Golf Game Review 2015

Well . . . 2015 turned out to be a really good year for me on the golf course. I played 1 less game,  42 rounds this season, but some significant things got worked out for me.

First good thing to happen was that my occupational therapist and I developed some braces for both my thumbs so that I could place my hands on the club properly. The stock brace that I used last year for my right thumb did not allow me to get my thumb in a comfortable position. We solved that issue. The problem with the second brace is that now the two braces rest against each other when I take my grip. Thumbs don’t hurt, but I have certainly lost more feel for the grip and the club, as my right hand doesn’t snug up to my left. If you think I have an advantage because I’m wearing braces, I would challenge you to try to play with them to experience the lack of feel.Trust me, it is NO advantage.

The second thing I did was change out my putter. I was fortunate to have a one-on-one conversation with Austie Rollinson. Austie is the brainchild behind the Odyssey Putter line. Our conversation got very technical with regard to loft and insert. I wasn’t completely convinced, but went back to the shop where I work and started to compare inserts from Taylor Made, Nike and Odyssey. Without question, the feel of the Odyssey inserts made me far more comfortable and our conversation started to make more sense. In conversations with the Callaway rep here in Vancouver, I got on to the fitting guide offered up by the Odyssey website. Based on my stroke, it suggested I needed to use a face-balanced putter. I was able to try out 5 different models Odyssey offered in face-balanced and settled on the Versa Works 1W. I cut it down to 32” and put a SuperStroke 5.0 grip on it. The big grip takes all the pressure off of any thumb pinch in my joints. I also believe that it calms any wrist movement in my stroke. Left hand low, straight left arm, left wrist moving down the target line, taller posture have all contributed to me putting better. I will quantify that further on.

The third thing I did was to take my 60-degree wedge out of the bag. On the same trip that I met Mr. Rollinson, I also had a brief interaction with Roger Cleveland. Roger develops the wedge line for Callaway and works closely with Phil Mickelson in developing tour ready wedges for Phil’s game. Roger watched me lay sod over 2 consecutive shots I attempted with a 64 degree Mack Daddy that was coming out specifically for Phil. Roger actually told me to put it away, that the 64 loft was for those really great pros who have the game for it. We talked briefly about marketing and because Phil played it, there was demand for it so Callaway had to produce it.

With that conversation top of my mind, and the fact that “bounce is your friend”, and that I play in the rain forest, I decided to lose my 60-degree as well. I found that opening the face of my 56, with the additional bounce, I had a much more consistent year around the greens.

The fourth and final change I made was to add the 4-iron back into my bag. Low recovery shots, long par 3’s into the wind, it just became a nice go to club that gave me a second option along with my 20 degree hybrid.

So, in relation to the more detailed stats that I was taking, my 42 games boiled down to this:

Games less than or equal to 75: 21

Games 76 – 79: 14

Games 80+: 7

I managed to break par twice with a 70 and a 71, but did not achieve another of my goals, which was to shoot in the 60’s. 5 of the 7 games I shot in the 80’s happened in a 5-day stretch at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. I was fortunate to be invited by Nike to join them for 6 rounds in 4 days. This was way too much golf for my hands, but I wasn’t going to miss this for anything. From the tips on the TPC Stadium course (7215 yds) I shot 92. Had difficulty hitting some of the landing areas, but couldn’t resist playing the course from where the pros play. What an experience. We moved up a tee box to 6600 yds and I shot 84. The next day we played the Dye Valley Course. This course was on the same property and they had just completed the Tour final event. Our caddy was always telling us to hit it at the NBC/Golf Channel towers that were still up after the tournament. I shot 80 – 77 on this course before heading back to the Stadium and carding an 80 on my third round from hybrid blue/white tees. We finished off our trip with a visit to the World Golf Hall of Fame where we played The Slammer and The Squire course where I posted another 80. I haven’t often played on Bermuda grass greens and unfortunately I didn’t adjust to them at all well. I putted quite poorly all week, which certainly played in to my higher scores. My hands didn’t recover for a couple of weeks, but man, what a trip!!

More stats as per my own assessment list started last year:

Fairways Hit: 9                                             Best rounds: 14, 12 (twice)

Greens in Regulation: 9.5                      Best rounds: 13 (5 times)

Number of Putts/Round: 29                Best rounds: 24, 27(twice)

Total # of Feet of Putts Made: 53    Best rounds: 89, 84, 82, 80

Up & Ins: 4.2                                                  Best rounds: 8, 7, 6 (twice)

I made 58 birdies, 1 eagle (holed out from 104 yds), 22 penalty strokes (not counting TPC Sawgrass), 17 hole outs and a single 4-putt.

All in all, I had a really good year on the golf course! That being said, there are many areas of improvement!