July 4, 2018

Days until the 2018 Goodboys Invitational: 16
MyScorecard.com Handicap: 26.0 / Change: (+0.8)
Location: Stonecreek Golf Club
Score: 55 / 54 = 109

July 4th golf in the Valley of the Sun. Get there, get your round in, get out before the afternoon “witching hours” set in. My goal today was to adhere to the same three principles on every shot: 1) take a 3/4 swing; 2) keep my lower body quiet; 3) finish up on my back foot big toe. It’s all about trying to eliminate my tendencies to over-swing and yank the ball with an over-active shoulder turn. While the score wasn’t insignificant, I’m in Goodboys Invitational weekend preparation mode, so it was all about swing and target visualization, taking practice swings, and adhering to the three principles.

By and large, I’m pretty happy with my goal achievement today. While I only hit four fairways all day, there were only two drives I was unhappy with: an over-swing on the par 4 #6 which I pulled into a fairway bunker, and the par 4 #10 where I not only hit my drive, but my mulligan OB into the condos on the left with a big balloon push by not finishing my swing.

What killed me today was – surprisingly – my short game. Which, admittedly, I haven’t worked on at all, but it hadn’t been a problem until today. Today it was a huge problem. The 27 putts weren’t outrageously bad, but the three 3-putts on the back nine didn’t help. To be truthful, I never really gave myself much of a chance on the greens today – my chipping was awful. But it’s not something I’m going to worry about because: a) I was playing around with chipping with an 8-iron in anticipation of the grasses and greens back in New England, and b) I’ll work on my short game in earnest when in back in Massachusetts for Goodboys Week.

What really killed my round was a ghastly stretch of four eights in a span of five holes. On the par 4 #6 it took me two tries to get out of the fairway bunker, then I flared a 9-iron from 122 yards into a greenside bunker on the left, then had to take two tries to get out of that. On the par 5 #7, it took me 5 strokes to get the ball into the hole from 70 yards out. I messed up two chips before three-putting on that devilish green. After bogeying #8, I hit a decent drive on the par 4 #9 that left me 187 yards to the pin from the center of the fairway. Here I hit my first truly awful iron of the day, chunking a 5-iron, then yanking a 7-iron into a greenside bunker right. It took me two tries to get out of that bunker and then three-putting from twelve feet to earn that snowman. And then on the par 4 #10, lying three after my drive and mulligan OB, I chipped out into a good spot, then shanked a 9-iron from 120, then chunked a sand wedge into a greenside bunker.

….Ahh yes, my sand game. It killed me today. How many strokes did it take to get out of the eight – count ’em, eight! – bunkers I ended up in today? If you guessed 14, you’d be right. But seriously, I’m not going to worry about it or even lose sleep over it. And I’m not going to commit myself to standing in a sand trap for two hours on a blazing hot July afternoon to work on my sand game. The easiest way to deal with it is simply to try and avoid them at all cost.

At this point my round could have gone either way, but I regrouped on the ride to the eleventh tee and re-committed myself to what I was trying to do out there. And while my scores didn’t reflect it, I kinda sorta did pull it together the rest of the way in. Outside of the two par 3s – #12 and #15 – where I yanked two five irons into the water right (I do plan on working this out!) – I actually hit a number of quality shots until I got around the green. Threw a lot of strokes away with my short game down the stretch, but my ball-striking was pretty darned good. I hit my 5-wood consistently well all day, and I even tossed in a very aggressive 4-hybrid from 190 yards to twelve feet from the pin. I three-putted for bogey (of course), but the shot was a beauty to behold.

So that’s gonna close out my competitive golf here in the Valley of the Sun until at least November. I’ll probably hit the range to work on my “three principles” a couple of times before heading back, but overall I’m feeling pretty positive about my game. I’m getting more used to the distances on my M2s, and I’m looking forward to working on my short game on good ol’ New England grasses and greens. It’s disappointing to see that I’m back to being a 26-handicap, and I’m still committed to getting myself down to a 20 at some point, but it won’t be this year.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 20:21 | Comments (0)
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