Coming Back to the Game

“Golf never forgets you and is always waiting for your return.” Tommy Barnes, quoted in The Range Bucket List, by James Dodson

I’ve walked away from golf several times. Once as part of adolescence rebellion. My parents played golf. I played tennis. And again as I raged against the constraints of middle age. It is difficult to tick off exactly what draws me back to the game, but it’s all there when I come back. And there have been times when the lay off just happens; the stuff of that is life outside the game crops up.

This summer I didn’t play in the Ladies Monday League as I’d hoped, or with the EWGA as I did last summer. In all, I played a total of 36 holes, hit half bucket of balls at the driving range and was soundly beaten on the miniature golf course. So now it’s September – a time of cooler weather, shorter days, and I’m…

Pressing the Reset Button

reset

How-To

Step One – Give Yourself a Break

Okay, so you didn’t play as much golf last month as you would have liked, but there was that parr on 15, and the ten foot downhill putt that went in the hole on 9 last week. And mini golf with the kids? Hey, that’s your contribution to growing the game.

Swing Time

Relax and take your favorite club (currently my 7 iron is my best friend) and a handful of practice balls and hit a few. No big deal, just hit ’em. Practice your routine – grip, aim, set up, swing, follow through. Hit through your clubs in sequence – drive, fairway wood, short iron, wedge. Repeat. Go to the driving range and hit a bucket of range balls. Yeah – see! You know how to do this – you do it all the time!

Watch and Learn

Relax, sit back, and follow the pros on Sunday. Did you see Stacy Lewis as she played the Portland Classic for Houston, her beleaguered hometown? How about Phil Mickelson playing in the pouring rain at TPC Boston? Talk about dedicated to the game…Later this season, Ai Miyazato will play her final round on the LPGA tour. Watching her walk towards the final hole of the Evian Master (Sept 14 to 17) – an event that she won twice – is a moment that I don’t want to miss.

Read and Remember

Relax, sit down with a good book – just look at the pictures in Annika Sorenstam’s Golf Annika’s Way and remember all the little things that go into a good golf shot.

Golf Annika

Thumb through Think Like a Caddie Play Like a Pro, and remember some of the details that improve the likelihood of the good golf shot happening – details like keeping your club faces and grips clean and dry, and making a yardage book for home course.

Golf think like

Bend and Stretch

Relax, there are apps for that. Tony Finau’s 2 Minute Hotel Stretch Routine is a brilliant pre-round quick fix for flexibility. For a deeper dive, the Down Dog app is like having an ever-ready yoga studio on your smart phone. It’s free, its’s fun and it’s real deal yoga that you can dial up or down, easy to hard.

Clear Your Head – Make Room for Your Swing Thought

Relax, there are apps for that too. Plug in and let go with the Simply Being app by Meditation Oasis.

Zen-Golf-square

Whistle a Happy Tune

Relax, celebrate September with Earth, Wind and Fire, just hit the ball!

September

 

Snow Falling on Golf Course/Virtual Golf

Which delays opening day – an email from the pro postponed the start of the season until the weather improves. Rats.

Meanwhile, earlier this week business took me to Pittsfield, MA, where I hacked my way through the first 12 holes on the Old Course at St Andrews at Downswing’s Indoor Golf Center. Ryan, the starter, walked me through how the sensors read the club speed and direction as it hit the ball, and then feed the results to the computer. Using the touch screen, I could aim my shot. Because the putting senors were on the fritz, any thing that landed on the green was a gimme.  In the virtual world, there is no causal water, or rakes on the edge of the bunker, or the need to take your stance standing sideways on a hillside. A fun way to pass an evening in late winter, while waiting for the weather to lift and Spring to get back on track.

snow

DIY Practice Range – Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread!

4/7/16 – All it takes is a little bit of real estate (a postage stamp sized urban backyard or sand lot will do), a net, practice mat and some golf balls and there you have it – your own personal practice range! The initial investment, just south of $160, is less than I spent at the public range in a year by about half, and the amenities include a hammock, cold drinks, music and snacks that come from a kitchen, not a vending machine.

The Rukket Haack Golf net that was the 2015’s World’s Best Birthday Present is the key to it all. 10 feet by 7 feet, it catches almost everything that I hit at it. (Word of caution: mishits happen. While I’ve had some close calls, I have yet to break a  window. And my good neighbor John has been very good humored when errant shots have ricocheted off the stone wall and hit his house – mercifully this happen less often these days!) The practice mat set me back about $20, and I squirreled away some balls from the public range before transitioning to my own personal golf practice facility. Fore!

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