Monday, 12 March 2012

This Game Is V-Easy

I had the day off work today. Fortunately the bad back seemed to have suffered no ill effects from the monthly medal and so all was good with the world. I was determined to put some work in on the short game following on from my lesson recently.

Having had my address position altered at the lesson to ensure the sternum and head were ahead of the ball which would ensure an accurate impact position every time it was a case of making sure the basics were set and grooving a stroke

Unfortunately things weren't going well and there was a huge amount of unnecessary body movement. breaking of wrists and lack of rotation through impact and to be honest there was no consistency in contact, flight or accuracy. However help was at hand. In my club locker was a wonderfully simple device called a V-Easy. Designed by a PGA professional called Bob MacArthur who is a stalwart on the Golf Monthly Forum, it works be reducing the wrists from the stroke and allows the player to just rotate the clubhead back and through in a perfect rocking motion

Joy of joys. Coupled with the correct set up, this radically simplified the stroke and I could feel the mist that had fogged up my short game for so long lifting. I felt a proper sense of where the club was travelling and there was such a simple action involved for such a good result.

Having spent half an hour grooving it in I had to go out and play and try it on the course. Monday afternoon is notoriously quiet and I had no one in view as I climbed up to the first tee. I'd just hit my shot (right of target but cleanly struck) when Reg and Brian from my Saturday roll up gang wandered towards the tee having already played the back nine so we joined up. I made a horrible double bogey three putting after a good chip.

I was playing with a rare freedom and basically standing there, trusting myself and firing. On the third I hit a glorious drive, followed it with a good eight iron to seven feet and holed out for a very rare birdie. I nearly made another on the next when a well controlled three quarter wedge into eight feet left an uphill putt which lipped out. I had to be playing well as I hit a good four iron into the heart of the par three sixth, which has been a scene of carnage on my card in recent months. Out in a level handicap eighteen points.

Brian and Reg left me at the ninth and to be honest I had the whole of the back nine to myself. Not a soul in sight. I made a disappointing bogey (nett par) at the tenth and missed the green right at the next. I made a solid five (nett par) at the twelfth after my poorest drive of the day meant I was well out of position off the tee and had to play back into the fairway and then pitch on.

I hit a scabby pulled iron left of the thirteenth green and had a reasonable lie but with little room between the edge of the green and the flag. These short distance chips are the biggest cause for concern of all. At least on the longer ones I have a feeling of being able to generate some power and clubhead speed. It is these fiddly short ones that I frequently duff or blade through the green. However fresh from the work out with the V-Easy, I set myself as Rhys had shown me, took a couple of practise swings and executed. It didn't come out with the cleanest of strikes but we got it onto the green. Uphill, left to right and about eight feet for par. I felt good having executed the chip so much better and there was an air of inevitability as I holed the putt to save par.

I chopped my way down the next with a pushed drive, over ambitious recovery and an approach that was long and right. I had a chip over a bank and then running downhill to the flag. Again it popped up well and ran to within five feet and the putter did the rest. It's an obvious thing to say but if I can start making up and downs once, twice or more per round it is going to save shots, I'll score better and I'll take pressure of myself to hit the green.

I have to be honest and say the quality of my swing on the back nine was pretty poor and I've lost that turn onto the ball I was achieving on the range a few weeks back. I'm trying to replicate it on the course but it isn't in the tank at the moment. However it did make a reappearance off the tee at the last and I split the fairway. I did semi-duff the fairway wood and for the second day running had a dilemma to face. Do I take the water on the right edge of the green on and go for my shot or do I lay up to wedge distance and try and pitch it close. I pulled the six iron and decided to go for it. I hit it well but pulled it left of the green. I was faced with another chip shot. Blade it and there was a danger of it running through the green into the pond. Again I hit it okay. Not perfect, but functional and rolled it down to four or five feet. My trusty Ping putter did the rest and saved par. Another eighteen points coming home, despite not hitting it as well meant I'd shot thirty six points and played to my handicap.

The V-Easy does what it says and makes chipping and putting so easy

It isn't the first time I've mentioned this fantastic aid. They are distributed via Yes Golf and are available directly from the inventor Bob MacArthur here or from American Golf and other online stores.

Rhys has given me the tools to develop my chipping and has set me up in a neutral position but if like me you are still having issues with the stroke itself then I thoroughly recommend this. It helps with putting too and promotes a rocking motion without the need to use the wrists. A definite 10/10 from me. I'll be checking my set up basics and using this most evenings at home and hopefully by the time I hit the course again next weekend we'll have the germination of a short game.

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