Thursday, 7 June 2012

Keep Calm - Carry On

Having decided to book the whole week off work, I ventured up to Royal Ascot yesterday seeking answers to questions. Why has my swing lost all its power. Why is the ball going so low. Why am I hitting it badly. The weather forecast had said showers and gusty winds and right on cue, as I got out the car the heavens opened. Fortunately it was short and sharp and once it had passed over it was onto the practise ground to begin the post-mortem into Tuesday's Stone Cup fiasco.

Despite the wind it was actually pleasantly warm although the direction was posing a real problem. Into and from left to right it was probably the most unhelpful direction it could have been coming from. Unperturbed I ploughed on and was looking for a better takeaway and slower swing tempo. I wasn't fussed to much on distance given the breeze and would take quality of the strike and a decent flight over the direction as even the simplest of pitches were getting buffeted off line.

I managed to find something that appeared to be working but it was hard to be sure. With the course deserted I decided to venture out for a practise round, and see how I got on. I played a couple of balls in places and generally worked on my game without worrying about the score. It was about hitting it properly again. Wouldn't you just know it but the tee shot at the long 228 par 3 first was hit perfectly and found the green. It was as if the golfing gods were mocking me. What can you do?

There was some good stuff in there, still some rubbish and a lot of work left to do. Chipping wasn't as strong as it had been on Tuesday but the putter was still behaving and all in all it was a worthwhile exercise. The driver is still not firing as I'd like and its putting me in the semi-rough which is proving quite penal and so that needs work. I think the doom and gloom of Tuesday was a knee-jerk reaction of frustration that the game had deserted me so completely. This practise round showed there was life in the game yet.

No need to panic - the basics of the swing are still intact and confidence is rising again
I've had a look at the stats for May from Scoresaver 2.  They make interesting reading. The numbers in brackets are the suggested level of ability achieved. As I'm off 12 anything equal to that or lower shows I'm doing well and higher than that and it needs work.
Fairways Hit: 50% (Hcap Std: 11)

Greens In Reg: 29% (Hcap Std: 11)

Putts Per Round: 34.67 (Hcap Std: 17)

Sand Saves: 9% (Hcap Std: 20)

Par Scrambles: 19% (Hcap Std: 16)

Penalties Per Round: 1.50 (Hcap Std: 15)

The driving had been going well which was letting me hit more greens in regulation but the short game still needs work, especially from sand. It is getting better and I'm more confident about getting it out now, but need to work on flight and distance control. Putting tells a story of a lack of confidence especially on the short 3-5 footers and I've run out of patience with the Ping Anser 2. Having put the Odyssey White Ice #9 in the bag on Tuesday I'm already holing more putts, from longer distances and feel so much happier on the greens.

I was surprised how many penalty shots per round I'm having which I guess is testament to the shin high rough in places around the course and my inability at times to keep it straight although a lot of these seem to be stemming from second shots, particularly on the par fives going astray. Perhaps a more conservative approach is the way forward and a longer shot for the third is better than a reload or playing the provisional.

So what was the outcome. The swing is still in transition and the new takeaway and address position need more work. When it is firing the ball striking is very good but there are still some issues around timing and turning the hips into impact. The short game is on a positive upward arc, the putter has warmed up courtesy of the switch and there is a lot to be happy about. Much more so than it appeared after the dismal 31 point tally on Tuesday. Too hard on myself and too much expectation. It's an old story.

Keep calm - carry on. There is nothing to see here.

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