Reviewing My Winter Golf Game

Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.

John C. Maxwell
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Main Key to Everything Golf: Consistency

I have been building up my confidence through consistent play. I get more out of playing a round of 18 on a par 3 or walk nine holes on a par 72 course rather than swing like crazy with a bucket of 100 range balls on a turf mat. I went so far as to return my TaylorMade 10.5 degree Burner Superfast driver to my bag for my last outing at Cottonwood Golf Club. It worked out when my back wasn’t aching like crazy and forcing me to chop rather than swing the club with my entire body, especially my torso. my best remedy for that is either to go CBD for relief and recovery from the pain or to keep it old school and keep popping the Advil. Either way, that Lamkin grip feels just right when I am in the swing zone and make solid contact with the ball off the tee. If I fight the pain and fatigue from overplaying too many rounds too close to one another, then I can really get back on track with some decent scores. Aside from the flubbed chips and pitches with the shanked and misguided approach shots here and there, I do see some progress.

Game Improvement

I say I have seen some improvement despite shooting 49 on the front nine of the course where I have shot both an 83 and an 85. My progress has been in areas where I can see a difference being made and where I can see my overall game coming together with solid consistency.

  • Golf Shoes: I desperately need to replace my golf shoes with a lightweight upgrade like Skechers or FootJoy. My current golf shoes are clunkers and definitely give me grief since I started walking the course more. If I am going to walk a full par 72 by march, I need to lighten the load on my feet a bit with some new golf shoes. It’s been way too long.
  • Walking Cart: I have seen some unique walking carts and I believe that I am ready and in the position to make the investment. After I read a few more reviews, I will grab one that is easier to pop open than a new age baby stroller and walk more. My back will thank me for making the move and my budget could take the hit. Bye-bye, Christmas Bonus!
  • Short Game Practice: I am going to schedule at least 2 rounds of short game practice at local par 3 courses before March. My ability to wage war with a gap or pitching wedge within 100 yards has answered some serious questions on approach shots. I need to increase that accuracy approaching the hole and keep working the magic around the green. I see my practice routine shifting in the coming months and making adjustments based on what translates to the 18-hole par 72 rounds in the near future. Honestly, my lob wedge and that dreaded sand wedge have hardly left the bag, even when I have found myself in the bunker. It all comes down to how you plan your play.
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Golf Fitness & Nutrition

I recently did a 10-day detox challenge in December and I am headed that way again. I could stand to lose around 30 pounds to safely play at a healthy but hefty weight. The CDC’s standards according to my BMI will have me listed somewhere between overweight and obese even if I got down to my playing weight from when I was a junior in high school on the basketball court. For me, I need to detox and get back to eating 75-80% living items like green veggies and fruit while eating out less than 10% of the time. My workouts need to increase and I believe that i have learned my ways to manage that despite COVID-19 and its repercussions. Walking, running, dancing and more will serve as my means for staying active beyond walking the course. Put it all together and you have a combination for getting better sooner than later.

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Playing Rounds of 18

Within the next 2 months, I will play Cottonwood and Carlton Oaks at least twice. I will add a round at Mission Trails and maybe one at Sycuan (Singing Hills). Eastlake is being used as a qualifier for the PGA’s Farmers Insurance Open, so playing there again for any sort of redemption is out of the question for a while.

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My measure of play comes down to both fairways hit and greens in regulation (GIR) much like the Grateful Golfer shared in his post. If I do not give myself an opportunity for birdie while I am averaging two putts per hole, then I am not giving myself a decent shot at par either. Ultimately, by the time I get to my spring break in late March, I believe my consistent play and game improvement will add up to some lower scores and some good times on the course.

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If all else fails, I know two things that will remain consistent. I am going to keep swinging and having fun while doing it.

Back at it Again

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.

Barona Creek Golf Course

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.

Trying to find that rhythm once again.

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.