I think the main reason I continue to play golf is that it is, for me, a giant puzzle to solve. There has to be a way to build a swing that hits the ball straight every time. All I have to do is experiment with this or that, and I’ve got it. I don’t believe in the Tooth Fairy any more, but I do believe in this.
My current fix involves strengthening my grip a bit, and a new (for me) way of getting my weight to my left side while staying behind the ball.* Now I’ve hit lots of practice balls in my back yard and these two, I like to call them “adjustments,” are working well. But I don’t want to go out and play until I’m sure they’re going to work.
Enter the executive course. There’s one near my house that is just over 1,000 yards long. I hit these clubs off the tee: wedge, wedge, 5-iron, 9-iron, 6-iron, wedge, 2-hybrid, wedge, driver. That’s five full swings, enough to see if what I’m trying out really works.
Now while this course is not a driving range, I try to play when it isn’t busy so I can hit a few balls off each tee if I need to. There’s something about hitting a ball to a live green that you just can’t duplicate at a driving range. Especially when on two of the holes the out-of-bounds fence is only five yards off the left side of a small green.
So if I can hit the ball well here, I know I can take it to the big course. Actually, hitting the ball well isn’t as important as finding out that the adjustments won’t lead to disaster. I’ve had a few of those outings on the executive course, and I’m glad I went there first.
I’m going out this morning to give these two new things a try. Every time I do this, I go out thinking, “This time, I’ve got it!” And sometimes I do. I’ll let you know. In the meantime,
My new book, The Golfing Self, is now available at www.therecreationalgolfer.com. It will change everything about the way you play.
*Swing in super-slow motion. In the early stages of your downswing, shift your weight to the left while you keep your head right where it is. It’s hard to figure out how to do this when you swing at a normal speed, but when the swing is slowed down enough, you can easily see how to do it.