Update: So it had been since January 19th since I played a round of golf or hit any golf balls. So far 2014 has been difficult as I have been lucky to play once a week and sometimes, like last weekend (1/25 &1/26) I was not able to play at all as there was snow everywhere from where I lived all the way down to Virginia Beach. This combined with the fact that I was not hitting balls during the week was making me mad and also it made playing more difficult too as I am just not as consistent with my shots as I was towards the end of last summer when I was playing twice a week and hitting balls several times during the week. This had to change.....
I finally found a place that I could go to in order to hit balls during the week, no matter how dark it is and no matter how much rain/snow there is. It's a golf park place by my house and they have a covered and heated range. So I ordered a membership there and went there for the first time last Friday night. I got too excited and got the jumbo bucket which is almost 175 balls. I was sore as hell for the rest of the weekend as I had not hit that many balls in a long time. Oh well, at least I now have a place that I can go once or twice during the week to keep sharp.
The weather also cooperated for the first time this year and I was able to play a round on Saturday and Sunday! Not at my country club though as it's still closed as are most courses near where I live due to snow. An hour and a half trip down I-95 in Virginia there were courses open and it was great to play both Sat and Sunday. Saturdays round was odd because only the front 9 was open at this course so we had to play two front 9's. It was okay but I was frustrated by how many easy shots I missed. My driving was fantastic (12 FIR) and I had many easy shots for GIR and the lack of practice had me missing too many GIR. I shot 41 both times for an 82.
Sunday was much better as we went even further south to a course I have never heard of before and it was great. The weather warmed up to almost 70 by the time we were done and the course was in great shape considering it's winter. I drove the ball probably the best I ever had by missing just one FIR. I was still erratic on the front 9 and had just 3 GIR and 3 pars. Finally on the back 9 though I felt like myself again as I went on maybe my best streak ever by hitting 7 straight GIR and had 6 straight pars (several birdie putts lipped out or were just missed) and carded a 39 on the back to go with a 42 on the front for an 81 overall. We played from shorter tees (just over 6k yards) and the slope was just 127 which is equal to about my course in difficulty (rating was 70). So it was only a 9.5 index for the round but it was still just 9 over for the round and I felt so good on the back 9 as I was able to control the ball like I wanted with my irons.
After posting both scores (I have to post them because they are in VA), my hc is trending down to 8.3L from 8.4. The bad news is that we are supposed to get a a few snow storms this week so I probably will not be able play golf next weekend, or at least that's the way it looks now. While that will not be good, I can still hit balls and that's the most important thing. So even if I cannot play I can go both days and play a simulated round on the range and also go there a couple of times during the week to stay sharp and continue to improve.
My driving has been getting better and better despite me not playing or hitting balls. I just feel really comfortable with my driver and I feel like I can hit the ball where I want to with the driver. Let me tell you, that is a great feeling. I have never had that before and it's only been 20 months as of yesterday since I first hit a golf ball. I'm just now getting to the point with my driver where I can be pretty accurate with my driver while not sacraficing any distance. My shot is still a draw and I am not able to hit a cut on demand and still place the ball where I want, but I can do that with my draw. If I want to carry mounds on the right or have the ball end up on the left side of the fairway, I can do stuff like that. Obviously this sets up my approach shots well which is why I have been so frustrated because the lack of play and practice has left me very inconsistent with my irons. I'm convinced that this is just due to not hitting many balls and not playing as much as I used to though. This should change as I start playing more and hitting the range during the week.
I said one of my goals for 2014 was to improve my short game. Unfortunately I have not been able to work on it much at all due to the weather. I still practice a lot of putting inside and that's fine, but I cannot wait for the weather to warm so I can work around the green and in greenside bunkers. I was able to get up and down 3 times in a row yesterday on 9, 10, and 11 to save bogey all three holes which was huge as those would have been doubles and I would not have been able to shoot 81.
There have been no changes to the bag except for putters. As I mentioned about a month ago, I had put the R11 irons back in the bag as I thought the Rocketbladez with the stiff shafts might be too stiff for me for the winter. The R11's were not stiff enough and the Rocketbladez are fine so I have them in the bag. My driver is still the Titleist 910 d2 (I love that thing and I've had it since last June or so), 3wood is still my TM Burner Superfast TP 2.0 (I've had that for more than a year!), 2H is TM Rescue TP 11, irons 4-GW are Rocketbladez and LW is Rocketbladez. I have also been experimenting with a 37 degree cheap chipper I got online. On some shots it works amazingly from just off the green. I have not been able to practice that much with it and am still getting used to it.