Fall Approaches

Yesterday I felt 59-degree chill for the first time since last year. Leaves are starting to fall, Autumn definitely approaches, and my golf game is still nowhere near where I want it to be.

But over the last two weeks there has been progress. I switched to a baseball grip after an unsuccessful (read: painful) attempt at switching to an interlocking grip. Last week, I walked into a lesson and told the coach “I want to be a great ballstriker”. We went out to the grass part of the range, and I proceeded to hit probably 60-70% of my balls at least reasonably well. I hit balls especially well when I brushed the grass on my practice swing, then tried to swing like my practice swing when actually hitting the ball.

Between shots, my instructor encouraged me to acknowledge my good shots and note what I could do better on my bad shots (e.g. “a little more turf”). He also showed me a good drill in which you line up 5 balls each a few inches apart, so that you can precisely compare divots from shot to shot.

The only technical change of the lesson was to slow down my backswing and accelerate more on my downswing (to a full finish).

I realized that a lot of what weighed down my iron game was mental, but even with that I struggled to get that good ballstriking to appear on the course. My lesson was on Tuesday and I played 19 holes Wednesday, 18 Friday, 18 Saturday, and 9 on Monday (labor day).

On Saturday I figured something out mid-round: When I swung out to the right and up high (rather than trying to swing to a finish), I hit really nice pitches. After hitting a few good shots with this, I tried translating it to full swings and found it worked pretty well. I hit some good shots, and even went birdie-par on 16 and 17.

Today, I translated that thought all the way up to the driver and hit the ball much better than I have been. I hit 4 of 7 fairways, including a smoked drive on 4 that travelled 255.

The good shots:

  • I hit a great punch from the trees on 1
  • I hit a decent drive and a good pitch on 2
  • I hit a nice chip on 3 (though I misjudged the speed, and I was out of position after a terrible tee shot).
  • I hit a great drive and a good full gap wedge approach on 4 (somehow I was long, despite really nice height).
  • After a bad tee shot, I hit a nice recovery 6-iron on 5 and a good wedge
  • I hit a good hybrid off the tee on 6 (it was a little too much club), and a good chip (although I should have used my 60 rather than 56).
  • I hit a great drive and a good low runner approach shot on 7.
  • I hit a great drive on 8 (the rest of the hole was messy).
  • I hit a decent drive on 9, a great 3-wood that was somehow really short, a good chip, and a good putt for an up-and-down to close out the day.

I shot 50, but if I didn’t make a mess of 3 and 8 it could have easily been 46 or better. Not all of my shots were great, and I didn’t make any putts until the last hole, but it was much improved from my disaster of a round on Friday.

I have another lesson scheduled for Thursday. Here’s to continued improvement and some fun fall golf.

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