Bogeys, Divots and Gators!

I am back from my trip to Kiawah, S.C and the weather in Chicago still sucks!  How is that possible?  It was very depressing getting off the plane to rain and cold weather after a week in 80 degree sunshine.  Oh well, life goes on.

The golf down in Kiawah is truly amazing.  It is a little bit pricey, but the lack of crowds and caliber of the courses makes it worth while.  I ended up playing four times in the week I was down there, but hit balls every day.  I played Cougar Point (97), The Ocean Course (110), Daniel Island: Ralston (93) and again at Cougar Point (87).

My biggest take away from the week golf wise was a putting tip from my caddy at the Ocean Course and the realization that you absolutely have to hit balls (off grass) every day or close to every day to get better.  I have been struggling through bad weather conditions in Chicago and a range that only has mats so far this season.  That paired with limited practice time makes getting better much harder.  Just from being down at a place where I was free to chip, putt and hit balls on real grass (not astro turf) made all the difference in the world.  I made more progress in my game during one week of un-interrupted golf than I have in two months in Chicago practicing inside and playing only on the weekends.

After three days down there I was hitting the ball cleaner and much more consistently.  My short game got much better.  My putting got better and my confidence was through the roof.  Besides the Ocean Course (110) I wasn’t all that upset with my scores.  I got better every day and hit some really good golf shots over the week.  Being able to hit balls consistently and hit balls off of grass made a huge difference for me.  I am all for hitting off of mats if you don’t have any other options, but nothing can replace the feeling of hitting the ball first and taking a divot.  The feedback is amazing and crucial to striking the ball better.  As the week went on I could clearly see that I was hitting down on the ball better and taking a divot in front of the ball.  My ball flight was straighter and more consistent and my scores dropped as well.  I really need to figure out where a grass range is in the city!

Quick side note: The Ocean Course is absurdly hard and I don’t care what your handicap is, nothing will prepare you for the waste bunkers on that course.  They don’t fill the bunkers with fresh sand because the wind blows it all over the course so most of the waste bunkers (not the green side bunkers) play like they are basically cart path.  They are impossible to get out of.  The 2012 PGA Championship will be interesting to say the least.

So, on my last day at Cougar Point I played at 7:30am and on the fourth hole ran into the guy below.  He was about 8 feet and once we passed by him he strolled out into the fairway and laid down to get some sunshine.  I can’t imagine the view from the tee box for the guys behind us!  Sorry for the poor picture quality, but I didn’t want to get too close.

If you made it this far I feel it is only fair that I share my putting tip with you that I got from my caddy at the Ocean Course.  It is not revolutionary by any means, but it made a big difference in my game.  He noticed right off the bat that my putter was toe up a little bit.  He suggested that I move closer to the ball to get the toe to lay flatter on the ground.  Instantly, my putts were hitting the sweet spot and rolling smoother.  I nailed a few longer range putts throughout the weekend and can tell it is going to help me immensely this season.  This is obviously not a huge tip, but if it weren’t for the caddy I never would have known.  I suggest to everyone that they get their putter checked/adjusted to fit their set up and game.  It makes the most difference out of any other club in your bag and deserves a little attention if you are serious about shooting better scores!  Despite the bad weather and lack of practice facilities, I am glad to be back!

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