Having worked really hard at the range this week and feeling as though I'd made some real progress with the swing changes I've been working on, I rocked up at Royal Ascot for the normal Saturday morning roll up. Even on the practise ground the swing was feeling good and so today was about taking the work I'd done and translating it into a trustworthy action on the course.
The opening swing was a good one although I pushed it right of target. However the tee shot at the second set the tone, particularly off the tee for the round. A quick swing, too quick, led to a nasty low snap hook into the hazard. There was no trust in the swing at all. It was more convincing at the third and I hit my approach well but again pushed it and found sand. The bunker gremlins I had last week in the roll up manifested themselves again and from a promising position I failed to score on the hole.
It was better still at the fourth where I managed to hit a great wedge from 102 yards to within six feet and converted for birdie. A solid par followed at the next. However, standing on the tee of the 6th, a real card wrecker for me in the past I was determined to put a good swing on it. I wanted too prove that the hole holds no fear and that under pressure the new swing will stand up. I actually hit the 5 iron pretty well but tugged it left. It should have been a simple enough chip but once again the short game went into meltdown and another hole passed by without troubling the scorers. The short game lesson on Monday can't come quickly enough although I doubt thirty minutes is going to do it.
It was a similar pattern at the 8th. Too long off the tee I hit a ropey chip to the back of the green but managed to salvage a point. Finally on the 9th I made a proper turn and connected with the drive. It flew and left a 5 iron into the green. Another swing replicating the ones at the range and it was in the heart of the green and a regulation par followed.
The back nine started better but another quick and horrid swing on the 12th tee saw me out of position. Poor drives at the 14th and 15th didn't help and although I made a good par at the 15th it was pressure golf and to be honest the swing wasn't coping. Finally, I hit the drive I'd been searching for at the 16th and it rocketed down the fairway. I couldn't follow it up and the hips slid instead of turning on the 5 iron approach and it missed left. What a waste of a good drive.
That drive was to be the defining moment. I had nightmares at both the closing two holes and in the end could only muster a paltry 29 points. We can put two or three lost points down to the errant short game but if I was being honest, the swing didn't work. I knew what I wanted to do and was rehearsing the hip turn in my pre-shot routine but standing over the ball those die hard old habits kept coming back. I need to find a way of replicating the good work I am doing on the range and take it on the course with me. It's a mental thing as well as a physical one
It's a real frustration. I know the new change isn't the finished article yet but having had a good week of practise I was hoping the turn would have been in there today. Maybe it was just a bad day on the course. I hope so. I'm playing again tomorrow with a good friend and fellow Ascot member Paul Sweetman and it's usually for lunch bought by the loser so I need to find a game from somewhere.
I'm calling it a new move and it isn't really. It's just a turn and not a slide of the hips and it is something I should have been doing for a long time but have never managed to find a way for it to work. With the flatter more rounded one plane action it's (or should be) much easier to rotate them. I've got to keep the faith and trust myself to produce it. If I don't we'll have the same outcome as today and the inconsistency that has blighted my game for the last year or so will continue and I can't allow that to happen. All in all I'm a frustrated and annoyed golfer tonight but the forecast is set fair tomorrow, the company will be good and we'll see what the new day brings.