First Birdie Of The Season

There is nothing like ending a round with a birdie.  Last hole.  You know you’ve done all right on the round as long as you keep it under control and get up and down without any major problems.  And then – the ball drops and you get to draw a circle around the last number on the score card!  The walk from the ninth green past the first tee, in front of the pro-shop, is a parade and you hope someone you know will be mulling around so you can tell him or her about it.  Well, there wasn’t anyone to tell.  The starter had his head buried in the computer and the marshall was busy.  Plus my husband wanted to hurry up because we had to stop at the store.

I haven’t made birdie since last year so I’m thrilled.  With everything I’ve been through trying to relearn the swing, after all the trouble I’ve had to get beyond, it’s even more satisfying.  My crappy shots are getting rarer and my good shots are becoming more plentiful.

If the yardages of all my drives from today got added together, it would be the longest ever I think.  I was crushing balls off the tee.  Second shots were pretty good too – with just a few flubs.  I’m still working on hitting greens but the ball gets ever closer to greens in regulation.  I missed a few pin high but right and was short on a couple.  On the birdie hole I was on the fringe – just 12 inches short of the green!

I can hit my 4-iron again, having rediscovered it a few days ago when I finally got the nerve to pull it out of the bag. It used to be a work horse for me before I started lessons.  I quite often used it off the tee as back then, the only wood I could hit consistently was five.  Now, along with my 4-iron, I’m swinging with ALL the clubs in my bag!  It’s so much more effective to be able to choose between a wood or an iron on an uneven or otherwise troublesome lie.  For years I didn’t have the chops to do that.

Chipping needs work

Lest I go on and on about how much better I’ve been playing lately, it’s time to fess up that my chipping is still quite troublesome and that’s where the extra strokes are showing up.  My touch around the green is lousy.  Those shots unnerve me so I often hit tentatively and come up short.  I just need to work through it because it doesn’t happen in practice when I’m relaxed!

In spite of my chipping woes,  I only putted 15 times!  I did putt two from the fringe which of course I didn’t count as true putts – including the shot for birdie.  For several days I’ve been putting in my living room for 30 minutes and I’m doing all right in that department.  After missing some two-footers a few weeks ago, I swore that wasn’t going to ever happen again.  I routinely take great care with every putt, especially the two-footers.

Is this all a dream?

I keep thinking this improvement is all some kind of fluke, that the golf gods will have a laugh at my expense and knock me down a peg or two or five.  I keep thinking I will wake up and remember that, no, I didn’t birdie nine – I triple bogeyed it.  But the truth is that is not the case.  The improvements that I spent a solid six months making are holding.  I’m getting my swagger back plus a little somethin’ I never had out there before.

Ever since April 16, something has shifted for the better.  I’m feeling and staying in rhythm more, letting things flow and recovering from my bad strikes.  Instead of looking at misses as ‘bad shots’ I’m starting to look at how they can be serviceable errors.

And I still practice – every day.

~Jillian

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