Sunday, 11 November 2012

When The Gods Conspire

My much vaunted and anticipated return to the hallowed turf at Royal Ascot Golf Course failed to materialise this morning. Not because of a lack of intent on my part and despite a frost on the car windows I was up when the alarm went off at silly o'clock, still dark, and ready to hit the shower and get out there.

There was a problem though. She who must be obeyed, my lovely wife was already in the bathroom, suffering the effects of a migraine. She wasn't at all well bless her. As fanatical as I am about my game and as much as I've been desperate to get back out playing and trying the improved swing in real time conditions where you only get one chance, I couldn't bring myself to leave her and wander off to play. Even Im not that heartless.

In the end I took myself into the spare room and dozed the morning away. I had hoped she'd feel better by this afternoon and I could get up to the club and perhaps work on my Aimpoint technique for reading greens. It has been so long since I attended an Aimpoint clinic ( and learnt how to read greens properly. I have got out of the practice of how to do this and my training aid has been lying redundant since its arrival as I bowed out of golf to be with my mum in her last few months, get over her death and deal with the aftermath.

The Aimpoint "Bubble" - a valuable aid to learn the correct reads
In the end though it wasn't to be and I've spent the day being the dutiful husband and tending to her needs. It seems the golfing gods are conspiring to find ways of stopping me playing. I am determined to find a way to get out next weekend. I have been bored rigid with the rubbish on Sunday TV and in the papers. I've had to be very strict with myself as the temptation to surf the online golf stores has been strong and the credit card was last seen scurrying for cover.

Not what I'd hoped for this weekend and it has ultimately all been a bit of a disappointment really. Yes I had a good practice session off grass yesterday and it is money in the bank so to speak in relation to the improved swing and technique. It isn't the same though. I miss my friends at the club. I miss the savage banter in the 19th and above all I miss testing my game, my handicap and my technique, now much improved. Those I spoke to yesterday say the course is holding up well considering the wet weather and that the greens are rather nippy for the time of year. I need to see it for myself.

The wife's illness has opened a Feast of Consequences. I now only have one weekend to play and test everything before I'm due to partner my regular wing man Mike Stannard in our Winter knockout first round. I have no idea about putting in terms of the speed of the greens and the quality of my stroke (aside from not having practised the green reading). My dire short game will have little time for me to find some kind of band-aid to patch it up and cover the cracks.

Still these are negative vibes and I'm far more positive these days. The hard work has been done and even though it hasn't always felt like it but I've made real progress in the last six weeks or so. I know there is more to be done but the money I've invested in the lessons, particularly the last two has been cash well spent. I've relished the challenge of turning instruction into repetitive actions. Sometimes I've been frustrated as I wanted to see instantaneous results. Golf isn't like that and you have to work for your rewards. I love seeing the ball flying off the range mat or the turf long and straight. I've a better understanding of where I need to get the club throughout to work for MY swing. It will never be textbook or picture perfect but as long as it works when I need it and I can call on it when I'm in contention I'll take it.

My coach and I still have a long way to go. There is so much more that needs looking at. The swing still needs more work but it is from 100 yards and in that we really need to look at. The scoring zone, particularly bunkers, chipping and putting, will shave those vital shots and could be the difference between that handicap cut to single figures or treading water as a double digit golfer.

These are for another day. I'll hit the range again this week. Consolidate and refine what I've worked on to date and tick off the days until next weekend when I will absolutely, definitely, positively be back on the course and back playing again

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