Posts Tagged ‘putting’

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#18th Tee Mountain Course

**Here are some of the pictures taken at the tournament in Palm Springs few weeks ago.  The PGA West courses in Palm Springs are beautiful and it was a real treat to get to experience golf at some of the finest courses in the US.**

Spent most of my time this week at the range working on my long game to try and stop my shifting forward in my downswing.  It’s something that my coach identified as a problem months ago when I first started getting lessons again, but I could never fully grasp the correct “feeling.”  I dedicated myself this week to finding that feeling as I know that I have fallen back into my bad habit of shifting forward with my hips instead of turning through on the downswing…and it causes me to have real inconsistent contact with an either push or big draw ball flight.   I feel like now I have finally figured out the correct feeling and my swing feels a lot smoother and my contact is A LOT better.  Worked in front of a mirror, with swing analysis video on my phone and at the range and I’m seeing great positive results.

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Me putting on #18 Dunes Course

I played a round with my friend on Wednesday over at the Vineyard to try and take my practice to the course and see how it would hold up during a round.  I shot a disappointing 79, but my ball striking with my irons was really solid and my ball flight was a lot more accurate than it has been.  My only problem this round was off the tee with my driver.  I hit every single drive solid, with distance, it was just leaking left.  I found the out of bounds off the tee 4 times on Wednesday, causing me to have 3 double bogeys.  b1dfab579a60ec73ca8d4ebdbb0b10e9So I know what I need to work on again and it is straightening out my driver, the contact and distance is there, but I can feel I’m coming slightly over the top, now I just need to find the correct slot and that should straighten it out.  Worked last night at the range for a bit and my driver was getting a lot better, still slightly leaking left, but definitely straightening out.

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Chipping

My short game is the best it’s ever been right now, I’m really confident in what I’m doing with my putter.  I’m finally getting consistent solid contact in the center of the putter face and it has greatly improved my distance control.  The ball is rolling off the putter face as it should and my green reading is improving also.  I’m the most confident I have ever been on the greens right now and I hope to keep it going

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Our Group Day #2 at the Dunes Course

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get out and play this weekend, but hopefully next week I can get out 2-3 times and play some solid golf.  If I keep hitting the ball like I am and straighten out that driver, I feel like I can go real low, let’s make it happen!

Being Congratulated on the Victory

Being Congratulated on the Victory

Played a couple rounds so far this week and I’m pleased to say that I’ve been playing well.  With exactly 1 week left before I leave for my 3-day tournament in Palm Springs, I’m started to find my game.  Just been trying to trust my full swing and I changed my putting grip and it has given me more stability and the putts are coming off the face flush and straight down my target line.  I was pulling my shorter putts and I think it was because my left hand was shutting down the face… I have now regained my confidence from the 10ft and in range…and it’s starting to show, making a lot of them this week.

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Encinitas Ranch Golf Course 6,178 Par 70 Slope 129

Yesterday my buddy and I decided to head up north and play a different course than we normally do.  We both had played up here once before, but it had been like 10 years for me, so I only remembered 1 of the holes.  We played up at the Par 70 Encinitas Ranch Golf Course…a really nice track and we had a lot of fun.  They were doing some construction on the bunkers of #8 so they told us to skip that hole and that they had created a new short par 3 hole on the back.  So we skipped #8, but played a #11a and #11b….never seen this before, but it worked out well.   I shot even par on the front 9 and then we headed to the makeshift #11a, a short par 3 of 112 yards.  Hit a poor wedge that caught the bunker, lots of sand in the bunker and I couldn’t get it out on my first attempt.  Ended up making a horrible double bogey 5 on this short par 3.  For this round, I hit the ball relatively well except for about 3 or 4 shots that were really poor and cost me strokes, missed a few greens, with only wedges in my hand from the middle of the fairway….bogeyed both.  I finished the back 9 at +5, missed a great shot at birdie on 18, only about 7 ft, but all in all, I’m satisfied with this round…a solid 75 (+5).  Here is the scorecard….

Final Stats for round: Score: 75 (+5) Fairways Hit (FW) 6/13 46% Green in Regulation (GIR) 10/18 55% Up/Downs 2/6 33%. Sand Saves 0/2 0% Penalties: 0 Putts: 30

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Encinitas Ranch
Front 9 Scorecard

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Encinitas Ranch
Back 9 Scorecard

Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club 6,252 Par 72 Slope 128

Carmel Mountain Ranch Country Club 6,252 Par 72 Slope 128

Today, I decided to get up early (6:00am) and try to get on Carmel Mountain for a quick round. I’m so glad that I did….was able to out by myself at 7:20 and played all alone until 15 when I linked up with a 3-some for our last 3 holes.  Played amazing today and tied my career low round of +1!  Carmel Mountain is a really difficult course, no doubt harder in my opinion than Vineyard, where I shot my other low round of +1 about a month ago.  Today was my best ball striking round ever and if it wasn’t for three 3-putts, I would have shot my under par round!!  I hit 9 fairways today and 2 were a foot away from the short stuff, my best driving performance.  I also and more importantly hit 15 greens in regulation and the three that I did miss were no more than 10 yards from the green.  I did however have three 3 putts and they cost me my lowest round ever, but overall I feel I putted well compared to how I have been and I’m certainly improving tremendously in that department.   My final two 3 putts were a result of rushing myself, the first because a group was waiting behind me and I rushed my 2nd putt.

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View From 10th Hole Par 5 Fairway at Carmel Mountain Ranch

The final was bad, it was on the Par 5 15th….I crushed my tee shot down the middle and the group in front was just hitting up to the green, they yelled at me to just join them, so I went for the green in 2.  Hit a perfect hybrid to just 15 ft for eagle!  When I went to putt for my eagle, I kind of started to think negative thoughts about how I didn’t want to mess it up with these new people watching me and after they just watched me hit a great shot….my putt burned the edge, but I gave it way too much juice and it ran about 6 ft by, where I promptly missed the comebacker to 3 putt the Par 5 for par…ouch.
So yea I let some opportunities slip by today, but I’m not going to dwell on those, I know now that I truly do have the ability to shoot under par, it’s just a matter of time.  If I keep giving myself these chances, it will happen.  I’m really excited that I was able to shoot my career low today and only a week before the tournament I’ve been thinking about for a year now.  I’m going to head to Palm Springs with a positive mindset, relaxed and looking to have a great time and play some great golf.  My goal is to break 80 each day, but I’m really hoping to score low and make a run at winning it.

Will hopefully be playing this weekend and Monday/Wednesday before leaving on Thursday….let’s keep this momentum rolling!

Final Stats for round: Score: 73 (+1) Fairways Hit (FW) 9/14 64% Green in Regulation (GIR) 15/18 83% Up/Downs 3/3 100%. Sand Saves 0/1 0% Penalties: 0 Putts: 35

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Front 9 Scorecard

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Back 9 Scorecard

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Played at Oaks North on Monday, the executive course that plays at a Par 6…shot a 63 (+3) with 2 penalties off the tee.  Like I stated in my previous post, I have been spending this week focusing on my swing plane and trying to get it into the correct position to help produce more consistent shots.  I really feel like I am starting to figure it out, I hit 13 of 18 greens.  On Wednesday, played over at the Vineyard and shot a disappointing 79 (+9).  I actually continued to strike the ball very well and accurate, I only hit 7 greens, but had about 5 that were just on the fringes.  I shot a 79 because of my short game, missed 4 putts from 3 feet and did not make a single birdie.  Putting continues to be my achilles heel, just don’t feel confident.  My lag putting is improving, but the shorter putts I’m just not hitting them with the confidence needed to make them right now.

Went to the range last night to keep working on my swing plane and I hit the ball great, I’m starting to get to that point that I have been working towards where I can just swing confidently and not have to think about my mechanics.  I finally found the correct feeling you need to have to get the club coming down on the correct plane and not too steep and I’m starting to groove the ball.  I hope to play again on Saturday or Sunday, trying to get that set up right now, but if not, then I’ll just keep practicing my short game for my upcoming rounds on Monday and Wednesday.  2 weeks until the Palm Springs Tournament, I’m so happy that I’m starting to get my game in order to compete there, if I can find my putting, watch out.

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This years British Open has been really fun to watch, there is the possibility of a 3 or even 4 putt on any given hole which makes for some exciting golf to watch….no lead is safe.  I love watching the US and British Opens because they are always the toughest tests in golf, where par is an amazing score.  Tiger is just 1 shot back going into the weekend and I must say that I am pulling for Tiger to win his 15th major and 1st since doing it here in my home town of San Diego at the US Open in ’08 at Torrey Pines.  It seems that every major over the past couple of years, Tiger has found himself at this exact same spot, in the lead or 1 or 2 shots off the lead heading into Saturday.  Saturday is “moving day” as Tiger likes to say, but lately he’s played his worst rounds on Saturday and instead of moving up, he’s moved way down and has dropped out of the competition heading into Sunday.  I’m hoping he can reverse his trend tomorrow, he’s hitting a ton of FW’s right now, if he can continue that and keeps making those clutch 10ft putts for par, I think he will easily be in or close to the lead by days end.  Honestly with how tough this course is playing, you could potentially be 6 or 7 shots back heading into the final round and still win…..can’t wait to watch the conclusion of this awesome weekend of golf!

I did end up playing a golf round on Wednesday, but we were not able to get onto Riverwalk.  We ended up having to emergency drive up to Vineyard and luckily we were able to get a golf round in.  I did not play very well and ended up shooting a very disappointing 80.  I’m not going to do a golf recap of my round, I’ve been obsessed with watching every second of the British Open and it’s on very early in the morning in the US.  I will give a quick over view of my round however, just could not get up and down all day long.  Ended my round 2 for 7 on up and down chances, not that I was hitting bad chips, just couldn’t make a putt.  Still getting used to not lining up my ball on putts inside 10feet and I’m just struggling with confidence right now.  My lag putting is improving nicely though, I did have two 3 putts, but they were not because I left my first putt 6-8ft short like I have been….this round they were just missing the short 2nd putt.  Frustrating, but I feel like it is just a confidence thing, I finally found a set up and stroke that is making consistent contact in the center of the putter face and thanks to my lesson last week, I now have a better ability to self diagnose and understand the feelings I have when I have a miss hit.  With more putting practice, my kinks should start to iron themselves out and help me gain more confidence.  My driving took a slight step backwards during this past round, just couldn’t find the center of the club face and as a result I hit a few very poor drives.  One of them cost me big time and I made a triple bogey after hitting a tree just in front of the tee box on #8.  The tees were extremely far back and tucked to the left, forcing me to try to hit a big cut shot as I’m lefty.  I’m not comfortable with that shot at all yet, and I pushed it left into the trees.  Also had a double on #3 as I hit my tee shot in the water on the par 3 and was unable to get up and down from the drop zone.  Back 9, I started off par, par, but then went on a bogey streak that lasted the next 5 holes, until paring 17 and 18 to end.  It’s tough to go from 71, 72 on the exact same course to 80 just a few days later……but that is golf, the true definition of a love/hate relationship.  I’m going to take the weekend off from golf and just relax, clear my head again and watch the British Open.  Will be playing again on Monday and Wednesday next week, so fully back to the grind on Monday….will continue to hit up the range if I can after the work for the next few days.

Final Stats for round:  Fairways Hit (FW) 7/14 50% Green in Regulation (GIR) 9/18 50% Up/Downs 2/7 28%. Sand Saves 0/2 0% Penalties: 2 Putts: 33

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Did not end up playing a golf round between Wednesday and tomorrow, but I did get in some practice.  Went to a little 18 holes putting course at a local driving range with my buddy Kyle on Friday.  The course was in horrible condition, the new ownership there has really let it get bad.  I remember playing the course a year and a half ago and it was in great condition, but we still had a really fun time and my buddy took some pictures of me to share on the blog.  Ended up being able to get to the range on Friday night as well after work, hit my driver very well, but was struggling a bit to feel comfortable with my irons.  I really don’t know what it was that I was doing differently that night compared to these past few weeks when I have played really well.  Did feel like my tempo was getting a little quick on the range, compared to how I have been swinging it, but I still hit the ball around my target line.  Nothing was too crazy, a little more of a draw than I have been playing and yeah that could have been the result of getting a little too quick.  I still feel very confident in the way I’m playing and look forward to my golf rounds this week, hoping to continue my solid play as of late.

 

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Playing at the Vineyard again on Monday where last week I shot my career low round of (+1) 71.  I’m trying to go in with no expectations, just the goal of focusing on every shot and playing them all with complete confidence, accepting of whatever happens.  My focus is to keep my emotions neutral and not to get down on myself if I hit a bad shot, just to accept any and all outcomes before I hit a shot and swing with true confidence.  I’m hoping for that under par round of golf tomorrow, I believe that I can do it, but realistically I will be truly satisfied with anything +5 or less.   After shooting a career low, especially one that is so close to par, it can be very easy for me to fall into the trap of expecting to shoot +1 or better every time from here on out.  I know my personality lends itself to this type of thinking, once I see how well I’m capable of playing, I start to expect to play like that all the time and I get frustrated if I drop back a little bit.  I think in a way it is healthy because it allows me to truly believe in my ability, I mean if I did not believe in my abilities and that I was capable of shooting an under par round of golf, no way I could have shot +1 only a week after shooting 81 (+11) on the same course.  I won’t let myself get trapped into that cycle of frustration, if I keep working hard and believing in myself, the low scores will continue to come and start to pile up and before I know it, those will be my reality.

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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.

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Friday

I hit up the range after work and continued my solid play from this past week.  I know I’m swinging well when my swing thoughts are minimal, my body is relaxed and I’m just free flowing.  I remember last week, my range sessions were terrible, I was gripping the club in a death grip, thinking about where my arms should be in the back swing, the path of the club down, my hips, turning through….a dozen different swing thoughts clouding my mind.  As a result, I hit the ball like I was a 30 handicap, became more and more frustrated and less and less confident.  I know they say that playing well breeds confidence, but it is just as true that having confidence allows for playing well.  Hit my driver amazing on Friday night, focused mostly on my wedges, but I left about 15 balls for my driver at the end and hit 13 out of 15 down my target line.  Feeling confident in that club again, let’s hope I can keep that going this next week on the course.

Saturday

Went putting for about 2 hours before work trying to work on my lag putting which has been killing me lately.  Still seems like my tendency is to leave the longer putts short, I feel like I’m killing the ball, but it still comes up woefully short.  I’m going to go see my coach next week for a putting lesson, really need one badly.  I experimented with widen my feet near the end of my putting session and it seems to give me a more stable base and allowed for the club to swing more freely, we’ll see if it helps me putt better on the course Monday.

Sunday

Going to be playing another round on Monday, late afternoon after work at the Vineyard….will be my 5th round since starting the blog at the Par 70 Vineyard course and I’m looking to break my upward trend of scores.  Started off with a 74 here, but since have gone 76, 80, 81 consecutively since.  I’m finally feeling real confident in my driver, so I will really be disappointed with anything in the 80s on Monday.

Went to the range again tonight after work, hit the ball very well again.  Was hitting almost every club in the bag well, except the few 3 woods I hit.  My driver is coming around nicely, I am crushing the ball down my target line right now, I’m really starting to figure that out, excited to bring it to my round tomorrow.  On the last 4th of my range bucket tonight, I used the balls to visually play the first 6 or 7 holes of the course I’m playing tomorrow.  I went through my whole routine as if I was on the 1st hole and then based on my tee shot, I judged how far out I would be with my 2nd and played the type of shot needed (straight, draw, cut).  I did this for the remaining balls I had and made it through about the 7th hole.  I have a solid plan for how I’m going to play the first couple holes tomorrow and preparing like this can really help you gain a lot of confidence going into a round.  I’m expecting a mid to low 70s round tomorrow……now let’s make it happen!