Archive for July, 2013

July 25, 2013

Change is Hard, Golf Swing Changes are Brutal

I got a phone call last night from a good friend who had just left a golf lesson. He has been struggling to find confidence and consistency in his swing the past few rounds and finally said he needed some help and scheduled a lesson. He was unsure of what the problem was and was second guessing everything he was doing on the course. The funniest part about it was he wasn’t scoring all that bad, but you could tell the enjoyment of playing had left him. He was stressed out and frustrated more than usual that he didn’t know what was wrong with his swing.

When I pick up his call he sounded even more depressed than after a topped drive. He says, “I just left my lesson and the guy there wants me to change a bunch of things in my swing.” I took a moment to process his comment and responded by asking him what he expected to hear at a lesson? Did he expect the guy to tell him everything was alright and to keep chugging along? Was he hoping for the one quick fix answer that every golfer searches for?

His response to that got me thinking a bit about swing changes in general. He told me he knew that what the instructor was telling him was right and he had heard the same thing before from multiple people. Basically he was saying that he knew the changes were right, but accepting them would mean spending lots of time at the range getting used to the changes and the rest of the summer trying to play them on the course. He was afraid of getting worse before he got better.

This made me think back to the swing changes I made and all the work I did over the winter. Part of me agreed with him because I got much worse before I got used to my changes and started playing better. Part of me also disagreed with him, because as golfers, we are always making changes and adjustments. The pros are constantly working on their games to get better so why is it such a reach for the average golfer to do the same? I think the reason is really because we don’t have the same amount of time to dedicate to the changes.

When we only get to play once or twice a week we expect a lot out of our swings and scores. Building up the mental toughness and confidence to play your swing that day is one of the hardest things the average golfer can do. Especially since we lack the ability to grove a consistent swing on limited practice. It really made me think of a quote that sums it all up, “No-one will ever have golf under his thumb. No round ever will be so good it could not have been better. Perhaps this is why golf is the greatest of games. You are not playing a human adversary; you are playing a game. You are playing old man par.”
– Bobby Jones

July 19, 2013

FINALLY Broke 80!!!!!

Well folks, I finally did it. I was finally able to break through the 80 barrier and post my first ever score in the 70’s with a 79. The course I played isn’t the most difficult, but I am still excited about it since I have never been below 80 on any course before in my life.

I started this blog about 2+ years ago and the entire goal was to post about the journey to breaking 80 while living in a city. There are a few unique hurdles that Chicago golfers face and I wanted to prove that you can in fact get better at golf while living in a big city. By no means has it been easy and I have put a lot of work into my game. That is why this first 79 means so much.

The funniest part about the score was how the round itself started. I hit the fairway on the first hole, sailed the green with my approach shot which hit the cart path and bounced OB. After two bad chips and a few putts I carded a quad bogey 8. I said to my playing partners “there goes breaking 80 today” and started to just play. Letting go of the score was the biggest part for me. Starting off so poorly really allowed me to enjoy the round and focus on playing the course one hole at a time. I made a few pars and a few bogeys, but also carded 4 birdies during the round. I birdied 2 of the 3 par 5s and 2 of the shorter par 4s which really helped me recovery from that brutal first hole.

I didn’t even know I had a chance to be in the 70’s until I stood on the 18th tee box. I found the fairway and the green, but the nerves kicked in on the green and I 3 putted for a closing bogey. Once the putt dropped I thought I would feel much more excited and give a fist pump or something more dramatic, but all I felt was relief. It was a moment that I knew would eventually come and when it finally did I was just happy to have the pressure off. I have been chasing the 70s for over 2 years and on a day I wasn’t expecting it to come it decided to show up.

Now that I have broken 80 once I know I can do it again. I’m not expecting to be in the 70s every time now, but the belief that it is possible is there for good now. I know my game and I know my ability level. Finally putting it together was something I will never forget.

Stats from the Round:

Fairways: 8 of 13 hit – 62%

Greens in Regulation: 11 of 18 hit – 61%

Scrambling: 14%

Putts Per Hole: 1.83

Total Putts: 33