Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Range Time...

Excited about playing in my first tournament, I couldn't help but to hit the range at the first opportunity. I got that opportunity last night, so I went down to Green Caye Golf Course for the $7.00 bottomless bucket.

Primarily, I wanted to work with my wedges. I also wanted to see if I could work the slice out of my hardest hit drives. In the end I hit almost every club, going through four large buckets.

Lately, I have noticed that I have been taking my eye off the ball. Even if I think about keeping my eye on the ball before the shot, I'd often catch myself looking up. So another strong focus of the range session was to stay locked down on the ground, well after contact.

I started with the 60* wedge and quickly learned that it is difficult to hit this club with a full swing and get consistent results (definitely don't want to blade the ball with a full swing from 60 yards out). I did pretty well with a 3/4 swing or less, so I'll keep that limit for now.

I hit many shots with the 52* gap wedge. I needed this since I was a little thrown off by the smaller club head compared to my old 53* wedge. I should not have a problem with this as I was hitting the club well (as long as I kept my head down). It's hard to say how far I'm hitting this club, but I'm guessing about 90 yards. The thing about driving ranges where you hit off of the turf is that they keep moving the line so you still have to estimate the actual distance to the marked targets. To get a more accurate feel for the GW, I'll have to drop a couple of balls at the 100 yard marker when I'm out on a course during the week and see how I do.

Next I took out the 3 fairway wood to see if I could straighten my shots a bit. On the course, I generally aim as far left as I can figuring that , should the shot actually go straight, I'll still be in play. Usually though, the shot has some fade/slice to it and I end up towards the right (or worse). The last time I played Bayou, I made a beautiful shot with a bit of a draw with the 3 wood. I realized that at setup, I had my weight more toward my toes and more off of my heels. It was a real epiphany because the swing felt so good and effortless, my balance was rock solid, and contact was pure (I kept my head down). I decided to try this weight forward (toward the toes, not the target) with my 5 wood and driver and the results were absolutely spectacular!! I hit shot after shot dead straight right at my target. Sure there were some slices, and some were topped, but I always knew why (looked up, fast transition, dropped shoulder...).

After that success, I continued the same weight forward approach on all my shots. I've got to say, I felt like a pro out there. I was having the best ball striking day of my life. For those who may benefit, I'll summarize my key swing thoughts that seemed to bring it all together.

1. Address the ball with your weight somewhat off your heels and more toward your toes.

2. Keep your eye glued to the impact point from takeaway to one second past impact.

3. Make a smooth transition from the backswing to the downswing and accelerate smoothly through the ball.

I think I talked enough about the first point. The second and third can be combined in a discussion about tempo.

After a tee shot, my playing partner commented that I seemed to be jerky going from takeaway to downstroke. He was right. I applied maximum power forward while still going back. The resultant shot was not pretty.

What I needed to establish was good tempo. Last night at the range, I decided that I would do a three-count routine to help me transition and accelerate smoothly. Here's what I did (and will do from now on). Instead of one mississippi.. two mississippi... three mississippi... I say one perfect shot... two prefect shot... three perfect shot. The first count is to control my speed on the takeaway and I have a little very short hesitation at the top before I start down. The second count reminds me to accelerate smoothly through the ball and the final count is to insure that I maintain my focus on the impact point for one second past impact. I tell you, the results were amazing.

I went on to hit many outstanding shots with nearly all of my clubs. Of course by the end of four large buckets you would expect to find some consistency. What I hope to take to the course with me next time is the same mental and physical routine that I applied at the range.

Golf Outlook...

I'll be playing Bayou on Saturday and gunning hard for the 80s. I'm planning for a return to Glenbrook the following weekend. I wrote a short review of Glenbrook and mentioned it in my very first post.

Aching to get out,
-Greg

3 Comments:

At 10:00 PM, Anonymous DLZ said...

Not that I am a pro to give advice... but I have consistently read that you want to keep your weight off your toes and be able to "wiggle" them at address. But if it works for you.. all the better.

By the way... This is a great blog for us beginners... keep it going..

DLZ
San Antonio

 
At 7:50 AM, Blogger Greg said...

DLZ,
Thanks for the post. I was hoping that folks would speak up if they thought I was doing something wrong. Like you said though, if it works... And work it does!!! Of course, I'll have to see if that range performance can be repeated either on the range or on the course.

To help clarify, I had found that I sometimes was off balance at the end of the swing and had to take a step back, unable to hold the finish. Perhaps this is why this is working for me. It's not that I'm putting my weight on my toes, it's more like taking some weight off of my heels and putting it more forward of the arch.

Let me try to explain... Take a stance like you are preparing to catch a ball thrown in your general direction (maybe an egg would have been a better choice). You need to have your wieght off of your heels if you expect to react and make the catch.

Having the wieght shifted foreward in this manner gives me better leverage to better use my glutes and quads. Those muscles are a tad sore this morning :)

Thanks for reading and be sure to give me a hollar if you're ever in the Houston area.

-Greg

 
At 4:11 PM, Blogger Norcal Golfer said...

Greg,

I can understand your 60* wedge issues. In my opinion it is the most difficult club in the bag to hit with any consistancy.

I use my 52* for 90 yards and in, just teaching myself how to hit 3/4 and 1/2 shots. I do carry a 60* but I switch between it and a 56* sand wedge depending on the course I am playing and the type of bunker set up.

JC
San Jose, CA

 

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