Golf Under Repair
Saturday morning arrives yet again. Time to put the work Ryan and I have done on my swing to the test.
Nipped up to the range and hit a few on Friday night. I’ll be honest…it really feels like it’s coming together. The new swing feels much more natural, my ball striking is much more consistent and I actually feel relatively confident with my iron play.
Saturday was a cold morning. The course was wet and muddy too…the joy of winter golf! Unfortunately, through most of winter The Manor becomes an 16 hole course, as holes 10 & 11 become dangerously unplayable. This is however, no bad thing for scoring as 10 is often a danger hole! So, we have just 16 holes to give this swing a workout!
Standing on the first tee, I grab my driver and make a couple of practice swings. I spent an extra 10 minutes with Ryan on my driving this week so I have a better understanding of what to do with it! The Backswing of course remains the same, but the downswing is a little more like my old ‘hand drop’ movement. I know we have lots of work yet to do with the driver, but at least it doesn’t feel like an alien object in my hands this week!
I hit a decent drive down the first, pushed it a little to the right but the distance was ok. Also, I have to remember that at this moment in time, a block is good! Most importantly, it was safe! Hit a really solid second that came up a touch short and plugged. Chipped and two putted for a bogey (net par). However, I didn’t feel disappointed with a 5 at all. Whilst it was perhaps a missed opportunity, I was just pleased that a) I’d hit some nice shots and b) felt like I actually had a good and most importantly repeatable golf swing.
As I got to hole 4, aka ‘card wrecker’, I was 3 over my handicap. However, they were really silly dropped shots and all around the green. Still, I wasn’t feeling disappointed. I was still feeling confident.
I tee’d up my ball on the winter mat that sits 200 yards from the green. The only shots here are an arrow straight ball through the narrow gap or hit it high and right and draw it back in. Nothing else will do. I hit a 5 iron beautifully. It went out to right, as it usually does…but it had plenty of height to not bring the tree into play. Phew. It’s been a long time since I’ve kept the ball in play off the tee here! After landing short, scored another bogey (net par).
By the time I got to the 5th, my confidence before hitting the ball was at an all time high. The 5th is a long par 4, stroke index 2. It’s a bloody long way for me. However, today I didn’t feel phased by it at all….and it showed. I hit the green in two, which for me was an achievement in itself and two putted for par (net 2). I can’t remember the last time I parred this hole in the comp. I shall reward myself with a snicker after the 9th (other chocolate bars are available!).
After a birdie on the 7th (I know, a birdie on a par 5!) and another par on the 9th, I finished the back on 44…9 shots over gross and 1 under my handicap. The real positive was that it could have been at least 3 shots lower had it not been for some silly mistakes.
The 12th was the only hole where I hit a poor iron shot, which was really disappointing after a good tee shot. My head went for a while and scored a really stupid 7. But I parked it by 13 and carried on.
I went on to par 14, 15 and 16 and was unlucky not to par 17 too. My putt stopped about 1mm from the hole! If only we’d have had some wind!
Onto to the final hole. The 18th has been moved forward and is now playing as a par 4. This is a winter change I actually look forward to! After another great tee shot I hit a good second that plugged just short. Unfortunately, I made two really poor duffed chips and two putted for a 6. Really poor finish. That said, I still finished 2 shots under my handicap.
I left the course feeling overjoyed. Not because of the score; which of course I was pleased with, but with the consistency I hit the ball. My new swing felt indestructible! I don’t think I’ve ever felt this good on course.
I know this might sound like I’m getting a little carried away, and I know we have so much work still to do for us to achieve a low single figure handicap, but to have a swing feeling this good so early in the challenge makes me feel super confident for hitting some decent numbers come April next year.
This change has happened in just 3 weeks. In that time I’ve only had one lesson a week with Ryan and have only hit one maybe two baskets of balls per week. Ryan gave me drills that could be worked on at home too, which I’m sure have really helped. Let’s not forget, Ryan has started to rebuild my swing entirely. He’s just done it in a really constructive way that I’ve not only been able to understand, but have been able to implement. It just shows that with the right methods, the right practice and some dedication you can push towards a far more consistent game. Or even better, just go and see Ryan!
My ‘golf under repair’ is no longer critical. We’ve taken a massive step forwards. Can we be shooting 85’s before Christmas? Now that would be an amazing gift from Santa!