Getting Back to the Range Rain or Shine

I am going down to Kiawah Island this weekend for a full week of vacation and three rounds of golf.  I can’t wait to get down there and start playing.  I am even more excited because this trip will be my first real test of reaching goals this summer.  I have set the goal to Break 100 or Break 90 on the Ocean Course, which I will be playing next Tuesday (a week from today).

Recently I have been writing about the importance of focusing on goals that are not results based and I am upset that my previous goals focus on a set score, but I can’t really change that now.  Hopefully, if I focus on my process goals the scores will come.  I really don’t feel like my game is where I was expecting it to be at this time of the year, but oh well.  That probably has something to do with the terrible April we have had in Chicago, but I refuse to let that stop me this week.

I did get a chance to go to the range last night and am planning on going again tonight.  I really believe that going out and playing a round is the most valuable practice you can get and much better than beating balls at the range, but every now and then I love going to the range to work on a few things.  It is fun to work on your swing without the risk or fear of it affecting your score.  Especially when what you are working on ends up working and helping your game.  Last night I felt like I had a really positive range session and it made me even more excited to go out next week and beat my brother in law!

Here is what I was working on.  My short game has been AWFUL this season so far.  I started my session by working on chipping with my lob wedge by putting the ball back in my stance, hinging my wrists on the take away and turning my shoulders through the ball.  This move helps me keep my hands and the shaft of the club in front of the ball at and after contact.  It really kept me from trying to slide the club under and ahead of the ball which leads to thinned and fatted chips.  Overall, I was very happy with this change and think it will really help me around the greens in my next few rounds.

The next part of my game that is hurting is accuracy with my irons and my driver.  I have begun to realize that I tend to get cute with my driver and irons by swinging smooth and almost steering the ball to where I want it to go.  Obviously, this has not been working out very well.  It has caused me to swing around my body and not down the line after impact.  Last night I really focused on using a shorter back swing which quites my lower body as well as locking out my front knee at impact.  I was really trying to recreate the mental image of hitting an impact bag with no flex in my front knee.  The first few drives I lost right with a big slice, but once I got the timing down the shots were dramatically better.  They were straight with a slight draw and I was hitting them much further.  I like this move a lot because I feel like I can be confident and aggressive with my driver.  This move had the same effect on my irons.  The shots were starting on my target line much better and the contact was incredibly more consistent.

I am cynical about range practice so let’s see if the results are the same tonight or if they carry over to the course this upcoming week.  Hopefully they will, but if golf has taught me anything it is to be humble.  Every time I think I have figured out my swing fix I get a taste of humble pie with a big nasty score.  I have a good feeling about some of the adjustments I made yesterday so I have confidence tonight will be a good outing.  Hopefully I don’t freeze out there.

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