Archive for July, 2011

I am adding a new feature

From reading the comments, I have come to the conclusion that I need to talk about golf strategy more. Both in the context of my rounds, both tournament and practice…and in general for all golfers.

The highs and lows of golf

Today was a microcosm of how great golf can be and how gut twisting.

The front 9 I played was as solid as I have been in a long time, save one HORRENDOUS swing and hole. It wasn’t the lowest 9, the best I have stripped, nor was it in any way spectacular . What it was was solid and easy.

To start, I drove it just off the front edge of the green on a 355 par 4 and got up and down for birdie.

The next hole was a 573 into the wind par 5 with OB left. I favored the right side too much landed just in the right edge of the fairway and kicked on the cart path. My nearest relief was in a lie and angle where I couldn’t hit 3-wood, so I layed up, hit it about 8 feet and misread it just a hair and burned the edge.

I hit it within 30 yards of the next hole (375) and hit a great vertical shot over a tree onto the back tier about 4 feet and made birdie.

200 yard par 3, in between clubs. My shot started left, hooked, the wind blew it left, it kicked left and rolled left. It was left of left. I hit the pitch a bit too hard and hit two terrible putts to walk off with a double and back to even.

I hit 3-iron a little through the next fairway, had a little tree trouble and punched it up there like 20 feet and made it.

Par 5, driver, iron, 2 putts.

A nasty 150 yard into the wind, uphill par 3 with anything short going in water. Reminds me of an easier version of 13 at Augusta. I hit a 9-iron low into the wind and it never left the flag and jumped over the green. I hit a nice pitch and left the putt short in the jar from 8-feet.

The next two holes are 450 into the wind par 4’s. The first was a basic drive, iron and 2 putt. The second is a nasty hole. OB left, tree and bunkers right and water short and left of green.

Perfect drive, perfect wedge to 12 feet and a burned edge.

Nothing to write home about on the scorecard. 1-under, big deal…I agree. What I can’t explain was the intangible ease that I was hitting most of the shots. Not feeling stuck, not thinking too much, not worrying about my swing. Pick a shot, pick a club and hit it. I hit more of those simple shots on this 9 than I have hit in the last year and that is the key to my improvement.

Can it be this easy for me to hit golf shots mentally so I can focus on playing the game and shooting a score.

The next hole was a 325 par 4 with a lake short of the green. I could fly the lake no problem. The problem was it was down wind and there was no way the ball would land on the green and hold down wind…and I could not get 3 wood there. I am all for taking stupid chances, but not when there is zero benefit, as an 80 yard shot from the fairway was easier than over this green.

So I went against my principles and layed up. I pulled it slightly, the wind got it and it went near the edge of the hazard next to a bush.

I slashed it out on the green, while turning my SW shaft into a crescent shape and felt a tweak in my shoulder. I thought it was just a stinger, but it wouldn’t go away. I tried to make another swing, but it wouldn’t work.

I have WD’d an embarrassing number of times the last 5-10 years because I was so frustrated at how awful I was. This time, I wanted to play more, but couldn’t.

I had it looked at by a friend who is a physical therapist and it was a strain or a pull that just needs 7-10 days of rest…another bummer as I was starting to get it a little.

I asked if I should have toughed it out kept playing. “Bad idea. Then you could have torn something.”

That made me feel a little better.

I am always open to any criticisms, as long as they are valid and on point. I deserve plenty. Unlike my younger years, I am not interested in making excuses or justifying anything. I am trying to give an honest rendition of what I am thinking and what I need to do to get my game back to where I want it.

I understand any criticism

of me and my game. What can I say? I am terrible, both compared to how I used to be and to how I want to be again.

I have gone through some really hard times with my swing both physically and mentally…and emotionally. I am trying to discover what is supposed to work for me personally and I am sneaking up on it.

How high I am shooting right now is way more a function of being the golf equivalent of an abused pet…although it was self abuse…LOL.

I am hitting it, chipping it and putting it well enough to shoot under par every time I play. It’s all about lobotomizing myself a little bit and forgetting how bad I was.

None of my awful play has any affect in my confidence that my ever increasing knowledge can help other people get better at golf.

I will be good again, just not this week. Golf scores are not constantly trending up. We can only hope that the improvement in our feel of how to produce better golf scores constantly trends up.

That being the case, my feel is way better now than it was in May.

Yesterday was a rough day

First I want to address some comments from yesterday.

Two people said I only bring up my inconsistency just before a tournament.

One person said I need to find an instructor and trust what he says.

Two people said I can’t be thinking about hip turn while I am swinging.

Um, folks, I have made no secret that inconsistency is what kept me off the Tour and it is a prevailing theme every time I talk about my game.

In yesterday’s post I specifically pointed out that I found someone to work with that I trust and he is helping me work things out.

I don’t stand in the middle of t he fairway with 7 iron in my hands and think ‘30% more hip turn.”

My hip turn is deficient, that is why I am still having consistency issues and I have someone I trust to work it out with. I expect criticism, but at least practice better reading comprehension before you call me out…LOL.

On to yesterday’s round. It got off to a great start. I got a flat tire on the way to the course and didn’t have time to wait for AAA or I would miss my tee time, so I had to change it myself.

My short game was terrible all day, especially chipping.

I hit four big pulls. 2-iron off the first tee, 8-iron into the 3rd green, 7-iron into the 8th green and 3-iron off the 16th tee. That led to 2 doubles and 2 bogeys.

I was even the other 14 holes, but that wasn’t very good either. The other 14 holes were filled with poor chipping and mediocre putting.

Having to exert myself to change the tire may have had a little bit of an affect on me early, but I am still not quite right. I was not nearly as bad as the 78 I shot, but I am still a little in between what I am trying to do and what I am actually doing. As at US Open qualifying, the biggest adjustment is dealing with my miss being left instead of right.

I drove it well and hit my wedges well today. What I really struggled with was being in between clubs and trying to hit a cut. Those where all the pulls. Any time I tried to take something off an iron or tried to hit a cut, left was in play. That tells me the hands still have too much control.

In the short term, I was a major chop yesterday. However, I saw more good things than I did in May at US Open qualifying.

The most important thing…my swing felt better, didn’t feel stuck and required less mental effort.

The State of My Game

This week is the Long Beach Open. One of the biggest independent mini-tour events in the country. Many former winners have gone on to the PGA Tour.

It is a 4 day event Thursday-Sunday with a cut after two days and carries a first place cerca $30,000.

I thought this would be a good time to update my game. I have been working with my long time friend at his Golftec facility and the fresh pair of eyes have really helped find the core issues I am still having that are causing so much inconsistency and not allowing me to release it properly.

I was hitting balls this last Sunday and I was pissed. I just couldn’t get my hips to clear properly (a long time issue that hasn’t allowed me to release properly). I couldn’t get the club square coming into the ball. It was open and slightly under the plane, forcing me to flip at the bottom. That leads to 65 one day and 75 the next.

I spent the next 4 days searching for a feel that freed me up and was very up and down. I am still in that 65 or 75 mode and have no idea what is going to show up on any given day, but I see light at the end of the tunnel.

The problem is when I turn properly, I hit the ball a club longer and into the wind, sometimes two clubs longer because I am making a better swing and contact, so it’s all a crap shoot.

Some would say, “Just hit the ball, you know what to do.” That is actually true if I want to shoot 65 and hit 350 yard drives and impress friends, family, or the threesome I get paired with.

However, if I want to be good enough to at least play at the Nationwide Tour level again, or at the level to finish well at the Long Beach Open, I am going to have to fix this. At the speed I generate, I cannot rely on a hand manipulation at the bottom of the swing to hold up for 4 days…or even 18 holes…or 9 holes for that matter.

I can’t expect to have any kind of consistency when one knockdown 5-iron into the wind goes 190 and the next one goes 210.

I really like the way I am putting.

Make no mistake, I am perfectly capable of shooting double digit under par for 4 days and having a respectable finish. Being in limbo between my new and old swing makes me equally capable of lining up 4 hockey sticks, as well.

The important point is I am starting to have fun playing golf again (in spite of occasional frustrations when my feel gets confused).

I played last night and I couldn’t have beat Andrew Spagnolo. I hope it gets better today.

Golfers are so stupid…and yes, I am included.

PS-In case you didn’t know, lining up 4 hockey sticks would be shooting 77-77 and missing the cut.

If I play the way I played last night I will end up with double dog balls. That means 88 for those not childish or vulgar. I decided the play was so vulgar, the tasteless joke should match. Driver through LW was going left of Gloria Allred.

There needs to be more club rotation so…

…there can be less club rotation. More specifically, less LATE club rotation.

If you don’t have enough rotation of the club, it is open and underneath the plane and that is causing the pivot stall.

There is an ENORMOUS misconception right now.

People believe that more club rotation needs better timing and leads to greater inconsistency.

I am here to tell you that is false. I will agree that too much club rotation is bad, but the club face has to rotate and if you are not rotating it enough, the pivot has to stall so you can flip at the bottom and that is where all the “club rotation needs perfect timing and is bad” nonsense comes from.

You must allow the club to rotate so the lower body can continue to rotate and in turn…keep the club from rotating too much. The rotation of the club and lower body cancel and produce the illusion there is no rotation.

Your right hand needs to be on top of the shaft and the club needs to be square to your spine coming into the ball or pivot stall, early extension (goat humping) and flip are all you have left to square the club.

Your club is open to your spine.

I have posted this video dozens of times and I will keep doing it as long as people need help understanding that allowing the amount of club rotation that the body will produce naturally is the most efficient, consistent and “not dependent on timing” way to do it.

To put it another way…what is more consistent than what natural body mechanics produce?

Hip movement/rotation

I heard this said by someone else and I liked it, so I will share it with you.

“To start the down swing, the hips should move laterally until they can’t anymore, then they should turn.”

This may not work for all of you, but I really like the visual and I think this can work for a lot of you in getting you away from the hands being too active and giving you time for things to get synced.