Putting like a massive $*@&*R!
Recently, though my game has been up and down, but my putting has always remained pretty consistent. Given the problems I’ve had recently with my game the focus has not been on putting. I realise now this may have been an oversight on my part!
Another Saturday rolls up and I’m feeling pretty good. After last weeks poor show, I’ve spent some time with Ryan (Metcalfe – aka The Coach / Ace PGA Pro!) just checking back in with my swing. Thankfully, no real dramas and he was able to put me back on the right track within about 5 shots, as well as devising some funky range contraptions.
I was simply keeping my clubhead too closed at the start of the takeaway. Simples! He also told me to trust it all a little more as my swing is now good enough to score well. Ryan assures me it will come.
It’s at times like this throughout the challenge that I realise how important Ryan has become. We’ve spent a lot of time together now, and subsequently he really knows my swing. He knows my weaknesses and he knows the likely culprit when things go a little wayward. He also knows how to fix them fast and point me back in the right direction. I think this might be one of the biggest learns for me throughout the challenge, and one big piece of advice I’d pass on. Find a PGA Pro you a) like and get on with and b) stick with them so they really get to know your swing.
Secondly, I had a great chat with David MacKenzie from golfstateofmind.com. We discussed in great depth the issues I’m having on the course mentally. As you’ll know if you’ve read some of my previous posts, I’m fine for five to six holes, striking the ball well, putting well and scoring well. Then I look at the score and realise its going well. Then comes a bad shot, followed by a minor catastrophe! The catalyst for the plethora of bad shots is usually thinking about the mechanics of my swing out of desperation to get it right. I know that these thoughts will only destroy it, I just can’t seem to stop myself. Clearing your mind is easier said than done. David gave me a couple of things to focus on this week, which really seemed to help.
Now, onto the round. It was pretty misty and unfortunately the course was really sodden again after a few days of pretty heavy rain. Muddy plugged balls were back!
That said, I actually struck the ball really well. Thank the lord!! One of the things I’m trying to work on is to not focus on the score. Instead, trying to hit each shot without any swing thought. If I manage to get through the hole without having any swing thoughts, I get a 0 score. At the end of the round, the goal is to have 18 holes all with 0’s next to them. Sounds easy right?
It’s not! I tried really hard and failed. I did ok though. If I’m truly honest, I probably managed 12 holes without thinking about my swing. The only thing I thought about was routine, target then hit the pesky little white thing. It really made a difference too. The holes I played with no swing thoughts were certainly better. The ball went where I aimed and the strikes were solid.
Given all the above, you must be thinking it was a good scoring round?
I’m sorry. It wasn’t. I finished my round +2 (over handicap).
My putting was pretty rubbish. In fact, it was really bad! In my defence, I wasn’t the only one in the Saturday comp to have a bad putting day. Our greens were pretty awful. They had been out tyning them early in the week, so they were full of holes. They were also long, and full of dew.
I left so many putts short. I’m sure lots of people coped just fine with them…just not me! I know they have to do it, I know it’s essential for the greens and will make them better in the long run. However, I didn’t feel that way on Saturday after five 3 putts and the rest being 2 putts.
All in all, despite the score I didn’t actually feel too bad. I had a goal for the round to think better, focus on my routine and trust my ability. I really felt like I’d done pretty well with this, certainly a huge improvement on previous weeks. I’m sure the golf I know I can play is just around the corner.
Now, onto next weeks to do list. Maybe I should allocate some time to putting as well as the rest of my game? Yes, that seems like a good idea.
Maybe I should have read this article – Top Ten mental game putting tips – by David MacKenzie, from golfstateofmind.com before the round!