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  1. Welcome to the "5 Minutes Daily" Practice Challenge for 2018! Please read as the rules have changed! Yes, for all of 2018! I'm changing it up. Rather than do this monthly, we're going to have an ongoing challenge. Here is how you can earn the coveted award you see to the left. Make a detailed post describing your practice every day during the month. "Going to the range later" doesn't cut it, nor does "worked on my chipping today." Describe what you did for at least five minutes of practice (indoors or out, with or without golf balls, etc.). No back-dating or pre-dating posts or practice sessions. When you've gone four weeks (28 calendar days) in a row, missing at most two days, make your post in bold, red text to let everyone know that you're on a streak. Every day after that, so long as you're still 26 of 28 or better, post in bold, red text. If you had a streak, but lose it, post again in regular old black, non-bold text. Be honest; this is golf we're talking about. I'll periodically check those of you with the award and will remove the coveted award/badge from your profile when you've fallen off your streak. Other members are encouraged to point out when someone else has fallen off as well, because I want the badge to belong only to the truly dedicated! What's different about this? Your "month" basically can begin any time. If you're stopping in and it's the 17th, you can start your streak right now, and a month later, have the award. Before, you had to wait for the month to change on the calendar. Enjoy and practice hard!
  2. I think with a little work, just making sure I stay the course, with the previous part, I think the equipment change will help me become a more consistent driver. Now on to the single most important part of my improvement. My approach shots. I was going to break this part of the blog up into a few different pieces, but I decided that one long blog was better than three or four kind-of short blogs. So, about my approach shots. At times, I can hit 8 or 9 greens in a round, some rounds I hit 3 or 4. I know @iacas will preach GamePlanning, Shot Zones and Decision Maps to me. So were going to go through what I need to do to become a better iron player, so good in fact, I can maybe eventually get to scratch. I'm going to break down for you pretty much distance by distance and almost club by club, shot by shot at my home course of what I honestly need to do... to get more royalty in my life. A lot of the issues, I think I am having is, iI need to find that Smart Target, and just aim for the center of the green. The greens on my home course are relatively small at around 3,000 square feet. That still is a much bigger target than a 4¼ inch hole with a 6-foot stick with a piece of cloth attached to it… If I could just find that smart target in line with the center of the green that was even an intermediate target, I’d be halfway there. I still must execute. Golf is a game of imperfection, but if I’m 130 yards out for my second shot on the 13th Hole at Newman, if I aim at the center of the green my entire shot zone for my choked-down 9-iron, is on the green. Same for a stock pitching wedge. As far as I drive it, (which really isn’t that far, about 260 yards carry) and as short of irons as I have into most greens (on the front nine, if I don’t hit some hybrids, I’ll be hitting a bunch of shots with sand wedges all day.) I may have figured out part of this with just the introduction, aim at the center of the green, jack-ass. (I’m talking to myself, no offense to anyone). There is a part of Lowest Score Wins where they took 90s, 80s, and 70s shooters from 50 to 130 yards and had them shoot at the flag and shoot at a Smart Target. The higher handicappers did better shooting away from the hole, and took fewer strokes to hole out, than shooting at the hole. At the tale end of last summer, I started a thread which I should re-link, but I won’t. I said I wasn’t going to hit any full shots inside of 150 yards. I’m still not. Will there be a time and place when I do? Perhaps someday. Ok I said I was going to go shot-by-shot, of some approaches I would hit in a round at my home course, which is Newman Municipal Golf Course here in Ithaca, New York. Hole 1, Par 5, 490 Yards: Now I’ll be honest, I haven’t played with my new clubs yet or been out since October, but usually I have to lay-up short of the ditch because the tree or the right has a catcher’s mitt, the trees on the left you have to advance it toward the 3rd tee to have a chance to maybe make a 5, and the right side of the fairway though it leaves a longer third shot, is a better side to shoot from. So, I usually have about 120 yards, if I have this yardage, there are three trees behind the green, the one in the middle is almost dead in line with the center of the green. If I shoot the flag at 120 yards and it’s in the back, choked PW at the tree, in the front choked ¾ PW at the tree. Hole 2, Par 3, 145 Yards: I like Par 3s they are measured to the center of the green. Now we have a variable on the 2nd, some days we play from the right tee, some days we play from the left. Depending on the day, it changes the smart target. I forgot to mention, the prevailing wind is usually from the North. The 7th Hole you’ll see is straight into the teeth of this wind. We had a fence behind the green that was basically the out of bounds marking for the hole. It’s gone. Now we use trees and the practice fire station windows. From the left tee, a choked 8-iron at the far left window of the practice fire station. From the right tee, there is a lone pine tree across Fall Creek that is a little off center, but it’s pretty darn close. Hole 16 (also the 7th from a different angle), Par 3, 200 yards: This hole can play 220 yards if Mike decides to tip it out, but usually we don’t. There is a window on a boat house in the distance that is in the dead center of the green… if that doesn’t work the 8th tee marker (which is white, is usually a good line). You have Fall Creek on the right which is out-of-bounds. So I will take the penalty buffer into consideration and move your shot zone over to the left, there is also native grass to the left but it’s way left. There is a pine tree at the back-left corner of the green I will aim at because. It’s honestly the lightest shade. From the tee, if I get a nGIR most of the time and hit the green 1 out of 5… I’d be happy. 200-yard 4- or 5-iron shots are not easy for anyone. I think, what I’ll do my first time out in 2018, is get all my smart targets in order. Draw out my shot zones on some of that graph paper, they have you do constructions on in high school. Continue to work on my full swing drills, that I am working on with Craig, and who knows by summer @iacas maybe giving me, the breaking par, no sixes, and tournament winner badges.
  3. Remember my plan to get better at golf, that I wrote a few weeks back. Well I'm going to dissect it down to what I need to do in order to get my handicap down under 5... For wanting to be an sub 5 handicap, My driving well stinks. Probably 240, if I was lucky, and not-so-straight, It was absolute shit in comparison, but when I drove it well I was driving 280-290 with no problems. But it was Tiger inconsistent. You won't believe what led me to what happened with my new driver. But this is a blog, so I'll tell the story. I shot a 76, October and the only 6 I made was on a par-5 after a seemingly fine tee shot. But I was outside of 250, didn't have the lumber in the bag to go for it, so I laid up (bad Shane). I got home that night, and I pulled out my old Wilson 1200 GE Maple Laminate Drive that plays 43.5" long. (mind you actual "woods" can be difficult to hit, however after about ten shots that all went similar distances (not long maybe 220-230) I realized something. I don't need a 45.5" driver to hit it long. I probably should to my fitter and figure this out. I started a thread linked above. Which I actually did this experiment today. We actually did a version of this when I was settling on my length in my new EX10 driver. We actually started at 45.5" which is where I was at. Then we worked down to 45".... Which was a little better. Then I went too short... he actually has a couple shafts that make the driver play 42 and 43" respectively... and the strikes were there, but the distance was too short. (I joked if Tour Edge had a 15° or 16° driver head, I might use that for a 6 or 7 club set) So we went from there to 43.5" which was actually really good... but the launch was a little high. So we stuck made the Driver 44", The launch was around 15°, spin around 2500 (which is a hell of a lot lower than I had), and I was flying it 260... Consistently... So we tried 44.5" and the inconsistency creeped in. I'm 6'5" I have average length, limbs, a long torso... And I have a Driver an inch shorter than most of the guys at my course... wait till they play with me... they are in trouble. But as Dave and Erik say in LSW... 250 yards is plenty to be a scratch golfer (if you're playing from the proper tees, which I think I am, my course is 6,385 yards). I don't think I can get to scratch just by becoming an excellent driver of the golf ball, that is both long and reasonably straight. And I'm longer than 250 consistently... I'm probably going to be pushing a legit 270-280 yards once the season gets in full swing. If I can keep my shot zone in a nice 30 yard wide oval. I'll start gaining strokes. All I want to know from @iacas is trying to make your misses smaller, okay, if your only giving up say 5-10 yards of potential distance to do it?
  4. I looked at some of my Game Golf statistics and some of my other statistics I kept, My short game is not as bad as I thought it was, my approaches inside of 100 yards need some work though, I'm actually gaining strokes on a 5-handicap with my driving already, even as bad, as I'm driving it sometimes. I'm losing shots on the approaches, but not much -2 ish (the 2 GIRs I need), and my putting is almost dead-on with a 5 Handicap. I'm only losing like 0.162 or something per round (mostly 3 putts between 30-40 feet). So I'm going to continue to work on my full swing drills to get the handicap down to 4.x... So I need to hit 2 more GIR a round. So 50% GIR gains me some strokes... More next week
  5. Journey To The Center Of The Green By Shane Jones I wish I could just rename my blog the title of my new entry. However, if I can't it's all good. Anyway it's Sunday, well technically Monday wee hours... So this is part of my weekly blog. Recently, since my last lesson, back in February (remember Craig is in Florida for a month). I've added a new drill to my repertoire. It's the first move down drill. I have kind of explained it in the "5 Minutes Daily" thread (fingers crossed 20 days to go... Though I was so tired I put yesterday's date for today) It's really not that complex of a drill, and you can do it, with or without a club, I use my spatula at work, if I have a free second or 5. Basically, your trying to keep your trail elbow (In my case the right), close to your body, but at the same time, drop it down like you are going to "elbow drop" Randy Orton or something. (At least that's the feeling I get.) So this little drill actually is helping me with three things I tend to struggle with. 1) balance, 2) occasionally coming over the top, and 3) Flipping occasionally... If I don't have a club in hand, I try to think of the back of my left hand as my "clubface". Hilariously, my left hand seems to actually have some "shaft lean" at "impact". When I do it with a club, I don't have an impact bag, so I use my couch pillow and swing this to impact and I notice the same thing. I actually had the chance this week to hit my new irons a little with some real golf balls. Word to the wise, don't hit a Top-Flite or Nitro with a blade. (I didn't). They had some gamer Bridgestone B330-RXs that they were using for the monitor... The feel is absolutely amazing... If you are an improving player (5-12 handicap), I would recommend at least testing some out..... For whatever reason a well struck shot off a "Super-Blade" (enter my Exotics CBX Blades) even it is a smidge off the heel or toe... It actually holds it's line quite well... I still have the ability to hit some high shots, I suppose... (the data agrees too) for the most part, my trajectory is a little lower... now I've only tested indoors because let's face it, I live in Upstate New York, and the weather can't make up it's @#$%ing mind. (Like Steve Martin's boss in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles). I cannot wait to actually go outdoors and hit these on the practice area at Newman, in reality on the course. If any of you have read my 2018 Golf Goals thread my main key two were: 1) Average 9 GIR a round 2) Get my handicap under 5. I actually have a 2019 goal, however, it might require a lot. And @iacas would have to make the decision of having a cook on his team, who is way too smart to be a damn cook, who like to crunch numbers, like he does. I hope finances, family stuff, and my paid vacation work out to the point, where I can travel to the West Coast in 2019, and represent the East team and keep the Newport Cup. But @iacas, I don't know if you'll be able to stand all of my Exotics gear. I don't really do well in Blue, unless it's Newport Cup team East blue.
  6. I have for the last few years slowly gotten better. I still have bad days. I want to walk of the course those days. However, I seem to be making measurable progress. As a lot of you know, I tend to switch equipment a lot, always trying to find that "perfect golf club" as Tom Wishon would call it. For 2 years, I played Tour Edge Exotics EXi irons, which are a game-improvement iron, that is gear a little toward better players. They honestly are great irons, think of them as a cross between a non-forged AP2 and a TM iron with a speed slot. They really are nice. I lost my Game Golf belt unit two years ago during the club championship. So I just simply stopped using Game Golf. So my distances on there really aren't up to date. Since taking a few lessons over the winter, and using GC2 to track, the differences are amazing, I'm a full club longer with my irons, I'm actually hitting a draw, and I am really looking forward to this golf season. After my second lesson, Craig (my instructor) asked me if I would ever consider playing a blade iron. I said, I've always wanted to, however, I think my strikes are too erratic to try it. So we grabbed my 6-iron and some impact tape and we looked after 10 shots, and said... those ten shots are in a small enough area that I could play blades. One thing led to another and I am currently playing the new Tour Edge Exotics CBX Blades (I have a picture in my Tossing Around Set make-up ideas for 2018). I have only hit my foam balls with them, but I am excited to take them out to the range. (I did demo the 7-iron with the shaft I'm currently playing). Quite honestly, my game is headed in the right direction... The main areas I need to clean up to be honest, is missing the green from 75 yards and in, better Game Planning, and continue my practice plan. Things are starting to get better, I'll work on the wedge thing when the season is in full swing... One more bright spot, I'm only 24 days from one year in the practice challenge... I really hope to get to 1 year, that was my goal when I hit 6 months in a row, I wrote it down in my notebook, One Full Year of practicing five minutes everyday, and posting about it... Thanks to all the golfers who make The Sand Trap what it is.
  7. The Continuing Story Of My Golf Game Apparently I should only devote 15% of my practice time to putting. That's what Erik says anyway. My 30-75 yard game stinks. I mean it's bad. Like Alina is better from 30-75 yards than I am. (Not even a joke) It's sad, I'm 40 yards out hitting some sort of half sand wedge. Alina I hitting 8 iron or driver... I knock it to 20 feet... after stupidity, she hits her shot to 10 feet. Then pleased with her self she walks up to the green with her dad. I miss the 20 foot putt, she drains her 10 foot putt. She's 4 (was 3 when this was happening last year)... I mean she did practically hold a golf club before she could walk. Zoey, my nearly 4 month old, stares into the corner at my wife's golf clubs all the time. I try to go to the golf course, to get out of the house, Alina grabs her clubs. Sorry, had to throw that little anecdote about my daughters in there. Anyway, I'm try to do figure out is a 30-75 yard shot, a pitch or a full swing motion... If the 75-yarder is full swing, and 30-yards is short game... I can clock face, actually most yardages. I've been known to hit an occasional "7:30" PW from 60 yards from time to time, All I know, is that it is an achilles heel, and needs a hell of a lot of work. So, here's the Stalin reference of the blog: I don't have a KGB agent watching me hit balls, telling me what to practice. I can practice what is a glaring weakness, correct? On a nice side note, I got my new irons this week (I think it was Tuesday), I'm actually playing blades now. And not some Thrift Store blades (though my first "set" was a nice Wilson Sam Snead half-set we found there for $30). My new Exotics CBX Blade Irons are now in the bag. I decided to go to a 44" driver this year. The last couple of years, I've been swinging a 45.5" driver. I'm all over the place with the 45.5" club, where is, I am much more consistent with a 44" club. So I've got that now... Stay tuned next Sunday as I do a thorough what's in the bag with Photos... I may try to do A VIDEO. If you have any questions, ask.
  8. Welcome to the "5 Minutes Daily" Practice Challenge for December, 2017! The rules are the same as always: Make a detailed post describing your practice every day during the month. Try to limit the number of very short or "ditto" type posts. Describe what you did for at least five minutes of practice (indoors or out, with or without golf balls, etc.). No back-dating or pre-dating posts or practice sessions. On the last day of the month, if you completed the challenge, post about it in red text so I can notice it and give you the award. Enjoy and practice hard! Note: you can miss one day per monthly challenge if you have a good reason and still be eligible for the monthly award.
  9. Welcome to the "5 Minutes Daily" Practice Challenge for November, 2017! The rules are the same as always: Make a detailed post describing your practice every day during the month. Try to limit the number of very short or "ditto" type posts. Describe what you did for at least five minutes of practice (indoors or out, with or without golf balls, etc.). No back-dating or pre-dating posts or practice sessions. On the last day of the month, if you completed the challenge, post about it in red text so I can notice it and give you the award. Enjoy and practice hard! Note: you can miss one day per monthly challenge if you have a good reason and still be eligible for the monthly award.
  10. Welcome to the "5 Minutes Daily" Practice Challenge for October, 2017! The rules are the same as always: Make a detailed post describing your practice every day during the month. Try to limit the number of very short or "ditto" type posts. Describe what you did for at least five minutes of practice (indoors or out, with or without golf balls, etc.). No back-dating or pre-dating posts or practice sessions. On the last day of the month, if you completed the challenge, post about it in red text so I can notice it and give you the award. Enjoy and practice hard! Note: you can miss one day per monthly challenge if you have a good reason and still be eligible for the monthly award.
  11. Welcome to the "5 Minutes Daily" Practice Challenge for September, 2017! The rules are the same as always: Make a detailed post describing your practice every day during the month. Try to limit the number of very short or "ditto" type posts. Describe what you did for at least five minutes of practice (indoors or out, with or without golf balls, etc.). No back-dating or pre-dating posts or practice sessions. On the last day of the month, if you completed the challenge, post about it in red text so I can notice it and give you the award. Enjoy and practice hard! Note: you can miss one day per monthly challenge if you have a good reason and still be eligible for the monthly award.
  12. Welcome to the "5 Minutes Daily" Practice Challenge for August, 2017! The rules are the same as always: Make a detailed post describing your practice every day during the month. Try to limit the number of very short or "ditto" type posts. Describe what you did for at least five minutes of practice (indoors or out, with or without golf balls, etc.). No back-dating or pre-dating posts or practice sessions. On the last day of the month, if you completed the challenge, post about it in red text so I can notice it and give you the award. Enjoy and practice hard! Note: you can miss one day per monthly challenge if you have a good reason and still be eligible for the monthly award.
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