Week one is in the books.
Although I’ll admit it wasn’t the start I was hoping for, I have already learned some important lessons.
First of all, I need to prioritize putting right away. This weekend was a glaring indicator that there is something fundamentally wrong with this part of my game. Unfortunately within my week of training, I felt overwhelmed by the time needed to complete the putting assessment. Instead of properly chunking it up over a few sessions, I disregarded it entirely.
The result was 69 putts over two rounds and a hefty ballooning of my SG Putting stat:
The additional two strokes per round stole a lot of my confidence in what could have been a better than average weekend. As you can see, my Short Game and Approach helped considerably. Driving once again cost me as I found several penalties off the tee box. Without losing the forest for the trees though, most of my efforts this week were beneficial.
Taking a quick, deep look into my putting, here is a breakdown of my putting performance this year according to Golf Stat Lab:
Distances from three to nine feet are costing me dearly. This aligns pretty well with Mark Broadie’s analysis on the difference between good and average putters, or in my case average and really bad putters. My performance last weekend was statistically worse than that of a 25 handicapper. Although I’ve become accustomed to my deficiency, any hope of reaching scratch in less than three months means reversing this as soon as possible. Assessment first and foremost.
After finding my tempo on the range with the driver, I expected a better performance off the tee. That bubble burst quickly. I’m starting to gather that I try to steer my drives on the course instead of naturally releasing like I do on the range. The tension and fear of trouble seem to direct me into it. The more I try to stay away, the more inclined I am to end up in a mess. Golf is a game of opposites, after all.
This week I will try to experiment with narrowing my targets on the range to simulate the difficulty I face on the course. Making this area of practice more difficult than the actual game will prove to be challenging. Four strokes a round, though, will make the effort well worth it.
Overspeed training has been interesting. My initial speed test suggested I’m down to 102 mph clubhead speed. In fact I’ve found I consistently swing faster left-handed (non-dominant). There are a few possibilities: my radar detector is giving me false data, the left-handed swing is unencumbered by slow, ingrained movements, or I have a long way to go in developing scratch-adjacent speed.
There is reason to believe that I may be getting false data. My last swing of the evening on Saturday registered at 96 mph. Incredibly disappointed in how much speed I’ve lost over the last year, I went inside to put the radar detector away and noticed it updated to read 109 mph. 109 mph seems to agree more with my average driving distance and the handful of 300+ yard drives over the last month.
Regardless, I’m still pushing forward with my training. It doesn’t matter what the speed reads, as long as the number keeps going up.
The diet has been steady, and I haven’t missed a workout yet. I will note that my plan to do cardio every other day has been limited due to excess strain from my range sessions. Next week I’m going to try to get to the range before I have to log into work. Hopefully that not only gives me a lower strain score (since it won’t be as hot) but reinforces my swing in the morning, when we typically play a round on the weekend.
Stretching has still been tight. After several days of high strain scores on my Whoop, my muscles really want a rest. I’m recovering adequately, but I need to loosen up better. I’m looking into more structured, dynamic warm-ups.
Meditation has been going well. I only missed one day last week. Anger and frustration definitely made an appearance this weekend. When you put forth a large effort, often we expect a large return. That gap between expectation and reality is always a big drop. Did I let it get the best of me? Absolutely. A quad-bogey after an even front nine set me back for 7 holes. My hope is that meditation helps keep these dips in perspective so I can keep moving forward.
A brilliant playing partner of mine reminded me that the process isn’t broken, it just hasn’t kicked in yet. I’ll be hanging onto that thought for the week as we find out what week two has in store.