A week of travel and several days of pain (I hurt my back) delayed the conclusion of my golf challenge, but it’s finally in the books. I shot 105, which was only 2 shots better than my opening round. Considering my personal goal was to break 100, I feel a little disheartened. Ironically, the part of my game I had the most confidence in, putting, was my greatest weakness. I had a total of 45 puts in my closing round, which translates to a pathetic 2.5 puts per green. That was 8 shots worse than my opening round on putting alone (ouch!). In my opening round, I made 3 or 4 puts from over 10 feet, while in the closing round I don’t think I made anything from over 5 feet.
While I didn’t achieve my score goal, I do feel better about my game now. Before I avoided work related golf events so I wouldn’t embarrass myself, but now I’d feel okay to play with other people watching. So that’s some progress at least.
My biggest take-away from this challenge is to not over analyze your golf swing. In other words, find a swing that feels comfortable for you and then stick with it and don’t keep making adjustments all the time. About midway through the month, I was feeling good about my swing and then I took a lesson. That lesson actually set me back about 2 weeks. Because golf is hard, it’s tempting to keep making adjustments to try and get better. The problem is that the adjustments might fix one part of your swing but then cause an issue somewhere else. In conclusion, golf is difficult and if you want to improve, be prepared to work hard.
Alright I’m now halfway through my month of golf training. I’ll start by saying that golf is a very frustrating game. It seems like it should be easy. I mean come on, the ball doesn’t even move. What it does do is sit there and mock you. Golf is also compelling and addictive because it makes you think you might be on the verge of making a breakthrough. I’ve had this feeling several times over the past couple weeks. I start hitting balls at the driving range and then a few actually look like real golf shots and I think to myself, okay I’ve got this thing figured out, except when I try to do it again the ball goes anywhere but where I’m aiming. And that’s why this game can drive people to insanity. In tennis, if you have a good forehand, you can pretty much make a good shot most of the time. In golf, it can look great on one shot and then on the very next shot seem like I’ve never swung a club in the my life. Maybe it’s just a matter of more practice, we’ll see.
So far, I’ve spent nearly half of my practice time chipping and putting. I think I’ve made the biggest improvement in these areas. For golf players, I settled on this newer putting grip called the claw, which is where you only hold the putter normally with your left hand but then only barely hold it with your right hand. I highly recommend this grip. It felt weird at first, but I started to see improvement rather quickly. I also decided to take a few lessons in person. That’s helped too, but there are so many different methods for holding and hitting a golf ball, I think it’s best just to find a method that feels right for you and not try to copy a PGA tour pro’s swing. Well that’s it for now, time to practice.
I’ve always thought that golf would be a great sport to try when I got old. Now that I’m over 40, I guess that time has come. I have played before, maybe 20 times in the last 20 years, so this is going to take some work just to get to hacker status. When we started doing these 30 day challenges last year, I had golf near the top of my list and thought May would be the perfect month. So much for that logic. I just checked and the forecast is for low 50s and rain for basically the first half of May. You know what they say about best laid plans, but I will not be deterred.
My plan is to play an 18 hole round of golf at the beginning, practice for 30 days, and then play the same course again. For practice, I’ve only got enough time for 45 minutes to an hour a day. That means a lot of range work and chipping/putting at the range as well. I’m undecided whether I should take a lesson or not although I’ll be consuming all the golf tips I can find on YouTube.
I played my opening round over the weekend and actually did better than I expected. I got lucky on a few shots. My best shot of the day came on a steep hill where I couldn’t even see the green. After I hit the shot I was wondering if I would even be able to find the ball. Once I came over the hill I saw the green and a ball about 6 feet from the pin. I missed the birdie putt but it was my only par of the day. It might be an advantage for me not to know where the green is. I shot a 107.