Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Short Game Lesson

Today I had a lesson with Blair on the short game only. He looked at my chipping and was very pleased with how well I am doing with that considering that we haven't spent much time on it. The only thing he noticed is that I open my stance a little too much....I can close it a little more. He also noticed that sometimes I take my club back a little too short and then try to accellerate it through. I need to take the club back a little further so that it is a more smooth followthrough.

Next, Blair looked at my short pitch shots. Here again, I need to take the club back further so that I can have a smooth followthrough. Sometimes I take it back short and try to force it through impact.

Finally, we looked at my putting stroke. Overall I think Blair was impressed with my putting. I was alligning well and going straight back and through. One tip he gave me that worked well is that I need to picture a box that my putter head is going to go to. When I make my practice stroke, I picture this box and my putter face following through to the box and no further. Then I copy the swing on the real stroke. This takes my mind off a ball outcome and focuses more on the putter head, which keeps me from pulling my head and automatically watching the ball. Just in my lesson, I noticed a great improvement on my putting.

I asked Blair afterward if he could pick one thing to work on for my short game and he said "rhythm". This is true. If I work on my rhythm for the chipping and the pitching and putting, I will have a much better short game. Really, that's all we worked on for each technique.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Smooth follow through and Balanced Finish

I had yet another lesson with Blair and again, he was happy with my progress. In fact, he was very happy! He told me to work on:

1) Relaxing my arms after the impact and during the follow through. Currently my arms are very stiff and it needs to be more smooth. He also said to let my body swing the club through impact. I tend to force it through the impact area somewhat.

2) A balanced finish. On my finish, I usually over rotate and my right heel is to the right of the toe. I need to think of under rotating.

Now, these are small things, but Blair said this is the fun part of golf lessons....working on the small things. It has been hard work to fight through the big things, such as swinging over the top of the plane on the downswing and keeping the club face square or slightly closed on the backswing. I am also working on better contact with the ball, but this seems to be getting better on its own from fixing the other problems.

This morning there was no one behind us on hole #18 at Dobson Ranch, so I decided to hit some from 150 yards to see what club was the one. I first hit my 8 iron, which recently has been the club from this distance (it used to be my 7 iron!). Well, my 8 iron went 10 yds past, so I tried my 9 iron. I thought for sure it would be short. I hit two balls and they were both pin high and the pin was in the middle of the green! I can't believe that I'm hitting the ball so well that I am hitting my 9 iron 150 yds! Now, for most players, this is commonplace, but for me it is quite an accomplishment.

My next lesson with Blair is in two weeks and will be on the short game, or the "scoring" game. Even though my irons have been working well for me lately, it isn't reflected in my scores. Last weekend at Ocotillo I got a 93 one day and an 87 the next. I still usually score in the 90's. That is why Blair suggested we work on my short game. I don't know what we'll be able to accomplish in 30 minutes. We'll see!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Update on my golf swing

I have been working hard on my golf swing with Blair, having lessons every 3-4 weeks and this last lesson with Blair was very encouraging. He said that my swing was coming along great and that it is the best it has ever looked. Now, that can mean a lot of things :) but it was good to hear him say that.

Last weekend I golfed with my father-in-law up at Pinetop/Lakeside....although it was very windy and my scores didn't really reflect it, I think my game was better. I was hitting my irons very well and cleanly. A few times I was having trouble because I was hitting my irons "too good", in other words they were going further than I was counting on.

The only things that Blair told me to concentrate on were:
1) Setup - narrower stance (mine was too wide) and tilt my left hip.
2) Tempo
3) Full turn with my driver.

Things that I have noticed are:
1) With my driver, and my irons I need to keep my head more still. Because I have a tendancy to sway, my head sometimes sways too. I have found I am more consistent if my head position is relatively still throughout the swing.
2) I need to turn my right hand over at, or soon after impact. If you look at the pros, you can see all of their knuckles on their right hand after impact with arms fully extended. That is the look I want.
3) Loose grip will help with #2....with a grip too strong it is harder to turn over.