Time to pause at the quarterly mark of the golf season and evaluate how my improvement plan has performed to date and check my readiness to hit the meat of the summer schedule. I’m happy to report it’s working better than expected and I’m enjoying myself more than ever on the golf course. My desire to get better more consistent ball striking was the secret sauce of satisfaction. It’s great to come out to the course confident that you will hit solid shots with consistency. The off-season conditioning program has clearly helped strengthen my core and allowed for better execution without extra practice or lessons. In fact, I have not hit balls once with the intent on working on my swing, and have just let the physical changes drive the swing improvements. I’m playing about once per week, practicing a little less, and feel more refreshed. I planned to add a mid-week nine holes but that has not materialized.
The KPI I’m most concerned with is greens in regulation, with the goal of averaging 11 per round. Through eight rounds, I’m not there but have hit or exceeded 10 GIRs five times. For the first eight rounds in the last five years, my 10+ GIR stats were:
2011: 3 for 8
2010: 1 for 8
2009: 0 for 8
2008: 0 for 8
2007: 4 for 8
The trend is good and the major change I’m enjoying is more length off the tee. I’ve been able to maintain a solid spine angle and clear my left hip much quicker on the downswing which has improved my timing and balance. Oddly, I’ve struggled in my scoring on the par-5s as the added length has left me in layup/go for it situations I’m not used to. In years past, my strategy was to lay back to 100 yards for an unimpeded wedge to the green. Now if I go for it, I’m dealing with awkward greenside plays that often include low percentage long bunker shots. Guess more short game work will be required to leverage the distance off the tee, but it’s a great problem to have.