Like most players, my game goes through cycles. I find some things that work and I use them until they quit working. I keep tinkering even when I’m playing well, and eventually the house of cards comes tumbling down and I have to start over. It’s like I’m Sisyphus hauling the rock up the hill, watching it roll back down, and then starting the long, hard trudge back up the hill. I don’t know what I did to offend Zeus, but it must have been bad.
My normal shot shape is a fade, but the tougher holes on my home course favor a draw. I learned to hit a baby draw with the help of a golf training aid, The Inside Approach. The idea is you learn to swing under the overhanging styrofoam baton, and you have to come from the inside to make the swing without hitting the thing. It worked pretty well for me.
Unfortunately, after a while the draw swing starts to feel like my old swing, so I exaggerate the moves. My draw turns into a hook and I get in more trouble than I did with my fade. I hear Lee Trevino in the back of my mind, telling me you can talk to a fade, but a draw won’t listen. So I square my stance back up and try to feel my old swing. I start to hit the fade I know so well, it starts to feel natural, I exaggerate it, I start to hit weak slices, and around I go again. Up and down the hill, over and over.
I hit the bottom of the hill again this last Friday’s skins game. I’d been losing power and hitting it farther right, and my scores were showing it. After three doubles on the first half of the back nine I was planning on skipping my regular Monday game, taking the week of Labor Day off from golf, doing other things, and trying anew later in September. They are punching the greens anyway after Labor Day, so it’s a good time to take a break.
So I started to fool around, tried to feel like I was swinging like Tom Lehman or Kenny Perry, tried to feel that in to out move they have at the bottom. As you’d guess, I started to hit solid draws, went two under over the last four holes, and won two skins.
I’m playing tomorrow.
(Sisyphus image from Wikimedia Commons. Art in public domain.)