Thursday, August 2, 2012

3Jack Round 7.31.12 FSGA Amateur Qualifier


Course: Metrowest GC
Stimp: 10.5
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Driver: Wishon 919THI 10* loft, UST Mamiya ProForce VTS Silver 6x shaft
3-wood: Wishon 949MC 15* loft, UST Mamiya ProForce VTS Red 7x shaft
Hybrid: Wishon 775HS, 18* loft, Wishon Gold Tour Hybrid shaft (stiff)
4-iron: Wishon 555C, standard loft, Wishon Stepless Steel shaft (stiff)
5-AW: Wishon 555M, standard loft, Wishon Stepless Steel shaft (stiff)
SW: Cleveland Reg. 588, 55* loft, 16* bounce, Tour Concept Wedge shaft
LW: Edel Gold Digger Grind, 60* loft, 27* bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold SL shaft

Going into the qualifier I thought that under part at Metrowest would probably qualify. I had played Metrowest about 8 different times and struggled on 7 of the rounds, but managed to keep the scores between 74-78. In the month leading to the qualifier I started to hit the irons superbly. I was flagging about 3-4 shots a round, coming very close to making a hole-in-one or jarring an eagle on multiple occasions.

What was killing me was the driver, but I was more inconsistent than anything. I would have a lot of times where the front 9 would be a disaster driving the ball, then I would start to 'get it' on the back nine and think I was cured, only to repeat the same sequence in the next round. Or I would go to the range thinking I had resolved the issue and sometimes I would hit the driver great and other rounds it would be a nightmare.

My putting really started to come around, in particular with the use of the AimPoint bubble which really helped diagnose where I make mistakes (reading too much break and too much slope). And the short game was getting really good in the last 2 weeks.

I knew going into the tournament my success was going to come down to how well I hit the driver and the long irons.

#10 - Nervous, I snap hook a driver so bad that it was easily my worst drive all year long. I then just hacked a 7-iron out of the deep rough about 100 yards or so. I then was thinking about trying to get the ball in range to make bogey. I tried hitting a hybrid around the oak tree, but it caught the tree and kicked out sideways.

Now, I figured I might as well get as close to the green as I could and I hit a 3-wood from a lie below my feet. This one cuts and goes into the bunker well away from the green. Now I have a terrible lie in the bunker and can only manage to hit the ball into the other bunker.

I then blast a bunker shot to 10-feet. I had the read at 3-inches and had the line, but left it 6-inches short and make triple (+3)

#11 - I hit a ugly low draw that finds the fairway bunker. I hit a good fairway bunker shot with a SW to 25 feet. I had the read at 14-inches right and I just burned the edge and tapped in for par (+3)

#12 - I tried to aim more down the right side to play for my left driver. Again, I hit a low pull-draw type of driver. I had a very difficult shot as the 8-iron was a tough lie and I would have to draw it around a tree. Instead, I decided to play for the right side of the green and I missed a little right and a little short. That was more of the line of thinking I should have had on #10.

Even though I had a lot of green in front of me, I hit a nice PW chip to about 3-feet and drained the par putt (+3)

#13 - New hole, same song. This time I find another left fairway bunker. I had a tough shot and a tough lie and hit a really good 5-iron out of there, but it found the greenside bunker. There was not much room to work with and the lie in the greenside bunker was crap, so I hit it pretty well but it rolled past the pin and 2-putted for bogey (+4)

#14 - Ugly driver that cut a little, but found the fairway. Decided to lay up since I couldn't get there and flushed a 5-iron to 110 yards. Hit a SW to about 30-feet on a difficult shot to the green. I then had the read at 0 and the read was true, I just missed by about 2-inches short and made par (+4)

#15 - When your +4 and you can't hit your driver, but hit your irons well, I started to think about going for flags on the par-3's, regardless of pin location. I flushed an 8-iron to 15-feet. This was a putt that was at 60* up and then flattened out. I over-read the 2nd part of the putt and missed high and made par (+4)

#16 - Another low pull draw into a left fairway bunker. I hit a very good 7-iron that drew just left of the green. I hit a Rule of 12 chip (9-iron) perfectly to 2-feet and tapped in for par (+4)

#17 - Again, I was thinking about going for the flag. I hit the 5-iron well, a little left, but it went long of the green anyway. I then hit a SW chip to about 4-feet and saved par (+4)

#18 - This was an ugly hook, but it found the fairway and was in good shape. Here I bailed on a PW and found the left greenside bunker. I hit a good blast to 6-feet and had the read, but left the putt short (bad stroke). And made a bogey (+5)

#1 - I knew at the turn I was not looking good. The real killer is that I couldn't hit the driver, so my odds of making birdie were really lowered. When you can hit the driver, you can start to put yourself in position to do some things. When you can't hit the driver, par-5's become almost impossible.

Here I snap-hooked a driver that found the fairway. However, I had 180 yards into a green that usually is meant for a wedge into it. I flushed a 7-iron onto the green. Even my playing partner mentioned how difficult it is to find the green from 100 yards, much less 180 yards. I then had a 30-footer that I think I would have made if I didn't hit it off the toe and I made par (+5)

#2 - Another snap hook driver. What was difficult was I was trying everything I could think of in order to not shut the face and I didn't have this issue with any irons. I then tried to see if the attack angle was too steep and that didn't work. Then I tried to prevent from swinging too far out to the right and that didn't work. I just couldn't stop snap hooking the driver.

I wound up with a bad lie and to work some trees. I hit the shot pretty well, but I wound up in the right greenside bunker. I blasted to 5-feet and I had the read at 1-inch and I think it broke about 4-inches. Must have mis-read the % of slope. (+6)

#3 - Flushed a 4-iron to 18-feet. Probably had a decent read, but hit it too softly and made par (+6)

#4 - didn't quite pull or low hook this one and found the fairway. But, now I'm deathly scared of the 3-wood which I don't hit well. Now I have a 6-iron into this green, which isn't good. I flush the 6-iron into the wall of the greenside bunker which plugged. Metrowest is notorious for their bunkers needing repair and since they have been taken over by the Hilton Resorts, they plan to make it the #1 priority to re-do the bunkers. Well, that doesn't work for me here.

I swing as hard as I can just to get it out. Then I chip on to 5-feet and save bogey (+7)

#5 - I finally said to myself 'lets hold the face off as much as you can with the driver.' And voila...I bomb a driver that just find the right rough, but a good driver nonetheless. I had the distance, but the tough lie put me pin high and just off the green. Metrowest didn't really have a 'fringe', so you wound up chipping on the fringe because the grass was too long. I just missed my 12-foot chip and tapped in for par (+7)

#6 - I thought about 'holding the face off' again and crushed this one about 310 yards. Both of the golfers I played with were former collegiate golfers and that was the first time we all hit pretty good or better drives and I just smoked it about 25 yards past them. I then have PW into the green and I'm about 1-yard from perfect....but, it hits the wall of the bunker and plugs again. This time it actually strained my groine a little just to blast it out of there. I only got it to move about a foot or so. I chipped on to 5-feet and to wound up in an old cup placement that wasn't filled very well and it just broke way left and I made double (+9)

#7 - This drive was hit well, but I pushed it and it over-cut too much into the right fairway bunker. I hit a good 9-iron out of there. Then I flushed a 7-iron, hitting it as high as I could at the flag. I then lipped out a 15-footer for birdie and made par (+9)

#8 - Flushed an 8-iron to 15-feet. I had the read at 3-inches. I lipped out, but it was a low-side lip out...meaning if I had hit it harder it would have gone in.

#9 - Smoked another driver down the middle. Too bad it took 14 holes to figure it out. I was gutless here and bailed out right to avoid the water. My first putt from 45 feet went about 8-feet short. But, I snuck in the 8-footer so I didn't 3-putt all day long.

40-41=81 (+9)
6/14 fairways
7/18 GIR
31 putts
10 impeded shots

THOUGHTS: Obviously, that was very disappointing as for the 2nd tournament in a row, my worst round of the year occurred. And I haven't hit the driver that bad since 2009.

I think therein lies part of the issue. My practice sessions have been consumed with looking and analyzing iron swings and ignoring the driver swing for too long. As far as I'm concerned, the driver is the only think on my game that I have zero reliance on.

I didn't think the course was overly difficult either, although the scores were high and to my surprise, 75 qualified. I think the difficulty was that the fairway grass was real long and caused a lot of fliers. I was expecting that though, but still difficult to get used to hitting your irons 1/2 club to a full club longer than normal. And I could see a golfer having a good round ruined by just missing an approach shot and it burying into the wall of the bunker. Hell, I almost injured myself from one of them.

I was happy with the fact that I putted well and my short game was pretty sharp despite the fact I don't practice them a lot. That shows to me that my thinking was right...I can get those up to snuff with less work in a shorter amount of time.

So for now, it's back to the drawing board and try to get ready for FSGA Mid-Am qualifying in September. And on a final note, I just want to thank the FSGA for once again running a classy tournament.



Unknown said...

I follow your blog and have a lot of sympathy for someone as dedicated to golf as you.

R3J, I think you've pointed out correctly that practice is key. However, I think the issue you're having at these two tournaments have more to do with nervousness amplifying all your weaknesses.

There are several things I want to say that may help you.

First is confidence. Confidence is the mechanics of your swing that comes from correct practice yes.

But equally importantly, confidence that even with the worst possible mechanical break down in any part of your swing, you will be able to save par.

This equates to NOT ASKING FOR PERFECTION (especially during tournaments) and agreeing with yourself that something is bound to be off and live with that.
From what you write, I can gather that you know all too well the pitfalls of asking for perfection, I'm sure that you know better than I that golf is a game of misses.

Yet, I sense that perhaps you still train in anticipation for a (perfect) round that will bring all those elements practiced together and that may be the wrong mentality especially in building up for a tournament. It heightens the tension and demand placed on yourself and peaks at the tee box on the first tee of a tournament where the tension is always going to be higher than usual.

Perhaps it is training for perfection but demanding less than perfection on the course that will help you.

Why MUST you be great a driving the ball? The universe was not built around that pillar :)

I don't think going back to the range/course to practice driving will help, at least not by itself. What if you start hitting the driver extremely well, will you expect to be godly at driving in the next tournament? What if that meant spending less time on your irons and you came to the second shot of your next tourney feeling like that was the weaker part of your game?

My point is everyone has a skill level at a particular point in time.

However your score probably didn't reflect that skill level at the tourney and I think, to remedy that, I think you should look beyond just practice. You are good enough to post a lower score, if you rely more on the knowledge that you can than simple mechanics (still crucial) then you will, I'm confident. Let that perfect round at the perfect time happen by itself because it will.

I hope that will help you in the future.

My best wishes.


Rich H. said...

Thanks for the kind words and advice. I think I was not overly nervous outside of the first hole. I htink when I started to think about 'not getting myself in a hole', then it became a reality since I was focusing on it so much.

I do agree that part of the problem is not getting in many tournaments, but there's not much I can really do except for try to handle it mentally the best I can.

I think what really happened is that I knew I was struggling with the driver going into the tournament and the night before I thought I cured it. Then when I got onto the range and tried what I thought 'cured it', it didn't work that morning and from there I could only hope that I somehow get thru it on the course....then I hit my worse drive of the year on #10.

Still a work in progress...


putmedownfora6 said...


Hogan had it right. A shut club face and tournament golf are not compatible -- as a kid, I could manipulate my hands and compete & win -- no longer...this problem limits me to club events, I never could open it up. Perhaps you can...denial is not a river.


Unknown said...

Doesnt Module 3 help to eliminate drives to the left?