Saturday, 17 March 2018

Return Of The Beast

Theoretically Spring has arrived and we're only a few weeks from The Masters at Augusta and the clocks change next weekend meaning longer nights. So why does it feel like the middle of December with snow on the ground, a wind chill somewhere near -7 and the golf course is shut. In short, the brother of the "Beast From The East" has returned and like its sibling predecessor has brought a wintry backlash. There's no merit standing in that cold on the range, I can't get out and play. Doesn't the weather know I'm a man on a schedule and "The Quest For Single Figures" needs to be up and running.

I really feel like I've lost ground and my winter preparation feels really disjointed and that I am far from ready. When I've been out on the course the putting has been terrible. It needs remedial work on the putting green. My pitching is a mess and I hoped to get out and have a lesson to sort this on Tuesday (21st) but not sure the weather is going to play ball. 

No words needed. I think many UK golfers feel exactly this way

So what's new? Well I've put a new video on the Three Off The Tee youtube channel that runs parallel to this blog. Check it out here (Three Off The Tee Youtube) which talks through the "What's in The Bag". I urge you to click on this link What's In The Bag - WITB and watch it. As you'll see there are some new additions in there and I've a few equipment issues to work out. I'd love you to comment on the video and let me know what's in your bag this year and why. 

While we're talking about my youtube channel, I can also offer you a chance to win a great prize, although probably only of interest if you're in the UK. Would you like to go to the world famous Wentworth Golf Club in Surrey, and watch the top European tour professionals as well as a host of celebrities from the world of sport and entertainment. If so, I've two tickets to give away to the celebrity pro-am on Wednesday 23rd May. You need to make your own way to and from the event but I reckon it'll be a great chance to get up close to these stars and will be a great day out.

All you have to do is subscribe to the youtube channel. This is mandatory to enter. Add a comment to any video I post, including this one giving the full competition details (Competition Time) with "BMW Tickets" and you're entered into the free draw. You can enter more than once (one comment per video). 

Golfing wise, it's been very stop/start. I've not really played too much golf. What I have played has been pairs events recently. My partner and I came 6th in the pairs stableford, but only a point away from second, in the Better Ball Competition and last week I played in the Jack Jarrett Trophy at Royal Ascot. It's better ball stableford, 90% handicap meaning I was off 13, and both scores to count. My usual partner was away, the replacement I had, cried off ill on the Thursday and I was grateful to the club captain for finding me an 11th hour replacement on the Friday night.

I had some irons in the bag (so you'll want to check the WITB video above) and to be honest neither of us had a great day. I played average at best with the swing feeling decidedly rusty, the short game non-existent and the putter stone cold. I managed to sleep walk my way to a decent 17 points going out. I'm not quite sure how as my mind was pretty disengaged and I was just hitting it without too much thought process.

Sadly I woke from my zombie like state on the 10th and so began a torrid back nine as my mind wandered and the swing fell out of kilter. I had no touch on my greens and was suddenly rushing putts five foot past and missing the one back. I was driving well enough but my next shot would be abject for no reason. It was a miserly 12 points back for 29 in total. Suffice to say my partner (off six) had an even worse day out and so we never threatened but even so managed a mid-table 21st place finish. 

Since then I have had one mediocre range session. I won't be working on my game this weekend in these freezing conditions. I've a lesson booked on Tuesday and had planned to address the pitching issues, ideally off grass, but the weather looks set to scupper that. If it does I'll have a thirty minute MOT lesson and just get the basics checked over and hopefully a few tweaks to keep the swing on track. 

Other than that, I'm planning to work hard on my game once the mercury rises again and that Baltic wind drops. It's still the pitching that's the stumbling block. I still flip flop between a traditional technique and the linear method which has more moving parts but when it's on is fantastic and I feel I can produce a variety of shots and with great control. 

I wish I could fill you in with more progress on the "Quest For Single Figures" However I've devised a practice schedule to take to the range and practice ground. I won't be doing each part of this every session but will focus on one area of my game each day and mark my scores and try and improve that next time. See what you think and let me know.

I hope where ever you are, the weather improves soon and you can get on the course and we can finally get the 2018 season up and running. Don't forget to click on the links to my videos, watch them and please give them a thumbs up and add a comment. Go ahead and enter the BMW PGA Celebrity Pro-Am competition. I'll see you again for another blog soon and hopefully they'll be no repeat of the beast to report.