Not sure what is going on with my golf game but I’m enjoying some early speed in the race for improvement in 2015. I started the year with a modest goal of being able to walk 18 holes by the end of April and not experience any physical symptoms from my HCM. Today I walked my second 18-hole round without difficulty and managed to back up last week’s 2-over 74 at Myrtle Beach National with a 1-over 71 on my home course. I can’t recall coming out of the blocks this fast in the last 10 years and am trying not to over-analyze the reasons and just enjoy the ride. But over-analyze is what I do, so here goes. Maybe you can find a nugget or two that might help you.
The first key is a lesson I learned from last year’s dreadful start (92 on opening day) and some excellent advice I received from The Grateful Golfer. Jim reminded me not to take the early season results too seriously and to ease into my game after the long winter layoff. In 2015 I did this by walking 9-holes on my executive course on consecutive weekends and playing several balls without keeping score. As a result, I relaxed for the start of the 18-hole rounds and played with less sense of urgency. Jim, thanks for the reality check!
Second, I’ve sometimes found that if you are physically ill, or worrying about your health, it takes your mind off your golf game and you play better. Has this ever happened to you? I recall playing a round one year in my mid-20s when I was sick to my stomach and shot lights out. Weird but true. To be honest, my disorder is always on my mind and when I’m on the golf course I am filled with gratitude that I’m just able to play the game I love, and am not worrying about results.
Third, I’m beginning to wonder if this Rx I’m on isn’t having a positive effect. Beta blockers are illegal on the PGA Tour for a reason. They lower your heart rate and theoretically help you deal with pressure and nerves to an unfair advantage. In my first 54 holes, I have yet to three-putt and feel very confident, calm, and trusting on the greens.
Finally, and most importantly, I heeded the advice of The Birdie Hunt and committed to returning to basics and not overhauling any part of my game over the winter, as I had done to disastrous results in previous years. My only thoughts during practice and play are to check alignment, make a full shoulder turn, and clear my hips on the downswing. Contact with my irons was solid last week and again today with 14 GIR.
So I’m going to continue to try hard not to try too hard and just let the game come to me. Hope you can do the same. How’s the opening of your season going?