Thursday, 30 November 2017

That Winning Feeling

Welcome back. As you will recall from my last blog, things had taken a turn for the better and I had just had my best ever round at Royal Ascot Golf Club, shooting a gross 78 (+8) which was comprised of two book ended nines of 39 shots each.

I had the opportunity to get nine holes in two days later on Monday 20th November and decided to take the camera along and do an on course vlog to chart my progress. It's been a while since I put one of the on my Three Off The Tee Channel (check it out here Three Off The Tee Youtube Channel) and after all, confidence was high and I was hoping for good things.

You can check the nine holes out here (Better and Wetter Nine Hole Vlog). I won't spoil it for you but I do urge you to watch all the way through, give it a thumbs up and if you have any comments to leave them at the bottom of the video. I'm not giving anything away by saying that I was not fully prepared for the conditions from the seventh hole onwards!

As I have written before, this winter will see me embark on a huge swing change to try and find something shorter, more compact and more functional to set me on the road towards single figures. I had hoped this would be fully underway, but I've been struggling with back problems and so playing and range time has been severely curtailed. That is why I was so excited and enthused by my best ever eighteen hole score at my home club as it had come from nowhere.

The swing I had for that round and the one you'll see in the video are very much the current incarnation, and bears no resemblance to the one I envisage starting the 2018 season with. However as you can see, I am managing to play some functional golf with it. That does then beg the question why make wholesale changes? Having pursued this "Quest For Single Figures" for a good few seasons now it would appear pretty clear cut (at least in my own mind) that while we had a brief flirtation with this nirvana a good while ago now, in general terms what  have is pretty flawed technically and is reliant on a lot of timing, co-ordination, planetary alignment and a roll of the dice. Of course, as I work hard to improve areas like pitching then hopefully my scrambling statistics will improve and this will impact scores in a positive fashion, even on poor ball striking days.

You may have seen me doing a pitching scramble test on my Youtube channel already. If not check it out here (40 Yard Pitching Challenge). I plan to do a few more of these over the winter and also add in a chipping scramble test as well. I need to really grind the short game. It's an area that seems to have been overlooked of late as my focus has been on the long game following my lesson courtesy of Golf Monthly at the London Club in Kent with Paul Foston, who is one of their top 25 coaches.

It was presentation night recently at Royal Ascot Golf Club. You may recall I won the Centenary Medal in June. Usually, medal winners only get a small medal (obviously) to record the win but apparently as I won the division and had the best net score, there was a trophy is presented for this one medal of the year. As you can see below, it's always good to get my hands on a piece of silverware.

The Centenary Medal Trophy
It's rekindle that winning feeling and served to simply work harder over the winter. These back issues, which feel muscular and means I'm simply not giving the injury time to fully heal, have really restricted what I can do in all areas of the game and is becoming a real source of frustration. It isn't helped by the current cold snap in the UK and standing on a freezing range is not going to help rehabilitation. However I'm torn between trying to hit some balls and be in a position to play weekends with a semblance of confidence or having a few weeks of complete rest. Watching my friends on Youtube and on other social media platforms, I feel as though time is passing me by and I'm already playing catch up which is why I feel compelled to push. Of course I'm aware that doing too much may cause more damage and an even longer lay-off. It's a real conundrum for me

I also managed to get my hand on the Jubilee Cup. No you didn't miss the announcement of another storming win, especially as this is one of the club's majors and is an honours board event. I actually won it with my partner back in 2008 but wasn't able to attend the presentation event that year. Again, it felt good to get my hands on that particular trophy (below) even if it was a few years after the event.

Better late than never. Finally got my hands on the Jubilee Cup I won in 2008
I have to be honest dear reader, and say that the last round and my best score and what transpired in the nine holes has got me thinking more and more. There is clearly a golfer in there desperately fighting to get out and every now and then it makes an appearance. I have always been a somewhat streaky player, even as far back as my junior days and so transient form is nothing new to me. What I do want to acquire is a better mental attitude and I'm still looking at doing some NLP (neuro linguistic programming) to help quieten the brain down on the course, get better focus, visualise better and deal with bad shots in a less damaging way. As I've mentioned, the swing does need work to get me towards single figures and more importantly keep me there. At 50+ years of age, this does represent last chance saloon and so the information I've had from Paul Foston will form the foundation on which to base these changes.

I have spoken before of a desire not to use another swing coach and over complicate or conflict with the work I want to do but I have to confess I'm beginning to wonder if that was a little short sighted. I won't be having regular access to Paul Foston as he's based miles away down in Kent and have only planned one follow up session before the season starts to recap the work I've done and see what needs working on going forward. That then relies on me working alone and I'm not comfortable with that. I'm thinking of getting one or two lessons booked with the guy I was using before the London Club opportunity. If you haven't seen what it was all about check these two videos here, including some behind the scenes footage on how a golf magazine gets those shots you see in each issue (xxxx)

I feel I may be better off going through what I've been given to work on with my teaching professional, valuate the work I've done to date, and get professional input on how I'm progressing and the issues remaining. I can then work on what will be a huge change, especially the cupped wrist and over swing, ingrained now in over thirty years of playing, confident I'm on the right path technically.

As always then, in this world of the obsessive golfer, there is so much going on. Stick around and see how the winter work goes and please make sure you subscribe to my Youtube channel. There's a lot of great content coming and the more I can grow it and the more interactive we can become (so give those videos a thumbs up and please comment) the more I can offer back in terms of giveaways and opportunities. I have some more product reviews coming as well which I don't think you'll want to miss.

I hope you enjoy the video footage, especially the nine hole vlog, and I'll be back soon with more news on "The Quest" and hopefully with ongoing good news about the swing and the way I'm playing. Hopefully all that hard work will lead to a great 2018 and that winning feeling.

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