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Strip it back

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  • Strip it back

    Well now, not counting Brian W's thread trying to rekindle this fantastic site, I thought I'd come and do the first 2014 subject and my first post for *cough* *splutter* years.

    I couldn't find time to play for a long long time. I used to play and practice 3 or 4 times a week until 2011. Since then work and family have taken priority.

    I am very happy to say that I am back on the golf tracks of South East England and, frankly, loving the process all over again.

    If you care to find any of my old posts you'll see that I was a passionate fellow over golf. I still am, but in a very different way. I was mad about techniques. So much so that over the course of 4 years I got myself from a handicap of 16 to 5. Good stuff, but there I stalled.

    Years later I have a more fresh/less poisoned and far more enjoyable existence in regards to this wonderful game of ours. I put it all down to one thing - ignoring most modern teaching methods and going back to 1950-something.

    My avatar on here has always been the graceful Mr Samuel Jackson Snead. I never fully understood why. I realised during my 20's that his grace and effortless power were something to be admired. But they are so much more than aesthetics. I recently started trawling Youtube to find interviews with Mr Snead that may contain any tidbits of useful golfiness. There are a few vidoes around. I discovered that they all say the same thing. The man kept it simple. As the best always do.

    So I set about applying the two things that Mr Snead always spoke about when asked about any aspect of swinging a golf club well; the grip and the rhythm. "If you can swing to waltz time then, brother, you can play some golf". Indeed Sam. Indeed.

    I have now played approximately 10 rounds of golf in 2014 and been to the range twice. I have visited the short game area once. Last Saturday I played a course near me for the first time. It wasn't long (but then most public courses in the UK aren't). I went with a clear mind with the intention of playing every shot (long and short alike) as though my hands were barely tickling the grip and that every motion of the club should be to waltz time. I also changed my balance to be 55% on my heels (why would you balance on your toes when you're going to swing something at 100mph infront of you that will try and pull you forwards?) and I didn't stick my butt out. I squated to engage gluts and simply lowered the club. Setup done. That's about as technical as I intend to get as I approach mid-life.

    I am very happy to report that I shot a +7 score of 77 in somewhat breezy conditions. That was even with a triple on 17 when one tired bad decision cost me two shots (I was sporting a mild head cold). I holed not one birdie putt, but lipped 4 so I adjudge myself to have putted well.

    The rest of my thoughts were purely tactical. On the tee I decided where I wanted to leave my ball. In the fairway, obviously, but which side? Where should I absolutely not go? In the fairway/light rough I decided where the easiest miss of the green would be and factored that into my club selection. I gave my psyche a mere glimpse as to whether I wanted right to left, left to right, high or low. By-and-large, what I imagined turned out pretty good. It was like I had the best of both worlds and it was all so very under control. Why did I have both worlds? If I hit a good shot it was a lovely thing. If I missed, I missed where I wanted to miss. My choice both times. Nice! I visited no water. I visited no cabbage. I visited no trees. In fact, it all felt rather 'easy'.

    Now, one might say that as a formerly decent golfer it may be easy to apply these things and have more than acceptable results. Falling off a log/riding a bike.......playing golf? Hmmmmm. I would suggest the opposite. Having played on only two handfuls of occasions this year my change of tactical attitude and stripping my swing back to old tried and tested (and arguably the best) swings, I have found my golfing place.

    Golf excites me again. I genuinely feel as though I could shoot in the 60's with some more application. The only thing I have to be concerned about is making good decisions. At least then I have the awareness and opportunity to learn how to get the ball round the track with minimal stress. For any doubters, I will use a fellow golfer as a wonderful example. A couple of weeks ago I played a local course with a colleague. He usually plays off 26. He said he'd played a couple of times recently and felt like playing off 22. We had conversations about decisions all the way round. I guess I became a semi-caddie for him.

    The man who was expected to shoot generally anywhere between 95-105 shot 82. It was a beautiful thing to witness. I would say he is not overly athletic. Not a natural golfer. His swing, most would say, needs a lot of work. He has done a fair amount of work on his mental approach to putting.

    There he was, making sound decisions, making the game easy on himself, staying out of trouble, and shooting under half his handicap.
    Last edited by Neil18; 08-14-2014, 10:59 PM.