Tag Archives: slump

When Is Too Much Golf?

Have you ever played too much golf?  Has excessive golf negatively affected your game?  How do you come out of an indulgence-induced swing coma and continue to enjoy the game at the height of the season?

You guessed it, I’m in a slump and the problems started with an elevated amount of play.  I’ll spare you the ugly vagaries of what the slump looks like and nail down what happened to help you avoid for yourself.

Back up one month and I was on my annual golf trip in Boyne Highlands, Michigan.  The effort on these week-long sojourns is to overindulge, and the temptation is enticing.   With beautiful weather and pure golf courses, you want to be engaged for every waking hour.  A typical day has you arrive at the course at 7:30 a.m., warm up for a half hour, play your first round, eat lunch, re-warm up for 15 minutes, and play another 18.  The day usually finishes around 7:30 p.m.  You grab a shower, eat a late dinner and do it all over again (five or six straight days).

After two days (72 holes) I was feeling fresh.  On Wednesday, we completed our morning round at Crooked Tree, and I played well, shooting 78 with 11 GIR, but the afternoon round was scheduled on the same course.  The first two days, we had played four rounds over four different courses and the newness of each experience kept your mind fresh.  Crooked Tree is a drop-dead gorgeous track on the south shores of the Little Traverse Bay, but the allure of the beautiful holes and tremendous scenery were absent for round two.  It appears that a slump may be induced as much by mental fatigue as physical, because my concentration and swing departed in the afternoon.  On day four, I awoke with a pain in the left side of my neck and couldn’t even turn my head 90 degrees to look at my target.  The morning round was a disaster and after nine Advil, it finally loosened so I could at least play the afternoon.  On day five, I was whipped enough to only play 18 and was just going through the motions.

When you’re on a trip, you desperately want to play your best, and when your swing goes, you can ride the poor streak out and hope it comes back or try and fix it.  The lethal combo I encountered was fatigue + mechanical thoughts (trying to fix it).  For me, good play begins with the driver.  Excellent play begins with dialed in irons.  On day three, my driving became erratic and ever since I’ve been back, I’ve struggled to hit the fairway.  Clearly, I need a reset and have scheduled a lesson next Saturday.  The good thing about my instructor is that even when we work on my swing mechanics, the message is single-threaded.  He has me focus on one thing and the simplicity of message gets me re-focused.

On future trips, the message is also clear.  I need to conserve mental and physical energy which means restricting myself to 18 holes per day.  I realize that this year, after day two, I had played as many holes and hit as many practice balls as a regular tour pro on a tournament week (well almost).  That’s a bit much for this desk jockey.

Have you had a recent slump?  I hope these lessons learned will help you avoid the next one.  Play well!


The Hard Work Of Breaking A Golf Slump

First, many thanks to all those who provided advice on how to break out, especially Vet.  The address position analysis (grip change) continues to help immensely and the slump is almost over.  Technically, I’m still in the slump because my 81 today is the 10th straight round at 80 or above (my Mendoza Line), but I can feel the wind in my sails.

Today’s round had some very critical data points.  First, I got off to a good start parring my first four holes.  The slump has been punctuated by horrible starts with double or triple bogey as a a frequent and unwelcome lead-off visitor.  Yes, I did make a triple on my 7th hole, but used that as motivation.  Sure I was down on myself, and the root cause was again a lateral hit from a downhill lie in a bunker but I told myself, I could either accept the fact that I was destined to remain in this horrid slump or double down to concentrate harder. I bogeyed 8 and 9 and turned in 7-over 43.  Normally, I don’t add up my score until the round is complete, but I was mad as hell for blowing a good start and felt like checking.

For some reason that score check improved my focus on the 10th tee and I hammered a drive down the middle and made birdie on the par-5.  God, that birdie felt good because it’s been so long since I made a birdie that I couldn’t remember the last one.  Then I enjoyed a first in my 40 years of playing golf.  I drove a legitimate par-4 and sunk an 8-foot putt for eagle.  I have made eagle on par-4s before but always from the fairway and never after driving the green.  My tee shot measured 323 yards and was down hill and slightly down wind, and yes, I had hit into the group in front.  At first, I couldn’t find my ball but noticed one on the surface as they were leaving the green.  I apologized, sank the putt, and was 3-under after two holes on the back.  I gradually gave away my gains with some shoddy iron play but drove it well all the way around and finished with a 2-over 38.

My reason for hope is twofold.  A very simple change (grip) has made a huge difference and I’m playing my best shots without any swing thoughts.  When the mind is clear and your fundamentals are in order, this game can be played well.

Next up is a tournament at Queenstown on Thursday.  Hoping to leverage these gains and help the team win.

How Do You Break A McWT210 Golf Slump?

Readers of this space know I’m always seeking ways to improve my game and am willing to share tips to assist you in your play, but I have a new request.  I need some help breaking out of a slump.  How do I know I’m in a slump and not just experiencing a momentary downturn?  Check out this page from Golf Link detailing why players slump.  I am the poster-child for the top three reasons and feel like I’m tied to the pole, blindfolded, and on my last cigarette.

The evidence:  Carrying a five handicap, my last two rounds have been 88-88.  I haven’t broken 80 in nine rounds and haven’t played a good round since August 2012.  Essentially, I’m averaging about 10 strokes higher than my normal game.

The three main culprits from the GolfLink list:

  1. Injury.  The right elbow tendonitis has prevented me from practicing the way I would like.  Oddly, it doesn’t hurt during play, just practice.  I’ll call this the Mike Weir component.Mike Weir
  2. Swing Changes.  The attempt to get to a more on-plane move over the winter was ill-advised without the opportunity to hit balls and validate results.  Henceforth known as the Tiger 2010 component.Tiger
  3. New Equipment.  The new irons and hybrids are working great but my Cleveland three wedge system has been ghastly.  I’m a mess in greenside bunkers trying to hit the new 58, and miss my old 56 terribly.  Even suffered through a couple lateral hits with the wedges two weekends ago and you know how that messes with your head, but I refuse to give up on the new equipment.  The problem is that I practice well with these clubs so I know it’s the “carpenter, not the tools.”  Of course, this is the McIlroy component.Rory

So we have the birth of the “McWT210” slump.  How to break this thing, any ideas?  I’ve researched and web and scoured the annals of my swing fix library and come up with a possible two-pronged approach.  I know I need to simplify as much as possible and taking on more swing instruction at this time is probably not the right thing to do, especially with my Myrtle Beach trip bearing down in less than a month.  So in the interest of K.I.S.S., I’m going to try just thinking “Target” on all full swings and hitting everything with 3/4 speed in an attempt to get some rhythm and timing.  In my round yesterday, after shooting nine-over on the front, I started my inward half with a triple and a bogey, and with my head so screwed up with swing thoughts, decided to just chuck everything and think “Target” the rest of the way around and managed to play the last seven holes in 3-over, which wasn’t great, but got me to the clubhouse without killing anyone.

If anyone has some surefire slump-busting remedies, please share.  I’m a mess and need to stabilize fast, thanks!