My ball striking has sucked this year, and especially the last 2-3 months.
I had to do something to try and get my ball striking and especially my iron play, out of the funk it was in. My round last Friday included 15 missed greens in regulation, with 12 in a row! That is horrible. Amazingly I shot a 79 because my short game and putting are still solid.
After realizing how horrid my GIR’s have been lately I pulled my beloved Hogan irons out of the bag and replaced them with my MacGregor MT Irons. The Hogans are incredible irons, the best I’ve ever hit. They’re basically muscle backs but fairly “bladey” for lack of a better word. Unfortunately my game isn’t at the level where I can truly benefit from these clubs now and my confidence has been very weak. It is very difficult to trust your swing with precision irons when you have weak or little confidence.
The MacGregors setup quite similar to the Hogans when looking at them from above, but the head designs are quite different. They’re progressive back weighted cavity backs. The cavity backs make them a bit easier to hit.
I went to the range a few minutes before my round yesterday to get the feel for the Macs… I hit a couple of pitching wedges and they flew high and right at the target on the range. Right at it. I became “interested” to say the least.
I pulled some random clubs, 7, 6, 9 and they all felt great and flew right on line.
On the course
I played in a funky Texas Scramble yesterday, which mean I it two tee shots on every hole. On the par three’s I hit very solid shots, hitting all but one of the five par threes on this course in regulation. One 8-iron flew right over the pin and a 9 went to about six feet left of the pin.
I hit a couple of layup iron shots which went perfect and I struck many solid approaches.
With a ho-hum putting day I carded a 69 in that format, which doesn’t suck.
It is really hard to express how much better it feels to hit a solid iron shot and see it fly where you want it to go, and have it be the right distance. I’ve been missing that almost all year.
So for now the Hogans are in the garage and the MacGregors have earned a starting position. Next evaluation is the 3-wood…
I’m playing golf at the nicest course in town today, 2:15pm. I’ll be with my dad, his cousin and another Greek guy who is really cool. The picture below is looking back up the fairway from #1 green at Hidden Valley CC… Lovely.
My game has been bad this year, but has shown some signs of returning, until yesterday when it relapsed to the state of complete hack status.
I’m going to hit the range a good hour or two early today and REALLY try to figure some things out so I can have some confidence in my ball striking.
Goals for today’s pre-round range session
1. Where the hell do I put the ball in my stance? I think it is highly possible that I’ve got the ball too far forward on all shots.
2. How high do I tee the damn ball? With my old Ping driver I used to tee the ball high, but the new Nike I have may respond better with the ball teed lower.
3. Is my driver set up right? With my Nike STR8-FIT I’ve got it set to 1 degree flat and 1 degree closed. I may tweak those settings to be sure I’ve got it set up the best for my swing.
4. Can I put into play what my coach is trying to teach me? My posture is much better lately. Can I release into a nice high finish? Can I swing without casting, lunging or swaying? Can I stay behind the ball?
5. Is my stance wide enough, too wide, too open, too closed? I don’t seem to really have a feel for where it should be right now.
6. I feel the need to pound a bunch of sand and lob wedges. I think that really helps groove my bigger swings and release.
So there are all my issues to resolve with the first half dozen balls. For the rest of the 100 ball bucket….
While I’m playing my DVR will be working at home, recording Tiger Woods and all the other PGA Tour players in round two of the Barclays. TV coverage today is on The Golf Channel from 3-6pm Eastern BTW.
It is pretty safe to say that after my 2nd 77 in a row I’m not going to win my club championship this year. My club championship is the single most important event of my year, and the one I want to win the most. My year back in 2005 when I won it by surviving a season long match play tournament is without a doubt my proudest golf moment. Rounds of golf like I played that year, shooting 70 in my final match, birdieing the last two holes to win 1up, seem pretty far away right now.
My game has been anything but good this year. It has been to say the least, a tough year in many departments. That has definitely had an effect on my game and subsequently my sanity and confidence.
Things are improving on all fronts however, and my game is showing signs of breaking out with a couple of 74’s and some close runs with par or better.
Fall is approaching and I’m still trying to get that spark for this season to light. I hope it ignites, for just a few rounds, before the snow flies here.
I predicted the low score in round one of my club championship would be a 71. Sometimes I scare myself, and not just when I’m looking in a mirror. I was dead on. There were some 72’s and 73’s too.
So with my lame 77 I’m six shots behind the leader. I had three, count ’em, three, double bogeys. The final one my ball hit the fairway on a par four and I never found it. So if I don’t card those doubles, I’m tied for the lead. Yes I know. “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a Merry Christmas.”
Can I make up six shots during the 2nd and final round next Tuesday? Anything is possible. Is it probable? Not really, but I’ll try my best anyway.
The thing I want to win most every year is my club championship. I did manage to do that back in 2005. Back then it was match play, which is the best form of golf for this sort of thing in my opinion. To survive matchplay and win after knocking out everyone was the most proud moment I’ve had in golf, more than shooting in the 60’s or having a hole in one. But the club members decided to change it to two 18 hole rounds a few years ago.
Not at my best coming in
This has been a tough year on my game. My real world outside of golf, and my bad back have combined to hurt my level of play pretty badly. As a result I’ve gone up from a 1 handicap to a 4. That may sound crazy to whine about that, but imagine if you were a 10 handicap and went up to a 40. That’s the same proportion in my opinion, since I truly believe golf handicaps to be an exponential curve.
2009 Championship Round One
If I threw out holes 1, 6 and 15 from my 1st round of this year’s club championship I’d be one over par. Unfortunately on those three holes I carded double bogeys. The most frustrating one was on #15 where my drive hit the right side of the fairway, then bounced into the right rough. I never found the ball. Had to go back and re-tee.
I don’t know where I stand going into round two, but it is pretty safe to say that I’m probably a good 5-7 shots back from contention. Maybe not, if the other A players flamed out but I doubt it.
I was pretty unhappy about my round, and frustrated after leaving no less than six putts dead in the jaws short about 3 inches. There were many strokes left on the course.
I may still have a chance, in which case I’ll give it my best shot in round two next Tuesday.