In Praise of Limitations

About a week ago, I mentioned that my back was acting up and a full swing is just not in the cards. That’s still the case, but yesterday I went out and played nine with my 6-iron, pitching wedge, sand wedge, and putter. It went really well.

There isn’t much I can do from tee to green except hit a giant chip, but if I do that, I get a much straighter shot than normal and I don’t lose as much distance as you would think. Normally the 6 goes 160 yards, and I got 140 out of it with that less-than-half swing.

All that wedge work is paying off in spades, and I get on the green and close every time. Not exactly one-putt close, but two easy putts and every now and then a makable try.

The thing that is working the best is contact. Contact is all the rage these days. Contact is what counts, and as readers of this space know, it is what I have been working on since a turning-point lesson last April. It is truly amazing what good, solid contact alone can do for you. You feel that solid thump as the ball gets pinched between the ground and the clubface, then you see the satisfying take-off as the ball shoots down the fairway. Or around the green when you think “Oh, no, I hit that one too hard,” when all you did is put untold amounts of spin on it and it lands two feet in front of the hole and comes to rest one foot in front.

The divots are things of beauty. They start in front of the ball, are about six inches long, thin, maybe a quarter inch thick at most, and as wide as the clubhead; not a chunk out of the fairway, but a slice of it, just the way it’s supposed to be.

I don’t care at all that I can’t hit the ball very far right now. When the back settles down again, . . . oh, gosh, I can’t wait.

“I’m playing 18 today, walking, I don’t need a cart. By the way what’s the course record here?”

You know, you can order Better Recreational Golf and still get your copy by Christmas.

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