Posts Tagged ‘putting’

5307917592_916b56c7d1_zI finally got to actually play a golf round!  Been battling a sore back for the past week, but this past Thursday, I met up with a couple friends and we played a round over at Riverwalk golf club.  Not having been able to actually play in 2 weeks, I didn’t come in with high expectations, but maybe that was a good thing because after the first tee shot, I knew it was going to be a good day.  I ended up shooting a 77(+5).  My long game was locked in and I hit a total of 11 out of 14 fairways!  I only hit 9 of 18 greens, but never missed a green by much and 5 of them missed just short either because of spinning off the front or a misjudging of the wind.  I account that to not playing much over the past couple months, as being able to accurately judge the wind is something that starts to get dialed in the more and more you play.

Nevertheless, I did hit a lot of close iron shots, but my putting continues to be my Achilles’ heel and I was not able to make many birdies.  Despite having multiple great looks from inside 10ft, the only birdie putt I did make on the day was from about 40ft.  Golf is a funny game and it always seems like the putts that have little chance of going in actually go in and the makeable ones slip by….at least for me lately.  I think that just comes down to the idea of having no expectations.  Dave Stockton calls it going “unconscious” when putting and it’s something that I’m working on getting better at doing.

I know I need to become less result oriented when it comes to my putting and just try to keep my same routine and put a solid roll on the ball.  If I can do that, then I’ll make my fair share of putts.  I’ve been trying to just pick a spot 1 inch in front of my ball on my line and roll the ball over that spot.  It’s hard to miss a spot 1 inch in front of the ball, so it allows me to put more emphasis on the speed of the putt.  I find my mind freed up with longer putts, but I still catch myself over thinking and steering closer putts or ones I feel I “should” be making, especially for birdie.  I’m getting better at it however and if I keep working hard on getting to a point where I can go “unconscious” on the greens, I know that’s going to give me the best chance to start going low.

Final stats for the round:

unnamedRiverwalk Presidio/Mission 6,550yards 71.7 126

Score: 77(+5) FW: 10/14 GIR: 9/18 Putts: 32 U/Down: 4/8 San Save: 0/1 Penalties: 0

{FB92BDB3-BAF4-4835-8600-54D48EF1F23A}mcilroy_abudhabi13_cameronputter_610_0Here is just a quick review of my latest golf rounds over the past 2 weeks.  Unfortunately, I didn’t play my best golf and my scores are a reflection of that…I had a lot of great shots over these 3 rounds, but couldn’t avoid sprinkling in some large numbers.  I had two triple bogey 6s on two different par 3s during these rounds, very uncharacteristic for how I’ve been playing lately, but I just left myself in some absolutely terrible spots on the holes and it cost me.

I’ve been working on the plane of my swing over the past couple weeks as I mentioned in my previous post and I’m still working on being able to repeat it consistently.  When I get it right, I hit the ball better than I ever have before, just perfect contact, height and ball flight, exactly what I’ve been searching for.  But in working on this change, I have a tendency to leave the face slightly open on impact, blocking shots to the left.  I’m not doing it too often, but often enough to seriously affect my scores right now.  My contact is a lot more consistent with this swing change, I’m just going to keep grinding and we’ll see how it goes in the next few weeks.

My putting continues to be a struggle however and it is the part of my game that is costing me the most strokes right now.  My short putting has been solid, but it is my lag putting that is just killing me.  I can’t get the long putt speed right with this heavier weight in my putter right now.  I had 3 3-putts at Riverwalk, 4 at Vineyard and 1 at Doubletree…this just can’t continue to happen.  31-35 putts a round is unacceptable in my opinion.  Shooting (+4) or (+5) with 35 putts is ridiculous…I’m hitting enough fairways and greens to be shooting under par consistently, if I could only get my putts to 27-30 a round.  I will get there eventually, it might feel impossible to me right now, but I know that it is possible to do it, so I’m just going to keep telling myself that it’s possible.  I’ll have to start spending more time on the putting green with longer putts…I can do this! 

So here are the round stats for these past 2 weeks, hopefully I’ll get out a few times this week.       

10/8/14 The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70 (Blue: 71.0/126)

Score: 75(+5) FW: 9/14 GIR: 13/18 Putts: 35 Up/Down: 1/2 Sand Save: 1/1 Penalties: 1

10/9/14 Carmel Highlands Doubletree: Par 72 71.4/129 6,428 Yards

Score: 81(+9) FW: 6/15 GIR: 8/19 Putts: 31 U/Down: 5/10 San Save: 0/1 Penalties: 1

10/1/14 Riverwalk Friars/Presidio 6,627yards 71.9 128

Score: 78 (+6) FW: 5/14 GIR: 12/18 Putts: 35 Up/Down: 3/5 Sand Saves: 0/2 Penalties: 1

Added a few new tools to my bag over the weekend as I got 2 new clubs… a Cleveland 64* wedge and a new Scotty Cameron Select Newport  2.0 putter!  I got all artsy yesterday took a few pictures of the new clubs and for someone who knows nothing of photography; I’d say I did a pretty good job!

64 wedgeThe 64* Cleveland wedge was actually free as I had both a $50 and $100 gift cards from golfnow.com as reward points.  They were set to expire and I figured I might as well get something while I still can.  The gift cards could be used at either Cleveland or Srixon online shops…I knew that Cleveland wedges are top notch, so I decided to go with a 64*.  I love my Titleist Vokey wedges I have now, especially my 60*, it’s my favorite club, so I’ll mess around with the 64* here and there and see how I could fit it into my game.  Getting a 64* also gives me just that many more options when I’m going to play tournaments.  If I feel the 64* would help me at a specific course, I’ll add it to the bag, but right now I don’t have any serious plans to add it to my bag regularly as I can hit all the shots I currently need with my 60*, but heck it was free right and you can’t beat free!

20140922_135735I decided also to get a new Scotty Cameron putter, I absolutely loved my old one, but I think it was time to retire and upgrade.  I remember always dreaming of owning a Scotty Cameron putter as a 15 year old when first discovered golf…I finally purchased one 6 years ago and it did not disappoint.  It was my baby, my oldest running club in the bag, but the shaft was starting to get bent, the face wasn’t sitting square and it20140922_134852 had a few scratches in it so it was time to put her to pasture and enjoy retirement.  One of my friends, who I play golf with regularly on Wednesdays now, is a manager of a golf shop and he was nice enough to give me a great deal.  I got the brand new Scotty Newport studio select 2.0 for only $150 instead of the normal price of $350…you just can’t pass up that type of deal.  I’ll go putt with it for a few today and then put it into action tomorrow when we play a round.  The only thing is that it has the standard scotty thin grip on it currently, but I’m used to a more midsize grip like I had on my old putter.  I’m so used to a bigger grip that this standard one feels unbelievably small and thin!  So I’m not sure how well I’ll putt tomorrow, but that’s ok, I’ll probably get it re-gripped to a midsize grip later in the week.

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10550821_10101246679486357_1570307122834162756_nWow!!  Almost had my first hole in one this past week! A 149yard 9iron, just hit a perfectly flush high shot right at the flag just about a half inch to the right!  You can see how close the pitch mark is from almost flying it in the hole.  I’ve had a lot of near misses over this past year, but the golfing Gods continue to deny me!  If I keep firing these darts at the flag sticks, one day, luck willing I’ll get one to fall.

Overall, I actually had a kind of a disappointing week in terms of scores.  Hit a few drives that found the out of bounds and a couple 3 putts sprinkled in here and there during the rounds.  I’ve actually made a big turnaround in my putting since Wednesdays round however.  I’m really excited as I’ve been reading Dave Stockton’s book on putting called “Unconscious Putting” and I have had a lot of success on the practice greens since.  I’m making a TON of putts right now, anywhere from 3-15 feet and even a few longer bombs.  I played an up and down game last night at the driving range:  I threw 3 balls toward a hole on the other side of the green and then when I got up there I pulled back the balls a full club length and tried to make the putts as if they were for par.  I did this 5 times with 3 balls, so 15 total attempts and all of them I pulled back anywhere from 3-15 ft…I only missed 2 putts!!  That’s just insane and I did that on Thursday and Wednesday after my round as well, it’s like a complete 180 turn around in my putting.  Stockton talks about just picking a spot about an inch in front of the ball and just trying to roll your putt over that spot.  Obviously there is some other stuff involved too, but this has helped me keep my putts online and they are all tracking at the hole now.  I’m really excited to see how it translates to scores this next week, I know that if I get confidence in my putting I have the ability to shoot some low scores.  I’m going to need great putting in the Palm Springs tournament coming up here in 2 weeks if I want to shoot an under par round there and defend my title.  I’m confident in what I’m doing with the putter now and confidence in putting is half the battle…I’ve been close to zero confidence for so long that it’s a huge turn around for me, let’s hope I can turn it into scores! We have some thunderstorms here right now for the next few days, so I won’t be able to play or practice unfortunately till Monday.

7/14/14

The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70 (Blue: 71.0/126)

Score: 70(E) FW: 12/14 GIR: 13/18 Putts: 33 Up/Down: 3/6 Sand Save: 0/1 Penalties: 0

One of my best ball striking rounds of my life today and it should have been my 2nd under par round, but I blew it by 3 putting the par 5 15th for par after sticking it about 15 ft for eagle…ridiculous!!!  I drove it great all day, 12 out of 14 fairways is the most I’ve ever had.  Gave me some great opportunities to hit it close, finished with 13GIR, should have been a bit better, but missed a couple wedges.  Was only 3 of 6 on up and downs because I missed a bunch of putts again.  Hit two of my best shots ever on the 551 yard Par 5 15th…I’ve never gotten to that green in two before as it always plays into the wind and it’s slightly uphill, but today I absolutely bombed a drive down the middle, 316.  Had 235 uphill and into the wind, took a 5 wood and hit a perfect shot, landed high and soft right at the flag and stopped 15ft for eagle!  A pretty straight putt also, little left to the right slightly uphill, I don’t know what happened mentally, but I botched it and left it a good 5ft short! Obviously I lipped out my next putt to 3 putt for par after having hit back to back great shots.  I was proud of myself for what I did on the next hole however, hardest hole on the course and I hit a 300 yard 3 wood down the middle and then an 8iron to about 6 inches!  A great bounce back tap-in birdie, but I still finished at Even for the round.  Should have been at least 1-under, but because I 3 putted the par 5, I have to live with my sadness.     

7/15/14

Oaks North Executive Par 60 South/North 56.8/89 3,608 Yards

Score: 60(E) FW: 4/6 GIR: 13/18 Putts: 32 Up/Down: 2/5 Sand Saves: 0/1 Penalties: 0

They were having the Junior Worlds over at Oaks North today for the 7-8 age group.  Saw some very talented youngsters, but I decided to play a little too so I didn’t watch much.  Ended up shooting an even par 60, ball striking continued to be very solid, but my putting continues to be a struggle.  I missed so many 6-12 foot birdie putts, just having zero confidence in my stroke right now…I need to fix this, I’m letting so many opportunities go to waste.  On a good note, I hit another awesome 5 wood to about 12ft for eagle on one of the par 4s, but lipped out the eagle.  At least I didn’t 3 putt it like the day before!  I’ll figure out this putting soon, I’m going to keep working on it.

7/16/14

The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70 (Blue: 71.0/126)

Score: 75(+5) FW: 9/14 GIR: 11/18 Putts: 31 Up/Down: 2/5 Sand Save: 0/1 Penalties: 1

A putting struggle on the front 9 missed three consecutive 4ft or less putts on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th holes…not a fun way to start out.  Hit it into the hazard on the par 3 6th and took a double bogey.  Was (+5) after 6 holes today, but played well the rest of the way to finish at only +5 for the round.  Not my best ball striking round, but still had overall solid numbers.  Started to figure out my putting near the end, so I decided to keep going and play another 9 holes before dark.

9 Holes

Score: 33(-2) FW: 5/7 GIR: 9/9 Putts: 16 Up/Down: 0/0 Sand Save: 0/0 Penalties: 0

A great way to end the night, was playing quick and maybe that actually helped me, shot a (-2) over this quick front 9 holes!  Was hitting driver actually on most holes and drove it real well and hit all 9 greens.  Found a little something in my putting setup that seemed to work and I made a couple nice birdie putts and some good par putts.  Feels good to get this under par score in to end the day, feeling good going into tomorrow.

golf-course11I’ve been playing alright in the few weeks following my first under par round…not as great as I would like, but still solid golf.  My ball striking has been close to the same, but my putting and chipping has been spotty.  If I’m making the 3-6 footers that day then I will score low, but even when I’m not, I’m still breaking 80.  I had a close call for another under par round the other day, but finished with a +1 total round. (-1) on the front, (+2) on the back.  Had another 9 holes under par at the carmel highlands shooting a back 9 of (-1), but a front 9 of (+5)!  So yea, I’ve still got the game to shoot another under par round, maybe I’m putting a little bit of added pressure on myself to do it again to prove to myself that it wasn’t a fluke.  I want to get at least one more under par round before the palm springs tournament in 6 weeks, just going to keep trying to get a little better each day and the scores will take care of themselves.

Here are my stats for my last 6 rounds since my last post:

6/30/14

The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70 (Blue: 71.0/126)

Score: 77 (+7) FW: 7/14 GIR: 9/18 Putts: 32 Up/Down: 2/6 Sand Save: 0/3 Penalties: 1

My first round since my under par on this same course and I shot a disappointing +7.  I was just a little bit off from the tee on this day and I found a total of 5 fairway bunkers!  Never hit it in that many fairway bunkers before in a single round and I found 3 green side bunkers as well (0/3 in saves).  Still hit 50% of FW’s and Green’s, but it was a struggle of a day.

7/2/14

 The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70 (Blue: 71.0/126)

Score: 71 (+1) FW: 9/14 GIR: 10/18 Putts: 30 Up/Down: 5/7 Sand Save: 0/1 Penalties: 0

I thought that this might be my 2nd under par round, but it was not to be.  Shot a solid -1 on the front 9, but 2 over on the back.  Couldn’t convert a lot of makeable birdie opportunities down the stretch.  Had an eagle on the par 5 9th hole, which was cool, but actually had a bogey on the drivable par 4 7th, which I almost never do anymore.  I did throw a 3 putt in there as well, but either way, a very solid round that I was happy with.

7/3/14

The Crossings at Carlsbad 6,835 Yards Par 72 (Black: 72.6/132)

Score: 79 (+7) FW: 8/14 GIR: 11/18 Putts: 36 Up/Down: 1/5 Sand Save: 0/1 Penalties: 3

My friend had a couple free rounds at the Crossings in Carlsbad, a beautiful semi private club and gave me an invite.  It was so much fun, I’ve always wanted to play this course, but it is so expensive.  An extremely challenging track with multiple undulations on just about every green and with no course knowledge, it’s difficult to know where to hit it into a lot of blind greens.  I actually played much better than my score would indicate, was only +2 going into the final 5 holes, but then I fell apart.  Had 3 penalties, and a 3 putt, very disappointing ending to the round, as I played really well all day.  Played from the tips as I always do and at 6,835yards it’s one of the longest courses around this area.  Also couldn’t make any putts, I hit it really well, but 2 putted every hole except one 3 putt and one 1 putt…not good.

7/5/14

Carmel Highlands Golf Resort 6,428 Yards Par 72 (Blue: 71.4/129)

Score: 76 (+4) FW: 9/14 GIR: 9/18 Putts: 31 Up/Down: 3/9 Sand Save: 0/0 Penalties: 1

Honestly, I hit the ball well enough on this day, that I should have shot about +1 at the worst!  Missed two less than 3 footers on the first and 3rd holes, was green side in 2 on the par 5 6th, before sculling it out of a bunker that was basically concrete into a hazard and making bogey.  Had about 3 or 4 other putts that decided to lip out or die across the hole…a very frustrating round.  On a positive note after a horrible +5 41 on the front 9, I shot a (-1) on the back with a streak of birdies on 15, 16 and 17, before a bogey on 18 from only 70 yards out.

7/7/14

The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70 (Blue: 71.0/126)

Score: 75 (+5) FW: 8/14 GIR: 11/18 Putts: 33 Up/Down: 3/5 Sand Save: 0/1 Penalties: 0

Started off playing well, birding the difficult #1 hole and shooting even par 35 on the front 9, but the back 9 was a different story however.  Always difficult, the back 9 at Vineyard got the best of me…shot a disappointing +5 40, with a lot of not so good shots.  Sculled one out of the green side bunker at #13 and ended up taking a double bogey 6.  I’ve done that 2 rounds in a row because of tightly compacted sand, I keep trying to play it like a normal bunker shot, but the bounce of the club just skips off the hard dirt and sculls it.  I know now that I need to play it with a lot steeper angle of attack and a more square face…cost me the last 2 rounds.

7/9/14

The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70 (Blue: 71.0/126)

Score: 73(+3) FW: 9/14 GIR: 9/18 Putts: 28 Up/Down: 4/6 Sand Save: 0/3 Penalties: 1

A solid round of golf today, missed a few birdies coming down the stretch that I thought for sure were in when they were rolling toward the cup, but nothing wanted to drop.  I only had 28 putts today, was making a lot of putts for par, but continued to struggle out of the sand.  Had one that was buried in the lip, so I don’t expect to get that up and down, but I hit another one to about 2 and a half feet on #14 and missed the putt!  I hit a lot of solid golf shots over my last 6 holes today, so I’m feeling good for the rest of the week going forward.

I had my ups and downs over my last 6 rounds, but I feel overall I continued to strike the ball really well.  I’m now consistently hitting about 50% or more of the fairways each round now and that feels great because I have been working hard in that area of my game.  On these last 6 rounds, I was 50/84 in FW’s, just about 60%!  Just about 3 or 4 months ago, I was only hitting about 30-40% of FW’s on average, so it feels good to see this progress.  It’s giving me a lot more opportunities and my scores reflect that.  The one negative I take from these past 6 rounds is my sand game. I was 0 for 9 on sand saves, but I’d say about 5 of the 9 I hit within 10ft, but missed every putt.  It’s frustrating to not convert a couple saves from the sand and it’s getting to the point where I can’t remember the last time I did…so that’s not good!

5690229581_d96c5cf74bHey everyone, it’s been a couple weeks since I have updated, but I have been grinding on the course.  My game is currently in the best shape it has ever been and I have been consistently shooting low scores.  My iron game has been spot on as of late and I have been working a lot on my short game, my chipping and pitching game in particular and the results are starting to show.  My proximity to the hole with my wedges has greatly decreased, sticking it in close lately.  My putting is still not anywhere close to where I would like to see it, I’m continuously tinkering with my grip/set up and just have not felt comfortable with any style in these past few weeks.  I’m still 3 putting way too often and I am not taking advantage of my better wedge play by making many birdie putts.  I have missed a ton of great birdie opportunities from inside 15ft during the past few weeks and it has cost me my first under par round on more than one occasion.

With the exception of today, I have been regulated to going out and playing by myself over the past month as my friends have been unable to really get out and play recently.  As a result, I have mostly just been going to my favorite courses, the Vineyard a few times a week or the executive Oaks North.  The rates are extremely cheap, the conditions are amazing and I’ve figured out great times to go when it’s pretty wide open, so I know the pace will be quick.

I’ve been making a conscious effort to play with better course management and that means not hitting many drivers off the tee.  My driver has still been pretty inconsistent, I am hitting it pretty solid each time, but just can’t consistently trust that it will go straight and my miss has been both ways.  My 3 and 5 woods have been awesome however, I have just been crushing those and so for right now, unless I really need to hit driver, I’ll go back to those and it has helped my scores.  I have been hitting my 3-wood anywhere from 270-300 yards at the moment, it’s crazy to think it can go that far, but it is and with a ton more accuracy than the driver, so I’ll stick with it for now, until I figure out this driver.

Today, we played the difficult Eagle Crest golf course (Par 72 71.7/133 6,537 yards).  I’m very disappointed in my putting performance today, but overall I’m very happy with how I hit the ball, I continued to strike the ball well.  I shot a 77 (+5) with four 3-putts and 2 out of bounds off the tee on par 5’s.   To still shoot +5 total with those stats is impressive in my book.  My lag putting was just really bad, I didn’t have any 3 putts until the back 9, but my lag putting ability just disappeared and I was leaving it a good 8-10ft short…just not keeping my head down and striking solid putts.

I’ll be playing again tomorrow at The Vineyard with my buddy Andrew Le who is coming into town, his brother and another friend.  I’m excited to see them all again and it should be a really fun round.

Since it has been awhile, here are my scores and stats from my last 5 rounds, including today’s Eagle Crest round.

060513204404The Vineyard Escondido Par 70 71.0/126 6,531 Yards

6/5/14: Score: 71 (+1) FW: 7/14 GIR: 10/18 Putts: 30 Up/Down: 3/6 Sand Save: 2/3 Penalties: 0

6/9/14: Score: 72 (+2) FW: 7/14 GIR: 13/18 Putts: 33 Up/Down: 3/5 Sand Save: 0/0 Penalties: 1

20140611_190330Oaks North Executive Par 60 East/South 56.4/89 3,527 Yards

6/3/14: Score: 58 (-2) FW: 2/6 GIR: 14/18 Putts: 30 Up/Down: 3/4 Sand Saves: 0/0 Penalties: 0

6/10/14: Score: 60 (E) FW: 4/6 GIR: 13/18 Putts: 30 Up/Down: 3/5 Sand Saves: 0/0 Penalties: 0

20140611_190427Eagle Crest Par 72 71.7/133 6,537 Yards

6/11/14: Score: 77 (+5) FW: 8/14 GIR: 10/18 Putts: 34 Up/Down: 2/4 Sand Saves: 1/1 Penalties: 2