It was with serious intent that I headed up to the range this evening. It had to be, really, given my performances on the course on Saturday last and then yesterday, when I seemed even less capable than usual of stringing together two good shots and increasingly prone to adopting the slash and burn technique off the tee, with the inevitable results. Perhaps I am being a tad too harsh on myself in relation to Saturday, when I played with Jim on a mostly grey and damp morning, as I ended up with a respectable tally of points, but it was all a bit too mixed for my liking, and my effectiveness off the tee was going south once again, despite Dean’s best efforts.
Yesterday’s outing with the seniors was, however, straight out of the How Not To Play Golf book. There came a point when, having started on the 10th, I took three shots to advance 150 yards on the first, courtsey of a shank off the tee which found the rough alongside the adjoining ninth fairway, followed by two clumsy hacks out of the dense and very damp grass into which my ball insisted on deeply snuggling itself, a combination of events which had me close to slinking off the course and back to the clubhouse. However, I stuck to the task and at last, eight holes and I don’t like to think many strokes later, the gods of golf relented and allowed me to play the ninth, our final hole, in the style I would have liked to play the rest of the course, with confident precise iron play and a well judged long putt. ‘Twas ever thus.
Both Jim and Phil, my partners over those two rounds and much more consistent players than I can claim to be, have in common the characteristic of concentrating closely on all of their shots, in Phil’s case with a degree of intensity that is almost frightening to witness. So my intention tonight on the range was to test whether bringing a stronger and more detailed focus to my playing a shot would result in better execution. And do you know, I think it did. There is a degree of compromise involved, however, as there usually is, as I find that if I take too long about a shot, I risk becoming tense and too focused on mechanics at the expense of freedom in the swing. Somewhere lies the sweet spot that is the happy medium …..