A few weeks back I hit the range for some much loved practice. I think all the different sports I have played during my life has given me a love of training and practicing as much as I like playing and there is no difference with my golfing.
I had a chat to Dave, my pro, he gave me an impact bag, two ladies clubs and two hundred balls. I would have liked more balls but I couldn’t carry it all up to the range.
I have been told recently that my Adams S Series mens senior flex may not be the right clubs for me and that I may well hit the ball better using womens clubs. I am sure different training and not hitting over two thousand balls a week (as I was in Canada) has made a difference to my golf.
I was given a couple of ladies Calloway clubs (3W and a hybrid) to fool around with on the range. I didn’t really want to return them. I hit the ball just that little bit sweeter and I was a little sad giving them back.
I gave every club I own a bit of a whack on the range, trying many different things, then hit the chipping green emptying the bunkers before collecting all the balls on the green and chipping them back again. Following that I spent about an hour on the putting green doing random drills and playing little games with myself and ten balls.
This is my usual practice session unless I have watched some more Seve or Sir Nick on youtube.
I hit the course with Craig on a fantastic summer afternoon and we were pleased to have no one on the back nine so we could play a spot of what we call Ghost Golf (no idea why we call it that – perhaps because the course has to be like a ghost town with no one around).
You can only play Ghost Golf when no one is on the course. We teed off backwards from the sixteenth tee, hit blind and over a massive tree to the 17th green which we decided was a par four. We make up the direction and par as we hit it around from hole to hole. I love it but it is a rare day that there is absolutely no one else around so you do have to take advantage when you can.
I want to get my handicap down and the only way to do so is to play comps so comps I will play. I had only played two before the end of the year so I signed up to play at The Links at Shell Cove. After a soggy morning I arrived and was very pleased to learn that I was going to be playing my first Ambrose comp.
Shirley and I were partners and we played with another Shirley and Leonie. It was quite a soggy round but I loved it. Was so much fun and there was only one hole where Shirley and I both duffed our shots otherwise between us we did some pretty good things. It was so much fun that I booked to play comp again with the ladies the following week.
The next day I went to Woollahra and played with Sylv (my volunteer friend from the Australian Open) and Roz and Kerrie. It was a nine hole comp and while I scratched two holes I came away with 21 points. I got my second birdie for 5 points on the 4th, scratched the fifth (ball vanished after teeing off and I didn’t realize I could have hit another one) then got 3, 3, 3 and 4 points to end up third out of fifty one players.
To say I was happy is an understatement. I was bloody well stoked and I’m sure I smiled way more than I usually do.
I won a pizza, which I don’t eat, so I gave it away.
Sunday I played the back nine at Warringah with Geoff, Todd, Hamish and young Izzy spectated. It is a pretty good track, nice and flat and the greens were in great condition. It was a little bit soggy so not much run. I shot 52 to Geoff’s 51 and we were playing off the same tees. I was really pleased with how I played as I am starting to string a few good shots together and am reducing my shit shots.
The boys told me that you can tell I’ve had lessons. Why would I not have lessons in something that I have not done before? I guess some folk just think they can (or should) be able to play and just get out there and whack it. I also love to learn things so why wouldn’t I go to an expert?
Monday, I headed up to Ingleside to play at Monash which was the last comp in the Race to Bonville Series. I did some terrible things, I might have played down an alternate fairway then proceeded to hit three trees in a row before picking up and laughing my way to the green where Louise and Ria were putting.
In retrospect I should have aimed for the trees and I am certain I would have missed. One shot flew about a sixty metres and I was thinking what a great shot until it hit the tree and bounced right back to me landing about five metres from my feet. How can you not laugh?
I did meet a bit of an angry golfer after we finished who asked me how I had played. I told him I had so much fun, was a great course, very challenging and while I scratched a few holes how could you not enjoy being out there? “I bloody don’t know where you were playing but it wasn’t here.” He growled at me and before he shot off in his cart. I told him it sucked to be him.
How could you not get any enjoyment from the game? I only got 26 points but was very happy to have played the hardest hole best for a nice quick four points. I look forward to the day I am a little more consistent.
I love the connections I make through golf. So many great people I may never had met if I didn’t golf.
I returned to Shell Cove again to play the Visitors Day and was chuffed to learn that Shirley and I had won the Ambrose comp the week prior. I got a voucher to spend in the pro shop. Woot woot.
Two podiums finishes in the same week – great week of golf clearly!
I played my usual great mixed in with mediocre but again my shit shots are getting better and there is nothing wrong with my driving. I can whack it quite well and I am positive the tricky track at Mt Broughton helps me to hit straight.
You go into the rough there, you are pretty much pulling another ball out of your bag. Great course for learning on – says the lass who has only been playing since July 2014.
I played at Woollahra again with Claude, Carol and Roz, who I had met at the comp I played there on Australia Day, and it was great golfing with them again. My driving was really good and Carol told me I am a courageous golfer. I will give anything a good nudge.
I do check distances however if I know I have driven that far before I will certainly try that first, rather than laying up and at Woollahra I know I can drive all the canals.
My club selection is getting better and while I can be directionally challenged (who isn’t) I often find myself pin high, just metres off the green either side. I am always really happy with this as I figure I can work on my alignment.
Whether I am practicing on the range or playing a round, I always have food of some kind with me. The usual is fruit and nut mix with dates, figs, cranberries, sunflower seeds, pepitas, walnuts, almonds, macadamias, cashews, raisins, pistachios and dark chocolate. I usually have fresh fruit and will also have something I have cooked – quinoa cakes, coconut delights (because they are in fact delightful, or the hands down favourite, banana, oatmeal and cranberry slice. I always share my food with my playing partners who usually request the recipe as they too are looking for healthy snacks to take golfing.
Monday and I was off to play at Wollongong with Ross. Wollongong Golf Course is right next to the ocean and while a little stinky on the back nine (sewer works nearby) it is a great challenge. My driving was consistently good but not everything else was consistently good.
The 18th was most amusing. I hit a great drive, then lost a ball in the water, then topped a shot but managed to get it over the water but into the rough, topped another shot that went about three metres, then nailed my hybrid with a great shot but it landed in the bunker. Pin high though. Out of the bunker nicely but missed the putt by a wee bit yet still I smile.
The ball went forward every time and that is my intent – I would prefer it going further than three metres but I always have another shot.
Tuesday and I was playing at Antill with Paul and Daniel. I had played the front nine here before but was keen to play the whole course. It was slow going as there were a couple of groups in front of us that were not having a good day. Lots of swearing, club smashing and bad energy rolling of that bunch. We had nothing else to do but golf that day so we cruised through enjoying it for exactly what it was. Paul sneaking away from his desk to golf, Dan out of the kitchen and for me – well golf is work.
The boys drive the ball really far, not always straight yet I was consistently straight. Paul was hitting the ball really well and doing some great things and Dan seemed to get his game together on the back nine but I just plugged away hitting straight down the fairway. Not far but usually straight.
Every hole on the back nine I asked if there was anything I should know about that I couldn’t see and the answer was always no. Murphy’s Law that the only hole I didn’t ask about (17th) I drove a fantastic ball a little to the left but boy did I smash it, as I turned to the boys smiling saying how good was that they informed me that it would be in the dam over the hill. The dam I couldn’t see and didn’t ask about.
Oh well drop a ball and keep on hitting.
I spent four hours at the range practicing on Thursday. Roz from Woollahra phoned and asked if I wanted to play Friday as Peter (her husband) couldn’t play. To round out the foursome was Carol and Lewis (Carol’s husband) who is currently putting cards in to get a handicap.
Sure did – so I was back to Woollahra again Friday and got the same amount of points as the week previous (a fair 15) but was extremely happy as on two consecutive holes I hit ten “golf” shots. They were all good and exactly what I was trying to do. I was stoked, not a shit shot among it – well not in those ten shots anyway.
I took some more treats for the ladies (banana oatmeal and cranberry slice, coconut delights) and I made up a new recipe that I call chocolate fudge squares, which have dates, sesame seeds, chia seeds, raw cacao powder and macadamias.
What is not to love? Another great snack for my golf bag.
I am slowly getting better at golf and my handicap has come down to just under 34.
I do love this game, and yes I do know how lucky I am to be able to play so much golf.