Sunday, May 31, 2009

Finally..Another Round

Yesterday, I spent almost 3 hours at the driving range, taking full advantage of the $10 “all-day” pass. Unlimited golf balls, bunker practice, putting practice, and plenty of targets? Who could resist that?

I was preparing for two reasons: first, I knew I was going to be playing golf today, and so I wanted to keep narrowing my focus as far as my current weaknesses on the course are concerned. Second, I’m going to get a chance to play Grand Cypress in Orlando next weekend, and I want to make sure I don’t stink up the place.

To be honest, other than additional mileage, I wasn’t really focusing on any one aspect of my game when I was at the range. Anytime I came across a few bad swings, I’d try and diagnose the problem—such as a few pull-hooks with my mid and long-irons midway through my routine. So, I’d drop a club to the dirt and make sure I was aligned properly. After discovering that I was in fact lined up at my chosen target, I determined that it was my strong left-hand that was to blame. So, I spent 30-40 balls working on my timing so that I could still use a strong left-hand and still keep the ball in play.

Personally, I love a strong left-hand grip. I never have to worry about going right, and as long as I stay focused, I usually produce either a straight shot or a little draw. I also usually make pretty solid contact with the ball, as a strong left-hand grip encourages hand rotation. Plus, as I’m more a fan of an abbreviated backswing, I rely on solid contact to hit my irons to respectable distances. The problems I’ve noticed only occur when I lose a little focus and over-cook a shot, which results in me being 30+ yards left of my intended target. But hey, nobody’s perfect.

The only real problem I came across while jamming out with my iPod at the range was my driver. I still play with a Titleist 975D (I know, I know…I need to get something from like…this decade), and so if my game is a little off, the club isn’t really as forgiving as some of the nitrogen-infused 600cc driver’s out there today. I couldn’t seem to hit the thing straight, and by the time I got around to practicing with it, I was already a little wobbly from the 200+ balls I had smacked beforehand. So I was swaying all over the place, and couldn’t seem to get a handle on hitting the ball straight. Normally, I love my driver, and can’t help but hit it well. But I just couldn’t get it together, and I was a little concerned about my upcoming round and how I would fair on those faithful 14 swings.

Today, however, was pretty successful. My driver was still quite unpredictable, and caused me pain and suffering on 3 or 4 holes, but I was a fast learner, and kept it in my bag for most of today. The course I played was a local muni course near my apartment, and measured 6,800 yards from the tees we were playing. The tips were around 7,000, but my buddy wasn’t having it. Oh well. The course relies much more on placement than yardage, as the architect crowned most of the fairways to solve any and all drainage issues. This of course sucks hardcore if you catch the wrong part of a fairway, as your ball will ricochet into the nearest gator-infested swamp if given the opportunity.

I finished the day with a 78. I had with 4 birdies, 3 three-putts, and 2 drivers that were so far left I think I offended some of the Republicans who were playing the course today. It was a highly sporadic round, as I started bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie. At the same time, however, the round almost felt easy, as I lipped out three birdie attempts and one eagle attempt. I switched back to my old putter, which for some reason can hold a better line than my new one. The touch is a little different, and that probably explains my affinity for three-putts. Overall, however, I feel like I’m on the verge of some really great scores. My focus is there—I think I just needed to hit a few more fairways.

But, golf is such a game of “what-ifs,” so who really knows what could’ve happened.

We’ll see what happens next weekend. I’m planning on playing 27 holes on Saturday and 18 on Sunday, so I should get an even better idea of how my game is holding up. And I don’t care what anyone says—I’m playing the freakin’ tips. If Torrey Pines is over 7,600 yards, I need to sack up.

5 comments:

English Dave said...

Tom!

Man, I'm pretty bad at getting off my ass and actually posting comments ... sorry about that. I do always read your stuff. I hope you know that by now.

I couldn't spend all day at a range. You have my respect, old pal. Maybe 2 hours at a push, but I couldn't do more than that.

Get yourself a decetn driver! Honestly, bud, you will notice the difference straight away. Maybe not so much in distance (although I'm sure something like a 905 will giev you an extra few yards or so) but in forgiveness on the off-centre strikes. You will keep it in play far more. Also try choking down the grip about an inch or so if you start getting wayward/inconsistent with it - it worked wonders for me.

6800 yards is still plenty. 7000 yards is only one more club into eash green - it's not much difference. You don't get to play many courses of that length around these parts - all the back tees of championship courses are reserved for big tournaments and there just aren't that many courses of that length anyway. You have a lot more real estate over there in America than we do over here. I would love to get on and play some decent length courses but it looks like I'm going to have to come out to Florida and bum around with you to do it!

78's decent. I would take it in a heart beat, especially from 6800 yards. I'm struggling to break 80 a lot of times from our tips which are only 6200 yards, but we get a lot of wind, so a 400 yard par 4 straight into the wind can often play driver & 4-iron, and it can blow your ball 20-30 yards sideways if you're not careful. It makes it more fun and interesting though - I love manufacturing shots or trying to work out exactly how much lateral movement you're going to get.

Look forward to hearing about your next rounds. Summer is officially here in England - if it stays like this for the next 6 weeks or so, you are going to see Turnberry baked golden brown and rock hard for the Open in July. That would be fun.

Take care, champ. All the best,

David

English Dave said...

Shit. Can't type for crap. Sorry for pudgy fingers overlapping onto adjacent keys. Hope it still makes sense.

David

English Dave said...

Sorry to clog the place up.

Would you be happy for me to email a copy of your piece about your trip to Augusta to Matt over at Now On the Tee? He's put himself down for tickets to the Masters and I thought he might like to read your piece.

Look forward to hearing from you.

David

Kiwi said...

Yes I just read the piece. Useless I know. but tonight I did updaye MY blog. First time for everything.


My God man. Rsnge's are useless. Go and play golf. Play for money, that'll get ya buckled down and digging a score out of your own grave.

Great read as normal. So when is this damn book coming out. I've read every book I own like 43 times.



BTW English Dave, where the hell is your blog. Jam and I both know you can write, it's even in English occasionally.

Admin said...

Always followed TRJB and am happy to see you're still writing here! Added a link to my blogroll and will check back often. Hope to be watching you at a US Open one day!