- Putted today again before/after work
- Uphill left to right in the AM and right to left in the PM
- Grass was dewey wet again this morning
- I love to see it track in the moisture
- I’m better with moist grass
- Averaged 65% two-putt from 20-30 feet, did better in the morning, ball ran fast in the afternoon
- Gotta work on tempo more
- Practiced focusing on the 12 o’clock position to good effect
- Giants win the World Series
- It was a better day
Couldn’t say it better myself
Well tomorrow I am heading to visit my friends in the UK. I anticipate that we will laugh, joke, tell stories and of course hit the links! Despite the obvious, my trip offers many things for which I am grateful. My gratitude is not limited to being able to play golf in 18 degree weather in November, but is much larger than that!
Introspection allows me to look deep inside and realize that many of my joys in life have been a result of playing golf! Golf has afforded me the opportunity to travel, meet extremely interesting people, strike up conversations with complete strangers and provide me a light when I had to crawl out of dark places in my life!
I would be foolish to think that golf is the most important thing in my life because that is just not true. My wife, daughter, son in law and…
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UUUUgh – but not too bad of an uugh.
- Off day today. Ran 2 miles yesterday per my new weekly routine
- Putted after work (instead of before) for 90 minutes doing my 30 foot 2-putt drill.
- Only made 50%.
- Had a hard time reading the breaks and had to deal with a couple double breaks
- It’s so funny going to the practice range. Everyone is out there smacking balls, hardly anyone comes to the putting green
- Then someone stole (i think – let me give them the benefit of the doubt and believe they picked it up by mistake) my 3-wood cover which was on the grass by a bush and which I use to hold some spare tees and to carry my golf balls when putting because i only carry my wand on those days and bring about 10 balls. It’s just a cover but I’m like “Really? really? Ralllaaaah!?” Nothing at lost and found. I’ll check again in a few days. It’s not a big thing and most likely a mistake but it bummed me out after my shabby performance.
- And the Giants lost Game 6 – jeez, for the love……..
But the batter’s swing observation thingy is still instructive.
It wasn’t much of a bad day but days like these make ya’ feel like you’re never gonna get there. At least the weather came through – 68 degrees and delicious sunshine and no humidity – same as yesterday, same as tomorrow.
But what choice do I have? I’ll re-run my misses in my head and try and think of any takeaways
Takeaway#1 – For sure – I realized that I wasn’t aiming for the 12 o’clock of the hole (i mean really? i spend all that time figuring out a technique to try and then totally forget to do it – even though I reminded myself while pulling into the club).
Doing drills without focus is like cooking without a recipe and not thinking about what you want to cook.
When i remembered finally – it made a big difference in drawing my putting line. After I did that I actually noticed an improvement and even managed to get close on a couple double breaks.
Takeaway#2: putting in the afternoon on a sunny day – the green runs a lot faster (duh – but i had a hard time adjusting)
Takeaway#3: even on an upslope, if the hole is at the apex of the green I have to pay attention to where the water drainage holes are because once i did i knew where the ball was most likely to roll should it pass the hole and that made for interpreting the breaks better
My mind just wasn’t in it. I kept paying attention to other players and stuff.
Oh well. Nothing sleep can’t cure I guess.
Bah & Humbug!!
Yah – what he said. SVG nodding head.
Let’s start off by stating the obvious, the essential point for this article. Golf is my passion! Golf; that silly game that has an endless pursuit to burn through money, exhaust time, fuel fantasy like dreams and desires only to eventually and ironically crush them. Why are we so in love with this game? At first glance, the sport seems like a destiny for disaster, a guaranteed outlet for pain, frustration and self-loathing pity. Many golfers should have accepted these simple facts years ago in their own quests at understanding the true nature behind their voluntary intentions to try and play the game. So the question turns to; why do we play? Or better yet, why do we PAY to play a sport that can be as irritating or frustrating as this one? Like many things in life, there rarely is one clear answer to any subjected question. So why…
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Quick tidbit while watching Panik (or was it Posey) set-up in the batter’s box during the bottom of the 7th in the World Series….
the announcers mentioned how he practices the “Wall Drill” during the winter months when he can’t play outside to make sure his hands stay “on the inside” while swinging the bat – similar i think to making sure your hands and club stay on plane and making sure that you pull with your left hand and don’t get outside the “inner circle” – whatever that is (i’m still trying to fully figure that one out).
Hitting the wall is the result of “sweeping” or “casting” which means your hands wandered into the hitting zone and it severely decreases power and increases the chance of pop flies and other bad anomalies. Instead you’re supposed to focus on pulling the bat thru as if your leading with the knob of the bat and keeping the bat close to the body AND reducing your swing loop. This reminds my of the advice that I should try to pull the golf club down with my left hand and push my wrists forward as I swing thru the ball – a sequence that doesn’t feel natural to me but I did get that piece of advice one time while at Golfsmith – i would have a much more consistent and accurate and powerful stroke.
I wonder if there is a similar wall-drill for golf? I know the golf channel has the 2×4 wooden plank drill where you make sure to strike a ball that is placed 1-inch away from a long 2×4 without hitting the 2×4 to perfect the inside-out swing. but…
anywho – i thought this was informative and an interesting drill. here’s a link of many that talk to the issue.
Or maybe I’m just an idiot making things harder than they have to be and stubbornly refusing to follow instruction so I make up my own lesson plans and take months to accomplish what could be more efficiently done.
Part of me enjoys the detective work and uncovering the principles that lie Behind good golf mechanics – things like confidence, truth, simplicity , no sudden movements, mind and body synchronizing , positive attitude, discipline – each attribute taking on a personality in the quest that the whole lot of traits brings to mind Jason and the Argounants – which by the way is a great title to a great tune by a great band XTC. But I digress….
Anyway, I should really think about getting an instructor….
- Did 3 days of putting practice but didn’t get to run this week.
- Continued work on 10 – 20 – 30 foot putts with decent breaks.
- Did not work on finding the 12 o’clock spot of the whole this week. (need to re-engage next week)
- Focused on how many 2-putts I could complete with a round of 10 balls per hole
- Averaged 75% 2-putts on all types of breaks – all types of distances
- Noticing the difference between playing on dewy morning grass and dry afternoon grass and breaking behavior.
- Continuing to focus on just doing my routine.
A few times I got nervous when some people started watching – doodling around. I got distracted and over-shot terribly. Forearms felt like electricity running through water.
Then I just when back to focusing squarely on my routine.
- Walk to/from the hole and try and feel the ground and slope with my feet
- Observe the grass where the ball will die approaching the hole – what direction is it going in?(for last bit movement direction)
- Observe the ball path from under the hole and pick a mid-point or target point
- Go behind the ball and begin visualizing ball path. Keep visualizing until I am confident on ball path behavior.
- Find the line,
- Find a spot close (sometimes easier said than done) to the ball to draw the line without having to look at the hole
- Line up my club.
- Draw the club back and practice swing once or twice to make sure my grip is in the right place and I won’t strike the turf – basically make sure I’m not holding it too high or too low.
- Place the club back behind the ball, Line myself to my club.
- (*If necessary, tweak my left foot a smidge up or back if I want the ball to veer a little right or left (kinda like setting up for a very mini-fade or draw putt)
- Toggle myself by pitter-pattering my feet a little bit like a cat does before it lays down to sleep and rocking until i feel like the club head is dead-center gravity to my set-up. Again, I’m a straight back putter – no arc (which kinda tweaks me because it took me a long time to figure out that there was a distinction AT ALL and this is one reason I fear instructors – they might just teach me some old way of doing something that doesn’t apply to me and i would have never known the difference between arc/straight had i not uncovered it myself – but I digress.. but my fear continues – I mean, I was watching David Leadbetter the other day and he’s talking about all these new schools of thought that liken golfing to a batter’s swing and how Furyk and other unorthodox swings are actually just as VALID in form and fundamentals [with his “outside the line” swing] than previously thought and so I’m afraid I’m gonna get last-century’s knowledge instead of the latest greatest school of thought and chances are they still won’t apply to me because I’m not a teenager so my body is pre-disposed to swing in an even more peculiar style than what would be recommended for amateurs. Basically, i have the crazy notion that i can do it better myself but that may also have to do a little bit with my entrepreneurial DNA – see below Sidenote3)
- Take a breath while I tap the clubhead 3 times, each time nudging/leaning it a smidge closer forward – trying to make sure the putter face is flush perpendicular with the ground or slightly forward (I find I roll the ball better that way). It’s a total feel thing.
- This part if crucial for me: Then on my next inhale, take the club head back and thru on the exhale. (Trying to time the stroke with a 1-2 count). Invariably, when I strike the ball on the exhale I follow-thru smoothly and evenly and perform better.
I try to do all of the above in 60 seconds or less.
I don’t know what will happen when I begin to play tournaments but I suspect that I’ll have the most confidence with my putting game. It’s the only area where I really feel I know what I’m doing even though I have a long ways to go.
Sidenote1: that blog this week from the Scratchy Golfer was awesome and thought provoking. Why do we play golf – and getting to why. I have reasons that strike me with similar gravity and life retrospective “what-ifs.” My pursuit so far has produced a number of wonderful results for me – but they are all off the golf course. They deal as much with learning how to navigate personal and work terrain (for which I find golf axioms in terms of fundamentals required for good ball striking and par performance – they seem to apply to having good relationships, trying to deal with projects gone haywire at work, trying to be a good friend or father or just getting thru the day and accomplishing some stuff) and dealing with the back nine of life and its challenges – metaphorically speaking. I haven’t wrapped my thoughts around them completely yet – but when I do I’ll need to jot them down. Self-discovery and an ability to share that journey in a way that might make sense to a similar minded person – is high on the list of definite benefits for sure.
Sidenote2: These “Golf Now” commercial have just gotta go (just finished watching one – oy vey!! while watching the Australian Tour – [ISPS HANDA]). They get staler and staler and speak to the wrong target audience profile big time (at least for Northern California metro area – IMHO).
Sidenote3: the World Series continues to be informative as I watch all the various batter set-ups.
Sidenote4: I need to look at getting formal instruction in 2015 as a new years resolution. The writings from other bloggers – despite my strong entrepreneurial desire to figure this out myself (call it my Silicon Valley hi-tech DNA combined with thoughts of Bubba Watson and others who are self-trained – which makes me believe the Holy Grail is attainable by those who are persistent).
Maybe part of the self-discovery process is recognizing built-in weaknesses or predilections that might prevent us from moving forward. Taking formal instruction is one of those for me – despite my fairly good performance during grade school (notice I didn’t mention college where I was more Animal House than Leave it to Beaver – although I guess I learned something there as well and I wouldn’t give up my degree for nuthin’. What was it in you ask? Economics – go figure. And I don’t even like math – hah!), I prefer to DIY big time!- and I think that’s what attracted me not just to the sport of golf which is very individualistic in nature and in pursuit (no team here – at least not in the obvious sense) BUT to transplant and come out here (twice over no less – I came out in the mid-1990s, moved back east to the mid-Atlantic, NYC and Boston – all of which also have high-tech hubs but none of them like San Jose – only to come back about 5 years ago) to the Valley and pursue various forms of “manifest destiny.” If there’s anyplace that still feels like a brave new world where just abotu anything can happen if its a good idea and you can put your mind to it and try real hard – it’s the brave new world of this new economic engine.
Golf is part of that manifest for me but getting good at it is quite different from trying to create the next big Facebook, Google or marketing the latest online doohickey or cloud technology.
For now, the apprenticeship, the learning and the stories from others who are somewhere along the same path – this is slaking my thirst for meaning, belonging and accomplishing………..even though the reasons run much deeper.