May 23, 2013
There is something great about getting away for a golf trip. There is a level of comfort knowing that you have a few rounds to play in a new location on good courses and with good friends. I recently took a golf trip to North Carolina and played some decent golf coming right out of summer. Since I have been back in Chicago I have been up and down with my scoring with one decent round among a handful. This weekend I am off to San Diego for a few rounds and I am expecting nothing.
That might sound weird at first, but I have given this a lot of thought recently after reading a post on a blog from Brian Penn about scoring expectations and the “ah-ha” moment. (Read it here). This post points out the fact that if we only play once a week or once a month we often put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to perform well. A lot of that comes from the fact that we don’t know when our next round will be. When we are able to let go of that scoring thought we often times play much better.
After reading this, I couldn’t help but think back on some of my best rounds. Often times they have come on a golf trip when I have multiple rounds lined up, I wasn’t keeping score myself (someone else in the group was) or I wasn’t planning on playing and went out for an impromptu round. The common theme among all three of these was that I didn’t have much expectation going into the round. When I have all week to think about my one round of golf I often put too much pressure on myself and lose my cool at the first sign of my round turning south.
So, for this trip to San Diego I am going into each round with zero expectation. I don’t care if I shoot 100 or if I shoot 79. I’m just going to enjoy the round, focus on each shot and let go of the bad shots when they happen. The strategy is going to be to focus on each and every shot as they come no matter what the result of the previous shot or hole was. So for my trip to San Diego I’m literally expecting nothing.
May 13, 2013
Thus far, this season has been a strange up and down of scoring. I opened up my official 2013 season with a bunch of scores in the low 90s coming off my winter workouts. Although my scores weren’t thrilling, I was encouraged that I was close to the 80s right out of the gate. Then my scores went north in a hurry. I put up three rounds in a row in the 100s. Even today, I can’t fully explain what went wrong in those rounds. It was as if every aspect of my game was collecting rust every time I stepped out on the course. I was at a point of severe frustration and was almost resigned to say that the work I put in during the off-season was for nothing.
Saturday morning rolled around and I was on the treadmill getting a work out in when my phone rang. It was my good friend Rob asking if I wanted to sneak in 18. I looked outside and it looked cold and doomed to rain. After some thought I said sure why not. I figured with some bad weather and no real preparation I could use this round to make some adjustments to my game.
We got to the course and walked onto the tee box immediately. No chipping, putting or warm up at all. Just two practice swings and let it rip. I found the dead center of the fairway with my first drive and found my way to a double bogey after a shaky short game shot. On the second hole I made another double bogey. Great start!
On the third hole I gave into my frustration and told myself that no matter what happens with my swing I am just going to keep my head down through the swing on all my shots. After telling myself that I went on a string of pars that included a birdie on a par 5 and 4 straight pars to end my front 9. I was out in 40 and felt like I was getting up and down from everywhere on the course.
I hit a few loose shots coming home, but managed a 44 to post an 84 for my round. Although I know the round could have been much lower, I am encouraged again that the work I put in this off-season on my short game was finally paying off. I am excited to play again and I know that I am getting closer to breaking 80. As long as I keep that scoring goal out of my head on the course I think I have a great shot at making it happen this season.
May 7, 2013
I have written about this before, but I have to address it again. I played this past weekend with a good group of buddies and witnessed the most absurd practice swing routine I have ever seen. Let me try to explain.
The practice swing routine was this:
- Walk up to the ball
- Take 3 – 4 full practice swings
- Step off the ball and look at the target
- 1 – 2 more practice swings
- Look at the target 2 more times
I don’t know about you, but this routine is ABSURD. This buddy of mine shot a whopping 99. Breaking that down he took 99 actual strokes. Add on 6 extra practice swings to each of his real strokes and he took 594 strokes during our round. Even if he only took the low end of his routine he took 396 strokes. There is no possible way that taking that many practice strokes can be beneficial on the course. Not to mention it must be exhausting.
When we asked me why he was taking so many practice strokes, his response was that he wasn’t comfortable over the ball. If you ask me, taking less time in between shots and just getting up and hitting the ball would probably help him get more comfortable hitting shots. It sounds like he is thinking way too much over the ball and the results are not in his favor.
Watching my buddy go through his painfully long routine made me think about mine. To be honest, I was happy with where I was with my routine. I have evolved mine to include one practice swing and two looks at the target before pulling the trigger. It takes a ton of the technical thought out of your mind when you know you have to pull the trigger. It also speeds up play and doesn’t allow you the same amount of time to think of all the things that could go wrong.
How many practice swings are you taking and why? Give it a look and consideration.