Tain Golf Club
Tain Golf

Gary V Tiger Post 4

Apr 21, 2017

Swing Changes

I’m sure along with the majority of you, we were delighted that Sergio got over the winning line in a Major. Although I thought it wasn’t going to happen after the 13th. Personally it was the best finish to a Masters for years. Not just because it was Garcia, not just because it was 2 Europeans fighting it out but because it wasn’t a walk away winner, it was a battle between 2 guys at the top of their game. At no time during that final round did we know who the winner was going to be. There wasn’t a score in the clubhouse that they had to chase. It was similar to the 2016 Open when Stenson won, but better, we knew Stenson had won it on the 17th. Here they had to go to sudden death.

Dustin Johnston pulled out of the Masters due to injury. He has now joined Tiger and myself on the rehab train. Maybe he’s also wanting to join our challenge? I don’t fancy doing a few ribs in to even up the playing field though. Rehab on the back is bad enough! So I’ll leave Dustin to recover in his own time without the added pressures of having me chase him down!!

The day after I wrote my last blog I had to see the surgeon for my 6 week post op review. I didn’t feel any dread or fear that he was going to tell me no golf or anything for another 12 weeks because I knew I had been recovering well and I was making progress. He confirmed what I thought, that I was recovering well and I could now start building things up. Continue with my stretches, increase my exercise and increase my golf activity.

So, next morning a visit to Stuart was in order with the usual complimentary pie! “OK pro what’s next?” “How are you getting on with your chipping and putting?” was not the response I was looking for! However I was actually getting on pretty well. Or at least I thought I was until we looked at Tigers stats from 2005. Tiger holed out from inside 10 feet 88.93% of the time. Out of 993 putts he made 887 of them. He averaged 28.7 putts per round. He did not miss a single putt under 3 feet and there was 539 of them! He played 189 holes without a 3 putt. Now I don’t know about you but if I play 18 holes without a 3 putt and have 30 putts in total I feel that I have putted well. Still some work to do on the putting then!

I did a bit of searching on the web for Tigers practice routine from the same time. He spent a minimum of 6 hours a day practicing, the majority of which were on his short game. At least an hour of which was on putting. That’s more time spent on putting each week than most of us spend playing golf.

So back to my original question “What’s next?” The natural progression is pitching. Stuart got me to set up targets on our range at 50, 60, 70 and 80 yards and pitch to each one using the different wedges I have in my bag. This will allow me to get a feel for each club over the range of yardages. Nothing was to be an effort, so a ¾ swing was as hard as I was going to hit the ball. I don’t think I have ever hit intentionally hit a pitching wedge 80 yards, normally my 54 deg wedge would be my weapon of choice.

Results weren’t too bad but I noticed I was pulling quite a few left of target. What I thought would then be a little tweak from Stuart has now turned into a complete swing change. I have always known my swing was a bit flat but WOW, not that bad! My main issue is taking the club inside too quick on the backswing and then coming across the ball during the strike. Stuart put an alignment stick in the ground behind me and told me I wasn’t allowed to touch the stick during my backswing, I had to keep the club in front of the stick. I found this extremely hard to do as it felt like the club head was in totally the wrong position. I came across the ball even more. A stick was then put in the ground in front of me. “Swing in front of them!” was the next instruction.

5 days, 6 hours and 1000 balls later I am finally starting to get to grips with keeping the club on the correct swing plane without the sticks! A lot more work to do though as I continue to build up to full shots. When I started this I expected a few small changes here and there but not the amount and number of changes I am having to make. This has become very hard work very quickly, no pain no gain. Tiger never got to where he got to in the game without hard work so I’ll just have to do the same to beat him!

The challenge is still on……might cost me a few more pies yet though!


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