Swing 2011 v1.0

The winter is ebbing and spring’s arrival is a bird’s song chirping behind the grey fences of March. This is when my golf ambitions begin to rise, and I’m back in the golf hut for a another season’s preparation. My swing is much better than it was several years ago when I began this blog, but the real barrier to lowering my handicap was never ball striking, but rather the short grass and the grey matter. I’ve studied books on mind-spirit-action-golf, taken lessons from great masters of the game, and have electronically tracked and analyzed every aspect of my game. This year, I’m just going to go at it with just me, the sticks, and the tiny white ball. What’s promising about this approach -dumping several 15 footers for par over a weekend in a warmer part of our country a while back and managing my game for 2-3 strokes onto the green with twenty year old clubs that weren’t my own -my first round since last fall with no warmup or practice from the tips on an unfamiliar and challenging course I shot a 96 with three triple bogies. Just swing.


Bag of Happiness

My spring effortts are firming up. This included a series of sessions with my father whose short game is spot on when it’s going. He gave me a system to concentrate on. The pitching wedge and the 52 degree gap wedge are full swing clubs. He controls distance by feel, knowing how far the P and G will fly on a full and half swing. The sand is for everything fifty on on by half swinging. Distance control is by choking up for shorter shots. Direction is paramount. The lob wedge is for getting out of sand only and special short stuff when the ball is teed up. This has given me direction.

Putting improved with his tips, but the putting rug has also helped. The big thing is vision. Seeing the line takes practice. The rug helps.

I’ve settled on the R9 Quad driver. It gives me the ability to shape shots. The Sumo straightens me out too much and the offset results in too many hooks. The power fade is a very important bail shot and a technical driver like the R9 lets me do it naturally.

The move to a 4 wood was great. I can jack it almost as far as 230 yards on the fly and it is forgiving. The Nike SQ feels wonderful at address. The previous 3 wood gave me only distress. Carrying the 4 let’s me drop my 5 wood which was my bushwacking club. The hybrid 3 and 4 have the small head that run through rough well and go at least as far as the 15 year old Taylormade steel wood went.

The putter has been moved back to a more traditional putter and is a Never Compromise bought on eBay. I have gained respect for the putter that I never really had before. If you want immediate impact on your game, you need to produce on the green.

If you could walk a mile in my shoes…

img_2021Men like shoes. Golf shoes. The first step in liberation is to appropriate the language of the oppressor. Why did I buy the sassy brown shoes when the Callaway blacks were perfectly serviceable? was the question. 

“They were so cute, I had to buy them,” was my response. 

As I prepared for my golfing journey, I spent long hours preparing my sticks -scrubbing last year’s caked on dirt from Hype, Legacy, and Waveland. The grooves that would impart the guiding and lofting spin and brakes, the grip that acts as the intermediary object between this world and the golfing spirit plane, and the shaft that translates torque and kinetic energy into momentum transfer into the ball. 

The balls are the Costco Titleists -they cost somewhere in between Titleists premium brand and their bargain brand, and behave closer the high end of the golf ball bandwidth having a nice soft feel around the greens, excellent stopping power, and good flight. They are the few fun items that I grab while purchasing large quantities of meat and dry goods from the dispensary of modern delights.

The main bag has been replaced with a Callaway branded walking hybrid bag. Not the completely minimalist bag of my teen years which was just a vinyl sack, but rather a light composite bag with enough dark notes to give it the appearance of heft, but very light and heftable for a walk on the course. I purchased a Callaway airline bag which just fits over this bag, and will protect my clubs well.

The clubs have undergone a great deal of modification since last year. I purchased a Taylormade R7 Quad driver that is completely blacked out to instill awe and fear. I ditched my temperamental 3 wood and trusty 5 wood for a Nike Sasquatch Sumo 4 wood. Back in the day, my persimmon 4 wood (a middle spoon) was my go to club for driving under pressure -I once launched it close to 300 yards on a dry downhill hole with the wind, but it had a small head that let it pass through medium rough with ease. The square head on the SS 4 wood lets me hit off center with miminal loss of power. There is some degree of gear effect, and I found that it is the most forgiving of my long clubs. 

My three iron became the household rabbit masher after I purchased a Callaway X-hybrid. This season, my missing 4 iron has been replaced with a X-4H hybrid as well. The remaining irons (5 thru P) are Callaway X-18’s. I carry three lofted wedges, all Cleveland of 52, 56, and 60 degrees. 

My putter which gave me fits last year, has been heavily modified with a thickened grip over taped with leftover squash grip from my college days. I have been hitting a quarter reliably on my putting rug at 6 feet, so here’s to hoping.

I have packed a good supply of ibuprofen for the middle aged man aches, and cough syrup for the crud that has been going around the house, G’s school, and my place of work. I am packing Deepak Chopra’s Golf for Enlightenment (link). 

We’ll be gathering at the physician’s lounge at the hospital for lunch.