Saturday, 8 October 2011

Not Good But Not Bad Either

Blimey it was parky this morning and the first harsh bite of Autumnal air made itself felt with a vengeance. It was the normal Saturday roll up where no prisoners are taken and the banter is a fierce as the golf. It was also a pretty important round for me as it was the first time onto the golf course since my lesson last week and would be a significant barometer as to where my game is before the stableford tomorrow and more importantly the big one on Thursday when I play in the Golf Monthly Centenary Final.

It all started of rosily with a solid tee shot slightly right of the green but rectified with a good chip and putt for a par. It got better with a pearler of a drive down the 2nd but a pulled second into the fairway trap and a duffed chip into a greenside bunker threatened to take the gloss off. However the bunker shot was sublime to within a foot to salvage a nett par.

My now legendary short game demons made their usual appearance at the third to cost a shot and to be honest I made a right pickle of the 5th from a bad drive through to a poor approach and sloppy chipping. It didn't get a whole lot better at the next where a missed green and three putt didn't trouble the scorer. More trouble followed at the 7th after hitting a great drive into position A1+ and then throwing it away with several unforced errors. Another missed green at the 8th cost a shot but I hit another great drive at the 9th and followed it with a great six iron to within ten feet and only just failed to convert for birdie.

Although fourteen points going out doesn't sound great, and lets be honest it isn't earth shattering but apart from an aberration down the 7th the quality of the ball striking was very solid and the work we did at the lesson and at the range during the week was beginning to translate itself onto the course.

The back nine followed suit with the scores not reflecting some of the play and shots being tossed away with gay abandon through carelessness and in truth the odd piece of bad luck. I hit a good drive down the 10th and then pulled the 7 iron approach. I pushed the tee shot on the 11th onto the bridge that takes players to the next tee. After dropping I was faced with an almost impossible shot to take the flag on. It would have needed to clear a ditch, keep low under tree branches and still stop on the green. The percentage shot was to play to the front of the green to the other side of the tree and trust the putter to get the job done. I hit the shot exactly as I wanted but it climbed a fraction higher than anticipated and clipped a branch and dropped short. Nothing wrong with the execution.

There were some poor shots too. My tee shot at the 13th was hit thin and along the ground and my drive at the next was heading right before hitting a tree and dropping down. Short game errors cost again on the 15th but I made a rare par on the 16th. I hit my drive perfectly and followed it with a sumptuous 4 iron to six feet but couldn't make birdie. Again I trashed the card on the 17th through a sloppy three putt but bounced back to close with a comfortable par.

In the end 29 points was a disappointing total but with many more positives than negatives to take out of the round and the poor shots coming in the main from the short game things are looking good. The short game has been neglected and I'm guilty of a serious dereliction of duty in that department but with the swing changes from the lesson to implement, a job that gets inconveniently in the way of golf, and it getting darker ridiculously early now there isn't time to fit everything in.

I'm a happy Homer - it went better than expected
Bearing in mind the potential for disaster after the swing change last weekend it all worked well. The swing is more balanced and the coil on the backswing is tighter. When I turn down and through impact properly the results are very good and I look scarily like a golfer. Yes I messed a few shots up. Yes I three putted a few times and yes the chipping makes me look like a fool sometimes but I can go into the stableford tomorrow and treat it as another stepping stone towards Thursday. I still think I'm somewhat under-prepared thanks to a combination of golfers elbow restricting practice, a game in the doldrums until last Sunday's lesson and a lack of playing. However I'm hopeful of a mid-division finish even if that means a further 0.1 on my handicap.
Sometimes bad can be good. and it's not always what you put in but what you take out.

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