February 9, 2020

I had finished a bunch of chores, getting rabbit food for my sister-in-law, food shopping, removing all the frost coverings on our sensitive plants, and making sure my propane exchange tank was working as needed when – bang! – all of a sudden the urge hit me that, as beautiful a day as it was, I ought to go hit some balls.

The last time I had played golf was back in late September, so it had been almost 4 1/2 months since I had even swung a club. So I wasn’t sure exactly what I would be trying to accomplish – if anything – by heading out to the Kokopelli G.C. driving range on such a lovely, mid-70s Saturday afternoon.

Personally, I was pissed that in my haste to throw up last night’s blog post about all the music currently swimming in my head I had neglected to include the Bee Gees’ “Nights on Broadway” and “Got To Get A Message To You” and The Doors’ “Hyacinth House” and “L.A. Woman” that, while driving over to the driving range, I had that opening riff of “Hyacinth House” as the guide to the tempo I would try and achieve during this range session.

(Allow me to first of all state that I had already made the decision that I was abandoning the take-away I had adopted last year, taking the club back and gradually opening it at the top so as to then close it with “a snap” at impact (the idea being, you’d gain some distance from the inherent acceleration at impact). In my view, all that did was introduce the dreaded “two-way miss” – if I got the club square at impact it would go a gazillion miles, a little early I’d generate this ugly, dipsy-doo push to the left, a little late a big yank to the right. The last time I’d played, in September at TPC Scottsdale, Tracey would ask where the ball was going at any given swing and I’d have to say honestly I’d hadn’t the faintest clue.)

I paid my money for a medium bucket and headed out to the range with no small amount of trepidation. I honestly didn’t know what I was trying to achieve outside of getting over the mental hurdle of just hitting balls again. The “Hyacinth House” tempo in my head (I know this sounds bizarre, but, hey, we’re talking The Great White Shank here), I noticed there were a couple of spots wide open next to a guy in an Air Force Academy T-shirt who was working on his Callaway Epic driver, and I found myself immediately intrigued by his smooth hips / chest / shoulder tempo – the same kind of “Hyacinth House” tempo I had in my head. Suddenly, I was taken back to almost two years ago and that range session where a guy named Matthew recognized I wasn’t keeping my “Vs”; yes! that’s exactly what I wanted to get back to!!

Right off the bat, I was inspired to go with that single, simple move – hips, chest, shoulder all working together – not caring about whether I was turning the club-face open at the top of my back-swing or not and just focus on staying on top of the ball and finishing off on my right side. Focus on tempo (not jumping at the ball) and weight shift (get off that damned left side!). I also committed myself to the idea that if I felt like my stance at address was somewhat closed, then I was most probably square. And to make sure that I was playing all my irons in the middle of my stance.

It was pretty funny that, right off from the bat, I found myself not just making great contact as far as ball-striking went, but how natural it felt, like an old friend. Look, the fact is I’m never going to be at best a 20-25 handicap golfer; far easier to reconcile one’s swing and one’ approach to the game to gauge one’s abilities. So all I focused on was: (1) staying on top of the ball, (2) swing all the through so the club ended up somewhere around my right shoulder, and (3) don’t jump at the ball. If I can do all of these things consistently I think I’ll be that much further head of the game. Of course, I’m going to have to work on that pull from 120 yards in, but better to fix one “big miss” than the dreaded “two way”. And a couple-two-three times I actually had a baby draw to show for it!

In the end, it was a pretty good day. I know I’m going to have to work out that yank or pull to the right (most especially with my short clubs), but far better that than to have to deal with that fu**in’ two-way miss that was making my life miserable. Not only did I not know where the ball would go after any given swing, but that ugly dipsy-doo push left was costing me a ton of yards off the tee. Easier to work on a one-way miss than the dreaded two-way, that’s for sure!

A good start.

Filed in: Golf Quest by The Great White Shank at 01:30 | Comments Off on Home On The Range
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