Swing Overhaul Part 3: Second Session and some progress

So, after the first disastrous range outing, I went back to do a bit more research and study. One of the interesting thing I went through was this guy called Jim Venetos (https://www.youtube.com/user/jimvenetosgolf). He advocates the simple concept of playing from a ‘position’. I.e to present your position before you take a swing. So, set your position on impact, and that’s your position from your swing. This means, he sets up to address the ball, but then closes his entire body at address to promote the inside out swing. He makes it sound so easy. And also, his videos are always taken in a jungle, forest, desert and shows him whacking golf balls into nowhere. VERY interesting, but not for everyone, as he doesn’t take any traditional approach to the golf swing. However, I do see his swing resembling the one-piece takeaway we are trying to work on here.  Another thing I felt I did not do in the first session was to turn my body more, and downwards (i.e the shoulder points down as opposed to across, where I end up straightening my body).

I also went through Saguto golf and Nick Taylor who are more pronounced Stack and Tilt advocates than Venetos, and realised in my first range session, I was shifting my head to the right still, and allowing my hands to be high on the back swing. From these videos, I am now made to realise that the flatter the swing becomes, and more rounded, the swing becomes shallower and less ‘diggy’, which has always been my swing. I dig the ground as I always have been thought that a descending blow will get the ball higher and further.

So with all these mechanics in mind, I trudged to the range, fearing that it will end up sucking as bad as the first session.

Well.

What a difference a session makes.

Again, I started with short irons. Crisp.

Long iron 5? Bad. Again, I wasn’t hitting it well, but I felt a little more control now, as instead of just stacking left, I am focusing on keeping my head still, and try to move my shoulder downwards as opposed to across. I am chunking the long irons, but my 8-iron is suddenly coming off hot.

Now the biggest difference? Hybrid.

I wasn’t able to hit my hybrid at all in the first range session, which is frustrating, because my M4 23 degree has always been my go to hybrid and I’ve always hit it fairly well, though not extremely far.

Today, the M4 was hitting shots that I’ve never seen before.

When I connect, the sound was solid, with a satisfyingly loud click when you know you have centered it and the ball flight was like a howitzer shooting upwards and plunging into the net 170 meters away. From its trajectory, I am pretty certain that is going further than what my normal hybrid is hitting.

I have never hit the hybrid so crisp before. Sure, there were a few VERY bad ones. But even if I hit 2 out of 10 good shots, I know at least there is progress. In fact, I was so encouraged, I ordered another 100 and just started whacking it. I tried my driver without great results, but the very few ones that came off, yes, this was very different from the first session.

Conclusion of the second session: Progress.  Honestly, anything is progress compared to my first session. But this was definitely encouraging progress. I could see where the power is from. Previously, I always thought – wider the arch, the more power, narrower the arch more control. But in keeping my elbows tucked into my left and forcing my body to turn (not my hands), and shoulder to drop downwards, I am aiming to get the top of the swing in a classic Hogan look:

Man, that is a handsome devil of a swing.

But that means moving that body and shoulder in a way I have never ever done before in 16 years. Mine has always been a minimum shoulder turn and even so, my back swing has been more lateral move of the shoulder where the shoulder is more or less level, as opposed to turning down (as above, where the left shoulder is pointing towards the ball).

Part of this is that I simply do not trust that my shoulder turning like Hogan will put me square with the ball. I always think by dropping my shoulder, I will chunk the club behind the ball as I am thinking I am moving closer to the ball.

But actually we are not. It’s an illusion. We are actually maintaining the distance to the ball by doing that, and allowing the club to circle around the body like a trebuchet. When we level our shoulders, we lose that relationship with our ball and we try to look for it on the downswing with varying degrees of success. We will still hit the ball despite of the level shoulders not because of it. All the years of golf has conditioned our body to get the level of variance down so we can still hit the ball, but when we need a swing to be called upon, it fails (e.g my 70 meter sand wedge shot to break 80 for the first time and completely shanking the shit out of it). A good article is here https://www.golfdigest.com/story/swing-by-numbers-new-study-unlocks-6-swing-secrets.

You can see when we swing level, our body tends to straighten up and on our down swing, we will need to figure out how to maintain that distance from the ball, so we drop down again or hope that the club magically becomes longer our your arm grows longer. But why would we want to do it, as opposed to simply swinging your shoulder around it?

Once this was implemented, I found that the point of impact was more predictable and more consistent. And surprisingly, without the arch (as I am trying to tuck in my right elbow to my side), I could still hit the ball, if not slightly further, then the same distance as I always hit my hybrid. But the most encouraging part was the trajectory of the ball.

The problem I still had was the driver. I can’t seem to get my driver to have a proper flight, as I am thinking I am hitting the driver down (as my weight on the left would prescribe) as opposed to hitting it upwards. Thus, my driver trajectory is generally low and not very far and skimming off the ground. But for a second session, there is enough encouragement that I seem to be on the right track.

Swing Overhaul Part 2: First Range

So out to the first range after doing just indoor swing testing and out in the garden. For the indoor testing, I simply stacked up a pile of pillows together against the table leg and swung my pitching wedge with this new style.

It’s weird.

For 16 years of swinging from the right and shifting to the left…to stay stacked on left the whole way through is not natural to me and the tendency to shift and move the head is always there. But I do get the drift of it. The turning of the shoulders enable a really strong and firm whack into the pillows.

So to the first 100 balls – and it was an unequivocal…disaster!

Conceptually I understood some parts of it, just staying stacked on the left, so instead of putting my weight on the right, I mirrored it to put most of my weight on the left.

Now for short irons from 9-iron inwards, it was fine. Because naturally on shorter irons, I set up stable 50-50 or even leaning to the left side a bit like chipping and pitching. I didn’t see much difference there.

But come to the longer irons and the wood, hybrid and driver – nothing came out of it. I was chunking, clunking, bashing the ground. The ball was coming up left, right, high, low etc. It’s very frustrating to go back to the beginning, after this many years of golfing ‘experience’ down the drain.

Conclusion of first 100 balls: I may revert back to my right side and move to the left. Or maybe even do a bit of both – as in Stack left for short irons and longer irons/woods to favour my previous swing. The problem with this approach is that my body may not be able to adjust to both separate swings and might end up making its own decisions independent of my brains (which sometimes do happen). In this case, having two swings – I may not be smart enough to do this, so it’s a risk.

I may also be missing some parts of this stack and tilt thing and I need to back to the basics and read up more and learn more.

The only thing encouraging so far, is that for the short irons, I am hitting it crispier. I can sense that, as it comes off hotter on the clubface, because I am assuming, my weight is already shifted (or rather, stayed) on my left side and I am just hitting through the ball.

But overall – it’s discouraging. Very poor results and disappointing, after feeling really positive on those air swings at home and whacking those pillows (much to my wife’s utter annoyance).

Well, another good news is that, I am suddenly motivated to go to the range again, since now I have something to work on!

Swing Overhaul Part 1: The Reason

So here we are, stuck in CMCO again till December (and likely extended) with minimal golf all round. While the golf courses seems to be full, the preference is to avoid (for now) as there seems to be absolute idiots all round who are supposed to be self-quarantined but instead gallivanting around the golf courses playing. Utter stupidity is the actual disease here, not COVID-19.

I thought this might be a good time to explore something I had wanted to do for a while: a swing overhaul.

My swing, as I always say, has an expiry date. I’ve been having this quackery of swing for 16 years now. It has gone through a few changes, a few updates but overall, I think its broken. It’s not a swing I can count on, as evidenced when I just had to bogey the last hole to break 80 in Mines, and I screwed up from 70 meters for my third stroke on a par 5 and ended up double bogeying. I don’t even know why I screwed up. I generally have an excessive wide take away, move my weight almost fully on my right side and try to shift back my weight to the left for maximum power.

Recently, I’ve adopted the ‘Hogan Elbow’ after a random browsing of a YouTube video (which I don’t even know which one now) – basically to ensure the right elbow (or trailing elbow) is tucked closer to the body, with the inside of the elbow pointing upwards.

It was pure desperation to get something going. This was around late 2019 and I started to hit my driver a little bit better, brought my scoring down to somewhere mid 80s. I was still shifting my weight all around, but it became clearer that I was a little more consistent and more trusting with this Hogan Elbow thingy.

From there, I began to explore the concept of the Hogan Swing, which brought me to this concept of Stack and Tilt , which goes against everything I have learnt to play this darn game for 16 years. Instead of moving the weight to the right and then move to the left for power, Stack and Tilt tells us to keep our weight on the left all the way, keep our elbows tucked in and shift our hips lateral for speed through the ball.

This is very, very confusing to me.

In all my years of playing shitty golf, I have always thought the source of power is from having a very wide swing and arch, hence my takeaway especially on the driver is to separate my arms from my body as much as possible, something that we see a lot of pros doing.

I can actually get some distance on my driver with this, as I completely shift to the right and try to finish off on the left, like a guy throwing a punch. The problem here is that often when my timing is out, the shot becomes either a really bad push or an absolutely horrendous duck hook or whatever in between that resembles a monkey wrestling with a snake.

Exploring the concept of Stack and Tilt, I am drawn by the fact that the body itself stays relatively still, and it acts as a central ‘cog’ in which the body, arms and ultimately the golf club circles around. That word circle is intriguing, as I often struggle with an over the top cast swing where I just drop the club and completely chunk the crap out of my irons and even 3 wood. I can never hit my 3 wood or long irons with any degree of consistency.

The Stack and Tilt ensures you turn your shoulder, while keeping your head relatively still, and the distance of your head to the ball consistent. It relies on your shoulder to turn down as oppose to across. Its very conceptual, and I would recommend to read the book “The Stack and Tilt Swing” by Michael Bennett and Andy Plummer.  It beats the hell out of reading about IT security during this CMCO period.

To throw out 16 years worth of ‘knowledge’ to overhaul my swing is based on two motivations:

a) To have a more consistent golf

b) To ensure I can still play this game when I am 60 years old, when my current swing has expired.

And since I am not going onto the course for the forseeable future (or more accurately, not going to be betting on golf), it might be a good time to hit the range and try out these concepts.

Some of the good YouTube proponents of Stack and Tilt are

a) Nick Taylor Golf (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoskRiKxy06HM5kXxhNiQ1w)

b)  Saguto Golf

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC62Ygv4OmSNZBFkL6A7KDQg

c) Rob Cheney

https://www.youtube.com/user/robcheneygolf

Of the 3 above, I enjoy watching Saguto the best – this is a Paul Rudd lookalike who is so damn funny and also hits bad shots like us.

Stack and Tilt or whatever you call it is about keeping the weight on the left instead of shifting around like you are stirring a cup of coffee each time you swing. It appeals to me because I am turning old and still playing shitty golf and I am just tired of hacking my life away and getting pissed off all the time.

Only time will tell if anything turns out well from this!

There is a ball of a difference

So before the lockdown, I managed to squeeze in a few games of golf in Mines, Palm, Glenmarie and Kota Permai. It was good to be back out on the course again for sure – and while this second CMCO isn’t half as bad – the fact that we have the kids home with us makes it more difficult to take the whole morning/afternoon off for a game. Plus golf courses now seem to be a hotspot in itself, with Tropicana having a number of COVID cases.

It was during my round in Palm garden where I scored an 84 that I realised my game has somewhat reached a level where playing the shitty golf ball that I picked up from the bushes may have a difference in how I play. I was gaming the Inesis 500 Soft 2 piece ball that day and for some reason or another, my drives were just hopelessly short. It would be carrying a huge amount of spin and dropped off the sky like a rock and land very short from where I know I should be hitting. I game the Inesis mainly because it’s a cheap ball (I think like RM50 for a dozen) and I like the matte finish. And also because I was using this when I scored 80 on Mines about a year back.

But after researching a bit, I took it out from my bag and started gaming the Srixon Z Star and the Z Star XV from a very reasonably priced second hand seller – the new ones were just a bit too expensive for now – and I took it to Kota Permai.

Wow.

Yes, I did score 92 instead and mainly because Kota Permai greens were so crazy fast and I was tweaking my 917 Titliest 4 different times, to adjust the loft, the weight etc. And I was horrible from my bunkers, which isn’t usually the case, so I easily lost 3 strokes on bunkers, and 3 strokes from putting like an idiot.

But the ball was a huge difference. The time it stayed in the air, the trajectory of it – boring through and landing and rolling for miles – it 100% confirms to me that I will not be gaming any more Inesis moving forward (although the 900 Inesis had very good reviews, so I may use that). For now, it’s Srixon Z Star (XV) for me.

Just as I was getting used to it, the game ended and two days later, the CMCO was announced, slamming shut another golf window for a few weeks. Hope to get back on track at least in November, or the very least in December.

Till then – stay safe everyone!

Lesson Learnt: Don’t Binge Buy

So after struggling for two games in a row with the 917D stiff shaft, I decided to go and see a Fitter at the superstore MST along Federal Highway. Now, do note that I didn’t play that badly in my second game at Glenmarie. I scored 89, but struggled with my irons a bit and just completely sucked at my hybrid. So my driver wasn’t half bad – much better than my previous game, but I just felt like I was wrestling with a snake and I am not sure why.

So I thought maybe I could change my shaft a bit, hence went to the Fitter.

He brought me to a Trackman (I think it was another brand but I don’t recall) and here are my launch stats average:

BallSpeed: 137.9

Total Spin: 2475

Carry: 212m

Total: 230m

Club Head Speed: 96.2mph

Those are really decent numbers, to be honest. I thought I was higher in my swing speed but at 96.2, I am not a slouch either. According to this helpful chart below:

I should be playing to a 9-12 handicap which is what I’ve generally been playing to on great days – on normal days, maybe to 13 – 15 range. But banging it fast doesn’t mean I can score well. Case in point, in the few games I’ve missed absolute sitters for birdies – 3 footers, 4 footers just completely missing the putt. But overall, according to the stats I have above, I don’t seem to have an overall concern to my swing speed.

Funny thing, when I changed shafts to regular shaft (I tried a variety), the improvement was negative!

I was averaging 94 to 95 on the regular shafts, total carry distance wasn’t even past 220m and my spin was all higher. True, it’s probably because I was progressively getting tired, and maybe I was over compensating, but I was NOT hitting the ball better with the newer shafts. So maybe I have to stick back to the old shaft, or better still go back to my old Driver for the next game and see if there’s any improvement in the game.

My biggest Bottle Job: Mines and the Sub-80 round

What are the biggest choke jobs we know in sports?

Greg Norman, as great a golfer as he is, is best remembered for the epic bottle job he did in the 1996 US Masters. Discounting the time when in ’86 and ’87 in major tournaments, his opponents holed out their shots to beat him (it wasn’t his fault), the 1996 bottle job was the bottle job of all time.  Leading by six going into the final round, he ended up losing it by his own stupidity.

Jean Van De Velde – bottler on the 1999 British Open. We all knew what happened at Carnoustie. Last hole, up by 3, and bottled it due to his own stupidity.

Arnold Palmer – 7 stroke lead in 1966 US Open on the last day – bottled it and lost. Adam Scott – 2012, played +4  in the last 4 holes and lost to Ernie Els. Rory in 2011 Masters, Dustin Johnso – God knows how many times he bottled. Jordan Spieth – 2016 Masters. Bottled.

Even away from golf, 1988 FA Cup comes to mind, with Liverpool expected to eviscerate  Wimbledon. They bottled and lost.  They did make up for it in 2005 Champions League Finals in Instanbul, where they turned a 3-0 deficit to win it against AC Milan. Ironically, they bottled it again with Crystal Palace in 2013 and lost the title race for good – 3-0 with 11 minutes to go and they couldn’t win. Idiots. Brazil losing 1 – 7 to Germany in 2014. At home, in Brazil. WTF was that.

Of recent memories – PSG bottling it with Barcelona last year and this year with Manchester United, makes them officially the biggest bottling football team in history. Barcelona choking this year to Liverpool – ironically again a 3-0 deficit being erased. Liverpool loves and hates these 3-0 scorelines somehow. Ajax bottling it with Tottenham, and Arsenal doing their own series of bottling and choking this year to somehow miss Champions League and lost 1-4 to Chelsea in the Europa Finals. In Baku.  Where-ever that is.

Why am I going on with this?

Because I am a bottler. I am officially now a Choke-artist.

My golfing goals in life is simple: Hole In One (luck) and breaking 80 (skill and not being a bottler).

I have mentioned previously, the best chance I have for breaking 80 is always in Mines Golf Course – not just because it plays to a 71, but because I like this course. It’s my go-to course for great scores. My 81 last year and my other scores of 80s are all there. I don’t remember the last time I scored 90 and above in Mines, which is saying a lot.

So I had a competition round this week in Mines and we started off shotgun on the tough Hole 3 Index hole.

Hole 3: Bogey. It’s the first hole. It’s the toughest. A bogey with a 7 footer to start? I’ll take it.

Hole 4: Missed a 4 footer birdie putt. In a tournament with system 36 where Birdies means you play under. How choking is that? Par.

Hole 5: Bogeyed which is fine for a tough par 3.

Hole 6: Par, good putt from the fringe.

Hole 7: Great shot to the tough par 3, 2 putt par.

Hole 8: Almost bottled this as my 3 wood was topped and I ended up in the rough. I managed to coax this with a 4 on, and amazingly two putted from the top of a super difficult green. Bogey.

Hole 9: Almost lost ball, but instead regulation on, and two putted from VERY far away for Par.

Hole 10: Bogey. This is the one with a big tree in the middle.

Hole 11: Pretty amazing par as I chipped from very far away and had to hole an 8 footer.

Hole 12: Again, almost bottled this par 5 when I topped my hybrid the same way as the other par 5. I landed in the deep bunker but conjured an amazing bunker shot to land in front of green and navigated for a bogey.

Hole 13: Tough par 4, my first double bogey, but it’s pretty expected on this hole.

Hole 14: Par, putted from fringe.

Hole 15: Par, putted from fringe.

Hole 16: Pulled my shot but also recovered with a putt from off the green and holing par with an 8 footer.

Hole 17: Tun’s hole – par from a very long two putt.

Hole 18: Again, pulled left, and again, like Hole 7, recovered and managed to hole my par from 6 feet.

So let’s recap. At this point, after 16 holes, my scores were +1, +1,  +2, +2, +2, +3, +3, +4, +4, +5, +7, +7, +7, +7, +7, +7.

I was +7 with 2 to play. It dawned on me that I could break bloody 80 for the first time.

Going back to hole 1, I popped my drive but recovered by playing it safe. I landed near the hole and barely missed my birdie putt. Settled for another par.

I was +7 going into the final hole = the long par 5 hole 2. I knew I just needed to navigate and avoid the water on the left. I could bogey the hole and still break 80.

Amazing drive. Best I hit all day and I hit some pretty amazing drives all day. Best second shot with my six iron to land me around 120m from the green. Mission accomplished, I avoided the water on left, and had a pitching wedge in my hand to the enticing green and all I had to do was to put it on or near and I could play par and bogey and ride off into the sunset.

I had two clubs in my hand.

The 52 Gap was never going to reach the green but it would be short, and I was playing to a red pin. I would be comfortable putting slightly off the green for a par. The 52 was my go-to club. I can hit this baby with my eyes closed and with my left leg chopped off.

My pitching wedge was not so confident, but it would put me pin high. I was chasing a birdie to put my round under for the tournament.

My God, I should have selected the damn 52.

My pitching wedge dug too deep into the ground and because of it being soggy, the whole ball duffed. Not only duffed, it duffed into a fairway BUNKER. So my fourth ball was hit out of the bunker (I was already extremely shocked) and I managed to chip on for 5 – on , reasonable but it would be a snaky 10 footer downhill for my coveted prize of sub-80.

HOW THE FLAMING F*** did it even come to this??

Going for 3 bloody on with a pitching wedge and now I had to sink a 10 footer to avoid double bogey and to avoid bottling my sub 80 opportunity??

I had so many looks at this damn putt, but inevitably, fatefully, the putt slithered offline midway through and ended up low and shit – just as how my soul ended up.

9 over.

80.

Still the best round but it was the way I played to final hole that really killed me. I bottled it. I choked.

So the next time I call someone or some team a bottler – I am reminded – I bottled it in Mines, and choked my sub 80 round.

The mission in life to break 80 continues.

How to Play Mines – The Hacker Version

Horses for Courses.

That saying rings ever true especially in golf. I have a friend who plays to a rather high handicap most of the time, but everytime he steps onto Tropicana, he beats the crap out of us. Another guy I play with plays his homecourse blindfolded and probably can beat me with just a driver, wedge and putter; but when he steps into other courses, he ends up like a wet towel on a walrus’ head. Which absolutely does not make sense, but it sounds like a nice saying for being crap.

And the same for me. There are just some courses that suck the life out of you even before you step on the first tee box (I am looking straight at you, Seri Selangor), but there are also some courses, that you simply cannot explain how the hell you cannot score there. The course is good, the maintenance is good but everytime you step on that course you play like a tapir who just stepped into a pile of horse dung filled with rusted nails. Palm Garden is one such course. Tropicana, for me, is another ridiculously looking easy course that I just cannot score on.

Mines?

Ah, Mines. Mines is like a warm chicken soup cooked by my mother waiting for me on a cold, rainy evening. Mines is like the wondrous smell of my favourite noodles cooked by my mother’s loving hands whenever I come home from a long day at college. Mines is like the delicious taste of my mother’s version of french toast, with eggs and butter, the way that Elvis Presley loved it – and the way my mother does it – on a Saturday morning, where I would eat the entire loaf in one go.

Ah, Mines.

Playing there after struggling a lot with my new weight loss and my complete loss of distance in my irons, I managed an 11 over 82. It was GOOD. I had a very good game with 2 near birdie misses and 2 par saves that did not happen due to me burning the hole. The last time I stepped into mines was before my game went south, it was almost a year back where I shot 81.

This time, I’ve come to accept my fate as a normal distance golfer after my weight loss. Do not tell me it’s my swing. When I was 81 KG, I was hitting my pitching wedges into 130m and my 9 iron into 150 meters. It was delightful. Now, I am using 7 irons to 150 and 8 irons to 130. So while losing weight does have its benefit, now that I am a manageable 73kg, hitting distance with my irons ain’t one of it.

So seeing I am sort of averaging a low 80s for Mines, here’s a writeup on how to navigate it if your skillset is more or less as limited as mine.

Let’s start with Hole 1.

You are standing at Hole 1, trying to loosen up on your first tee. Hole 1 is a nice broad fairway, so go ahead with a driver. Don’t aim too far right because you might end up in the first bunker, but if you play a draw like I do, then aiming at the second bunker will do. You will never reach it. Once teed off, you should be about an 8 iron or 7 iron away into an uphill green. Aim right. It’s ok. Left is disaster and anything long is disaster, so make sure you don’t end up going long. Short and right of green is fine. One chip, one putt for par or two putt to escape with bogey.

Hole 2.

This is a dastardly par 5 that curves almost like a horseshoe. The tee off is easy, you won’t screw it up. Just don’t go left. Right is fine but you may end up in the rough. The key is your second shot. Always play to the right. I don’t care if you are up on a slope, but stay away from the left like it’s a gigantic pile of cat shit. It’s all water there. Third shot, depending on where you are, I would opine to play short again. If you overhook it you are in the water. So take away the problem, play short and one chip and putt or two putt – par or bogey.

Hole 3.

Very tough hole. It’s the index. Hardly anyone will reach in 2 here, so you can take a 3 wood or a driver, but the key is to stay away from left. Right rough is also fine. For the second, you may want to lay up to a distance you are comfortable with, or like me, I usually just take a 3 wood and try to hit as far as I can. To escape again with bogey here is a big deal.

Hole 4.

Don’t go right. There is deceivingly big area to bailout on the left, so go left and go long. Even if you are in the trees, it’s sparse enough to hit out from. From there, an 8 iron or 9 iron should see you in front of the green or you can even go a bit long. This should be a par hole or even a bogey is OK.

Hole 5

This is a difficult par 3. I used to go in here with an 8 iron or 7 iron, but nowadays I need a 5 iron in there. You probably want to aim a bit right and see if you can tease it back in. In any case, a bogey is absolutely fine for this hole.

Hole 6

This is a very short par 4 and if you avoid water on the right, you should definitely try to score here. A smart play is to just hit your irons and with a wedge put it on the green. We usually go for the driver, leaving us with a very awkward flop shot which I won’t recommend. You should par this or better.

Hole 7

This is a very intimidating par 3 but actually, if you aim left at the flowerbeds with the “MINES” word, you will find yourself reasonably safe for a bogey at the least. Don’t mess with the right, bail out if necessary.

Hole 8

Very very nice par 5 and definitely scoreable. Your job is just to hit a reasonable drive that doesn’t go right, then place it to around 100m from the green. DO NOT GO RIGHT. There is a valley of death down there. With a wedge you should be able to put it on. Careful of this green, it’s devilish tricky because of the severe slope, so even you do not par, a bogey is a good score here.

Hole 9

The final hole isn’t easy because if you go right on the drive, you are pretty much dead, and the fairway is narrow. You can opt for a 3 wood to stay on fairway, then a hybrid to get near the green – one chip, two putt for bogey.

So you have completed the first 9 with hopefully 8 bogeys and 1 Par. Not bad at 44.

Hole 10

This is a tough hole to tackle because if you go too far right, you have to contend with the giant tree in the middle of the fairway. Too far left you end up in the hazard. You are better just taking a wood and steering it slightly left. You will be with a 6 iron or 5 iron and you can punch it to the green if possible. Bogey is a good score here.

Hole 11

Tough par 3. Don’t go right, that’s it. Bail out on the left, and focus on chipping on the green, two putt for bogey.

Hole 12

Scoreable par 5 for sure. It’s short. If you can avoid the bunker on the right on your tee, this hole opens up a lot. A hybrid second should set you within wedge distance to a generous green. You should par this or better!

Hole 13

Index hole, you need your driver to work here. Stay right and then try to not be aggressive on your second. Too much trouble right and left. So avoid the temptation for a hybrid but instead play to a chipping distance to the green. Chip for 3 on and if you escape with a bogey, I guarantee there will be your playing partners (fellow hackers) who will blow this hole.

Hole 14

Don’t mess with the right. Take a 3 wood and pop it to the middle of the fairway. Too far left and you are also dead. From there, either a long iron and a hybrid into the green should set you up for par or bogey.

Hole 15

You should be able to score. A 3 wood on this very short par 4 should leave you with a wedge to a downhill green. Take a club shorter, because anything long here is dead. You should par this or better.

Hole 16

Take advantage of the easiest par 3. A 9 iron or 8 iron should get you on the green – two putt for PAR!

Hole 17

We call this Tun’s hole, because you can see our Prime Minister’s house next to the green. It’s also a tough par 4. You absolutely need a good drive to the left, as right is dead. From there, a long iron or a hybrid should get you on the green…you might opt to play short to avoid the bunkers, but go for conservativism here. Bogey is a very good score.

Hole 18

The Top Glove hole because we always aim for the Top Glove sign. NEVER challenge the left! You think you can cut the dogleg but it’s hard because the OB eats into the hole on the left which we cannot see. We always think we make it but we never make it. So aim right and whack it. You probably want to set yourself up for a 3 on here and two putt for bogey.

So on the back 9, you should hopefully get 6 bogeys and 3 pars for a fairly good score of 41 because this nine is a par 35. A score of 41-44 is 85 which is a very good score for a hacker!

Kickstart 2019 Tropicana

So the new year kicks off with all the new equipments for 2019. Just a quick comparison with my last year.

 

 c          

Cobra Fly Z+ vs R11 Taylormade – No competition. The Cobra is several years ahead of the R11 and it shows. I wasn’t just bombing my drives today, but I felt very much in control, unlike the inconsistent display with the R11.

 

Titliest 910D 3 Wood vs Cobra LD 5 Wood – I never really had any 3 wood in my bag before and only had an old LD5 Wood. Again, with a 3 wood, the game changes – especially with this solid fella, which i managed to hit very good shots today

 

    

 

MP57 vs MP54 – This is probably the only one requiring work. The 57s are beautiful things, but I must say, very much different in terms of forgiveness – as in, it has very little margin of error. When I connect, it flies like a hot knife through butter, cutting through air. But when I mis-hit (on several occasions), it’s very tough to play. The 54s are a lot easier, but it doesn’t look that good!

 

 

Smart Square Cleveland vs Odyssey  DFX 5500 – I’ve been having a love hate relationship with my DFX for many years. Sometimes, its so good that the hole looks like the size of a basket ball hoop. Other times I can’t even hit those 3 foot putts. The inconsistency now makes me switch to the much larger, face balanced Smart Square – and it works. Awesome putting today, and the visual (two squares) gives me a lot of confidence.

So Away we teed up at West Course 3 and crossover to East Course 1.

Hole 1: Tee off into the woods on the left as was expecting a slice as experienced on the range. Nope. It was long and left for some reason. Managed to hit a pitching wedge out and flew the green, and left with a chip over bunker. Guess what? Yup, chipped into bunker. Solid Bunker out to around 6 feet and drained the putt with my new putter. The chipping skills cannot be bought though, damn it. (+1)

Hole 2: This is a really nice hole but OB right makes us go left, which I did, leaving me with a pitching wedge into a downhill green. I missed it slightly left, and had to chip it. It landed soft, to around 8 feet and I drained the putt. The putter is ON!! (+1)

Hole 3: Par 3 messed up. My irons flared right, and didn’t even come close to the green. My chipping wasn’t great and I still wasn’t on. From off the green, my putt almost holed and I sank the bogey from around 4 feet (+2)

Hole 4: Nice controlled hole which forced me to hit my hybrid, which veered left a little. From there, it was an easy enough 9 iron into a big green. Long lag putt wasn’t good and my par putt didnt drop. So a 3 putt bogey. (+3). Not an easy putt anyway, can’t fault the putter.

Hole 5: Not an easy hole, but a very good drive sorted it out. I hit a wonderful 7 iron flighted into the green, one of the times I caught the MP-57 perfect and saw what a great club it was in the hands of actual good players (not me). I had around 10 feet for birdie and literally burned the edge with my putt. Good par though. (+3)

Hole 6: Another drive bombed with a slight draw down the middle. This time, to around 110m, I shortchanged my gap wedge and ended up in the bunker. I like bunkers, and I blasted out, two putted for bogey (+4)

Hole 7: Uphill par 5 which another driver found me needing a 3 wood. The new 3 wood is AWESOME. I hit it so flush that it landed into the greenside bunker almost pin high. From there, blasted out of the sand to around 6 feet and somehow missed a very good opportunity for birdie-sandy. Settle for par (+4)

Hole 8:Just when you think we figured out, again, my 7 iron flared right. These MP-57s dont take kindly to off center hits like my 54s.From there, I found myself again in the bunker and again, hit it out to around 6 feet, and missed the very quick downhill putt. Bogey. (+5)

Hole 9: Great end to the 9 with a long par 5. I twacked my driver dead straight.  A 3 wood brought me to about 80m to the pin. I hit a ‘meh’ shot that found me on the left of the green, on a slope, with a water grating in front of my ball so I couldn’t putt. Instead, I had to chip – and for once, hit a great one, which trickled to about 3 feet and sank the par. (+5). Great 9! Away to East 1!

Hole 10: For once, a bad drive that flared right. Still found the ball nestled under the tree, and I thought an 8 should suffice. Instead I missed it badly and it still left me with a very difficult pitch to the green. Yes, I promptly pitched it into the greenside bunker. I blasted a good bunker shot out for 4-on but cannot do anything further from 10 feet. First double bogey of the day. (+7)

Hole 11: It’s a very nice narrow hole. I hit a great fade but it landed into the rough about 110m away. Once more, I mishit my irons badly and my pitching wedge just tricked forward and I had those tricky pitch/chip shots where for once I executed well, leaving me around 4-5 fee to sink the par putt, which I did. (+7)

Hole 12: Another par 3. And another monumental failure again. This time, my 6 iron semi hook got over the water, bounced promptly to the left and went back into the water again. I took a drop, chipped to about 15 feet and ended up double bogey. What’s up with my irons??! (+9)

Hole 13: Ah the great par 5, that just need a good drive first. I drove it well, although it did pop up a bit. From there, I duffed my 7 iron approach and it went only 20m in front. ME-57s are hard to hit, man! From there, my 6 iron found the bunker. A great bunker shot still left me around 15 feet to manuever down hill. I hit it slightly hard, but it hit the hole and rested a few inches from it. Good for bogey (+10)

Hole 14: This is a low index hole because the tee off is guarded by bunkers on left and water on right. I managed to sliver my shot into the middle of the fairway- once again the Cobra Flyz+ proving awesome value for money. However, I pulled my PW slightl and yes —into the bunker, my favourite. A good out, but caught the hill and rolled down to 10 feet. Missed putt, but pretty good bogey. (+11)

Hole 15: This is supposedly an easy par 5 if you have a good tee off. I had a good one, but it landed right in the middle of a huge divot in the rough. It was so unlucky! I could’t get the buried ball with my hybrid properly and it went around 20-30m ahead. Now  have the 3 wood. I also missed it due to the extreme slope I was hitting on. From there, a 6 iron found me off the fairway slightly. My chip was almost good but short a bit. 2 putt for double. (+13).

Hole 16: This is one of the holes I didnt catch properly my driver. Yet, so forgiving was it, it still flew and rolled a good distance. It left me around 140m to the green. Once more, the MP-57 was tough to hit. My 8-iron was short and left. Chip on wasn’t superb and had to two putt for bogey. (+14)

Hole 17: Easy par 3 and this time I made sure I stayed through the ball. 7 iron found the green and two putted for par (+14)

Hole 18: Final hole requires some finesse — not. Once more, the Cobra came out and the drive was good and long – so good I only was left with a gap wedge distance. I launched the approach to the right a bit and landed softly, trickling down to around 6 feet of the hole. Birdie to end the first game of the year? You bet. BIRD IT! (+13)

Kota Permai Up and Down

Golf had been pretty solid for the past couple of months  but as witnessed in the last game at Palm Garden, I went into a shanking mode and I’ve been trying to shake off ever since. In fact, I played a 9 hole at KGPA in between that game and this with another beginner and I was like a hacker, because I was shanking it all over the place. I think I shot 51 or 52 which obviously doesn’t bode well.

I am trying to adjust a few things to prevent the shanks, but we’ll see if this works out on the course – Kota Permai! Despite the rain the day before, Kota Permai really looked good and the greens were in great condition.

Hole 1:  Inviting par 5, but I blasted my driver straight right into bunker. In the fairway bunker, I unluckily ended up right inside the rake line so it was embedded a bit. Managed to blast out a 9 iron but it clipped the last branch of the tree into the woods. A punch out and my 4th shot was short. From off the green I opted to putt, but hit it way too long and two putted for double bogey. (+2). I don’t think anything was at fault here, it was simply bad luck and maybe my first putt needed to be adjusted.

Hole 2: Tough hole usually, with narrow fairway. I managed to get my hook onto the fairway, and had a 9 iron in. Because of my shanks, my adjustment made my irons fly a bit shorter and almost got wet. As it was, I was off the green and my putt was short. Surprisingly, I managed to get my remaining 5 footer into the hole for par. (+2)

Hole 3: Another tough hole, but a good drive made things a lot easier and I basically had another 9 iron into the green. This time, managed to get on in regulation. But again, my first putt was short and left me with a similar distance as in the previous hole. Will it go? Yes! Another par! (+2)

Hole 4: The par 3 with water right. This time, instead of 5 iron, I opted to muscle in a 6 iron. It hooked slightly so I had a putt off the green. Learning from hole 1, I managed to hit a much better putt, but had a knee knocker 3 footer downhill left – which I hit, for escalation 3 pars in a row. (+2)

Hole 5: I was slightly feeling it now, with my putter on fire. But this drive, I popped it up and it got hung in the rough – a poor short drive, but thankfully on a relative short Par 4. I still had to hit either an 8 or 7 iron in. I opted for the latter but it flew right to the back of the green, about 40 feet away from the front pin. My lag putt was …. bad. I overshot the hole and had around an 8 footer back.

Amazingly, my putt hit the back of the cup and popped in for 4 in a row. Even I was surprised. (+2)

Hole 6: After we were forced to stop by the wonderful flights who stop to eat their breakfast at this dratted hut, I had a 5 iron to coax into this tough par 3. And I completely duffed it. I wish I could blame the idiots in front who had to stop and fill their bellies and spoiling my mojo. But the fact was, I just had a bad swing and the ball plopped into water. Reteed-and this time found the bunker. From the bunker, hit the 4th shot out, and two putted for a seriously momentum destroying triple bogey. (+5)

Irons=-1

Hole 7: Struggling to shake off the triple, I actually hit a solid drive on this Par 5. But like Hole 1, it got caught into the fairway bunker on the right. Like Hole 1, I was unluckily stuck right at the side and could only coax a 9 iron out. I still could regulation on actually as I had a 130m or more to the green. I shortsighted myself with a pitching wedge (instead of 9) and landed short. Too much grass here to work with (or so I thought), and I decided to chip for my 4th.

Bad decision because my chip is $hit. Total, crap sh#t. I skulled the ball and it skittered into the bunker. From the bunker, I hit a very poor shot due to the water if I overshot the green, and left it in the bunker again. My 5th shot barely got out. My 6th putt, because I had to charge to at least have a chance to tie with my opponent’s team went too far downhill and my come back never stood a chance. Great. Triple bogey. (+8). So after four pars in a row, I had to go spoil the game with two triples back to back.

Chipping = -1

Hole 8: This index hole 1 is long, but it’s not overly complex. I did hit my drive long, but it drew too much. Flew the bunker and I had a pitching wedge I had to carve around the trees. Curled too much and now I had the option to putt or chip off the green. Opted for the chip, but again, fell too short and did not hit the 8 footer to the cup. My first bogey of the day, not bad. (+9)

Hole 9: My drive here to this uphill green actually left me in a reasonable position just short of the bunker on the left, but with an extreme uphill to go. My 6 iron….shanked. Yup. Finally did it and got it out of my system. Thankfully the ball hits a small tree and fell back into the bunker about 30 meters from the green. The dreaded 30 meter bunker shot, which I hit a pretty good out with my gap. I had around 15 feet to navigate for sandy par, but missed. Considering I shanked the crap out of the ball, bogey is a hell of a score. (+10)

For a while, midway through the first 9, I was thinking of really going low. 2 triple laters, due to branfarts on my irons and chipping – and it’s over.

Hole 10: Crossing over to this shady par 4 dog leg left, I cut the dogleg too much and now it’s in the jungle left. My punch out wasn’t great but it was just enough for me to use my 9 iron with a little draw to the green – which was executed perfectly. Pin high, around 10 feet from the hole. Unfortunately I missed it my inches but tapped in for bogey. (+11). Its not a bad hole for recovery.

Hole 11: Blasted this relatively easy par 4 and had only 90 meters left to the green. I hit a poor 60 degree that flew to the back of the green and nestled in the rough. A 60 degree chip shot almost holed it and tapped in for par. (+11)

Hole 12: This par 5 makes me think whoever decided this monster is Index 14 probably made the decision when he or she was drunk or smoking weed. Excuse me? Thick trees and rough on the left, OB on the right, with a sliver of fairway snaking up to an uphill green with a notoriously difficult undulation? Index 14? Hello? On cue, I smashed my driver into the left trees where I can probably take up permanent residence based on the time I visit there. I chunked my punch out (2nd shot) which wasn’t great, and my next punch with a 6 iron from the rough found me around 140m to an uphill green. I used my pitching for my 4th and flew it in. It landed on the green, yes, but due to the severe undulation feeding everything into this deep valley on the left, it promptly rolled off the green. Instead of chipping, I opted to putt my 5th shot onto the green which turned out to be a smart decision and had a 8 footer uphill to save my bogey. (+12)

Hole 13: I whacked my driver but again, like so often today, did not have enough turn in it so it landed into the rough on the right after the buggy track. With no option, I had to carved a punch with my 6 iron to a uphill green about 120m away. It was hit well but still found the bunker on right. 3rd shot was one of the best bunker shot I’ve done, with the lovely “thud” sound of the sand. I still had around a 6 footer to navigate for my Sandy Par, and I did it to a fist pump. (+12)

Hole 14: Fresh from a great par save, I hit my pitching wedge slightly thin on this downhill par 3. It did find the back of the green  with a long lag putt. With my putter on fire, I two putted this hole to maintain a chance for possible esclation again. (+12)

Hole 15: Completely pummelled this ball – perfect right to left and on the fairway.  I still had around 160m to go for this difficult par 4. However, that shank back in 9 was playing in my head and got me so confused, I was like a hippo attempting to do yoga by the time I was addressing and adjusted, and I did not shank — instead I pushed it way left, hit a tree and dropped down around 60m in front. Again, like hole 12, my 3rd shot sandwedge actually reached the green but due to the undulation, it happily spun off into the rough. Unbelievable. From there, I hit a poor chip. With a 12 footer uphill putt, my bogey burned the edge and settled in for double. (+14).

Wedges = -1

Hole 16: In this narrow par 4 (second of the Evil Twins on this course) – I opted a good 5 wood. From there, I only had about 130m to go. I hit my pitching wedge but pulled it (again thinking of shank)into the bunker. While I had been playing great bunker shots, this time, I caught it thin and it flew over the green. 4th shot in wasn’t great and two putted for double. Damn!!! (+16)

Sand = -1

Hole 17: I was very frustrated by now. The last two holes were completely and utterly unnecessary doubles. I could have easily bogeyed them instead. This long par 3 required my 5-iron which wasn’t so bad but it went way too far and had a tricky putt downhill. Too tricky as I ended up 3 putting this damn hole for bogey after regulation on. (+17)

Putter=-1

Hole 18: Hopefully the final hole have reprieve – but no, dragged my driver left into the bunker (again). I did execute a great 6 iron from the bunker to put me around 150m to an uphill green. I opted for a 6-iron, chunked it a bit but it was on the fringe, around 40 -50 feet away from a back pin. From there, I finally did a great lag putt right to about a foot or so and it was super good feeling to tap in for par for the last hole.

Conclusion: Overall, scoring 89 is ok for Kota permai and my putter was really on fire today – more than other clubs. My chipping is still taking a vacation while my super driving habit in October has pretty much reverted back to its erratic self. Looking back, if I didn’t screw up those triple bogeys and double on the back nine, I could realistically shave off around 3 strokes from it. But no complaints. Great round of golf and great weather too!

Palm Garden Scoring

I’ve played Palm Garden 4 times this year and had a 95-92-88-96 scoring on it. For some reason, a course which should be easy (hardly any water), which I should be eating breakfast out of, turns into a high scoring affair everytime I set foot on it. A few things come to mind – the greens and fairways are undulating and not easy. The par 3s have two easy ones, but two incredibly difficult ones. The par 5s are almost not possible to be reached in two. But basically I just need to freaking play better.

Hole 1: I’ve been driving like an automaton lately and today started off with a bang. Cut the dogleg too much though, and ended up on the rough. No matter, an easy 9-iron took me to the green, if not a bit too far. A downhill putt which I completely misread, and left me with a par putt of around 10 feet, which I missed. 3-putt to start the day? OK. (+1)

Hole 2: Easy par 3 that I shorted with a gap wedge. Time to see how this chip is doing. I hit an ok one actually, which is surprising but still had to navigate around 6 feet for a par which i did. Wow! Didn’t expect my short game to save me! (+1)

Hole 3: Good broad fairway which I just pummeled my drive into. From there, I had an easy 9 iron again to the back portion of the green, which I put on around 20 feet away. But again, my putter was crap shit, and my birdie putt came up way short. Palm garden was playing very SLOW today, unlike the previous time. My par putt pulled and again, a 3 putt despite regulation-on. I hope this isn’t going to become a trend. (+2)

Hole 4: Really one of my favourite holes in the course. This is a par 5 which drops down to a semi island green which requires some precise shot into it. I’ve birdied this par 5 a few times and today went flag hunting again. Long drive straight down the barrel, another pitching wedge to take me to around 100m and from there, a lob wedge to a front sucker pin, to around 2 feet for a kick in birdie. Easiest one ever! (+1)

Hole 5: Back to back par 5s here. I hit another straight drive (my driver was seriously in automated mode), and then a little pulled five wood took me to around 100m away to a green which I put on with a sandwedge. From there 2 putted for a par. (+1) At this point, I was thinking if I putted well during my hole 1 and 3, I would have been one under over 5 holes! Could be staring at a sub 80 round here!

Hole 6: This is just a tough par 4 but not impossible. A good drive found the rough on the right, and I just dead pulled my hybrid (I hate this hybrid) into the bunker on the left. My out wasn’t superb and that just left me with too long a putt for par. Bogey and momentum lost. (+2)

Woods/Hybrid = -1

Hole 7: If anyone asks which is the toughest hole in the course? I would say this stupid par 3. It is LONG. It needed my 5 wood, so we are staring at an uphill 190-200 metres with a difficult green protected by bunkers and undulation. On cue, I pulled left and from there, buried under a tree, I just have to chop out, and put it into bunker. Out, missed my bogey and settled for my first double bogey of the day. Stupid 5 wood and stupid hybrid! (+4)

Woods/Hybrid: -2

Hole 8: The final two holes are really scoring holes for me, especially if the driver is behaving. And it was certainly behaving today. Drove a straight one cutting the dogleg to around 80m from the green but in a not so great lie in the rough, and mud. I managed to carve in a lob wedge to the top of the green but had a very tricky downhill. My putt was ok, wasn’t good, but managed to coax in a par. (+4)

Hole 9: This was the probably the first time I had a perfect driving 9 holes in my life. This drive was crushed right down the fairway and left me again with a lob wedge into a dangerous green. Behind the green (where my playing partner ended up) was no-man’s land, a practice green and a hill back up. Lob wedge safely on the green, two putted for a par. (+4) At +4, I was probably on track to break 80 but I would need to play a heck of a back 9.

Hole 10: Another good drive straight down the fairway. Here’s where I probably made my mistake. Instead of gunning it with a wood or at least a long iron to this massive par 5, I layed up with a 9 iron thinking it might give me a lob wedge in. I short-changed it and had a 130m uphill approach. Again, mistake with a pitching instead of a 9 and fell woefully short. Chip wasn’t great and left with too much to do. Bogey. (+5) Can’t fault my chipping though, it was really a mental breakdown here more than anything.

Hole 11: Great hole with danger on the left which I avoided with a perfect 5 wood. I was left with only a pitching wedge into the green and looked to get back on track from the previous hole’s brain fart. And then it happened.

It doesn’t happen often but when it does, it is disastrous.

The SHANK.

I shanked the shit out of my pitching. It came out of nowhere, literally. My irons the whole of the 10 holes previous were dialed in, target hunting precision and just crisp and clear pounding off the turf. Suddenly, the shank just changed everything. It landed in the trees at the right, I punched out and still could do a 4-on to escape disaster. With a lob wedge, it happened again.

The SHANK.

This time into the water. At this point, it wasn’t just bye-bye sub 80 round. It could be bye bye game, because I had no idea what was causing it. I stood there for a full half minute wondering what the f- just happened. I mean if I was playing like a monkey I would feel this is just a product of that monkey business. Instead I was playing probably the best golf I had played this whole year. So where in cold hell did this shanking nonsense come from???!

Since we were playing team against team, I declared myself out of the hole and stopped playing and went back to the buggy to try to sort out this swing. So I don’t have a number here but as a rule, all blow holes will be marked as quadruple, so I marked it. (+9)

Irons = -1

Hole 12: I was obviously in a shocked state by now and this easy par 3 should be there for the taking. Instead on the tee with a pitching wedge, I shanked it again. This time it wasn’t so bad and I could still recover, but my confidence throughout the game had taken a huge beating and I knew I was in deep shit to complete this game with a reasonable score. You can’t fix a shank. You can only compensate for it. Managed to chip on, and two putted for a bogey. (+10). If I could just bogey all the way, I would be pretty satisfied now.

Hole 13: Tough Par 5 with trouble everywhere. At least my driver was still working despite my shanking problems. Bombed it down the fairway and now I had a dreaded iron coming up. With a 9-iron, I adjusted my stance drastically, putting my right foot a full one feet back compared to my left. This funny stance will force me to swing inside out at a drastic plane, hopefully eliminating my shank (which came from me swinging over the top and coming in steep outside in), but will be problematic due to it making my draw and hooks even worse. For now, it sort of worked, because I managed to hit it (although it still had the dreaded shank sound – “thak!” of ball hitting the hosel. With a 52 degree into the green, I did the same swing, and landed just before the green. It was not a great chip for 4-on as it overshot the hole by around 15 feet. But finally, one putt did drop as this one snaked in for an extremely unlikely par. (+10)

Hole 14: Again, with the same method, I eliminated my shank, but my draw was pretty extreme into this par 3. I’ve already compensated for it and this time it worked out well. It ended up on the green and managed to two putt for another par. With the way I’m playing, pars are like birdies for me. (+10)

Hole 15: Great drive smack in the middle. With water on the right, I had to play safe a bit with the layup and hit a conservative 9-iron and had maybe 120 or so left to the green. My shank seems to be resolved now, but the problem was I wasn’t hitting my irons so crisply and this new stance had me fighting a hook everytime. My pitching wedge worked well here but didn’t hook back so left me on the green with some real estate to maneuver. I thankfully did and ended up with another par. That’s 3 in a row and momentum regained! (+10)

Hole 16: This relatively short part 4 hole always turns difficult when you cranked your drive thinking you can reach the green. I hit a reasonable drive that ended up a few feet from the bunker on the right and leaving me around 70m downhill to front pin. My pitch came up short and I was maybe a few metres from the green. Usually I would opt to putt but given that I am supposed to practice my chipping, I opted to chip. And clunked it. It barely made the green and a stupid 2 putt later for a bogey. (+11)

Chip: -1

Hole 17: The par 3 downhill with trouble on the left. I knew I was hooking/over-drawing my irons due to my stance set up to fight the shank. So I aimed right for this but apparently not enough. I overhooked it and thought it was wet. Later, found the ball literally perched on the edge of the water and managed to pitch it on the green and two putted for bogey. Lucky!! (+12)

Irons=-2

Hole 18: This final hole is just a great hole to end. I blasted my drive straight down the fairway and for once did something I don’t think I’ve ever done before: Have a perfect driving day. As in literally I did not have one single bad drive for the whole 18. I now found myself around 110m from the green and used my gap wedge. This is my bread and butter. But like the previous hole, due to my extremely closed stance, I hooked it into the greenside bunker! Frustrated, I hit another ball exactly the same spot, but with my normal stance. Stuffed it to one feet from the hole, for a kickin mulligan birdie (if that was my actual ball in play)…I realise it’s bad etiquette to play two balls but we didn’t have anyone behind and maybe the ball in the bunker rolled into water? Who’s to say?

From the bunker, I was dead. The ball was in the bunker yes, but against the grass ledge so I couldn’t take any sand from under the ball. I topped it, and only then 4 out of bunker, missed my bogey and ended up with an extremely disappointing double bogey. (+14)

Irons=-3

Conclusion: What could have been? If I wasn’t compensating for my shank I would probably play the last hole or even 17th a lot better. A swing on the 18th between a double to a birdie is 3 strokes so I could have shaved that off. If I putted better, I could shaved 2 strokes on front 9 if I hit those regulation par putts. If I’ve not shanked the crap out of 11th hole, instead of a quadruple, I could end with a bogey , that’s another 3 strokes. If I chipped better on the 16th, there is another stroke there to be saved. So overall, I could have easily done 9 strokes less. From 86, I could have turned it into a 77. Why oh why the shanks?!?!