Book Ends

My golf post from April 18 was the left bookend.  This post is the right one.  What does that have to do with golf?  Well, April 18th was the first day that I tried to play golf since my shoulder surgery repair.   That day, I practiced on the driving range.  I didn’t try to play until April 24.  April 24 was a practice round at the Legends of Massillon.  It was practice but I was trying to score just as I had on so many other times….for years.  I felt pretty good because I retained some of the lessons from Deepak Chopra’s book.  It worked.  I was pretty happy but another trip the the DR proved to be too much for the healing shoulder.  I had to lay off for a while to recover again.

The spring and summer came and I was OK with my play on the course but it wasn’t what I was hoping for.  My scoring average was like it had been in prior years.  I played with friends in my age range that were playing with clubs with  a senior flex shaft.  I thought I might try that too because they were doing so much better than I was doing.  I wanted what they had and I was willing to pay for it.  So, I went to the golf club fitter to see what he had to say.  I took my driver to establish a baseline clubhead speed.  The club fitter gave me several demo clubs with a variety of shafts of varying flex even ones with senior  flex.  None of the clubs produced a clubhead speed as good as my current driver.  In fact, the senior flex shafts produced a very strong hook off the practice tee.  Long story short, I walked out of the store with the same drive I came in with.

I kept playing with the same results into summer months.  I was not doing any better or worse but I was not satisfied.  So, insanity is doing things over and over expecting different results.  I went back to the club fitter.  I was insane.  I worked for about an hour hitting ball after ball with different club and shaft combinations.  Finally, I felt  sorry for the club fitter and walked out with a new driver.  It was pricey but I tricked my mind to believing it was going to change things.

A couple of trips to the practice range and a practice round by myself proved myself to not  be insane.  The club and a slight setup change produced significant improvements in driving as well as all of the other clubs in the bag.  Mid July saw me shooting lower than I had in literally years.  I was confident.  My drives were long, my irons were long and straight.  The set up change was the key.  I called it taking an extra step.  I addressed the ball, moved my feet to the routine front foot and back foot position then took another step back on the back foot.  I loved it.

Things were going well on the golf course until I set up the “garage gallery” art show.  I overdid the shoulder and suffered the consequences on the golf course when I returned to play.  I was protecting the shoulder.  I was not “turning” properly on the back swing.  I fell back to the high scoring pre-new-golf club.  That continued and it even got worse.  I was hooking the ball on all kind of shots.  It didn’t matter.  Driver and iron produced a weak hook.  Not a draw, a hook.  I was becoming unhappy with golf.  I lost all confidence.  More hooks and higher scores.  I did not know how to correct the condition.  I played and scored high.  I practice on the range with similar results, hook and weak hook.

I’m not sure what caused me to do some trouble shooting on what caused the hook.  My engineering mind reasoned that I was not “turning” properly.  My set up was the same.  I took the extra step but was not turning.  Then it came to me.  I needed to pre-stress my turn on my set up as I addressed the ball.  I felt a little awkward on my set up because I was cocked high on my left shoulder and I felt a tension on my right side.  But this set up along with some swing tips from Deepak produced high, straight, long (for me) drives and equally long and straight irons.  I was back in mid summer form.

The reason this is about bookends is that golf started in April at the Legends.  I played today at the Legends which may be the end of the golf season for me this year.  But, unlike April, I was using my new and improved set up along with the right kind of swing thoughts.  I played with a friend.  It rained a little but we played right through it.  The last hole with water in front of the green saw my shot to the green out of the sand land close enough to 2 putt for par.  I ended the season with 88 and a smile on my face.  Now, I have to remember what I learned, forgot and re learned until I play in 2018.