Wednesday, 19 April 2017

I'm Going to Use My Swing

Most amateurs wish they could play with their practice swing. We tend to think that our practice swing is superior to the disjointed lurch that often appears when we are faced with actually hitting the ball. Bobby Jones said that our practice swing may not, in fact, be as good as we might think it is--but at least it tends to be smoother and more rhythmic--and more natural.

If you are a compulsive tinkerer, like me, you might wonder just what is "your swing." If so, I have discovered that my natural swing is the swing I make when I close my eyes and swing. When you close your eyes and swing, you can really feel your swing, and you find your natural rhythm. Your natural swing is also, according to Bobby Jones, the swing you would use when just swinging at a piece of clover, or a broken tee on the ground. You just swing at it without being worried about the result. 

My first round in Canada this year was at Timber Ridge, near Brighton. I started the day trying to swing it like Jack; and I was actually hitting some pretty good shots. In fact, I went out in 39, which was pretty fair considering the fact that I had three-putted at least three holes, including the first hole where I had a reasonable look at birdie and then promptly three-whacked it. Funny how we like to see three-putting as some sort of aberration. The old, "I would have played better if I hadn't putted badly" excuse; as though somehow bad putting doesn't, or shouldn't, count when assessing your ability. 

Anyway, I was playing with Steve and we joined up with John and Bruce. Bruce played from the tips. The rest of us decided--quite sensibly in my opinion--to play from the whites. Bruce turned out to be a pretty good player, who could really move it out there. He very quickly established the fact that he could easily play from the tips. After a few holes, he also informed me that I had no business playing from the whites "with that swing." 

After nine holes swinging using my best imitation of Jack, I failed to clear the hazard with my drive on number ten and hacked my way to a double bogey six. It's funny how a bad hole can make your back ache more. So, I decided there and then to revert to using "my swing." I informed Steve, who responded, "Already? It's not the seventeenth yet." Steve can't understand why I seem to start every round using some new swing I've cooked up while laying in my bed the night before. He doesn't have tinkeritis, so he doesn't know how this particular mental illness can affect you.

On number twelve I also decided to play from the tips with Bruce. And, using "my swing" I hit the prettiest 22 degree Cleveland wood you ever saw. Okay, it might not have been the prettiest shot you've ever seen, but it was pretty damned good. 

I finished the round from the back tees and acquitted myself quite nicely, thank you very much. Once again, I learned my lesson about trying to hit it like Jack, or Freddie, or Henrik, instead of just stepping up and hitting the damned ball with my own swing. It's a lesson I can seem to never really learn. But I went out the following day and, guess what? I tried to hit my first tee shot like Henrik! It turned into a snap hook and I quickly reverted to my swing and stayed with it for the rest of the round. And I even managed to go another round yesterday without trying anything new. I'd like to say I played perfectly, but as a certain psychologist once wrote, "Golf is not a game of perfect."

Our course finally opens on Friday and I'll be playing with Carl the Grumbler. And, come hell or high water, I'm going to use my swing. If I do; and I play hard and well; I just might take Carl's money.

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