Golf slump…I’ve got it bad!!!

21 Dec

Golf Slump – I hate it when it happens!!!

After having a gluttonous golf time in South Africa I came back to London only to be faced with a massive golf slump! I paid the price, dearly, for my excessive golfing in South Africa with karma slapping me in the face in the form of being unable to hit a single f*&king fairway!!! (serves me right for telling anyone who would listen about how amazing the golf in Joburg and Durban was)

I’ve spent the last few weeks suffering on the golf course. Winter golf isn’t great but it’s even worse when you’re in a deep golf slump and can’t hit a fairway for neither love nor money. I wasn’t just missing fairways, I was missing them badly. My ball striking was sweet but I just couldn’t get away from either snap hooking the ball left or pushing it big time right. If I wasn’t out-of-bounds, I was scrambling to make bogey!!! I was hitting the type of drives that even the great Seve would struggle to make par from. The really annoying part is that in the last two rounds my irons seemed to have miraculously improved but it doesn’t really help when you’re hitting a peach of a 7 iron just to get back on to the fairway. My putting remained solid except when I was putting for birdie…all of a sudden, I’d do well to three putt from 20 feet – it was the kind of golf slump when everything (barring my driving) worked well but only one thing at a time. So I’d hit a terrible drive, a great recovery to get the ball back into play, stick the third onto the green and then two putt for bogey or hit a terrible drive, a Seve like iron onto the green and then 3 putt. I’d be on or near the green on Par 3s and a good chip would be let down by a 2 putt or just a really bad 3 putt would result in bogey – it got to a point where par would feel like an Eagle!!!

Something had to be done and that something had to be sorting out my driver. I knew I had a decent enough swing in me somewhere, I just had to figure out how to get back to it and get out of this golf slump that was slowly destroying my soul!!! If I could just start hitting fairways, my confidence would be boosted and I’d be on the road to recovery…I was sure of that. So I put a bit of thought into what I needed to do…I’ve always learnt by watching as opposed to reading (something that Jim McLellan strongly advocates – I read about him in John Richardson‘s book “Dream On“) so I started watching this Sergio Garcia swing…alot!!!

Keeping that Sergio swing in my head, I made sure I followed these 10 basic steps on every drive:

  1. Checking my grip – making sure the “V” between my fore finger and thumb is aligned to my right shoulder (Tip from the legendary – and best – golf instructional book – Hogan’s Five Lessons)
  2. Limiting myself to two practice swings – making sure both are “on plane” and sticking to a strict pre-shot routine – no messing about on the tee box
  3. Choosing a specific object to aim at and visualise hitting the ball at that object
  4. Ensuring my stance is correct and wide enough with the shaft hanging naturally from my body
  5. Starting my back swing slowly, keeping it on plane. Inside the right pocket for a draw, outside for a fade
  6. Keeping the left shoulder tucked in under my chin
  8. Accelerating through the down swing and maximising lag (this is where I would conjure up images of that Sergio swing)
  9. Smashing the ball and holding nothing back (when confidence is low, you tend to be more cautious…F&*K THAT – hit that little b*stard like it’s stolen new Pro Vs outta your bag!!!)
  10. Following through the swing to completion and making sure you’re keeping your head down and still

I played yesterday and made absolutely sure I stuck to those 10 steps on every drive and managed to shoot a nice little 9 over par 80 at my home club – from the back tees…with 3 double bogeys (two of which were the first two holes, played cold with very little warming up). I hit just over half the fairways and half the greens in regulation and the missed fairways weren’t badly missed either. Little lapses in concentration stole away what could have been an easy 4 or 5 over round.

I’m hoping this signifies the end of my golf slump and I can get back to playing golf and coming off the course a happy golfer as opposed to feeling like I’d be better off dismantling land mines in Liberia!!!