30% Go For Launch

I’ve been watching a lot of rocket launches lately and I’m always intrigued by how they treat weather-related risk. They establish a percentage likelihood of go-weather for launch, but even if it looks iffy they proceed with preparations on the assumption they’re launching. They abort only at their last possible opportunity.

That very much described my range session today. My office is about a half hour from the course. The forecast had a 30% chance of thunderstorms. Normally, I’d abort and just take a quiet walk or run on the national mall, but because of the ongoing protests, that isn’t really an option. Plus, there’s worse weather in the forecast for tomorrow, so this seemed like my best chance to play over the next couple of days. So I went ahead.

I arrived a half hour later, and the practice session went pretty well. As usual, I warmed up in the short-game area with my 60-degree wedge. My feel was very good, with my first five pitching landing within 8-14 feet of the hole, and most of the shots I hit had good height and very solid contact. I kept it short, since my bug spray still hasn’t come and I wanted to get to the range in advance of any thunder and lightning.

On the range, I hit balls at a pretty quick clip. I worked my way up from 60-degree wedge to 7-iron, hitting a few balls with each club, then hit a few drivers and 3-woods. As expected, fixing the weight that moved out of place on my driver head did help to straighten out my drives. Most of my contact was pretty decent, though I still had a bit of trouble with my 7-iron and got a bit tired hitting 3-woods off the deck at the end. I also attempted a few 5-irons, just to evaluate how far off I am from being able to hit that club. I hit 117 balls tracked on Mevo, and 3 more on video before the lightning siren range, drawing my practice session to an end at probably the ideal time (If I hit more balls I’d probably be aching right now, and the bugs were starting to annoy me).

The best full swing I had all day was a 9-iron which carried 124.1 with an apex of 23.2 yards. My driver got up to a clubhead speed of 101.8, but the best drive I hit (and the last driver I hit) carried 217.2 yards on a very efficient 92.6MPH of clubhead speed.

The videos I took indicated my swing has gotten a little long again, but the path is still much better than it’s been.

I didn’t get to putt today. One exciting thing I noticed was a few new range balls mixed into the fairly worn bunch. Hopefully more of those pop up over the next few weeks. Keep swinging.

A Routine of Sorts

I’m begining to settle into a practice routine.

I went to the course directly after work today, and immediately ran down to the water cooler to pick up some bottles, since the temperature in DC was in the 90s(!). Waters in hand, I found the shadiest practice green in the short game area and hit some 10-30 yard pitches with my 60-degree wedges. It was really buggy today (and my bug spray from Amazon hasn’t arrived yet), so this warmup was abbreviated.

After pitching, I went up to the driving range, where I managed to snag one of the three spots under the moveable awning. Score!

I hit 113 shots, from 60-degree wedge up to 7-iron, interspersing some drivers and 3-woods. I also hit some 40-60-yard pitches with my wedges to hone my distances at the end.

Once again, it was buggy, so I wasn’t as focused as I’d like to be, but I hit the ball fairly well. My 60-degree wedge through 9-iron were about as good as they were yesterday. My 8-iron was a little, better, as I was a bit more practiced. The results with my 7-iron, which I re-introduced back into my practice for six swings, were mixed, but I had much better contact with it than the last time I’d hit it, and managed to carry some well into the 140s (my goal is to carry it 155ish). The best 7-iron of the day, a nice draw on the fifth swing, carried 1495 yards on a clubhead speed of 78.3MPH, with a very efficient 1.39 smash factor and a 21.6 degree launch angle.

My driver carry distances were pretty decent, though accuracy suffered because a weight in the head of my Calloway Epic, which is usually set to neutral, was set all the way to fade. This weight moves sometimes (most likely on contact with the ground – it’ll move once a month), and I didn’t have my wrench with me to get it back into the right position. Peak ball speed for the day was 140.6 on a high fade I hit that carried 226.7 according to Mevo.

After getting tired of hitting balls, I went down to the putting green to putt for a half hour or so. Once again, focus was affected by bugginess, but hopefully the practice did me some good.

DC’s curfew has mercifully been extended back to 11PM (to hopefully cease soon), so I didn’t have the same time crunch to get home as yesterday.

Pre-curfew Curves

It’s quite the time to be alive. Just as we were starting to emerge from the shadow cast by coronavirus, we were driven back indoors by rioting and looting. In DC, we’re under a 7PM curfew. That meant that this Tuesday I had to go to the golf course a little earlier and experience more of that mid-afternoon heat. Still, I had a very nice Tuesday practice session.

As I did on Sunday, I started by practicing my 60-degree wedge from 15-50 yards at the short-game practice facility. I do this partly to develop feel, but primarily to hone the correct backswing for my wedges and irons at low speed, with very easy-to-judge feedback (You’re either close to the hole or you’re not). As I mentioned, it was hot, so I did two 10-15 minute sessions at the short-game area, split by a water break.

After warming up, I went over to the range. It was as packed as I’d ever seen it, and I had to wait a few minutes for a spot to open up. Once it did, I worked my way through my bag, 60-degree wedge to 8-iron, with periodic interspersal of driver and 3-wood. I hit the ball really well, with a lot of nice, high draws going consistent yardages with good-feeling contact. I also semi-figured-out a shot I’ve been trying to add to my repertoire, a high 150-yard popup with a 3-wood (designed for the 9th hole until I start using my full bag again). The trick was (duh), to swing nice and slowly. I do still need to figure how to pull this off and hit it straight, as the low-speed ones did tend to slice.

I hit about 160 balls pain-free, surpassing 7,000 tracked swings on my Flightscope Mevo launch monitor since I got it last summer (fall?). Most of the shots I hit would have been just fine, or even excellent on the course.

Afterward, I putted for 15 minutes from various lengths. My touch was pretty decent. The weather cooled down nicely and I would have like to putt for longer, but it got buggy out (I’m buying some bug spray), and I needed to leave to comply with the curfew, which will hopefully end today.

My longest drive of the day carried 223.9 and my highest recorded club-head speed was 104.2. My best 9-iron carried 125 yards on 75.8MPH of clubhead speed (Smash: 1.27) with an apex of 21.3 yards. That’s tour-quality contact, although my clubhead speed is (unsurprisingly) 10MPH slower than the average tour pro’s, so my carry distance is substantially slower.

My best 8-iron carried 135.4 with an apex of 17.9 yards. In February I was hitting swing speeds about 83MPH on 8-irons. With my new swing, I’m only getting into the mid-70s. My challenge is to keep ingraining the swing improvements I’ve made while finding non-destructive ways to add more speed.

Weekend practice

Yesterday was painful. I went to the range late in the day, after the successful Spacex launch, and struggled, and struggled, and struggled to hit long irons. I hit 150+ balls in the hot, muggy, buggy dusk, but all I managed to do was hurt my forearms. I was utterly defeated, and I knew I needed to update my approach.

When I got home, I wrote a postmortem of sorts, and came up with a plan for playing and improving without (temporarily) the problematic clubs.

Today, working within the constraints of the plan I developed yesterday (basically ditching the section of my bag from 8 iron through hybrid temporarily), was much better.

I had mild residual pain in left arm from yesterday, but I made good contact, and felt like my shots got genuinely got better as the session progressed (I again hit around 150 range balls).

I started in the short game area with pitches for 15-20 minutes. My goal, as a part of yesterday’s planning, was to develop feel with my 60 degree wedge from 10-30 yards. My dispersion definitely got better as I hit 7 balls at a time from a variety of distances. At first, I hit 2-3 balls per round either thin or heavy/short. By the end, I was consistently hitting at least 6-7 within 2-3 yards of my target, and at the desired trajectory.

From there, I moved over to the range, where I concentrated on the shots I identified in the plan yesterday as essential. My driving was outstanding (See Flighscope data for best drive below). My 3-woods off the tee were pretty decent, and off the deck I made some progress in making better contact. Starting with short wedges definitely led to shorter, more efficient/on-plane swings. This translated to my 9-iron too, which, in my best swing, I was able to get to carry 124.4 yards with a 25-yard apex (and really nice feeling contact and a compact backswing). I didn’t bring my iPad for video today.

For the most part, I stuck to the clubs in yesterday’s plan, although I hit 5-10 8-irons at the end of the session for evaluative purposes.

Afterward, I worked on putting for about an hour. I started off working on 3-footers and 10-footers, then practiced two-putting from various lag lengths. I worked a bit on technique, making sure to rock the club back and forth, rather than pulling with my hands. This helped with consistency of speed. I also worked on using my right hand (just gripping a bit firmer) for stability. This helped with consistency of aim.

Should I take my long irons out of the bag?

Problem: I can’t hit any iron above a 9-iron reliably, and the contact for those long irons as I practice/attempt to fix them is painful and potentially damaging. I am driving it well.

Question: Fewer clubs would make it easier to focus on practice, and not hitting long irons would save me some pain. Can I get by with a driver, a three wood, and 9-iron or less and play bogey-golf or better?

My attempt to answer this question will trace an imaginary 9-hole round through TPC Potomac from the Silver tees.

1: 400 yards. 210 drive leaves 190 in. Full 9-iron leaves 70 yards. Full 60deg (slightly delofted) should leave a par putt.

2: 495 yards: 210 drive to left rough leaves 295. 170-yard 3-wood leaves 125. 9-iron leaves us on front of green or just short. Either a chip up and a par putt or a birdie putt.

3: 185 yards: Either tee up a three wood high and try a high fade from the left or lay up with a pitching wedge to short of the hazard and get on with a slightly opened 60deg. Either should leave a putt for par.

4: 362 yards. 210 yard drive leaves 152 yard approach. I can try to hit a stinger with the nine and get on the front edge. If I’m short, I can get up and down for par, as long as I stay left of the right greenside bunker. I could also potentially punch a 3w.

5: 312: 210-yard drive towards the center fairway bunker should leave a comfortable 9-iron or pitching wedge to the green. Either way, I should have either a birdie putt or a chance at an up and down.

6: 422 par-4. The meat of the golf course. 210 drive to the left rough leaves 212 yards in. I could try to knock a 3-wood close to the green, but my safest option is to knock a pitching wedge 107 yards (since there’s a tight corner and trees, safer than 91), leaving 105 in. Hopefully another pitching wedge will give me a par putt, though I’ll happily take 5 on this beast of a hole.

7: 395. A 210 drive leaves me 185 in. It’s pretty open, so I’d go for a 3-wood. At worst, this should leave me with a 15-20yd pitch. At best, I’m on the green putting for birdie.

8: 415. A 210-yard drive leaves 205 in. Once again, it’s fairly open, so I’ll hit 3-wood towards the left-center of the fairway, and the hill will probably push it towards the center, leaving me perhaps a 30-40yard pitch, and if I hit that well, a par putt.

9: 155: No laying up here, because of the big gully in front. This one’s a toughie for this plan. What happens if I grip down on a teed-up 3-wood?


This plan is doable, with the exception of the 9th hole, where the distance is challenging. I might be able to bail out long and left with a high 3-wood choked up, but it wouldn’t be easy. This seems like a decent path forward to practice, and presumably, once I groove my woods and short irons/wedges, I’ll eventually be able to hit long irons.

Shots to practice:

  • Driver:
    • Straight and 210+.
    • High and low.
    • 230+ extra-gear.
  • 3-wood.
    • High cut off the tee (for par-3) (175-85).
    • High 140-150yd choke-up tee shot.
    • Straight shot off the deck (175+)
  • 9-iron:
    • 115-yard full draw
    • 120-yard extra gear
    • 150-yard runner.
  • Pitching wedge
    • 105-yard draw
    • 110-yard extra gear
    • 10-yard low pitch
    • 20-yard low pitch
    • 40-yard-low-pitch
    • 50-yard low pitch
  • Gap Wedge (48deg)
    • 95-yard draw
    • 100-yard extra gear
  • 56deg wedge
    • 85-yard draw
    • Sand shots
  • 60deg wedge
    • 65-yard high draw
    • 75-yard high extra gear
    • 10-yard high
    • 20-yard high
    • 30-yard high
    • 40-yard high
    • 50-yard high

Hello, sweet competition

It’s been a blissful few days since my last post, on May 22nd. First of all, “the Match 2″ featuring Tiger, Phil, Peyton, and Brady was fantastic. Second of all, Barstool Golf’s scramble match with Kevin Kisner was another delight, extending the exhibition fun. But most importantly, my club rolled out the revised schedule for this year’s tournaments. The club championship is happening, in September, with plenty of time for me to practice and improve.

I took every opportunity I could in these past few days to practice. On Saturday, the 23rd, I hit 150 balls on the range and in the chipping area, then played a casual 12 holes with a few people I’d never played with before. Aside from a nice par on four, my game was a little messy (probably tired), but it was nice to see how some of the things I’d been working on translated into on-course performance.

On Sunday I skipped playing golf to watch golf (The Afformentioned Match).

On Monday, Memorial Day, I went to the range and hit another 150 balls, then practiced some pitches from 30-50 yards out of various lies. On the range, I was concerned primarily with fundamentals, and continued the glove drill I started working on last week, also focusing on drawing an imaginary circle/arc in the dirt with my clubface in the backswing (e.g. not lifting it).

The range was closed on Tuesday, and I needed some rest, so I took the day off. Today, Wednesday, I went to the range after work and hit another 150 balls or so, still working on the fundamentals. My contact was really good and my distances, particularly on my wedges and my driver, started to approach pre-pandemic levels. The shot of the day was a soaring draw driver with a 225-yard carry from only 93MPH of clubhead speed (which I caught on video to analyze later).

Drive of the day (via Flightscope Mevo)

In some ways, I think the “draw the arc” swing thought caused my swing to be a little too shallow, so I started adding in a bit more shoulder movement to get the club upward on the backswing (and, thus, down, at impact), which helped me a bit with improving the trajectory for my mid-irons. I also continued to focus on swinging to right field and added in a bit of knee bend at setup for stability.

After my time on the range, I went to the practice putting green and practiced putts from 3, 6, 9, and 12 feet around one of the cups for 15-20 minutes.

I think that the swing changes I made in recent weeks are good for my health, and will be good for my game, but I still need to figure out my mid-to-long-irons. I lost around 10MPH of clubhead speed on my 7-iron with this new swing. My contact is much better (as measured by smash factor), but that alone isn’t enough to make up for the speed loss. That, along with continuing to work on consistent, pure iron swings, will be the focus of my practice for the next few weeks.

Once my irons are consistent and decently, reliably long, I’ll work on regaining lost feel on my wedges, and my game should be in pretty good shape as we move into early July.

Keep swinging,


600 Balls later

This week I hit the range hard to get my irons and wedges working. I hit 600+ balls over the last three afternoons (plus some putts and chips).

The first 500 of those balls were fairly unproductive, although I did make some posture improvements and ingrain the grip change from last week. I felt like I was swinging better, but my contact still sucked.

Then I went back to a classic fallback drill: Swinging with a glove under my right arm to be more “connected”. It’s so cliché, but it’s good enough for Tiger and Rory, so I figured it couldn’t hurt. I also made sure to swing out to right field and worked a little on turning, rather than swaying in my backswing.

My ballstriking got dramatically better instantly. My balls weren’t going far because I lost some swing speed, but the contact and ball-flight was great. After practicing the drill for a half hour or so, I got my swing speed up a little and started to hit at least wedges at my normal carry distance. The highlight was a beautiful 113 yard high draw with my pitching wedge.

I also took a few normal shots in between rounds of the drill to see if the results were translating, and thankfully they were. My backswing was shorter, more consistent, and less steep (see images below).

Top of swing and downswing with pitching wedge

Drives with the drill were significantly shorter (190ish vs 205-220 carry), but once again the efficiency/contact quality was up. Hopefully I can bring speed back into the improved swing as I did with my wedges after some more practice

A PW before drill
A PW after drill

My game plan from here is to keep practicing this drill on the range to ingrain whatever element of my swing it’s fixing. Hopefully it continues to work.

For the amount of balls I’ve hit this week, I feel surprisingly good. My hands and back are a tad sore, but I have nice calluses and no blisters, and my problematic left wrist isn’t bothering me too much. It’s raining all day tomorrow, so Mother Nature prescribed me some rest. Here’s to getting better and staying healthy 🍻

Professional Help

Since returning from my covid-forced golf abstenince, my golf game has been terrible. It certainly wasn’t professional before courses shut down, but when I returned, I could barely hit an iron in the air. After the initial joy of being able to play again wore off, I grew increasingly frustrated that I couldn’t fix my irons, and hundreds of range balls were doing nothing but irritate my wrist. I sought professional help.

Yesterday, I took a lesson. I just recently joined the club I play at, so I’d only met the pro three days earlier. The pro had never seen my swing before, and I got the sense that he was under the impression I hadn’t played much golf. My warmup irons did little to dispell that notion. Naturally, the lesson that resulted was as basic as lessons come. It dealt largely in the fundamentals, and the pro explained some pretty basic concepts of the game of golf to me. I thought about filling him in that I’d played hundreds (thousands?) of rounds, but ultimately I decided that going back to the basics could only help, given my current predicment. I went with the flow.

For the lesson, and the rest of the day, the pro didn’t want me hitting off of anything but a tee. He made a number of changes to my swing and setup:

  1. He changed my grip from a double-overlap I’d been experimenting with to guard my wrist to a single overlap with the right thumb and forefinger extended down the grip for additional control.
  2. He had me set up a hair closer to the ball, and showed me a more regimented way of setting my feet’s width by club.
  3. He changed my takeaway, and gave me a checkpoint to work toward, where the clubface looks slightly closed when extended all the way back. He suggested that that checkpoint (from the perspective of the player – it looks longer on video) be as far as I extend the club. The rest of the club’s movement would be controlled by the next part of the lesson:
  4. Which was, turning my back to the target (duh). For the sake of practice, we turned this step and the previous into two distinct sequential motions.

All in all, the backswing he taught involved less lift (once again, duh) and more of a sidearm motion toward the ball.

He also gave me some good checkpoints to use to assess my progress on video.

  1. At the start of the downswing, the shaft of the club should intersect the middle of my shoulder (vs basically standing straight up from my steeper old backswing).
  2. Just before impact, the clubhead should be left of the ball (indicating an in-to-out swing).
  3. After impact, the face of the club should be slightly open, indicating that my grip prevented a flip/shut clubface.

After the hour-long lesson, I hit balls for another half hour, off a tee (except for 2-3 I tried off the grass), then chipped and pitched in the short-game area for another hour or so. It was scorching hot, my wrist hurt, and I struggled to reproduce the positions and good-contact successes from the lesson, so I began to doubt the lesson.

This afternoon, after watching the Taylormade Covid skins game, I went back to the driving range to give it another try. I hit about 100 balls, using an iPad for video and my mevo for data, and frequently checking those checkpoints on video.

I went in trying to trust the lesson, and the results were pretty decent. Not every shot was good, but my swing looked better on tape, felt better on impact (most of the time), I made good progress toward ingraining the ideas we’d covered.

I think we’re on the right track. You can see one of my better swings (with a 7-iron I believe) in the video below.

After my hundred shots on the range I hit another 40 or so chips and pitches at the short game area, then practiced putting for 5-10 minutes (mostly from 5-15 feet – I haven’t practiced putting much since the restart, since they’re still working to spruce up the greens to in-season speeds).

(Thanks to Barstool’s Fore Play golf podcast for providing excellent entertainment for my practice).

Golf Never Felt So Good

After a near-two-month government-imposed golf hiatus, I finally went to the range and played 9 socially distanced holes today at TPC Potomac. It was glorious, and I am sore everywehre.

I certainly didn’t factor a two month hold into my improvement plan, but I was pleasantly surprised at what elements of my game survived the wait.

I started off by hitting around 80 balls on the range, most of them being mid-irons. There was definitely some rust, but after about a half hour my game was in good enough shape to try it on the course.


On the par-4 first hole, I hit a high-fading driver that finished in the right rough. The lie was good, but I was blocked by a tree, so I hit a layup wedge just short of the left fairway bunker, then hit 7-iron towards the green. My 7-iron was a hair short and left, leaving me just short of the left bunker. I hit a 35-yard 60-degree wedge toward the center flag and two-putted for double.

On the par-5 second hole, I hit an even bigger driver fade, landing even lefter. Luckily, the area where I landed had been recently cut down and I found my ball without too much trouble. I hit a layup 6-iron towards the fairway, and ended up in the left fringe. From there, I hit a powerful draw with my 3-hybrid, coming to rest on the lip of a bunker 5 yards long of the green. With an awkward stance, I hit a poor chip and three putted, a result of my expecting the green to be way faster than it was. This was a theme of the day.

On the par-3 third I hit an excellent 6-iron to 15 feet and two-putted for a routine par.

On the par-4 fourth I hit a low fade that came to rest in a nice spot on the left fairway, leaving about 150 in. I hit a mediocre 7-iron long, low, and left, leaving a nasty chip from the bushes. I left the chip on the apron, 5 yards short of the green, then chipped it to makeable range. I hit the putt too softly and wound up with another double-bogey six.

On the par-4 5th, I hit a nasty high cut with my driver which wound up on a hill, in the rough, 162 yards from where it started. I then proceeded to smoke a 6-iron 181 yards, but 30 yards left of my target (In my defense, the hill did push the ball that way, and the green is narrow). I hit a solid pitch with my 60, then two-putted for bogey.

On the challenging par-4 6th, I hit a really nice drawing driver 235 yards into the left rough, which is a good place to be on this hole (right is trouble). My driving improvement was courtesy of my realizing that I’d been subconsciously opening up the face of my driver at address (explaining the high cut). I got aggressive and tried to take three-wood over a tree to get close to the green. I almost pulled it off, but hit the top of a tree leaving a 100 yard approach to the green. I hit a 56-degree wedge about 10 yards short and right of the flag, leaving a long putt for par. I didn’t hit the first one even close to hard enough, and I three-jacked it for double

aOn 7 I hit another line-drive fade that got a decent amount of roll and ended up in the middle of the fairway. I hit three-wood 172 yards into the left rough. I tried to get fancy, hitting a 50-yard flop onto the narrow sloping green. I came up two yards short and wound up with a bunker shot, which I hit to 5-10 feet. Once again, I two-putted, missing from makeable range. At least I was playing golf.

On the long par-4 eighth I hit decent drive, but still had 200+ yards to the green from the middle of the fairway. I hit driver off the deck and wound up in the bunker that guards the front of the green. I followed that up with a shot which my playing partner billed “one bounce from greatness”. Its final hop was just short of carrying onto the green and rolling straight for the hole. Instead I had a chip, which I hit reasonably close (4-5 feet), leaving me with bogey.

On the fun par-3 9th, over a ravine, I pulled 8-iron, which I feared might not be enough club. Pleasantly, it was plenty. I hit it 155 yards to about 25 feet and two-putted for a closing par.

That all summed to a 47 from the silver tees. Since my last round in Arccos, my average driving distance is down 20 yards and my short game and irons are supremely rusty. Nevertheless, based on what I saw today, I’m confident that with practice I can get back to where I was within a month.

My legs are sore. My hands are tender. My right shoulder and hand ache way more than they should. Nevertheless, I’m ecstatic to be back at it, working towards my goal of getting to scratch by age 30 (Is that the goal? Seems like a good one). Nature is providing me with a forced few days of recovery, with a storm brewing tomorrow, and temperatures reaching the 30s on Saturday, but I look forward to getting back out there in a few days to reestablish my callusses.

I rather like many of the golfing changes COVID has forced. Not raking bunkers is blissful, not worrying about the flagstick saves time and energy, and being forced to walk is probably good for my health and my wallet (though I feel bad for some other golfers for whom that choice is less tenable – It seems like it’s a very temporary change). Welcome back, golf. I’ve missed you.

Weekend Golf

Saturday: It being above 50, I played golf this afternoon at TPC Potomac.

I started off on the range, hitting about 150 balls with a variety of clubs. I was making very good contact, so I moved over to the course.

On the first hole I piped a drive down the middle, about 217. From there, I hit a hybrid onto the green (193 yards) and two-putted to the back pin. This may be the first time I parred this hole.

On the 2nd hole I again piped a drive. It caught the slope on the left side of the fairway and rolled to a total yardage of about 245, just in the fringe. I hit a nice three wood to just short of the green, then bladed a short wedge to the back of the enormous green (the pin was front). I two-putted.

On the third hole, the first par 3, I popped up a hybrid off the tee, coming up 60 yards short. I hit a killer wedge to about 10 feet and two-putted for four.

On the fourth, I again (!) piped a drive down the fairway, then hit an excellent five iron that ran just off the back of the green. I two-putted (technically one-putted) for four.

On the fifth, very into the wind, I tried to hit a low draw off the tee. I succeeded, too much, and it ran into the water on the left (this fairway is very open and shouldn’t be missed). I dropped then knocked a pitching wedge left of the green and ended up making 6.

The sixth is long and narrow, and the cold and wind made this hole crazy hard today. My drive barely made it to the start of the fairway and dribbled into the right rough. With 260 to go and a hazard right, I opted to lay up left with an 8 iron. That left 7-iron, which I flew the green on the left with. I chipped up and two-putted for a six I’m not all that disappointed with. Waiting on a group ahead, I played the hole again with the same result.

On the 7th hole, I again crushed a drive down the fairway (This tee shot is intimidating, with an elevated carry). I hit a 3-wood to pin-high left and hit a nice flop shot to a few feet. Unfortunately I missed the put and walked away with a 5.

On the 8th hole I hit a great drive down the fairway again! I drove the ball crazy-well today (swing thoughts “keep your head down” and “perfect backswing”). Waiting to hit my approach, a fox started walking on the green. It eventually meandered away, but I was spooked. I hit a three-wood about twenty yards short of the green.

As I drove up, I noticed that the fox was a baby, but I still kept it in the corner of my eye as I finished. I hit a mediocre chip and two putts and ran to the cart to put some distance between me and the beast.

The 9th hole was the biggest missed opportunity of the day. it’s a reasonably short par-3 with a big green. I hit my 7-iron heavy off the tee, and came up short, ending up in a hazard. I made 5.

The round score came to a 44, probably my best on this nine since I joined a few months ago, and had I taken better advantage of 5 and 9, this could have been a few strokes better. I hit 4 of 7 fairways and 3 of 9 greens in regulation.

After finishing up, I went back to the range and hit around 150 more balls while listening to Barstool’s Foreplay golf podcast. I honed the driver swing I’d been practicing, hit a lot of 7-irons (because of my 9th hole), and worked to dial in my wedge distances/trajectories a little better.

It was a good day of golf, and I think I’m making good progress towards playing and scoring better.

Total shots recorded by my Flightscope mevo: 4202.

Sunday 2/23:

Another warm weekend day in February. Another afternoon of golf.

Today’s first range session was shorter. I hit around 110 balls, mostly working on irons and wedges. The range was crowded, and I was eager to get out on the course.

On the 1st hole, I piped a nice drive right down the left side of the fairway. The 2nd shot is blind, and I aimed well left of where I should have, leaving my hybrid around 60 yards from the green, over some trees. Luckily, that’s my favorite distance of late. I hit a nice high pitch to around 10 feet and two-putted for five.

On the 2nd hole I hit my drive a bit right, ending up in the right rough just past the right bunker. I didn’t get the roll I got yesterday, so I still had maybe 260 into this par-5. I hit a nice layup with a 7-iron down the right side, then hit a beautiful pitching wedge to 15-20 feet. I just missed the birdie putt and walked away with a five.

On the 3rd hole, wary of my tendancy to hit the ball well left, I hit my hybrid slightly right, into a patch of rough I didn’t even know existed. I hit a nice chip to a few feet and drained the putt for par.

On the 4th hole I hit yet another excellent drive. It settled on the left side of the fairway, about 165 yards from the flag. I hit a six-iron low and left. It hopped up on the cart path and settled next to a tree behind the green. I hit a lucky pitch that landed just short of the green and rolled to a few feet. I made the putt for a wild four.

Once again, I wasted the short par-4 5th. My drive was in play this time, but still fairly short. I was behind a family, so to kill some time I hit another drive for practice and it rolled 30-40 yards farther than the first. From my original drive, the hole got messy. I hit a nine iron short of the right greenside bunker, then chipped my third into the bunker. It was ground-under-repair, so I dropped and chipped again, this time flying the front pin by a considerable distance. Two putts landed me a six.

I played the challenging sixth hole better than yesterday. I hit a decent, short drive to the start of the fairway, laid up with a 5-iron, then hit a 56-degree wedge to the middle of the green and two-putted for five.

On the par-4 7th I made another mess. I hit a good drive into the left rough, but ended up with a challenging lie. I popped up a three-wood 150 yards from it, leaving about 60 yards up a big hill. That’s where the fun began. I swung a little too fast, hit my 60-degree wedge thin, ending up in deep straw behind the green. The next shot, I wasn’t sure how the ball would come out, and I hit it about 10 yards past the flag, where it rolled down a hill off the green. One more chip and two putts left me with a nasty seven.

On the 8th hole, my drive was decent, but a tad short. I hit driver off the deck for my 2nd, coming up just left of the left greenside bunker on this lengthy par 4. I chipped up (a little too far past the pin) and two-putted for five.

The 9th hole, I can only laugh about. After yesterday’s disaster, I decided to play it safe and hit more club. Yesterday I hit 7-iron. Today I selected 6. I hit my tee shot, it climbed higher than I was expected, and fell well short of the green, in a gulch. I was dumbfounded. Only after I finished the hole (with another 5) did I realize that I’d inadvertently hit my 9-iron in place of my 6. I’m an idiot.

Those 9 holes came out to a score of 45, one worse than I shot yesterday, although if I’d used the right club on 9, I’m convinced I would have finished with a 43.

After the round, I went to the range and hit 40 more balls just to practice a few of the shots I didn’t feel totally comfortable over on the course today.

Weekend takeaways:

  • Focusing on keeping my head down and making a consistent backswing led to super-consistent results off the tee (for me at least).
  • Wrapping my right hand a little more around my left led to better, more consistent contact with my long irons.
  • I need some more length off the tee. My 2nd shots on the 1st, 7th, 6th, and 8th holes are very long with my current driving distance.
  • I need to focus on not compounding short-game mistakes. That would have saved me at least a stroke on 5, a stroke on 8, and a stroke on 9 today.