Winged Foot – HSBC Premier Golf Outing

Wingedf Foot

Photo by: Joe Vericker, PhotoBeaureau Inc.

Yesterday was a pretty amazing day.  My good friend, Greg Tobler, who runs an Audio Video services company, specializing in corporate events, film and tv sound production, and professional sports broadcasts, invited me to help him out with a gig at Winged Foot Golf Club.  Truly hallowed ground in the golf world, and an absolutely amazing place to see the sunrise.

We were there to help HSBC Premier with their AV needs for their golf outing.  I think HSBC ran a great event.   Everybody at HSBC was so nice including Theresa Childs and all the  volunteers.  I met Paul Lawrence, President and CEO for HSBC Bank USA and he was charming and personable.  I learned a bit about the HSBC Premier product and I wish I would have known about it earlier because it’s great if you travel, live or are moving overseas.  It seemed like everybody at the outing had a great time.  Not only did they play in an incredible setting, but everybody played a shot or two with Retief Goosen.   Retief Goosen is European and PGA Tour player, winner of 2 US Opens and the 19th ranked player in the world.  I even got the chance to spend a couple of minutes with him.  I was a bit nervous approaching him, but he was really classy, down to earth, and easy to talk to.  I asked him a couple of questions and you could tell that he really thought about the answer he was about to give.

Being that this blog is about becoming a scratch golfer, I asked him for one piece of advice that he could give aspiring scratch golfers.  He said “If someone is a solid golfer then they should improve their short game.  Most amateurs that I play with would halve their handicap by improving their short game.”  I realize this is not earth shattering advice but it rings true.  My best rounds come when I’m chipping and putting well, and the closer you get your chips to the hole, the easier the putts are.  The better your short game, the better you can score at any level .

If you’ve been reading my blog then you know one of my nagging issues is not being able to get my actual swing to match my practice swing.  I asked him his thoughts about that.   He said that the only way to really address that is to go to the range with a teaching pro who could really see what is happening.  Although I wish I could have gotten “the answer” to this nagging problem, I appreciated his honesty.  It’s not something that’s easy to fix but I remain as determined as ever to fix it.  From the main dining room at Winged Foot I saw him tee off, and I was humbled by how easy he makes the game look.

After the awards ceremony he took the time to do a little QA session with the group.  When asked who the best young players in the game are he replied that “Anthony Kim and Rory McIlroy are the young players to watch.”  He thinks that Rory McIlroy is underacheiving currently but expects him to really break through in the next couple of years.  It was a special and memorable day for me, and I feel fortunate to have experienced this.

Photo by: Joe Vericker, PhotoBeaureau Inc.

The Practice Swing/Actual Swing Dillema

I have been talking about this issue now for a while.  I wanted to show exactly what is going on so that you see the extent of the problem.  I also want you to keep in mind that with the actual swing, I still manage to hit the ball reasonable long and straight.

I would love to hear opinions on what you think is causing this, and of course I am very open to suggestions on how to fix it.

Practice Swing

Actual Swing

The hardest thing to do in golf

The hardest thing for me to do in the entire game of golf is to have my actual swing look like my practice swing.  This is the one thing that I believe will completely transform the game for me when I achieve it.

I had an awesome practice session today.  Recorded a lot of 9-iron swings and driver swings.  The same thing that I’ve written about kept happening over and over.  I would have a beautiful practice swing, and I would follow it with an over the top swing.  There were several times when I could have sworn that my actual swing matched the practice swing, until I looked at the video.  On those shots were I thought I nailed it, I hit some really solid iron shots.  But when I checked the video, still an over the top swing.  Ugh!

When it came time to hit driver, I knew I was going to be over the top, the only question was how much over the top.  I still managed to hit some bombs.  Long, straight and with the right trajectory, from an “ugly” OTT move.

Tim said that it takes 10,000 swings to ingrain a golf move.  I’ve heard other theories.  60 reps a day for 21 days.  Don’t know which is true.  What I do know is that a practice swing is easy and a thing of beauty, and then you put a ball in front of me and I have this urge to HIT IT.

What shocks me is that even with an OTT move I hit the ball as solidly as I do.  I wonder if it is going to take me months or years to change this.  I know this is a key to great golf.