As I return from a back injury, I decided to play at 3/4 speed for the first 18 holes. It was amazing that I really did not lose much in distance (actually hit some farther than normal) or accuracy. I learned several things other aspects of my game that I feel is definitely worth sharing. It was very enlightening for me and as such, I will use what I learned yesterday to improve my game moving forward.
My findings are in no particular order or significance, yet they have provided a new possible path to being a scratch golfer. I guess I should be grateful that I hurt my back (not really) because it forced me to take a different path to playing golf that I should have explored years ago. So, in no particular order:
Stop Over Thinking Chips: I have spent a great deal of time working on my short game. I have all the tools in my bag to get up and down every time, I just need to focus on making the right stroke. I sometimes found myself in decision paralysis when chipping (as I am sure we all have), and would second guess my way to a poor chip. Well, being focused on not hurting my back I realized that regardless of the club in my hand, make a confident stroke and move on. Yesterday I chipped 2 x LW, 4 x GW, and 2 x 7iron. Of the 7 chips, I one putted 5 times because I was in almost tap in range. I will take that average all day.
Hitting An Extra Club Is Not A Bad Thing: I decided before the round started that I would hit an extra club on every approach shot. This would allow me to make a 3/4 swing with a full follow through. Thanks Joe Estes @JoeEstesPT for this great piece of advice. It took a bit of adjusting, but I found that hitting an extra club into every green allowed for my 50% GIR stat. I am very happy with this result. I did find, though, as the round progressed I started to play in between clubs because my adjustments were working.
Minimal Loss Of Distance: I found that I really did not loose that much distance on most of my shots. Interestingly, my driver had the least distance loss, but it was the most difficult to control. If I missed, I missed right which makes the most sense since I abbreviated my back swing. I hit some bombs though – on the 6th hole I hit a great drive, but my control was not as great as I had hoped. Take a look:
Believe me it was all a fluke. I hit the ball far enough to miss the pond and was left with a 55 yard chip to the pin. I hit a great shot to within 8 feet, but missed the putt; I was left with a tap in par.
As the round progressed, I found I was hitting the ball farther with a 3/4 swing with no pain. I think my tempo through the ball is something I will consider moving forward, there is definitely something there I need to investigate.
Be Open to Change: Sometimes we play in a particular way that changing something does not really make sense. Of course over the years I have challenged myself to play golf with an open mind. This last round demonstrated that I still have plenty to learn about my golf game. Don’t get me wrong, I believe I am a good player, but the blinders are off and it might be time to examine my current direction.
Yesterday’s round was a teaching moment for sure. I was able to identify areas of my game where I can improve and for that I am definitely grateful. I will be hitting links again today and will follow the same strategy. I still do not want to push my body after coming back from a back injury. Lets see if my results are better or worse than yesterday.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!