2015 Handicap Challenge: Practise vs. Playing

golf handicap, golf swing

My challenge to become a single handicap golfer in 12 months continues. Last Friday, as part of a corporate event, I played a round at the stunning Forest of Arden course in Meriden, but first, let me tell you about my progress dring the month.

Golf Handicap – Swings and Roundabouts!

Following on from my consistently improving rounds on our course here, I’ve been trying to continue in the same vein.

My short game is much better now, putting and chipping is going well, but since I’ve been shifting the weight on my downswing properly on a full swing, I’ve had a really steep swing path and been coming over the top of the ball. So where I was drawing the ball last month, I’ve now started to fade it, so my swing path is now out to in, rather than in to out.

Luke has given me a couple of drills to try and shallow out my downswing, but I just can’t get it at the moment. It’s so frustrating my timing being out and topping the ball or shanking it, when only a month earlier I was striking the ball well and really confidently.

So, half term came along and my eldest son, Finley (9), has been desperate to go round the course. He’s also having lessons off Luke and he’s hitting the ball really well at the moment (probably better than me!). Although I wasn’t that keen to go round because of how badly I’m playing at the moment, I had promised him we would. My round started off well, two terrible tee shots on the first and second, but recovered well on both to get two pars. On the third I chipped in from about 25yds for a birdie, the rest of the round was pretty much trouble free and I ended up with a personal best of 33!

How did that happen?

My overall game was terrible. For example, I topped the ball horrendously off the 8th, but ended up 4ft from the pin. Luke’s review of the round was, “That’s a classic example of playing terrible but scoring well, it happens.”

Finley, however, had a great round. He was getting some good distance with his irons and woods, but just needs to get a bit more control with the putter. A 63 didn’t really do his round justice and he’s so competitive that he wasn’t happy with it at all, still a target to beat for next time though! 

Golf At Forest Of Arden

29th May, Forest of Arden day and I’ve never felt less ready for a round of golf. I still haven’t sorted my swing out, the weather was terrible and I wasn’t sure if the event would even go ahead. I knew I had a fairly late tee time, so we were arriving with an hour spare to be able to go on the range and get warmed up for the round. I hit a few balls and was striking the ball ok, good enough to put a decent round in at least.

Out on the course was a different story. I was overthinking everything, trying to force an in to out swing path, but it just wasn’t coming to me. In fact, there wasn’t much golf played for the first 10 holes.

Now I’m not sure if it was the bacon and sausage butty at the halfway house or the fact that I was fed up with what I was trying to work on, just not working, but from the 11th onwards I relaxed and stopped trying to force an outcome. The scores started to improve then. I birdied the 11th and from then on in hit straight drives, decent irons, and got some confidence back.

Before playing the course, anybody who had played there told me about the 18th and carrying the water. On the day, it was a 211yd hole in to a strong wind and my confidence had grown so much by this point that I managed to pull this tee shot off.

golf handicap

I was made up with that and would gladly have played the front 9 again to try and redeem myself. But the day was over.

Time to have a few days off playing as I was sore from hitting so many balls in the week leading up to Forest of Arden. As soon as I’m playing again, it’s back to work on the swing to try and get more in to out with my swing path. My old game got me round the course well enough, but I want to improve. Giving up on it is not an option, but it’s the one that far too many people take when they can’t get used to a change in their swing, or convince themselves they can’t do it.

The biggest lesson I can take from the way I played, is that practice and playing are separate. If I’m trying to incorporate something new in to my swing, it needs to happen on the practice ground not in an actual round. I certainly cost myself a fair few shots, but I know better for next time. More next month!

Are you struggling to adapt to a new swing change, grip change or some other swing thought? Just remember you’re not alone, the best players in the world have all been in the same situation. Tiger has changed his swing 3 or 4 times during his career and goes through long spells where he’s not the same golfer, but he gets there in the end.

Share your struggles with us in the comments below, or get in touch via our Facebook page.

2 Responses to “2015 Handicap Challenge: Practise vs. Playing”

  1. Played at your place today. I could barely hit the bloody ball! Very frustrating this golf lark. Perhaps I should have a lesson off Luke?

    • Hi Adam, I know exactly how you feel! At least the weather was nice though…
      A lesson would be a good idea to get rid of the frustration, call us on 01745730805 and we’ll arrange for Luke to get you happy with your game again. See you soon, Steve.

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