A Quick 9

On Friday, I hit around 200 balls on the range, and worked on putting until the sun set. With the swing changes I made the prior week and the data showing I was weakest from 150-200 yards, I practiced some things I rarely practice, including my 5-iron, 3 wood, and hybrid. I also hit a lot of mid-irons and wedges, doing the five-ball drill I learned a few weeks ago to analyze and adjust contact.

Today I played a quick nine holes in the afternoon, and the practice seemed to have helped.

The first hole of the day wasn’t so pretty. My drive went about 195. It wasn’t too long, but it was in the fairway, and not bad for having not warmed up. I attemped a 3-wood, but topped it, leaving 160 or so. I did hit one from the same spot for some extra practice afterward, fixing my ball position, and hit it nicely. Next, I hit a 5 iron runner, which wound up around 30 yards short. Then, I hit a wedge that was just slightly too short and right to clear the greenside bunker, and crawled in. A bunker shot and two putts later I walked away with seven.

The second hole went better. My drive was right on line and about 225. I laid up short of the hazard with an 8-iron, then hit a mediocre 56-degree wedge that ended up well short and in the rough. I hit a good wedge to 18 feet or so and two-putted for bogey.

The third hole, the group in front of me waved me through. I rushed the tee shot and came up short of the hazard, on the left, in thick rough. I hit a decent recovery shot and played quickly to get out of their hair, but walked away with a “four”.

On the fourth hole, I hit my driver fairly well, but it crawled left and rolled into the hazard. I dropped and hit a low runner with my hybrid to the back of the green. I hit a great chip to two feet, walking off with a five.

On the fifth hole, I hit a drive that was as straight and perfect as I can hit it, leaving a short wedge. My wedge was a good distance, but I left it a little to the right and it came to rest pin high, but a foot into the rough. I hit the downhill chip a little two hard, leading to a two-putt 5 that should have been a 4.

On the difficult sixth hole, I left my drive in the right fringe, well righter than I intended it to be (especially since there’s a hazard right and it was cart-path only, with the cart path on the left). I hit a decent 5-iron, but protecting against the hazard on the right, I left it left of the cart path, in the rough on a hill. I hit a nice little pitch runner to about 20 feet and two-putted for five.

On the seventh hole, I hit another great drive that split the fairway, 217 yards (I get no roll). Guarding against my tendancy to leave approach shots left, I aimed a little more right than I usually do, and left a hybrid in the collection area to the right of the green. I pitched up to a few feet and made the putt for par.

On the eighth, I hit another excellent drive that split the fairway. Waived through by another group, I rushed and hit my 3-wood only about 115 yards. Wanting to get out of the gentleman’s hair, I approached my ball quickly (about 80 yards) to hit an iron as close as I could. The end result was an excellent shot that ended up about 8 feet from the hole. I two-putted for five.

I’ve struggled with my hybrid off the tee, so on the par-3 9th, I made an adjustment. I teed it up a little higher. The result was a nice, high ball flight. I was a little long and left of the back pin, but happy with the swing. My delicate chip, way down-hill to a narrow portion of the green, was short, so I had to chip again from just off the green. I hit it to a few feet, and walked off with a four.

All in all, I was satisfied with my 45. I hit almost every fairway and made really great contact with my driver. Even my one pentalty stroke of the day was on a decent swing. My approach shots from 150-200 still need a lot of work, but they’re much better than they’ve been. My wedge game still needs a bit of work (my feel in particular), but I hit a few great shots, and didn’t have any of the skulled chips I had to deal with earlier in the summer. I’m also loving these summer-fall-hybrid temperatures, versus the scorching summer we’ve had (and the cold to come). I’ll have to take advantage.

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