The blog is a day late, because of good old March Madness, and a busy golf week, where I played 3 1/2 rounds. It was a very productive and learning week, for one so early in the season, so lets get to it
On Tuesday, I walked 9 holes at the Mt. Lebanon , under some harsh conditions, with temperatures in the low 40’s, and some strong winds. The very first tee, gave the example of thinking just a little too much, and not following the open mind plan. The first hole is a 160 yard slightly downhill par 3, that on this day was playing into a stiff wind. The first part of my thought process was very good. With the cold temps, and the strong against wind I took out my 7 wood on a hole I can hit with an 8 iron on a nice warm summer evening. But then I thought just a little too much. Instead of aiming dead at the pin, I thought with the first swing of the day, that I would be a little stiff, which would make me hit a little more of a fade than I usually do. I aimed about 5 yards left of the green, swung and hit it dead straight, 5 yards left of the green. The rest of day was not bad, but due to the conditions and a bulky putter the day was a ho-hum 5 pars and 4 bogeys.
On Wednesday, I went to Scenic Valley, and even though the temps were only in the mid 40’s, plenty of sunshine made this day almost pleasant to play. My ball striking that day just evolved into playing a little draw, especially with the irons. My shots were going just slightly right to left. Since this was not a major misdirection, I decided to play the draw, instead of what I would usually do for shots that go way left. In a previous blog, I wrote that I would aim left and my swing would make an automatic correction. Since this slight draw was acceptable I played for it and this worked quite nicely. I made 3 birdies but followed each birdie up with a bogey on the next hole. The one thing that cost me this day was that the wind was in a unique direction for this course and I failed to allow for it.The perfect example of being asleep at the wheel. My short game and putting were ok and managed to shoot a 77
On Saturday I went to Village Green and with temps in the 50’s under overcast skies and gusty winds I managed to play a very good round. My ball striking was spot on and I sunk a long putt on the very first hole for a birdie and I made a lot of 3 to 6 foot putts and shot a very nice 3 over 74. I made some poor decisions down the stretch due to wind and maybe just a little fatigue. I hit some great approach shots and if I had been putting a little better I might have shot even or better.
Yesterday it was back to Scenic Valley, with temps barely in the 40’s but with plenty of sunshine and not all that bad wind wise. However I was out of sync all day, and with the combination of some bad breaks, bad thinking, mediocre putting, and losing the concept of executing the answer I shot a lackluster 82. What do I mean by losing the concept. For the first time since finding the answer, I got back into the problem of trying to make my body do something, instead of allowing it to do what was necessary to hit the shot. For about 11 and a half holes I was striking the ball pretty well. Then I got into some very poor ball striking for 2 and a half of the next 4 holes. Most of this was due to playing the wrong type of shot and then making my body move to what I thought I had to do in order to execute the shot. I should have kept more target oriented and paid attention to what my body did to play the shot.
After this week, this is what I have discovered. The short game and putting are going to require more than just the grip to get some real improvement. The grip is still a flexible and important part of finding your best short game and putting method but there is going to be a little more than that involved for sure. The early season shows how rusty your golf thinking can really be. I will have to do better in avoiding the trap of trying to fall back on what I was doing the day before. That was another reason for the poor score on Sunday. Even though I already knew this, it is really hard not to do, especially early in the season. I have a new way of handling uneven lies, which there are plenty in western Pa. If this continues to work well, I will reveal it in a future blog. Despite the Sunday glitch the season has gotten off to a very nice start. My Saturday round was highlighted by an eagle chip in on the par 5 13th hole. This week looks good for some more golf on Tuesday and Wednesday. The weather get’s a little iffy toward the end of the week but we will wait and see. Progress is being made, I think, I hope , I pray, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! See you next week.