Tuesday, November 20, 2007

15th Month at Green Caye Completed...

I finished out the month at Green Caye playing 27 holes. I shot 35/30/32, made 12 pars and 1 birdie, hit 10 GIRs, and managed only 3 up and downs. In the crap department I suffered one triple bogey, one double bogey, and 2 three-putts (one was the double bogey). The triple was on the first hole (the second hardest hole on the course, 185 yds to an elevated, turtleback green protected by mounding right and water on the left) where I drew my shot left into the water. I’m trying to figure out how I managed that since while warming up on the range, trying to hit a baby draw, I couldn’t hit it no matter how hard I tried (I did manage a couple hooks though). So I aimed at the pin and went for a baby draw. The ball started just slightly left and a baby draw moved the ball further left just enough to ensure that it had no chance of holding. The shot bounced off the fringe and plunked into the water.

This is that familiar place where I often visit called “no-confidence land”. I set up for a shot and expected a different result. I had no confidence in my ability to hit a baby draw. I wandered into a contradiction. I set up for a baby draw yet my alignment to the pin was more for a straight shot. I like to say I hit the shot but I didn’t play the shot.

Let me explain it more in tune with my thinking at the time:

I aimed at the pin and went for a baby draw. I was confident, based on my range work just a few moments ago, that the ball would likely fly straight or possibly fade slightly.

Using the words of Lee Trevino, I felt I was “dancing with the one I brung”.

So, I’m wondering why I was able to hit the baby draw on the course when I could not hit the shot on the range. I think the answer is “focused concentration”. Harvey Penick would often tell his students to “take dead aim”, and that is the precise difference between what I was doing on the range and what I did on the course.

On the range I often pick a landing area and try to work the ball into that area (like I did on this particular day). On the range I think more about swing mechanics, club path, and release timing than I do about the landing area. I’m focusing more on myself and less on the target.

On the course I focus on the target (I take dead aim) and trust that my body can hit the shot I intend to hit. I think in this case, focusing on the target kept my mind off of swing mechanics and allowed me to execute the shot.

There are a few things going on here and I’m just going to see if my hands can keep up with the typing as I think about them…

I committed to a shot that I had no confidence that I could make. That just seems so wrong when I read it, yet it felt like the right thing to do when I did it.

Somewhere in this is the difference between what I do on the range and what I do on the course. It seems that shooting at an area may be suitable when your target is a fairway, or even a green complex. Does the concentration required to focus on a specific target somehow produce more accurate shots?

How does focusing on a specific target compare with a general target in terms of concentration level. How does this apply to chips and putts? How can this be investigated?

Clearly though, you do not want to be thinking about swing mechanics on the course. So should warm up range time be free of swing mechanics too?

Perhaps the lesson here leads me right back to Harvey Penick and “take dead aim”.

Perhaps it boils down to trust. Would the result have been different if I set up for the baby draw with the correct alignment (center, or just right of the center of the green)?

In any case, there is some level of concentration that allows the body to produce the shot the mind envisions. This is the key to exceptional performance.

I need to reread Tim’s Gallwey’s book, The Inner Game of Golf.

Charts added!

Click to enlarge

Twenty-five is a good amount of loops played especailly considering the average is about sixteen. The big factor this month was the addition of "snakes" to the betting. You can see what happened with the black on chart one being excessive three-putting. This was compounded by a jump in GIRs. By the end of the month birdies were hard to come by.

Next month I'm going to work hard on lag putting to reduce the number of three-putts. If I can mange that and play similarly, I should see improvement in score, pars, and putts.

I'm adding a "Putting Streak" stat to my sidebar to show how may holes I've played without a three putt.



At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Double Eagle said...

It seems like the consensus in the things I read and hear is that the smaller and more specific the target, the better.

I believe I have more success that way too. For me, it feels like it increases my focus and keeps me tuned into that one shot in that one moment.

If I step onto a tee and just say, "ahh, I'll just slap it down the fairway there", that's a recipe for disaster. When I pick a target in the distance like a flag, tree, house, or whatever, I find that I stay much more focused through the shot and have better results.

If you're hitting to the green, putting your subconscious on notice that you're aiming 3 yards left of the flag instead of "somewhere on the left side of the green" can only help.

Aside from focus on the target, trust in your swing, and absolute commitment to the shot, the other thing is to purge all mechanical thoughts from your mind before and during the swing. You mentioned that working on a particular shot. Try and build on that success.

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Greg said...

I agree with everything Mike, but the engineer in me is interested in the "why".

I'm obviously over thinking one specific shot, but the scenario is very thought provoking.

I'm looking for the door to that place where everything comes together.

Tim's book has some discussion about "the zone" that I need to go back and review.


Post a Comment

<< Home