Until this year I have never played much golf. 4, 5 rounds a year, sometimes less, rarely ever as many as 10 and even then only 1 or 2 would be for 18.
This year the wife and I talked about it, I wanted to get "not horribly bad, maybe respectable" at golf. She okayed me getting fitted for clubs, lessons, and getting March through October unlimited golf at a local retirement community track. http://www.kingcitygc.com/ it is short, par 34 (should be 33 or 32, really). The challenge comes from if you miss a fairway you probably hit a house and/or are ob but for a hackmaster like myself...fine course.
My goal for the year was pretty modest. A round under 40 for 9. I generally shot in the mid-40s both there and at "real" golf courses. Some forays into the mid-50s and occasionally when everything was working right maybe a 42 or 43. 1 41.
Early in the year, before the club fitting, I had a so-so round going...until I finished birdie-eagle when i chipped in on 9 for a 2. Later in the year I would get a second eage, so that was exciting.
As the lessons started to take hold I was struggling. It was a complete swing change from outside in, playing for a slice, to trying to hit it straight and attempting a draw. I would have a couple low 40s. I would have a 55. My scores were similar...but the WAY I was getting them was different. Now it often was a couple duffed chips around the green after getting close in 2. I could see the improvement even if the scores did not show it.
Then the magical day came where it all came together, I had a 35 going into 9. Drive down the middle. Wedge to the green. lag putt close. I was standing over a 4' par putt for a 39...of course I finished with a 41, could that part of the story end any different? But I was encouraged. I had a legit shot at it. Visible improvement.
I went to my favorite course, Wildwood, played 18 and shot a legit 84. I had never done better than an 89 on ANY course before. That was exciting. My driver was 33 yards longer than my average at the time.
Came back to King City. I was working hard, practicing my chipping and putting at Red tail, hitting the driving range between lessons...I changed my chipping grip, my chipping approach, my pitching approach. I read Dave Pelz short-game Bible borrowed from the library. I went out and bought it, developed the 1/4, 1/2, 2/3 swings. i bought a 60 degree wedge to add to my PW, SW and AW. My short game got better.
Played some "real courses" 2-man best ball with my friend John against Dave and Jim.
Broke 40 with a 38. And again with a 39. Later I shot a 44/36 on the King City. Then I melted down. For a month.
My driver went wild. My 4h went wilder. My 3w was unhittable. I took to teeing off with a 6 iron, sometimes a 7 iron just to keep the ball in play. I met Tequila4Kapp and YetiLooper and came to enjoy the THP style round.
Then the game started to come back. I broke 40 a couple more times. And then came perhaps my favorite round ever. On the front nine I hit 7 greens in regulation. I made one birdie putt. I shot a 40 that was my fault for melting down on 9 and pulling a double bogey. On the back after 4 holes I had hit zero GIR but 4 1-putts had me at par. I texted a brag about that bizarre stat to Tequila and Yeti, promptly took a double. BUT...
IMy mental game is stronger. I 1-put par on 6. I 1-put birdie on 7. 3-putt double on 8. 2-putt par on 9. I shot a 36.
So for the front I was playing really well as hitting the green but not close enough to birdie. On the back I was missing the green but chipping close.
Actual, real, live example of the improvement in my game year over year.
And this time instead of reverting to my bad ways as I did last time I had some success, this time I shot a 42 for 9, then tonight a 42-38. I am experiencing sustained success.
Oh, I know the bad swings will come. I sliced a 6 iron on 5 tonight that had me "fore-tee box" screaming. I yanked a drive left that only stayed in bounds when it bounced off not one but 2 houses and found its way to the rough from which a 7-iron found the sand which I barely got out of. I am not a "good" golfer and neither I nor my trending handicap claim that I am.
but I can visibly see the improvement. At this end of the year if I land next to sand or water it does not bother me because i have the capability to avoid the trouble most of the time and, should I hit the sand, I get out more often than not in decent shape to save bogey instead of launching it 100 yards past the green and looking at snowman or worse.
I credit many things. The fitted clubs have been a wonder to behold. My ball flight is much better. For the first time in my life I am getting a really high ball flight that stops the ball on the green more and more frequently. I hit straighter more often and longer. I have a wider array of shots to select from and am gaining confidence in them all.
I credit Matt, my instructor, for much of the improvement in my short game and Pelz' principles for more, and honestly...I have worked hard at practicing what Matt has taught, spending hours hitting thousands of shots on the practice range.
Coming down to the end of the paying season, golf is a much different game for me than it was at the beginning of the year. My skills are better and, while I will never be a scratch golfer, and probably not a mid-teen much less scratch handicapper (per the Grint I have gone from I think 32 or so at beginning of the year to 23.5 per most recent update), I don't feel like I want to run hide at corporate outings or anything like that. I have met some really cool people, had a ton of fun and even grown to the place where I can still tell you I have had precisely 3 eagles in my life (2 this year), I have had enough birdies they stop being a life-changing event...
Tomorrow I hop on a plane for Flagstaff and am taking my clubs, something i never would have done before because I would have wanted to hide my lack of skill from random strangers and would not enjoy rounds. Instead, so far this year I have played in Washington, Oregon, and California and have plans to play in Arizona. That alone is a sea change.
I think it has been a successful year. I know this is of little interest to most people but I just wanted to remember it and this little post might help with that. thanks for listening and hey..lets play 18