Damp practice

25/08/2011 at 14:18 Leave a comment


Tuesday 23rd August

Went to the range to meet Bill and admire his new swing, or at least his new grip. He has always had what I believe is called a very weak swing (palm of right hand almost facing upwards!) and yet he could still hit the ball very well. His issue was a tendency to slice, particularly off the tee with the ‘fat’ clubs.

He was still slicing it a lot but that was felt to be an inevitable result of getting used to the new swing. The swing certainly looks more solid but he still has ‘dancing feet’.

As for me (it’s all about ME!) I was generally hitting the balls off the mat quite well, at least until I got to the 6 and 5 irons, having started with the 60° wedge and working up.

It’s a wonderful feeling when you hit a ball well as a result of a good swing – as opposed to hitting the ball well despite a bad swing. I can feel that the hips clear better, the hands get a little lower – at the right time – and attack the ball more. It all feels a lot more fluid and less ‘arm-y’.

After Bill had used up his 50 balls I went out to the, now empty, practice green, despite the increasing darkness, to practice chip shots.

Again, these feel much better. Ball just inside the right heel line, a little gap between hands/arms and body, stance ever so slightly open, lean a little left and keep it there, imagine the glove under the left armpit, follow through low…and the ball just clicks off the club face, and STRAIGHT.

And if I remember to not keep the ball too far back and my hands too far forward the loft on the shot is almost a thing of beauty.

The perceived wisdom is that most golfers go to the range and give in to temptation and just get out their drivers and 3 woods and belt the ball as far as they can. I don’t know if that’s actually true but I have to say I much prefer practicing the short game. For a start I’m hitting off real turf not some hard, man-made mat but also the results just seem more tangible. Besides, let’s not forget, these shots, along with putts, are the scoring shots. Recently, I’ve been able to get the ball up to the green without much trouble but one’s scores are never going to come down if one’s short game is fubar.

Anyway, I then went further back to try some longer swings (i.e. arms to parallel to the ground). Training myself not just on the technique, but also on trusting the swing and the club to produce the desired result rather than helping the ball up with a wrist-flick. Again, some of these were beautiful, popping up high, and when I swung a little faster apparently getting some backspin.

The trick, of course, is to re-produce this on the course. Weather permitting, that’ll be tomorrow. Sadly, the weather doesn’t look too willing.

 

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What a beautiful day… I know it’s supposed to be difficult…

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