahead of my Massachusetts return for Goodboys Week. Maybe my handicap trend is four points higher than I wanted it to be by this time, but I think I’m in a good place – an even better place than I was last year. I’ve great clubs, enjoy working on my fundamentals, and am looking forward to (hopefully) surprising some people.

That’s where The Great White Shank is right now.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 18:48 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. Glad that you this to look forward to and just have some fun. Stay away from the news. Laugh with your friends.

    Comment by Jana — June 28, 2018 @ 2:10 am

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