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Jezz Ellwood

Handicap: 5

Home Club: Holtye

Mizuno #YourGame2016 goal: To get down to 4 for the first time

Back in April, GM’s Jezz Ellwood took up the staff spot in our Mizuno #YourGame2016 project as he sought to get down to 4 for the first time after spending a decade stuck on 5 and occasionally 6! Kitted out with a full set of new Mizuno clubs as a result of the initial fitting session at Celtic Manor’s Mizuno Performance Centre, Jezz had struggled to make any inroads towards 4 by the time of the next element of our Mizuno #YourGame2016 project – a coaching session with the LET’s Amy Boulden followed by a round of golf on the famous King’s Course at Gleneagles.

Catch up with Jezz’s earlier progress updates and his original Mizuno fitting here, before finding out how he got on with Amy, and how his game has been since then…

Monday 26th September 2016: progress update…

Sadly, for me, the Mizuno #YourGame2016 dream is over!

Even before my most recent competitive outing, I knew the writing was on the wall as it suddenly dawned on me that the competition at my club on September 17 (I couldn’t make the Guildford Open in the end) was my last-chance saloon in terms of individual competitions within the allotted time frame.

With my handicap at 5.6 following a disaster round a couple of weeks earlier (too dreadful to warrant a mention), this would have required me to shoot somewhere in the mid-50s to get down to 4, so the best I could have perhaps have hoped for was getting back down to 5 where I started the season.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be with my second mystery lost ball in two round proving too big an obstacle to overcome on a day when the toughest holes also played into the wind. I had a spell mid-round where I held it together long enough for a realistic chance to make buffer, before taking on a ‘do or die’ chip between trees in an attempt to force things, which ended with me somewhere even deeper in the woods.

Excuses? None really, just a growing realisation that 5 is perhaps the best I can hope for given the frailties and technical weaknesses of my swing.

Reasons? Well, it certainly hasn’t been my iron-play, which has been better than for several years with my new MP-25 irons, which I love. A busy work diary has afforded me no time to practise and I’ve certainly struggled to find time for any kind of pre-round preparation for most of the year. But I think the main reason is that I’m simply not good enough.

Somewhat frustratingly, I’ve just been on a four-round golfing trip to Bedfordshire with my GM colleague, Rob Smith, and played to handicap four rounds running on courses I’d never seen before, so it’s in there somewhere, but perhaps just not with a competition card in hand and a very specific handicap target in mind.

There’s always next year, I guess!

Monday 29th August 2016: progress update…

A busy work diary and a family holiday to Cornwall have meant little action, either competitively or socially, on the golfing front since Captain’s Day at the end of July, I’m afraid.

That holiday was in Bude right next to the links course there, and although I walked across it several times on the way into town, golf was off the agenda that week… other than on the Wednesday when I headed up to Celtic Manor to play in a Mizuno Golf Pairs Tour event on the Twenty Ten course with my fellow Mizuno #YourGame2016 campaigners, Peter Jones, Liam Frean and Dan Barlow.

I partnered Peter in the fourball betterball format, and generously allowed him to carry me most of the way round, with my mind perhaps a little too much in holiday mode still (that’s my excuse anyway). He played very well though, so I have high hopes that Peter might achieve his goal of single figures by the time of the British Masters at The Grove in October.

As for me, 5.5 to 4.4 between now and then to achieve my goal of 4 for the first time ever looks a tall order, but I do have a competition this Saturday, so another chance to at least get back down to 5 as a starting point!

Beyond that, I’m not sure what my competition calendar holds between now and mid-October, but I have found a 36-hole Men’s Open at Guildford Golf Club that I may enter in a couple of weeks time. It clashes with another comp at my home club, but would give two rounds rather than one.

I think I’m going to go for it, so will let you now how it went next time round

Monday 1st August 2016: progress update…

Firstly, I’m afraid I have a confession to make… after playing my worst competition round for ages a couple of weeks ago, I have now gone up to 6 for the first time in about seven years!

This is, of course, disappointing but not really all doom and gloom as the element of the game that has been holding me back – my iron play – has suddenly come good, and it’s only glitches elsewhere, particularly in my putting, that have prevented me recouping those losses straightaway.

I have to confess, Amy was a little bewildered by the flat-footedness of my swing, and suggested a number of things to try, one of which somehow never made it into the accompanying video. That was to grip down the shaft maybe half to three-quarters of an inch to regain a little control.

Amy tries to find a way to improve Jezz's ball-striking

Amy tries to find a way to improve Jezz’s ball-striking

Since my disaster round, this has been working a treat, and my iron play has been spectacular by my own modest standards in my last two rounds, especially in a big Golf Monthly outing at Knole Park where I all but hit every one of six par 3s ranging from 170 to 200 yards – unheard of for me. Apart from the 1st – uphill 190+ yard par 3s are never easy straight off the bat! – I wasn’t outside 20-25ft on holes demanding good mid to long irons, and my 3-iron on the 1st was only 6in off the green!

I then continued that form on Captain’s Day last weekend, but a couple of blips, combined with an uncharacteristically cold putter, killed me (OOB left on one hole, and a three-putt from 25ft when I’d got it all back under control).

Amy tried hard to rid Jezz of the curse of the flat right foot at impact

Amy tried hard to rid Jezz of the curse of the flat right foot at impact

But 35pts was encouraging given that I holed nothing. I then went straight out on to the putting green for the pro’s putting challenge, and promptly holed 5 of the 9 putts from 10-30ft. Typical! What I wouldn’t have given to have holed all those out on the course.

So I’m not demoralised – if I could just have that one good round where it all comes together, there is still a chance, but part of my mind is saying the reason you’re a 5/6 handicapper is because you just aren’t able to eliminate those one or two costly blips a round.

My mind may be right, but I’m not giving up yet. Onwards and upwards…!