I played what may have been the last round of golf in 2016 today and kept score on the front 9 for the first time in over a month. I had no intention of posting the score towards my handicap index so I played from a variety tee boxes. I also tracked this round on GameGolf which I hadn’t been doing much of either. Finally, I recorded video of a few shots to see if any of the work I’d put towards getting my weight forward was showing up on the course.
After taking Evolvr lessons during the winter, I felt a tinge of confidence coming into the year. My priority piece had been to start with more weight back on the backswing. It was counter-intuitive but was an easy piece to implement and seemed to help. It is still an important part of my swing.
I mapped shot zones in the early spring and the measured distances matched what I consider to be stock for each club. The dispersion was likely what one would expect for the scores I shoot.
Once the rounds had started, I decided to record many of them using an online handicap tracking service. I hadn’t realized the rule about recording solo rounds had changed, but it made little difference as the intent was to track improvement. In an attempt to avoid sandbagging or vanity capping, I was consistent in declaring (in my head of course) whether the round would be posted before I started. There were only two infractions committed that I’m aware of. One was updated immediately with the correct penalty strokes added, the other was not as the infraction was unknown until months later and I couldn’t remember the exact round. The point is, I believe all but one round were played strictly by the rules.
2016 was also the first year where the majority of rounds were recorded with GameGolf. That software is simply incredible.
From that first round played at Farmington Hills in March, to repeatedly shooting in the mid 90’s from a 6,000 course, to the point in late August where I finally broke 100 from the difficult blue tees at my home course, the season was succeeding in the form of measurable improvements.
Unfortunately, the improved play wouldn't carry over to the Fall. When the progress stalled and even reversed a little in September, I took video while playing on the course. I had no idea my swing looked so bad and so different from what I’d recorded during the last couple of years in my workshop. While I don’t give a rat’s ass whether I have a pretty swing or not, there were some serious flaws. And more than a month of very focused practice has done little to change the picture.
But this entry isn’t intended to be negative. I’ve always liked the phrase “what happens to me isn’t as important as how I react to it”. I envy and respect those who can accept their ability for what it is and never forget it's only a game, as much as I do those who excel at this game. I’ve given up on getting much better than bogey golf, but I still aspire to learn how to relax and try to enjoy my time out there.
Which brings me back to today’s round.
My overall game is not at mid-season form. There are a lot of reasons for that, but the area I’ve put so much time into — the full iron swing — was not one of them. While videos taken today still reveal an ugly, off-balance swing, the practice showed up in the form of better contact with the club bottoming out more correctly, and a swing path and face angle that provided pretty good starting lines and ball flight.
For the most part, the last round of the season was enjoyable.