After the disappointment of Saturday, yesterday was about the short game. I only had a few hours available and so rather than bash balls at the range it was time to get down to the nitty gritty of working on the short game. Apart from the embarrassing performance in the bunkers, there wasn't really too much call for chipping during the Jack Jarrett as I hit a lot of greens and if truth be told got the putter on the ball from off the green if possible.
Following my lesson last month with my teaching professional Rhys ap Iolo where we worked on a much more neutral address position it was time to put some hard work into making it a natural feeling set up and not playing by numbers. I have to be honest and say initial results weren't encouraging and there was a sense of growing panic and fear. Slowly though and with some playing about with the ball position and the swing I found something that strongly resembled a repeating action. The ball was coming off with a lovely click and running a uniformed distance each time. I still have a tendency to break the wrists too much or not allow the body to rotate through impact and just hit at it with the arms. When it is connected and timed though it is starting to come together. I started off putting the ball on nice grassy lies to build the confidence up. However by the end of the session, even those fiddly little chips just over the fringe that really sent me into a panic were mastered. I was even playing them well off bare muddy lies. One small step in the grand scheme of things but one giant leap for Homer's odyssey. I have to get this working to have any chance of getting back towards a handicap of ten and below.
I also dabbled with my pitching and in particular half and three quarter swings with my gap and sand wedges. I've been re-visiting the Linear method DVD I've got and so was setting up with the club shaft in a more upright position and focusing on a straighter back and through motion, again rotating the chest towards the target. I'm loving the way the ball seems to be coming out higher and softer than my usual set up and whilst there was the odd thinned one along the ground you can't make and omelette without breaking some eggs.
I did venture into the practice bunker as well but to be honest my mind is a bit of a garbled mess in terms of what I'm trying to do and the technique to achieve this. I think this is a case for my coaching super hero Rhys and I'll be making that call to book a lesson soon. I did find a sticky plaster fix that seems to be getting it out more often but in my heart I know it isn't right or going to stand up under pressure.
All in all though I am beginning to feel a lot more engaged with the short game. I need to find a way of adding variety to the armoury and the run and check and lofted chip are still high tariff if I take them on. At the moment I'd settle for a repeating action that finds the bottom of the ball each time and then look at narrowing down the landing area and being as precise as I can be knowing I can rely on the run out when the ball lands.
It may not seem much to many, but those that have witnessed the short game first hand will know this is the beginning of a big turnaround. There will be less and less focus on the long game although I'll still be hitting balls regularly as the one plane swing is still an ongoing project. It's about the short game now and playing with a natural feel and flair that I use to have as a youngster before the golfing gremlins wormed their way into my psyche.
It is on the way back. Each chip executed correctly is positive feedback in the memory bank. I can't wait to get out and work on it and two and a half hours flew by yesterday. I could have stayed there another two hours just playing around with different shots. Ain't golf grand when you do it right!