Sunday, 23 October 2011

Fore Right

After the platitudes and the glory of last week at the Forest of Arden it was back to competitive golf at Royal Ascot and the last monthly medal of 2011. Despite not playing well in the normal Saturday roll up last weekend I was still cautiously optimistic that the form that had seen me do so well in the Golf Monthly event may still be loitering inside and would come good.

I was drawn with Keith Feesey, a nine handicapper and a bear of a man who has been at the heart and soul of the club for a long time and a leftie golfer off seven called Tony Gare whom I'd no had the pleasure of playing with before. To cut a long story very short it was abysmal. Well that's not strictly true. I was competitive for the first two and a half holes even if I wasn't hitting it great. We'd been there before and got it round without playing fantastic golf so I wasn't overly panicked. That came with a missed green and duffed chip and the 3rd, a pushed drive right at the next and a recovery that it a staked tree and shot past my head on the way to a double bogey six.

However it was the 5th hole that was the real catalyst for a meltdown of Chernobyl proportions. I hit a glorious drive a long way down. A simple mid iron would have left an easy shot in and a bogey would surely have been the worse case scenario. Instead I tried to hit a five wood over the fairway bunker close to the green and managed to only hit a huge slice right into deep bundra. I found it and chopped it out but the damage was done with another double bogey.

The problem was that every single tee shot following, indeed 90% of all my shots were fades and big slices. Anyone who knows my game will testify that I am one of the few golfers who manage to be worry free about a slice. My problem shots are the damaging snap hook left or a straight block right. Not something starting vaguely straight, although without any oomph, and curling away to the right. I've no idea where it came from and quite frankly the sooner it goes away again the better.

The front nine was an adventurous 44 shots. I even tried to go cross-country on the 7th. Having sliced another shot way right, the only shot I had was a chip out short of the ditch crossing the fairway and still leaving nearly two hundred yards in. There was another option. I could risk playing across a large swathe of bracken and rubbish and over the 8th green and try and get it part way down that hole to leave a short shot in. A mis-hit would mean a lost ball and so I played safe and took a wedge. It was too safe and although I cleared the bushes, it didn't clear the greenside bunker by the 8th green. To confound the problem it had also plugged. In the end I did well to make another double bogey.

I started the back nine well until the 13th. Another carved shot right resulted in a lost ball and that long, lonely walk back to the tee. I topped my tee shot, and the next was also short. In the end a seven and a quadruple bogey saw any forlorn hope of making the buffer zone wiped out. I rescued a par at the next having temporarily remembered how to drive and chipped and putted after coming up short. After that it all collapsed in a heap and I saved the final ignominy until last.

I hit the tee shot on the 18th with a final big slice straight out of bounds. Playing three of the tee I got the second one away. I carved the next well right into the rough and could only hack it further up the hole. I then managed to put the sixth shot into the heart of the green but putted out for a snowman (8). In the end it was 48 shots home and a total of 94, nett 81 (+11). It was only good enough for 15th place (out of 22) in division 2 and a stark reminder of how fickle this game can be.

"Go on I dare you - just you try and go right"

I put it down to a bad day at the office although the slice is giving me cause for concern and so foresaked a chance to play today to hit the range and work on the swing. I'm still trying to bed in the swing I had from my last lesson a few weeks back and making a wider turn with much more wrist hinge. When I get into a position that seems to replicate the feeling I had at the time the results are pretty good but it's a case of not doing it often enough. One shot will soar magnificently and the next is usually a block right. The bad ones feel as though I am coming up and out of the shot. I've narrowed the cause of the slice to spinning my hips too aggressively and pulling the club over the top on the way down making a left to right slice inevitable.

All in all not a great weekend and it hasn't put me in the best of moods. With the clocks about to change I'm now restricted to range sessions and a couple of weekend games to try and find something that works. It's no good doing it during the week at the range if it crumbles apart on the course. I'm loathed to book another lesson yet although resigned to an inevitability that I can't get it sorted myself. I'm also toying with the idea of letting another pro have a look at the swing too, just to cast a fresh eye over things and get a different perspective. Either way, it wasn't what I was looking for and it's back to basics for the roll up next Saturday.

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