Last night was the final day for the 9@5 group on Wednesday nights for the year. They allowed us to play as many holes as we could get in and since there was no real game going on I took advantage and played from all the way back. I wasn't really worried about my score, as we were going at warp speed trying to get as many holes in as possible, but I did want to work on some shots and see how the new clubs work when having to play longer shots into holes.
Overall my goal of working on shots and seeing how the clubs work, was a big success. I hit a lot of quality shots and found some areas that I need to focus on as well. I couldn't be happier with my long iron play (which I don't think I have ever said that in my life). My 3 iron is quickly becoming my favorite club in the bag. Two of the best shots of the day came with the 3 iron, none better than the one I hit on the par 3 7th. The pin was back left and play 213 into a good 10-12 mph wind, so I had it playing 220ish. I hit a perfect flighted draw 3 iron to middle left of the green just into the back fringe. It left me with about a 20 foot birdie putt. It was not a easy shot to get it anywhere near that pin, let alone having to do it with a 3 iron from that distance. I also hit a great 5 iron on the 8th hole from 185 into the wind from the right. It was a high cut to hold it against the wind because I didn't want to balloon a 6 iron (my normal 185 club). It fell right over top of the flag about 20 feet long, I could believe I hit it that far into the wind with a cut.
Now for the areas that need focus. I need to figure out how to hit a lower trajectory driver to tee shots into the wind, without pull drawing them. All three times I tired to hit the shot I pulled them significantly to the left with draw spin. Left going left is a bad shot, and honestly gives me the nightmares so that needs to be fixed asap. I was also very disappointed in my wedge/short iron game. Surprisingly I still a number of scoring clubs in my hand (7 iron down) and I didn't give myself very many good looks at birdie. Now I'm sure the wind played a part in that, but the wedges in particular were not very good. I had wedges in on 4 (hit to 20'), 5 (20'), 6 (6' made the putt), 9 (30'), 13 (8' missed the putt), 16 (15' made the putt), 17 (12' from 35 yards, missed the putt) and 18 (25'). So I had 8 wedges into greens in the 15 holes I played and was only able to make 2 birdies. That needs to change quickly if I'm going to have any chance to compete at a high level. 12 of the 15 holes I also was hitting 7 iron or less into the greens and only made 2 birdies. I know I wasn't fully focused on the putting portion yesterday, I never went through my Aim Point reads, but I also know that I didn't give myself very many looks inside 15 feet.
I would say that it was a great night on the course, as I was able to gain confidence in my over all ball striking ability and shot making, but also walked away with areas that I know I need to improve on. I need to get on a course more to work the short irons in real game like conditions. I know I can knock down flag sticks in the store, with a perfect lie and no wind, but that is not where qualifying is going to be played. Working mechanics in the store or on the range is great, but eventually it needs to be honed on the course where it counts.
Now that the off season is here, I'm going to hit the gym and speed training hard. I've seen the physical improvements in the last 2 months when only working on it occasionally, so I should see great improvement going full force into. Just cause the playing season is slowing down, doesn't mean we have to stop improving. I've got the perfect place to practice everyday in the store. No worries about daylight, rain or if its too hot/cold. I can just put my head down and go to work (I'm talking to everyone right now as well, come take advantage this winter and work on the game in the store). So until next time, KEEP IT IN THE SHORT GRASS!