Tag Archives: driver

The Great Course Management Experiment

ideaAdmittedly, I am one of those golfers who gains enjoyment from turning myself into a bit of a test laboratory on the golf course.  What fun it is to hypothesize on a mental or physical problem and go test it out using yourself as the guinea pig.  Vet4golfing51 seems very adept at this with his work on the mind-body connection, and I thought I’d give it a try.  I’ve been developing an idea for better scoring and I wanted to try it out on my readers before putting into play.

The experiment is in course management on par-5 holes.  Normally, the majority of alpha males step to the tee on a par-5 and immediately pull driver.  Summoning every ounce of  strength, their effort usually culminates in a massive blow with the ball traveling a long way but not necessarily in the direction desired.  My thought was to try like heck to stay out of trouble on the tee shots which should open up easy birdie opportunities and cut down on the big numbers.  When you hit a fairway bunker or put it in the woods or a hazard, you are most surly looking at bogey or double on the par-5 because of the remaining length you have to cover to make up.  And nothing feels worse than having to scramble on a par-5.

The experiment is to spend the entire week in early June on my Myrtle Beach trip hitting nothing but 3WD on every par-5 hole during the 216 hole golf-a-thon, then try to determine if stroke average improves as a result of keeping the ball in play.

The thought came to me after playing the par-5  17th at Northwest last Sunday.  I had been struggling with my ball striking through 11 holes and made the decision to bench the driver for the balance of the round.  #17 was playing 532 yards into a light breeze.  I made an aggressive pass with a 3WD off the tee and smartly placed one in the left side of the fairway.  Another solid 3WD had me at 109 yards where I hit a smooth pitching wedge pin high for a good look at birdie.  It seemed too easy, but easy is good!  Then I thought back to a 500 yard par-5 on my home course where I used to hit driver all the time and inevitably littered my scorecards with bogeys and doubles.  The last few years I always play it 3WD then 3-iron which leaves me about 100 yards and looking right down the throat of the flag stick.  Par or better is usually the result.

When you think about it, if average par-5s are 500-530 yards, and you can cover 200-230 with a 3WD tee shot, that leaves you with essentially a 300 yard par-4 hole; and who wouldn’t want that?  A long iron second puts me at 100-110 yards, which is my wheelhouse and most course architects don’t leave fairway bunkers back around 100 yards.  Here’s the post with my scoring stats from last year’s trip.  I’m hypothesizing that the scoring average will come down, as will the double bogey total.  The birdie number is more or less dependent on how well I’m putting, so no guarantees there, but the experiment is to eliminate the big numbers.  Driver will still be in play on the par-4s because length is critical, especially on the long ones.

What do you think of this approach?

Need help with my golf swing! Any takers?

I developed a push-cut with my golf swing on my recent Myrtle Beach golf trip.  Here’s two videos of me face on and down the line with the driver (post-trip).  I’m willing to try something new and give the readers of this blog a crack at providing suggestions for my improvement so please add a comment on what you think is the source of the push-cut and / or provide any drills or swing changes you think might help.  Thanks for your willingness to participate; let’s get at it!

Driver Face On:

Driver Down The Line:

2012 Golf Improvement Plan – Quarterly Review

Three months into my improvement plan and I passed a major test on Friday.  Again, the simple goal has been to better my satisfaction through improved ball striking.

Between a family vacation at Disney followed by a brutal week at work, it had been three weeks since I touched a club,  and Friday I headed out to Northwest in Silver Spring with legitimate concerns.  Boy did I surprise myself.  Going stone cold (straight from the parking lot to the tee) I managed to hit 12 greens on this long tough course and continued to see performance gains with my swing that appear to be permanent.

After five full rounds, it is crystal clear that maintaining my spine angle throughout the backswing and downswing is so important to ball striking consistency.  Again, a HUGE thank you to Brant Kasbohm at Fixyourgame.com for calling this out on my video lesson last fall.  Being able to execute without warming up, and without playing for three weeks is an excellent validation on my approach.

The beauty of this plan is that I haven’t been working on my swing at all; just conditioning.  The core exercises designed to strengthen my back and shoulders, and build flexibility in my hips and ankles are working great.  The obvious payoff has been in driving distance.  It’s been pretty dry in the DC area but for all five rounds, I’ve been pounding drives on familiar courses into places I’ve never been able to hit.  I’m no longer blocking my short irons to the right, and have picked up 1/2 to a full club length of distance with my irons.

It’s great when a plan comes together and the best part has been the confidence I’m gaining.  To know when you go to the course that you’ve got a great chance for a good ball striking day is extremely encouraging.  Can’t wait for the weekend!