Progress Report – Of Sorts

I haven’t posted in awhile.

This is partly due to it being crappy weather and partly due to me not wanting to admit that golf is difficult and I’m tired of whining about it!

I recently read a blog post by a PGA professional in which he states that it takes a year, maybe two, to rebuild a golf swing.  That means really rebuilding it.  That means quick cures and simple fixes don’t do the trick.  This is a whole rebuild, top to bottom, left to right.

He also says that a lot of heartache goes along with it.  Well, I can attest to that.  I’ve got heartache in spades.  I have done so much fretting about my golf swing lately that I feel foolish, given there are way more important things in the world to be fretting about.

Intellectually, I know what I’m supposed to do.  But my body is fighting me every step of the way.  I know I’m not young, that I’ve got decades of bad habits to overcome, but I am surprised how difficult it has been to groove these new ways of doing things.  And it’s not the flexibility so much, although that does play a minor part in my struggles.  Mostly it is just ingrained movements, muscle memories that take over.  Unless I am focused on each and every micro action I am attempting, something goes awry somewhere in the swing.  Oh of course, I hit some good shots in there too, but like I’ve heard, golf isn’t about how good your good shots are, it’s about how good your bad shots are.

My bad shots are still really, really bad.  In fact, they are some of the worst bad shots I’ve ever hit in my life.

Is there a silver lining to this cloud?  Well, I’m working a lot on chipping, short pitching and putting and I am seeing progress there.  The progress isn’t necessarily a reduced score, as I am not playing true rounds of golf these days, but it’s more just a feel for 30 yards out that I am developing over time.  It is a knowing, a familiarity of how the clubs feel and behave, how the ball behaves.  Never mind that I have to get the ball to within 30 yards of the green.

The sad thing is I’m working on my close range short game mostly because my swing work has been so painful and slow in progressing.  I am downright fearful now, blocked.  I know this sounds melodramatic and it probably is a bit silly, but it’s the truth.  The pain of hitting yet another shot thin, fat, off line or whatever bad thing happens to a shot – is so painful now that I can barely swing at all.  My expectations were that I’d be seeing lasting progress now after a solid six weeks of practice.  One pro that I don’t take lessons with told me it shouldn’t be this hard.  I agree, it shouldn’t.  But it is.

While I was practicing short game shots yesterday, I saw a young couple playing a round.  The gal was brand new to golf and the boyfriend was giving her pointers.

I wanted to yell out, “Don’t listen to a word he says!  Get some lessons!  Learn to do it correctly from the get go!”

I too had a boyfriend at her age, back when I was 25.  He was a former scratch golfer and I was certain he was imparting to me all that was pure and true about the game.  He was a good golfer, yes, and knew all the rules, etiquette, how to punch a shot out of the trees or hit a fade, but he was not a teacher.  The boyfriend long since gone, thirty years later I find myself in this painful struggle of brain vs. body.  So far, the body is winning.

So I’m adjusting my expectations.  It is what it is and it will take what it takes.  I also recently read that a good habit takes 10,000 repetitions to form and double that if a bad habit also has to be unlearned in the process.  (So, yes, that would be 20,000 reps.)

Holy crap.  I’ll be at this for awhile.

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