Staring the Off-Season in the Eyes
Why is it that my swing seems to come around toward the end of every golf season?
Yesterday, my cousin Frank and friend, Dan, came out to North Hills Country Club for 18 holes on one of the most beautiful days of the entire year: 72 degrees and clear skies, with a beautiful golf course and some of the most interesting pin placements of the entire year.
Dan is a six or seven handicap, and Frank is right around there. I am a 12-handicap still, but my game has been improving significantly. Dan started out on fire, and won the first six holes of our match play by way of a two on the second hole, and enough pars that he took an eight on the ninth hole and still finished the front with a 38.
Dan also won the second six holes, but I found a way to win the third. Most importantly, I can actually hit my driver again for the first time in years! Long, fairly straight, and without all the crazy left-to-right that I’ve become so accustomed to. How? Tempo, I think. When I slow it down and stay balanced in my stance, it seems to go straight, and pretty long. Maybe not as long as Dan’s drives, but long, nonetheless.
I have also decided that I’m done with the poor approach shots, and have started hitting more solid, straighter wedges. My putting’s coming around, too. In fact, today was the first time I’ve ever birdied the third hole at North Hills. Driver to the left side of the fairway over the trees, followed by a choked-down six-iron to twelve feet and the decision to not be short on my putt – center-cup! I was playing solo, but still gave a hearty fist pump.
Two Sundays ago, I hit all but three fairways at Erin Hills – with driver. That is unheard of for my game!
Yesterday, I missed eagle on four at North Hills by a couple inches and tapped in for birdie, then birdied eighteen for only the second time all year. What in the world is going on, and why is this such a tease at the end of the season that I’ll be thinking about it all off-season and just itching for Spring to come back around?
Here is to hoping for a long and beautiful Fall season. I’m not ready to put the clubs away yet!
After our round last night, we enjoyed prime rib and drinks for men’s night, followed by a cigar on the patio. Watching the fog come in over the “Richard Kessler spot lights” on ten was one of the most eerie and intriguing scenes of the entire year: