A low golf score is coming
A low golf score is coming
Time for another round, and time to try and find that low golf score that the challenge so desperately needs!
I was feeling pretty good ahead of this round. This week, Ryan and I have been focussing some more on my ball striking, both with irons and the driver. I’ve been hitting it great on the range. My swing feels good, most importantly it feels repeatable. It’s certainly a swing capable of a low golf score. My chipping has still been a struggle though.
Its weird, it seems fine and I’ll be hitting it really well. Then, the dreaded shank strikes again and once I’ve hit one, they’re all like it. This is a concern!
We’ve also worked a lot on targets, and to take the focus of the ball out of the equation. This is something Dr Bob talks about too. Makes total sense too. It was quite hard at first, but I’ve worked hard on picking a target, taking a mental picture of it and really focusing on JUST THAT. Forget the ball that happens to be there, just think about that pretty yellow flag flapping in the distance (other colours are available). I’ve really noticed the difference too. When I lose focus on the target, my strikes are nowhere near as consistent.
So, it’s another Saturday morning and it’s a Medal competition. This round was likely to be bit different to the one last week in Egypt. It was 7.48am and damn cold (2ºC)! The course was so wet and muddy after the amount of rain we’ve had this week, and it was windy. Not ideal for the kind of golf score I need today.
Of I went to the 1st equipped with my thermal base layer, polo, tank top, fleece, mittens, waterproofs and flask. I was thoroughly prepared. It was a wonder I could swing the club at all!
The round started off great. As I mentioned, I’ve had a really good week really practicing the swing, and it seemed to really work on the first. Hit a fantastic drive right down the middle, arrow straight to about 100 yards. Second shot was a pitching wedge, but hit it way too well and it ran off the back. The next shot was a chip from just off the green. This is the shot I was hoping I wouldn’t have to make. I tried to keep my swing really fluid, not use my flicky hands and keep a really consistent tempo. I chipped on… and it finished 5 yards from the pin. Its easy this chipping lark, I don’t know what I was so worried about! Putted for a par. Nice start!
Another par at the 2nd (par 3, winter green) after hitting the green and a solid two putt on a really tricky green. The 3rd was a bit annoying after a great drive I hit two short chips. Mainly due to the ground being so wet and muddy, my club just got bogged down. That’s my excuse. Came of hole 3 with a bogey.
The next hole was the dreaded 4th, still off the very back, still with a very narrow gap between the trees. Really focussed on a target that was LEFT. Even though this feels like the most unnatural thing to do on this hole, I knew I had to trust Ryan, he’s been right with everything else! It must be about 175 yards from the back… it feels a long way. Hit a cracking 4 iron, which landed short. Another great chip left me with a short putt for another par. Played the 5th really well. It’s a long par 4, SI 2. After a great drive and a great 7 iron, I was on the green for two, looking at a 20ft putt. Hit it great and it looked around and popped out! Bugger! Still, a par on this hole makes me VERY HAPPY!
After 5 holes I’m 1 over GROSS. This could be the day I get my first low golf score? 1 over gross. Don’t get carried away I thought to myself, keep calm.
Made a bit of a mess of the 6th after a couple of bad / short / muddy chips and came away with a 6. Still, it’s ok. That’s only 3 over gross and I’m still well under my handicap. I desperately tried to stop thinking about my score and not think about my swing.
…and that’s when the low golf score started to disappear! Hit an awful tee shot on the 7th (Par 5) that left me on the edge of a hedge. I let this get to me immediately and continued to make a complete mess of the next few shots. Was on the green for 6 and two putted for an 8. Idiot.
You’re thinking… well, we all have one bad hole right? No… it didn’t stop there! Played the 8th (par 4) equally badly and ended up with a 7! Two back to back triple bogeys.
Massive, massive idiot! I totally let that one bad shot get into my head, lost focus, got angry, swore at myself repeatedly and subsequently threw away that potentially low golf score.
Finished the front 9 with a 45, and a feeling of what could have been. Stupidly, I was still stewing on it!
With 10 & 11 still closed, it was onto the 12th, which is the hardest hole on the course. Didn’t play this too badly, but ended up in the greenside bunker. In my opinion, the bunkers shouldn’t really have been in play. In the height of summer, the bunkers are not great at The Manor, but in winter after a lot of rain and an early frost they are just awful, and really hard to play out of. In fact, some (me!) would say impossible. Came off with another triple bogey.
It wasn’t until the 14th (par 3) that it came back together and I found another par (could easily have been a birdie but just lipped out), and followed it with another at the 15th (par 5), which again the birdie putt just lipped out. 16th (par 3) and the 17th (par 4) were both bogeys. Again, played them both pretty well but over hit irons on both. The 18th (currently a shortened par 4) was so unbelievably muddy on the fairway that it was really difficult to hit the ball without actually slipping! A couple of poor irons and a poor chip and I finished with a double. That left me with a 36 coming back, with a total score of 81. Less my handicap and I finished with a net 61 (1 under my handicap).
I know you shouldn’t think of golf as a game of luck, or a game of what could have been… but I really do feel like that now. For the most part, I’m striking the ball really well. Everything is there for me to get that low golf score. I just need to get rid of these holes that are total disasters. Or at least just have one of them! Having three triple bogeys in a round is not going to get me where I need to be.
What can I do to get rid of them? Do I need to keep working to make my swing more consistent? Try to get better mental focus on the course and not let one bad shot get to me so much, or maybe I need to just stop being such a massive idiot?
This article on the mental game by Dr Bob Rotella for Golf Digest has some great theories… I need to read, read and read it some more!