Have you ever played a round where you were bombing your driver and leaving yourself with some awesome looks at approach shots, but you subsequently bungled every one of them? Last weekend I had my best driving day of the year but the 80 I shot at Poolesville was the absolute worst score I could have recorded for that very reason. The carnage included seven unforced errors from the “A-position”. So yesterday I took my final lesson of the 2018 seasonal package in hopes that I could correct my awful iron play. As usual, my instructor corrected something small just as we started (I was standing too far from the ball) and then we got to work on my major issues. Of course, they were the same issues I’ve been dealing with my entire career, which is why they’re still issues. We made great progress on the lesson tee and I booked a time at my club to play today.
What is your experience playing after a lesson? Smart, not smart? I think it depends on the lesson and where you are playing. Last time I tried it the day after my putting lesson. There was no adjustment period and was if someone else had possessed my body with the putter. I made everything I looked at and the game was very easy.
Today was different. Perhaps my club is not the best venue if you are working on swing mechanics because the first four holes at Blue Mash are very demanding and often require long iron approaches. Last time out I hit four 3-irons on the first four holes. It’s one of those stretches that if you start 3-over after four holes, you are playing fine. Today it was 3-iron, 7-iron (downwind) from heavy rough, 3-iron, and another 3-iron. Before my round I warmed up poorly with my 3-iron, but my approach on number one was pure and settled eight feet from the flag. The second on #3 was good but went into a green-side bunker and I saved par. The third was an awful pull hook (my big miss) and I made a lucky par out of some gnarly green-side rough. On holes 5 and 6, I hit two stunning short iron shots that yielded a par and a birdie. I was thrilled and it seemed I had it solved, but the problem was that I was playing golf swing and not golf. The roof finally caved in on #8 after I laid the sod over a pitching wedge from the middle of the fairway.
This has happened before after taking a lesson; it’s always been a full swing lesson, and I’m always thinking too much. I guess I was encouraged after the easy success of the putting lesson.
My favorite thing in golf is to play. Next favorite is to take lessons, and least favorite is to practice. But I know I need practice on this one and will get out to the range a couple times before next weekend’s round. What has been your experience playing after a lesson?
Stay tuned: course review is coming from next weekend’s venue: The Links at Gettysburg!