It’s been a summer of ups and downs on the course, but overall I feel I’m definitely moving in the right direction

This chapter was meant to centre around my triumphant round against some old mates where my progress became public knowledge. Unfortunately, life, and especially golf, never seems to work out that perfectly. I managed to pick that round to regress several steps and show too many glimpses of my former self.

That jubilant day will have to wait but the good news is that that poor performance has been the exception rather than the rule of late and the lessons have really started to click.

I headed into this project with realistic ambitions but there was still a small part of me hoping that with the right tuition and equipment I’d shed a dozen shots without too much bother.

It soon became apparent that golf is a little harder than that and a realistic aim would be to find greater consistency and therefore score better and enjoy the game more.

This has started to happen in the second half of the project having had a few months to practise the things I’ve been taught. My coach, George, has taken me out on the course a bit more and this has been a really enjoyable part of the sessions. Apart from the fact that North Hants is a beautiful place to play, it has allowed George to see my game where it really matters. Having him there to offer advice on club selection and course management as well as keeping an eye on how my swing bears up under pressure has been really revealing.

What has surprised me is just how much you have to constantly work at the game. I initially thought that once I’d concentrated on a certain element, that would be set in stone and I could move on to the next level quite quickly. In reality, I still have to think about some of the fundamentals I first learnt before every shot. When things start to go wrong I have to go back to the same basics to get things back on track.

So, has this actually led to better scores on the course? Well, I’ve made a real effort to get out playing more and, despite not being an entirely smooth road, things are definitely improving.

My outings with the Golf Monthly team in the past have been mixed affairs. I’ve played some good golf mixed in with some embarrassing stuff, most notably when an errant tee shot nearly killed the editor.

This summer, however, I’ve put in some improved performances, the highlight being winning the Stableford on our trip to Old Head in Ireland, although this was helped by half the field not completing 18 holes due to the horrific weather!

Old Head

Battling the extreme conditions at Old Head

What this has shown me is that feeling relaxed on the course makes a huge difference. When I first joined the team I was nervous and not sure of what shot I’d produce next. Now I feel a lot more confident and I can dismiss the bad shots more easily, knowing a good one won’t be too far away. This mindset is another reason why things have continued to improve.

My latest venture on to the course came at a fundraising golf day for my son’s school. This meant a very broad range of golfers took to the tee which gave me a good chance to gauge where I stood.

On the day my driving and putting seemed to desert me but this was countered by my iron play which was really good. We can all have days where it doesn’t quite work in one or more parts of the game but to rescue this and score okay – playing off 18 I managed 30 points – is something my former self would definitely have had trouble with.

Looking at how some others struggled on a very wet day was further confirmation of the strides I have made.

I may sound like a football manager who insists his misfiring team are on the verge of something special but it definitely feels like it will all come together very soon and a really good round is about to happen. If I was playing every week this may be easier to achieve but by the end of the year I’m confident that all parts of my game will fire at the same time!

Only time will tell…

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