Tag Archives: conditioning

2012 Golf Improvement Plan and mid-season layoff

My golf season has come to a screeching halt with the onset of our summer kitchen/living room remodeling project and I’ve been forced to take the month of August, and maybe longer, off.  Other than eating tons of restaurant food, breathing in plenty of dust, getting little rest, no play, and very little practice or exercise, I have not much to look forward to.

So this is a great opportunity to step back and evaluate the goals and KPIs for my 2012 Golf Improvement Plan,  and see if I’m on target.  The primary objective was better ball striking achieved through a new conditioning program.  The numbers through 26 rounds this year and 35 in 2011:

Year

Stroke Average

Relation to Par

GIR

Putts per round

2012

77.96

6.77

9.35

32.12

2011

79.60

8.51

8.74

32.86

Analysis:  The big winner has been my physical conditioning and that I feel great.  Walking 18 holes in the most adverse conditions has not been a problem.  Playing 198 holes in six days at Myrtle Beach was not a problem.  I attribute this to the exercises for back, shoulders, and legs.  I’ve also enjoyed a significant increase in distance with the driver.  One drill I do with every workout is to swing a club upside down and fast.  I think this has made a huge difference in my balance and timing, which corresponds to better swing speed.

I’m clearly not going to hit my goal of 11 GIR per round and one thing has remained quite apparent is that old habits are hard to break.  I still come up and out of my spine angle and that remains a major obstacle to consistent contact.  Several rounds I’ve felt very close to having a great ball striking day only to be undone by one or two bad swings with my standard miss (big push).  The modest increase in .61 GIR per round makes me wonder if all the effort was worth it but the 1.64 stroke average improvement for someone at my handicap level (5) tells me it was.

Playing 26 rounds in seven months and the limited time I have to practice and play have certainly been a constraint.  I’ve also recognized that correct short game practice is more important than amount of short game practice.  I’ve reduced the amount of short game practice by about 50% and it hasn’t hurt my game.  I’ve also found that unless you have a plan, remain focused, and can avoid distractions, short game practice is difficult.  The last two weeks my play has reflected the effectiveness of my short game practice the day before ( some good and some bad), and I’m one of the lucky ones who usually plays like he practices.

So we hang ‘em up until the fall and make a final push for improvement.  How’s your game coming?

2012 Golf Season – Great Opening Day!

Teed it up today at my local muni to get the season underway  and if today’s round is an indicator of things to come, it’s going to be a great year.  I’ve been working on conditioning as part of my 2012 improvement plan and was just dying to battle test myself and boy did I come through.  Normally on opening day, I tee it up with no swing thoughts and no expectations and just try to bang the rust off, but today was different.  Along with the exercise program, I was armed with new short game and putting techniques, courtesy of Stan Utley, and was testing out my spankin’ new Bushnell V2 rangefinder and there were no disappointments.

On the exercises; the most useful was the opposite end swings designed to build club head speed.  I found these awkward at first but noticed after a couple weeks that my finish was much more in balance with 90% of my weight correctly distributed on my left foot and my body was fully rotated.  Today I came out of the chute with an aggressive move and felt in balance the whole round.  My short irons were dialed in but more importantly, I was taking big solid divots flying straight at the target, which were inconspicuously missing last year when I was pulling up and out of my spine angle on the downswing.  The feeling of balance and ability to go after the ball was exciting, and at the end of the day, I had 10 GIR and had rolled in three birdies – exceeding any and all expectations.    Yes there was rust, and I still need work getting comfortable with the new pitching techniques, and just to keep it real, I left the course with a slow burn about a missed 4-footer straight uphill for birdie on #18. :(

There’s snow in the forecast for tomorrow and it might be a short while before I play again, but this early taste of success was important because it validated the hard conditioning work I’ve been doing for the last month.  Again, the target this year is to play twice per week and practice less, and I can’t wait to exercise tomorrow!  See you in the gym.