Archive for November, 2011

November 29, 2011

One Last Shot to Break 80 this Season

This past season I set out to accomplish a full list of goals.  I accomplished a few and have fallen short on the rest, but felt I made progress throughout the year.  I will be re-evaluating my goals for this winter off season as well as my goals heading in to 2012 in the next few weeks.

Before I do that, I wanted to take a look at the goals I was able to accomplish and the ones I wasn’t.  The reason is, I am going to San Diego in the next two weeks and plan on playing a few more rounds.  This will be my last real chance to break 80 before I am stuck in a Chicago winter.  In order to give myself a shot I need to see where I am coming up short.

The goals I accomplished are the following:

  • Hit more than 50% of Greens in Regulation in a round – Encinitas Ranch (55%)
  • Hit more than 50% of fairways in a round – Cougar Point (64%), Encinitas Ranch (71%)
  • Beat my previous low score of 85: Shot an 83 at Encinitas Ranch in San Diego
  • Beat my Brother in Law – Cougar Point: Brother in Law (88) Me (87)

The goals I did not accomplish are the following:

  • Break 80 – Closest so far 83
  • Lower my handicap to single digits: Currently 14
  • Play a round with no 3 putts
  • Get up and down more than 30% of the time.  This includes sand saves.
  • Break 100 at the Ocean Course  110
  • Break 90 at the Ocean Course?  110
  • Play a Course that has hosted a Major Championship.  Don’t care which one.

I accomplished 4 and missed 7.  Not that great.  The two goals that stick out to me the most are “Play a round with no 3 putts” and “Get up and down more than 30% of the time.”  I truly and honestly believe that if I can get closer and closer to these two goals consistently I will break 80 and drop my handicap to single digits.

I am very excited for one more opportunity to try and accomplish my season long goal and plan to give it my absolute best.  Regardless of the outcome I will be resetting my goals for the upcoming winter season as well as a full new set of goals for 2012.  This project will keep going as long as I can get better golf, so a LONG time.  I have some exciting changes to share regarding my new goals and plans for achieving those goals, but I want to share them after the holidays and after they are final.  Stay tuned!

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November 21, 2011

My thoughts on the Belly Putter after my fitting

I was able to go through a Belly Putter fitting this past Saturday at Club Champion Golf and I wanted to take a few minutes and share my experience.  I will start by saying that going into the fitting I was very skeptical towards belly putters.  As far as I was concerned it was just the next fad in golf.  More than that I was expecting the belly putter to be awkward and not for me at all.  I love my current traditional putter, but my curiosity towards the recent trend and towards wanting to putt better led me back to Club Champion to check them out.

The fitting started by me hitting a handful of putts with my current putter on the SAM machine.  My stats really weren’t bad other than my path swings a bit to the inside on my follow through.  Next I used an adjustable putter to find what length felt best for me.  I landed right around 40 inches and started hitting some putts.  At first it was definitely awkward.  I wasn’t really sure why this would be an advantage since it seemed so foreign.

Once I got a few tips on how to properly use the belly putter it started to make more sense.  The biggest thing about the belly putter for me was how easy it was to replicate the set up.  All I had to do was put the butt end right above my belly button and get my hands in the right spot and I was ready to go.  I felt extremely comfortable that my set up was the exact same over and over again and this is not a feeling I get all the time with the conventional putter.  Once the set up was right it was all down to getting the ball position correct and swinging the putter.

I was surprised at how much I had to break my wrists down on the back swing and follow through to properly release the putter and hit good putts.  Once I got the hang of the new feeling it was surprisingly simple and comfortable.  It takes a lot of the mechanical thoughts out of putting which is a big advantage for a lot of players.  As I expected I hit certain putts much better and more confidentially, but not ALL putts.

It really came down to preference for me.  I am planning to stick with my conventional putter for now, but my interest in the belly putter fad definitely increased after using one.  If I were to go down the belly putter road I would get fully fit for one that fits me best and I would commit to using it for an extended period of time and practicing with it a ton.  It is very different from conventional putting and I assume it would take a lot of work to become really good with one.

I do, however, think that if you are a weekend warrior golfer and don’t have a ton of time to practice your putting it could help you out.  Like I said earlier, I think it takes a lot of the mechanical thinking out of putting which can be incredibly helpful.  I could easily see using the belly putter as an advantage simply because the set up is so repeatable and once you get your aim right it is a simple hinge swing.  I think truly great putters would shy away from the belly putter, but for the majority of golfers who are not great putters there is something to it.  I would suggest checking them out if you are the least bit interested.  I know I was surprised by them even though I wasn’t totally sold on them.