Archive for the ‘Long Game Practice’ Category

Oak-North-Golf-Club-San-Diego

Oaks North Executive Course

Quick update about the last couple days for me….On Wednesday, my buddy and I decided not to go play a full regulation 18 hole course, but rather go to an nice executive course in my area called Oaks North to practice our iron and short game.  When I first started playing golf at 13 or 14, I used to go here almost every day after school.  My mom would drop my friends and I off and we’d play a 9 or just practice for a few hours, coming back here brought back a lot of good memories.  I haven’t been up here in probably 12 years and it’s funny how much smaller the holes feel.  I remember playing the junior tournaments here every week and have a lot of first and 2nd place trophy’s and ribbons from them still.  There are three 9 holes courses at Oaks North; (North, South and East) each contains three par 4’s and the rest par 3’s.  This is not a course where the par 3’s are only 100 yards, each is anywhere from 100-190, it really does test your wedge/mid iron game and the par 4’s are all about 250-300.  As a kid I remember playing these par 4’s and thinking they were so long, now I can reach them all with 3 and 5 woods or less.  Anyway, we walked the course and it was not too busy, so we hit multiple balls from different locations just to get some nice course practice in.  I putted horrible, missed 4 putts from inside of 6 ft, feels like my putting is starting to get away from me now, where as before, these past 4 weeks, I have been putting lights out from that distance.  I’ll get it back though, still getting the feel of the smaller, new putting grip I put on last week.  I’ll definitely be back to this executive course more often than I thought, because it really is a good test of your wedge/short iron and up and down  game, something that I need to perfect, as it is probably the most important factor in getting down to a scratch.  Later that night, I went to the range to work on a few things and hit the ball alright. I still feel like I’m not doing a great job of implementing the changes my coach wants me to make; I’m working really hard to get it however.

On Thursday, I did a lot of work in front a full length mirror in my house, working on getting into the positions my teacher wants me to get into.  It’s nice to be able to see yourself, like you would with a video and it gives you exponentially more feedback than just going off of feel.  I’m still struggling with what the correct flat, layed off position is supposed to look or feel like, and so I’m going to need to get another lesson to make sure I’m doing it correctly. Thursday night, after working in the mirror for a couple hours, I went to the range to see how the ball flight and contact would be.  I really worked on flattening my swing and it seemed to help a lot with the longer irons and woods.  Was hitting a lot of solid, straight shots.  Worked on the driver near the end and was hitting it a lot better than I have been in the past week.  My last ball, I really concentrated and focused as if I was on the first tee, going through my entire pre shot routine, and crushed it down my target line.  An older man, hitting next to me, who had been watching me for a bit, looked up and said “Well that’s about as perfect as you can hit it, you really took you’re time on that one, great looking swing.”  It’s always a good feeling when you get complements on your swing at the driving range, gives you a nice boost of confidence.

I’m hoping to be able to play this weekend, but if not then hopefully we will make it 3 weeks in a row on Monday with my buddy.  Will probably be playing on July 4th also, I did that a few years back and nobody was on the course.  For my international viewers who do not know, July 4th is the holiday here in the United States to celebrate the day of our nations independence from the British in 1776, basically Americas birthday. (Sorry my many U.K viewers) It’s a great day to play some golf, BBQ and enjoy fireworks!  Speaking of the U.K. I would love to go to the U.K. one day, the last name Tyson is English and I like watching the BBC and I think Karl Pilkington is a genius and one of the funniest men on earth, haha!  The rich history of the British intrigues me and it would be a great place to visit one day.

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Went to get a lesson today, decided to keep working on my long game and try and gain more confidence in the things I’m doing.  Lesson went well, overall my teacher thinks that I’m improving and I can feel that as well.  I’m still struggling with shifting my hips forward instead of around and it’s causing me to get too steep and open.  In those positions my timing has to be perfect to make it work, so it breeds inconsistency.  Was also setting up a little open with my shoulders and hips, so we worked on that for a bit getting the feeling down of what it feels like to be set up square.  After the lesson I finished off my basket of range balls and by the end I was really started to get it.  Hit about my last 8 drivers, pretty straight and with solid distance.  Hit a few 6irons and wedges also to make sure that it translated over to those clubs also and it did.  I really needed to get my confidence back after my terrible range session on Friday when I felt like I lost it, so today was a good day for that.

I’m playing on Monday this week after work and then hopefully again on Wednesday, so at least 2 rounds this next week, I look to keep improving my ball striking and lowering my scores.  I’m at the point right now that I should not be shooting anything in the 80’s, it should be all 70’s from here on out or I will be extremely disappointed.  As long as my short game keeps improving, I don’t think this should be a problem.  My goals for tomorrows round are to keep the ball in play off the tee, have an up and down percentage of no worse than 50% and make 2 or more birdies.  If I do those things, the score will take care of itself.  Will be my 3rd round over at the Vineyard course since starting this blog….have scores of 74 (+4) and 76 (+6) on the books, 75 or lower would be ideal.

Here is a video recap of my lesson today, the audio is a little tough because of the wind and his video froze near the end, but he basically was just showing me using my left hand in the downswing more than my right.

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Spent the past few days at the range working on my game, Thursday I hit the ball well, continuing my solid play as of late, but Friday was kind of a struggle.  On Thursday, worked a lot with my driver trying to figure out how to hit it more solid and found that I was getting too steep again.  Went flatter and hit about 10 drives in a row in the true center of the club face to end my night.  Hearing that sound that a flush driver makes, is just music to my ears, one of my favorite sounds on earth is the sound of a pure flush golf shot!  After the great ending to my range session on Thursday night, I decided to head back again on Friday night to keep working on it.  This is why golf is so frustrating!! I felt like I was doing the exact same thing I did the night before, but could not find a flush golf shot.  I hate feeling like you just took a few steps back after taking so many steps forward over these past few weeks, but I’m just going to forget about that range session and chalk it up to the difficulty of golf.  I felt myself getting frustrated again near the end of the practice session as I could tell I was hitting the ball below what I’m capable of.  I was just getting too mechanical again instead of just letting it flow and swinging with a target in mind.  So I’m throwing away this range session away in my mind, moving past it and keeping positive and focused on my end goal.

Been about 2 weeks since my last lesson from my instructor, was going to wait until Tuesday this week to go see him because I thought I would be playing a round this weekend, but plans fell through, so I might try and book one for tomorrow, Sunday.  Wanted to get a short game lesson in, but after last night’s range session, I think I need a tune up with the longer clubs.  Really confident in my short game right now, what I’m doing right now is working, so I’ll hold off on that until next lesson, need to figure out this long swing and get more consistent.

I did get a new putter grip installed and got my putter head re-glued as it was coming loose.  I forgot to take a picture of my original putter before I took it up, but I’ll show you a picture of how it looks now.  I put on a jumbo sized tiger shark grip probably about 6 months back, thinking it would help with my putter grip and be more comfortable.  I liked it and I putted well with it on, but I could just never really get into the feeling, it just did not fit my hands very well and was a little too big.  Been looking at midsize grips for the past few weeks and I love the feel, design and size of this white Winn midsize grip I found.  Has a very soft tacky feel, the midsize is a little bigger than standard, but not overly, just right for me.  I putted a little with it yesterday and absolutely love the way it looks and feels.  Here are some pictures of the new grip and the old grip I had for comparison (Yes I’m left handed!)

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I hit up the driving range on Wednesday night like usual to work on my long game, really hitting the ball well and am excited about the progress I am making.  Thursday was the start of the US Open, probably my favorite golf tournament to watch other than the Masters so I decided to take the day off and watch the first round.  I had set up a golf round on Friday, so I just enjoyed a nice quiet day off from practice and watched some spectacular golf from my countries open championship.

Friday I played my 3rd golf round since starting this blog.  We played at Carmel Highlands Golf Course, a course that we seem to play quite often because of the cheap rates we can find online.  It is in fair condition, some of the rough and fairways are in terrible condition right now, but the greens are in fine shape.  This is a course you will probably see me playing at a lot, as it is really close to home, cheap rate, good condition and challenging.  Although it isn’t too long, it is a really good test of driving skills as it has many tree lined fairways that require an accurate tee shot or you will have no shot at the greens.  It plays at a rating and slope of 71.4/129 from the Blue tips.

Carmel Highland Golf Course 6,428 Yards Par 72

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Hole 1: 340 Par 4

A blind tee shot up a hill, but a straight away hole.  Took my usual 5 wood off this tee and hit a great shot down the middle, only about 90yards left.  Hit a lob wedge that landed about a foot away from flag, but skipped and stopped about 10 ft above the cup.  Had a makeable birdie, but just can’t seem to drop them right now, 2 putted for par. Par

Round (E)

Hole 2: 442 Par 4

A long straight away par 4, I consider this and the 12th to be the hardest holes on the course.  The 2nd is a tight tee shot, out of bounds left and lined with trees on the right.  Hooked my driver into the trees on the right.  Tried to make a hero shot and play a big hook and try to run it up in front of the green.  Was about 150 out and took the wrong club.  I decided to hit an 8 and hook it, but it just went straight and landed out of bounds.  Really poor decision and shot, I’m really confident hitting the big hooks, but this time it went straight somehow and the 8iron was way too much club, wasn’t thinking it would go straight.  Ended up dropping and knocking my 4th on the green, then 2 putting for double bogey. Double Bogey

Round (+2)

Hole 3: 316 Par 4

A short par 4 with out of bounds left.  I normally hit my 21 degree hybrid here and draw it off the left side into the right side.  Hit a solid shot, but it stayed down the left side about 5 ft too far left and stayed out of bounds.  Back to back bad shots gives me 2 penalties in the first 3 holes.  Hit my drop onto the green and 2 putted for a bogey. Bogey

Round (+3)

Hole 4: 217 Par 3

Slight uphill par 3, the tees were way up today and only played about 155.  Hit a 9iron to about 12 ft left of the flag, nice uphill look at birdie, but left another good birdie look slip by. Par

Round (+3)

Hole 5: 502 Par 5

A reachable par 5 if you hit a good tee shot, but I hooked mine to the right and could only layup.  Hit my 2nd over some trees to about 100yards in the fairway.  Hit a poor wedge that I blocked and it was pin high, but just left of the green.  Hit a nice chip to about 4 ft and made the par save. Par

Round (+3)

Hole 6: 522 Par 5

Another par 5, hit a good driver to the right side that just ran off the fairway.  Had about 215 in, but my ball was in a depression, with a small hill right in front of the ball.  No way could I have gotten a hybrid up enough to carry the water in front of the green.  Just tried to lay it up to a wedge shot, but the lie caused me to pull it slightly in between some trees.  Had about 120 from the rough, but had a good angle between two small trees, knocked it about 30 ft.  I was never able to really get the speed of these greens today and I left my birdie putt about 10ft short.  Lipped out the par putt for a bad 3 putt bogey on a par 5. Bogey

Round (+4)

Hole 7: 428 Par 4

Frustrated with myself for this horrible start, I pulled another drive to the right.  Had a blind shot to the green that I pulled again.  Had a quick chip that almost hit flag stick, but rolled through green just on fringe.  Made another good chip and tapped it in for another bogey.  Bogey

Round (+5)

Hole 8: 420 Par 4

I had to start to stop the bleeding somehow, but was facing this difficult uphill par 4. I realized that I was setting my club down closed off the tee in the set up.  This was why I was hooking my tee shots up to that point.  Fixed it and crushed a 3 wood down the center and then hit a wedge just underneath the hole about a 12 ft putt uphill.  Another great birdie look that I missed (Birdies are just NOT falling for me right now, frustrating) Par

Round (+5)

Hole 9: 162 Par 3

Short downhill par 3, where the green slops hard back to front with out of bounds long.  Hit a 9iron on the front, but it spun back off the slope just onto the fringe.  Felt like I killed my putt uphill, but it still ended up about 6 ft short.  Made the tough par putt though to save my 3. Par

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A disappointing score of 41 (+5) on the Par 36 Front 9. Fairways Hit (FW): 2/7 29% Greens in Regulation (GIR): 4/9 44% Up/Downs: 2/3 66% Sand Saves: 0/0 0% Penalties: 2

Hole 10: 304 Par 4

A short par 4 with a large bunker in front of the green.  I have driven this hole before as I hoisted a driver that went about 300 in the air and stopped on the green.  Today though, I wasn’t feeling confident enough to go for that, so I just crushed a 3 wood to about 40yards in front of green.  Made a solid chip to about 8 ft and had a nice look to get a shot back, but missed AGAIN a great birdie look and made par.  Par

Round (+5)

Hole 11: 309 Par 4

Hard sloping hole right to left, did my usual and tried to hit a 5 wood down the left side and let the slope take it down in front of green, but hit a block to the left that went into a hazard.  My 3rd penalty of the day, 2 on short easy par 4s.  Hit my 3rd right at flag, but clipped a green side tree on its way down and settled in a bunker.  Hit a great bunker shot to about 5 ft, but lipped it out for another 6. Double bogey

Round (+7)

Hole 12: 460 Par 4

Crushed a drive that had some draw on it.  It took a big hop in the fairway and hopped down the slop on the right side in the rough.  Had only about 145 in, but had to hook it drastically to get it on green.  A very similar shot to the one I had on 2, but this time I did what I pictured and hit a nice high hook that landed just over the green.  Looked like a perfect shot when I hit it, but just too much club.  Made a great chip to 2ft and tapped it in for a nice solid par on this #2 handicap hole. Par

Round (+7)

Hole 13: 388 Par 4

Straight tee shot, and then the hole turns to the left with a back to front sloping difficult green.  Hit a great 3 wood down the center, but hit a wedge just on the front of the green.  Hit a great 20ft uphill putt that stayed on the LIP of the hole….I really can’t find a birdie!  Waited for a few seconds to see if it would drop in, but it wasn’t so tapped in for a par. Par

Round (+7)

Hole 14: 315 Par 4

Straight par 4, hit another solid 3 wood down the middle to about 40 yards.  Pin was in the front and to an uphill green where you can’t see the putting surface.  Landed it a little too far and it ran about 15ft by.  2 putted for par. Par

Round (+7)

Hole 15: 495 Par 5

Straight par 5 that has a sharp uphill for the 2nd.  Boomed my driver down the middle and had about 170 left in.  Hit a nice 5iron just to the left of the green.  Took my bread and butter PW and just tried to run it up onto the green.  I love that shot and it’s one of my most confident I have, but on this particular shot I chunked it.  I can’t even remember the last time I chucked that type of shot; in fact it’s the reason I play that shot to avoid that type of thing.  Frustrated, I left the 40ft birdie putt 12ft short and missed again to 3 putt again on the par 5 for a bogey.  Horrible bogey when I was just about pin high in 2 with a great lie….disappointing. Bogey

Round (+8)

Hole 16: 123 Par 3

Uphill par 3 that always plays a club more.  Played here enough to know my perfect club for this hole is a solid PW, pulled it a bit though and it was pin high just off the green.  Used my PW again to hit the chip and run, (this time I didn’t chunk it) and it ran about 5 ft past.  Missed the straight putt comebacker for another bad bogey. Bogey

Round (+9)

Hole 17: 314 Par 4

Straight par 4 that is narrow by the green so difficult to try and drive it.  Just hit a 3 wood that I pushed down to the left side.  Had to hit a big fop shot about 40 yards over some trees.  Hit a great shot, but it was just a little right and stayed on the fringe.  Hit a nice chip to about a ft and made a par. Par

Round (+9)

 

Hole 18: 361 Par 4

Yet another straight par 4, that you can make birdie at if you hit a good drive.  Crushed my drive down the middle for about 40yards in.  Pitched it just to the back of the green about 10 ft from pin that was in the back.  FINALLY made a putt and ended the round on a solid note, making my only birdie of the day. Birdie

Round (+8)

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A 39 (+3) on the Par 36 Back 9. A good ball striking back 9, lots of fairways and greens hit.  Fairways Hit (FW): 5/8 63% Greens in Regulation (GIR): 5/9 55% Up/Downs: 2/3 66% Sand Saves: 0/0 0% Penalties: 1

Overall score 80 (+8) Fairways Hit (FW): 7/15 47% Greens in Regulation (GIR): 9/18 50% Putts: 33 Up/Downs: 4/6 67% Sand Saves: 0/0 0% Penalties: 3

This is my 3rd round since starting the blog and it’s weird because although my scores have increased each time, (+4 to +6 to +8) I have hit the ball progressively better each round.  Today I hit the ball better than my previous two rounds, but made some silly mistakes.  I had 3 penalty from shots that just went out of bounds, had two 3 putts on par 5’s that I was on the green in regulation, and missed countless makeable birdies.  If you just take away the 3 penalties and the 3 putts that’s 5 strokes for a 75, not even counting if I had made a few birdies.  So overall I’m pleased with my progress, I hit the ball well enough today to shoot mid to low 70’s and I’m happy with that, just one of those days.  My driving is improving, my up and down game is improving and those are the things I have really been working hard on.  My putting within 6 ft has really been solid over my last 6 rounds, making most of those must need par saves.  I have the correct lines on my longer putts, but am just leaving too many birdie putts short.  Once I start rolling those birdies in, watch out.  I can smell that under par round cooking, I’m starting to gather all the ingredients needed to make it happen and one day soon they are all going to come together to create that under par round….I can taste it!!!

Monday

Headed to the driving range tonight for about 3 hours to practice my long game, really took my time in between shots to analyze the feelings and position I was getting into and to work on the things my coach has been teaching me.  Needless to say I hit the ball extremely well, one of my most consistent and best range sessions of my life.  I’m showing those positive signs that my game is heading in the right direction and really am feeling more confident than I thought I would at this point in changing my swing. So pleased with the progress I’m making especially in my driver and woods, gaining my distance back and a lot more accuracy.  My misses are not big and every drive I hit tonight at the range would have stayed inbounds.  Will be heading to the short game area tomorrow for a few hours of practice and then probably back for some long game on Wednesday night like usual.  Hoping to continue my solid play and keep moving in the right direction.  I’m not sure when I’m going to play again, I’d like to get out and play as soon as possible, might try and go play by myself on Thursday or Friday if everything goes well on Wednesdays session, but at worst hopefully I’ll get a round in this weekend.  My buddy will be done with school after this week and he has told me he would love to start going a few times a week, so hopefully that will help me get a ton of rounds in this summer.

Today

Did some short game practice today over at the range I normally frequent; practiced chipping and bunker play for about 2 and half hours.  I feel extremely confident in my chipping game right now, with all range of distances.  They give you a sleeve of balls to practice at that contains about 22 golf balls I believe.  On the chipping range, I was hitting about 5 or 6 balls to a certain flag then switch my target to a different flag.  It’s important to go at different flags if you are going to hit about 20+ balls consecutively.  I like to change after about 5 or 6 just because anymore than that and you start to get a rhythm and feel for where the shot should land and it makes it easier.  On the course however, you only get one chance, so it’s important to keep it moving around so you’re testing yourself with every shot like you would when playing.  After awhile you start to “see” the shots easier and with enough practice that is going to translate to lower scores on the course.

 View from my chipping practice area today

One area I definitely need to put more focus on is my bunker play.  I have decided that I’m going to get a lesson from my instructor solely on bunker play because now that I think about it, I never have before.  I have only watched videos on bunker play and always gone purely through feel.  I do ok out of the bunkers, but have a lot of room to improve and a lesson from a PGA professional will certainly help me tremendously in that area.  I do a good job of avoiding green side bunkers on the course, but it is a weak aspect of my game I will need to tighten up if I’m going to become scratch.

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Wednesday/Thursday

Hit the ball fairly well on Wednesday night, am starting to get more comfortable with the new swing path and grip.  On Thursday, I decided to just work on chipping for the day, went over to Carmel Mountain Ranch Golf Club and chipped for 2 hours.  My chipping has been steadily improving over the past few months, really utilizing multiple clubs for certain situation and not solely relying on my 60 degree lob wedge for every chip and pitch.  I’ve known that the ideal way to chip is to just land the ball on the first 1/3rd of the green as quickly as possible and have it run out like a putt the rest of the way.  The chipping swing should almost be exactly the same every time, in terms of set up, length of swing and speed, the only difference should be the clubs for different distances.  It takes many hours of practice to really hone in on your chipping distances with every club, from lob wedge  all the way up to 5 or 6 irons.  The lowest lofted club I chip with right now has been a 7 iron.  I’m really going to try to practice chipping hard and learn the distance each club travels.  That is really going to help you lower your scores when you are on the course.  It gives you not only more options for shot types, but confidence to know that this certain club will go this certain distance and you can have a clear picture in your mind before performing the shot.  Short game is the most important aspect of scoring well, you must get up and down at least 70—80% of the time to shoot consistent low scores and right now according to my golf stats over the past year and a half am only at 22% successful saves.  Recently however over my last 4 rounds, I’m saving at a 42% clip so definitely improving as I get more comfortable with my distances and shot selection.

Friday

Did some more chipping today over at Carmel mountain for about 2 and a half hours.  Chipped amazing today, only was chipping 3 balls at a time and no exaggeration, I counted 8 times I chipped in and several more would be tap in putts.  8 chip-ins in 2 and half hours just hitting 3 balls at a time is a pretty awesome feat.  At a proper range they give you a sleeve of about 20-25 balls to hit and I have chipped those for 3 hours straight before and chipped in maybe once.  So to do it 8 times while hitting probably 80% fewer balls than I would normally in 2 and a half hours feels really good and means that my chipping is seriously improving.  I’m giving my chips chances of going in and that feels good, now I only wish I could take this over to the course!  After work on Friday night I went to the range for 2 hours to work on my long game.  I was hitting my wedges really crisp and nice, new grip and swing plane felt good, but once I got to the longer irons and driver I couldn’t seem hit it how I wanted.  Admittedly I got frustrated with myself after I hit the ball fairly well on Wednesday night with these clubs.  After getting frustrated, I started to lose focus and just started hitting balls and not really analyzing each swing and feel or thinking about what I was doing right or wrong.  I was just pounding balls for the last 40 minutes and that is not the way to improve in golf.  I’m not too concerned, but I do want to try to get a lesson either Sunday or Monday so that I can make sure that I’m implementing the correct changes to my swing that my teacher wants me to.  I need to remember that these changes are going to take some time and I’m not just going to hit the ball amazing over night, it’s going to take a lot of work, time and patience.  One of my biggest faults, like many in this day and age, is that I always want that instant gratification.  Golf is not the game for that type of thinking and I need to keep reminding myself that with time and constant practice, I can get to where I want in this game.  “Change is not a process for the impatient.” – Barbara Reinhold