Latest game report

This update is purely a factual one. Statistics and more statistics. Improvement is about small steps. And I am certainly making those…small steps I mean. And the amazing thing is that people who hardly know me are starting to ask me about my breaking 80 plan. I tell them that I am two weeks into the break 80 in 6 weeks plan that I read about in Golf Magazine. Sadly I have actually been following the plan for about 5 weeks; this is reality. I have completed the first two weeks of the program but I am five weeks in. Time, life, and reality have a habit of getting in the way. Fortunately I have also been reading Zen Golf…and have learnt to forgive myself. It feels a bit like cheating and then letting myself off, but, you know, I WILL forgive myself. It is only golf after all. As I often tell my staff when things go wrong, unless you are performing brain surgery it is okay to make mistakes or not quite get everything done that you had planned. Sometimes.

But here is the fantastic thing about my plan…it is actually starting to bear fruit. The first two weeks of the plan are about the short game. You start by practicing all the irons from 8 through your highest lobbed wedge. You need to be confident of the distances of each of these. And I have practiced them. Practiced them until I can hit them blind folded…well not quite but it felt like I should add a powerful clause onto the end of the previous sentence and that was the one that came to mind. I have not practiced driving, or bunkers, or really putting yet. And if you look at the stats in the picture

Lots of squiggly lines...that means that I must be smart

you can see an amazing change in one particular statistic, greens in regulation. The green line is GIR, and you can see how since January it has improved, and recently quite markedly. Bunker play – the yellow line – has improved by virtue of having a more confident swing with short irons, and my scrambling – the purple line – has also gone in the right direction.

Now I haven’t been practicing my driving, nor have I practiced my putting yet and these have both shown a downward trend despite some basic “feel” improvements. But they are not yet in the “do them blindfolded” category. I have to think about them each time…and thinking does not lend itself to great golf. Think for control and then give up that control in favour of instinct is my goal.

This year as well I have won the nearest the pin prize (par 3) at my golf group four times already. Despite some good scores in the past I don’t think I have ever won this prize in 6 years of golf. Plenty of longest drives but NEVER nearest the pin on a par 3. From being my worst holes par 3s have become my best. When I line up now at a par 3 tee I actually BELIEVE that I can put it on the green. This is a new feeling for me. Very new. So new in fact that is is not yet a part of me but, like a cat after it has eaten it’s fill, I hope, perhaps vainly, that it will stay.

Another statistic for you stats buffs…I have had 7 birdies in the last three games I have played including four in one round! Birdies! And not just on par 5s. I expected them on par 5s before in a combination of luck and distance, but I have been getting them on par 3s and 4s…to put this in perspective it is a bit like, hmm, I think I have mentioned once before that I like metaphors…I will resist this once…but only this once

Another stat for tonight’s entry…although my scores have not improved out of site (yet) and a sub 80 round still seems a little ways away I like to look at the scores in another way. In my last three or four games I have managed to out together from 9 to 14 holes at around 5 over par. I used to play four or five good holes, then nine good holes, and now I am up to 14 good holes…four more and I will break 80…only four holes…

And here is scorecard from the day of Four Birdies…Three triples and a 45...Oh Baby!

Did I mention it was four birdies...?

Four freakin’ holes…usually a set of triples…12 to 16 shots on four little holes. 1600 yards of mental torture…I ran a half Marathon a couple of weeks ago and that was much easier than playing those extra four holes. But I will do it. And i will do them well. For the first time since starting this blog I actually BELIEVE that. And that has to be a good start.

Someone unkindly suggested that I should call Tiger and tell him how to shoot Birdes after this round…that would be cruel.  I won’t print that here.

Now if only I could retire early and spend more time practicing I just know I could be good!…


About THE Steve

I work, I play golf, I write, I have opinions, I try to be nice to animals and small children. That's me.
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One Response to Latest game report

  1. Kevin Keene says:

    Hey Steve, keep it up, it’s going well. The blog I mean … not so sure about the quest to break 80. Ha ha only teasing … a bit of English humour there. Actually you appear to be making great progress. I was checking out your rounds at Miramar and Kuo Hua and I notice that you actually played 18 consecutive holes in 5 over par. That’s very good golf. You have the talent to play to a high standard but you know, it’s tough to get in the “zone” with the nature of the golf we play in Taiwan. We always seem to be rushing to the course for an early morning tee off, waiting for 30 minutes before we start and then the group on the adjacent fairway will suddenly burst into song at the top of your swing as someone hits an approach shot close. The trick is to grind out the scores when you’re not in the zone. I once played a matchplay against a 70 something guy who told me he played off 8. On the first tee he pulled out a 5 wood, stooped gingerly to tee his ball and was visibly trembling as he addressed it. He took a gentle 3/4 swing and hit it about 160 yards. His second shot followed a similar pattern and as his ball was sitting 50 yards from the green and with me on the edge in two, I thought to myself, “I’ve got this one sewn up already. I can outdrive this guy by 130 yards and I’m gonna hit 50% of the greens in regulation, yet he’s giving me 3 shots. This should be a cakewalk”. Whereupon he hit his next shot to 5 feet and holed the putt for par. I 3 putted. His game followed a similar pattern for the rest of the round, getting up and down about 50% of the time. He was a genuine 8 handicapper. The moral of the story is that you don’t need to play spectacular golf all the time to grind out the good scores. Sometimes when you know it’s not going well, you need to rein it in and play conservatively, just to keep your score on track until that zone comes along again. Keep it up. Another three weeks and I reckon you’ll be there. K.

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