Posts Tagged ‘lesson’

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This week has been a real struggle for my golf game….I played on Monday and Wednesday, at Vineyard (Mon) and Riverwalk (Wed)….both rounds were disappointing.  Shot a 78 (+8) at Vineyard and an 82 (+10) at Riverwalk, birdied just once for the two rounds total and struggled off the tee.  My putting was horrible at Vineyard, but improved by the end of my Riverwalk round.  Once I started to move the ball more toward the middle of my stance, I was able to get solid contact with each putt and over my last 13 holes at Riverwalk; I putted the best I had in months.  Now that I’m able to get consistent solid contact on my putts, my lag putting was spot on, no possibility of 3putts.

Golf is such a frustrating game and I keep questioning myself as to why I can’t stay consistent.   I seem to find my swing and then lose it almost on a weekly basis.  I know through coaching from my instructor that my tendency is to get too steep on the downswing….this leads to real inconsistent strikes.  So I have spent the past 2 days analyzing my swing for hours in front of a mirror and on video.  I got a new phone this week, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and it has given me the ability to download apps that can help improve my game.  I am now able to record my swing and use the golf apps to draw lines to analyze my swing. Seeing my swing on video proved that I was indeed getting too steep again on my downswing….I used trial and error over the course of a few hours trying to see if I could get my swing back on plane, but nothing was working.   I spent the next hour or so before work just thinking about what I could do to keep my club on plane on the downswing…..and then it clicked.  I already in my mind tried to get the butt of the grip on the backswing pointing toward the ball, this is what helps me get the club started on plane, but I was forgetting to make sure it’s pointing at it on the downswing.  I had just assumed that in my downswing I was basically on plane or that my arms were subconsciously just continuing to follow the plane from my backswing.  Once I figured out how to get my club back on plane on the downswing, I did a few pump drills to make sure that I was getting the feeling.  After work, I was able to head to the range and test out my theory…..it worked!!  I hit the ball better than I have in months, more solid contact than I can remember having ever and the ball flight was consistent.  Had a few misses to the left and right, but I realized that my tempo was causing that.  Once I slowed down my tempo and made sure my club was on plane, I hit the ball exactly how I have dreamed I could.

I’m playing rounds again next week on Monday and Wednesday so I hope that I can get back to scoring well, after last night, I’m confident that I am going to improve.  Now that I have the ability to record my swing at home and analyze it, should help me stay consistent…now I just need to keep the ball in play off the tee and start rolling in those putts!  In a few weeks time, working on keeping my club on plane, I feel like I can get my scores back to the +1 and +2 I was shooting just a few weeks ago.

Also, I have signed up for a tournament coming up on August 16th-18th in Palm Springs.  I’ll post more about that in coming weeks, but it will be my 3rd year in a row attending this tournament.  Was in 2nd last year heading into the last day, until I blew up for an 83 on Sunday, so I’m hoping to improve from last year.

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Tuesday

Decided to schedule a putting lesson today with my instructor, we worked for an hour on different putting drills, designed for me to better feel what I’m doing and be able to self correct.  We worked on drills that helped with range of vision and really taking in your entire surroundings, not just the distance of  you to the hole.  This includes everything behind the hole, from the edge of the green to the houses or street in the distance.  When you start to just focus on the distance from you to the hole, you start to get tunnel vision, to play the best golf we must start to expand our vision.  Tunnel vision can also have the effect of making the distance between two spaces look considerably closer because you are focused on a fixed point.    One of the drills you can do to test this is to set up to a straight putt of say 15-30 ft distance (don’t pace it off before) and then stand up, turn your club so that the grip is pointing to the ground.  Now close your eyes and start walking toward the cup.  When you feel like you are close to where you believe the hole is, set the putter grip down.  This might tell you something interesting about the way you perceive the distance between putts.

My coach wants me to learn how to better feel and understand the strokes I’m making.  I would hit a putt and then based on if it started left, right or down my intended line, I would describe to him the feelings of that particular swing, in as great detail as possible.  This is a great way to learn how to self correct.  Eventually we did a variation of this drill where I would putt with my eyes closed and then tell him what I felt and whether I thought the putt started left, right or down my target line.  My coach doesn’t want to start messing with my grip and set up for right now, maybe later down the line we might tweak a few things, but he believes that putting is more about feeling than mechanics.

We also talked about the idea of not lining up the lines on my ball toward my intended line.  I’m sure you guys have seen some pros do this, most famously Tiger Woods has done it before, where he lines up a line on his ball where we wants his putt to start.  I always do this when I’m playing a round, but ironically as we were chatting about this, I realized that when I practice on a putting green, I don’t.  So I’m going to work on playing with no line up and focus on just seeing my putts rather than get locked in to a particular line and narrowing my focus.

Wednesday

Went over to Oaks North again, a local executive course with three different 9 hole courses.  Last time we played the North/East combination, but this time we played the South/East (Par 60).  Each 9 contains 6 par 3’s and 3 par 4s.  It is a great test for your irons and short game and I played very well, shooting an even par round of 60!  I’m not going to do a round recap, but I will give you a few high and low lights.   Chipped in twice, once for eagle and once for birdie!  I hit 10 of the 18 greens, but missed about 4 that were on the fringe, really close.  I managed to only 3 putt once utilizing my new putting method and that was on the 3rd hole where I only had about a 12 ft putt for birdie.  A bad 3 putt, but it was early in my round and I was trying to get used to not lining up my putts with the arrows on the ball and forgot to think about speed on the downhill putt.  So a mistake that was quickly canceled out when I made eagle on the next hole, but other than that I lag putted fairly well.  Still did not make as many putts as I would have liked from 12 ft and in, missed a few par and birdie chances from inside 10 ft, but I was more aware of why I missed them.  My chipping game is continuing to be a strength of mine and I’m just so eager to keep playing and see what I can do.

Ended up heading down to the driving range later on in the night, hit the ball well, worked a lot of my wedges trying to better understand the exact distances of each wedge.  Hit my driver and woods at the end, found myself getting a little bit too quick and as a result I was hitting them off the toe or shifting extremely forward.  Realized that it could be my tempo and once I fixed that, I was back to hitting my driver in the middle of the club face and sending it deep down range toward my intended target.  I need to remember to keep my tempo, I tend to get quick a lot and it causes me to be an inconsistent ball striker.  Hopefully going to be playing a round this weekend on either Saturday or Sunday if it does not rain.  But if not, I’ll still be playing on Monday again at Vineyard and Wednesday for sure somewhere.

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.

On Thursday I decided to take most of the day working to revamp the blogs look.  I hope you enjoy it, I think it looks a lot better now and the page layout kind of has that “scratched” look and feel to it.  I added an about me page, if you click the photo on the left side of the page it will take you to that profile.  I love that photo, every time I look at it, it brings a calming and peaceful feeling to me, and I hope you enjoy its beauty as well.  I added also on the left side a definition of a scratch golfer and a handicap (including my current handicap) for some of you who might not be familiar with the terminology, as well as categorized my posts.  There are currently 5 categories at this point which are golf rounds/recaps, lessons, long game practice, short game practice, and just blog posts about life and general stuff.  Should make it easier to find what you’re looking for in future visits to the site.

Ok, now on to the golf game!  Thursday night I decided to go to the range and try and figure out my driver problems.  Was still struggling to hit my driver and woods solid and straight, but the rest of the clubs in my bag are coming around very nicely.  After the range session last night, I decided that today I would go back to my teacher to try and get some help with my driver and woods.  We worked on getting my left elbow into a better position tucked underneath my right.  This is something my coach has been trying to get me to do over the past few lessons, but subconsciously I had let it slip back into the old routine of left on top of the right.  Once I start to figure that out, it will bring me a lot more consistency in my swing.  Overall, he thought that I was improving nicely in my setup, grip, balance and swing path.  Today we also worked on not moving so far forward in my downswing.  This was causing me to get way out in front and my hands were getting stuck behind.  I was just shifting my hips forward instead of rotating them.  We worked on a few drills to help me get that feeling and yea it is going to take some time and practice before these feelings become normal and I’m able to repeat it each and every time.  It did help my driver though and I was starting to hit the ball fairly straight near the end of the lesson.  I need to feel like my arms are almost just dropping and moving first in my downswing.  My knees need to feel like they are separating and my right hip stays in the same spot and only rotates and does not shift forward.  You can check out my swing in the video lesson recap I’ll be posting here at the end of the video.  It might make a little more sense for you to see it than for me to explain it.

I’m definitely losing distance from where I was at before, but I just want to hit it straighter right now, the distance will come when I get more comfortable and am able to swing harder.  Going to be playing a round tomorrow morning with a buddy over at Meadow Lakes Golf Course, I have never played there before, but I have heard it can be quite challenging.  I’m not expecting to go out and shoot another 4 over round, but I’m hoping that I can continue my solid short game and improve on my driving.  I was able to get away with my horrible driving in my last round because I was able to put it into the other fairways and spots that I knew would be alright having played there many times before.  At a new course however, having seen only a few pictures where it looks like there are more canyons and out of bounds, I really need to keep my drives in play.  I’m more confident after this lesson though with my woods going into tomorrow, so my goal is just to break 80 (it’s a par 71).  My coach told me today that it is going to take a few weeks to get my body used to the new positions and that I should not expect to get it over night.  I’m excited that I am moving in the right direction and I can’t wait to get to work practicing and I’m looking forward to that day when it all clicks.

Here is my video recap lesson from today, enjoy!

Saturday I decided to take the day off, I really felt myself getting frustrated after my dissapointing range session on Friday and I wanted to just take a day and regain focus and confidence. “Frustration, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success.”- Bo Bennett

Sunday I went over to see my coach again to get another lesson.  I asked him for reassurance that I was applying my grip correctly.  I want to have a solid understanding for what is exactly right, so in upcoming range session I don’t go trying to tinker with it again like I did on Friday.  Overall he thought that my set up, grip and takeaway were starting to improve nicely, but he wanted to work on my balance.  I tend to get my weight more on my toes at address and that causes me to bring my left leg up and in at impact, rather than straight and toward my right knee. It changes my spine angle and causes inconsistent strikes. (You must remember by the way that I’m a lefty, so for many of you picturing the right and left knee in your mind might be thinking that previous sentence didn’t make much sense)  By the end of the lesson my balance was a lot better and after hitting the rest of my golf balls after the lesson, I started to get more consistent strikes.  Just focused on my long irons Sunday, no woods and tonight I’ll be heading to the range again like usual on Monday night and test my whole bag with the new balance point.  Really need to get my driver and woods back to where they were before the changes if I’m going to continue to break 80.  I’m playing golf on Wednesday this week, not sure where at the moment, but am locked in with a friend to play on Wednesday, so this will be my first round since starting the blog and we will see how my new swing transfers to the course.  I’ll be posting a picture of my scorecard, where I keep track of varies stats. Fairways and greens hit, up and downs, sand saves, putts and penalty strokes.  My goals right now are to continue to break 80 with an improving short game saves %.

My lesson video wouldn’t process on here last night so I had to wait till today to post this after uploading the video to YouTube.  My range session last night was really good, started to implement the changes in my balance you’ll see in this upcoming video and it really seemed to work.  Kept my focus the entire session, visualizing playing golf holes and playing at flags.  Swing is still a work in progress, but feeling more confident with my swing going into my round on Wednesday than I was last week.  Here is the video recap of my lesson on Sunday, you can see how my balance has changed and looks to be in a much better position for more consistency strikes.

On Monday I went to the driving range at night and practiced for about 2 hours, worked mainly on my driver trying to improve my consistency.  I hit the ball really well and was feeling confident in my game heading into Tuesday where I decided to go get an hour lesson from my instructor.   We discussed how I have been playing lately and had him take a look at my driver and swing.  Needless to say he found quite a bit of flaws in my set up and grip.  I will be posting the video recap of my lesson that he sent me at the end, which is a really useful and cool thing that he does for his students.   At first, the feelings of the positions he was telling me to get into felt completely foreign and awkward.  I went from striking my driver solid and 300 yards to duck hooking it about 175 yards.  I was a little frustrated at myself for not being able to really “do” the changes he was asking me to do, but after the lesson I hit about 80+ balls and was really starting to figure it out by the end.  I started to hit the ball straighter with better strikes and distance.  It is going to take a lot of practice to start to feel comfortable in the new position I need to be in with my grip, set up and swing path, but soon enough if I keep practicing it, those feeling will become my new normal.  If it’s the correct position to be in that will help me be consistent in the long term then I’m all for trusting it 100%.  It is really frustrating though when you feel like you are finally improving your game only to have to retool your swing again and you start to feel like you are going to have to take a few steps back in the short term to hopefully move a lot further in the long term and get to where you need/want to be.   “Choose your goal and keep your eye on it. Never give up.  Perhaps you will need to change your plan and approach your goal from a different direction, but don’t quit.  Keep thinking. Keep re-planning. Keep going” – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Going to go putt for a few hours today and hit up the range at night with a buddy.  Here is the video recap of my golf lesson on Tuesday.