I played twice last week despite having an injured wrist (I know not the best idea, but I never claimed to be smart). On Wednesday I played in the Christmas charity tournament at South Hampton in support for Toys for Tots. I was going to play in that event even if I had to swing one handed. I then played again on Sunday to help one of my students work on some on course issues with his game. The two rounds could not have been any more different and yet the scores I shot (or projected since Wednesday was a scramble) were nearly identicle. What a dumb game this can be!
In the charity tournament I felt like I had zero control over my swing and golf ball. I couldn't get any shots in the center of the club, I had no control over trajectory or curve. It was a complete disaster from tee to green. I had to resort to "bunting" the ball around the course, doing whatever I could to try to keep the ball in play and get it on the green. The good news is I was able to grind it out and help the team on a few shots including hitting the drive and 5 iron to about 12 feet on the 9th hole at South Hampton for a eagle putt. I did putt pretty well, making a couple of nice putts including a natural birdie on 11. I'm sure the fact that my wrist was painful and I haven't been able to practice lately had a lot to do with the poor play, but it was one of the worst ball striking days I've had in at least 5 years. Obviously with it being a scramble I didn't get to play everyone of my shot, so I had to project out how the round likely would have played out. I hit 9/14 fairways, 13/18 greens and would've have shot something between 72-74.
My round on Sunday at the same course and further back tees could not have been any different from a feel perspective. From the first tee shot through the last swing on 18 I felt like I could hit any shot required. I was moving the ball both ways with every club in the bag, I was controlling trajectory with every club and all but one shot I hit flush. The one area I struggled with was proximity to the hole. All day long I was either short or long of the pin by 20-30 feet. I hit 13/14 fairways, 14/18 greens in regulation but only got 4 of those inside 20 feet and nothing inside 10 feet. To top it off I couldn't get any putts to drop all day. I hit a lot of really good putts, but all seemed to just burn the edge or come up just short in the heart. 8 times I hit a wedge in for an approach shot (not including two additional times hitting green side bunker shots for my 3rd on par 5's) and I didn't make a single birdie. An average day with wedges and putting shoud've netted me 3-4 under par.
I wanted to share all of this because I hear a lot from my students about wanting consistency. The nature of this game does not lend itself to consistency. At best the game is about controlled chaos. You will rarely have the same exact shot twice in a round, so if you won't have consistent shots required how can you in turn be consistent with your play? The best players are only consistent in their ability to adapt on the spot to the situation and execute. I struggled to even hit the ball on Wednesday and turned around 4 days later to hit the ball extremely well, and in the end I shot the same scores! I did a better job adapting to what I could do with my game on Wednesday to shot a number than I did on a day that I hit it great. We as golfers need to be able to pull confidence from the good and bad days, because if you don't this game will beat you into submition.
I'm going to take a few days off from hitting to let my wrist heal and then get back after it. So until then, KEEP IT IN THE SHORT GRASS!