First of all, my apologies for being late with the newsletter this week. But there is a good reason!
Some of you know that I have a dual background of a Naval Officer and a Director of municipal parks agencies in different cities throughout the country. I’ve been advising and consulting with parks agencies for the last 20+ years, often on a weekend or by taking a few days off to go work with whatever agency that might ask for some assistance.
Since moving to Charlotte, I’ve been networking with technical assistance providers, landscape architecture firms, and city and county governments (AND small country club operations- after all, a country club has green space, a swimming pool, tennis courts, special events, in other words, lots of amenities that any park system has).
I was recently asked to join a large planning and urban design firm team as a sub-contractor focusing on operations and staff reviews and programming inventory. The point is, for the last week, I’ve been in preparation for the kick-off meeting with staff and board that took place all day yesterday.
So, there is a good reason, at least from my perspective, for being late. Work is a good thing.
One Step Forward…
I started the year in a golf funk. I’ve written before about my issues with my driver. I’m not sure what happened for the last year or so, but my driver is far and away my most inconsistent club. In the past, it was inconsistent, but in a different manner: If my first drive of the day was good, the rest of the drives that day would usually be good. If the first drive was bad, chances are the rest would be bad as well.
But if it was a good driving round, it was usually a good round.
Lately however, I have no idea where a drive is going from hole to hole. I’ve spent hours and hours on the range. This year, I’ve hit more drives on the range than all other clubs combined. The other clubs are fine. In fact, I hit my four-iron and five- iron, usually tough clubs to hit, as well as any clubs in the bag. On the other hand, a few months ago, I took a lesson for an hour with total focus on the driver.
And I thought it was getting better. I needed to un-learn years of bad technique. I’ve been working on re-training muscle memory. And I had my best round of the year when we played at Kingsbarns in Scotland. My driving wasn’t great, but it was adequate, and it led to a solid round of 80. That’s a good score for me. That was a light at the end of the tunnel that said my goal to get my handicap to single digits might start to happen.
Two Steps Back…
Then I played Sunday.
But first, I went to the range with my buddy Shawn and hit some balls on Friday. And I was striping it. I really can’t hit the ball much better than I did on the range on Friday. Every drive was either straight, had a little fade at the end, or was pulled a little to the left, but all would have been in the fairway. I hit a couple dozen drivers. I even mixed it up with a mid-iron and wedge, then back to the driver.
I left the range really looking forward to Sunday’s round.
The First Tee
To be fair, we drove two hours to the Pinehurst area to play on Sunday, and there was no driving range, so there was no warm-up. I stood on the first tee and hit a pretty solid drive, although with more fade that I would have liked. Which was a little concerning, but I thought I could live with it.
Then on number two, a more severe fade. And on number three, a full-on slice. There were a couple of solid drives during the round, but they would be followed by another slice.
After every drive that ended up in the right rough (or wood line), I would stand there in full frustration and ignorance. I had no idea what I was doing differently, and no idea what had changed in the two days since I was a driving range ninja.
I’m hoping to get back to the range today or tomorrow. I have a suspicion that once I’m there, I will be hitting the ball well again.
There is a reason pros have a mental coach, and that Dr. Gio is a household name in golf circles. Because for some reason, I can hit it like a 4-handicap on the range, and like a 24-handicap on the course the next day. And there is nothing I can feel that I’m doing differently from one place to another.
I’m pretty certain that a lot of my issues are mental. I’m not nervous on the tee, I’m not feeling any different, so it’s going to be a challenge to figure out. But the first thing I’m going to do is play a round or two without a scorecard. Not keep score, not have it matter, just play.
And maybe that will be the trigger that gets me to take the game from the range to the course.