Swinging Again for the Fun of it

I was hesitant about golfing with the lockdown looming in California. We go all in on quarantine, with curfews blown and non-essential everything else up for grabs based on interpretation. Nevertheless, I have managed to get into a driving range routine over the last two weeks in preparation for my golf foray while on hiatus from Zoom meetings and remotely working from home due to COVID-19.

Swing Mechanics and the Mental Game of Golf

I look at Brian Penn‘s post on Getting Too Mechanical and I know that there is a kindred spirit alive and well out there. As golfers, we think about the swing too much. We let the golf game get all in our head and we try to recall every aspect of what the hips and the torso should be doing in tandem or synchronicity. Throw in the grip and body alignment, and then you have the recipe for a self-induced migraine all within the confines of your own psyche and head.

A lot of this game is simply about getting out of your own head space. We clutter our minds with swing mechanics and every little thing we have red in tons of golf books as well as what we’ve ear hustled through the dense fog of cigar smoke from the golfers who just finished a round or two at the 19th hole and their reflections on the day’s outing. We need to simply clear some space and set our minds on putting our focus and energy towards just a few things that can really get us started on the right pathway. Too much is just too much.

Upgrade Your Golf Game! Shop Wedges Today!

Getting Back Into the Swing

Much like I read about Anirban Lahiri, it’s just great to get back to swinging on the course again. As I move forward with embarking on a whirlwind of golfing over the next 2 weeks, I wanted to take a closer look at my swing and what I could do differently as well as recognize what I am doing right. I want to acknowledge where I have made some progress as well as where I still struggle.

My favorite post: 17 Bogeys

My grounds for my analysis and evaluation of my swing sequence takes into account that I have an average of 2 days per week at the range over the past month. My trusty GoPro Hero Black 8 and my Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ have been my main documenting resources for posting to Instagram and YouTube with pics and videos on my practice sessions. The feedback and comments that I received both here and via social media have allowed me to set a baseline for where I was starting out and what I needed to alter and adjust in order to make some marked improvement in my swing. By no stretch of the imagination am I saying that I am totally on top of my game. I do not see that coming about until maybe a good run in the spring or even summer. Am I ready to play and replay a few rounds this coming week and next? You better believe it!

California Lockdown is Not a Total Shutdown

Golf_Rookies704 on Facebook

California is suffering right now. Santana winds are doing their normal seasonal thing and threatening wild fires across the Southland. Winter mornings are getting more chilly, but the days seem to continue with seemingly summer-like temperatures. But then again there’s COVID-19.

COVID-19 has California trying to figure out how to handle a global health pandemic on a statewide scale. It has the San Francisco Forty-Niners practicing and playing outside of the state. It has the governor and the mayor of L.A., along with a number of other state and local officials, receiving death threats and other types of hate mail due to the calls for curfews and limited holiday celebrations.

But it has not completely wiped out and shut down golf courses.

So What’s a Golfer to Do?

For me, I am all in. Like I said in previous posts, I got some extended time off coming up and aligns perfectly with the potential lift of this lockdown in mid to late December. I am readying myself for that time with a consistent practice schedule weekend by weekend. Whether it is my iron play and woods or my short game, I keep my focus on bringing my game up to a place where I can expect a skills transition from the driving range to golf course.

Bonita Golf Course

I am seeking input and feedback on my swing techniques and mechanics. Hey! Yeah, I know that the belly fat isn’t helping me gain any torque, but I got a plan for that. But I am open to feedback like what I got from Brian Penn from All About Golf and some others like the Grateful Golfer. I tried engaging my core more, but I know that it needs work especially with a baseball background. With muscle memory, I am somehow always drifting back to my roots as a long ball hitter at the plate not the tee. In fact, I am really digging Cathy McPherson’s pointers about pre-shot routine and other aspects. The LPGA perspective helps a common golfer like me because the focus is not on long drives and wild recovery shots like the PGA Tour. Following the LPGA and Senior Tour lets us focus on fundamentals and shot selection as opposed to muscling up off the tee snapping a second shot to get back into play like some PGA pros. I am doing all of this while I got the time.

What I am Working on for the Next 2 Weeks

My primary focus for the next 2 weeks is all about fitness and health. In fact, I am starting a 10-Day Detox Challenge tomorrow. The prep for my mind, body and spirit has been revealing. When it comes to golf, I will continue to the consistent practice and even start out with walking a par 3 once I go on break. But I definitely have my eyes on overall health and wellness along with diet and nutrition as it relates to golf performance. I mean look at DeChambeau’s daily diet and what it entails.

I will continue with a focus on fitness for two weeks and end up swinging for fun on the course again before I even know it. I am not even ready for the 90 Day Challenge to go scratch. That ain’t even me yet. I am sort of working on my game and my physique simultaneously. Remember, y’all, I am just trying break 90 and do so consistently. No lockdown is going to shut that down, but it has definitely caused me to be a little more cautious with what I do and when I do it. After all, I am still learning how to break free of that wide angle slice that looks like a drone gone wild in flight. If I can get that done in the next month, I see my scores leveling out by spring.

Well, unless things change again in 2021.

Practice Reveals Problems

The driving range offers you an opportunity to bring your best and see how well it measures up. It is never as menacing as the course itself, but it does have its own way of showing you where you might have some issues with your swing. Whether it be a matter of trying to address that major hook that was supposed to simply be a line drive or adjusting your body and stance at address to establish better alignment, you can learn a lot about your swing on the range.

My first outing since COVID-19

My overall focus is getting back to regular play. That most probably will not occur to winter break. Even with school’s going to distance learning, those of us who work with the kids in the school system still need to show up and remain attentive. After all, I can wait until a few weeks to make golf a regular feature in my coronavirus-impacted life right now. My goal of breaking 90 regularly will have to hold on until then and i will take to range more often to prepare myself for that time.

And the driving range reveals where you have swing issues. Like an old school basketball coach told me long ago, your practice reveals where you got problems. Address your problems while you got time to practice.

golfimage1

Your Most Important Swing Component: Your Body

Swing mechanics look at numerous components of your golf swing. Watching my video recording of my golf practice sequence, I noticed my body was stiff and rigid. I did not have that loose flow within my swing that once helped me gobble up at least a handful of pars and an occasional birdie while at play. I went back to Golf-tip.com and looked at the advice offered there for game improvement. Like I said, my body was not engaged properly and I was making solid contact, but I was still robbing myself of quite a few yards of distance because of it.

According to the Grateful Golfer, golf fitness can lead to lower lower scores. As I observed my COVID-19 gut, I could not help but agree. My limited flexibility cut down on both my distance and accuracy on the range. That would translate to some added strokes on the course. I know good and well that I need to add more dynamic stretches to regime as well as use some of the yoga that I learned to open up my hips like I do for running.

15% Off Your First Order with Email Sign Up

Beyond stretching and adding yoga, I want to address my overall health. Golf is just a part of that practice. I want to add more cross-training. I need to bike, hike and run, even dance, more day by day. I might even consider incorporating Gary Player’s 60/40 Rule. But I definitely will be running and walking more regularly.

By addressing just a few of these issues over the next couple of weeks, I think that I can get back into the low 90s by mid-December. Increased flexibility would help with both my golf game and my overall workout regimen of taking on fitness activities for at least 3 to 4 days per week. This will really help as I seek to walk the course more in 2021 than I have ever walked in my past.

RockBottomGolf.com-Lowest Priced Golf Clubs, Equipment and Apparel Anywhere! Click here!

Adding Self-Talk Helps Beyond Muscle Memory

There are numerous strategies to fix your flaws, especially your posture and golf swing. For me, I know that I need to add more self-talk as I address the ball where it lies. We all have our own thing, but mine seems to be not taking enough time in my setup. I need to slow down and spend a moment simply talking myself through the next steps that lead to a successful golf swing for the moment.

I need to do so with course awareness and heightened sensitivity to the overall conditions. I do not mean to stand there and measure the wind projections. I mean to simply talk myself into refraining from hitting a lofted club into the windy air and settling for a hooded seven iron with a half swing to keep it low. I need more self-talk like that to keep me from self-cursing when I have to search for lost Callaways or Pinnacles in thorn bushes and amid cacti.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Practice Reveals Problems: Whether You Fix Them or Not

Brian Penn nails this down on an All About Golf post related to proactive or reactive. It’s called game improvement because inherently most folks want to improve their game, their scores and overall play at golf. I welcome more advice, tips and comments on my swing as I focus on getting the rust off and increasing my flexibility. Drop them in the comments of this blog and offer your feedback. Just try to keep it helpful. After all, I am going for game improvement and trying to maintain some positive Zen if at all possible.