Today is the first official day I've started preparations to attempt to qualify for the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot. Its been a long time since my professional playing days, and the level of play has only gotten better since those days. In order to give myself the best chance to make it to Winged Foot, I've got to look at every aspect of my game and come up with a game plan to get them all to a level that will allow me to compete.
The game has been come very power centric to say the least. I clearly will need to work on speed and pick up some of the distance I have lost over the last 5-10 years. I started my training with Super Speed Golf last week in order to find the lost MPH with the driver. My average driver club head speed was 106, which means if I have any hope to compete I need to pickup 7-10 mph at the minimum (PGA TOUR average is 114 mph). I will update my progress each week as I complete the speed training.
While power is incredibly important, I also realize I will never have the power of a Brooks, DJ or Rory, so trying to play golf like they do is foolish. My game was always more of an all around game focused mostly on consistent and precise ball striking. Being able to hit fairways and greens was always my strength, and that will be the main basis of this attempt. I've captured some data today with my K-Vest to see the areas that need to be improved to get my consistency back. I've got a lot of work to do on my rotation and transition sequence.
Lastly I know that because I will lack the power of a lot the younger players I am going to play against, I will need to make up for that through short game and putting. I have fortunately fixed my putting issues that honestly kept me from making a real run at the PGA Tour. Many of you know that a few months back I became an AimPoint instructor. During my training with AimPoint founder Mark Sweeny, he was able to notice how I visualize breaking putts and gave me a new piece of the AimPoint technique that has taken me from an extremely poor putter, to having the confidence to make any putt I face in a round of golf. With the putter under control (but will need continued refining), I will focus heavily on my wedge game. I will need to be able to dial in wedge distances within a couple of yards routinely. Par 5s are always a key to scoring and in order for me to take advantage I will need to be able to stuff wedges close to the hole to give myself high percentage putts.
With all that said I am making an effort to work on 1 or 2 of the above mentioned areas every day. Today I focused heavily on my putting and wedges. I made over 100 putts today from distances of 4-10 feet with breaks between 0-4% slope. I focused on going through the full AimPoint routine on each putt and hitting every putt with good speed (running putts at least 12" past the hole). I also worked diligently on my distance wedge game, focusing on 80-100 yards. I hit shots with multiple wedges working on trajectory and distance control in the air.
I hope anyone that reads this and is currently in the endless pursuit of perfection in this crazy game can see just how very difficult this game is to play at a high level. The amount of work and level of precision needed to play this game is enormous. Progress should be expected but will not come quickly or easily. I, like my students, need to recognize progress will come in slow steady steps and given time the game will come together to allow me to shoot the numbers needed to compete. I cannot/should not expect to play at a high level in the first 4-6 months of this journey, but I should expect to see progress each time I head out to the course to play.
Stay tuned for more updates and until next time KEEP IT IN THE SHORT GRASS!