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.
The 2009 HAC was played yesterday with the highest attendance ever. The teams were composed of an A, B, C, D level player and played on a 6/6/6 format of individual, shamble, and scramble format based on the difficulty of the hole. Waveland offered a challenging, classic layout and it was spiced up by a torrential downpour around midday.
My round of 76, with help from my team on the shambles and scrambles, was a bit of a revelation. I had six birdies, four of which occurred on an individual or shamble hole. I was playing in a different place with no fear or thought. I was possessed of a great awareness and presence, but had no definite perception of space or time. It was just ball and myself, and a pleasant time moving through the grass. Every component of my game was functioning, and even the triple and double bogies that occurred during the downpour were snap hooks out of bounds with a slippery grip, and I played after stroke and distance bogey and par on those holes. The putting was just simply perfectly dependable with an occasional long putt going in.
I hope this lasts through the rest of the season. I attribute some of this to a book I read the night before the tournament -Zen Golf: Mastering the Mental Game by Joseph Parent (link). Will keep you updated.
We won by the way, thanks to the efforts of MD, TB, and TW. Thanks to all!
Here is the HAC trophy, also known as the Wedgie, sitting alone among my wife’s numerous tennis trophies.
It is known as the wedgie for its features below:
Last year I posted a video of myself swinging the club [link]. Its remarkable how little changes with one’s swing despite conscious effort. It also means that your best chance at a natural swing is to learn it as a child. Despite learning at 10, I never really tried to play golf well nor live well by golfism until now. The nice thing about those boring (to me) trips to the range with dad was I did learn to swing fully and not have any really funny looking loops, jags, or stops. The trick is to create a simple platform to base your entire game on. It starts with the grip and being loose. Having a good tempo helps. Beyond that, its the mysteries.