In short, that was a big mistake. When you get something going bad and think you can fix it yourself... you just seem to head deeper into trouble. I shot 77 in Event #3 at Glendale in Hamilton, not far from King's Forest, and if not for some wonderful sand saves on the back nine, a score with an 8 in front of it was in the bag again. However, I finished T8 and took home $103.75 for my efforts. But, after the round I think I felt as low as I ever have as a competitive player. This feeling and a notion that something was wrong with my irons, lead me to ask the Assistant Professional at Glendale Jeff Lunn if he had any sets of irons hanging around that I could take for the next few weeks. He said he did. His old set of Cobra Pro MB's are now in my bag. He also made a comment that my swing was as normal looking as ever, but the ball was flying inconsistently off my irons.
A Swing Tweak
So for the last three months, I've been trying to fix a problem that was equipment related and has lead to compounding problems. Since the Cobra irons have been in my bag, the consistency level is back up. However, I wasn't convinced my swing was right. I called Steve Chapman, my only and trusted swing coach.
Steve is the only guy I will call when I need help with my golf game. He's the only one I trust to give me the proper information. I've worked with him on and off since the 2006 season, and haven't had a session with him since my first child was born two years ago. Within minutes he noticed a very small problem that was causing my ball to start hooking severely left. Through impact my left wrist was cupping (which was my attempt to release the club) and causing my club face to travel closed relative to my through plane. He quickly showed me where I needed to be. Halfway to my finish the butt end of the club needed to be pointing behind my body... not at my body. I've inserted a quick snap shot of Jonathon Byrd on the range at the U.S. Open to give you a look at what I'm working towards.
An Early Round
I didn't play this round at King's Forest as a normal practice round. I played it as if it were the real tournament. Right now the one thing I need is actual games of golf to give me real time situations and not a driving range or just dropping balls from different places. If there's one advantage I have over a number of the players in the field next Monday, it's that I have lots of experience playing competitively at King's Forest. One of the keys to knowing a course, is knowing where you can miss it. This was the first time I played "The Forest" since 2008. Though I know the course well, it was great to get out and see the course from the black tees. King's Forest may be one of the best golf course layouts in Southern Ontario. Measuring 7150 yards from the black tees, it has everything you want in a golf course. It has a number of score-able holes and has two stretches of holes that can make or break your round... holes 1-3 and 10-13. For the most part King's Forest can be summed up as a ball strikers golf course. If you drive it well and hit lots of greens in regulation, you will ultimately score well. It's not necessarily a bombers paradise. The player that wins next Monday will be the player that's statistically the best. Meaning, the player who hits the most fairways, greens, and has the putter working will be punching his ticket to Hamilton Golf & Country Club. You will not see the winning player only hit 5 fairways and 9 greens in regulation. King's Forest is very penal if you hit it just 5 yards off the fairway or have the wrong angle into the green settings. The overhanging trees and maturity of the golf course call for extreme accuracy off the tee and the giant greens call for exquisite distance control.
During my round I hit three tee shots off line and was basically the reason I shot 2 over par. I had no clear shots from any of my drives that missed the fairway by over 5 yards. I also didn't putt as well as I did in the previous two rounds, but rolled the ball extremely well. I made 3 birdies and 5 bogies. However, in the end I was happy with the way I played and got a great feeling that I could definitely do well there. My two biggest strengths are driving with accuracy and short game. I know that once this little swing tweak becomes natural I will be just fine come next Monday.
The agenda for me over the next 7 days leading up to the Qualifier will be one with a good stretch of tournament golf. I have two Pro/Am's to play in. Beverly Golf & Country Club is holding their annual pro/am tomorrow and is one that I look forward to every year. Credit Valley G&CC is hosting their annual Ladies Pro/Am on Tuesday and is a new event for me to play in. Then on Wednesday I'm back at Hidden Lake for my weekly Men's Night round. You may laugh.. but to the member's at the club Men's Night is a big thing and it's a great way to give yourself some more competitive time on the golf course. These venues will give me a great test with two golf course layouts seeing a huge premium on accuracy and short game. I will then try and find ample time to put in some time working on my wedge game and short game leading into the weekend. Sunday I will try and venture down to King's Forest and play nine holes, just so I can get a look at the conditions that will present itself for Monday. I will also put a premium on making sure proper fuel is going in my body and that my body is well taken care of over the next week.
I will be ready and I will submit two more entries in this blog series. One after next Sunday at King's Forest and one after my round on Monday. Depending on the results from next Monday... I hope to either continue this series leading into Heron Point, the site of the Monday Qualifier or ultimately at Hamilton Golf & Country Club host of our National Championship.