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Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a brand new GOLF.com collection the place we share enhancements, learnings and takeaways from beginner golfers such as you, together with among the pace bumps and challenges they’ve confronted alongside the best way.
I am not superb at golf in the mean time.
It is not at all times the case, however in my final two laps I have never seen any consistency. I slice and hook my pictures, overcome method pictures, spit corners, and my putt was atrocious.
Though I have been a 13 handicap for about seven months, I have never performed that method after a quick hiatus from play. Scores have hovered extra round 90-94 quite than the mid to excessive 80s I noticed at the moment final 12 months.
I assumed the most important offender was my driver, the place I heel hit and opened up my clubface, which led to poor outcomes – and plenty of time on the lookout for my pictures close to OB sticks.
However as a substitute of simply guessing, I needed to strive one thing that was each enjoyable and informative. In spite of everything, it is golf, the place massive knowledge is king lately.
So final week I walked to the Vanderbilt Legends Membership in Nashville, Tennessee with only a 6 iron, a wedge and my putter, decided to determine it out. Precisely the place my recreation wants probably the most work.
My Principle: If I hit my 6 iron from 175 to 182 yards, even on a 500 yard par 5, I hypothetically ought to hit extra greens in regulation time with an opportunity of birdies. I simply wanted to maintain the ball straight, see stable contact and keep away from hazards like massive roughs, bunkers or timber.
Any such apply golf was new to me, however because the course would solely be 9 holes anyway, I assumed it was time to provide it a strive – and I am glad I did, because it taught me rather a lot on my recreation.
Taking part in solo helped me in my little expertise since I wasn’t going to really feel rushed by different gamers. Nonetheless, it’s kind of daunting to face on a tee field with solely a 6-iron in your hand and see a inexperienced almost 500 yards away – which was an inside demon I needed to block from my thoughts.
However I saved reminding myself of the explanation I used to be doing this: to establish the precise flaws in my recreation.
As you’ll learn under, there was good, dangerous and really ugly (particularly within the brief recreation). However I assumed sharing this lesson is likely to be helpful so that you can strive a trick this summer season as properly.
Utilizing my 6 iron on the tee pictures
Contemplating all of the golf I’ve performed this 12 months, I am beginning to get a greater really feel for every of my golf equipment. Whereas I struggled with consistency with my 4 and 5 irons, my 6 iron was fairly good to me.
Even once I mishit my 6, it nonetheless appears to go round 165 yards. It would not at all times go straight, nevertheless it’s higher than among the hardcore slices I’ve shipped with a driver or wooden off the tee.
I began my recreation lacking the primary two fairways – however not by a lot. So my second pictures on each gap sat within the first lower with good lies. It allowed me to go below the ball, giving me the sensation of hitting a tee.
The third gap was a par-3 of 156 yards. I caught my tee shot about 12 toes from the pin, leaving me with a difficult left-to-right putt that had downhill pace.
The 4th gap noticed me fully sink my drive, fall into dangerous habits by opening up the clubface. My shot led to OB, leading to a lot of swearing (and an unlucky fall).
However on holes 5-8 I hit all of the fairways, earlier than my tee shot on 9 discovered the tough (however solely by about two toes).
Total, the expertise of utilizing my 6 iron off the tee has been optimistic.
Hitting 55% of the fairways won’t sound spectacular, nevertheless it was an accomplishment (and enchancment) over what I used to be doing when utilizing a driver off the tee.
Even earlier than I took my three-week psychological golf break, I used to be already assured in my method recreation.
This spherical was clearly totally different as I used to be solely utilizing my 6 iron, nevertheless it required me to make use of half and three quarter swings to manage my distances on each shot.
For instance, I crushed my apply 8 (a 355 yard par 4) and swing round 80% on my second shot. The ball hit the entrance of the inexperienced and simply rolled – forcing me to leap over a bunker – in order that was a bit disappointing.
Total, although, I used to be very pleased with how my method pictures had been.
Photographs from 55 to 120 yards
Do you bear in mind all that confidence I had on my method pictures? Yeah, all of it evaporated as soon as I bought inside 55-120 yards.
Utilizing my 6 iron from this vary was tough, as pictures at this distance normally require larger loft irons. However each shot on the course would not want a full swing, so bettering my really feel of that space of the course is a should for me to slim down my recreation additional.
Aside from the 2 par-3s, I solely hit one inexperienced in regulation time. So yeah, not good.
However simply because I shot just a few and flew over the inexperienced just a few extra doesn’t suggest I did not be taught something.
I now know what swing changes I must make the following time I go to the driving vary. It additionally permits me to experiment with totally different membership choices at this distance, attempting to determine precisely which one helps me attain probably the most greens in regulation.
Chip and pitch
Just like taking pictures between 55 and 120 yards, my brief recreation was additionally tough. Level Clean: I hit my nook like absolute trash, and I simply could not really feel something.
A part of this may be attributed to a change in method – as I used to be utilizing extra bump-and-runs versus the flop pictures I bought used to with my 60 levels.
However I am not one to make excuses and the variety of misses I’ve had across the inexperienced will not be sufficient.
As an alternative of simply throwing the pitching wedge in my bag to gather mud, nonetheless, I’ve to apply with it extra usually. There’ll clearly be occasions on different programs the place I am unable to default to a 60 diploma angle, and the pitching wedge is the one possibility to provide me an opportunity to birdie or par.
It is disappointing, however hey, that was the purpose of this targeted apply spherical – to get a greater really feel for the totally different components of my recreation.
Over my 9 holes I took 19 putts – so I averaged simply over two putts on every gap. Not the place we wish to be, that is for positive, nevertheless it was the best way I missed some putts that was actually irritating.
As a few of you understand, I’ve a private purpose to high 80 by the top of the summer season. To do that means eliminating careless errors, particularly on the placing floor, as that is the place a participant can compensate for dangerous pictures off the tee, on the method or with chipping.
Sadly, the 48 playing cards I recorded throughout this coaching expertise do not actually symbolize how low I may have gone.*
* says each golfer after a spherical.
For instance, on the 2 par 3s, I had the chance to make lengthy birdie putts. As an alternative of perfecting my distance management, I ended up bogeying every of these holes — which, satirically, had been the one holes the place I putt three.
Equally irritating was my putt on holes 1, 4 and 9, the place I used to be fortunate sufficient to go par, bogey, par (respectively) and lose focus inside three toes – that is the place skilled gamers are virtually computerized.
If I may have recovered these 5-6 pictures, growth, I am a 42 as a substitute of the 48 I carded. That is the place I anticipate to be, however I’ve to show it.
Total, utilizing my 6 iron on each shot exterior 50 yards was a optimistic expertise. It allowed me to perform what I needed and to focus extra on the issues I must work on probably the most.
As proven within the above abstract of my spherical, it is time to return to the lab and spend sufficient time at round 120 meters. I had at all times thought that was part of my recreation that was robust. However the proof is within the pudding, and now I can use this data to shave my neck for the following time I am there.
Wish to share your first-hand expertise for an opportunity to be featured in a future Shaving Strokes article? Share your particulars and progress by emailing me at email@example.com. We’re all on this collectively, so let’s share our wins, learnings, and frustrations to assist one another enhance!
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