Change is good.
I knew that when I decided to take lessons that there was going to be some changes made to my swing, I mean that’s blatantly obvious, if there wasn’t anything wrong with my swing there would be no need for lessons and hence no need for change. I’m a fan of change, and I’ve always adapted to it pretty well. I like it when things get mixed up and it’s not the same everyday. Not always though, I found out last year that there are some situations where I don’t do so well with change. I considered that a life lesson, but that’s another story for another blog.
That being said I was actually looking forward to the changes that are going to be taking place in my golf swing. That was until I ended shooting a 108 this last weekend at Revere.
Yeah I said it, a 108. Talk about making your instructor proud! Frustrated and disappointed I now had the daunting task of finding the positive in a round of golf that was nowhere near positive. It’s not easy to look back at a round where you’ve shot triple digits and find the good in it, God knows I’ve had plenty practice at it, but after this round it wasn’t difficult at all. My ball striking was probably better than it’s ever been, the accuracy of my shots, now that’s a different story. Putting was outstanding, I only logged 28 putts and had just one three putt. Chipping was fantastic, that helped lead to the 28 putts for sure! It was the penalties that destroyed the round. I had eleven of them, arguably one of my worst outing when it comes to penalties. So what went wrong? In one simple word I can sum it all up, change.
I had a week to work on this new release of mine before I played Sunday and let me tell you it feels very, VERY strange. Working on the release in the garage at home, on a practice mat, not hitting any balls is one thing. Getting out to the range and actually hitting balls with it was something entirely different.
My warmup went really well to tell the truth, the first couple of balls that I hit, I kinda “WOW”‘d myself with how well I had struck the ball. That was with my PW and as I gradually moved down the line of clubs the shots were not as crisp or solid as they were when I started. The driver was a shocker though. I had taken the club out in my backyard and swung a bunch of times to feel the difference between my old swing and this new one with a release and I could feel the difference in the clubhead speed almost immediately so I was very excited to pull it out in the range and give it a go. So much in fact I had to fight with myself to go through my normal warm up and not jump right to it out the gate.
I could tell the difference right away. The ball was jumping off the club and I was getting greater distances out of the shots, that’s something I’m not use to seeing. The ball flight had a zing to it that I’ve been craving for so long, I was too excited. The majority of my swings resulted in a pretty good outcome, there was some slight draw to a few, and I did manage to slice a couple, other than that my miss was a hook shot and that was appealing. As long as it’s not going right I’m doing better than I have been! That was some change I could live with! The balls that I sliced I could tell right away that I hadn’t released my hands, and on the shots that faded some it was similar feeling, some release but just not as obvious as no release at all.
With that little range session behind me I was ready to hit course. We still had some time before we tee’s off so I went to the putting green and dialed in my putting stroke. It felt solid from the first ball I hit to the last one. I could just tell that I was going to have a good putting day! It would have been nice if I would have had that feeling about all my other clubs!
The front nine went ok, I hit some good drives on 1 & 2 they both were left of my target but in play and down the hole. The third hole I hooked my tee shot really bad and couldn’t find the ball in the rocks so I had to take a penalty there. Then on 4 I slipped on a frozen tee box and still managed to keep the ball in play, it was right of the fairway but it wasn’t a slice or a fade. I hit that ball as straight as an arrow it was just right of the target, stupid frozen tee box! I hit a poor tee shot in the next hole, a par 3 over a lake. I hit a club I probably shouldn’t have, I went with a 4i instead of a 5i thinking 80% versus a full swing. No release with my hands and the ball sailed on a really bad slice, again couldn’t find it in the rocks and had to take a penalty. Great shot on 6, I mean a great shot. Dead center of the fairway and 256 yards. That one felt fantastic! Then on 7 I resorted back to my old ways and hit a really bad slice that once again was lost in the rocks. Another penalty. My tee shot on the 8th was a decent shot, it was just left of the green and landed in the desert with a terrible lie and I had to play it as un-hittable yet another penalty stroke. The highlight of the front was my chip in for birdie on the 9th hole, a really tough, severely uphill par 5. That was a another great shot!
The back just got uglier as the day went on. The only good thing that happened on the back was making par on the last hole. A 551 yard Par 5 that is a beast of a hole. Long carry over water and then straight down hill over a canyon to a tightly guarded green. Making that par salvaged what was a disgusting back nine. I recorded seven penalties in the back, seven!
After the last lesson I had with Dustin and the work I put in the week prior to this round my confidence was at an all time high. There’s nothing like a 108 punch to the gut to bring you back down to reality. I spoke with Dustin about the round and he told me that it’s going to take a while before I feel confident in the changes I’m making and then once I get that confidence to take it to the course. That was reassuring, I was paranoid that he was going to say “Well, we gave it the old college try, your on your own.” but that wasn’t the case.
It’s going to take some time and I understand that. I truly do feel my game changing and I can only see the lessons helping that progress. I have another lesson on the 28th and I plan on busting my ass off in the garage over the next two weeks to show Dustin that I’m serious about this and that I’m not wasting his time.
Lastly, I started back on my diet that I did that lost me all the weight a few years ago. I’ve neglected my body for the past 8 months and it’s starting to show. The videos I have of me lately are embarrassing, and it’s not because of the golf swing! Along with the diet comes the exercise and I cannot wait to start running again. It was two years ago I ran my first half marathon, which was one of the greatest achievements in my life and I miss it.
Some big changes coming down the road for me and hopefully with those changes come some better rounds of golf. Only 15 months until Pebble Beach! As Michael Breed would say “LET’S DO THIS!!”