Groove It, Baby

To groove a balanced, properly positioned, repeating swing is my only goal right now.  21 fundamentally well hit balls beat 100 hacks delivered on a wing and a prayer.

(The title of this post was changed from Getting To The End Of My Short Irons to Groove It, Baby)

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 found a spot in a little grove with maple vines and bramble creating a half circle of thick brush to both sides of and behind me.  There were a few trees out ahead in the direction I’d be hitting, along with an old fashioned street lamp, all of which were surrounded by a blanket of wet, dead leaves.  Where I live, this time of year, the ground is permanently wet whether it has recently rained or not.  It’s a mud pie out there and the best I can do is find an area that drains.  I decided to use the streetlamp as a target – certain that it was out farther than I’d be hitting.  It also left me the most space on either side for error, which still wasn’t a lot.

I hit a few more clunkers than yesterday perhaps – a few off the toe, a couple of skulled grounders and several short, fat shots.  But by far, most of the shots were, again, right on target and quite well struck.  I hit 21 of those.  Total balls hit was likely about 35. It took over 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 take many, many practice swings and partial practice swings, as my takeaway is where most of the work needs to be done.  I had developed a wicked sway – death to a golf swing!  (Ironically, before my lesson with Pete Black, I thought my takeaway was the best part of my swing.)

I was very pleased at how close together most of the keepers landed.  (Again, if the ball was not well hit, I retrieved it and hit it again.)  So my striking consistency is starting to happen.  The divots were mostly toward target as well, save for an errant few.  In fact, my set up area forms a nice “L” shape.  I have been placing a straight stick out from my ball toward target, and another stick that goes straight back from the ball to me, forming a backwards, upside down “L”.  I begin my feet on either side of that second, perpendicular line and separate them accordingly for the shot after I’ve gripped up.  When I am meticulous about all of this set up the shot works.  I have to hope that my set up will get faster as time goes on because they’d throw my slow butt off any golf course right now!

Sometimes I got distracted by passers by as there is a walking and biking path through the park.  The distraction resulted in some bad shots.  I don’t like people coming around, that’s for sure because I am so focused and at times, I have to wait until folks are out of sight.

After packing up my gear and putting it into the trunk of my Honda, I decided to try to find a larger area to hit. I crossed the street to yet a different area of the sprawling greenway and found a well-tended, large open field adjacent to a middle school, the kind of field that has “leash law enforced” signs clearly visible as you enter but there is always that one person there letting his infallible twin Fidos run around unleashed.  Well if Mr. Dog Owner can break the rules, I can hit 40 golf balls!  I mean, technically I’m probably not supposed to hit golf balls in the park.  But I’m doing it very responsibly and putting absolutely no one or nothing in danger.  The worst I’m doing is creating a divoted area not even a foot square.

Anyway, the field is not officially part of the campus so I can go on it during school hours.  The drainage is good.  I am heading there with my seven-iron next.  This affords me much more space to hit. Can’t wait!

I only need to do this a few more times before I take another lesson and progress on to bigger and better things.  In an earlier post I said I was ready for the driving range but the truth is, I want to at least be into my mid-irons before I hit the range.  Patience Grasshopper!

-Jillian

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