Sunday, 24 January 2010

Lessons In, Er Golf LDO

Still in La Manga, coming back on Friday. For some reason. Alright, I miss grinding online poker. Which is good, because it means I still have the desire to play, which I wasn't sure about before this break. Anyway, sticking to the golf, I wasn't hitting it very well last week, although I would still have scored quite well if I hadn't putted so badly [1]. I thought my grip was off so I changed it a bit with marginal improvement but a certain amount of discomfort in the left wrist (especially after playing). So on Friday I thought it would be best to have a lesson just to check up on fundamentals, it is expensive out here but so is everything else golf-related, what can you do.

The pro was very good and almost immediately said my grip was pretty much fine either way and that we would be better off looking at my swing. Basically I was kind of swinging outside-in which meant I was cutting across the ball, slicing it and taking distance off the shot by effectively adding more loft to the club (so for example I was hitting a 6-iron like an 8-iron). So we had an hour where he was trying to get me to swing inside-out. It felt really weird to start with, but with his video box of tricks I could see how much better the swing looked with the new technique.

Now I've had two afternoons on the range trying this out (courses are busier at weekends anyway and the weather hasn't been great so no real loss not playing the course). About 70% of my shots are no better or worse than what they were before, on average - but the other 30% just go PIIIINGGGGGG into what seems to me like outer space, but is probably just how I should have been hitting it in the first place. The 30/70 ratio seems to be slowly improving as well, so we're going to give it a spin on the course tomorrow, and probably every day Monday-Thursday while I'm here. It's likely (but not inevitable) that my scores will suffer for a few rounds, because before I had at least a reasonable idea where I was going to mis-hit it, and distance control is going to be an issue if I'm hitting 1/3 of my shots 20 yards further than the other 2/3. But sometimes you have to take a step back before two forward (like in late November) and at least it's a beautiful setting in which to play whatever the scores on the doors. Bring it on !

[1] I know, putting is such a big part of the game that it's a bit like saying, I would have played well if I hadn't played badly. One thing at a time ...

PS Apologies to SeanB for not responding to a comment for 3 months. I didn't see it - better late than never :)

Sunday, 17 January 2010

La Manga

As I mentioned elsewhere, I was going stir crazy sat at home looking out of my window at the snow, so I packed up to La Manga to leave everyone to it. I'm not sure what to expect here but it does seem quiet, and the geezer who came round to fix the boiler said that the whole operation has been struggling a bit over the last year. It's not a major surprise as renting, or even owning, a property here is going to be one of the first things people cut when times get tough.

Anyway, that's not my problem ; it might even be to my benefit as I think I have a pretty good deal on the rental. On the course, I have been steadily improving. It's a lot different to Enfield :), and I did find it very difficult on the first round. I won't give you my list of excuses, er I mean reasons why. I did a bit better today, my total score wasn't exceptional because if I find trouble then it tends to be big trouble and that can easily put a few high numbers on the card to bust a good score. Apart from that I managed 5 pars and 4 bogeys today, 14 pts v scratch, which is pretty close to what I should be doing handicap-wise (I calculate mine to be 23 at the moment based on scores back home). One thing in my favour is that it's not a very long course, and I'm starting to judge the greens much better (they're very quick).

I have a lot to do to be more relaxed on the course, although it was better today. I wouldn't go as far as the Danish estate agent I played 9 holes with the other day, who didn't even keep score ! Maybe I should do that for one round to see how it feels. But if I was doing well I'd definitely want to count it back :). Meditation ought to help with staying in the present moment - forgetting the last hole (good or bad) and thinking ahead to what score I might end up with are both distractions that I want to minimize. It's easier said than done though, like when someone says "Don't think about an elephant !". Go on, don't. Not that easy is it ? Anyway this is all a bit philosophical for a couple of weeks in the sun whacking a golf ball around. It's very good for me fitness wise, I'm cooking for myself, eating well and all in all it should make a good detox, not that I'm all that toxed up usually !