It's just feeling a little bit more natural than it used to and I'm not stepping on the course with 5 or more swing thoughts, which is nice! I don't think it'll take much work getting back to making progress and I'm definitely seeing that some of the changes I've made have stuck - ball flight is really high compared to what I'm used to and the ball turns right to left about 50% of the time and stays straight for 30%. It's the 20% of rubbish, either duck hooks or generally wayward tee shots that I want to clear up, which is going to be this morning's target on the range.
I didn't end up hitting the range yesterday - a mate texted to ask to play a round, so I went for that. What was obvious is that the little 9 hole course, where I don't need anything above a 4 iron, has been great for my iron play, but that the 3 wood, driver and course management need a bit of a refresher course. Shot an 86 with a ridiculous 7 penalty strokes (4 on one tough par 3), which says it all really as I don't normally take any! It is a tight track though and there is OB all over the place, but no excuse for the few 'head off' moments which prevented me scoring well. It was match play as well so I guess that's part of it...
In short summary:
Driving/3 wood - pretty poor and I'm just not comfortable over the ball with those clubs. On a longer course, I'd have struggled.
Long irons - good, bar that atrocity of a par 3, where I think I'll just aim way left next time and take the safe miss. Both of those were actually really nice strikes, but went dead straight rather than drawing like I had expected. Still, my fault entirely for aiming towards the trouble
Mid-short irons - mostly pretty good actually. Put 6/14 approaches from outside 100 yards to (3/4 from within 100) inside 15 yards and bar two long bunker shots, the rest were manageable.
Putting - really pleased again; I probably only made one that I wouldn't have expected (birdie on 13), but there's a lot of break on the greens and I thought it was pretty decent for a first time out in a while.
Overall, pretty close to where I'd want it to be, but a better decision on 6, some better drives and a bit more luck on odd holes (like 16) and it'd have been a great round. I'd take that for the first time in ages. Should be able to post some video this afternoon.
And also, "speculation" is what the thread is all about! Sure, I'm placing the Tour guys on a pedestal but they DESERVE it. Yes "Golf is Hard", but those guys are GOOD. Low 60s are very much a possibility in any tournament they tee it up in, let alone on a public course that was designed with the average golfer in mind. Let's give credit where credit is due! If all the players from 75-125 on the money list decided to go out and play a new course (of "moderate difficulty" for amateurs) every week for the next 2 months, course records would be getting smashed all over the place. They might shoot the odd 70 or 72, but you darn well bet there would be a lot of 63's and 64's in there too. Regardless of poor course conditions, lack of course knowledge or anything like that, they are gonna make birdies in droves and they are going to go low!
I was at a garage sale with my son who was like 10 years old at the time. The seller had a box full of cheap toys with a handwritten sign on the box that read "$1 each, or 2 for $3". I nudged my son and pointed to the sign with my eyes (because the seller was standing right there). He glanced down at the sign and immediately grinned and shook his head in disbelief.
And don't get me going on auctions. People will pay more for used crap than they know they would if purchased brand new, simply because they get caught up in a bidding war. The best part is listening to them try and justify it afterwards.
The odds of him shooting -32 would be slim, but not impossible. Those guys absolutely demolish a handful of the easier courses (ie. Kapalua, the old rotation for the Las Vegas Invitational, the old rotation for the Bob Hope, TPC Scottsdale before they toughened it up, North Course at Torrey, etc.) and scores of ~ -30 haven't been terribly uncommon at some events. But I think the PGA Tour and the Web.Com Tour seem to be trying to get away from insanely low numbers and are moving tournaments away from some of the old venues that can't keep up with how far they hit the ball now, and renovating other courses to beef them up. I recall the Tour players voted to eliminate the TPC Stadium course at PGA West in the late 80's from tournanent play because they thought it was "too hard" and this year when they used it again it seemed to be quite playable for them. In fact, they seemed to have no issues making their way around the course at all. That speaks to the quality and depth of the fields nowadays. That being said - no, I wouldn't expect a -32 total. But it definitely wouldn't shock me either.
On a side note, I would be really interested to see this type of experiment revisited. This thread has fuelled some great speculation and debate, so thank you guys for playing along!