From complete hacker to hopefully a golfer
Pilgrimage - def. A long journey of religious significance to sacred or holy places
The time has come to start my journal. If it bores you - don't read it. Basically firstly as a record to myself, and also because I honestly hope that it will be of some help to others in the future.
I started playing golf at a young age, which mainly consisted of hitting balls around the back yard. From the age of about 12 my father would occasionally take me to play at Dorking Golf Club, a short 9 hole club where he was a weekday member. Mornings spent there are some of the happiest memories of my childhood.
As a teenager I’d play several times a year, but never broke 100. I only ever had one lesson at the age of about 18.
These were the days of wooden clubs, small balls, bladed irons for all, 7 clubs in the bag.
From age of 20 to 49 I played golf hardly at all, maybe 2-3 times a year at most. Work and family life just became more important.
Fast forward to Feb 2013. Age now 49. Business finally at a level where I can start to have some me time. Children a little older and not needing constant attention. I have a game of golf with a good friend at Emerald Lakes, gold coast. Score about 105 - and thats with my friend Shaun showing me the line of putts and kicking the odd bad lie back towards the fairway. I finally realise that if I am to play this game I need help. Professional help. And new clubs - my old ones are 20+ years old, I still have some wooden woods, and my irons are cheap small headed things from about 1988.
6 out of 10 shots fade heavily or banana to the left. Shaun tells me my swings OK - could just learn to live with the slice. I decide to learn how to hit the ball properly. Should only take a couple of lessons, I reckon.
I set off in search of lessons. Try a couple of cheap group lessons, but somehow I just don’t think they are cutting it. The pros try to give me the odd tip, but I feel I need a major swing overhaul.
After intensive research I come to the conclusion that I need lessons from the best pro that I can find, and I wanted them with Trackman and video. Can’t honestly remember why I thought Trackman was so important - probably some overdeveloped sense of my potential and ability. Anyway this search sent me to Joel at KDV Sport at Carrara. Can't speak highly enough of this man.
My first lesson with Joel he must have looked at my swing and realised that I was the proud owner of just about every conceivable common significant swing flaw in the history of the game. Didn’t tell me this though - probably didn’t want to break my spirit. Instead he just set about righting my posture. I was slouching over the ball with a rounded back, knees too bent, no tilt away from the target etc etc. He got me into the right position. It felt weird and unnatural. He had to show me video of Tiger Woods to convince me. Sent me home with drills to work on posture.
Aha I thought - the secret of golf is mine. But no. over succeeding lessons we worked on my swing plane (too vertical) my legs (too active) my shoulder turn (off plane) my right elbow (fly away) my left wrist (too cupped or extended) my pelvic turn, the generation of a differential between my shoulder and hips, then getting a proper pivot, full follow through, hitting down, and removing the casting motion. Also putting and chips and pitches.
Holy number of things to remember Batman! Every lesson is a revelation, every lesson feels like THE secret, but every lesson leads to only incremental improvement at actually playing the game, although a major change in striking the ball.
IMPROVEMENT IN 2013
I have gone this year from a state of unconscious incompetence, through conscious incompetence, and into conscious competence. At times.
I have taken 10 strokes off my game - which considering I now score 95-103 just goes to show how bad i was.
My friends tell me I look like a different person hitting the ball - I think they are jealous as a couple of them want to get lessons from my pro too now.
I can hit my mid irons and woods quite well most of the time - from a 40% success rate to a 80-90% success rate, and when hitting well have developed a nice draw. My bad shots are hooks and snap hooks with woods, instead of banana slices, and the occasional total fat mishit with irons. I am working on hitting down on an in to out path and removing the casting downswing, though thats a stubborn beastie.