Full Release

With the over-the-top issue a thing of the past it is time to improve other parts of my swing.

Today I tried something while practicing that led to an eye opening experience.  I decided to try to create a fuller release.

I recorded  two swings with the first one being my normal swing and second being a full release swing.  The full release swing looked much better.  It encouraged me to get wider in back and in trying to create a fuller release it ended up creating effortless power.  It didn’t take any more effort to create a fuller release, but when I played back the videos I was startled by how much more club head speed the full release swing seemed to be generating.  I didn’t have a launch monitor handy so I took an old fashioned approach and counted up the frames for the downswing.

The regular down swing took 7 frames.  The full release took 5.  And yet I wasn’t trying to swing faster.  All I was focusing on was making a full release and the speed generated was effortless.  I need to see what this does on the range but I was definitely surprised.

Handicap Drop – Now 8.6

Once again my handicap index has dropped.  I think all of the things I’ve been working on are having a major impact on my game and how I play it.

This is the lowest my handicap has ever been and I’m pretty excited about that.  I am also very excited because I know I still have much I can improve on.  I think to move to scratch I will really need to improve my short game.  I think the strategy for this will be as follows:

  1. Putting.  Must become a better putter.  You can always save strokes putting well.  Putting practice will continue while I work on the other short game areas.
  2. Bunker game.  I am finding myself in more fairway bunkers and bunkers by the green.  When I miss from long range I don’t miss by as much, but the misses are just enough that they put me in the bunker. I will need to improve my sand save percentage as well as my ball striking from fairway bunkers.
  3. Pitching and chipping from 60, 30 and 15 yards.  Getting up and down from these ranges is essential.

So far this has been an exciting journey.  Things have not totally gone according to plan, but what actually does?  I’m playing with more freedom and confidence and it is just such a joy to be on the golf course because I’m always learning something.

Use a “Personal Par” to play better golf

Personal Par

I don’t worry about the par on the scorecard anymore.  The truth is that it’s not really relevant.  When I got back into golf 3 years ago, I was about a 26 handicap.  Back then it was really not relevant.

As I get closer and closer to becoming a scratch golfer it will become more relevant but for now not worrying about it has been tremendously helpful in lowering my handicap from 26 to my current index of 9.3.

What I do care about is my personal par.  The course I play has rating of 71.7 and a slope of 129.  In my book that makes it a nice test.  It’s not the most challenging course I play, but it’s not the easiest either.  My course handicap based on the above numbers is 11.  Therefore my personal par is 83.  However my goal is to shoot my index or 2 strokes less.  Meaning I’m satisfied with an 81 (-2) , but I want a 79 (-4).

Why I use a personal par?

Personal par allows me to gradually move to the actual par on the card as my skill improves.  Without it, it’s very frustrating to look at your scorecard and think, “what an awful day, I shot 11 over par.  I’m a terrible golfer.”  With a personal par that conversation changes to, “Ok, not bad.  I shot par.  Next time I’m going one under!”  However it gets really exciting when I shoot an 81.  “Sweet, I shot 2 under.  Awesome.  Let’s get that down to 3 or 4 under.  Yeah!”  As my index drops, so does my personal par.  An it’s even more exciting when I shoot a 77.  “Holy cow!  I shot 6-under.  Awesome!!!!”  Therefore as long as I keep improving, I’m always facing a new challenege.  Something interesting also happens when your index drops.  You find that a hole that you used to get a shot on, you no longer get that shot.  It makes you play that hole a little bit differently, but it doesn’t change every hole right away.  Therefore it’s a new challenge, and that’s pretty exciting.

Why it Works

It takes the pressure off.  Starting out you’re not likely to hit a lot of greens in regulation.  That is very frustrating.  With your personal par some par 4s become par 5s and usually some longer par 3s become par 4s.  Taking the pressure of reaching those in 2 or 1, actually makes it more likely that you will reach them in regulation.  You won’t over swing as much, you’ll make better contact, and you will hit more greens both in standard regulation and of course in your regulation.

Another reason it works is that unless you’re a scratch golfer or close to it, you’re game is so different that it’s not even fair trying to compare them.  Measuring your results against a score card designed for a scratch golfer is downright frustrating when you’re not a scratch golfer.  But some of you are thinking, “Won’t this lead to complacency and mediocrity?”  No.  It won’t.  It won’t because it becomes addictive to score par, even if its your par.  You’ll want to do it again and again.  And that encourages you to practice.  To take lessons, or to just get better.  As you see your personal par go down, that also motivates you to do better.

How to Do It

“So how do I go about using this wonderful personal par?”

  1. Get a handicap.  You’ll need your index to calculate it.
  2. Figure out your course handicap based on your index and slope rating for the tees that you play.  Use this calculator.
  3. Add your course handicap to the par on the scorecard.
  4. Add strokes to each hole based on the handicap rating for each hole.  If your course handicap is 18 each hole will get a stroke.  If it’s 11, only the 11 hardest holes will get a stroke.
  5. Enjoy the round.

If you have a sky caddie, they have upgraded their software to caluculate “My Par”.  It rocks.