Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Little Range Time

Today I ventured to a new golf course a little south of where I normally play to see if their prices for golf varied enough to change my normal routine. Turns out I was pleasantly surprised: great rates ($20 for 18 holes with a cart) and an interesting membership possibility ($240 for unlimited range balls for 1 year).

The course is a Fazio design, and from my previous experiences with caddying, I have to say, I’m a huge fan of Fazio. Not a whole lot of cut-thru’s for caddies (much like Nicklaus-designed courses), but the layouts are usually quite challenging, with undulating greens that do just exactly what they should: punish poor shots and reward excellent ones. Now, I haven’t played this particular course yet, but from what I’ve seen so far, I think it’ll do nicely.

Plus, I’m hoping to get another job soon, which would be closer to this particular course. Not only that, but the new job would also offer more flexibility in work hours—meaning I could play golf or hit balls before work, go in, do my thing, and even play some more golf before coming home. That’s awesome. That would really help my current golf schedule, which is no more than once or twice a week at this point. To get my game in shape, I really need to be playing every day if possible.

Today, however, I just went to the range and practiced putting. While my putting stroke feels pretty solid—as in, I’m getting a nice shoulders-only-stroke down and I’m re-acquiring the feel I need—there are still a couple things that I need to work on before I go out and play another round of golf.

First is endurance. I’ve been over this before, but the problem I’m starting to see is that regardless of my daily stretching routines and my cardiovascular work (I’m up to 2 miles every other day), I’m still freakin’ tired after a bucket of balls. Now, I’m not looking to be any kind of Vijay Singh, but I should be able to hit at least 200 balls in a practice session before getting tired. I shouldn’t have to call it quits after 70-80. After much thought, I think the answer is simple: I need more range time. Hopefully, by getting this new job, or at the very least, buying a range membership, I can hit balls 3-4 days a week and get my body used to swinging a club that often. I suppose golf is like downhill skiing in that respect…you can work out all you want for it, but nothing improves your downhill skiing endurance like downhill skiing. I’m sure golf is the same. I just need to keep hitting balls and pushing myself.

The other thing I noticed was that although I was constantly working on a solid impact position, I felt as though I should be focusing more on fundamental movements. What I mean is, PGA Tour pros are always quoted as saying that they work on fundamentals more than anything else on the range. And, other than grip and a fairly solid understanding of posture and aim, I’m not really sure what else I should be working on. PGA pros always caution amateurs heading to the range by saying, “You should really have a PLAN when you go to the range. Don’t just beat balls with your driver without really PRACTICING something.” And, I have to agree with them.

But I don’t want to overdo it. I do want to keep improving my swing, but first things first: I need to build up my endurance on the range. I also feel, however, that I should be inputting little drills here and there to help focus my mind when I’m out there. As much as I love listening to my iPod while I’m practicing draws, hooks, slices or the occasional shank, I have to remain focused on the task at hand, whatever that may be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Tom

Practice is for pansies. Whenever I go to the range (which I do, admittedly, once a week now that it is too dark to play in the evening) I will spend about an hour there and spend at least 40 minutes of that chatting with my buddy and calling him gay. And laughing at his amusing shanks that go sideways. Bless him - he can be so accommodating sometimes.

I have tried practicing with a plan occasionally and even tried that "trying to recreate a round that you would normally plat our course" thing, but it still gets tedious as fuck quite quickly. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion, especially after playing on my own once, that I play golf more for the company and an opportunity to get out and shoot the breeze with my friends for a few hours more than the golf itself. Playing well is always nice, of course, and I always at least try to try hard, but the company is more important to me than the game. I bet that doesn't help you much at all. Sorry about that. Anyway, the best exercise for golfers is golfing, to almost quote the great Bobby Jones. So get out and play, you miserable bugger.

Sorry to waste your time with this drivel. I don't know why I bothered.

Take care, old pal, all the same.