Happy 4th of July to all my American friends and family. July the 1st was Canada’s Independence Day – so happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends and family.
Golf is an amazing game. Just when you think you are on a path to getting somewhere you are knocked off your horse and stomped on.
In the past few weeks, I have travelled to Cali, golfed twice while there, NYC – golfed once there at Bonnie Briar, Toronto (last weekend) – played twice and while here in JAX – golfed 3 other times. In each case I shot mid 80s with great consistency. During that spell I drove the ball OK with driver, but a solid 3 wood carried the load and I hit my irons quite well. I putted below average on most occasions – but ball striking was quite satisfactory. I had new irons this year and I was very happy with the overall trajectory of my game. Single digits was not too far away. I still had to work on putting and chipping. So YES ! things were looking very very good.
This this weekend I played the TPC Dye Valley course. Most of you have seen the TPC Stadium course – its the home of the TPC Players Championship. On the same property is the Dye Valley course – another 18 hole course designed by Pete Dye – who did the Stadium course. In some ways the Valley Course is more difficult than the Stadium course. The Web.com tour plays on the Valley course. As a side note, this year they will will playing at the Atlantic Beach Country Club.
The PGA tour is tearing up the range facilities and putting in new grass and redesigning he range. Because they are doing all this maintenance they had some nets set up to hit into for practice. Well given the number of nets and people playing, there was a queue to hit a few. In addition because I had a new putter I got to practice putting on the practice greens.
This sweet putter is now in my possession – a fabulous putter. Sadly, the price is Scotty Cameron-like. But hey Charl Schwartzel, Rory, Koepka and other Nike staff are using it. I love it. And I do have a Scotty Cameron.
I had problems sleeping the night before and I woke up feeling ill. But I managed to eat and get to the course. I was excited to play this course and put the new putter into play. The lack of a range was annoying. But as the moments passed I felt weaker and weaker. This was not a good thing. I was going to be playing a challenging course and I had mapped it out in my mind and I was planning on shooting a 79 ( a reference to Vinny for those who know him). I was so confident of what was to transpire on this day.
I hit a decent tee shot on the starting par 5 – but was on the right on a little mound I punched a 6 iron back into play perfectly and then I hit a 7 from 170 into the greenside bunker. I took 3 shots to get out of the bunker. The sand was thick and wet and I was not prepared for that sand. A nice 1 putt made me feel a little better, though nothing makes a double bogey feel good. I proceeded to hit a 9 iron from the par 3 playing about 152. The shot was OK in terms of distance, but I knew immediately that the motion I swung the club was incorrect. I mean it was really incorrect. I did not finish my backswing, I pivoted on my left side and I was out front of the ball and only quick hands saved me. I didn’t say anything. Then i happened on the next tee shot. Then again and again. It was happening on every shot. I focused real hard and piped a 310 yd drive on the 6th hole par 5. I was left with 205 to a back pin. No problem right ???? A 5 or 4 depending on the flight of the ball. I took out 4 and hit it and it clipped a tree that should NOT have been in play.
Forget the rest of the round – what had happened? I was not feeling well and I did not have the physical abilities on this morning to sustain what is an athletic swing. I was just not able to maintain posture, I struggled withe impact position and timing was off. Can anything else go wrong? Well the results were terrible. I was literally throwing my body towards the ball and sliding through at impact. My hands were unable to catch up and I had no leverage while trying to impart a strong force onto the ball. It was horrible. I lost balls on tee shots into water. I lost balls into water on left – when I flipped too quickly my hands. I did manage s few pars, but they were far and few between. And of course this leaked into my putting. It was bad – on one hole after a so-so 4 iron off the tee on the short par 4 (362 yds), I struck a perfect 8 iron from 157 to an elevated green to 6 feet. I 3 putt from 6 feet. what should have been a birdie was a bogey !!!!
Needless to say this is not a great day – feeling ill and weak is not a good combination, especially when it was 32 degrees and super humid. Combine those physical inabilities with mental weakness, i.e. no confidence – and the result is 101. A lesson to those who think it is an easy game – beware !!! I haven’t scored so poorly in years and in those cases it was because I gave up and lost interest in the actual game for some reason.
I am sure I will recover and get back to where I was and I plan on even surpassing that former level. I have enough length and I have the desire to compete. i continue to work out on strength and conditioning. I have added yoga once a week to increase flexibility. But I am determined to play better. I will not give up.
My next plan of attack is to work on full swing, spend time putting and chipping. This fall I plan on a 2 or 3 day golf school. Concentrated boost to the game. One to develop my confidence. Confidence is so important, but that is a blog post to come 🙂
A few pics inside the clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass.