Sunday, 7 October 2012

Getting Back On The Horse

First and foremost many thanks to everybody that has sent messages of condolence online and particularly those at Royal Ascot Golf Club who took the time to send a card full of signatures. Although the funeral isn't until this Friday I am beginning to come to terms with everything. Above all, I know my mum would be mortified that I had foresaked my golf, especially as there is nothing more I can do for her.

Having not played since the start of September the thought of going out and playing seems a big deal all of a sudden and I'm certain there wouldn't be a game in there to do myself justice. So what to do? As a self-acknowledged practice fiend the answer is simple. Hit the range and the practice ground and work hard. I had seen my teaching professional for a lesson just before my mum's health started going downhill and we'd begun work on stopping my hips rotating too much and giving a more solid base on which to turn. I have to be honest and what I was trying to do today may not have been exactly as we had worked on but I was struggling to remember exactly how it had felt during the lesson.

The practice ground at Royal Ascot was actually quite dry given the recent heavy rain but was shrouded in a lingering mist that gave the place an eerie feel. Given what has gone before recently perhaps the backdrop was fitting. What became apparent very quickly was that the timing was out and I needed to reign it in. Ball by ball and with plenty of rehearsals in between shots what became clear was that when I kept the hips solid and turned over it more the shot was much better and the follow through more compact and low. In the last lesson I had seen on video just how far my hips turned on the back swing making it harder to turn back through properly and which was where a lot of my hip sliding and flailing arms down the line into a high finish came from.

With the one plane swing we are working on, it is about a more compact turn and exiting low and left through impact into a lower finish. It was a very in and out session. The good ones where I turned over the more solid base were superb with a great penetrating flight and more distance. The mediocre ones would still be playable and I was probably trying to run before I could walk and being a little too harsh on myself. I knew the shots weren't right with hip slides and higher finishes but I have lost a lot of the high cuts right where I spun out of it and the hooks and pulls left.

I did feel a tinge of guilt about getting back on the horse and starting to play again but as I've stated already, my mum was fiercely proud of my golfing achievements, particularly seeing her only son in Golf Monthly this time last year finishing runner up in their Centenary Final at the Forest of Arden. She would have wanted me to get out there again, do the best I can and continue Homer's odyssey towards single figures.

Standing alongside the winner at the Golf Monthly Centenary Final
Above all though I did a piece a few years back about my first ever round on a proper course with my dad who died back in 2003 and I think it really touched a nerve with her especially when Golf Monthly published it. My mum was very old school and would never shower anyone with praise but she was so pleased to see the piece and what it had meant to me and would regularly show it to all and sundry. Indeed, she carried a copy of the magazine with the Forest of Arden piece in and showed it to all the staff in hospital and in the hospice in her final days. For her, that is the biggest nod of approval I probably ever got.

The rehabilitation process has started. It will take a lot of time and effort as I had been playing well before my enforced lay off. I have got a lesson pencilled in for the 19th. Hopefully it will iron out the lingering issues and we can re-visit the proper hip movement and turn. We can also get down to deciding how we are going to attack the Winter swing changes. I think Rhys ap Iolo has a plan of action which will take the one plane motion forward and give me something more solid and repeatable to use in the 2013 season. After that I need to get back to the short game. It is still the one facet that is holding me back. I didn't really commit as much time to it in the Summer as I could and was caught between a number of different techniques. I need to decide on the linear method or the more traditional version of chipping and commit.

The boy is back in the game and I know it's with my mum's blessing. Ironically I've committed to a Golf Monthly Forum day at Woburn on March 27th which would have been her 77th birthday. I have a strong feeling she is going to give me the same kind of inspiration Seve gave to the European team at Medinah and my aim is to give her one more moment of magic to make her proud. For now though I'll take it bit by bit and get myself ready to tackle a round on the course again when I feel I can do myself justice.

1 comment:

  1. Nice piece m8 - and remember that one about your dad. We could always pop down Morden Park pitch & Putt Friday afternoon - just like the old days!