A Review of Q1 2021

So after around 4 months into 2021, it’s probably a good time to review how the new swing change is shaping up. First of, for a couple of months, the lack of golf was evident, although we are getting back into the groove now (despite our COVID cases increasing!), so we are trying to get as much golf in before any lockdown occurs.

I do a 9-hole walk on Tuesday with a secondary set – a 917F 3 Wood with a putter and 2 wedges + 3 irons (5,7,9 – my old Mizuno MP-57). Honestly I think I play better without my driver as this 3 wood is only around 30-40 meters shorter.  So scoring wise there is good, but better is the morning walk, with just a range bag without trolley.

We’ve crammed in also a couple of rounds of golf in Mines, Glenmarie, Saujana Impiana, Palm Garden and the results were – varied. I think I am back to my scoring as previous before my swing change. Like in Mines, I scored a 90 and 84, Glenmarie – 100 and then an 88. Palm Garden a 92 and an 84 and Saujana Impiana a 92. Good scores? It’s more or less the bloody same as I would score before the changes!!

But.

I do feel the game is coming along fine. For Saujana Impiana, that 92 could have easily been an 87 or 88. I had 4 triple bogeys against a fair number of Pars and a birdie. Of the 4 triple, 3 were really ridiculous. One was caused by a six iron shank from prime position on Fairway. Second was a lost ball after a good drive that just skittered a bit to the left, but for some damn reason, we couldn’t find the ball (most frustrating thing in golf), the third was the final hole, after being on the fringe in 2, and proceeded to duff a chip and 4 putted into infamy.

Only the first quad bogey where I hooked 2 into the woods would I say it was unavoidable.

But the encouraging thing for Impiana was how I played the par 5s. The first par 5 (Hole 3 I think), I proceeded to birdie it after my second 3 wood shot left me only 40 meters from the hole. The next par 5 in the back 9 I thunked my 3 wood so perfect from the fairway from 240 meters that I had to run up and apologise to the group on the green because my shot ended up around 20 meters from the green.

And the final par 5, hole 17. Bombed a drive (or so I thought) to around 160m from the green, and hit my new 5-iron (I reshafted it to a graphite) for my first two-on Par 5 after such a long time. What proceeded after that would forever be part of golfing lore. But before that, the group behind us had a guy who bombed his drive even further, to 100m marker. In fact, it was extremely dangerous as we were around that area as well. So actually, the par 5s are quite short and dangerous in Impian especially if you are a long hitter.

Going for my eagle, my ball was resting at that part where the fringe and green met, so it had that tuft of raised grass. I didn’t think much about it but when I putted, brushing the stupid grass on the backstroke caused a sudden retardation of my brains and I completely lost focus and I literally molested the ball to not even halfway to the god-damn hole. Molested my eagle putt. What. The. Flaming. Fukuoka.

I just stared in disbelief at my partners, before they all started to rail on me for my failure. This is a devastating failure. Because then I proceeded to miss my birdie and was forever labelled the biggest choker of all time. DAMN.

That has nothing to do with new swing. This is to do with a new brain, which I cannot change.

Same thing as Hole 18. Hooked my shot into the woods and from a superbly difficult shot down the hill, through the trees with just a bit of opening, I hit a glorious hybrid to the fringe of the green from 180. I mean, even Mickleson will be proud. Celebrating at least a bogey, I cockily went up and duffed my chip. Ok, no problem, a putt from fringe should be fine. I overputted, and sent the damn putt 15 feet downhill, my uphill putt didn’t have legs and I missed my double bogey putt.

You see, failures are often not due to the swing. My swing (except for the occasional and unknown shank) is coming along nicely and distance is better, consistency is better on the drives. My irons are the ones failing me (short approaches) and my stupid putting is as bad as a Gremlin high on cocaine.

So, overall review of 2021? Good with the long clubs, everything in 100 meters, atrocious as can be seen by up down scores. Am I encouraged with the swing change? For sure yeah. Very encouraged.  Just completely shit around the greens, but that’s not due to the swing change.

The Myth of Club Distance

An interesting topic that has recently cropped up, and topped off by a gilagolfer via an email, is the distance that I am hitting. He wasn’t the first that pointed out that my distance seems long in my blog description, and I am not sure if I have overstated some of these distance, because most of the time, I am using the distance marker of the course to dictate my clubs I am using. So if the distance marker is screwed, then obviously my description is screwed. I always feel sometimes, the 100m marker on some courses are understated. I look at how far Usain Bolt runs in the 100m dash and I look at the marker to the green and I am like, “Hold on, this is way too near. Usain Bolt will just take like 10 strides to reach the green from here!”

So obviously there are some discrepancies, but in general my thought process is this:

a) If I am 150m away based on the marker, I am deciding if an 8 iron or a 9 iron, depending on the green (downhill or uphill, back pin, front pin etc). I rarely take out my 7 iron for anything these days.

b) If I am 160m away, I automatically select a 6 iron.

c) If I am 170 – 180m away, a 5 iron . A 5-iron off the tee also works for 190m, anything over 200m I am thinking a wood.

d) Anywhere 100m-110m, a gap wedge

e) Anywhere 130m, a pitching wedge.

f) Anything 90m t0 100m, a sand wedge.

Now, this is the actual thought process I have. And there might be actual reasons to it, and its not because I am hitting pro distance. Of course, there a lot of mental gymnastics being used.

a) Not true distance

The distance might not be to the pin. I usually play it short because I am too cheap to use good balls, so all my golf balls are really old and lousy and rolls a lot. Almost never I aim for the pin, so the green could be 160m away, but I am actually looking to land it around 150 or so and hope for a good roll.

b) Delofting

I also deloft my club A LOT. I noticed this stupidity in my swing, because I break my wrist so early in the take away, when I am impacting my irons, I feel like I am compressing the ball and slamming the ball into the dirt. I usually take out a divot the size of Brazil. My address to the ball is in a typically closed position, which also reasons why I sometimes yank my ball way left like a banana.

c) Clubs

And my clubs are MP-54s. The loft is a degree lower than my previous RAC LT irons for all the irons, so that also goes a fair way in terms of distance.

d) One strength

The other problem with my swing is that I have only one strength: MAX. I have no other way of slowing down my swing or shortening my swing or playing those finesse shots, which reasons why my short game is like a walrus humping an orca. This problem is translated into the fact that if I have around 80m to go and its between a soft sand wedge or a hard 60 degree lob wedge, I would go for the lob and whack the living $hit of out the ball.

e) Swing with a soon-to-be expiry date

Some golfers play with a swing that’s so natural and relaxed, you wonder if they are in a coma during the downswing. I have a friend in his 60s who bombs the ball a mile, but he swings like he’s going for a picnic. Of course, him being an ex national cager, ex national hockey player and extremely adept in his hand eye coordination helps, but you look at him and you think he can keep his swing well into his 90s.

Not mine.

I feel like I am wrestling with a damn anaconda all the time with my swing. It’s like this massive reptile is threatening to gobble me up if I don’t put it under control. I have to constantly remind myself never to flip my wrist early, always lean to the right, always shift my weight, always do this, that, stop my overswing etc. When I pull it off, I feel like I deserve to be in the PGA tour. When I miss it, I miss it so bad, I end up in the part of the course where nobody ever goes to. And always, in my mind, I am waiting for the day this swing kills my back or spine and I have to swing like Charles Barkley after that.

f) My Driver is not Pro

You can tell that, my drive, although pretty long by hacker standard is nowhere near the pro distance. I will be lucky to hit anywhere at the 250m range. I usually hit it short because at a 10.5 loft and stock shaft, my golf balls are generally ballooning up without much roll.

g) Shape of shots

I set my shots up to draw, and miss by hooks. I can’t fade to save my life. On shots that end up drawing, the rolls are more significant, giving an illusion of a longer distance. However, the problems are a lot more…as they say, you can talk to a slice but you can’t talk to a hook.

h) The Overestimation of Hackers

And finally, it could simply be the disease that inflicts all of us. We all overestimate our greatness. How many times we’ve heard people go like, “WOW, I’ve just a hit a 250m drive!” and when you walk up to it, you see that it has barely trickled past the 200m mark. So all of us, myself included has a myopic view when it comes to our golf distance and for some unknown and maybe unconscious reason, always lie about how long we are. All guys like that, maybe. About golf distance of course, you pervert.

So there you go, those are generally my explanation. I am not pro distance, not by a long shot. My scores tell the truth – good games are in the low 80s, average games are between 88 – 95, and horrible games can blow to 100s.

Golf In Other Places

I get some emails from other gilagolfers sometimes describing to me some really out of this world sort of courses as well.

dino2 dino1There is this place at Queensland Sunshine Coast (I remember driving around there once!) called Hyatt Regency (Or Coolum Golf Resort), where you get to play under the shadow of a T-Rex.

By no means this is something new, as even closer to home, Mines Resort has giant Tigers and Giraffes as well.

On top of that, one of the Gilagolfers offered his take on Robina Woods, a course reviewed while I was on a family trip in Brisbane a couple of years back.  Thanks, Anthony!

 

I’ll try 2 photos for now and see what happens. If you can recall since you were here last one of the photos shows the practice putting green in the foreground. In the background you can see the fairways of the 18th green to your left and its elevated tee some 500+ metres away. And to the right just behind the practice green is the 1st tee.

Unfortunately I’m not much of photographer,  the 1st teeing ground is blocked by the bushes. The golfer wearing a blue jumper standing next to the golf bags is a member there and a former ‘surfing’ champ back in the 70’s. A local identity here in the Gold Coast area. And the guy wearing a white hat practicing his putt is from the UK – a cricket coach for one of the county cricket teams there. He was second only to Shane Warne when the two were in the academy in their junior years. I can’t recall the county sorry.

The other photo was taken on the 2nd hole. While we were walking towards the fairway, we saw this motor cart in the pond submerged. So I took a photo of it. Apparently according to one of the guys in the pro-shop, a young kid have driven it to the water. Ouch! Cost $8,000 to replace! Double ouch! Anyhow we have had a great time but Robina was the winner. The green was so fast at that time because the day before, Robina had their club championship. So the speed of the green and pin placement was to that standard. If only we knew.

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