What, it is already August? Time flies when you are …

by admin | August 22, 2017 4:58 pm

Time flies when you are moving your whole family, visit family, buy a house, play golf & practice in between, build an indoor range and have some fun along the way.

This update will be about what happened since my last post four months ago.

From April to May

Since my last post in April, I practiced. I stuck to my plan as well as I could and I practiced. I read two books that have been recommended to me. One of them was “Every Shot Counts” from Mark Broadie[1]. I really recommend getting your own copy of the book if you are into stats. I personally really enjoyed every page of it and learned a lot about my own golf game and my practice routine thoughts.

The second book was “Lowest Score Wins” from Barzeski & Wedzik[2]. It was recommended to me by the TheSandTrap.com[3] community. One of the authors is the creator of the website and really active in the community. I think that is great and they are doing a great job with their website. Somebody started a conversation about my project, which I joined and had some interesting exchanges. Here is the link to it: https://thesandtrap.com/forums/topic/93670-35yo-golfers-plan-buy-a-trackman-dedicate-7-hours-daily-get-good/[4]. The book pretty much tells you how to lower your score from page one.

I won’t go into detail about why I think both books together are great. There are a lot of discussions online about both books. Find them and check them out if you want to, I personally like to try out things myself. My opinion is simple, buy both books read Every Shot Counts first and after that enjoy Lowest Score Counts and make up your own mind.

At the end I am not here to convince you of anything, nor do I want to. This is my own path and I am just being open and transparent about it. I do appreciate the input, but still going to end up doing what I feel and think is right.

Practice routine changes

Mark pretty much proved that investing a lot of time into the short game might not be the most efficient way of practicing. Tee box and approach shots can lower your scores more efficiently. Erik & David did their own research and preaching that the full shot is more complex and you should spend your time appropriately conquering the full swing.

I spent some time due to my practice plan on the exact opposite. I personally do not regret it. Actually, I feel like I took a turbo boost seminar in the short game and developed myself into a comfort zone that I did not have before. I used to get more and more nervous the closer I got to the green! Investing all those hours on the green and around it, almost eliminated that anxiety and allows me now to make putts that I had issues before in certain scenarios.

It is easy for anyone to look at you from the outside and tell you that you are doing something wrong. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself. I know myself and I stuck to my plan as well as I could. It helped me and I am more comfortable around the greens now. That result actually happened faster than I anticipated, but that is also something both books are telling you. It is easier to get better at putting than at your full swing. During May I did exactly the opposite of my practice plan and followed suggestions from both books. Work on my long game. Well, I am still working on that which is pretty much a small proof to me that they are right! It is way harder to conquer the long game than the short game due to the complexity of the moving elements in your full swing.

Once I started working on my full shots, half shots, quarter shots I got most of my yardages in my head. Suddenly I am not interested in the Arccos system as much anymore. Maybe it had also something to do with me losing one of the sensors, but something made me stick to my regular laser range finder and that was it. Overall the Arccos system showed me something that I already know. I have to focus on my long game. I ended up spending a lot of time on the range and working on that.

Luckily I love golf and it is not a burden, but something amazing I am allowed to do.

June

A lot of practice and a lot of rounds later I see a change. But the change has something more to do with how I play and think on the course. Suddenly I am realizing I stopped caring about the handicap system and outcome of individual rounds. I started playing courses three holes at a time. Going with a plan and goal into those three holes and basing my strategy on those goals. I am starting to be in a shot by shot mindset, thinking about the worse case outcome of the shot and if the worse case scenario will still help me reach my goal. That change of thinking was a combination of reading those books and trusting myself on the course. And it felt right. It felt like I was playing the course with a purpose instead of blindly hoping it will work out. I was pro active instead of trying to fix mistakes. I already had a plan for the worse case scenarios.

Now I wish I could tell you that I started playing in the low 70s every round, but that did not happen. 18 holes can really drain you when you play like that. I had to really concentrate, focus and realized that such a level of concentration on the course is new to me. I got stuck in the same loop. I played the first nine really well somewhere between +1 and +3 on good days and suddenly I just started making mistakes that would keep me in the eighties for the round. Sometimes it did not work at all and everything just fell apart, right away from the first hole and I was not able to get it back together. That is golf for you. No big deal, it just happens.

During all this, I joined the intramural league at my home course in April. The format was two person best ball and every week on Monday you play nine holes against another team. After the first Monday a handicap gets established and changes every week based on how well or not well you did. After 8 weeks, winning teams (1st – 3rd place) are announced based on how many holes overall they won. Gift certificates are distributed and the Monday after all teams keep their handicaps and go into the playoffs, sudden death style. The sudden death format started around the end of May and ended June 8th.

My partner and I lost 4 out of 8 rounds before the playoffs. But the won matches towards the end are in my opinion the more interesting ones. Yes, of course, we went into those last matches with a handicap advantage, but we played better. Especially me. Due to my practicing and mindset change, I started throwing more pars at our opponents and that forces them to create birdies to win a hole or due to the handicap match it. Before those matches, I was stuck on the bogey train and felt like that train is on a never ending journey. Sometimes it even got worse and the ticket guy told me I am in the wrong seat and I have to move into the double bogey and worse class. You should see the faces in that class. Barely anyone is smiling and having fun! Well, I got lucky, the ticket guy saw my practice hours and was able to upgrade my ticket to the par class and sometimes I even snuck into the birdie class for a few minutes. Even more rarely allowing me a look at the eagle class for a few seconds. That class is crazy, everyone is always smiling, laughing and partying! My kind of class!

So we started to win. One match after the other. All the way into the playoffs 1st place. Now you can say that we only won due to the handicap. But I purposefully looked at the scores without the hcp advantage and we still would have done well.

That was a good feeling. It is a little semi plastic trophy that costs max $15, but for me, I actually finally won something in golf and it felt good. The top of it is actually a little bit crooked, which makes it for some reason so much better!

Well, some of the practice is paying off. I also played in all the 4 people scrambles with a team (which I called the dream team) and we usually shot something in the 60s. Lowest was a 63. Sometimes we won, sometimes we didn’t. Best 4-some I ever played in. Good memories.

Alles hat ein Ende nur die Wurst hat zwei

Well, everything needs to end sometime and for military families, it is usually rather sooner than later. So we had to pack our stuff and move to Georgia for our next adventure. Which also meant that golf was not as accessible as it used to be for me. I packed the house within a week beginning of June and got everything ready for the move with my wife. My son was not in school anymore and that allowed me to spend more time with him. Well, with my trophy in my hand, my wife in the passenger seat, my son in the backseat my two dogs all over the car, suitcases, golf clubs and a TrackMan we drove towards our next adventure.

We spend almost a month in Florida, visiting family and enjoying life. I barely golfed and took some time off from everything. Well, a month goes by pretty quickly and we had to be in Georgia to start getting our life situated. We lived in a hotel for a little bit, while closing on our house. Hotels get boring pretty quickly!

Das Boot Das Haus

New house more space, ergo the garage is my new man cave. Actually, I like to call it my tinkering cave. The distance from our house to the golf course is walkable. The course does not have a very good all inclusive monthly membership like the last one did. Which could end up in a very expensive monthly range invoice. Plan B was born. Indoor range! I am not done with it yet, but it is functional and I am able to practice whenever I want to and that is exactly what I am doing currently. The only feature I want to add to my indoor range is a projector and an impact screen. That way I don’t have to look at my computer screen, but that is just a luxury and everything works without it.

I hope to have more updates soon, but this is it for now. This project is not dead. This is also not a sprint, but a marathon. I have not updated my daily schedule practice routine yet. I am still thinking about it. But I am actually able to cut hours from it. My main focus will be on my full swing.

 

 

Endnotes:
  1. “Every Shot Counts” from Mark Broadie: http://amzn.to/2vUvy1u
  2. “Lowest Score Wins” from Barzeski & Wedzik: http://lowestscorewins.com/
  3. TheSandTrap.com: https://thesandtrap.com/
  4. https://thesandtrap.com/forums/topic/93670-35yo-golfers-plan-buy-a-trackman-dedicate-7-hours-daily-get-good/: https://thesandtrap.com/forums/topic/93670-35yo-golfers-plan-buy-a-trackman-dedicate-7-hours-daily-get-good/

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