Regroup!

August 2nd, 2011

So I’ve been experimenting with a number of different setup positions for the driver.  It’s time to choose one and stick with it, but which one?  All seem to work pretty well on the practice tee, and all seem pretty lame at times on the REAL tee.  What’s a duffer to do?  Played 6 holes before it got too dark last night.  One drive down the middle at 235 and one down the left side of the fairway at 260.  And 3 crappy ones – off the toe.  Funny how that never happens on the practice tee.  So it’s time to re-group.

Let’s start by summarizing the various parts of the setup that I need to make a decision on.  First and foremost is ball position.  The candidates are: 1) Extremely forward, like 3″ to 5″ closer to the target then my left big toe.  2) Off the Left Toe, and 3) Just off the instep of the Left Foot.  All three have worked well at times. 

The extreme forward position promotes an aggresive swing to a full finish as I have to really go after the ball or “chase it” as they say.  On the downside, it just seems so pronounced and weird and requires a pretty radical lateral shift towards the target, from what I sense.    Just off the left toe has been my position of choice lately, and though it has worked OK on the practice tee, it has failed to work consistently enough on the course.  The instep position seems to work well with a little weaker grip and is about the same postion I use for my 3wood.  This latter position would be more in line with the “place the ball in roughly the same position for all full shots – metals and irons” as advocated by George Knudson, the great Canadian ball striker.  The former would be the more standard “there is only about a 2 ball difference between the position of the ball from Driver to 9-iron” as advocated by Ben Hogan and many others. 

I have been alternating between choice  2 and 3 with out a whole lot of success on the course.  So, let’s choose door number 1 and go for the 3″ in front of the target foot and see how that works.  Let’s also use my coach Len’s advice to set up with the swing center more forward to help prevent a sway on the back swing.  I am going back to postion number 1 because I feel the forward position forces me to shift my weight and helps get the momentum going on the downswing.  This type of swing seems to make the mental issue of “what to use to trigger the downswing” moot, as having to chase after the ball pretty much forces the weight shift to the front foot.  It is also where the ball should probably be based on my good practice swings. 

Also, settle on ball height.  They say “tee it high and let it fly”.  I don’t know.  Think I will stick with half the ball above the top of the driver face and see how that works.  As for stance width, I’ll keep the feet just outside the shoulders and continue to brace the right knee inward to help prevent an overswing or sway.  Stand tall.  Slight knee bend.  Natural bend from the hips.  (Aside: I have always had trouble discerning between bending at the waiste or the hips.  They seem to be about the same place to me?)

As always, the key for me is to get that lower body moving first and let the weight shift to the front foot, along with the unwinding of the hips, pulling  the relaxed arms along the correct inside arc.  I need to feel the right elbow pass in close to the front of my thigh as I just let the club drop as the trunk turns.  If I end up with all my weight on the target foot then all went well. If I hit behind the ball, I didn’t get enough momentum going (shift and turn) or I dropped the club into the slot too soon.  If I top the ball, I didn’t drop the club soon enough – or more than likely – my arms and upper body were too stiff and tight and I ended up short-arming it.

OK.  Now you go ahead and write down or type up exactly how you need to setup and what you need to do or feel to get a good swing out of your driver.  We can’t be consistent if we don’t have a very clear idea of what we want to do and feel.  But we can’t find the right setup without doing some experimentation.  When you get it right, write it down.  Man, I envy those low handicappers that don’t seem to have to think about any of this.

Hit ’em straight.

Rick

Relaxed Arms is a Must

July 30th, 2011

I play with a number of “Arm Swingers” or upper body type players.  You may know, or even be one.  Usually the guys with the big, strong, upper bodies that hit the ball quite a ways.  My playing partner this year on the league, Karl, has a pretty good upper body or arm swing.  He can hit the ball a long way because he also clears out his lower body so it’s not purely an arm swing.  Others have to aim way to the left, perhaps a fairway over, to get their upper body swing to work.  Of course every now and then it goes straight and they get to play the hole from a very different perspective.  Unless you have really mastered and ingrained this type of swing ( and Karl has) I think you are going to be pretty erratic.  And if you don’t have a particularly strong upper body, you aren’t going to get much distance out of this type of swing, or hit.  What I feel is more of a lost opportunity is that the strong upper body “hitter” could really kill the ball if they learned to let the lower body lead.  They would also have much better control than just aiming way left and swinging from outside to inside, cutting across the ball.  But too often it’s just a swing they have used forever and don’t have the time to remake from scratch.  That’s the swing they know and they’re stickin’ with it.

On the range the other day I noticed an older golfer – and I imagined he had been golfing for quite a lot of years – banging away hitting the weak right and short drives.  He had a very weak grip and was pretty much just doing an arm swing.  I helped him strengthen his grip a tad and then of course everything was going left because he was cutting across the ball.  I tried to get him to start the down-swing from the bottom up, just let the arms go for a ride.  He replied “I don’t want to screw my back up trying to play like Tiger.”  I pointed out that he moved his hips and body toward the target anyhow, he just did it too late.  If you’re going to make a turn you might as well make it at the right time! 

But I suppose he just went back to his weak grip, hitting them short right with an open clubface cutting across the ball with a weak over-the-top swing.  Really, I just find this sad because it would seem a waste of time to go to the range and just keep hitting weak shots.  Why bother? 

If you are reading this, you are not one of those golfers that is content to just do the same old thing and hope you will improve.  Our goal is to find the right setup, the right swing, the right mental attitude, and then try to groove it all.  It’s an up and down journey, but it makes more sense than doing the same old same old and hoping that miraculously our handicap will drop.

So anyhow, after the terrible 49 with 6 shots lost to the driver, I went out the next week and shot an even worse 53!  OK, so it was 98 degreas in the shade and the cart girls didn’t help much.  But it was my beloved new driver that was once again the foe.  The driver I hit my first on course 300 yard drive with.  The driver that I can smack with such confidence on the range (as they say, practice tee champions are a dime a dozen).  So last Wednesday I left the driver in the bag and shot a 44 with two greens in regulation that I 3 jacked and a couple of bad chips from close in.  My 3 pars should have been 5 and I missed a bird by an inch on one of the par 5’s. 

But we don’t like to leave the driver in the bag do we?  I mean that’s a big part of the fun and competition – bangin’ the long drive.  However, I was in the fairway on a number of holes where the 3 other guys were in the drink.  So I still think that if you have a club that is not working well for you, and that is often the driver,  leave it in the bag until you figure it out.

So back to the range with the driver.  Think I have it ( I say that a lot don’t I?) – Relaxed Arms.  In a previous post I mentioned it might be ball position or tight arms and grip that was the culprit.  After my last practice session I definitely feel it is simply a matter of getting the lower body going first and letting the arms go along for the ride.  You just can’t swing free when your upper body is tense and trying to force the swing.  Those long ball, strong upper body types can pull it off.  But us mere mortals need to get the momentum going from the ground up and just let the arms follow the core as at turns to the target.   As my buddy Mike pointed out, my success at the range with the driver was probably part of the problem.  I felt like I could kill it – so that’s what I was trying to do.   So next week I’ll pull the driver out of the bag and let it rip.  Time is running out and I’d like to hit that next goal – a 40 for nine.  That’s going to take 5 pars and the rest boggies or throw in a bird and a double.  But I know it is entirely doable as there isn’t a hole on the course I can’t par.

So keep the faith.  When things go wrong work it out on the practice tee.  Make a note of what works and what doesn’t.  Start with the grip then run through your setup and ball position.  Try to ingrain that feeling of a good swing and take it to the course.

Hit ’em straight…

Beyound Mechanics

July 17th, 2011

Like 2010, this year has been a lot about mechanics.  I ended last season a bit dissapointed but simply vowed to enjoy the game and not let a 50 (for nine) spoil my day.  I maintained that attitude this year but could not help but once again do more reading, takes lessons, and even buy a new driver (but at least I only shelled out a hundred bucks and not $400!)  Also, it has mostly been about the full swing until this last week when I got Dave Stockton’s “Put to Win” and also have been re-reading some of Dave Peltz “Short Game Bible”.  Will save that for another post. 

Anyhow, the mental attitude of  “so if you shoot a 50 you shoot a 50 – you’re no pro and it will happen” has helped a lot.  Then again, only my first league round this year was in the 50’s – a 52. 

But one other important mental side of the game has started to come to the fore as I have felt more confidence in my mechanics and tried to move from just positions and fundamentals to “seeing” the shot.  It is sort of uncanny, but I am getting the feeling that just by seeing the shot in my mind – left to right or right to left – the ball seems to go that way.  When I am indecisive and don’t have a clear picture of just what I want the ball to do, it usually results in a poor shot.  Now I have read about “seeing the shot” many times, but I don’t think my mechanics were up to the task yet. 

I recently read a little example of this in Dave Stockton’s Put to Win book.  To paraphrase, you blow the open shot to the green in the middle of the fairway but hit a nice shot to the center of the green when you have to go over a tree.  I thought about my old buddy Charlie.  He hit the greatest shots when he had to clear a tree to the green – and blew many after a good drive to the middle of the fairway.  Same here.  I used to joke that he should carry a cardboard tree with him and set it up in front of his ball!

The lesson?  You have to really think about and SEE the shot over the tree.  You get a picture of it in your mind as you set up more carefully to make it happen. 

Like all golfers that are truly addicted, I am always thinking I am on the verge of a major breakthrough.  But I think this is really something different for me.  Seeing the shot clearly before I take it just seems to make it happen in many cases. 

One thing I am not sure about is just seeing a straight shot.  I will play with it, but it seems that if I picture just a slight fade or draw it works better than a vanilla straight shot. 

This is getting fun….

Avoid The Big Numbers

July 17th, 2011

So, the new TM Burner HT driver has me all charged up.  But 3 balls screaming to the right the next time out had me back up there, shooting a 49.  Almost hit Karl on one of them.  Sorry Karl.

Same thing – fundamentals.  I was standing too far from the ball and hitting it off the toe.  So reviewed ball placement with my teacher, Len, and got it going good. 

Hey, I don’t know if anyone is even reading this blog.  But it is a place for me to record things and hopefully help my game out.  If you’re a 14 or better, you may not find much here that interests or helps you.  But sometimes we all forget things – basic things – and a little memory jogger can be beneficial.  I find that sometimes I can help some of the lower handicappers on my league, not the 4 and 6 guys, but maybe the 12 and up.  I hate to say it, but the really high handi-cappers don’t really seem to be in the mindset to change anything.  Personally, I find the challenge of lowering my handicap to be the most compelling part of the game.

Enough blather.  So the first thing Len notices on my bad shots is that I am swaying again.  Again!  Again! Again!  It always comes down to basics.  So here is my routine to get rid of the sway.

Use the “bruise the grass” and set the club distance method mentioned earlier.  Play the driver off the toe of the left foot.  Keep the same fairly strong grip.  Len wants it a little stronger, but it just doesn’t feel right to me and the new driver has a little draw built in.  But as he says – “If the ball goes to the  right, the first thing to check is your grip”.  Point taken. 

Now, once I am set up and in balance, go ahead and shift a couple of inches forward, towared the target.  Put a little more weight on the front side.  Take your swing and turn – don’t sway.  Len says that this was one of Ben Hogan’s keys – he set up with more weight (70% ?) on the front side.  It gives you a margin of error on your backswing and helps prevent swaying.  Just turn.  

I hit some nice balls with this setup, landing at the 250 marker or beyound, and so will stick with it forever or until I can correct the sway without using it.  I sometimes don’t know if what Len wants me to do is just a bit of medicine to get things on track or a permanent swing thing.  What Len said was he was happy “that this gives you a mechanical thing to hang your swing on”. 

I also think I have a peice of my pull hook figured out.  I think when my upper body is to tight – to rigid due to anxiety – that is when I tend to hook.  I loose the all rythm and that feeling of the lower body whipping the arms around.  So make sure you keep the arms and shoulds somewhat relaxed.  Not like you’re ready to take a nap, but not tense and tight.

I also mentioned that my 3W, that I was hitting great, had gone all to pot.  Len watched a few and had this to say: “You don’t want to sweep so much with the 3W as you want to hit down on it.”  That reminded me of my swing thought when I was hitting it well, “just drop the club on the ball”.  Bingo – hitting it good again – at least on the range.

The other thing Len wanted me to do was to bring my left knee in more, knocked kneed, like Hogan advocates.  This just feels too weird for now.  Len says I have to bring the knee back in the back swing so this gives you a head start.  Will have to experiment but for now am just bringing the back knee in to help keep my weight from breaking over the rear foot – a power killer.

So if you find yourself swaying, try getting balanced in your setup and then shifting your weight and head forward a bit.    And always get the ball position as close to perfect as you can.

My First 300 Yard Drive!

July 17th, 2011

I never thought I could do it.  Just got a new TaylorMade Burner HT (2007) and had only hit a few balls just before our round.  1st hole,  470 yard par 5.  Pictured a nice little draw in my minds eye.  Good swing and I knew I had hit it well.  But absolutely shocked to find myself at 170 out from the green and a good 50 yards or so past my playing partner, who also hit a fine shot. 

No doubt I put a good swing on it, but I had also just bought a new driver, a TaylorMade Burner HT – the 2007 version rebranded HT for Dick’s Sporting Goods.  My golfing partner, Chuck, suggested I get the club since I hit the burner 3W and 4Utility so well.  I never liked the “thud” sound of my TM R460 that was getting a little long in the tooth.  Man am I glad I listend to Chuck.  Got the last “R” flex they had, 10.5 instead of my R4 9.5 since that is all they had left.  Only a hundred bucks.  I love the sound of this club – a nice “ping” that some find annoying.  I had read the reviews and took them with a grain of salt.  So many saying they hit it 30 or 40 yards farther.   But this is one case in which I think the equipment has really played a big part.  I hit quite a few more good drives that day, in the 230 to 250 range.

Now I’m thinking about replacing my aged “Pal Joey” putter.  

The next time out with the same club I toed three shots out of bounds!  Six strokes!  Forgot to get my distance from the ball right and some other things that my teacher, Len, helped me out with in out next lesson.  And as this is golf, my 3W that I was hitting so well, went all to pot.  Len helped me out with that too.  See the next post.

Life is good.

The Break-Through Revisisted

July 17th, 2011

The good thing about playing the ball so far forwared, about 5 inches off the left toe toward the target, was it enabled me to feel a good powerfull swing.  When you play the ball forward, you really have to go after it.  That forces you to get your weight to the target side.  The bad thing?  It just feels so strange playing the ball that forwared!  On my next lesson Len said he wanted me to play it forward for just that purpose, to get my weight transfered forward.  But at 5″ forward I really have to make a big lateral movement towards the target and that just doesn’t seem right.  So I have moved it back toward the toe of my left foot.  This still makes you go after it, just not as exagerated. 

It really keeps coming back to three main points for me:  1) Ball position is critical.  You simply can’t be cavalier about it.  It must be in the same position for that club each time.  2)  The grip is critical.  It has to be on the strong side to keep from fading or slicing.  3) The upper body cannot be tense or nothing will work right. 

So, swing the club 30 times, bruising the grass, to find out where your club head starts  and finishes.  Place the ball where it needs to be – just past the center of your bruise for the driver.  I put a club down on the ground in front of my toes so that my left foot is positioned with the head of the club (iron)  going down the left side of my left foot and my toe touching the shaft.  This way I can “measure” the distance between the bruise mark and my left foot.   

For a couple of years I have been using the method taught by Maxine Van Evera Lupo in How to Master A Great Golf Swing to get the ball position – or distance from the toe line – right.  Basically she has you approach the ball standing tall with the arm “comfortably” extended and the wrist caulked down so as to create a straight line with the club.  Len has a different method.  Once you do the “bruise” exercise 1) stand tall with the club in your left hand in front of your left leg.  Rest the but of the club against the front of your leg with your arm hanging down naturally.  Now look at the distance between your bruise mark and the club head (put a ball in the correct spot on the bruise mark to help see it).  This is the distance you should be from the ball.  Note that you do this from the same position, without moving your feet, as you used to create the bruise mark in the first place.

I guess it doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you get the distance correct and you can do it in a repeatable fashion.  You simply must get the distance you stand from the ball correct.  Then the ball just gets in the way.

One last thought on ball position.  I was reading Harvey  Penick’s Little Red Book this morning and he made a point of how the practice swing and the actual swing are often so different.  He did mention that without a ball it is easy – no getting “ball bound” and the like.  However, he stressed that you must alway aim at something – a blade of grass, the top of a dandelion, etc – when making your practice swing.  The trouble he says is that “with a practice swing he doesn’t have to square his clubface on impact.  He allows himselft to swing freely.  When there’s a golf ball in front of him, he knows-at least subconsciously – that he must square that clubface, and tension sets in, causing all sorts of faults.”  His solution is “Never take another practice swing without aiming at something.” 

I think that’s good advice.  And one last thing I want to remember that Harvey mentions – to square the clubface at impact, clip the tee.  I think this is another good mental image to have.

A Possible Breakthrough??!

July 8th, 2011

Golfers Journey – 7/7/2011

 

A Possible Breakthrough??!

 

Swinging the club with my new coach – Len.  I ask “How can I get my hip turn started, what is the best trigger?”  Len showed me how to move the left knee toward the target to get things going.  He hit some effortless beauties straight down the shoot.  At  72  he can smash a ball a long ways with what looks like minimal effort.  And very straight.

 

He then guided me through the line drill, carving out a line in the turf and seeing how consistent I was at hitting the line and then taking a divot.  Great drill/test.  I thought I had been hitting my irons well with a stronger grip but could now see that it was the angle of the shaft causing me to pinch the ball off the turf and a pretty consistent swing.  This is a drill I will surely repeat, it you know your spot, you can just let the ball get in the way.  I also think I will be less hesitant to take a divot.  Hit some nice straight  7 irons about 150 or so.  I could be exaggerating, but at least they felt real good.

 

OK, so back to the “get the hips moving thing”.  I was trying to mimic Len’s movements but I just felt so awkward and sort of like I was completely clueless and uncoordinated.  I was ready to give up and try something different, something that didn’t feel so awkward.  At that point I started taking my standard warm up Driver Swing.

 

 It’ s a pretty full out swing – I like to feel the lower body pull the arms down and try to get my right arm tucked in close on the downswing.  If I don’t end up with only my right big toe touching the ground, I  know I haven’t put a good swing on it.  I can feel the good swing is a nice rhythmic backswing will a fairly straight and extended left arm that swings below my chin, from the shoulders,  and I try to stretch my left arm out from the shoulder.  The downswing is a swish with the club slightly slapping the ground at times – which feels good, a nice “crack”  sounding.  When I don’t hit the ground,  there is nothing but air and it doesn’t feel as good. It feels really ugly when I dig in to the dirt about mid way between my feet.  When it feels good,  I end up on my left side because of the speed of the clubhead and  at the same time because I usually turn well into the shot.  I don’t really have to think about turning if I let the lower body lead the club and swing fast, or rather let my body swing the arms fast.  Like the feeling you get when your swirling a ball or weight on a chain around you.  You are kind of pulling on it and whipping your trunk around.   I don’t know specifically what starts turning, it just feels like my whole trunk.

 

Well, Len looks at the swing.  “Do some more.”,   “Nothing wrong with that swing.” 

So I explain to Len that I can do this practice swing fine.  I have been doing it for a number  of  years.  But something screws me up when you put a ball down.  I just can‘t do it when there’s a ball there. I know what feels good in my warm up swing and it’s pretty automatic.  But it must just be I’m fixated on the ball or something – I can’t hit it.

 

Do you have it figured out yet?

 

So Len asks me to just keep making the same swing, over and over.  When I hit the ground he says, “not a good one”.  When I get it right, just skimming the grass and ending up on my left side, toe only on the right, he says “good one”.  Meanwhile my clubhead has caused a large divot, more like a 2 foot line, in the turf.  Len shows me where my club head is in the perfect position to hit, just at the target end of the long divot.  “You need to play the ball off the left toe, closer to the target, that’s where your sweet spot is.”  So we set up some balls about 5 inches closer to the target than my right left big toe.

 

I am not going to say I can now bomb it 250 every shot, but I hit some in the vicinity, at least with a little bounce and roll.  I hadn’t hit a ball that far, at the driving range, in a long time. 

Okay, so lots of misses, some pulls, and a few more good shots, landing well past the 200 marker, maybe 230 , 240 or so.  Even a big slice that went 20 yards farther than my normal straight shot.

 

 I am pretty optimistic despite the errant shots.  I know how this swing feels when it is on, and can usually tell what is making it off.  If I do the take-away and transition so it is as described above, the rest of the swing takes care of itself.  It’s an all out swing.  It feel as though my lower body is pulling the club around and my arms feel long. 

And if it wasn’t for Len I would still just be doing this practice swing to warm up, not realizing that I couldn’t hit the ball because of some kind of psychological hang-up; but because the ball needed to be placed where it could get smacked.

 

On some shots that went pretty good, it didn’t even feel like a hit but a whiffle ball.  Not like it feels when you  hit the sweet spot, but simply not like much of anything at all.  Anyhow, I need to work on adjusting the strength of the grip, setting my head, and avoiding any sway. Not to mention really narrowing in on the most consistent spot where the club head is just starting the upswing so as to catch the ball squarely with the club coming up.  I have read some snippets lately about the pros “hitting down” on even there driver swing – have to check that out. 

The head needs to remain more toward the target, closer to the ball that is now forward of my left toe.  Again, still lots of swings to find the perfect spot and then hit that spot consistently.  Also, need to experiment with the strength of the grip.  Very strong seems to inhibit the swing or cause me to pull the ball or duck hook to the left.  But that may simply be the shots where I don’t get the weight forward, the center of the “second swing” that revolves around the left side, the left leg.  I can feel a definite shift, just sideways, towards the target and  feel a “thud”  as my left foot gets all the pressure.  Len says the clubfaces closes early when I don’t do the lateral shift towards the target  because I have my head back too close to my right side, and thus the center of the forward swing is too far back. Makes sense to me. Still have to avoid getting carried away and swaying out over the right side.  Have to get the leg bend comfortable and repeatable.  But mostly, I think it is just some tweaking that will get me a good swing in a fairly short time.  After all, I have been making this swing for the last 2 years or more!

So take your best rip at the ball, 30, 40, 100 times – then look at the divot.  Put the ball where it needs to go to get in the way of the clubhead.

 

But golfer beware.  Sometimes it’s all an illusion.  

2011 – Fresh Start

July 2nd, 2011

So it’s mid-way through the league in 20111 and I am the first half champ for the “B” flight.  Probably mostly because I showed up each week and have just been playing with little regard for the outcome.  After all the reading and practicing in 2010 I just took the winter off and didn’t hit a ball till late in the Spring.  I’ve found the best way to mentally approach the round is simply “If you shoot  anything at 47 or below be happy.  If you shoot a 52, oh well, its gonna happen now and then.  Have fun and enjoy yourself – you just might break 40”.  This attitude has helped more than anything and my last 3 rounds were 45 – 47 – 42.  Of cource once I saw some improvement I couldn’t help but re-read my golf books again and started working on my swing.  My thoughts this year on the swing are to just get the setup correct and then focus on swinging inside by getting the lower body and core to start the downswing.  I am trying to keep it very simple and focus on the “feeling” of a good shot.  It can get real detailed when you are reading golf books, and that’s OK.  But when you get to the course you have to just go with feel once you get your grip and stance set.  Probably the biggest change this year is my grip.  Mikey D., the “A” flight champ – a 6 handicapper – gave me a backyard lesson and strengthened my grip quite a bit.  A consistent grip is key.  Now I get a wicked pull hook if I don’t get my hips cleared and come over the top.  But that’s OK.  If the hips clear like they should and I get my weight to the left side I get nice clean contact with the ball and I am now getting the distance I have lacked.  I think one of the best descriptions of a great grip is still Ben Hogan’s Classic “5 Lessons”  So once again I have changed my swing!!!  But this time things seem to have fallen into place quicker with a new swing.  I have hit some really good drives and am often right up there with the “A” flight guys – or even better. 

Having read a lot of golf books, perhaps not as many as you, the two I highly recommend are Swing Like a Pro and the aformentioned “5 Lessons” by Ben Hogan.  I think I have gotten something usefull out of all the golf books I have read.  However, I like “Swing Like a Pro” because it covers the entire full swing in detail.  I don’t think I will ever achieve a pro swing, in fact I am certain I will not, but this book covers practically every detail of the positions in a composite pro swing.  There really is nothing all that new in the golf swing.  When it gets down to it, you have to swing from the inside and you have to get your weight to the front.  Sure, there are a lot more details, but if you can swing from the inside and get to your left side you can play bogey or better (I know, putting, chipping, pitching etc……).  And all of us wannabees do the same things: We get stuck on the backswing because we over-rotate our hips to the back and have no tension between the upper and lower body.  We “break out” over our right side by swaying back and get stuck.  We lift up on the backswing and try to bob back down to hit the ball.  We are inconsistent because we are inconsistent. 

So, my goals for the year, and golf are:  1) Keep the right mental attitude at all times – the next round could be your best ever and the next hole could be a bird or better (I have had one hole-in-one, another would be fun).  When you have a bad hole or bad round, fagetaboutit.  You ain’t turnin’ pro in this lifetime – enjoy yourself.  2)  Do your best to get the setup right – stance, balance, ball postion etc.  If you get this right you give yourself a good chance at a great swing.  3) Do whatever you can to get the lower body leading the swing and commit to swinging right on through the ball.  4) Having digested all you can about the technical aspects of the swing and all the positions – put this behind you on the course and use visualization trying to get the “feel” you have when you make a good swing.  Concentrate on the target and not the mechanics.  Let your arms feel loose and long and just feel the rythm…

Hit ’em straight,

Rick

Just Hit the Damn Thing!

August 6th, 2010

Been getting in my 10 minutes of swing practive (lighthouse turn) each day as prescribed by  The Keys to the Effortless Golf Swing: Curing Your Hit Impulse in Seven Simple Lessons .  McTeigue is one of many teachers that want you to make lots of swings without a ball. 

So league night comes again.  First three holes I absolutely duff my drive off the tee.  On the third hole I vowed not to think anything at all during the shot — just Hit the Damn Thing — HARD.  I smacked one about 250 – very good for me – right down the center.  Finally, a par.  Followed by two more and then a couple boggys due to back approach shots.  Ended up with a 45.

So once again were are up and down.  Lesson:  Clear you mind before the shot and just let it happen.

Down to the wire with league play.  Need a real low round this week to have a chance.  But, thanks to my newer attitude, I know I will have fun no matter the score.

Having Fun on the Course

July 30th, 2010

It’s been quite a while since I posted.  To be truthful I figured by this time of the year I would be consistently shooting 90 or below.  It hasn’t happened.  I was hoping to present the secret to real, lasting improvement.  No such luck.  You have probably done the same thing.  Read, watched, practiced.  Maybe a low round here or there but nothing consistent.  What to do?

The trouble with all the time and effort involved in trying to improve is that I had great expectations for improvement.  After a round of 86 with a lot of pars I thought I could expect lower rounds.  When it didn’t happen I got to the point where I was thinking about just quitting the game.  Like Daily after that bad round when he told the interviewer he was done. 

Nope, not gonna happen.  I just decided to enjoy the game and not put any pressure on myself.  And you know what?  I am enjoying the game and not getting so frustrated when I top the ball into the water or blow a put.  Not to say it makes me happy.  This doesn’t mean I am giving up on improving – I don’t think any real golfer does that.

So this last week I hit some good shots – won a skin, a sleave of balls and my match.  But the round was pretty poor.  Near the end of the round, watching the better players, I noticed their backswing was a lot shorter than mine.  So I went to layup at 170 from a creak my ball always finds.  I hit my 150 club 175 using a shorter backswing.  The shorter backswing seems to give me more zip through the ball.

I have also been reading Dave Peltz Short Game Bible.  Good read but hard to put his 4 wedge concept into action due to a place to practice. 

Current Plan:  Back to McTeigue’s book – The Keys to the Effortless Golf Swing: Curing Your Hit Impulse in Seven Simple Lessons .  I think it really addresses my main problem – the hit impulse.  So I will try to really really really do as he instructs for the rest of the season and let you know how things go.

Like hopeful golfers everywhere, I think I am close to a breakthrough.

Hit em straight.

 Rick