Archive for October, 2012

October 17, 2012

It’s Never too Late in the Season to add to the Bag



Although it is October 17th and it is currently pouring rain here in Chicago, I have not given up hope on the end of my season.  In fact, I have done quite the opposite. I recently went back to Club Champion and got my putter and wedges fit. I left my fitting with a new putter and ordered three new wedges.

I wrote about Club Champion a while ago when I got my irons fit and if you want to read about it you can go here. After getting my irons fit I saw a drastic increase in the level of my iron play. I was sold on the Club Champion fitting at that point and I decided it was time to get fit for my putter and wedges. My short game is easily the weakest part of my game and also the best opportunity for me to improve drastically.

The new putter I got has been nothing more than a blessing. Before, I was using an 35″ odyssey mallet putter. I never reached any real level of consistency with this putter to really feel comfortable on the green. I left long putts short and ran short putts by the hole on a regular basis. It was a point of my game that really bothered me since I knew how many strokes I was losing on and around the greens. At my fitting, they quickly identified that I should be using a blade style putter to decrease the amount of arc I had on my stroke on my follow through. They also dropped my putter to 1 degree of loft and added some weight to the shaft. This gave me a much truer roll and has already shown to help with my distance control and aim big time.

Prior to this season my chipping was simply terrible. There is no other way to explain it. I NEVER got up and down. When I stood over a chip my thought process was more or “get it on the putting surface, I don’t care where” as opposed to “get it close to get up and in.” I addressed some of this by working hard all off-season on some short game fundamentals. Now that I have worked on those, I am putting some new tools in my hand.

After hitting a bunch of wedges I decided on the Callaway forged set. I went with a 50, 54 and 58 to complete my wedge set. I picked these lofts to match my PW which is 46 degrees. This gives me 4 degrees between each wedge and will hopefully allow me to really know my distances when I get back out on the course. I will report back on how they perform this weekend, but before I sign off I had to show off the two wedges that came in the other day because they are sharp! (The 50 is on backorder)


October 5, 2012

Keep One Swing Thought to Reduce Stress

Last weekend I played a very tough course outside of downtown Chicago.  The course is called Bull Valley and from the tips the slope is at 151.  Our group played from two up and the slope is still a 141.  Needless to say the course was tough.  I knew it was going to be tough going into it and on the range before the round I made a decision.  I decided to pick only one swing thought and commit to it all day.

As I was hitting balls I felt very comfortable with my contact and ball flight when I was thinking only of getting the shaft of my club in line with my shoulder plane on the back swing.  From there I felt comfortable with my positions and I felt free to swing through the ball.  It produced a nice draw for me and I felt at ease standing over the ball.

Over the past winter and this season I went on a campaign to really get down to the fundamentals of my swing and improve them.  It has helped a lot in terms of understanding my swing, but at times it has filled my head with too many mechanical thoughts.  Often times before a shot I would be thinking about my grip, knee flex, shoulders, head position, face angle, weight shift, wrist hinge, shoulder turn and on and on.  The bottom line is that my head was so full of swing thoughts I never felt comfortable taking a swing.  It was impossible to create a consistent swing when I was over analyzing every swing and making adjustments for the next shot.

This approach made actually playing golf very stressful and at times miserable.  I had forgotten how to visualize a shot, hit it and go get ready for the next shot.  By focusing on only one swing thought I felt liberated from all of the technical swing thoughts I have had all season.  It let me play my swing and my shots one at a time and with very little stress.  The removal of the stress over my shots was huge for me because it made the round much more fun.  If I had made some putts it would have been a very good round for me, but that is a whole other story!

If you are like me and think about your swing and golf all day every day it can be hard to “let it go” when you are on the course, but this trick helped me free myself up a bit.  Give it a shot and feel free to share what the one swing thought you use is.