I've played with a few guys in tournaments who are now on the Tour, namely Tom Scherrer and Jason Gore. I usually get asked on their play and usually the person asking the question thinks that these guys just have these out of the world short games, particularly with the flatstick. Even the scratch golfers tend to think this. So when I tell them 'not exactly', they are surprised by that.
From a general standpoint of the golfing population, they do have a very good short game and putting. But most of the prowess in the short game is wedge shots, bunker play, chipping and pitching. Again, it's not to say that they stink at putting and they can have some great days rolling the rock. But from my experience these guys have plenty of days where they won't 'wow' you with the putter. They'll limit mistakes, usually pretty steady from 5 feet in and may make an occasional deep one. But it's not something that I would write home about. And truth be told, this is probably why Gore failed to make the top 125 on the money list in 2009 and Scherrer struggles to keep his card. Both are FANTASTIC players, but it goes to show you how tough it is to make it on the PGA Tour.
The thing I usually go into detail about is how well they strike the golf ball from tee to green. Scherrer isn't known as a 'ballstriking God' and they are not talking about his swing like Hogan afficianados do, but for him it's quite amazing that he can go days hitting every drive about 280-310 yards, very solid and very straight. It's stunning at just how down the center of the fairway he can be with so many of his drives. And hitting 16-18 greens, peppering a few flagsticks on a non-PGA Tour course that is still a test for most good golfers is something he can do without breaking a sweat. And the silly thing in all of this is Jason Gore is a by far better ballstriker IMO, it's not even close. Gore hits the ball like Scherrer, just noticeably further.
Anyway, Saturday I finally had one of those 'PGA Tour like ballstriking days.' 16 greens in regulation and I peppered the flagstick on 5 occasions with approach shots into the greens. Furthermore, I hit 3 of the par 5's in two, which makes the 5 peppered flag sticks even more remarkable since I can't count those 3 par 5's into the equation. One of the par 5's I hit in 2 for the first time ever. And I only missed one fairway and with a tailwind and a downslope, we figure I hit one drive on one of the par 5's approximately 360 yards (I really dig those new Callaway Tour-i golf balls as well).
I had been hitting the ball a shade below that phenomenal performance (I shot a 68 on Saturday and couldn't putt worth a lick) the previous few days, but I 'lost' it on Sunday and still wound up shooting a 76 on a 7,300 yard course with a 142 slope and a 75.3 index. Here's a look at my latest swings:
One of the swings I took is with the Manzella 'Never Slice Again 2.0 Twistaway' method. I actually only use the 'twistaway' on the downswing. I've actually been using it about 5 times a round. Using angled hinge, it's a bit difficult (but not impossible) for me to hit a big draw. Also, downhill lies and/or lies with the ball below my feet are difficult to hit without some type of left-to-right action. So now if the pin is tucked to the left part of the green, I can just aim at the middle of the green and bring out the downswing twistaway. If it draws well, it's flagsville. If it stays straight, I'm in the middle of the green with a good sized birdie putt. On the courses I play, which have very hilly terrain, a lot of times it's set up so the water is on the right and the lie you're likely going to get is downhill and/or the ball under your feet. Not being able to afford to hit it left-to-right, the downswing twistaway works like magic and has been rifling dead straight shots. Here's a look at the impact position using the downswing twistaway.
Not too shabby.
Of course I had some struggles with that 76 on Sunday and the ballstriking wasn't pretty. But from watching this video, some of the same old culprits sneak up, like a closed clubface on the backswing, 'antsy' footwork, and getting a little too fast on the startdown. Thankfully, Mr. Taly is there to help out and I have other drills in place to help solve the other problems.
The putting has been problematic, but I'm tinkering with some things and I think the main problem is that I don't take the putterhead back straighter now that I'm using the shoulder rocking stroke. I'll have to video that soon.
Anyway, a key lesson here is that you can 'lose' it pretty quickly out there, even if you have a FLW at impact. Of course, having a FLW at impact sure makes your misses look a lot better. But it's always good to keep the '15th club in the bag' (aka the camcorder) handy and see if the old culprits are causing some of the problems or some new troublemakers have come into town to make a mess of the village.