The Joy of Hard Work And Improvement

Today I had a great day on the golf course.  It was my first 18 hole round since I took a golf lesson on July 2 and only the second round I’ve played in the last five weeks.  To reiterate, I took a full swing lesson and am trying to break some bad habits that I’ve been playing with for the last 40 years, and the change has been a challenge.  I’ve been practicing full swing for the past few weeks and all but ignoring my short game except while playing my executive nine and during a round at a short course down at the beach.  Today, it was time to start playing real golf again.

In the past, I’ve found the first round after a lesson hard, and today was no different. To make the change from playing golf swing to playing golf, I tried to allow myself only one swing thought per shot, even though there were several positions I had been trying to reach during my practice sessions.  To compound things, it was sweltering in the DMV today, and I had a noon tee time and decided not to hit balls before I played, which was probably a mistake.  I tried not to worry about what I was shooting, but kept score because you have to resume playing sometime.  It was a good idea not to be hard on myself because with my head flush with swing thoughts and positions, I couldn’t square up a shot on the first two holes and started out bogey, double bogey.  I started to wonder when the golf gods were going to show me some love and it didn’t take long.  A well struck six iron on the par-3 third hole brought my first GIR and a routine par. It’s funny how one good shot can relax you, and that’s exactly what happened.    After another routine par on #4, I hit a 3-wood onto the par-5 fifth hole in two.  Finally!  One of the major issues I hoped to address was to eliminate the squirrely smother hooks I’d been hitting with the 3-wood off the turf.

To shorten the tale, our threesome cruised around in only 3 hours and 45 minutes and I carded a nice little 75.  Before we started, I told myself I didn’t care what I shot, but I did.  I also saw enough of the new good shots to acknowledge my hard work and to counter some of the old bad ones that occasionally crept in.  This change has been pretty seamless with the short irons, but has been difficult with the driver.  It’s going to take time to eradicate the bad habits because they’ve persisted for so long, but the positive feedback on the good shots will keep me going.  The short iron progress is important because I think I can hit what I’m aiming at inside 150 yards, which was not the case one month ago.

I hope you are as excited about your game as I am mine.  Play well!

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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 The Joy of Hard Work And Improvement

  1. linleygolf says:

    Nice score. The work is paying off!!!

  2. Brian

    Great to hear that your positive focus and intent is working. Now it is tome to cement your good swing changes by continue positive reinforcement during your game. Welcome back.

    Cheers
    Jim

    • Brian Penn says:

      Thanks Jim. I appreciate the suggestion you sent to play some 9-hole rounds without keeping score during the learning. It has been very helpful in easing the transition from lesson tee and practice range back to the course. Still have lots of work to do but am enjoying the process and addressing some ball striking issues that I’ve had for years.

      Regards,

      Brian

  3. Brian,

    Well done on the 75! It is so incredibly satisfying to make a change and have it pay dividends.

    Cheers
    Josh

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