We of the day job set, are in a conundrum when it comes to trying new techniques to improve our golf. In January, 2012, I read Stan Utley’s “The Art of the Short Game” and immediately put the guru’s easy to implement steps into play. Utley’s key point is to force a pivot and release on all short shots which was not my style, and two years later after suffering mind boggling bouts of skinny chips, lateral hits, and loss of distance control around the green, I’ve finally identified the changes as the source. The chipping fix was fairly easy but the elevated pitch shots with my 58 were driving me nuts. I finally returned to the hinge and hold the blade at the target method I had used very successfully, and was fixed. I’m not knocking the recommendations in the book because I’m sure they work for some and Utley’s reputation is unsurpassed. The lesson here is if you are competent or even very good with a certain aspect of your game, DON’T MESS WITH IT unless you have hours to dedicate to practice and play. Even then, proceed with caution.
It feels gratifying to get back on track. We all have weaknesses and there’s nothing wrong with seeking to improve them, but there is nothing worse than losing a strength. My biggest fear was that it was mental or brought on by age, but thankfully it was technique-based. I am eternally grateful for the detailed practice journal I’ve been keeping since 2008. It has notes for every session on the range and practice green, and I was able to find some data points on techniques that worked well before I read the book. I’d advise everyone to keep these type of records and refer back frequently when you struggle.
Have you ever been over ambitious and attempted an improvement that broke a strength?