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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Improvement in My Game Is Taking Time

My main goal for 2008 is to play in a local qualifier for the U.S. Amateur Public Links in June. To enter, I need to have an index of 8.4 or lower. I was hoping by now I would be under 11, but I'm finding that even incremental improvement is slow if I continue with my current strategy of hitting balls once per week until the weather gets better.

My scores from the winter (from locations where the handicap season runs year-round) have been counted toward my VSGA handicap, which did its first revision of the year on March 1. I had a couple of good scores and several terrible ones, and a number of good scores were kicked out. So, it looks like my handicap is on the rise.

The Virginia State Golf Association updates handicaps on a monthly basis, but they offer a "real time" index called an instant index. Currently, my official index is 11.4, and my instant index is 12.9. So I think what that means is that unless I can post some good scores in the next four weeks, I'm going to be closer to a 13 than an 11 by the beginning of April. That would be accurate, as I've been way too inconsistent (from hole to hole, let alone round to round) to warrant an 11.

If I can turn the tide and take the positives from the range to the course, I should be able to hold steady through March and begin to lower the handicap in April. Still, it's a tall order to drop three points by the middle of June. My interim goals are to be in the 11ish range by April 1 and about a 10.2 by May 1. If I can get some really good scores in during May, there's an outside chance that I could crack the 9 barrier by June.

These are the things I must do in order to achieve these interim goals:
1) Go to golf school. I have a 3-day school picked out. Now I just need to schedule it. I have picked up a few bad habits since my last lesson 20+ years ago, and I need some drills to free myself of them.
2) Hit balls twice per week and put in at least 90 minutes per week on the putting green.
3) When I play, try not to shoot a score. I have a bad habit of playing defense sometimes when I'm playing well, and inevitably it leads to a couple of blowup holes (i.e. front nine at La Cana) that ruin my score.
4) Play as much as possible with my friends who like playing for money. I've found that I usually play better when there's something substantial on the line (at least a $5 Nassau with some side action). Maybe I'm searching for something that's not real here, but when I was recently in D.R., we didn't play for money, and my focus wandered during each round.

So that's the plan. I'll try my best to stick to it. If anyone has some brilliant suggestions for how I can hack 3-4 strokes off my current average, please leave a comment.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Mom said...

Seems to me that the lessons and/or golf school should come before the range.....what good is it to pound balls if you are re-inforcing the wrong thing?

1:12 PM  
Blogger John Gorman said...

I disagree. Hitting a couple of small buckets per week won't reinforce bad habits. Rather, it will help me work on my tempo and stay loose while most people are sitting on their couches.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Tubby G said...

Yea watching the Golf Channel to pick up tips from the teachers and players on our couches. Oh yea---you don't even have a TV screen where you could make out the difference between the teacher and the player...

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't listen to Tubby hes just trying to bring you down because you are the better player.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J5, Nuss here. A quick note to say hi and let you know about a good course if you're ever in the Ft. Lauderdale area. I was there for work last week and played twice at a course called The Club at Emerald Hills. It's semi-private and around $100 if you go after Noon ($139 before). Very challenging greens, with several holes where you're required to carry water on your approach. I three-putted three times on the front nine alone during my second round there.

In any event, if you're ever in that neck of the woods and don't feel like dishing out $350 to play Doral or one of the other biggies, check out the Club at Emerald Hills.

Later-
Matt

8:07 PM  

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