I get some PM's and e-mails from people who read this blog and some of my posts over at GolfWRX, kind enough to wonder how my game is coming along. So here goes.
I've only played 4 1/2 times so far. Putting has been pretty good and learning stuff from David Orr and Geoff Mangum has just made my usually good putting even better. I started off with only 1 three putt in the first 51 holes I played. That's actually pretty amazing if you ever saw the course I play at, a Davis Love III design with a lot of tiered greens and greens with big swales. Just generaly a lot of T-O-U-G-H pin positions. Plus, my ballstriking isn't really up to snuff, but I'll get to that later. After those first 51 holes, I then slipped quite a bit and had 3 three putts in a 14 hole span. Although those three putts consisted of 50+ footers that practically broke off the face of the earth. I played Monday and didn't make many putts as I was playing a new course and their greens didn't have nearly the break, but I didn't have a three putt all day long. I will say that I've pretty much been a good putter since I was 16 years old and when I hear good putting Tour pros talk about putting they talk a lot about confidence and for whatever reason I have pretty much felt that there's not a putt in this world I cannot make and I approach every single putt like I can make it (even if it's not true). I'm not sure how you get that type of mindset, but I think it helps me to look TRULY forward to putting. Most people I know dread putting and look at it like an annoyance of playing the game.
Chipping has been okay, although for having a good short game I've never been the greatest chipper. When I'm chipping well I usually have my A-Game going. Pitching has been surprisingly very good. I really dig the new Vokey 54 degree wedge and I'm glad I junked the old trusty rusty 56 degree Cleveland. Bunker play and flop shots have been as good as they have ever been. In fact, I feel I'm now very, very good at those long greenside bunker shots. Before in my 'prime' the ball would shoot out of the bunker with too much loft and fall woefully short. Now it's got that nice trajectory, skips on the green twice and spins to the pin. In fact, I hit one of the greatest bunker shots of my life about 2 weeks ago and I've always been a darn good bunker player.
Now onto the full swing. Still have some problems here and there. However, I chalk it up to something I call "mental STAMINA." It's not that I cannot focus or that I lose focus as the round goes by. But it's that I'm still struggling to get into that golfing mindset where I'm focused to a degree on every single shot. I'm really working on letting my pivot control my hands and not losing the torque on the inside of my right leg. But I'll lose that on shots throughout a golf round and then I start slinging it and the quack hooks and other god awful shots start coming out. I'm basically focusing on trying to eliminate the "god awfuls" from my round. On January 8th I had 4 of them, then on last Saturday I had 8 of them, then on Monday I had 6 of the 'god awfuls.' That doesn't mean I plan on never hitting a bad shot, but I'd like to get rid of those 'god awfuls' that can ruin a round. But between the layoff, the surgery, not getting to play or practice THAT much, getting rid of an old bad habit (flipping and not using my pivot properly)...it's going to take time.
That being said, I do feel a bit more consistent. In the past it seemed like I really had to work at it on the range or I may come up with a round where I couldn't do anything right. Now, it may take me about 30 range balls to start to get in a groove and I seem to be playing halfway decent and if I can get rid of the 'god awfuls', I will see a dramatic drop in my score.
One thing I'm noticing is that I'm getting better and better with my trajectory and getting more and more power which is an indication to me that I'm getting better and better with my pivot. Like I mentioned in the 'Some Further Thoughts On The Secret Is In The Dirt Book' post (http://3jack.blogspot.com/2009/01/some-further-thoughts-on-secret-is-in.html), I've occasionally hit some eye popping shots for myself.
One 'eye popper' of a shot pretty much explained my game in a nutshell. Typically I outdrive my dad and his friends by about 30-50 yards, depending on what set of tees they are playing. Then on Saturday I really crunched one and outdrove the other three guys...all of whom hit pretty good drives by their standards by about 125 yards. Unfortunately, I wound up taking a double bogey on the hole.
And that's another one of my problems. It was on a par 5 and I had a difficult downhill lie and 240 yards into the green and thought I could make it with a 3 wood. But the layoff has still given me problems with those tricky and difficult shots. In retrospect I should've hit an iron and then given myself a wedge into the green, but I'd like to hit these tricky shots or tricky lies a lot better. I think this comes from playing some golf by myself where I can get a tricky lie and figure out how to hit the shot and if I hit a bad one, plop another ball down there until I figure how to hit those tricky shots.
That's pretty much about it for now. Lots and lots of work to do, but I also see more and more improvement each week. I appreciate the kind thoughts and words of encouragement.
With that, here's a nice lesson from Shawn Clement on how to properly hit those tricky shots using proper leverage.