I will explain later…trust me, there is a link.
Six months or so later, I thought I would consider my progress since discovering the amazing Trackman technology that analyses one’s golf game with the precision of an atomic scientist splitting the atom. It’s amazing to someone like me who is old school, when a scratch golfer could virtually walk on water: and my club had four of them. All Irish international players and one a Walker Cup player: the pinnacle of Amateur golf in the UK who became Ireland’s first plus one player. So my 3 handicap was a reasonable achievement in the time (all self-taught from a couple of library books and Golf Monthly magazine). No internet, no You Tube and carbon fibre shafts whippier than a fly-fishing rod. Still better than the aluminium ones, ha, ha!!
Today everyone around me seems to play off plus 2 or better. There is a plus 5 at a neighbouring club. This is what the technology has done. Trackman, using the term generically to include all similar devices under the Trackman moniker, has given the new golf athlete (the very term is a distinction from my day) the ability to perform at professional levels week in and week out. The gear is fabulous these days and lessons are so accessible: whether from your local pro or via the web.
Which brings me to my progress. I got my first handicap at 14.8 which was fair for how I was playing. I have had the chance to only play about 6 competitive rounds since then and have picked up some nearest the pins and a second and third with around 36 points. My best round when I reflect back on it was, in the “old money,” one over fours for 13 holes and 2 over sevens for the other 5 holes. That equates to very frustrating and no way to get your handicap down.
I haven’t much time to play competitive rounds but can squeeze in an hour’s practice 5 times a week. I can sense the touch around the greens is getting much better, so that should save 4-5 shots per round. But I am still getting a slice too often for my liking.
I am enjoying following two English pros at Me and My Golf and their You Tube Channel and have learned heaps from them. I have checked out a few other English coaches online including Peter Finch and Mark Crossfield. Both worth viewing in my opinion. Then I linked somehow to Hank Haney, Tiger’s former coach. He has a very simple (in theory) philosophy on Parallel Swing plane and I was certainly getting to a realisation that the Draw is the main game in town.
Enter Martin Chuck. A very affable, easy to listen to Canadian who runs Revolution Golf. I think Pierce and Andy at Me and My Golf focus on the mid to high handicapper while Martin seems to be appealing to either the lower ,or aspiring to be low, handicapper. He uses Trackman extensively and explains the main numbers in great detail. If you get it, then it’s a brand new world. He explains the path direction and clubface angle relationship extremely well. He stresses that without grasping this new concept, we will struggle to shape the ball when required. He explains how it was in the “old” days compared to how it is since Trackman. How irons need a shallow angle of attack with a forward lean as opposed to my day when it was believed that you weren’t a real man if you couldn’t excavate a divot at least the size of your own shoes. And that was just your practice swings, plural.
All these guys have great drills for just about any aspect of your game. My favourite at the moment is Martin’s Aim stick angled behind you where you just swing underneath the stick to create the path that will result in a Draw. If you come across the plane line: crash bang wallop into the stick. I put the pool noodle on top of my stick and have already taken a few notches out of it. But , success. After 6 months the draw is finally happening, With an 80 percenter I am clocking it as far, if not further, than my previous “jumping out of my boots” efforts. Note to self: at my age I’ve got to stop doing the latter.
So the next step is to continue my practice with this drill until I can consistently reproduce it without the aid of the stick. I believe our cellular memory can be trained to repeat the good stuff just as easily as the bad. But I have a deadline. I had set myself a goal at the beginning to play in the Pan Pacific Masters Games Golf event (I’ve been the official photographer for the whole of the 40 sport games for the past 10 years and have often wanted to participate). It’s only 6 weeks away. I want to be playing single figure quality golf by then. I now feel it is achievable thanks to Martin’s great instruction video’s.
So why did I pay for Martin’s stuff while the other guys are free. I think the money back guarantee sold me. The excessive marketing blurb from Martin’s team is very annoying to say the least. I think the initial intro took 30 minutes to read when all I wanted to do was sign up for the course ($69). Some marketing guru must think it is compelling, I thought it was tragic. Luckily Martin himself makes up for it. He has a truly wonderful coaching style, great knowledge of modern and past players including Moe Norman, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan through to Rory McIlroy, and a sense of humour thrown in with his impersonations of Elvis and the styles of many of the members in your club or at your range. Hence the title of this post and his sub-titles to various drills: Mr Miyagi and catch the fly, the elvis or more precisely the anti-Elvis knee knocker and the Gauntlet… just get the video series yourself to find out more.