Halfway Point Discoveries

Last weekend I played my 20th round of the year.  Tomorrow I embark on the inward half of the journey to completing 40 for the season.  The news is mostly good.

After finishing a series of four lessons with my instructor, I’ve seen payoff in three primary areas; driving distance, consistency of contact with the fairway woods, and accuracy with the wedges inside 100 yards.  The latter of which was my primary reason for seeking professional assistance.  The long iron game remains a work in progress.  Mentally, I’m more at peace around the greens after switching back to my old Cleveland Tour Action sand wedge.

What’s most encouraging is my ability to play a good round right after a bad one, and I attribute that to the conviction in my approach.  During a period of learning, your swing WILL fall off the rails, but rather than search for a band-aid, if you return to the fundamentals you are trying to correct, more often than not, you will have your fix.  Fans of Tiger Woods know that when he changed instructors to Sean Foley, he entered a perpetual state of playing golf swing instead of playing golf.  He became an engineer instead of an artist.  This is to be avoided at all costs and my goal is to move steadily away from engineering to artistry.  I’m still at some point in between but the difference is that when I hit a bad shot, I can take comfort knowing that it’s just the old habits reappearing.

Whether you’re an engineer or artist, at the end of the day, we measure improvement by score.  2016 concluded with my index rising to a recent historical high of 6.3.  It’s down to 4.9 which is super encouraging since I’ve just completed the most difficult stretch of the season (Myrtle Beach trip).  I had one goal at the beginning of the year and that was to improve to 10+ GIR.  Through the tough stretch, I’m still between eight and nine but my index is down which is telling me my proximity performance with the wedges has improved.  I also feel more confident with my short game.  Now as I distance myself from the bi-weekly instruction, it will be interesting to see how quickly I can return to thinking about shots rather than mechanics.

So the learning process has been very satisfactory.  One final note on instruction.  My last lesson included only 15 minutes on the practice tee and then we went for a four-hole playing lesson.  Get a playing lesson if you can.  The time spent on the course with my instructor watching every aspect of my game was invaluable.  I picked up information on ball position for bunker shots, course management, club selection, and a simple putting tip that made a huge difference in my round the following day (took only 27 putts).

See you on the lesson tee and 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 Halfway Point Discoveries

  1. Brian

    Great to year your game is going well. We have about the same number of games this year and my score is starting to be better every time out. Your advice about getting a playing lesson is interesting. I have never had one. Thanks for the sage advice.

    Cheers
    Jim

    • Brian Penn says:

      Jim, it was the first one for me. I didn’t fully realize the value until I was out on the course the next day and could apply some of the advice and observations. Very worthwhile if you get one.

      Thanks,

      Brian

  2. Wifey says:

    You’re da bomb! xo

  3. Brian,

    Awesome stuff here buddy! Thrilled to hear your instruction has been going well. Capping it off with a playing lesson is smart. So many things can be identified that can’t be on the range. Looking forward to hearing about continued success and a dropping handicap! (along with 10 GIRs or more!)

    Cheers
    Josh

    • Brian Penn says:

      Josh, the playing lesson was awesome cause of all the nuggets. For example, I landed in a bunker and my instructor asks, “tell me how you play a bunker shot.” I went through my thought process, setup, ball position, swing, and validated each as right or wrong right there. All the things I used to think about, I just asked in one 30 second burst. Would definitely recommend and if you do it, make the most of your time!

      Thanks,

      Brian

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