Archive for August, 2007
The irony in that statement should be obvious. Staying calm as I flub the third chip on a hole that I have ‘owned’ for the last two weeks was not even remotely possible! I was over the bend, on tilt, out of my mind with anger! Three chips to hit a green larger than most par 3 fairways (exaggeration)? This coming from a guy nicknamed Madison Ave because of his “great pitches.” Here is a true confession: the better I get the harder I am on myself. I ended up shooting bogey golf (+9 on the front 9 holes). That’s a score I would have paid cash money for 8 months ago. After my triple bogey on 7, I had to resist the temptation to break the club. I forgot about the par just made on the hole before. I forgot about the birdie on 3. I really melted down. Then I heard Doc Rotella in my head – author of Golf is not a Game of Perfect (an excellent read) – “Forget the hole. Focus and make a good shot on the next.” I feel a pretty good that I was able calm down and get a birdie look on the next hole (had to settle for a par). I double bogeyed the 9th but that was due to a lapse with the flat stick. My rant is over.
By the way, I just finished listening to Tales from Q School: Golf’s Fifth Major and I thought it was fantastic. It really leaves you with a sense of how incredibly difficult it is to make it to the tour. It is also one of the more humorous golf books on the market. Funny stories are sprinkled about and there are plenty of underdogs to root for. I highly recommend it for golf lovers. Especially those who follow the PGA or Nationwide tours.
One thing that will help your golf game is knowing your club distances. I am constantly amazed at the numbers of friends and casual pairings that have no clue about how far they hit their clubs. Take the time on the range to learn which clubs you hit well and how far the ball will travel. Start with full swings then begin to learn what half and quarter swings will do to the distance and ball flight. Couple this knowledge with how comfortable you are with each club and you’ll be able to choose the most reliable, repeatable shot that you can execute. For example: I have a mental block with my 7 iron — I tend to squirt it left when most of my other clubs draw or fade. I’ll often choose to put a little extra into an 8 iron or hit a soft 6 hybrid instead.
Another thing that will put consistency in your game is a good pre-shot routine. I emphasize ROUTINE! Don’t skip it. Chat a little less on the tee and do it over and over again. Do it with approach shots, chips and putts. Everyone wants a grooved swing. We want to be in the slot with every shot. A pre-shot routing is the foundation of the grooved swing. I have attached my pre-shot routine. Try it and let me know how it works for you. I also have an example of a club distance chart. Make your own pre-shot routine and club distance chart using the excel spreadsheet files that I have included in the BOX.net web application in the next column. Click the pics to see examples. Once you have decided what your routine is and what distances you hit your clubs, print them out and laminate them. Carry them in your yardage book or hole punch them and attach them to your bag for easy access!
Clubs say a lot about their owner. How serious do you take the sport? How much do you believe the club maker’s marketing machine message? Can you handle blades (or pretend to) or do you prefer cavity backs? Are you a purist with real woods and long irons or do you prefer the hybrids? Square, triangle or conventional head drivers? How many wedges are in the bag? Well, I am about to share what’s in my bag. Let me know what you think!
Before we talk about whats in the bag, how about answering the question of “what is the bag?” The Bag Boy NXO Revolver is the bag for me. This bag features a revolving top that enable quick access to the club you need. Say goodbye to reaching over 13 clubs to get the club you need. Just grab the top and spin it around until the desired club is directly in front of you. You’ll feel like you have a caddy right there with you.
My irons are Callaway. Why Callaway? We’ll, aside from the marketing machine that makes anyone without them second guess their purchase, the Callaway Big Bertha 2004 Iron Set (3-W) was the 1st set of clubs that I could consistently hit straight. The large club head and deep cavity allowed me to hit the ball off-center without paying a steep price. I tried the Taylormade RAC Irons and I sliced (we are talking as right as you can get) on just about every shot. I brought them back the same day that I purchased them. I have replaced my 3, 4, 5 and 6 irons with Callaway Heavenwood Hybrids. It took a while to get used to them but I wouldn’t part with them now.
In my opinion, wedges can make or break the golfer. If you can’t approach, chip or pitch you’ve got issues. Landing on and holding a green with a mid or even short iron can be difficult if not impossible on sun-dried bent grass greens. I would argue my comfort with my wedges is more important than that of my putter as my technique doesn’t change with a rear-shafted mallet or your run-of-the-mill blade putter: Square the face and back and through – rinse and repeat.
My weapons of choice are the Callaway Forged + Wedges. I currently carry the gap (52) sand (56), and lob (60). This will change soon as I have ordered a fairway wood that I feel I need for the longer courses. I used to use the Big Bertha 2004 sand wedge and lob wedge. I often liken the experience to ‘performing surgery with a meat cleaver’! The moral of the story: cavity back wedges are not a good option. . . for me.
The putter is a very personal club. It’s importance is pretty obvious: Unless you use hole a chip or get lucky on and approach, you’ll use the darn thing on every hole! I prefer mallets to blades. I use a back and through stroke as opposed to an arched stroke. I carry the Callaway i-Trax mallet putter. Putting is the one aspect of golf that came naturally to me. I don’t get phased by 4 or even 5 foot putts unless there is a ton of break. Do I three jack? Yes, on occasion, but I never get nervous with the putter. Fairway woods and the driver are another story. I’ll talk about those clubs in later posts!
I just purchased and began to listen to an Audiobook called “Golf is not a Game of Perfect” by Doctor Bob Rotella. He fancies himself a “sports enlarger” as opposed to “sports shrink.” Anyway, he’s given advise to the likes of Price, Kite and Daly to name a few. My initial thought was “oh no another ‘positive thoughts’ book” (and I was partially right) but this one works. I listened to the 1st couple of chapters focusing on mental preparation and, believe it or not, I shaved 3 strokes during that round. Talk about real-time results! I shot a personal best +4 on the front 9. An 18 foot birdie on 8 made me a believer. I didn’t get too high for the great shots and stayed positive after the shots that missed. I got into that groove golfers talk about — not really thinking about what got themselves where they were in the round (good or bad). I was just thinking about the shot at hand — trying to make every shot go in the hole. The payoff: some actually did. That’s not to imply the books title is wrong, I was not perfect (not close) but I did give myself the best opportunity with each shot that I took. My putting was great and my chipping certainly didn’t hurt me. It was the first front or back nine that I have ever played without a double bogey. I have had great rounds full of pars and a birdie or two but a ‘double b’ would always sneak in.
My wife has become a golf addict as well. She started playing after a little encouragement from me and a trip to the local golf store to hit a couple of shots in the golf simulator. I bought her a set of clubs on the spot and she’s been hooked since that day. She has a handful of birdies to her credit and a beautiful swing that she continues to groove. She shot her best round of 18 yesterday. A +22!
This, mind you, was her 2nd round of 18 on the day. She couldn’t join me for a round this morning as she is suffering from back pain. Her 36 holes, coupled with 100+ plus balls on the diving range earlier in the day was simply too much. Yes, I tried to stop her but did I mention she’s a golf addict? I hope she feels better soon.
It goes without saying that I am blessed. I have a beautiful wife who drags me out to the course every chance she gets. Even after I left her to rest and get my fix this morning (a good round at +15 with a birdie to boot) she called me on the 13th hole wondering if we’d made the turn. Sore back and all, she wanted to join us. I couldn’t ask for a better match than Marisha.
Babe, I love you. I always will.
Shot a bit better than bogey golf this AM. No rain until later today — none at all if we are lucky. Click to see my latest round of 9 score:
Click to see the latest trend analysis:
Not bad for this years rounds. Dad, what’s your take?
I’ll be posting some of my personal video footage on the blog. I’d like my father (a very good golfer) to comment. All blog readers are welcome to critic as well. I usually hit a fade but have been pulling the ball lately. I have adjusted my grip by moving the right hand V a bit to the right. It promotes a slightly more open club face. It does straighten it but I am not sure if its a long term fix. Only time will tell. . .