Project 2 Handicap

Online log of a quest to drop my golf handicap from a nine to a two within sixty months. Sink or swim, I'll give it my best shot. Advice is not only appreciated, it's encouraged!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Round Report: 07/08/07

Well, my strategy of "making every shot" worked, not to perfection, but to about eighty five percent of perfection.

Turns out that this exercise was quite enlightening. I made "making the shot" my swing thought on every shot, and it usually worked to keep my emotions from wrecking any havoc on my swing. Prior to every swing I was convinced that I was focused, but I found that when I assessed my pre-swing state of mind after each swing, I could sometimes identify times when my emotions did affect my shots.

For example, on a par five, after a good drive I decided to go for the green in two. I was easily within 3-wood distance, but I had a slight downhill lie and the shot was over water. Prior to the swing I thought I was in good emotional shape - "don't worry about the outcome" I told myself, "just give it a loose swing and live with whatever happens". But then during the swing, "outcome worry" crept in and I tensed up. This resulted in a poor swing (and yes, a poor outcome as well).

I'm encouraged enough, though, to keep at this. I've been working on this technique with my putting for several weeks now and today my putting was phenomenal. My lag touch was off just a bit, but I "made" (and holed too!) all but one short (8 feet and in) putt, and I also holed a couple of longer putts. Actually, I counted only two putts that I didn't "make" during the entire round. I'm very please with that performance!

And yes, the exercise did translate to a pretty good scoring round - a six over par 78, including an even par 36 on the back.


At 6:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding when you had your 3-wood, and were going for the green in two from a downhill lie...

I want to tell you about playing vs Brandon the other day. We played 61 holes(!) at The Pines in Elizabeth City. It was a wonderful day, the course was pretty crowded but the traffic was always on the opposite nine from us. Twice we caught up to somebody, and both times they pulled to the side and waved us up.

There were two factors that made this day an excellent test bed for the mental side of the game. One factor was the large number of holes we played (each hole at least 3 times), and the other was playing with a very vocal 15 year old kid.

Brandon kept telling me "There's water on the right, and it really drops off on the left", and at one point I screamed at him "Dont tell me where the trouble is...tell me where the GOOD shot is! I'm going to hit the GREEN for chrissake!!!"

And I did.

What I see going on here is that Brandon in his brash innocence was verbalizing the basic emotions that I myself actually feel on each shot. I try to suppress those thoughts, and that's not a good strategy. Suppression is the stuff of tension. Maybe it would be good if I would identify the negative emotion attached to each shot, magnify it, and rail out against it...or rather, rail out in favor of its polar opposite.

I do this successfully on certain putts. Say it's a four or five foot putt on a pretty fast green. Historically I would sometimes fail to get this putt to the hole. Then afterwards, I would take a very strong, angry swing, imitating and exaggerating what I should have done, and cussing. So my counter is to go through all that ahead of time. My practice swing, I make it REAL hard, and I cuss in advance! Having done that routine, a normal swing that will get the ball to the hole doesnt seem overly strong, so I dont lie back.

Okay, back to your 3-wood. What was the negative emotion you were trying not to feel? Maybe rather than suppressing or avoiding it, you could capitalize on it. If you think you're going to thin it or hit it too low, maybe take 5 wood and intentionally play a low shot. If your intention is brought into alignment with your fear...

Brandon and I played two holes using just PW (and putter). Really fun! The first hole played out nicely, but the second hole had water in front of the tee. It looked like about 120-130 yard carry. Brandon hit first, and aimed to the side of the water, just in case. Good plan.

I said "I'm going to skip it". I hit thin, planning to skip on the water, but it actually hit the opposite bank, pitched way high and forward. I guarantee it would have hopped on the water.

Again, merging the intention with the fear in a constructive way.


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