Golf Improvement Plan – The Big Test

It’s June 1 and I’m two weeks out from the final exam for the 2012 Improvement Plan.  Yes, end-stage preparations have begun for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca (Myrtle Beach) and a quick review of my 2012 KPIs vs. 2011 and some anecdotal observations are in order.

Positive trends:

  • Scoring average has dropped from 79.17 (six rounds) to 77.80 (10 rounds).
  • GIR average has increased from 8.83 to 9.20 with 7 out of 10 rounds at or above 10 GIRs.
  • Putts per round has decreased from 32.66 to 31.90.
  • More play.  Number of rounds up from six last year to 10 in 2012 with two or three more scheduled prior to MB.
  • Number of practice sessions has been reduced from 20 to 13 for the same time period.  Intent was to be more efficient by playing more and practicing less.

Negative trends:

  • Short game is not as sharp, especially with greenside SW shots
  • Tendency to pull hook the occasional mid-iron off the tee on par-3 holes

General observations:

My focus has been on improving core conditioning in hopes that the changes would result in more consistent ball striking.  This has worked and I’m enjoying more length off the tee and better accuracy with my three wedges inside of 120 yards.  My GIR stats are skewed down a bit by an early round where I hit only two greens but actually struck the ball decent.  That day the course was playing hard and fast with the greens impossible to hold.   It’s clear that ball striking has seen the best improvements.  Along those lines,  I’ve been resisting the temptation to work on my swing and finally succumbed last weekend, but the key here is that I continued to focus on my single most prevalent weaknesses (not maintaining spine angle).  My Saturday range work helped result in 12 GIRs during Sunday’s round.

Adjustments:

Players of this game all know that just when you think you have it, you don’t, and that golf requires constant adjustments.  I didn’t want to work on my swing but started to see some familiar misses that were not evident early in the season.  Now that I think I’ve got that fixed, it’s off to work on the greenside pitches.  I’m not too worried because these are clearly a problem with technique and lack of reps.   I changed short game approach over the winter and have not practiced it enough to get comfortable.  With my focus on conditioning, the short game suffered.  The good news is that it usually takes only one or two dedicated sessions around the green to get comfortable.

So a little short game work, a round this weekend and next, a few last minute adjustments for whatever else pops up, and I’ll be ready to go.  Wish me luck!

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About Brian Penn

Avid sports fan and golf nut. I am a lifelong resident of the Washington D.C. area and love to follow the local teams. Also worked as a golf professional in the Middle Atlantic PGA for several years and am intrigued by the game to no end. I love to play and practice and am dedicated to continual improvement.
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6 Responses to Golf Improvement Plan – The Big Test

  1. Good Luck, I am also suffering with a poor short game.

    • brianpenn says:

      Thanks. I did something spontaneous today. Bought a 60 degree wedge in hopes that I can get a little more aggressive around the greens. Will go with a four wedge system and take out my 5WD and see how it goes.

  2. Love the assessment Brian. I think there is a fine line between tinkering with your swing and making adjustments when you feel something wrong. When my swing really starts to feel off I don’t go out and try to tweak it, I go to the range and make the necessary adjustments to get back to the fundamentals. You are spot on with how you are approaching this and I am confident your trip to MB will be stellar! Good luck and keep it up.

  3. brianpenn says:

    My goals for Myrtle are to head down with a clear head and strike it more consistently. When you play 180 holes in six days, you inevitably hit some bad streaks. I want to keep ’em short because a long bad streak can be brutal with limited time (none) to work on your swing between rounds.

    I think I may have found a mental key in yesterday’s round. Seems like I hit it more solidly off the tee trying to shape the ball in both directions than if I try to hit it straight. Try to play the hole as designed. Not sure why that is but will validate more thoroughly with this coming weekend’s round. I have never tried that before yesterday but I think the tour pros think that way regularly. Any idea why that might be effective?

  4. I am not completely certain, but I would guess it has something to do more with visualizing the shot completely. When you focus on hitting a draw or fade i’m sure you have a much clearer picture of the shot in mind in your head prior to hitting it rather than just hitting it straight. That would be my guess.

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