Any of you that have enjoyed a lesson with a golf pro will know that while you are under their gaze in the teaching bay you seem to do no wrong. Once your lesson is finished and you wander off, the magic seems to disappear and you always seem to be struggling to recapture that "feel" you found so readily. And so it was when I wandered up to Maidenhead Driving Range on Sunday morning.
It was cold and the rain had been lashing down in biblical proportions and so any thoughts of going to my home club Royal Ascot and utilising the practice ground were washed away, almost literally. I like the range at Maidenhead. It's tucked away and so doesn't normally attract the type of idiot many ranges have who are trying to bash the cover off the ball, make loads of noise and generally behave in a really annoying manner. It is frequented by golfers trying hard to improve and the quality of mats and the range balls make it an ideal venue to knuckle down and get on with improving.
The session involved a lot of drill repetition trying to ensure the club was exiting left and coming down on a better plane just as it had in the lesson. I was fine when I was doing the pause repetitions similar to the work I'd done with the back swing. When I tried to execute at full pace and without any pausing the results were mixed. I came away with more questions than answers and with a nagging sense of doubt and worry.
Tuesday night after work and I was back at it, this time at Blue Mountain Driving Range. Whether it was the cold or the lure of the football on the TV but it was pretty deserted and allowed me to settle in and try and find the spark that had been there at the lesson. Back to the drills again. Just like the session on Sunday, when I was doing it in practice mode I could really feel the club moving properly. Put it into a full pace swing and initially the results were still mixed.
However I stuck with it. Ball by ball things improved and I captured the work on camera. I am struggling with the longer clubs and off the tee which doesn't bode well for taking it to the course just yet but that isn't really on the radar anyway.
I got home and warily posted a copy of the swing to Rhys for his view. I wanted to make sure he was happy with how things are progressing. His only question was how the ball was behaving. As it went where I wanted it to a lot more often I was pleased to report back that it was going better. He was happy with how the swing looked given the quality on the clip wasn't the best. It seems that we are moving forward even if it doesn't always feel like it. It is a huge project Rhys and I have undertaken to demolish thirty years of faults into a functional and repetitive swing. I perhaps need to learn patience as well as a new swing. The trouble is I want it all and I want it now.
I am pleased with how far I have come so quickly. I do need to keep working at the basics. The back swing will have a tendency to creep back into old habits and I need to be aware of this. The down swing will have a tendency to go too far down the line after impact into a high finish and not exit properly. As long as I'm vigilant I know the work I'm doing is right and will reap rewards once I get back into playing frequently and then into competitive play.
Things are clearly on the up and up and I am going forward and making progress. I have to be a happy Homer. Back to the range tomorrow and the work continues.