Playing Better Golf?

Playing better golf?

It’s been a strange couple of weeks as the challenge is getting close to ending for the season.

Firstly, work has been ridiculously busy, which has prevented me playing as much as I’d have liked. Also, my eldest has started school this week and I’m doing the drop offs. That has taken away those sneaky early morning 9 holes I was getting. But, it’s not all bad. After the previous two rounds I really feel like my game is getting back in good shape.

The last couple of times out, I’ve been striking the ball really well. Off the tee it has been relatively consistent, with a few wild ones thrown in of course! Still, for the most part I’ve never been that far out of position. My irons are feeling great, and I’m hitting them a long way. Sometimes too long! But all in all I do think I’m playing better golf.

I’ve been losing lots of shots from 100 yards in. I’m simply not putting it close enough to leave me with a reasonable 1-putt chance. Whenever I’m at that kind of distance, I don’t have any confidence. Because of this, I’m just not scoring well enough.

So, this week once again work has been manic, and I haven’t been able to play. However, I have made time to do some short game practice. It’s been largely here… and using some great practice drills from James Whitaker & Golfshake.

Garden Practice - Playing Better Golf

Unfortunately, I didn’t play on Saturday as it was my youngest sons Christening. So, it was just left for Sunday to try and nail it over 18 holes.

I started off ok. Again, my ball striking was great. With these new Nike VRs Forged Irons, I’m hitting the ball much further. The problem is, I’m not trusting it. For example, on average I’m now hitting my 9 iron 150 yards. But when I get there at 150 yards, I don’t trust that it will get me there, so I pull out an 8. Then, I overshoot the green by 30 yards!

That said, after a bogey / birdie / bogey / par / par start I was +1 gross. I also felt much more confident with my wedges.

Sadly, after a wild tee shot at the 6th and playing a provisional, I walked off with a 7. On the par 5 7th, I had a 20′ putt for birdie. Hit it ok, but just a fraction short. As I walked up to my ball, I muttered those words “I’ll just knock that in” to Andy & Mick (my playing partners), before hitting it around the cup, and missing the easiest par putt ever! Another bogey. I went out with a 44, +8 gross and level for my handicap. Should have been better, but I’d played ok.

The 10th has been a nightmare for me of late, but I managed to get a half decent, steady 6 iron away off the tee to the middle of the fairway.

10th - Playing Better Golf

The second shot is always a nervous one here. You have to hit it dead straight at the pin really. If you play a draw and get it too far right, you’re in the trees. Anything left is dead. I hit a great 8 iron, slightly out to the right that came back beautifully over the tree and left me with a birdie putt. Settled for a par instead!

I came off the 12th having gone par/bogey/bogey, which I was happy with. Anyone who knows those holes at The Manor will understand why. Those who don’t, they can be huge card wreckers!

I hit a great drive on 13, which left me this shot in.

13th Drive - Playing Better Golf

Yet again, I didn’t trust my irons & GPS combo and was way long. After a good chip though, I gave myself another great par chance. But, a silly 3 putt left me with a double! Doh!

I then played the next three holes really well, and took three consecutive pars.

So, teeing it up on 17, I was -3 for my handicap. I knew I just had to play steady now for the last two holes. The 17th is one of my favourite holes, which I’d earlier mentioned to Andy & Mick. It’s also often downwind so its often one you can really go at. I knew I could try and pick up one more shot here.

Not today!

I hit one high and left, straight into the pond. My worst tee shot of the day. Tee’d up another one, and hit it high again. Thankfully it was in play…  just.

Now picture this. I’m about to hit my 4th shot from 260 yards from the pin. Knowing to get a reasonable score on this hole, this shot would have be pretty close. So I take my 3 wood. I then proceed to swing harder and faster than I’ve ever done in my life. Ever. You can guess what happened next right?

Yup. I totally duffed it!

Why do we try to absolutely murder the ball, despite knowing that it only ever ends badly? That was the moment I lost my head. I walked off the 17th, my favourite hole, with a ridiculous 9. That was my card ruined.

It’s most definitely NOT my favourite hole anymore!

After a bogey on the 18th, I finished with 90 gross, 74 net (+2).

It’s not a score to be proud of, I know that. But, for the most part I played pretty well. I struck the ball well, my short game was much better and I putted ok too. Still, playing with the likes of Andy (who plays off 5) makes me realise the real difference between me, and a single figure golfer. When he put himself in trouble, he recovered and managed to save par. His chipping nearly always left him an easy one putt, meaning he always had a chance of par. His short game was bang on the money.

As for me, I’m definitely playing better golf. For sure, there was a lot to be positive about, so I have to be happy.

I could just do with it being July, not September!