Ever run up against a course that has your number? What are your strategies for conquering? I am playing mine tomorrow. Poolesville is a local muni in the western reaches of Montgomery County, and has my number for the last six years. At par-71 and at a nondescript 6,405 yards, in my last 15 rounds I have never played well, with 76 being my best score (achieved twice) and I’m struggling to a stroke average of 80.31. Ball striking always seems to be an issue as are slow starts. It has been impossible to get on a roll, much less threaten to go low. I did notice that on one of those rounds of 76, I was very comfortable mentally because I had finished reading Putting Out of Your Mind by Bob Rotella the day before and was implementing his techniques. My ball striking wasn’t great, but I was a peace with myself and not worried about my score or missing any putts. This leads me to think this is purely psychological. How do I get past this mental blocker?
I wrote earlier on how I got past a mental blocker hole at Rattlewood by totally changing the way I played it and I’m thinking of taking a similar approach. Normally, at Poolesville, I’m always playing defensive and trying to keep the ball in play with a 3WD off the tee, but that has left me with longer approaches into the smallish crowned greens. GIR stats plummet and I inevitably leave myself short-sided too often and can’t score well. Perhaps a total reversal is required, with an attempt to bring the course to its knees by busting driver on every hole, which should leave shorter irons into the par-4s. I’m getting inspiration watching Rory McIlroy destroy the field at The Open Championship with the same strategy.
It’s often that when NFL teams go into the prevent defense in an attempt to protect a lead, the lead inevitably vanishes. Perhaps this is my prevent and I need to get aggressive. Anyone have some experience handling problem courses? I’d like to be a horse for this course and I’m all ears. Thanks!
For the golfing enthusiast, nothing is more frustrating or disheartening than a protracted slump. I’m 21 rounds into my season (halfway point) and I’m happy to report the game is fun for me again as my first quarter troubles appear to be over. To recap, I was mired in an epic ball striking quagmire and had failed to hit 10 GIR in any of my first 10 rounds. But in the last 11 rounds, I’ve hit or exceeded the number seven times. As The Grateful Golfer would say, “my GAF is high, ” and today I capped the first half with a 1-over 73 which was my best round in my last 30, and my index has dropped to a 4.9.
What’s the fix? I believe the early slump was caused by infrequency of play/practice and as readers of this page know, I’ve been struggling with my golf/life balance and have been trying to get enough reps in to remain effective. A solution seems to be at hand, though.
I’m still playing only 18 holes per week, but have added a critical practice nine in early on Saturday mornings at my local executive course. Normally, I get out early enough to play by myself and have borrowed a technique (two ball – best ball scramble) I think I saw on Hank Haney’s show. The key in this game is to take two shots from every spot and play your best ball until holed. With two shots at every green, albeit short executive length holes, I fill my scorecard with dots (for GIRs) and hitting greens becomes a habit. I’ve learned there is no substitute for striking shots and watching the ball land on the putting surface time and again. As a result, my ball striking during the 18 hole rounds has improved as a I expect to hit more greens. The practice nine only takes about 1.5 hours and I sometimes follow up with some putting and light chipping, but when I’m on the course, I make sure to take my share of extra short game shots at every opportunity. Normally, I’m home by 10:30 a.m. (before half the household is even awake), and am not even missed. Throw in three 15-minute chipping and putting sessions on my weekly commute home, and I’ve got a recipe that works because I’ve got my hands on clubs in one aspect or another FIVE DAYS PER WEEK!
The little 15-minute practices are invaluable and give me a great measure of satisfaction when I pull off shots during rounds that I’ve worked on during the week. Today, I was 5 for 6 on green-side up and downs, using techniques honed during the afternoon commute.
So, get your hands on the clubs as often as you can in a way that allows you to fulfill your responsibilities to everything else in your life, and when you practice, try to get in enough work where you see balls flying at flagsticks onto actual greens. Hopefully, it works for you as it has for me. Good luck and please share any time-saving practice tips you’ve had success with. Thanks!
Picking a winner for the 2014 British Open Championship is an exercise in deciphering the actual probabilities of victory from the preferences of the betting public. There is considerable money to be made betting against the current John Q trend lines. Consider, U.S. Open Champion Martin Kaymer is at 20:1 in early action with Tiger Woods leaping ahead of him at 16:1. Are you kidding? Kaymer is in awesome form, has his head screwed on right, and is a multiple recent major winner. The smart money is on him and Adam Scott. Tiger looks about as well oiled as the 38-year old Huffy sitting in my garage with the chain off. The stiffness and restricted back swing on display at the recent Quicken Loans National should have Tiger in the 150:1 range.
Rory McIlroy is the pre-tournament favorite at 10:1, but doesn’t play well enough in this perennial home game and will not win it. He is looking good in early action at the Scottish Open and we’ll be watching to see if the positive momentum he gained from Woz-gate changes his personal and professional performance around major time.
Could one of the B.P.T.N.H.W.A.M. contenders take it this year? How do you officially get on this list? Is it fair to keep someone on past the age of 40? I think not, so Steve Strickercomes off at 47. Of the five remaining principals, Henrik Stenson has been the closest and doesn’t appear to psych himself out and warrants considerable support. Sergio Garcia has played well on this course but he doesn’t have the stones with the flat stick to ever win a major. It’s not happening this week for Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, or Jason Day. Actually, Day has some good potential, but I’d like to see him playing more frequently and try less to time his game around the majors.
So, when do we put Jordan Spieth on this list? He’s clearly one of the best players in the world even if he still can’t order a beer with his wings at Hooters. I’m a huge Spieth fan and like him for a top 10 but he’s too young for the list and will likely break through at The Masters or U.S. Open.
Dark horse look-outs: Jim Furyk is at ease with himself again, is playing well, and contended on this venue in 2006. Every year we see an older player make a move at The Open and this year it’s him. Phil Mickelson has the mind and experience to win this, but different parts of his game go out of sync too frequently and I fear the age of Phil contending in every major is quickly vanishing.
Your 2014 British Open predictions:
Adam Scott: Champion
Martin Kaymer: Runner-up
Jim Furyk: Sneaks into third
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