For the last couple of months, I’ve been trying to implement some changes a local teaching pro had been kind enough to share with me. The results weren’t bad at first, but as I started to work in more of his advice, my iron swing became harder to control. Still, I remained patient with the poor results — that’s how it works after all. I anticipated the bad rounds and, for a while, was able to control the frustration.
The last two rounds pushed me over the edge.
I tracked many of my 2016 rounds with GameGolf - both the good and bad. While 35% of GIRs is nothing to brag about, it does indicate a level of competence with irons befitting a high ‘capper. The last 36 holes I played yielded exactly 0. The round played on Sunday was surreal — and not in a good way. Even the first couple of years learning the game offered the occasional good shot. Fortunately, there were few golfers out on the rain-soaked course Sunday because I was no longer just swearing under my breath. (Even with the absence of witnesses, it was an embarrassing meltdown.)
The aftermath of a poor round of golf normally brings about some sort of positive reflection. Not today friend I thought to myself. There was no optimism, no profound understanding that golf consists of good rounds and bad, and no plans moving forward. There was only the feeling that the train had jumped the tracks. I had taken a wrong exit with no idea of how to get back on the interstate.
By the time I’d arrived home, the madness had subsided and was replaced by the realization that there are worse things in life than sucking at golf. 20 minutes later I was out in the field taking easy swings — immediately understanding how much work would be needed just to get back to the level of golf I’d enjoyed during the summer.
The optimist in me wants to believe this may be a blessing in disguise. I am starting over from near scratch and would like to think some good habits can be developed. My daily practices consist mostly of easy, half swings working on a specific move while trying to maintain parts of the swing I feel are correct. The 5 Simple Keys are the real deal and I am trying harder than ever to ingrain them. But I’ve changed my opinion regarding the importance of results when trying to develop changes.
I used to buy into how results during practice should be of little concern. I’d read where better players will accept shanks and tops while working on a specific move, and I tried to adopt that way of thinking into my own practices. There’s one important difference… they know that what they’re working on will eventually prove beneficial. I have absolutely no idea of what will work. I can only look at video and recognize that no good player in the world does what I’m doing. That’s not anywhere near the same as knowing what I should be doing.
When I’m playing poorly, my result is anything from a weak fade to an all-out slice. I get the ball flight laws and believe I know what’s going on with the swing path and club face. What I fail to grasp is the reason(s). Might be keeping my weight back on the downswing, coming over the top, lacking a full shoulder turn, hands might be going outward from the top then in and across the ball at the last split second, any combination of these things or something I’ve never even considered.
So trial and error and assessment by way of the results are all I really have.
If I can achieve “better” results from a half swing where my keys — at least the first 3 - look somewhat correct, I’m going to assume I’m on the right track. If I can develop feels that will repeat the good results, I’ll gradually lengthen my backswing and speed up the club head through impact. Then, as the results begin to fail, I’ll hopefully be able dial everything back until the positive results return.
My 2016 season is likely over. I’m still happy with the progress made through to the beginning of September, but after Sunday’s ass beating, things have definitely changed.