Range Work

I’ll be honest…I haven’t been playing near as often as I’d like to be.

Part of that is the weather. This year has been so strange. It’s rained more than I can ever recall and on the days that it isn’t raining, the course is having work done or I have a schedule so busy that I can barely manage to eat lunch, let alone leave a little early and play.

I have sated my need to hit golf balls by going to the range instead. My wife had to work a Saturday last week, which is rare in her line of work. I took that as an opportunity to drive the three blocks to the clubhouse and see if they had room for a single. Apparently the entire morning was booked with foursomes until about 11:30. Seeing as it was about 8:15, I decided to get the jumbo bucket of balls and head to the range instead.

I wasn’t working so much on distance as I was striking the ball solid. I was also working on my pivot. In the time since I was last at the range, I had a bit of a breakthrough with my grip that has changed how I deliver the club into the ball. You’re probably thinking exactly what I was thinking when it happened. Grip breakthrough? Who has one of those after all this time?! Answer: ME.

Anyway, at the range was great, with the exception of driver, which I believe the grip adjustment I’ve made will help. I also have a new driver coming in soon, so do keep your eyes peeled for pictures and my initial thoughts. Feels as if the shaft that is in my Bombtech Grenade 3.0 is a little too soft for me, which I might be able to fix by cutting it down about 1.25” to get it around 44.5”. That remains to be seen though!

Back to the range:

The wedges were working pretty good. The irons were mostly good, with the exception of one or two 4 irons that I hit poorly. Hybrid was a beast and 3 wood was even better. I actually burned a 3 wood a little over 245 carry that rolled up near the 265 mark. Quite an achievement for me. I did do little driving challenges against some of the guys that were on the practice tee with me, and that made it quite fun. I was able to avoid having to pick up driver to out-drive everyone, which I count as a good day. Good group of players in the neighborhood, so I’ve seen a few of them before and we’ve done similar challenges in the past.

I am planning to get out this weekend and play somewhere. Not sure where and whether or not it will be a full 18, but I will get some golf in. Also making plans to do a couple of videos to get things really started on the YouTube channel. I have a few review videos that I can do as well as a full “What’s In The Bag” type video and share what clubs, shafts and why I chose what I chose.

Until the next time!

Wedges Are On Fire

Although I probably haven’t made it clear yet…I ALWAYS look to Phil for inspiration on how to use a wedge and stick it close.

There was a time when I carried a 64* wedge in my bag, waaaayyyyy back in the day when I first starting playing golf at 18 years old. Phil was really getting the wins under his belt at that point, and that’s when the Majors started coming for him. I watched week in and week out wondering how he was able to do so much magic with a wedge. I found the cheapest wedge I could buy that was 64* and started practicing with it to see if I could do what Phil was doing.

These days, I don’t carry anything beyond the 60* wedge. I started to take that Seve mentality that anything beyond a sandwedge was not needed if you knew how to open the face and play the shots. I have worked hard but realized that the 54* sandwedge I carry was not enough, even with the face open, the ball forward and lofting it as high in the air as I was capable of. Sometimes the greens are just too quick, or the lie almost necessitates that I use something with a little more loft. I also find myself in some really strange predicaments on the course and the 60* is the wedge that seems to be able to dig me out of most of them.

Now with that said, I have really been digging in to practicing my wedges and learning how to control the spin. I prefer to play mid-to-high spin shots because I know my miss is short, so why not just play long and spin it back? (I’ve now got a Suaoki Rangefinder in my bag and my hope is that I’ll be able to train my eyes a little better to see distance and fix that fault.)

My older dog, who sadly passed in December, was not much for playing with tennis balls. He liked to chase a laser pointer, which worked for me because I could let him run off in the distance, hit a wedge shot to where he was standing before he turned around and ran back, then walk to the ball with him still chasing the laser and repeat. The dog we adopted in July last year LIVES for the tennis ball, which means that I now take three or four out in the back yard with us when we go outside and I hit high spin flop shots all over the yard for her to chase. The foster dog is learning too, although my suspicion is that he too will not be a bad tennis ball guy.

What I’ve learned from hitting these wedge shots is as follows:

Short swing with the proper coil can still mean good distance and high spin

Chipping is definitely a practice, much like medicine or Yoga. If you don’t practice, you will suck at it.

Opening the face can be the scariest thing imaginable if you aren’t paying attention to the fundamentals.**

**(For reference, I actually carry a PW- 46*, W -50*, SW – 54* and LW -60* but I practice in the yard with an old Cleveland RTX 2.0 – 58* wedge. That thing shows no mercy if you mishit with the face open so it almost forces me to work harder on ball position and hitting the ball correctly)

I must say that the Winter is taking much longer to leave that it usually does. I have gotten to play exactly one round of golf so far this year, and that is surprising in North Carolina. The day I did play, it was a high of 78*F and it was pretty much a perfect day to get out. I have hope that as long as the temperature is above 55* and the rain doesn’t show up, I can get out. We did just suffer through something like nine or ten straight days of rain. So here’s hoping that the weather breaks already and I can go back to playing more often.

First Round of 2019!

This past Thursday I took the day off of work because the high that day was to be 79*F. The first few days of the week had been beautiful Spring-like weather that made me fidget knowing that full on golfing weather was getting very close. So I headed out to the course I live on and played 18 holes to see how things have been going since the last time I was out on the course!

To start with, I shot 85.

The course is a par 71, a touch over 6600 yards from the back tees. It can get narrow as it runs through the back part of my neighborhood, but overall, it does have its merits and challenges. The greens were actually it really good shape this time out, and that led to me discovering some things about my putting that are very interesting. Let’s recap how it went.

The first 4 holes are Par 4’s, all in the same general yardage range. Then comes a par 3, then back to a par 4 and so on. It’s an interesting layout to be honest. It does have some very narrow spots that can be challenging, especially given the fact that houses line both sides of the fairways on certain holes.

Off the tee? Well, it took two holes for me to get back into my normal power fade. While I wasn’t really having that much of an issue trying to work the new move into my irons, the driver and three wood had different plans for me. I lost strokes on two holes because of errant tee shots and then had to rely on my wedges to make things easier for me. On the shorter holes on the back 9 I decided to switch to the hybrid for my tee shot and things got much better there.

In The Fairway? That was better than its been in a while. I was striping short irons and my hybrid was just plain vicious. I sent more than one shot dead on the line I chose and put myself closer to the flag than I’m used to. I’m guessing all that work I’ve been doing in the backyard is finally paying off. Wedges were tight and they had spin to spare. I saw one that was something Seve-esque that bounced once and damn near stopped immediately, leaving me a 3 footer for par at the par 5 with such a severe dog-leg left, it leaves you no choice but to bend it like Bubba or make it a three shot hole.

On The Green? I was carrying two putters that day. My Cleveland Huntington Beach #3 and my Odyssey Metal-X #8. They require two different putting styles, and I’ve always felt more comfortable with the Odyssey. I discovered that my putting stroke is just too damn long. I don’t remember why, but I tried the Brandt Snedeker “Pop Stroke” and suddenly the ball was rolling more pure than ever before, leading me to save most of these holes from 8 feet and in. I never would have considered that maybe my stroke was too long, but now that I’ve seen the benefit of hitting the ball with that type of stroke, there’s a good chance I’ll probably stick with using it.

Overall I was very happy with the first trip out of 2019. I’m sad that it took so long for me to get around to going out and playing, but I have plans to make the most of the Spring when work is still slow for me and make sure that I’m getting out once or twice a week, not including the weekends that I play with friends.

I get the feeling that with a little more work and maybe a quick swing check with coach, I’ll be dropping those scores fast!

The Weather Finally Breaks…

North Carolina has been exceptionally cold over the last couple of weeks. The “nice” days (meaning in the 50’s temperature-wise) have mainly been rainy. That doesn’t lead to enjoyable golf. That also means that I have not been doing much golfing lately and I think that’s not really that bad.

I posted in my last blog that I was seriously overthinking my swing, and that with some video reviews, I was able to pinpoint where I was having an issue. That actually led to another realization that I think is really starting to bring everything together for me. I noticed the big lateral shift I had, which was started by not planting the lead foot and staying behind the ball. This weekend I hit on something that has been helping my backswing which is helping me stay on a much better plane when I’m swinging. Still has a strange feel to it, but I think it’s starting to get me to where I need to be.

This week is bringing temperatures in the 70’s during the week, so as of the writing of this post, my plan is to take at least half a day off of work and walk the 3 blocks to the clubhouse and get some golf in. Part of the reason I moved to where I am is because the golf course is right close by! I have no excuse and the warmer weather will leave me with very little to do at work, so why not take advantage of it?

Stay tuned, as I will likely try to post some video of the adventure provided I don’t get teamed up with someone that is continually rushing me as I won’t have my normal playing partner with me.

Cold In North Carolina?!

Yes, that title is correct. It is cold in North Carolina.

When I got up this morning it was a balmy 25 degrees outside, which is fairly cold for North Carolina. I’m born and raised in New Jersey, so the cold is not unknown to me. I actually do very well in the cold. The only thing is, it sucks to hit golf balls when it’s cold outside, so my practice yesterday was just some simple swings, making sure that I’m hitting all the points I should be and a little bit of putting practice on the carpet. Sure, the carpet doesn’t mimic Augusta National’s greens, but it does give me the opportunity to at least work on the putting stroke.

In my previous post I talked about E=MCS, MCS being the method of golf swing that I am currently working with. I consider DJ (the man behind MCS) to be my coach of sorts. I’ve yet to work out a Skype session with him, which I believe may be a good option just to start the Spring off right, but I have had him look at my golf swing via video on a few times to make sure that I’m headed in the right direction. This golf swing has something to it that just simplifies everything, making it very easy to repeat and maintain, which I love.

With that said, the cold means that my real practice is going to be held up a bit. I don’t mind practicing in the cold, I just feel that I don’t get accurate readings on my distances and since they’re changing (getting longer) from week to week, I’d like to get a good baseline and then worry about how much distance I lose in the cold. Might be a backwards way of doing it, but I think that is what’s best for my game right now. If I start pulling clubs based on what I’m getting at the driving range right now, without knowing where my limits are for a half, three-quarter, and full swing…then I’m not really doing myself any favors.

As soon as the weather warms up a few degrees and I start seeing 50+, then I will be jumping back out on the course and driving range to get some work in. 55 degrees is usually a good place to start, I think. For now, I will be working on some things to get my putting stroke a little more stable as well as working on my MCS to be sure that the engine is running smoothly early in the season. The weather down here can be crazy. It might be cold for a week or two straight and then suddenly it will be 70 degrees again. Thankfully, the winter is typically short, so I’m hoping that’s what I have to look forward to. Until then, it’s “a-putting we shall go”.

2019 Golf Season

I have to say, 2019 is off the such a strange start.

In North Carolina, the weather is incredibly unpredictable in the Winter and this year is no exception. Today the high is 68 degrees, and there’s a light wind blowing. That’s perfect golfing weather in my book. I had planned to find my way to a golf course this weekend to play 18 holes…and then I find out that the high on Saturday and Sunday is 41 degrees and there is a chance of snow on both days! How is a man supposed to play golf in this weather?!

Today, however, I believe that I will make some time to hit the driving range and swing the club a few times and see how things are working so far.

I’ve made some major swing changes since picking the game up again and I have been working on a new swing for the last couple months. I will do a separate blog/vlog on the subject, but I have to admit now that I’m fairly surprised with how it’s been working out for me. I don’t buy into mumbo jumbo and hype, and there was not much of either surrounding this particular teacher and way of swinging. I did my research and even tried out a couple of other methods of learning (namely Me And My Golf as well as Top Speed Golf) before stumbling across this coach. I did six months on each of those aforementioned websites before finding and switching over to my current “coach” and I am happy I did…but that’s venturing to far into the blog/vlog territory, so let’s leave it at that for now and we will get back to that later.

The goal for this year is to get my swing together and work on my putting and short game to make sure that all the parts of my game are working correctly. I’m also going to work on getting my official handicap card so I can start working my way to having a low enough handicap to start trying to qualify for tournaments. I hope to find some time in the late Summer, early Autumn to play a few of the small local tournaments and see how things go. I also have a few tournaments that my company usually plays in that I’m sure we will place much better in if I can get my game in better shape. Sometimes it gets tough carrying the team!

Until the next time.