Golf – The book seems to be closing

I love TV coverage of golf as much as the next man, give me final round at Augusta over the Queens speech any day or Opening shots in a Ryder Cup for The Sopranos. But recently I’ve noticed a trend, with this mostly being what I see in US coverage and this is a trend of a closed book on exhibition that is creating excessive boredom through examples such as repetitive camera angles, useless commentator information (which is mostly incorrect) and stats on what players ate at lunch the day before.

And to back this up my viewing of content on Steve Elkington’s Secret in the dirt community http://www.secretinthedirt.com has made me write this post to sum up my feelings.

Elk’s concept in SecretIntheDirt is an example of a rare concept that I think we need to see more of, personality wise he probably only appeals to a certain population due to his outspoken, bullish Australian personality, but he is summed up most I think in this video series such as http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2JWyPoZmnE where his approach to sharing information is becoming a rare dying breed in golf. And to back this up Compare this to the exhibition of the Tyco Short skills challenge that is on Sky TV this morning where you could never be further from examples such as Elks show on Secret in the Dirt.

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t the players of todays fault here, they work and play in an era where you get immediately heavily scrutinised for what they say and can say due to sponsors obligations, media pundits etc etc and I think the easiest route to avoiding being tripped up is playing it serious regardless of where you play, and this is of course how they manage to separate themselves on the course, but in honesty is it what we want culturally within the game? Do we really want the highlight of exhibition to be a 1000FPS video of a divot? Stupid fake interviews?

But who do you blame? Is it the media channel broadcasting content? The big wigs directing up top? Sponsors? Money? Greed? For all of those and more I will leave with you to decide, but in reality if players like Elkington fail to continue with exhibitions and open books for all to read I really think this game will seriously begin to slip into being a victim of its own success.

Panic Button

I’m gradually finding that within my equipment of golf a panic button exists. The fact I’ve found this is I think a good sign of progress. A year ago I wouldn’t have realised that the panic button existed as i’d already pressed it without actually knowing it was there! We’ve all been there, the Horrid hook/slice off of the tee with a lost ball out of bounds and that deep deep feeling of fright that the next one is going to be just exactly the same, which if you’ve hit the panic button which you have it turns out to be and hence a wasted card and another wasted attempt to win.

Panic buttons exist for the Pro’s in this capacity too, they are not stan lee superhuman remember, they do have moments, the difference I think though is that they know how to avoid hitting the panic button and how to avert disaster or approach the next shot if a poor one, just think about the situations where great shots and putts that have been produced under the immense pressure.

Panic buttons also come into play in your practice regime too, you have that bad round, you lose the feelings that felt so great when you were swinging it great and you hit panic, its then feels lost forever, with your only option to either seek more advice (or more counselling) or in longer term panic button situations the seek to a new driver or wood.

Important here is to deep seat any positive thoughts and then in the event of panic focus on this to ensure you do not enter the viscous circle of losing ability and feeling through a cloud of red mist, if you can realise you are doing this its a sure sign of improvement and lastly the best thing is you’ll see this in others and know you’ve got the upper hand to win.

 

Enter a new Golfing Master

Congrats Mr Watson, you’ve joined the highest rank of the golfing elite and you’ve now got into the Augusta patron circle of trust with the Jacket and all (however bizarre it may be). Best of all they will like your southern twang I expect!

I posted about Bubba’s progress last year and he was on the up then, he has had plenty of highs and lows, and to be honest I actually didn’t favour him to win after seeing the demise at Doral just a month or so ago. Somehow thought he managed to keep at it and eventually win, despite distractions such as the famous distant Augusta roars and the Albatross (double eagle for my American readers) by King Louis.

So Fadeordraw would like to congratulate Bubba on what was both an exciting and nerve-racking tiring Easter/Monday of golf exhibition and truly the creation of an all time historic finale, and to boot final shows of emotion which your average photographer would sell his Gran for.

NEWS FLASH – Sales of Pink spray paint doubled today on the news that it was acceptable to spray paint your own driver (Kidding) 

Course review – Ifield GC, Crawley

Course Details

Club official Name - Ifield GC (Members owned)

Location - Crawley, West Sussex

Course Statistics - Par 70, 6319 (whites), 6029 (Yellows)

First Impressions

Well I am going to be extremely biased on this review as it is my current home Golf club. I joined Ifield GC after playing for a year at a different course locally in Crawley (Which renames nameless!), this was a club which previously always when i’ve spoken to local golfers has a reputation for snobbery, well they couldn’t be more wrong. From my first round at Ifield back in September last year I’ve seriously grown to love what Golf, facility and more importantly the freindlyness of the fellow members.

Accessibility - Map

This club is well hidden in Crawley, it’s probably easier to get too from Horsham side up the A24 and down the Rusper Road. However regardless either whether you are coming from the M23, Crawley town or Horsham it is well connected on the road.

Signposting is rather discreet, the club is on a bend on the Rusper Road so keep your eyes peeled!

The Course

Built in the 1920′s this would signify a course that is lacking in the length that you see on newer breed courses, however don’t be fooled! The members have made several tee changes over the year and you can be sure to be given a tough challenge when playing under competitions off of the back tees! The course I believe has changed over the years and you will face some challenging Par 4′s which require a long iron on your second shot, and I believe after discussing with some lifetime members some were originally a Par 5 (the 5th).

The course lays on clay based soil which does get a bad reputation, however investments have been made this year and in the past on drainage and I can vouch for this as the course has played pretty much all through winter (albeit muddy like any other course would be).

Greens I feel are the best in the Crawley/Horsham area, i was amazed at the difference playing on great greens has made my game, the greens are quite large however this pays dividends when it comes down to green quality as you have less wear and tear.

Overall verdict

I’d find it hard to leave Ifield thats for sure! The people are friendly, you have a great team in the Shop and on the committee who are all golfers serving the golfers at Ifield.

I would recommend you check it out for yourself and have a round, but don’t too fond of the course, you’ll have to get onto the lucrative waiting list to obtain that full

  

Are you a hipster?

This is a great video that demonstrates how the hips work in the (Non Stack and tilt) Golf swing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKnqad8S7Wk. I’ve recently started to repeat to use the feeling that the MyTPI team demonstrate at about 5:20 Minutes through in the video when I am down the gym exercising (avoiding the meat heads).

What I do is instead of using a club I use a medicine ball and find something that I can feel the pelvic thrust against in the Gym. This has taken time and also has required some work on core muscles to get even close to the feeling they describe but I think I am getting there.

When I am out on the (grass) range I also use an alignment stick like they do to get try and get my hips rotating behind and then in front of the stick. This provides an indication if you potentially thrusting the hips out too much and opening the club face or whether you are turning the hips correctly.

Lastly i’ve also just found this resource while googling about for some images which is really really useful in describing hip rotation and what bad hip rotation can be identified by.

http://www.aroundhawaii.com/lifestyle/health_and_fitness/2011-04-whats-a-hip-turn-part-2.html

 

 

I’m back

After an issue with Domain naming expirying and me not renewing in time, i’ve had to have a temporary period of outage for Fadeordraw unfortunatley.

As with the Golf season, I am not fully back and out of Hibernation so here is too a good 2012 for all readers.

Take your brain to another dimension

Now for something a little mental, and I am not talking in the madness sense, well I guess you could relate it to madness as thats what I went through in spells on my Medal round Sunday. I’m learning about the game of golf the costly way, you can quite easily hit a ball on the range but taking this out onto the course is the first step, and then taking this out onto the course in a competition becomes the next progressive step. This post will talk about my experiences from my comp on Sunday and what I experienced courtesy of my beloved subconscious.

A weekday comp I played in on the Friday was interesting, I had a shocker again (like the week before), and to be honest I’d rather not be compiling posts about this as it would be then permanently engrained in my thoughts. However what I did do was take a long hard look at myself in between the two tournaments and evaluate where I’d gone wrong. To be honest I’d hit some great shots, but the reality was that i’d putted shit, short game was awful and driving lacking confidence and poor. But why? I’d hit the ball sweet in practice, both running up to the tournament and on the day of the tournament so I was convinced this to me had to be mental related. Something was eating me up inside and it really just need to either be removed or obliterated! So as I am a slow learner I went back to a Bob Rotella book I’d read last year, and you’d think i’d have known and remembered this inside out by now, and how wrong was I after reading it to rekindle some memories! After getting back into the book, within minutes i’d realised that the issues I’ve had of recent are more than likely down to subconscious swing thoughts, a quest to be perfect and a lack of concentration on the “correct” things that matter when in the pressure cooker.

To back this up and prove my mind is the trickster at the moment I failed a few tests on Sunday that cost me a good conservative Five shots, these were quite comical when I reflect, so I will give you some comedy and recall my pain in order of failure!

Test 1

Hole score of 10 (par 4), this was a hole which is 2n’d hardest and 440 yards uphill, you always need a good drive on this hole to set you up well and not face a shot which relies on precision from outside the fairway with a wood (for me), I’ve par’d this hole a couple of times in open play and i’ve got as far as a bogey in comp play, and with this being a long hole for the high handicapper is more or less a par 5.

Anyway, scoring 10 on a hole like this is by no means acceptable even for me and this involved 3 drops in total, I think now in hindsight my subconscious was telling me I’ve pared it, I can keep going for the green in two but but in reality under pressure it will take a while before I can just snap out of a poor dropped shot to repeat the feat I’ve done under a no pressure situation. I recovered well here to get back into the present with Par on the next two holes!

Lesson learnt

If under preassure release the value and change club in able to perform more sensible lay up!

Test 2

A fluff/chilli dip! This was comical, I overhit the green on a wedge approach shot, and the person in my group also did and ended up being about 2 foot in front of my ball on the second fringe. He said would you like me to mark it? first thought was no, I thought i’d just get it on the green and in the hole and down for my third par in a row!. Net result however was a result of my sub conscious knowing the ball was in front of me and potentially something I could hit but my confidence pulling me the other direction and just saying go for it based on performances on the previous two holes!

Lesson learnt

Think when I end up in a different unusual situation stay in the present and don’t let the confidence i’ve built up lead me astray.

Test 3

I hit the wrong bloody ball! How bad and embarresing was this. To explain why my subconcious led this in a previous competition I was advised unbeknown to me that I should be able to identify the ball (fully) not “oh yeh its a callaway warbird!”, without wanting to remember numbers on a ball and put yet more stress on my mind I bought a sharpie and finally marked for the comp this week!. This next error occured at the turn on the 10th, which if hit well uphill catches a bank that starts at 230-250 and can add 30 or so yards if hit really well. One of the players in my group who had the same ball type had the tee honor and went first on this hole and hit a tree on the right, which to be honest did look like it had gone through onwards. Then onto me, I did everything write and this really felt fantastic, wallop an absolute peach up the middle.

When walking up hill I was not impressed, there was a Callaway sitting right in the middle of the fairway, 10 yards from the 150 marker, which is usually where I land so was convinced it was mine. My opponents waited for me to play, and hovered in between what I immediately thought were their two other balls 50 yards ahead and me. It was strange something just didn’t feel right here when being set into my preshot routine, It was as though I had an itch I couldn’t scratch in my brain it was awful, the brain was saying “Dan you’ve got Warbirds, your ball is usually here so just get on with it and stop holding up the two other players” but something inside was saying “you’ve hit a peach Dan, this can’t be your ball, say something here or this could end in tears of embarrasment!” well you guessed it, i’d hit the wrong ball out of pure subconcious thought that is engrained on this hole which ended up with a Two stroke penalty, but the twist in the tale was I hit a really good third shot that landed just off of the fringe and got holed!!!! So I bogeyed….not to let this get me down I got back up, brushed myself down and thought about the positive that that really was just a birdy!

Lesson Learnt

Thinking about my ball markings would be a start for next time but again if in doubt pull out! Simples, if I feel in doubt I will most certainly be pulling out of the shot to avoid such schoolboys errors.

Summary

I think at the end of my round I proved most of theory that it was mental state getting in the way of a decent performance, i’d played awful with my 3W all day so I decided to lay up on the final hole and par the hole rather than risk and reward, something that I knew would work well to keep my score to a respectable one and not let the sub conscious thoughts i’d engrained with previously poor shots with the 3W effect my end result, the destiny was in my hands and it felt great! Rules also came into play a bit here, rules are rules in Golf and most

Book review – Jacklin: My Autobiography

I knew very little about Tony Jacklin  I’m a sucker for living in the past and wanting to recall previous history so I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this book.

It starts by Tony providing a great insight into how he  worked up the ranks in Golf from a working class background to progress into a two time Major winner, and could you really want any more inspiration to be able to use and take into your thoughts out onto the range and course??

Tony leaves no stone unturned in this book, previously I had only seen footage of Tony’s final Open 1970 win previously and had never got the chance to see what he was like when interviewed and in the media in comparison to existing figures in Golf, however  I had a weird feeling throughout the book that gave me a warm feel for Tony through his narration of his life and also commentary and opinions of his time while on the PGA/European tours. Based on content it is safe to say that Tony certainly hasn’t held back in delivering his account and view on life in this biography, and he delivers his account of golf with the air of arrogance that you would expect and fully well need in order to win major championships with almost a Brian Clough level of bullishness. On the opposite side of this he provides an account of his ups and downs on the course, where he reveals some hidden truths that plagued him throughout his career, with issues with confidence and the putting yips figuring quite regulary unfortunately.

So, if you are into Golfing history I seriously recommend buying this book to gain an insight to what it used to be like with a woven ball and hickory clubs!

 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacklin-My-Autobiography-Tony/dp/0743268822

The Woods rollercoaster

After the abysmal finish and failure to make the cut in the last major of the year at the PGA championships, I have now officially left the Tiger Woods roller coaster ride for the Two 2011 majors he played in this season and will provide some running view on it.

Ok I admit, I am a fan of Mr Woods (come on who isn’t/wasn’t) and I have been on his roller coaster ride watching Woods for the last year since his comeback after the break from personal scandals, a coach change and then up until the last two tournaments the Two lay off’s through injury. When you look at both major performances this year for him, it has really has been a roller coaster ride, the Augusta result at the top of the whole ride was a positive, a round reflective of the performances on the Friday and Sunday may have handed him the title. Results at the PGA championships were completely at the opposite end of the scale, with probably the worst I think I have ever seen him play at the Major level in my life I think.

So most roller coasters go around Twice or even Three times so are we going to have to go through this again or will he get down to his game again and work on it and then “Let it go”? My fanboy attitude says hopefully not but my gut here is saying it might. However I have not been following golf long enough to see famous comebacks such as the Jack Nicklaus 1984 masters victory or even Wood’s comebacks after previous injuries, but factors might make this potential comeback effort different. Tiger is 36 at the end of the year and getting into a slump gets tougher to shake off when you are just not able to commit both the physical energy and the mental energy into it. One things for sure though to aid this is I predict we will quickly see a new caddy emerge in the break, this to me was a downfall and probably the reason he failed to make the cut in Atlanta, I saw Bryon Bell adding nothing but drinks advice into Woods’ game for the whole tournament and also this was the case at the Firestone WGC.

Lastly playing this poorly with such a lack of confidence and loss of believe can depress everyone, its almost the equivalent as getting the putting yips where mind and body just simply are not connected or in sync under pressure. The cure for this can only be to pick himself up and brush himself down with a win to bolster this, schedule wise the European tour can only provide this in the run up to the WGC in China so we might even see him turn up and use his card on this tour. Here is hoping the future is bright for TW and not as up and down as it was in 2011, the competitors need it, the commercial side of the game needs it and more importantly the records books need to be dusted off to claim the holder of the 19th Major title in order for Golf to feed yet another generation of inspired golfer to be inspired to go the next step and become the 20 times World major champion.

Chalk and Cheese

I am really enjoying my new club, it’s very sociable, at the moment due to me joining alone I basically book a slot and get paired with somebody. This felt quite daunting, and I think if i’d done this a year ago i’d have been a mental mess, however I have found the experience has actually improved my game due to the level of players I have been paired with.

So where does the Chalk and the cheese bit come in then? Well I will keep names out of this post to provide confidentiality, however my first pairing last week I was paired with a really nice (older) guy who played off of 12, he was in the Monthly medal and I was playing my first weekend reconnaissance mission of the course to find appropriate club selection, read of the greens etc. Pairing One was i’d say probably Mr Steady Eddy, he certainly didn’t have the length of off the tee and an exuberant short game, he just made sure he managed danger on the course and scrambled well, on that occasion he hit a net 78 (Scratch). From the outset, and even based on pairing A being in the monthly medal he went out of his way to really help with both course management and he was kind enough to note a few simple issues with my game while out on the course, and going on feeling within myself and also my last round I think that has helped ten fold (even in my first week). It ended my day of golf on a good note as my scoring wasn’t majorly high (net 97) and I’d actually felt like I’d enjoyed golf and not got frustrated for 18 holes.

Pairing B however was at the absolute extreme to Pairing A, I was told when I booked my tee time on the Friday before that I was going to be paired with Two 13 year olds who played off of 8 and 12! YIKES. This was definitely I felt going to be at the complete opposite end of the scale compared to my first week. This definitely lived up to my expectation from the first tee off, and it turned out this was no more than just a warm up for them for them for the Under-14 County championships which are being held there next weekend. Warm up aside, I was going to approach this no differently to normal, as to me every round at my level needs to be 110% from a concentration perspective. Anyway as expected it was full of energetic enthusiastic youth, who really don’t at that age know the meaning of fear of failure, whether this was having Master 8 HCP rushing to the first tee to get the bragging rights, or throwing the ball at pins like it was supposed to be a target or something! At the end of this one I felt like I needed to work on the game more, I’d had 89 with a few dreaded doubles, which has been my lowest score so far, so I must had done something right!

So all in all what did I learn over those two rounds?

  • Well the Junior certainly gave me a run for my money and of course they play with zero fear of failure
  • I learnt that concentration at my age is certainly as harder than juniors make it
  • I learnt that simple things such as the problems highlighted in my game on the first round definitely make a difference, and would never have been established in any other way other than a pair of external eyes
  • I’ve learnt I should have started golf at 10 not Tenpin Bowling (more on this another day)
  • I’m getting there, a reduction of 8 shots on last weeks has to be improvement and something I can take a positive from the next time I go out on the links

The mixture and quality of both players has really helped me improve my game, so it will be hopefully onwards and upwards now, and maybe (just maybe), if I keep at my game like I am, i’ll be able to reach my goals and objectives sooner than I think.