2017 wasn’t exactly the same, but the results are pretty close… set the bar low and fail to reach it.
I’m not sure why it’s so important for me to improve at golf or why failing to do so has the impact it does. There are plenty of things I’m not that good at that I still enjoy. Guitar, fishing, hunting, shooting, working on small engines, lawn and home maintenance… I’m ok with being mediocre with these. They are simply enjoyable activities that make up my version of a full life.
Unfortunately, golf is more than that to me.
It may be because I thought or hoped it would be something I could excel in. I’ve said it before, golf is the perfect activity for me. It doesn’t require exceptional power, or speed, or upper body strength, it can be enjoyed alone or with a group of friends, it takes place in an environment I feel very relaxed in, and can be played well into my later years. I have a lot of time to devote to practice and enough of a budget with which to play and purchase equipment. So naturally, I adopted golf as MY game.
The trouble is, golf is not my game. It’s something I’ll never excel at… ever. Given unlimited time, money, or even the best instruction, the ceiling would still be very low. The trick is learning to accept that fact, to be happy with the good shots and not care about the poor ones.
Easier said than done. But I have to work as hard at that mindset as I have in trying (and failing) to develop a decent game.
There were some positives during the season — just as in seasons past. I had a more relaxed approach in the off-season, shot a couple low scores, got together with other members of the forum, kept a legitimate handicap, bought some new equipment and developed an improved iron swing using the 5S’s of good practice. There were also small improvement in the short game in with putting.
But overall, my game was worse than last year. And until I learn to accept the bad with the good, golf will continue to frustrate me.
Last week I played a solo round at a favorite course. From the white tees, the course plays at 6,000 yards with a rating and slope of 68.3/122. It’s a perfect course and distance for my skill level and club distances and shot mid 90's there twice last year. On this day, I hit 33% of my greens, hit approach shots of 100 yds or less to within 15 yds 100% of the time, and 50% of the time from 100-200 yds. My distances were longer across the board than average…. and yet I failed to break 100. Maybe those numbers are average for that score, I don’t know.
Given the courses I play, my problem has less to do with a lack of a distance from off the tee and more from lack of accuracy — and it isn’t even a close.
While my iron swing can best be described as a full body dry-heave, it can produce good results (and for anyone who thinks a golfer's swings are all the same, I have some videos for you).
My problem isn’t an inability to make shots, it’s that the shots I miss are bad misses. It isn’t that I can’t do all the things needed to score low, it’s that I can’t do all the things needed to score low often enough. And I just don’t see that changing.
So going forward into next year, I have to develop a different way of looking at the game. Maybe less worrying about improvement or index, and more goofing off, risk-taking, experimenting with different shots and looking for the positives in golf that are within my control.