I played a speed 9 today after work and before dinner. Some people love to go to the gym and get on the treadmill for an hour. I prefer to play a quick nine. After my recording a 76, a score lowered by the format of the tournament, but listed on GHIN for the sake of completeness, I played today and had a reasonable round of golf -more in line with how I usually play.
I hooked my first drive into the woods. I spent about 15 minutes looking for it, and found it. It’s a luxury to play with nobody behind you, and in finding the ball, I didn’t have to go back and hit another one. I hid a beautiful fading 7 iron over an obstructing oak tree back onto the fairway, and fluffed my pitch, with a subsequent long and short putt, I made double, which on #1 is a common score even when you’re on the fairway. #2 was fired with the 10mph right to left wind -I shot a perfect fade which straightened out, but was short because of how high I hit it. I pitched short, but made a remarkable 15 footer for par.
#3 was a bogey of not much note -I missed a 5 footer for a par save. #4 was a great sand save, with an up and down for par. On #5, the trouble began. I couldn’t hit an approach shot for anything and ended with a triple. #6, I hooked OB and struggled to get a triple. #7, lost ball and a triple. #8, OB left and subsequent triple.
The stretch of four triple bogeys gave me some perspective. I was swinging away without much purpose, and the purpose of the game is to make physical a mental and even spiritual plan of action. Keeping my thoughts in the moment, I had the same hard 10mph wind now left to right and slightly from behind. I took a 6 iron and played my natural draw. It almost hit the flagstick and landed 15 feet behind. I visualized the line and executed -dropping the putt for birdie.
This game is at first a purely physical one for the 90+ shooter. In the 80’s, it is a game of processes -pars and bogeys. To get the the 70’s and closer and even under par, you have to get spiritual.
I left #9 thinking I could reel off five or six more birdies. I was quite sure of it, but didn’t feel overly pressured to do it. I went home for dinner. Not all that unhappy about my 4 triple bogeys, but contemplative about my one birdie.
Addendum: By slowing down my swing over the weekend, I managed to hit over 70% of my fairways, and reach 60% of the greens, but was troubled by putting -this was because the Stimp meter was running out at close to 12 feet! At Oakmont speeds, I was rolling the ball over the holes or lipping out. Earlier this week, after work, I played after the greens were a more manageable 10.5 feet on the Stimp, and I shot a 41 and 47 for an 88 -the back nine was done in a rush and I had three triple bogies due to errant tee shots. Slowing down the game, visualizing -trying to see the ball lying in the grass, the terrain, the sky, the wind, the trees, the green, and above all the target, really does pay off.
Also, my putting improved after copying Wie’s putting changes -hand press forward, no slap, athletic spine posture.