1 Week Later and It’s GO Time

Just a quick note of thanks to the words of encouragement from you fellow good golfers and hacker golfers out there.

Not long after I made my journal entry about failing to accomplish much of any of my 2016 golfing goals, the universe seemed to take pity on me and I stumbled onto a friend who belongs to a group of guys – some hackers some quite good – who play once a month as a kinda club.

He invited me out. And I actually took him up on it instead of hiding behind some excuse that was really disguising my fear of having to display my lacking abilities in public (I’m always coming up with excuses). Talk about rare. I decided to say “Yes” to the universe this time.

And guess what?…….. wait for it…………….. wait for it

I played 18 holes at the Half Moon Bay Golf Course right next to the Ritz Carlton (beautiful place) south of San Francisco on a gorgeous Saturday last last weekend.

Don’t ask me how I did. This was a binary victory. Did I play – Yes/ No. Yes – you win!

It was a good time.

I am getting some more motivation. And I actually struck my first shot – a 3 iron on a Par 4 dog-leg left perfectly. And then it went down hill – but overall, not too shabby.

Fear is such a big resistance engine. I’ve just gotta get over myself and my fear. Turns out – nobody really cares as long as we have a good time which we did.

Next step: re-evaluating my stance. I think my stance is too narrow. I was flipping thru an instruction handbook and it recommended that you drop a club from each shoulder straight down and your heels should be just outside of the line where it lands. If so, I’ve been depriving myself of stability with a way too narrow stance.

But we’ll see.

Anyway – that’s all I got.

I’m back in the game for now and hopefully for a much longer stint this time. Better yet – hopefully – forever! If I remember one of our other popular golf writer’s comments – “It all starts with making a decision and listening to your motivation and desire.”

Next stop – signing up with the NCGA and working towards establishing my official handicap number.

Question: “Can they go into 4-digits?”

Yuck yuck – I’m such a comedian.

SVgolfer_out.

 

 

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What is the Role of the Backswing? Some Thoughts

The master - Ben Hogan tells it like it is in pictures

The master – Ben Hogan tells it like it is in pictures

  • The backswing really shouldn’t be thought of as part of the swing – really.  It’s incorrect nomenclature in a way if you think about it.  They should call it the ‘get ready to swing –  swing’
  • It’s what gets you into position to swing.  As if you are just trying to get into position like a baseball batter after addressing the ball.  Only baseball players get to stand in the ‘correct’ ready position with the bat already at-the-ready over their back shoulder.
  • Really it’s a pre-swing. Get into position movement.
  • Just like bringing the ball back to your shoulder before taking a jump shot or a foul shot isn’t really the shot.  You pause, then you take the shot.
  • Or just like serving in tennis requires you to toss the ball up and just before you swing as the ball gets to its apex, you circle your wrists and then lunge into the shot.  It’s the lunge that’s the shot.
  • When you fail to do these things you end up throwing the ball like a novice.  Have you ever seen a kid try to throw a football or baseball before s/he understands the need to really take the arm back and get the wrist cocked into position?  It’s like they’re pushing the ball instead of throwing it.  These are the images that come to mind as I re-think the role and purpose of the backswing.
  • In fact, I wonder why one can’t just swing at the golf ball from a batter’s position. Is that like against the rules or something? Because, that’s exactly when you would get that opposite directional thingy where your hips and body start moving forward while the arms almost seem like their lilting back for a second before catching up and going forward. Transition comes much easier that way in my humble opinion.
  • I’ve tried during practice sometimes to look away from the ball and stare at the target like it’s a pitcher throwing a ball at me in a way that it would hit the ‘homeplate’ right where my golf ball is sitting so that i would start my backswing and lock into position before striking – and invariably this helps me have a better sequence of transition.
  • And when I observe LPGA players, especially women from Asia who are so deliberate sometimes in form (and to be fair – some of the PGA players who don’t have such quick swings, like maybe an Ernie Els), invariably I see them take that long very slow backswing and then almost freeze at the top before beginning the forward swing.
  • I think much of my casting or swinging outside my plane comes from hurrying my transition and not allowing for the mini-pause from back to forward.
  • And I do recall hearing many a pro or many a quick-tip on the Golf Channel talking about the need to count your tempo with a “1-AND-2” with the AND being that split second of pause before moving forward. It let’s the body really get into that position.  Just like when you’re trying to skip a stone across a pond’s surface.
  • Now that I’ve gotten much better at thinking more about my finish and the need to swing through and stay balanced – thanks to my instructor at Los Lagos Golf Club,Matt Flenniken – I might could focus more on having a slow backswing and taking that moment to pause.
  • That’s my random thought for the day.  Came to me while sitting in another work meeting trying to think of more ways to market this blimmey cloud service with a catchy digital marketing campaign that’s suppose to revolutionize the world. Oye!

C’est la vie in Silicon Valley!

Golf Practice Routines

So  I thought I needed to get a book or something or sit down and put my mind to what a good weekly/daily/monthly routine should be to improve my game.  I’m thinking I should re-establish some goals like establishing my handicap, getting to a point of comfort with my fairway irons and finally learning how to hit a driver consistently.

So I tooled around the web – usual operating procedure ya’ know and go figure <golf practice routines> yielded some good stuff.  I’ve captured one in particular for your reading pleasure.

Next I need to map out what i will do on what days for how long etc.  and what my drive-to deadline is.  I’m thinking New Years is a good goal post to re-assess my progress.

I’m currently on the train.  Not a bad day at work.  Usual stressors.  I think I’ll practice hitting my 7 iron in the front yard using that new net I haven’t used too much.  Weather – a nice 68 degrees and usual low-humidity liquid sunshine.

The Ultimate Golf Routine from WTAQ (?)  routine summary below

Putting:  (15 shots each…75 shots total)

3 foot circle (3 rounds of 5 balls surrounding hole at 3 ft…PW club is exactly 3 feet)

6 foot circle

9 foot circle

25 foot putt to inside 3 feet

50 foot putt to inside 3 feet

Chipping:  15 shots each (5 balls, 3 sets, 60 shots total)

2 yards off green to far side pin to inside 3 feet

2 yards off green to near side pin to inside 3 feet

5-10 yards off green to far side pin to inside 3 feet

5-10 yards off green to near side pin to inside 3 feet

Bunker and Pitch Shots:  (15 shots each, 60 shots total)

Green-side bunker shots to inside 5 feet

30 yard pitch to inside 10 feet

50 yard pitch to inside 10 feet

80 yard pitch to inside 10 feet

Range:  15 Shots Each (60 Shots)

Whatever your 100 yard club is shot at 100 yd pin to inside 10 yards

Whatever your 150-160 yard club is  shot at 150 yd pin to inside 10 yards

Whatever your 200 yard club is shot at 200 yd pin to inside 15 yards

Driver shot to inside imaginary fairway

THERE YA GO!!!  Make sure to record results and create success percentages in each category.  This should help your game incredibly!!

Note to Self: Routine is Important for Improvement

So I’m trying to get out of my motivational funk that’s produced maybe 1 practice day in the last 2 weeks.

School starting and fall and she traveled to London for the last 10-days so I was Mr. Momming it all over and all isn’t helping my routine but I’m figuring out that if I want to stay inspired while trying to incorporate the deluge of information I soak up trying to learn this game – I need to take it slow and I need to develop a routine and I need to set year long goals that include body physique work, mental work, practical swing instruction and the other stuff like good eating and good routines.  It all starts with a routine I can follow day after day for a long period of time.

The other day i was watching another golf show not with Martin hall but the other guy (the one who sounds like he yells alot even tho he’s a nice guy) and he was talking about the importance of establishing routine to make the pressure shot – ie – what is your pre-swing or pre-putt routine down to how you approach the ball, waggling, breathing etc.  – how important it is to establish and stick to a routine especially in those pressure-fills shot moments.  He said – pressure is self-induced and routine is {the antidote} that let’s you execute cooly and calmly no matter what.

It drove home the point.  Big time.  I need routines.  I need a routine for my routines.  And I need to routinely follow my established routines.  I also keep learning that amateur and pros alike fall into slumps and Rory has come back from one last year in large part because he developed new routines for practicing and on course.  The story lines from slump to chump to getting over the hump are numerous and fairly identical regardless of prowess.

Anyway – one routine I need to re-establish is to keep writing because it keeps me in touch and keeps me fluid – so I gotta do that and that’s what I’m doing now.  After a fairly long reprise.

I think I’ll start working on a simple 5-day calendar with easy-to-stick routines that attach to a 3-month goal.

the great news is I live in San Jose – and the “garden of heavenly delights” not only is home to beautiful orchards and silicon valley tech companies but it also offers the benefit or year-round perfect golf weather even in the winter – so I don’t have to worry about staying in doors.  whoo hoo.

OK – I feel better.

My upbeat songs for the day:

  • WANT U by Lo-Fi-Funk on Kitsune Maison Compilation 6
  • Walking on a Dream by Empire of the Sun on Walking on a Dream
  • Uncharted by Late Night Alumni on Of Birds Bees Butterflies Etc,

 

Balance and Footwork and Your Golf Swing

One of the keys to getting the golf clubhead to swing thru to bottom at the same place each time deals with footwork.balancefeet1

This may be common knowledge that’s disseminated to young golfers during their first Golf Ready lessons – I don’t know – but I’ve never heard anyone address this issue when covering the fundamentals like grip, posture, etc. – It’s footwork – and in particular the need for the tempo of your swing to sync with a rhythm that is metered out by a heel-toe-heel-toe sequence.

On the backswing you need to get to a point at the top of your backswing where you are “sitting down”.  This is a hard thing to explain.  It is the beginning of that feeling before you shift your weight to your left and start to clear your legs.  But in order to get the club to come back down with the proper lag you need to have a trigger that tells you when you should begin to let the arms come down.  If you don’t you get no lag and no speed.  This trigger can be typically 1 of 3 things:

  1. turning waist or belt buckle toward the target
  2. returning, twisting or pushing your left knee (for right handers) back to it’s original position after it’s been bent in a little during the backswing
  3. or push or plant your left heel back down firmly planted into the ground.

Only when one of these (or something similar) is done with your club swing in unison with the rocking back-and-forth from your right heel to your left heel, will the club head behave consistently back and forth coming thru the ball.  But when done right, it will bottom out and flow thru the same path – perhaps this is what is referred to as the ‘slot.’

In essence you are perfecting the imagery of being a pendulum or one of those oil-rig thingies that bobs back and forth spinning using the mechaincs and laws of physics.  You are an upside metronome and the more in beat the more precise the club head dances – if you get my tune.tempo clock

In essence, you need to focus on the oval that is created by the two balls on the inside of your left and right feet – the knuckleball joint below your big toe and the soft roundness pulp before you get to your inside heel.  These 4 points (2 left foot, 2 right foot) hold your weight and form the foundation of your rocking if that’s the right word.  When you set up to the golf ball you need to feel your weight firmly planted in the center of this oval – usually this means you have one or both knees slighty bent inwards so you are pushing out a little on the inside of your heel.

Balance1

Grasshopper

Think of the batter in the batter’s box who sorta squeezes his knees together in still position before the pitch.  When the ball approaches he lifts his left knee or maybe just his left heel as he swing back.  When he swing thru the opposite happens.

batter-up

Swing baddah baddah baddah!

When he lifts his left heel initially, all his weight is planted onto his right heel with just a little steadiness provided by his left toe – if its touching the ground at all.  This is part 1 of heel-toe.  When he swings thru – invariably he’ll have his left heel firmly dug into the ground while his right foot stand with toe to ground and heel to sky.  Heel – toe Part 2. 1 and 2. Back and forth. Doo-cee-doh and promenade!

Practice Suggestion: If you can even just swing in free air – like playing air golf 50 to 100 times in your backyard trying to get this rhythm –  1, 2 ….1 and 2 –  and only let the club come down at the trigger – for me it is after my left heel feels firmly planted – then and only then do I begin the downswing.

It’s kinda hard.  But it is similar to trying to skip a stone and whip it across the pond.  You keep your arm and elbow cocked back (the famous reverse C) to the last minute to build torque and whip it.  But the same heel-toe heel-toe dance applies.  Usually tho’ you lift up your entire left leg – almost like a pitcher who incidentally also has a similar heel-toe rythm that is way more obvious.  That, in effect, drive home the point.

It’s all about the footwork.!!!!

My aha moment from yesterday.  Sometimes they come out of no where. 🙂

But some credit goes to one of the Golf Academy’s shows where I know I’ve heard similar stuff.

 

Star date feb 18 10pm

Haven’t played in a week. Pinched a nerve in my neck or maybe it’s whiplash? Still figuring out chip shot. Heard something about leaning or tilting the club head forward a bit so the heel is up. Again so many different paths to the truth on this one.

That’s a life lesson. Seasons change. Figure my phase one amateur plan should be for 18 month. Include lots of reading, physical prep, and playing time. Just 9 hole variety.

Got the book by Ben hogan on 5 fundamental of golf. Will read. At airport.
Life goes on.

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Smartphone Golf Training on the Train

Didn’t think I could squeeze in more training but some golf simulations online apps are useful. Some are just hokey but GL Golf actually helps me think about ball striking strategy and the basics of working with the wind, factoring distance and swing selection and picking a putting line based on ones perceived break.

I can actually take the mental prep practice with me to the greens. Sometimes I visualize the little white balls rolling on an actual green to read a bead on how fast a break is and a slopes direction.

My challenge is to find other smart apps. Perhaps one on rules and regulations. I know nothing about that.

I miss those days of just hitting in abandoned pristine business complexes in Sunnyvale . It made lunch breaks that much more transportive.

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