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Deja Vu All Over Again


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#16 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 28 July 2018 - 10:30 PM

Par competition round at Cairns GC today. Course in very good condition with lots of run. A perfect 28C winter's day in tropical paradise. As might be expected in such conditions the top three places were taken by C grade players with +6, +4 and +4. I had the pleasure of playing with two low handicap young players. Their ball striking was a joy to behold and they are such great young men.

 

My front nine was a bit strange. Four from close to the green on 10 and thee from not far off the green on 11 saw two losses on the opening two holes. Twelve was playing as a 400m par four with the second over water. I was really pleased with my 3W second and two putts for a plus. Easy par for a half on 13 and easy par for a plus on 14. Fifteen is a 400m par 4. Two nice shots followed by three putts for a half. Then two missed greens for losses on 16 and 17 followed by an uninspired 5 on the short par 5 18th saw me two down at the turn. It didn't feel that bad but the score card tells no lies.

 

Then quite unexpectedly I birdied the 273m first, made easy pars for halves on the 2nd and 3rd, hit a beautiful faded 4I approach to the 373m for an easy par and a plus on 4, hit a very nice 3W to about 20 feet for a nice birdie on the 195m par 3 fifth and holed a nice 15 footer for a birdie on the 462m par 5 6th.

 

So there I was sitting three under after six holes on my second nine. A very good drive on the 368m par 4 seventh saw me standing over an 8I approach with a shot and a pretty easy chance to go three up overall. Just as unexpectedly I lost my 8I right then for no apparent reason skulled an easy pitch across the green into a bunker. Failure to get up and down meant a minus where I had expected a plus only minutes earlier.

 

Then came an ordinary 8I onto the 123m 8th to around 50 feet short of the back pin placement. My first putt must have been at least 10 feet short. Somehow my second putt found the cup. Then an easy two putt par for a half on the 343m par 4 ninth.

 

Overall result 77 against par 71 for +1 on the day. Thirteen greens in regulation which is pretty good for me and quite a few more than I would have guessed. I guess that's what happens when you play with top class players. Three birdies in a six hole stretch. With the vagaries of the handicap system I actually went out to 6.4 after the round.

 

The good news is that my blood sugars behaved nicely throughout the round. The bad news is that despite riding in a cart I was pretty tired after the round. Overall a real Jekyll and Hyde effort then out to pizza for dinner on the esplanade.

 

Just another day in paradise.


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#17 Weetbix

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Posted 29 July 2018 - 05:26 AM

Niven turnaround second nine
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Best result: 2 over 74 at Hills International on 13 Feb 2016
Eagles: 21/10/16 17th Keysborough, 24/10/16 18th Woodlands, 15/4/18 16th Carbrook
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#18 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 29 July 2018 - 06:36 PM

Another lovely day today. My wife and I did the run up to Port Douglas. It's a bit over an hour from home and follows the coast with lots of scenic views over the ocean.

 

After lunch we dropped in to Palmer Sea Reef formerly known as Sea Temple. I didn't want to play but they have a neat short game practice area so I spent about an hour hitting finesse shots.

 

It never ceases to amaze me how errors creep into every part of the game. I started with simple chip shots of about 30 feet. My wife has a keen eye and noticed that I had developed a loop at the start of my downswing. The result was a shut club face and a steepish swing path from outside in.

 

I subscribe to the swing back and through on the shaft plane, open club face backswing, open face at impact school of finesse shots. I was more than a little surprised to see what I was actually doing. Sufficient to say that hitting any sort of decent finesse shot required complex hand action around impact. Hardly a recipe for success.

 

Having straightened that out a little I noticed that every shot resulted in a blade or two of grass on the club face. The bounce was working well so the slightly fat shots weren't a big problem but the fact that the grass showed every shot was hit way out on the toe was a big problem. Especially as I wasn't trying to do it or rely on the bounce for that matter.

 

Diagnosis took a while but it turned out that I was moving my head away from the ball during the downswing. That in turn could be traced back to my left hip and right shoulder being over active. Probably related to saving myself from the shut club face outside in downswing.

 

Firming up my left leg and focusing on the basics smartened things up pretty quickly. I was pleased to be able to move from block practice to skills work by the end of the session. My favourite game is to keep hitting shots until I get three inside a putter length. My wife then putts them into the hole. There are lots of opportunities at Palmer Sea Reef for just about any short shot you could imagine.

 

Another couple of sessions should see the mechanics bedded down again and some improved skill on the course.

 

 


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#19 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 30 July 2018 - 07:36 PM

Just some putting practice today at Cairns GC. Although my putting has generally been quite good lately I feel like I'm just not catching the ball on the sweet spot. Especially on short putts I'd like my striking to be more reliable.

 

To assess the extent of the improvement required I used a variation of the NSEW drill. That is figuring out the fall line of the green then putting directly uphill, downhill and from either side from 3ft, 4ft and 5ft. The break on the 5ft putt was about a cup and a half above the hole.

 

The good news was that I holed all of the putts from 3ft and all but the right to left 4ft putt. The 5ft putts were more problematic missing the downhiller once and the left to righter twice (on the high side both times). Nothing unusual there. It's amazing how much harder 5ft putts are than 3ft or even 4ft putts. Well for me anyway.

 

My guess after tonight is that some work on speed control is in order. That and some calm eye work, and a little lighter feel in the hands so the putter swings more rhythmically.


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#20 Bluethunda

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Posted 30 July 2018 - 07:41 PM

Have a chat to Bri, the new assistant professional, she will be able to point you in the righ direction.
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#21 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 11:10 AM

Some more putting practice yesterday. I've decided to keep the practice sessions a little shorter this time around. The dangers of block practice are well known, but there is also a danger in practicing skills for too long. At least for me because the next time I get out I seem to need a while to pick up where I left off. Maybe it is the long term effect of my stroke. I just don't know.

 

I've got a few training aids including a putting mirror, a Pelz putting tutor, some Pelz O balls and a GSA Putt gismo that fits in the hole in the top of the putter grip. As I wrote last time I am making an assessment before going any further.

 

Yesterday I actually did worse on my NSEW drill. The day before it took me a total of 16 putts to complete the 3, 4 and 5ft putts from up, down and both side hill putts. That is against a possible perfect score of 12 putts. Yesterday it took me 17 putts  That was a bit of a surprise because I thought the greens were rolling a little more smoothly and my putting was a little smoother.

 

What I did do was to gather some information using the GSA Putt. On average I was hitting up at impact by around one degree with extremes of four degrees up and one degree down. My face angle at impact was typically a little under one degree open at impact compared with address. My back stroke was around 0.75 seconds although strangely it got slower during the session. My through stroke was around 0.35 seconds with pleasing consistency. My path was a little in to out and a little inconsistent although I may have not put the device in quite straight.

 

What does all of that tell me? My mechanics are basically sound but could do with some polish. I quite like James Sieckman's idea of moving the putter around a virtual suspension point somewhere on the chest. My guess is that I'll improve my consistency if I work on keeping that point still and look for tell tale signs that I am disturbing the virtual pendulum motion.

 

Today? The City of Cairns tournament is in full swing. I'm not playing because I would struggle with more than a couple of days play in the week. Instead my wife and I will go for a drive up to the table lands in our shiny new Mazda CX-5. All I need to do is to figure out how all the electronics work.



#22 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 07:37 PM

One of the reasons I chose the Mazda CX-5 was that I could fit my golf clubs in the back without having to put one of the rear seats down. The upshot was that I had my clubs in the boot when my wife and I did our first outing in the car up to the Cairns table lands.

 

When I say I had my clubs in the boot, when I dropped in to Mareeba Golf Club to have a chip and a putt it turned out that all of my wedges were at home. For reasons I can't remember they came out of my golf bag when we emptied our Ford XR6 in preparation for the trade in.

 

So there I was with my nine iron practicing chip shots at Mareeba. The practice green there is great for practicing chip shots because it is maybe thirty metres long or more with holes cut throughout its length.

 

Only having my nine iron turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Same as my session at Palmer Sea Reef I started by checking out my mechanics. Same as my session at Palmer Sea Reef my mechanics needed quite a bit of work. Today it seemed to help to work on a relaxed open club face start to the down swing with my shoulder action ensuring a coordinated action through the ball.

 

The big lesson was not in my mechanics but how my shots reacted when they landed, particularly on the longer chip shots. Some checked strongly and stopped fairly quickly. Some landed and ran on with little evidence of spin. I hasten to add that the variation was mine alone. The green was in quite good condition and reacted quite predictably to the various shots.

 

After a while I was pleased to achieve a measure of control over the way the ball reacted. I suppose it wasn't really a surprise but I was interested to see just how much variation is possible on such a simple shot.

 

Edit: I should add that my skills practice was my favourite - chipping to each hole in turn until I got three balls inside a putter length then getting my wife to putt them in.


Edited by Forrest Gardener, 01 August 2018 - 07:43 PM.


#23 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 09:08 AM

No play Thursday but I walked the Red Arrow track near the Cairns botanic Gardens. It is a moderately steep track with lots of steps. I just maintained a pace I could maintain. The muscles just above my knees made their feelings known by the end but otherwise it was quite pleasant.

 

Friday I watched the first six holes of Peter Senior and his group playing at Cairns GC. Rather than taking a cart I walked. I got through it all right but I'm not sure I had much more in me.

 

I'm suffering from shoulder pain. It is toward the bottom and just inside the right shoulder blade. I have no idea how it came on but it is grabbing me at random occasions.

 

Yesterday was a practice session on the six hole course at Cairns Golf Centre to see whether my shoulder pain is golf related. I was pleased to find that I suffered no pain whatsoever. In fact I felt better after the hit.

 

Video shows that I have more work to do bedding down my weight shift and hip rotation. Strangely I had also developed a bit much knee bend at set up. More concerning is that my swing is getting shorter. It now barely gets past a horizontal left shoulder on the way back. My first reaction is that I need work on my upper body rotation. My second reaction is to wonder whether the restricted backswing is connected to my right shoulder pain.

 

It's a bit of a bugger really. Last year I suffered from pain just above the right hip. Now that's gone but my right shoulder is playing up. As the saying goes, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!



#24 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 09:12 AM

It was the final day of the City of Cairns Open yesterday. Frank Power won with around five under par for the fifty-four holes. Some great scores but even more which indicate that the course won the battle. In the end I was happy with my decision not to play until I can improve my fitness. Instead I had a nice practice session.

 

My next swing review with rotaryswing.com is due today. I've been working on improving my axis tilt at setup and maintaining that to improve weight transfer on my back swing. From there I figured it would be a bit of a doddle to move back to the left during the downswing, maintain a passive right leg and keep the right heel on the ground until impact.

 

It should have been easy but it wasn't. I was pleased with my steady improvement in ball flight and contact, but the video told me something was wrong. Try as I might, my right heel left the ground early in the downswing. My right knee was buckling out beyond its position at setup.

 

I was indeed getting a better weight transfer on the back swing and was pleased with my axis tilt at set up and maintaining that look at the top of the back swing. My body position at impact was less pleasing. My left hip was forward of my left ankle at impact and although my head was in the right position relative to the ball at impact, my left shoulder was well short of being stacked over my left hip.

 

Despite my best efforts I couldn't figure out the problem until I got home later. It looks like ball position was the culprit once again. With the ball too far back in my stance the only way I could get decent contact was to keep my upper body back on the downswing. The result was the bent shape at impact I describe above.

 

In front of the mirror the fix looked good. So it's back for another range session to see whether it works there. And then to submit my videos for assessment.

 

The good news is that my finesse technique is coming along. The practice green at Cairns GC was firm and fast, especially downhill. Having worked some of the kinks out in block practice recently I was pleased to hit mostly soft chips which flew perhaps fifteen feet and then checked when they landed. I think I'd forgotten that was possible.


Edited by Forrest Gardener, 06 August 2018 - 09:14 AM.


#25 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 09:05 PM

Still working on overhauling my swing and finesse game technique.

 

I was due to submit my video for review yesterday but I was not happy with what the videos showed. I was working on getting a bit of axis tilt at setup as part of getting a better weight shift on the back swing. That worked well but with the unwanted side effect of my head moving several inches to the right on the back swing. That then flowed through problems moving my head the other way on the downswing.  I worked on getting my left shoulder forward of the ball at impact. That worked well too but with the unwanted side effect of making my left hip move too far to the target. All of the corrections on corrections on corrections made me lose focus on the change I was trying to make getting my left hip to drive the down swing.

 

At any rate I'd had enough of the practice fairway after a week of no course access due to the City of Cairns tournament. Some on course practice on the back nine was just what the doctor called for. I went back to simply working on my left hip action and focusing on club head path at impact. I was really pleased with some shots. The 11th is a water carry par three of 150m. I'm never too stressed with a miss hit dropping in the drink early in a practice round but not today. I hit two balls flush with a 6I into a slight breeze. Both finished about twenty feet from the hole. Better still was that it's been a 5I for me for some time.

 

By the end of the nine I was happy to feel that things were back on track. Videos of my swings showed some improvement in my hip action and weight shift with the rest of the swing shaping up without any intervention from me.

 

My finesse shots were a bit shaky early on. I was pleased that I was able to do some first aid and get those more or less back on the road to improvement as the nine holes progressed.

 

Tomorrow is the mid-week competition. I'll be very interested to see how my fitness goes and how I deal with the inevitable bad shots.


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#26 Weetbix

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 06:36 AM

The AMG guys measurement of pros suggests that they maintain a very straight up and down spine angle at address, especially with irons. The shoulder tilt comes from the right hand being lower on the shaft.
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Handicap
Best result: 2 over 74 at Hills International on 13 Feb 2016
Eagles: 21/10/16 17th Keysborough, 24/10/16 18th Woodlands, 15/4/18 16th Carbrook
Goal: A round at par or better!
Brisbane Fairways 2015 Club Champion

2018 Nationals 4BBB Champion with Commish
Winner: 2015 Nationals day 5 round at Links Hope Island
Winner: 2016 Nationals day 5 round at Woodlands
Winner: 2017 Nationals day 5 round at Bonnie Doon

​Winner: 2018 Nationals day 2 round at Kooralbyn

​Winner: 2018 Nationals day 3 round at Sanctuary Cove Pines
South East Queensland Golf Group - Treasurer
http://www.brisbanef...ssocialgolf.com - Treasurer


#27 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:45 AM

The AMG guys measurement of pros suggests that they maintain a very straight up and down spine angle at address, especially with irons. The shoulder tilt comes from the right hand being lower on the shaft.

 

Yes. I even saw one of their pro v am pros with the spine angle going the other way at address. Their three part YouTube series on the senior golfer, for a senior golfer I am, covered my sin of moving my head to the right by doing a fake turn on the back swing. I'll work on that to reduce my head sway.

 

I was particularly interested in the AMG video on the left shoulder pro v am. The rotaryswing.com model wants the left shoulder and left hip to be over the left ankle at impact. It had never occurred to me that I could use opening my left hip on the down swing to reduce secondary axis tilt on the downswing.

 

While I am typing, I had a smile to myself watching my swing on video last night. The belt loop on my shorts showed that my hips were actually rotating open at about the same rate as my left arm was coming down. I took that to be evidence that I was starting to get some drive out of my lower body. That would be a first for a while for me.

 

I'm still slow getting my hips back to square on the down swing and I'm quite a bit short of getting my hips thirty or forty degrees open at impact. But progress is progress and I'm happy with anything which suggests there are still signs of life in my golf swing. I thought rigor mortis may have set in.



#28 Weetbix

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 01:20 PM

I doubt us choppers should even try and get that open - it takes a lot of athleticism and must put a lot of pressure on the body

Edited by Weetbix, 08 August 2018 - 01:20 PM.

Handicap
Best result: 2 over 74 at Hills International on 13 Feb 2016
Eagles: 21/10/16 17th Keysborough, 24/10/16 18th Woodlands, 15/4/18 16th Carbrook
Goal: A round at par or better!
Brisbane Fairways 2015 Club Champion

2018 Nationals 4BBB Champion with Commish
Winner: 2015 Nationals day 5 round at Links Hope Island
Winner: 2016 Nationals day 5 round at Woodlands
Winner: 2017 Nationals day 5 round at Bonnie Doon

​Winner: 2018 Nationals day 2 round at Kooralbyn

​Winner: 2018 Nationals day 3 round at Sanctuary Cove Pines
South East Queensland Golf Group - Treasurer
http://www.brisbanef...ssocialgolf.com - Treasurer


#29 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:05 PM

I doubt us choppers should even try and get that open - it takes a lot of athleticism and must put a lot of pressure on the body

 

It is hard to know. I'm getting ahead of myself anyway. At this stage I'm happy just to have the left hip moving a little better.

 

Talking of pressure though I do know that I have been suffering pain above my right hip for a few years. I'm pretty sure that it was caused by poor technique, specifically the tendency for my left hip to stay still and for my right hip to go around. Keeping my right hip less active with the left hip providing the rotation is a much more comfortable action. Then again I have had some pain near the right shoulder blade so maybe I have just swapped one problem for another.


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#30 Forrest Gardener

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 07:52 PM

It's not the recession Australia had to have, but my form today was well below the standard of my last three competition rounds. Somehow it was all coming a little too easily and I needed a set back to toughen me up mentally.

 

I was pleased with my fitness until about the middle of the second nine. I suspected that my blood sugar level was out of whack but I had lost my phone on the tenth hole and had no way to get data from the sensor I wear. Thankfully I found my phone after the round. It was about forty yards left of the tenth green where my ball came to rest following pressing my second shot following a weak drive. No wonder nobody found it. As it turned out my blood sugar was way out of range. I can't account for it unless I mistakenly drank a full sugar pepsi at half way instead of a pepsi max.

 

But I digress. My highlights came on the third (340m) with a chip within a putter length from rough front left to a pin near the very back of the green, the fifth (195m) where my tee shot ran just over the back of the green with a chip downhill on a slick green to about twelve feet and a good putt for a par, the sixth (462m) where my second was just through the green with two putts from the fringe for a birdie, the seventh (368m) with a birdie from about twenty feet, the eleventh (151m) with two putts for a par from about thirty feet down a slick slope, and the fifteenth (404m) with a nice bunker shot to tap in distance for an easy par.

 

Six up and downs was very pleasing considering I have played a couple of rounds recently where I managed none at all. As an extra bonus I hit a really nice finesse shot to about six feet on 18 from rough just left of the green. I was really pleased at the way my wedge felt like it released through impact. That is also quite a breakthough.

 

What else was good? The greens were very quick and not just by Cairns standards. Not only that but several pins were on subtle slopes. My playing partners putted clear off the greens maybe half a dozen times. For example on fourteen my chip from just short of the green missed on the high side and looked like it would stop within a foot or two. When it finally stopped rolling it had rolled sideways about eight feet below the hole. I really enjoyed the challenge and was pleased with thirteen putts on the front nine.

 

My score of thirty points (84 against par 71) reflected generally poor ball striking and a golf swing which felt out of sorts. What would I do differently if I had my time over? First I would be more careful with my phone. Mostly I would focus more on the club head path and impact I was trying to achieve and less on various feels in a vain attempt to get my swing working again. Also I would focus more on my pre-shot and post-shot routines. Not that I would take longer to play my shots but that I would try to have a better idea in mind what I was trying to achieve with each shot.

 

So I look forward to hitting some balls tomorrow to try to figure out what was happening with my swing today. Then I look forward to Saturday's competition to see whether I can improve my pre and post shot routines.


Edited by Forrest Gardener, 08 August 2018 - 08:08 PM.





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