I see you Allen Iverson. If you don't understand the reference I recommend YouTube "Iverson practice interview". He and I agree. I don't like to practice either. I just want to play golf. Why not? Can't all of the play just constitute a lifetime of practice? Play the game. Make mistakes. Learn from it in the moment. Maybe not. I've been resistant to the notion of concentrated focused practice. Over the past couple of days I practiced with some key concepts in mind.
Friday I hit 100 yard shots with my golf buddy Ian on our soccer field. Saturday we went to the driving range to hit longer irons and some driver for an hour. Sunday I played 18 holes at my only real option at Hangzhou Lake Hill Golf Club. The question of the day for me: did the two days of focused practice lead to a better score on Sunday? I'm headed to the course at this moment and I'm feeling confident the practice will make a difference. I try to keep a running log of my golf swing practice thoughts. Often I end up writing the same things over and over. Writing it, thinking it, and actually doing it are not the same thing. Here's a peek at the top of this notes document. It's pages and pages long.
That's a lot to think about ever time you swing. Golf is not an easy hobby to pursue. It creates a lifetime of humbling moments.
Just finished my 18 holes today with my caddie Jenny. This is the third time she's been my assistant. She's a big help on the greens as she sees all the breaks and has consistently given me good lines. Played my first seven holes with a Japanese gentleman. No chance to understand each other, but we were a good pairing as we cheered for each other on good shots. The last seven holes I played with a group of three other dudes. One was from Singapore. He tells me the Marina Bay Sands golf course that I played last year in Singapore will be closing for good soon. That's depressing.
The round started a bit shaky. Double boagie on the first hole. Nice drive followed by a dumb move. First flag was on extreme right side of a green. Steep walled bunker right next to it. Of course I'm aiming right at the pin. Of course I land the ball about five from the pin on the edge of the green and it kicks into the bunker. That's a mental mistake on me. Hit what felt like a good shot and paid the price for being too aggressive. First attempt out of the bunker doesn't make it. Up to the green and two putt for a double. Ugh. These things happen. Laugh at the bad ones and move on. I then proceeded to play the next nine holes one under par. I was on fire. Felt like I hit every fairway and was putting for birdie a lot. It was a great feeling to play well. Even better after such a horrible start. I let my attitude determine my golf today, not the other way around.
Score was 40-38 for a 78, but I started on hole number seven. I felt invincible standing on the 18th tee box after an amazing nine hole stretch. Of course I doubled 18 and lost a ball in the water. 18 is a tough tough hole. It's long. There's enormous bunkers all over the place around the landing area, and the second shot is over water to a small island green. My kind of golf hole. Two birdies on the day including my last hole. That was a nice way to end the day. Nearly had an ace. It was a par three with a wicked wind in the face. Ball was rolling to the hole after landing just barely missing the cup. Exciting moment. I've never had a hole in one...yet.
The two days of practice paid off. Iron play was great today. A better back swing with a core centered focus ending in the same consistent follow through made a big difference. I've been called a golf slut more than once. Any course, anytime, with anyone. Its an addiction. I would like to play more here in China, but it's just crazy expensive. Dropping about $200 USD in a day to play golf is just too much. I'm hoping that when December rolls around I can find somewhere else to play that's a bit cheaper during the break. I'm told there are some cheaper courses in Shanghai. Might have to look into that in the coming weeks.
Final thought of the day. Chinese men play fast. I thought I played fast, but this is something new. On the greens two of them have no problem putting at the same time. Same with fairway shots. If they're not right in front of each other they will both hit at the same time. It's a bit... different. As a foursome we played the last seven holes in about an hour and fifteen minutes. Yeah, that's really fast.