Yesterday I thought I was the most uncoordinated spaz on planet earth. Today I felt the first inkling of becoming one with my new swing. Here’s how it all unfolded.
I went to the practice area of my home course yesterday. It was a rain off and on kind of day, like most days have been lately. The ground is not only boggy but also draped in leaves. Armed with only my nine iron and bag shag I walked out onto the practice ground and dumped ten balls onto the muddy ground. I began to hit and it did not go well, at all. I was off. (I think I know what was wrong and I’ll address that later in the post.) Suffice it to way I was out there for two and a half hours and only hit 18 acceptable shots. It should also be noted that I take a long time between shots. My set up is very meticulous because it has to be for me to attend to all the necessary pre-shot essentials. Getting my grip right is the main thing right now that takes up most of the time. Then there is the squatting to re-tee my ball every time. I’m using a very low tee for the time being, until I’m convinced all this newness has sunk in.
I didn’t think I would ever hit two rounds of ten balls good enough to earn the right to pack up and go home. My final two shots were OK, not total failures so I counted them but here in this post, I do admit that only 18 of my some odd 50 total shots were acceptable. What that means is that 18 of my shots were hit solid, in good form, were on target and went the desired distance.
Many shots didn’t do any of those things and I got really upset with myself and started that horrible name-calling thing again. Oh can golf frustration bring out a cacophony of negative statements inside my brain. I can’t even repeat what I heard myself say to myself. It was nasty and brutal and I want to avoid that happening again. I felt incompetent and like I was never going to get it. All the while I knew that the way I was swinging before my lesson with Pete Black was at least equally bad and probably infinitely worse. As I left the practice area reduced to tears I contemplated that I had two choices: quit or keep working on it.
I chose to keep working on it and to shut the hell up and stop berating myself. Fast forward to today.
I am only doing half swings. In my house I try to practice form whenever I remember. A few minutes here and there allows a swing or two. This morning I did some slow motion swings and realized I had gone out of my position on my takeway, which likely explains why I wasn’t hitting it well yesterday. I did a few drills in front of a mirror to groove the correct positioning.
Later in the day I again took my bag shag and nine iron and headed out. Instead of the practice area of the golf course, I went to a well drained area of a park where very few people were and teed up one of the ten muddy balls I let out of the bag shag. I hit the first one well. I hit the second one well. Then the third. Oh today was going to be a good day. I stayed balanced and squared up, just like Pete Black taught me. Very quickly, I hit all ten balls well and on target. You know you’re on target when all of your balls land within a 15 foot radius! Oh sure I hit some clunkers, but far fewer than yesterday, and when I did hit it bad I walked out to retrieve it.
I dumped out my second ten balls and hit them equally well. After I counted 22 well struck balls, I decided to call it a day. I was hungry and nature was calling. I now feel that I am ready to take my swing and short irons to a driving range. I bought a $30 groupon for ten 75-ball buckets at a nearby golf course. That’s three bucks apiece. A steal.
I am as happy today as I was unhappy yesterday. Is that golf or what?
Update November 5, 2014
I headed to a different area of the same park I visited yesterday, this time with my bag shag and eight-iron in tow. I hit a few more clunkers than yesterday perhaps, just a shot off the toe or two, a few skulled grounders and the a few more fatties. Most of the shots though were, again, right on target and quite good. I hit 21 of those. Total balls hit was likely about 35. It took about an hour and a half to complete this task. The way that I hit balls on my own is slow, tedious and intense, but I’m getting the job done.
I was very pleased at how close together most of the balls landed. This shows consistency and it’s starting to happen. The divots were mostly toward target as well. Sometimes I got distracted by passers by as there is a walking and bike path through the park. The distraction resulted in some bad shots. I’m still only working on holding that good form, staying balanced and on plane with a nicely squared club face!