Saturday, September 27, 2008

Road to the National Championship

There are only two and a half weeks left until that national championship and my preparation for the tournament is underway. I have isolated what a really want to work on and accomplish before the tournament and here is my list and how I intent to conquer it.

My swing was solid for the Tour Championship, but I felt that it was time to get better overall and just make my swing more efficient and just bring it up a notch. Even though nothing is perfect with my swing I still felt I had a good handle on it and small changes could be made. I took a lesson with Kris, one of the pros at my club, and told her that nothing was really wrong with my swing and I just wanted to make it better. What was great is that there was only one thing she wanted me to start working on because she felt it was time for me to start implementing it in my swing, and it was hitting against a strong left side. We worked on it for the rest of my lesson, did some drills, and in the end I understood what she wanted me to do I was just having a hard time implementing it in to my swing. A few days past and what we talked about wasn’t working. I went to practice after work and I asked Kris if she could stop by after her last lesson for a few minutes so she could help me with my swing. She came over and said that I should keep my chest behind the ball and that will help me hit on a solid side. Ding! It totally worked. Whenever I can relate what I need to do in my golf swing to whatever my body needs to be doing then something clicks in my head and I get it. Otherwise I get completely lost and frustrated.
The second thing I wanted to work on it my short game and getting really comfortable with the basics as well as hitting the spots on the green that I aim for. Feeling more comfortable with hitting over bunkers, hitting high shots, as wells a low running shots. I talked to Kris about this and she shared with me her train of thought when it came to her short game. She said she walks the length of the chip all the way to the hole on both sides, divides the entire length into sections and then picks out the spot where she wants the ball to land and calculates how much roll the ball will have. She then walks back to the ball and visualizes the ball hitting the spot she had previously picked out and executes the shot. I don’t know my carry to roll ratios and for me it ends up being too complicated and because I just want to keep it plain and simple I decided to have my own version of her routine. It really helped me to walk the length of the chip, stop in the middle, stand back from my line and make a triangle between the ball, the flag, and where I was standing. Then I would pick out my spot, walk back to my ball, take five practice swing while staring at my mark, and then execute the shot. This has really helped me visualize the shot as well as making me feel comfortable with the spot I have chosen, and I don’t really thing about how far I take the club back or how much roll there is going to be. The fact that I am visualizing the shot while I am taking my practice swings tells my brain how far to take the club back in order to accomplish what I want. This really works for me for shots just around the green as well as just off.
The last thing I wanted to practice as well as probably the most important to me that I get better at is in between yardages. Yardages such as, 88, 45, 117, etc... I noticed at the Tour Championship there were quite a few holes that were Par 4’s and around 288 yards. I have the advantage of being able to hit it about 200 yards which would leave me with 88 or so yards left to the hole. At that tournament I wasn’t really good at judging what my swing would be in order to take advantage of those yardages and put my self with a fairly easy putt, and this lead to par’s or bogies, instead of birdies. The short Par 4’s is where I can really gain a lead on the rest of field and I will need as many opportunities as I can get in order to make the cut. I have no idea how the other players in my flight play and I really have to make a game plan and refine my game as much as possible.

I found a golf course about 10 minutes from where I work where I will be able to practice on bermuda greens and just really get a feel for how the ball reacts out of bermuda rough and what the putting surface is going to be like. I am very lucky that in a few days I will be playing golf in Naples and I will be able to get a taste of real florida golf and hopefully I will be able to make a bunch of notes and implement those into my game plan.

1 comment:

Cash said...

Andrea, good luck with your swing improvements - learning to hit "against a firm left side" is for most of us (present company included) very challenging and a big step forward.

Good luck in Florida.