A few years ago I read a book on the Grateful Dead by Phil Lesh, a long-time member of the band. Lesh described the band in terms of a gathering of musical souls in search of that ultimate high of jam sessions with other musicians, searching for kindred spirits as they got into rhythm. It was entitled Searching for the Sound, and I loved reading it.
Returning to golf is like that search. You keep trying to find that rhythm. You keep trying to get your mind in synch with your body, whether it is the setup with your feet aligned to the target or gauging if your approach shot requires a 6 or 7 iron given the current course conditions and potential hazards. You struggle at first, then you strike that Callaway or Titleist on the sweet spot and its a mystery unveiled.
I returned to the driving range and accepted the changes. You know it’s a totally different place when you have to read 2 to 3 pages of health ordinances just to walk into the pro shop. You know things are different when you not only have to speak through a face covering and staff has to do the same while a plexiglass barrier separates the two of you. And surely must be different if the pro shop doesn’t do cash, just credit or debit.
I rolled with it and took my shot at working on my swing in preparation for an upcoming tournament. I accepted that things had changed and I went with it. I complied with the changes and got out there to get back into rhythm.
My game was in need of some tweaking in prep for this golf tourney. Listen here. There is no shame in showing up rusty. Nope, not one bit at all. But you can’t show up that day and not have even touched your clubs other than to just load them into the trunk or cargo section of your vehicle that morning. That is an outright no-no. I had to get back out there again and find some kind of rhythm and feel.
I took along my GoPro and caught myself on video and a few photos. I am being totally transparent. Two days before I turn 50 years old, I plan on facing my first par 72 golf course in nearly a year. I welcomed the chance to test my skills on Barona’s links styled driving range with plenty of dirt and few trees.
In a word, I was satisfied. I worked on a laddered sequence of irons leading to the making of a pyramid. First, I went with the odd irons by warming up with a 7 iron and following that up with 5 iron and back to my 7 iron, then varied stances and swing lengths with my 9 iron. I topped off the pyramid with hybrid and driver swinging, feeling that driver meet the ball and send it sailing airborne further and higher than expected on the first time back. I worked my way down again from the 5 iron down to the 9 iron, then I tossed in the gap wedge, pitch wedge and the lob wedge.
After that session, I hit the putting surface and practiced some drills that test my eye and feel. My eye was off, but the good thing was that I could see it. Approximately 80% of my putts curled towards the hole as they lost gas to go any further. I knew I was on track.
Wait to see what happens when I get out there again today.