Hacker Alert: Issue 4

This will be a double post of sorts, since I am covering a couple of different practice sessions. In short, I have been hitting the range pretty often, and I had my first lesson  in over two years today. 

At the range, I have been struggling with consistency, to some extent. By inconsistency, I mean that my shot shape will change from day-to-day (i.e. slight draw to slight fade to hook). However, my contact has been pretty solid for the most part with only a few fat or thin shots. 

Now that I am practicing at the RMU Island Sports complex, I have a few more options available other than just whacking range balls. Though a bit farther from my house, I like the new location because RMU is an indoor golf facility, which offers a 100 yard space to hit full shots. Fortunately, the ceiling is high enough that you can get a fairly accurate reflection of your shot as long as you aren't hitting a wedge. Other than the range, the complex includes a practice bunker with a small green, and a large putting green with a nice layout. Right now, I have been hitting a medium bucket, and then working for 30 minutes on the practice green. 

Throughout my career, I, like many amateurs, have neglected to spend quality time working with the short stick and my wedges. As I repair my game, I home to change that 
habit and finally gain some more control from within 50 yards of the flag. To do this, I have been picking a random location on the green, laying down five balls, and putting until I can make all five from that spot. I try to start a session with short putts and move out as I finish each spot. This has been helpful in improving my vision on the green and thinking more about the effect of speed on the putt. 

As noted, I took my first lesson of the season today. Overall, I am very pleased with where my swing is. Before I quit, I had a tendency to take the club up very steeply, and then drop the club far inside. To deal with this movement, I had to flip my hands over pretty severely to try to bring the club head back to square, which made me vulnerable to a lot of bad shots. Surprisingly, my swing is in very good shape right now. Bill, my coach, asked me only to make a few minor adjustments (i.e. moving a little farther away from the ball). With that under control, we probably will move on to work on some other areas of my game. 

The only other issue I have been facing is my tendency to let my right foot (I am right-handed) lift up too early during the follow through. Bill showed me a picture of Trevor Immelman's solid post-contact position, and that helped me to create a better platform for this portion of the swing. 

Now that I am using a set of Nike NDS irons that is almost four years old, I wanted to get the set ready for the season by installing new grips. From normal wear and tear, the grips weren't in great shape, so I think this is probably a good investment. Golf Pride claims that changing your grips will slice 3-4 strokes from your game. We'll see about that. 

In an effort to save a few dollars, I purchased the do-it-yourself Golf Pride kit. Note to users: if you want to install new grips yourself, you should definitely have a good vice and a box cutter. Though the company advises you to use both of these, I had neither. My substitutes (the handles of the sink for the vice and a pocket knife for the box cutter) were not adequate to do the job easily. Nonetheless, I was able to get it done despite some troubles along the way. After using my new grips today, I am sure it was a good choice. 

Unfortunately, Pittsburgh ran into an unexpected batch of winter weather, and I haven't managed to get on the course. Over the next couple of days, I want to try to fit in nine holes in order to see where my game is really at. 

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