Posts Tagged ‘stadium’

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Over the past 5 months since my tournament win, my golf game could be accurately described as a roller coaster ride…the ups and downs interchanging about every 2-3 weeks with only one half of my game playing well at any given time.  If my driving and iron play was descent one round, my short game and putting would be terrible, the next round the opposite would be true.  I have tried months where I only focus on the mental game, visualization and not swing mechanics with variable success.  My confidence could be at an all time high after ball striking well for a week, but if I hit a few bad shots in a row, my confidence drops close to 0% and before you know it, I’m lost.   It had been over 5 months since I last went in for a lesson with my coach and I could feel that I was falling back into my old habits.  I tried to go at this alone for the past few months thinking I could keep building on my successes and that was mistake.  I had no basis for what I was doing correctly or wrong in my swing, if I started to lose my swing, I had nothing to revert back to that I knew was correct.  I was essentially playing blindly these past few months with no stable base, so I was much over due for a lesson and boy I’m glad I went and did it.

Took the lesson with my teacher Justin Hicks over at Stadium Golf Center in San Diego yesterday the 31st and my improvement was almost immediate.  We found that I had indeed reverted back to my old habits of setting up with my feet and shoulders open to the target with my club faced closed.  The ball position was slightly too far back and was one of the causes to my ball starting out left (I’m lefty) of my intended target line.  Also I was back to shifting my body too far forward in the downswing.  It is funny how to me setting up square to the target line feels extremely closed at address because I’m so used to thinking my old stance (that was actually open) was square.  This is going to take a few range sessions to get used to, but soon it will become normal.  I am already hitting the ball so much better and I’m really excited to have a foundation now that I can build and improve upon.  I’m eager to get out and play with my new swing, but it will have to wait a few days because the forecast here is calling for rain the next 2 days, so won’t be able to get out and play until Tuesday/Wednesday.   My teacher made a video recap of my lesson with him that you can watch here below.  I have also linked his website under his name for anybody who would like to check out his site, I highly recommend him as a teacher if you are in the San Diego area.

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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!

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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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.

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.