Wednesday, 28 November 2012

What A Clown

I have made fantastic progress with my swing changes and it even stood up on the course first time out when I played in the Saturday roll up. However having then had a dose of the shanks confidence was dented. I went to the range at Maidenhead Golf Centre on Saturday and to be fair I was actually very happy with the way I hit it. Just as well really as I was playing my first round Winter knockout with my regular partner Mike Stannard on Sunday.

The omens weren't good. Torrential rain on Saturday continued overnight and when I arrived at the club on Sunday morning there were murmurings that the back nine was unplayable and should be shut. Add in the fact that Mike had only jetted back home at 5.00am from a holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia and it wasn't an ideal preparation. Still you have to be in it it win it.

We were drawn against a regular partnership, Vince O'Hara and Paul Hadden who have a degree of form at Royal Ascot in pairs events. Vince can be dangerous off 18 and Paul is steady off 12. We were teeing off at midday and not only was I concerned about the light going but there was further rain forecast.

My opening tee shot wasn't a thing of beauty but I go it away. I made a net par and it was enough for a half. The tee shot at the 2nd was okay but found the light rough and a horrid lie. I couldn't move it forward very far and handed the reins to my partner. Another half. I made a par at the next to keep parity but didn't hit a great drive at the 4th. It was down the right, found the rough and despite vigorous searching never re-appeared.

I wasn't swinging well. Tempo was quick and I think I was getting wrapped up in swing thoughts. I was making too many errors and the more things didn't go my way the more it unravelled. My partner was playing some sterling golf but by the time we lost the 8th to a birdie two we were three down and that remained the score at the turn.

Our opponents made a rare mistake and we clawed the 10th back but Mike three putted the next to give that hole back. I found the fairway at the 12th but then carved a fairway wood right into dead man's country. Mike hit a great approach that ran to the back of the green and again his putter let him down. Both opponents had shots and escaped with a half. We were four down after losing the 13th.

The closing holes from the 14th in to the clubhouse were in a bad condition. The fairways were full of standing water and it was hard to find full relief. The bunkers were flooded but, and it is a fantastic testament to the green keeping staff, the putting surfaces had no standing water and putted well.

I continued to play like a clown. I couldn't string anything together and to be honest given the state of the match, the conditions and the way I was playing interest had waned. I finally hit a good drive down the  par five 15th but we were dormie four down so too little too late. I laid up but even my approach from 130 yards wasn't good enough and found a bunker. As it happened, it made no difference as Vince chipped in from way off the green to make a par and our race was run.

I like a laugh on the course but my performance on Sunday was no joking matter
I felt I'd let my partner down (not for the first time) and that I had let both my teaching pro Rhys ap Iolo and myself down. The swing isn't in freefall but there is definitely a missing piece, a spark not firing. Of course it was only my second round in nearly three months and perhaps a competitive round came too soon into my rehabilitation.

I went to the range after work on Monday. Again there were some shots that were as pure as I can hit it and there were others where everything felt it was moving and it was way out of sync. Of course, the more you try the worse the situation becomes. I think I am thinking too much and trying too hard to manipulate the club on the correct path. On the plus side, my lesson postponed from last Friday has been arranged for tonight. It was suppose to be a short game lesson but I think the swing needs the critical gaze of Rhys to just make sure old habits aren't creeping back.

The forecast is set to be drier but much, much colder and I don't know if the course will be fully open. I'm tempted to see what Rhys says tonight and seek some kind of sanctuary at a driving range with their heated bays and just keep working on the game. On the other side of the coin, I need to be out playing regularly too so it is a bit of a catch 22. I don't want to play if I can't trust the swing and I don't want to be out in sodden conditions and freezing conditions.

I understand there are days when you won't swing well or play great. I accept that. It is days like Sunday where I play like a clown and nothing goes right and you have that feeling of embarrassment for even being on the course that I can do without. I didn't hit anything resembling a socket rocket but the quality of the strike was perhaps the most annoying thing. In my defence the conditions especially on the back nine were bad and exaggerated any mistake. I am putting it down to a very bad day at the office. Nothing more. The swing is a work in progress still. I will have bad days but the end product will mean there will be less and less of these. The bad won't be so bad and I will still be able to get it round and post a score.

In a perverse sort of way I'm happy going out of the knockout. The rumour is it will be a very bad winter and so playing on a frozen course to temporary greens isn't my idea of proper golf and to be honest playing a match in those circumstances owes a lot to lady luck. Now I can focus on my range work and wander out when I want to play a social game and test the progress out without it being a win or bust deal.

Of course if I do play like a clown again I can always ask Santa for a red nose and some funny big shoes.

No comments:

Post a Comment