This is going to be long...
Wrapping up my trip out to see @iacas in Erie. It was a great trip overall. Got to see familiar TST faces like @georgep, @Hardspoon, @Divot Master, and @CarlSpackler, as well as meet a couple of new ones: @klineka, @Braivo. I also played/practiced with some locals that Erik knows, as well as @NatalieB. The golf was fun at frustrating at times, the practice days were long, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
The big theme for me is to quiet everything down. I tend to be too quick in tempo, natural rhythm, jumpy, or whatever. It manifests in my game in a general lack of control over the motion of whatever I'm doing.
Erik and I spent some time doing some short game stuff, basic technique refreshers and decision making, which was a problem for me. I tended to choose bigger swings and harder to execute shots than I needed to for most situations, and because I'm jumpy I tended to make even bigger swings than I thought I was making and then decelerate, causing all sorts of issues.
Technique-wise, chips need to be more of a driving hit; more crisp, but controlled. My pitching wasn't bad but I was taking the clubhead too far under going back. That, and the length of the backswing was usually too long because I'm a bit spazzy. The big thing for me was learning how to hit a 10' or 15' pitch. That shot requires control which I was lacking, so if I keep working on that motion I'll be able to develop that calmness.
My distance control in putting had the same problem. I would think I had the right weight in my practice stroke for a given distance, but the quickness in how I would do them meant I didn't really develop a good feel for the length of the stroke at all. Another change in my putting is to play the ball slightly back by about a ball because I was delivering slightly too much loft at impact.
Full swing stuff... there's a lot going on there. We spent most of the time on the full swing stuff. When I came into town on Saturday, I hit the ball very poorly. Erratic, two-way misses, no control over start line. It was so bad that I decided to go to a backup swing just so I could attempt to play golf on Sunday with the larger group.
We went to work on Monday on the swing and every day since. The biggest issue is that I don't use my lower body properly, so I ended up overdoing stuff with my arms and shoulders to compensate for it. We worked on the sit stuff last year, too, but this time we tackled it in a different way.
Some before/after pics:
Right leg flex doesn't change on the left, hip stays high and the lower body just kind of turns. Not using the ground at all.
You can see on the left that my lower body hasn't really done much from A5 to ~A6.5 or so. Looks very static. Much more dynamic movement on the right, left elbow doesn't have to bend to keep from chunking the crap out of it.
Much better extension on the right. On the left I extend the left leg but then sag again as I turn through. Can't really see it well from the FO view here but the stall on the left causes higher overtaking rates and lack of clubface control.
Very across the line on the left with the right shoulder retracted. Right arm softer on the right so it folds earlier, wrists hinge earlier. Feels like I'm laid off but I'm not. If anything, I'll still get a little long and across the line which is something I need to keep an eye on, but it won't be as much as it was before.
Pretty big difference here.
Delivering the club more in line on the right, more athletic. Flat footed on the left.
Hips and shoulders too closed on the left. Better impact position on the right.
Here are the swings from earlier tonight, after a round of golf at Whispering Woods where I hit some really good shots:
I'd get into some feels but this this post is long enough. There's a lot to do and I'm probably going to have to break it up and work on different pieces when I get home. I was hitting big curves before and now when I strike the ball well I'm hitting the ball fairly straight. I'm happy with the changes, just need to put in the work to make them happen.
We’ve all had em. We’ve all had that moment where we have a chance to go low or win a tournament/match, and we completely fall apart on the last few holes. Here’s mine. The real choke wasn’t until the last hole, but I just made small mistakes on holes 14-17 that cost me.
On Monday, I was playing really well. I had just shot 42 on the front nine and started par-bogey-birdie-par on the back. Still +6 through 13, and I was sitting just outside the 150 marker on the 14th, in perfect position to attack the vulnerable pin. But one thought couldn’t help but slip into my head: I could shoot low 80s. I could play bogey golf in, which would give me 83.
Then I hit my approach slightly fat, and my bump-and run chip from 40 yards ran out of gas. Down in three from there gave me a double, +8. Here were my next three holes:
No. 15: Right into trees, punch, 7I to right of green, down in three. Double bogey, +10.
No. 16: Two great shots, 50 yards out. Wedge short of green, chip on, two putt. Bogey, +11.
No. 17: Great drive, PW into bunker, two to get out of bunker, two putt. Double, +13.
The 18th at my home club is a 157-yard par-3 over water, meaning all I needed was a seven to break 90. I told my brother that I was conquering what I called the ‘choke jinx’, which meant me shooting 42 or 43 on the front and high 40s/low 50s on the back, and that’s what did me in. The club slipped in my hand a bit on the downswing, and as a result, I caught it on the heel, and it shot dead right into the water. I went up to the red tees to drop due to no specified drop zone, thinking I could knock it on the green, three-putt if I had to, and walk off with 88.
My wedge shot hit the front of the green, but it spun off the front, down to the bank, and back into the water. Again. Which meant to shoot 89 or better, I could take no more than three more shots. I hit my fifth onto the fringe. It stayed dry, but it was about 50 feet out. A challenging two-putt. I hit a terrible first putt and was left with an eight-footer to shoot 89. It slid just to the right, so I had to tap in for a quintuple-bogey 8, a back-nine 48, and a total score of 90. My brother, who had come to watch me play the last hole, could see the disappointment, hurt and frustration on my face. I had just spoiled the best chance I’ve had in a long time to go low, and he knew it. Although 90 is a respectable performance for me, it felt more like a 94 or 95 after those first thirteen holes.
I was in a sour mood the rest of the day, mainly because of what I said to my brother before I teed off on 18. It was a very stupid thing to say at a time like that, especially when water is very much in play. That is probably the most disappointing finish of my high school golf career so far. I also made a ten on the last hole of regionals last year, but the best I could’ve shot was probably 96 or 97, and I ended up with 104. Both were disappointing, but the one I just explained in detail was much more disappointing.
I have just purchased a new set of irons, Mizuno JPX 919 Tours, of which I am very excited about. I have only hit the 7 iron during the fitting and out on the range, so I am waiting to get rest of the set in so I can hit the others (they’re still shipping). However, I have jumped the gun a little and started thinking about the wedges I want to play, and through my research I have come up with this set. Assuming distances are equally gapped, I would like thoughts on the loft/bounce/grind combos I have selected. Please let me know if you’d say these wedges seem to be versatile enough for most common scenarios, but can still give me opportunities for various skill shots. Thanks!
PS - I am an 8-10 HC if that affects your response!