Sunday, 20 December 2015

Practice does pay dividends..

Well it nearly didn't happen, I read and looked at the many weather forecasts available to us all online nowadays to see if any of that unwelcomed wet stuff we have been receiving and which has closed my golf course for 2 (two) days during the week and only just about kept my front 9 (nine) holes open yesterday (Friday), was going to make an appearance.  All the forecasts were positive and they all stated no rain would show its ugly face until 11am onwards, so, I got ready early to hit the course at 8am, only then to come out my front door at 7.30m to face a wall of rain!  It was evident that it had been raining quite a lot in the night and was still falling, but hey, I was up and ready so I still drove the short distance to Coventry Golf Club.

On arrival, the Pro was just coming off the course and one of the greenkeepers was still doing a further inspection, however, the heavier rain I experienced just up the road north of the club hadn't fell on my course but it had rained through the night and with water tables so high any rain that falls at the moment just adds to that which hasn't had the opportunity to drain away, but then the news came through, were open, but still only on the front 9, but that's better than nothing.

So a few of the 8.30 rollup crew were now in attendance, a few 4-balls were quickly put together and the balls thrown in the air to decide what the pairs would be and off we went, time to put my 2 winter practice sessions to date into play.

Although were slightly forward on our yellow tee blocks, our 1st, a long 457 yard par 4 is almost impossible to reach in 2, especially with no run on the ball, but it also doesn't help when you've left the driver on the naughty step and have decided to use the ever dependable 12 degree mini-driver and then draw it a little too much into the left tree line at around 200yds, luckily I get a shot (index 6) so it's an angled chip out, a sensible short iron just short of the green staying away from the bunkers looking then to chip close enough to secure a single putt for a bogey, but it was not to be, a double bogey (6/5) start and the loss of the first hole!

This unfortunately continued for most of the first 9 holes and we returned to the 1st for our second lap 3-down.  I was really struggling off the tee, you constantly hear the saying "drive for show, putt for dough", well I don't agree, if you don't get off the tee with any degree of consistency it doesn't matter how good your short game is, your on the back foot, and when the opposition has a fist full of shots each and they're both playing off my partner, the pressure was on me to step up and use my shots in reply, but chipping out from treelines doesn't help!

But then, on our 2nd which was effectively our 11th for the round, a small adjustment was made, I relaxed, I committed more and Boom, it was back, a huge drive with a controlled baby draw around the dogleg leaving me a clear view and short iron into the green, back to 2-down, and so the fightback began as I started to drive the ball well and although not always getting to the green in regulation, my short game practice with my wedges really came into their own setting me up for a few easy gimmies.

Unfortunately just as my partner and I could smell blood to turn this match completely around and on it's head one of the other guys in the opposition pairing slipped and jarred his knee halfway up our 6th (15th hole), which we won also, he didn't take part on the par 3 7th which the 3 of us all parred for a half as he was struggling to walk, so we all decided to come in even though we felt we could have won the last 2 holes, it was the honourable thing to do.

So, in conclusion, my wedges and short game just about kept me in the game for the front 9, the amount of scrambling for a half here and there to keep us in touch felt exhausting at times as my driving was very poor, but then when the drives returned and I started to find the fairways, those drives coupled with my dependable short game brought me back into the match, and there was nothing to say we couldn't have gone on and won it, in fact, we both felt comfortable in that thought if it hadn't been for an injury.

So my practice with my new wedges and time on the putting green paid dividends, and my practice for the coming weeks will now be at the range with my driver and mini-driver, if I don't drive for show, I won't win any dough, let's see how a few range sessions work out, if they don't, it might mean I need a lesson to highlight what's happening as my driving has been pretty good of late, so something has changed and I need to identify it, quickly.