Sunday, February 1, 2009

Back To The Grind

I apologize for the hiatus, but the holidays turned out to be a little busier than expected, and I haven’t really been able to practice until this weekend. It’s always a downer when life gets in the way of golf.

So the last time I posted something here I had just finished a rollercoaster round of golf that brought to light a few of the weaknesses in my game, and so today begins my practice to try and fix them. Meanwhile, Steve Stricker fires 33-under par after four rounds and feel like the pressure is on a little more than usual. But I have to remember that my main goal is pretty simple in comparison: bring the handicap down low enough to be able to play in a local US Open qualifier. No green jackets or Claret Jugs dancing through my head at this point. I just want to keep things realistic.

It kills me to admit it, but this weekend was a little depressing as far as practice was concerned. My main frustration was my backswing. I don’t feel like I have a full-range of motion. I began my practice routines working on a good impact position, which meant I was working with abbreviated backswings to start. That abbreviated backswing notion carried over to my “full swing,” as I realized that a ¾ swing would still fly the ball as far as before, so I figured: why take a John-Daly-esque backswing when I don’t need to? But the problem I’m running into now is that I feel there is a definite limit on my range of motion, and I think I need to refocus on stretching once again just to make sure that my ¾ swing doesn’t become permanent. Well, I don’t know. Maybe a shorter swing isn’t the worst thing in the world. It worked back in the day when shafts were made of hickory and a full backswing caused the club-head to wrap around your neck.

For the most part, the swing felt solid today. I only worked on my mid and long irons for a short part of my session today, because I wanted to spend the majority of my practice time with my wedges to work on my short game. But the mid and long irons I did strike went just as far as before. The only problem, of course, was that they ended up drifting a little right in a slight pull-slice motion. Normally, I would’ve dropped everything and spent the rest of the day correcting this, but the moron who set up the driving range put the “teeing area” on a freakin’ downhill slope again. Moron.

I’d apologize for saying that, but just like him, I used to have to set up the range in the morning, and not once did I subject a golfer to that kind of punishment. I’m sure tour pros will practice on uneven lies just for giggles, but for someone trying to get a good handle on a repeatable swing? Forget about it. Moron.

So maybe it was a good thing I focused on my wedges today, as my full-swings were off of consistently crappy lies. I mean I love tweaking my back out just as much as the next guy, but not today. I spent the majority of my time using a lob wedge, getting more comfortable with flop shots. The last round I played illuminated a glaring weakness in this department, which was a little unnerving because I’ve never really had a problem with these shots. Just like my experience on the golf course, I was catching the ball a little too low on the clubface. The resulting shot looked quite dangerous, like innocent squirrels or cart-girls might be future victims. But, after my fair share of heat-seeking-squirrel-missles, I was able to achieve a nice string of crisp floaters. As long as I focused on striking the ball in the middle of the clubface and made sure not to peek, things worked out fine.

And, as we speak, I’m sending out my e-mails to a few of the local courses in the area to see what sort of website management / writing services I can provide for free golf. I’m hoping to get a positive response soon so I won’t have to worry about pesky greens-fees while I’m working on my game. Well that, and I just can’t wait to start getting into matches with fellow weekend-warriors.

3 comments:

redtees said...

Nice to have you back.

English Dave said...

Tom!

Good to see you back, old pal. it's been less interesting without you. I thought maybe had gotten accosted or kidnapped for Christmas.

I repeat - there's asbolutely nothing wrong with a 3/4 backswing. Length of backswing makes very little difference to clubhead speed through the ball. Stick with what works, pal. No point fiddling for the sake of fiddling.

On the subject of fiddling - I have improved my driving straightness and consistency by about 500% by doing one simple thing, which I took as a tip from Anthony Kim. Choking down an inch or so on the grip of the driver. It works wonders and has turned my game almost completely around. My driving has gone from being by far the weakest part of my game to being a strength. if you're struggling with the big dog one day, try it. It works for me. And it doesn't cost me distance, either, 'cos I time it much better now.

Stop whining about the range being marginally less than perfect and get your ass out on the course and PLAY! That's the way to practice. Play everything as it lies and, if you have time and space, if you bugger one shot up, drop another ball down until you get it right. Oh, and enjoy yourself or something or nothing.

England's covered in snow right now, so I can't see myself playing much over the weekend. Is it cold there in Florida?

Take care, old pal.

David

Kiwi said...

Your back. Huh like i can say much.

Practice, dunno how you guys do it. I can't do it. I get bored after about 20 mins. Your a legend.

Nothing at all wrong with a 3/4 swing, I'm currently trying to shorten mine just a little as well. I'm taking swings in the backyard at night checking my swing in the reflection of the house window. No ball though. Just swings.

Dave.. I seen that Kim tip as well in GD. Helped me as well, went out and shot 69 later that week. Choke down, 3/4 swing equals LONNGGGGG