Last Wednesday, I practiced at the Golden Bear Golf Center, and it was perhaps the worst practice I’ve had since I was able to hit balls again after my back injury. Part of the problem was my lack of concentration, but the major issue was my tempo was off, and I just couldn’t get it dialed in again without Tour Tempo. So, yesterday, I packed up the iPod and traveled again to Golden Bear Golf Center to get my golf game back in some semblance of order.
I started out in the short game area, planning to spend most of the time hitting short pitches. My distance control has been poor of late, and is leading to big numbers on the course. I’d brought along the 64Â° wedge, just for fun, as I’ve been hitting a lot of chips with all my wedges off the carpet at home. My 770CFE pitching wedge is my usual weapon for chipping, and I continue to improve my chipping, but my pitching (with any of my wedges) has been far below what it needs to be. Someone had thoughtfully placed about 50 balls under a shady tree, so I started there hitting pitches with my lob wedge. From the first shot, I was hitting everything right of the target, and although I improved my distance control over the practice, I never really got the direction correct, tending to hit right of the target on nearly every shot. I didn’t get that resolved even after an hour hitting pitches with all three wedges. After that practice, I hit chips with the pitching wedge and was pleased to see my chipping practice on the carpet is helping my chipping performance on the grass. I then hit a few balls out of the sand (got them all out, but, yeech…).
I got a full bucket and hit the range. I warmed up with six very nice sand wedges that hit close to purple-flagged pin, but of the next four, only one was close. Still, I was pretty happy with that result, considering there was a two club wind in my face and I was hitting the ball high. Next, I got out the pitching wedge and attacked the white-flagged green, with Tour Tempo on the iPod. I was striking the ball well, but my direction control was a bit off, and with the wind, a bit short. I changed to the 9-iron and started attacking the flag. Again, I was striking the ball pretty well, but the shots were all over the place, though mostly on the green. At this point, I turned off Tour Tempo, as my tempo was pretty solid, and I’ve found that if you keep going once your tempo is dialed in, I’ll tend to rush my swing and hit the balls fat. So, the iPod was turned off.
I mixed 9-iron, 7-iron and 5-iron shots, using the blue-flagged green as a target. With the wind, the 7-iron wasn’t quite getting there. Again, I was striking the ball pretty well, but my direction control was a bit lacking. After a few dozen balls, I changed my target to the yellow-flagged green and got out the long clubs and rotated through them. I had my best long club ball striking day ever with the exception of the driver (hit low fades with poor distance). With the other clubs, I hit some really fine shots with each club (a few stinkers here and there) and my direction control was exceptionally good, with almost none of my patented high hooks. I even had a “Wow!” experience with all three of the fairway clubs. If only I could say the same about the driver…
I’d run of out of balls and time, so I wasn’t able to putt, but I was very pleased with my long club practice on Saturday.