Finally, and as a long term technophobe, I've taken the plunge and come lurching towards the digital age. If you read my last post you'll know I've set up a Youtube channel (Three Off The Tee Youtube Channel). This is something completely new and exciting and as time goes on, you'll enjoy the video content I upload. The channel is designed to run alongside this blog which will continue in it's current format and I've started off with an introductory video about me and the 2017 Quest For Single Figures.
So here it is then, my first video so please be gentle with me. Talk about nerve racking. Give me the first tee shot of the day in the monthly medal or a three footer on the last to win a club competition any time. It's a little basic as a starter and I was very self conscious but we've all got to begin somewhere and I hope this gives you all a better idea who I am, what I'm about as a golfer and why this obsession with single figures is so important to me.
I will be breaking the channel content into three distinct section.
Now I know that watching a middle aged, mid-handicap golfer hitting balls inconsistently is never going to be prime time viewing or that engaging, it will serve an important purpose for me and my attempts to improve and reach my objectives. I can visually see what my swing looks like over all facets of the game and as we all know feel versus real are rarely one and the same thing. As an example I did some quick filming at the range while I was working on my pitching. The quality of the video was very poor (too poor to post) given the lack of lighting on the range and the fact it was a a typical cold wet English Winter's day but what it did show is that when I pitch, particularly on anything from 30-50 yards that begin to require longer swings, there is a huge lack of connection between my body and my arms. That would explain the inconsistent nature of my practice off grass and on the course. So simple and so easy to see.
I will be filming all parts of my practice and where necessary showing this to Andy Piper at Lavender Park Golf Centre who teaches me. I have a series of six lessons booked for 2017, the first of which is imminent, but other than these one to ones the only time he may see my swing is if I am working on my game at the range and he's passing on the way to or from a lesson in another bay. He knows all about the Quest For Single Figures, and is a strong supporter of it and feels that with the work we put in this time last year, had I not been ill (and struggled for most of 2016 as a result) then the handicap had every chance of coming down, if not touching single figures. By showing the footage (and it being in a convenient place to view, rather than sending numerous emails and attachments) he's going to look at it and review it with me as part of the lesson plan.
I happen to think however, that by publishing my own foibles in practice on here for you all to see, and given that we (or most of us) all share a common denominator of being handicap golfers, albeit of different standards, it's not only cathartic, but we can share our knowledge and experiences. Some of you may have, or still have similar swing faults and have some excellent drills or tips for improving and changing these. It may be you see my swing (it will be ugly so keep away from young children!!!) and it'll ring some bells with you. I'm going to be filming some parts of my lessons primarily as an aide memoir to see before/after and make sure I don't lapse into old habits.
As I said, watching me hit balls poorly miss putts and chip and pitch in mediocrity isn't going to be riveting viewing and fear not these will be short clips both for your sanity and that of my teaching pro.
On The Course
I am very luck to be playing a number of wonderful courses in 2017 all of which feature in any top 100 UK course listing. These include a day at Sunningdale (Sunningdale Golf Club website) playing both the Old and New courses. I am also playing thirty six holes at the New Zealand Golf Club. This is a very prestigious club in Surrey, that prides itself on keeping itself to itself and doesn't try to compete with any of it's equally famous neighbours including the W's (Woking, West Hill and Worplesdon) and does things it's own way and in it's own time. It promises to be a unique experience. Finally I'll be playing in this years Golf Monthly Forum Help For Heroes charity day which this year is being held at Hankley Common Golf Club (Hankley Common Golf Club website).
I plan to follow in well trodden footsteps and film some footage of these majestic courses, which should be in their prime when I play them in the height of Summer, and also film myself trying to take them on as well as filming some of my playing partners and the exploits at these days that go to make these days such huge fun to play it.
I'm also going to do some filming at my own club, Royal Ascot. I hope to capture some of the fun and games of our weekend roll ups, where the craic is mighty and no quarter ever asked or given. I hope to show me playing a few of my favourite holes (and one or two that often give me grief).
Finally as a member of a golf society, they'll be some days out with these guys as well. The standard of the golf may be patchy at times but again the company is great. Whilst these may not be on any world class courses, each will have their own unique flavour to capture.
As you'll know if you've read this blog on a regular basis, I've given my views on a number of different clubs and golf related products, especially training aids. We're all aware that social media is regularly awash with product reviews of the latest shiny bit of kit, and that there are a plethora of people, usually golf professionals with a massive online presence (Rick Shiels, Mark Crossfield and Peter Finch as prime examples of UK based pro's) that review in massive depth every single piece of kit coming onto the market. Now while I'll never match any of that in my wildest dreams (although what a dream job) and while these reviews are brilliant in their own right, how realistic are they when they post their own swing data up there to look at? I can't match their swing speeds, spin rates or distances. What I want to do, and is to hit some clubs and film it and give my own impartial opinions, as a handicap golfer, with all the foibles that go along with that fact, based on how I hit them. It's as simple as that. I'll also be keeping an eye out for some training aids and other accessories perhaps not in the mainstream, a bit like the cut price laser rangefinder I did recently (Suaoki Rangefinder Review).
All in all then. a lot to be getting on with and I'm really looking forward to the Youtube channel being something that is fun to do, and hopefully can provide a morsel of enjoyment and fun for the viewer as well. If everything goes as I plan, the Quest For Single Figures will really take shape in 2017. I need a fast start and then a period of conciliation before going down further.
I hope you'll support the channel and subscribe. I'm acutely aware that Youtube is swamped by this sort of content, most of which is started in such good faith and with great intentions and which slowly fizzles and dries up. As you'll see, this blog has already had longevity, a few changes of direction and is still going and that's what I hope from the video content. Only time will tell, but your comments will be a massive help, good, bad or indifferent (aside from the guaranteed idiot posts) and as I said at the very beginning will be crucial to this technological dinosaur doing it, and hopefully doing it well.