Friday, January 13, 2006

No ESC Required...

I made it out to The Battleground yesterday and had a good round in windy conditions. After a tough start ((7,7,7) double, triple, triple), I managed to pull it together to shoot 50 on the front. At the tee box on the 18th I was sitting on 94 strokes and a par would tie my course record. I swung for the fences and sliced the ball into a right to left wind. I found my ball and decided to play it safe (since the approach is over water) and get back to the fairway. I had about 160 to the green which is just on the other side of a water hazard. I hit a 5i fat and though I cleared the water, my ball was drilled into the bank and I had to declare it unplayable. I took a drop on back across the water and rolled on to the fringe, then one-putted for a triple. So, my 24th round will go down as a 101 at The Battleground.

Here's why I think it was a good round:

Fairways hit... 6
GIRs........... 1
Birdies........ 0
Pars........... 1
Putts......... 32
Bogeys......... 9
Doubles........ 4
Triples........ 4
Bad holes...... 0
Balls lost .... 4 (3 water)

My highest stroke holes were all 7s. OK, I managed four of them, but NO ESC Required on this round!!! Check out that Bogey count... and 32 putts!!! Those are pretty good stats for me. My driving was good, chipping was pretty good, my putting was good... I could not hit a green to save my life! My full-swing iron shots were terrible. This has been a problem for the last few rounds. So, I got to thinking about it and realized that I hadn't been going to the range between rounds.

Figured it out...

Babble mode ON. I went to the range that night to figure out why I could not hit my irons. I also wanted to hit my fairway metals off of a tee, and work on drawing the ball with my driver.

I learned that I was not straightening my wrists fast enough. I'm not sure if I'm explaining that right, but I'm aware of the cause. This was a huge problem for me on the course. It caused me to slow down my swing (which made the problem worse) and lose confidence with my irons. Hopefully I've worked it out and I'll hit a few more greens with my approach shots.

Hitting the fairway metals off the tee turned out to be pretty easy. I was able to hit them with about the same success rate that I hit the driver. I'll have no trouble using them on the course.

I can not hit the type of draw that I'm looking for. I tried and tried and no can do. I'm able to move the ball from right to left, but that movement is more than I want, and I cannot get the ball in the air like I do with a fade. On a good fade shot, I'd say that I get 15-20 yards or right to left with a nice high trajectory. That's what I'd like to do with the draw.

Frustrated with the driver, I tried drawing with the irons. I had some good success with the 4i - 7i. I can hit some good looking shots, but I have trouble with direction. Not a surprise, but these shots usually fly left of my target line and then draw further left. To land a ball on my target line, I have to aim about 20* to the right.

I worked with my sand wedge and chipping before calling it a night. All in all, I hit about 4 large buckets (bottomless bucket at Green Caye for $7.00).

Another big problem I have is chipping off of a short, tight fairway. I have basically two shots (well, three if I add the "Texas Wedge") for getting on to the green. In some cases, I "sweep" a 7i for a bump-and-run type of shot, but for the majority of cases I like to fly the ball with my sand wedge. I try to fly the ball about 65% of the way and count on roll for the rest. I can do this pretty well especially if I have a nice lie. It's a completely different story when I'm short of the green on a short, tight fairway. I dig, I top the ball, I hit too hard, too soft... I fear that shot.

Yesterday, I was browsing and came upon this article: The Tight-Lie Pitch
Of course, the title of the article (set of three articles) really grabbed my attention. I read it and it made sense. I went out in the back yard, and Ba BAM, I was hitting great short shots. I loaded up the kids and we headed off to the park where we all played for an hour or so. I can confidently say that this shot will take strokes off of my game.

I had tried this type of shot before, but I never had any success. The reason is because I was doing it with arms only and without turning my body. Now, as the article reveals, I use my body turn to move the club head and I get crisp contact - even off of hard dirt!!!

Not sure when I'll be playing my next round. Looks like sometime next week. If I'm lucky, I'll have a day with a little less wind.

Hoping to get out soon,


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