Improving my swing: it’s been emotional

We’ve had our ups and downs, Anthony and I. We’ve spent the last 12 weeks trying to improve my swing, and it hasn’t been easy. There was the time when he forbid me to play in competitions to focus on practicing. The time when, following a change of swing, I spent two miserable hours hitting horrid shots on the practice ground. Then I started slicing every shot. And finally, he completely changed my grip and I got a blister on my pinky. Several times I’ve gone to the brink of golf despair and almost shut down this blog, hoping to pretend I never started this whole thing.

My improved swing leads to my first handicap cut

Rich (left) and Famous (right)

Weeks of torture finally pay off

Nevertheless, I persisted. I practiced (I did!) and I became comfortable with the new technique. I still have a disfigured pinky, but that’s ok. My swing has changed quite a lot. It looks better (which really is the main thing): the plane is wider, the club face is more open, the rhythm is smoother. As a result, all my shots are much more consistent: even my irons have started behaving. And on Wednesday, we had our first medal of the year and I shot a nett 67. That gives me a grand… 0.3 handicap reduction! It’s the tiniest of cuts, but it’s enough to bring my handicap down to 16 (16.2), so yay! Back to 16! And £50 for Anthony.

The way forward

Along with my swing, my putting has also improved. We haven’t worked on that part of the game yet, but I have been practicing it regularly and it seems to be paying off. I still can’t read greens, but I’m getting a smooth roll in the general direction of the hole. Looking at my stats, my main problem seems to be that I don’t get to the green in regulation often enough: 31% of the time. It looks like I need to improve my short game and particularly the approach shot, which should land near the pin, but rarely even finds the green. Now that I can hit the ball cleanly most of the time, I need to learn the art of precision. I have a feeling this could be an even harder task than improving my swing.