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!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


I had a wonderful ball striking round last Sunday.

So this post is primarily to remind myself of my Sunday swing thoughts. Successful golf being the fleeting entity it is I am hoping that I might be able to refer to this post in the future to recapture last Sunday's magic.

It all started on Thursday, actually. I was playing at Bow Creek - the course on which I learned to play golf and the course that I return to anytime I feel that my psyche is in need of repair, and after dropping seven strokes in my last three holes the week before my psyche was in definite need of repair.

About half-way through the Thursday round a memory of my trip to Augusta a few years ago came to mind.

My friend Nick and I were there for a practice round. For both of us it was our first time at Augusta. We wanted to see the full course so instead of camping behind a hole and waiting for all the golfers to come to us we walked the course.

My memory was of an observation while I was standing behind the tee box at eleven. Ernie Els, Adam Scott and two other golfers whom I didn't recognize came walking up the hill to the tee box. I've long been a fan of Ernie Els' languid swing and I closely watched his mannerisms as he approached the tee box. He was so relaxed, and... athletic. But then I noticed that each of the other 3 golfers had the same mannerisms. Had Ernie rubbed off on them or was I noticing a commonality?

As each teed off I became convinced that it was a commonality. Each golfer displayed easy, athletic, balanced yet powerful swings on that eleventh tee box at August. I burned the memory of those swings into my brain and that memory reappeared for me Thursday.

So I tried to duplicate those swings. The common characteristics were:
- at address each player seemed completely "grounded", as if their feet were nailed into the ground.
- each player displayed perfect balance both before and during the swing. There was no leakage of power or loss of ball control due to swaying. There was no swaying at all in their swings.
- more than anything else, I remember thinking to myself that each player seemed completely "centered". Centered in both the mental and physical sense. Each displayed both a mental and physical calmness before, during and after the swing. Each swing looked effortless, yet each was powerful and sure.

On Thursday, recalling these memories, I was able to come close to duplicating this "centeredness". I was able to "swing within myself", yet maintain and in fact improve on my usual distance and accuracy. In some sense, I think I found "the zone".

I want to stress again that there was both a physical AND mental aspect to this experience. By "centered" I am referring to both a mental and physical "balanced" feeling. Mentally I was calm and unconcerned about the outcome of the shot. (That's not a completely accurate description - it's more like I was completely convinced what the outcome would be so I was therefore not concerned.)

Physically I was calm and so both concentration and the actual physical swing came easy. Perhaps the mental surety carried over into the physical realm? I'm not sure. All I know is that BOTH were present.

And I was able to recapture these feelings on Sunday.

Will I be able to carry this into my next round?


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