GPJ’s Journey to ... God Knows Where
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Hi Stink …...... (prolific at posting = quiet at work …. for me)
So, 3 new courses and another one today …....... geez and here I was thinking I was doing it tough. Don’t know how you cope big fella …... it must be that legendary “musician’s stamina” of yours.
32 points is a great score at a first up course …...... well done buddy. As you say, a sight unseen course particularly off a mid handicap or less I reckon makes it damned hard.
I figure, at a mid handicap, a golfer has some degree of skill and control at that level, but it’s trying to match that skill and control to a course that you haven’t seen, so unless you really take your time and look at each hole in real detail, (which isn’t always possible off the tee), anything could happen.
If I’m playing a new course, I’ll try and find an online course guide …. for at least a basic hole description, and guide to playing it .. and then take that with me for reference.
Again, very impresed with your 32 …...... I reckon that would be like a 40 at your more “regular courses”.
Oh, while I think of it ….... it must be time to update your own “journey thread” isn’t it Stink, now that you’re back with us full time?? .. (some very good reading in yours).
Geez Dave … no pressure there hey?
Thanks for the vote of confidence however buddy …. but lets just see how things pan out.
There is long way to go for me to get there, and lots of things to learn and then more importantly, build into my game, before I could get to that level.
You know (as well as the rest of us) just how fickle this game can be … but time will tell of course. Nothing I’d like more though, than to prove you right buddy …... so lets see how we go.
Update time again guys, and last night’s practice at Beacy was played on The Lakes 9 hole course (as there was a comp or some such happening on the regular Hills course).
I started with a couple of gentle 3 iron practice swings on the tee of the par 3, 190 odd metre 1st hole before hitting off …. just to loosen the body.
Hit a nice draw with the 3 iron, aiming to the left of the green and hoping to draw it back. It landing pin high just slightly left of the flag, and trickled on another 15 feet or so. Missed the birdie putt, but sunk the short par putt …..... nice start.
As the Lakes is only really, the course I play when the Hills is busy, I haven’t studied the greens too much, and with the recent coring and sanding also being done on the Lakes, I wasn’t expecting too much in the way of putting practice.
2nd hole Par 4 ,340m or so from memory …... and another 3 iron off the tee to the middle of the fairway. I had 144 to the front of the green to go, and 166 or so to the back of the green, so I decided to take it easy and hit 6 iron (my 150 distance club). I’ve been trying to practice my draw shots with my irons of late by closing the clubface slightly. I aimed at the left hand edge of the green, and let her rip.
It drew back perfectly, but somehow managed to sail out to the full 166 metres, and then trickled on a few feet more into the fringe ….... god it felt nice though.
As I walked up towards the green I was thinking about the shot and what I’d felt during the swing …..... (in order to try and reproduce the feeling and the solid shot).
What I remembered in particular ocurred at the top of my backswing in transition. The first move of the downswing, was my left shoulder dropping downwards, and then it came thru underneath, rather than it moving outward in the downswing.
This was Lighbulb moment No1 . from last night.
This shoulder dropping I figure, set the club on the inside to out swingpath, thereby enabling the nice draw, and the added distance …...... and it all felt so very smooth and easy.
I basically gave up “scoring” after that shot and continued to play with my long and mid irons whenever possible as I made my way around the course.
Fast forward to the 5th hole, uphill (off the tee) dogleg right, 320 or so metre par 4. The inside of dogleg is about 190 metres off the tee, with a bunker on the outside corner, directly on the ideal driving line. The inside corner is protected by tall pine trees, so the shot required some delicate work moving the ball from left to right around the corner (if I wanted to shorten the hole). The plan called for a nice smooth 3 wood off the tee.
Of late I’ve struggled to hit this club straight, as these days I generally turn it over from left to right. While this would be a good shot to do on this hole, I wanted to hit a gentle one to just short of the 220 metre bunker. To fight the tendency I seem to have developed of late (in pulling them right), I weakened the grip on my right hand (top hand), and then just aimed straight at the bunker and swung smoothly.
The result was a high flying, straight shot, that landed smack bang in the bunker.
Hmm …... interesting I thought to myself …..... maybe I’ll hit another one, only with my usual grip and see if that makes it draw.
Another ball on the tee, and back to my normal grip, and the result was another “thing of beauty”. It started on line directly at the bunker, flew high and started drawing perfectly to the right, up and over the trees to land mid fairway some 30 metres past the bunker (and about 50 metres closer to the green.)
Lighbulb moment No 2. If I weaken my 3W top hand grip, I’ll get a straight shot with that club.
Next hole a downhill par 4 .. Time to test the theory ….... my 3w again … weakened my usual grip ….... bang ….. sheer and utter beauty ….... high flying straight as a dog’s d@&#, shot of great distance down the hill . right “oot of sight”.
For the rest of the holes I played around hitting my 3 wood and mid irons, changing grips on the 3 wood and hitting draws and straight shots …..... while I continued to hit nice long draw shots with the mid irons.
Note to self ….......... if hitting an intentional draw with my mid irons …......... ffs remember to hit one club less, (as my draw shots tend to “fly&roll” a full club further).
In summary, it was a great afternoon session out on course amid the warmth and humidity of the day.
I learnt another couple of things to file away, and hopefully, when I need them, from amid the growing list of data and information surrounding my golf game that is now starting to fill the memory banks …. I’ll be able to pluck these two gems out, as and when required.
So, Stableford comp on Saturday 10:07 …..... is my next outing on course …... as always, I’m really looking forward to it, and to meeting some more “locals” ......... Now whatever shall I wear ????
You are too kind my good buddy. My theory is – if it’s going to go that way all the time play for it. When they go straight…...that’s when I’m confused. :-)
9/10/12 – Hole In One – 7th Hole Portsea GC
My theory is – if it’s going to go that way all the time play for it. When they go straight……that’s when I’m confused. :-)
I hear that…
BMan’s Big Bendigo Slog – 7th July, be there! You know you want to.
Mm, I took a long break from that when thing here went awry. Didn’t want advice coming from all quarters when I was focusing on certain directions.
I’m considering opening it up to see me into singles in the new year, I know I can do it.
Things here have settled and seem on track now.
In the meantime, I’ll invade yours and enjoy yours :)
What is this golf game you talk of?
go for it Stink ….... anytime you feel like dropping in, feel free.
“The plan called for a nice smooth 3 wood off the tee.
Of late I’ve struggled to hit this club straight, as these days I generally turn it over from left to right.”
Must be contagious GPJ, have goe to using this club a lot more of late off the tee and have that 1 or 2 shots per round with it that are rubbish. My crap hit is the “topped smack” that has the ball bouncing a few times 30-50 m forward.
Caused by a brain fade, swing too fast while looking at everything but the ball, then back to reality and the club fires along nicely.
Yep, for me too, the key is swinging smoothly. It’s a club for positioning the ball as opposed to the driver, and like you, I need to remind myself of that at times. When I do, it goes well, but when I forget, it can lead to frustration, particularly if I’ve gone with the 3 in order to play “safe”.
Update time guys, firstly from Saturday’s round at Beacy, and then from yesterdays round and Keysy with the ISG boys and Bowdo.
Saturday first, and it started with much promise (doesn’t it always) Started with a couple of easy two pointers, and playing the 3rd I was 5 meteres short of the green in two, courtesy of a great fading drive (better Pete?) ........ and then a 5 iron down the hill, which just stopped short. A chip of mediocrity followed, and then two putts of less than distinction for another two pointer …......... what a waste.
The same sort of ocurrence happened throughout the front 9, with 2 pointers on every hole and finally on the 9th, a three pointer, so I finished with 19 for the front.
While I was scoring points easily enough, I played pretty aggressively, but then let myself down somewhere along each hole …..... and the frustration at wasting possible 3 pointers was building.
The back 9 now and it continued along in this vein for a couple of holes. Got another 3 pointer with a tap in birdie on the par 5 14th …...... then immediately went and wiped the following short par 3 hole after skinnying one out of the greenside bunker and putting it dead into trouble. (Got to work out how to play off hard wet sand).
Wiped another hole before getting it back on track with a couple of 2 pointers to finish with 16 on the back 9.
35 points all up, but I really let myself down on several holes. For playing so poorly at times, I scrambled okay and putted pretty solidly without really getting any putts of distance.
There is lots of room for improvement though, and I’ve just got to temper my aggressiveness to suit the hole more ….. that, and work out playing bunker shots from hard firm sand ….....and I should score much better …..... and hopefully sooner.
What club you use out of firm sand Gaz? I used a low bounce lob wedge yesterday and it helped heaps, better for me than my sand wedge in the hard sand.
There ends Coach Stinks words of advice :)
What is this golf game you talk of?
Duly noted Stink …......
I tried a couple of different ones over the last two round. I used the 60 degree and tried to nip it off the firm packed sand when I was short sided, and then tried digging in with a square faced 56 degree when confronted with slightly more room on the shot.
I probably should have used the 60 degree normally, rather than try and nip it off the top …....... as you just have to be so precise with that, and I’m no Bowdo!!!
I need to sort it out though, and then practice, practice, practice, as with this weather at the moment, a lot of the bunkers are going to have compacted sand in them.
Thanks for the tip Stink …........ cheque’s in the mail buddy!!!
Gaz you and I and many others were in that bunker, the only thing missing was SAND.
LOFT. the real reason why my handicap is where it is!
Update time now, from yesterdays round in the Bowdo Bash at Keysy.
There are some golf days that you really look forward to, and while some live up to the promise of the day, some don’t quite reach expectations. Yesterday though was one of those days, that you knew was going to be memorable, and it was a day I’ll look back on and just smile, for lots of reasons.
It started out at 10 am or so, on the practice green with the boys, putting from one end of the practice green to the other, aiming not at the holes, but at an assortment of “empties”, left in situ, and having a lot of laughs with the guys in the process.
Onto the actual round now, and I started with a nice drawn drive down the 1st to the right rough, a smooth 5 iron down the fairway to the left rough, a lob wedge from 60 out, and then two steady putts for par. A good solid start …... and I followed it up with another regulation par on the 2nd par 5 after putting it greenside in two (a chip shot of indifference followed by two steady putts)
If only every hole was a par 5 …......
As we were in the group ahead of Bowdo and Hacky, we were also spending a bit of time loitering around each green after we’d putted, out to watch their incoming shots.
I then had a bit of trouble with the compacted sand in the bunkers, skinnying a couple but no great damage was done, aside from perhaps the “pride”.
I managed to keep the steadiness though for most of the front 9 to finish with 16 points.
It was time to kick it up a notch, so I started the back 9 with 4 or 5, 3 pointers in a row from memory.
The driver was on song and they were now coming beautifully off the clubface ….. and the putter was working nice and smoothly.
As is usual with me these days, it was just the “inbetween bits” that need more attention.
I eventually got to the 16th Par 5 and hit a my drive into the trees (probably only the 2nd really bad one for the day).
As my playing partner Rob was on the other side of the fairway in the cart, I bunted a borrowed right handed 5 iron (thanks Goldy) a bit further along in the rough, and then probably hit my personal “shot of the day”.
It was about a 190 metre 3 iron fade from the light rough, over the greenside bunkers and fading nicely to land pin high and roll up onto the back of the green …..... just as planned …....... don’t you love it when they go as planned.
Then, left with a downhill 20 footer or so for birdie, I left it two foot short, and then Goldy kindly conceded me the putt for par.
With the putter having a good day on the magnificent greens of Keysy, I was leaving my first putts close all day which is nice …..... (Loving my newish Yes Victoria II putter), and I was sinking all the close ones …. hence Goldy’s confidence in my putting ability yesterday. (He knows though just how badly I used to putt, but it has really developed back to where it should be, since finding the weighty “Victoria”.)
I then proceeded to wipe the 17th, with a skinnied 3 wood of distinction from the middle of the fairway, that I dragged low and right into the dam, up next to the green.
Then following a “drop” I had a couple of “big jessie” shots that are best forgotten …. a short chip into the bunker as Doc bet me $10 who could get it closest to the pin as he took his own drop beside mine ….... (I must have buckled under the weight of all that cash) and then followed that up with either one or two to get out of the bunker for a wipe (that part was bit of a blur).
I managed to hold it together on the last though, to finish with 21 points for back 9 ….. so 37 all up, which was pleasing.
The real highlight of the round of golf for me though was probably due to a recent purchase ….. a new set of spikes in the golf shoes, believe it or not.
On Saturday when I played, I pulled a couple of drives really badly when the old feet slipped a bit and had me off balance, so some new spikes just in time for yesterday, and I felt grounded over the ball on the tee.
While at times I can feel “off balance” when really trying to “get one out there” ........ yesterday there was no such feeling, it just felt absolutely rock solid. I was really starting to go for all of my drives as the round continued, and I could have held my “finish” on all my drives indefinitely ….. which just gave me more and more confidence.
Post round, and the laughs and fun continued with the guys, making for an outstanding day all around …..... if only every day could be like that.
So, things that I learned from yesterdays round, (and there are a few) ......
A Corona for brekkie isn’t as bad for you as it might sound ….
Putting at “empties” is a good way to improve your lag putting …..
New golf spikes can do wonders for your stability over the ball ….
Hackpro puts on a great golf day ….
Right handed clubs are just as good as lefties for bunting purposes ….......
Bowdo is a really top bloke, as expected …...
Goldy, Rob Newy and Dr Hook are all great playing companions ….. and great to be around!!
Krispy Kremes are pretty popular (don’t like me myself)
And finally …....... I have a lot of work to do on “compacted sand” bunker shots ….. and am keen to master the correct techniques.
Looking forward to his week’s practice rounds now in preparation for the next “big one” ...... partnering Goldy in the Lang Lang 2 Man Ambrose this coming Saturday.
Great course, great ISG company …...... just another great golf day to look forward to ….... can’t wait.
Hey Steve, with this weather of heavy downpours and then bright sunshine at the moment …...... it’s seems it’s not so much sand in the bunkers …....... but more like concrete that is about to go off. They seem to have that consistency about them.
I’ll need to do some research, and try out Stink’s tips (he’s generally pretty good from sand) ............ and get some practice in, as I don’t think we’ve seen the last firm bunkers ….... I think we might be in for more of them until the weather settles down.
Two things struck me about your day yesterday Gaz.
1. Your driver was gold. Best and most consistent I’ve seen you hit it. Shape and distance.
2. Your putting has improved exponentially.
I reckon a combination of good greens and a better stroke on the new putter has made that part of your game.
One more thing – still great company on a round of golf. Or beer.
God help you next Saturday. Because based on yesterday, it’s unlikely I will. I need to bring Sunday’s game with me (44 points), not Monday’s (25).
What a great game.
I’m with Stink in regard to the hard sand thing as well – 60deg low bounce. Works a treat.
I only carry a 60 degree wedge for use in the sand and around the green. PW for everything else in my case. Playing on the inland courses in summer the 60 degree does a fine job on dry compacted sand. Try like hell to avoid it though because after a few hits the arms feel a bit tender from belting into the ground.
Tal, thanks for that.
Weather permitting, it’s a practice 9 atfer work today, so I’ll be dropping a few into the bunkers and trying to get some consistency with the 60 degree on firm wet sand. Hopefully that plays like firm dry sand .. will soon find out though.
Yeah both ends of the spectrum are coming along nicely, the driver in particular is feeling really solid at the moment. It’s so nice to have confidence in what is going to happen off the tee with it, that I can turn the brain off and just go for it.
With the putting though, how good were those greens yesterday?? ....... Love to have just rolled them up and carry them around everywhere with me.
I figure if you can’t putt on those greens after 5 minutes on the practice green, then give the game away as they just rolled so evenly and smoothly across the whole 18.
Thanks for steering me in the “yes” direction with “Victoria” buddy …. I love having confidence now when standing over a putt of any length.
This game as you know, is all about confidence, and playing with it, is at least half the battle if not more, whether its a tight driving hole, or a tricky snaking long putt …... so long as you’ve got confidence when you step up to the ball, you’re a good chance I figure.
As for next Saturday …... whatever “game we both bring” (or leave at home) ..... we’re gonna have a “bucket o fun”, so we can relax and have fun, and the score can do what it likes.
You’re a great man.
I agree on the greens yesterday – dusting or no, they were sensational. I felt like I had the pace all day – couldn’t get one to drop. Reckon I was over-reading them a bit.
Looking forward to the weekend.
Yep subtle steady breaks yesterday, rather than the usual easy to read steeper slopes that we generally have to putt on.
I think a lot of us over read them slightly at times, (particularly that one line I gave you where it never moved a friggin inch …. (sorry buddy) but god they rolled nicely didn’t they??
Well you’ll be happy to hear oh Golden One, that yet another of my golfing dilemma’s …...... is now behind me.
In the last hour or so I’ve done my “research” into hitting out of wet compacted sand, and here is the last word on the subject …... according to the bible of all things knowledgeable ....... “You Tube”.
However did we live our lives before it ??
Anyway, according to a couple of videos, here is the general consensus in playing the shot like Bowdo.
Club of choice – Lob wedge 60 degree ….. (now where have I heard that before ….... Ah yes, Stink / Tal ….... you guys seriously need to get onto You Tube with your tips).
Next step, set up open stance as normal, playing the ball slightly in front of middle, with an open clubface.
The aim now is to hit down and thru as usual ….... entering the sand at a point precisely 1 inch (or 2.5cms, for those metrically minded) ...... behind the ball …. instead of the usual “couple o inches”.
So, armed with this “money back”, fail safe plan, I shall endeavour to try some tonight up at Beacy, and report back on the morrow, with regard to my findings.
(I’m expecting at least half of them to lob out and then land directly into the cup ….... given You Tube’s glowing reputation …. so it should be good fun!!)
Update from last nights 9 hole training round at the Hills of Beacy.
Played the front 9 off the white tees, and started with a limp little “no power fade”, that left me with 130 out, but being somewhat blocked out by a tree some 30 metres in front of me. I gave it a nice smooth strike with the 8 iron, but the tree stood firm, whilst my ball went sideways after it hit one of the high tree branches …..... shame, as it felt really nice too.
Standing now on the fairway of the 1st hole (Lakes course) yes I’d even switched to a new course …... with 120 uphill over some different trees still to go …. a lovely smooth 9 iron saw me back nicely onto the proper course, oh, and also onto the green, for a regulation 2 putt …. bogey.
2nd hole Par 3, and I just missed green with a 5 iron in hand, chip on folowed by an easy 2 putt .. bogey.
Starting to sound all too familiar this ….. 2 putt bogey.
Played the next two (both par 5’s) in easy non attacking regulation (3 easy shots to get on …. 2 putt pars) .... and then I came to my current nemesis, the dogleg left, bastard par 4 5th hole, which is some 319 metres of uninspiring tree-lined sloping landscape.
I hit a nice 15 metre draw with my 4 iron to the wide safe part of the dogleg corner, which then left me with 140 metres to go to the rear pin position.
With a 7 iron in hand, I hit it just as the wind got up …... bugger …... as the oncoming wind proceeded to knock the ball down out of the sky to finish 10 metres short (but safe) of the green …... a softcock chip then followed ….... and an easy uphill 2 putts … for bogey.
The short 6th Par 3 129 metre uphill – A 9 iron off the deck (I’ve given up trying to use a tee on this hole as I strike the short irons so much better off the deck).
Anyway, it landed on the green, an uphill curling right to left 12 footer to follow …. and then a tap in to follow that one …... moving on ….. nothing to see here.
7th hole draw driver off the tee, purrfect …... to the far side of dogleg leaving me with only an uphill 80 metre shot to go. A choked down 3/4 swing with an 9 iron onto the rear of the green …... and an easy downhill two putt par followed.
8th hole …....... draw driver of utter perfection again left me past the trees on the right, with a clear uphill shot to the green and only 64 metres left to the pin …. An easy lob wedge into the breeze had me going for birdie ….. a curling right to left 10 feet putt, bugger …. two putt par …. another birdie just missed.
9th hole …. And another draw shot with the driver again, this time fighting and then cutting thru the crosswind, I pulled it slightly rightward into the rough, but had a clear lob wedge yet again to the green of some 75 metres.
It hit the front edge but sucked back to be just below the level of the green …... a short 51 degree wedge chip up the green to within a foot …..... and an easy tap in for par.
So, after all of that I ended up 3 over 39 for the 9 holes …...... (or 21 S/F points)
It was an easy, no fuss round, with just a couple of slight mistakes ….. more mental mistakes rather than anything actually related to the mechanics of my swing . which is great as it means less work to do …...... just more for the grey matter to remember.
So to my erros for the round …...... And my grip was too tight on the 1st tee causing the clubface to remain open thru impact (and a big bastard fade the result) .........
I underclubbed into the wind on the bastard 5th hole (which left me just short) ......
A couple of chip shots ….... I misjudged the green’s softness when landing them, which turned into me leaving myself a fair way short of the hole.
Aside from that though, there were no real errors of judgement, or technical issues with any of my swings or putts, so it was all pretty solid.
I must say though I am loving the putter, as while I’m missing birdie /par chances with my first putt, I’m only just missing them.
I’m picking all the right lines, but I’m just either hitting them that 6 inches too hard to take the right break (just missing high side) ...... or just not hitting them enough to hold the correct line (just missing low side).
With the greens still not 100% after their coring and sanding, I’m quite happy to take 2 putts on most greens, and figure in a week or two I may be dropping more as they smooth out the last 10% or so, and get back to normal.
In getting to know the greens on a more intimate basis, and having done an “Aimpoint clinic”, and in finally finding a putter that really suits me, it is all coming together on the greens ….... and I’m looking forward to every putt as a chance to drop it in the hole ….. no matter where I’m hitting them from.
As for practicing hitting from compacted sand bunkers …... (which was actually going to be a focus of the evening) ... I spent the round looking for some firm wet bunkers to hit from, but they had all dried out and had been nicely raked and were back to their usual soft conditions …. bugger!!
Oh well I’ll have to remember the methodology / technique for the next time it’s wet …...... and with Melbourne’s weather being pretty fickle of late, that may not be too long.
Probably off for another hit tonight …... with the focus, on my approach shots, and in particular “my grip” on these all important shots.
My main errors at present seem to be in “missing greens”, and I’ve been pulling a lot of approach shots right lately.
I’m going to work on firming up my top hand grip in order to slow the release of my wrists thru the ball on these shots (hold the clubface open for longer) and with luck, hit some nice fades into the greens.
I’ll try both though, firming up for fades, and loosening up for draw shots, and see how it all goes.
I might play the Lakes course instead tonight, as it gives me a chance to hit more mid iron approaches … rather than just a whole lot of wedges.
Ah Beacy, spoilt for choice having two such different courses to choose from.
As for practicing hitting from compacted sand bunkers …… (which was actually going to be a focus of the evening) ... I spent the round looking for some firm wet bunkers to hit from, but they had all dried out and had been nicely raked and were back to their usual soft conditions …. bugger!!
In that case you will have to go out and play more golf and practise hitting from compacted sand. Jeebus, beinga dedicated golfer really does suck lol.
Yeah, nothing but hard work Tal …
Now I know what you’ve been going thru these last couple o years!!