What do you wish for most on a golf trip? The simple pleasures are important like good weather, comfortable accommodations and delicious food, but what I want most is to play my best. When I travel it’s usually for a week to Myrtle Beach and the trip consists of 10-12 rounds in the heat and humidity of the southeastern United States.
We’ve been going to Myrtle for the last 15-20 years and I can honestly say that I haven’t swam in a pool once, or taken a dip in the ocean. People are incredulous when they ask, “How was the beach?” and I tell them I never saw it. For me it’s a pure immersion in golf. Not sure how healthy or sane that is, but when it’s done, I’ve had my fill. These trips include a lot of physical exertion when you factor in the rounds and warm-up balls, and I am usually exhausted by the end.
As luck would have it, I’ve visited Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, Doral, and even met Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill, but never played any of these world class tracks. Why? The visits were always without clubs and on a family vacation.
This year we are going to Boyne Highlands in Michigan, which will be an entirely new experience. All the courses are supposedly pure with beautiful fast Bentgrass putting surfaces. I can’t wait to test myself, and we are on an all-inclusive package that includes accommodations, 18 holes per day, replays, and a full breakfast and dinner daily. We’re expecting cooler weather because it is way up north, almost to the upper peninsula, and I’m hoping to be able to play later with the added daylight and longer because of the lower humidity.
There are a couple things that could hold me back. My elbow tendonitis is about 85% healed. I still feel it a little when I play and practice and am wondering how it will hold up under the prospective load. I’ve been doing my rehab exercises from physical therapy every day since February, and oddly enough, I’m seeing some muscle development in my forearms, but the damaged tendon is still there. Second is my age. I work out and stretch for golf every morning, and I know it’s just a number, but at 58, should I be attempting to play this much? It was a lot at 38. We’ll see how serviceable my big bottle of Advil is.
The first mistake most serious players make is to try and bring a perfect swing to the trip. They get too mechanical in pre-week practice. I’ve done it numerous times and it only makes things worse. When you play upwards of 200 holes, your swing will come and go and there’s only so much you can control. You are much better off thinking “target” than mechanics. So, I’ll try and play a few 9-hole rounds after work next week in-lieu of hitting balls.
When I do practice it will be short game and it will be simulating game conditions, not raking ball after ball for chipping or putting. A good game is to take nine balls and throw them around the green. Put three in easy lies, three in medium, and three in difficult. Try to get each up and down. If you can get 5 for 9, you’re doing well. This helps steel you for pressure in new and unfamiliar conditions.
Lastly, I’ll double down on my morning workouts. The one year I went to Myrtle after exercising daily for three months prior, I felt pretty refreshed coming off the trip. Hoping for the same.
There you have it. Expect a few select course reviews upon my return. Play well!