2012 Golf Improvement Plan and mid-season layoff

My golf season has come to a screeching halt with the onset of our summer kitchen/living room remodeling project and I’ve been forced to take the month of August, and maybe longer, off.  Other than eating tons of restaurant food, breathing in plenty of dust, getting little rest, no play, and very little practice or exercise, I have not much to look forward to.

So this is a great opportunity to step back and evaluate the goals and KPIs for my 2012 Golf Improvement Plan,  and see if I’m on target.  The primary objective was better ball striking achieved through a new conditioning program.  The numbers through 26 rounds this year and 35 in 2011:

Year

Stroke Average

Relation to Par

GIR

Putts per round

2012

77.96

6.77

9.35

32.12

2011

79.60

8.51

8.74

32.86

Analysis:  The big winner has been my physical conditioning and that I feel great.  Walking 18 holes in the most adverse conditions has not been a problem.  Playing 198 holes in six days at Myrtle Beach was not a problem.  I attribute this to the exercises for back, shoulders, and legs.  I’ve also enjoyed a significant increase in distance with the driver.  One drill I do with every workout is to swing a club upside down and fast.  I think this has made a huge difference in my balance and timing, which corresponds to better swing speed.

I’m clearly not going to hit my goal of 11 GIR per round and one thing has remained quite apparent is that old habits are hard to break.  I still come up and out of my spine angle and that remains a major obstacle to consistent contact.  Several rounds I’ve felt very close to having a great ball striking day only to be undone by one or two bad swings with my standard miss (big push).  The modest increase in .61 GIR per round makes me wonder if all the effort was worth it but the 1.64 stroke average improvement for someone at my handicap level (5) tells me it was.

Playing 26 rounds in seven months and the limited time I have to practice and play have certainly been a constraint.  I’ve also recognized that correct short game practice is more important than amount of short game practice.  I’ve reduced the amount of short game practice by about 50% and it hasn’t hurt my game.  I’ve also found that unless you have a plan, remain focused, and can avoid distractions, short game practice is difficult.  The last two weeks my play has reflected the effectiveness of my short game practice the day before ( some good and some bad), and I’m one of the lucky ones who usually plays like he practices.

So we hang ‘em up until the fall and make a final push for improvement.  How’s your game coming?