Doors To Manual
Posted: 25th October 2011
I played Club de Campo del Mediterraneo when I was twelve years old with Raymondo on our first family holiday to the area. It's set in a crater up in the hills, it was stinking hot, like a couple of idiots we took no water, hence we nearly collapsed as we played the last hole. That’s as good a day as I have had on Sergio Garcia's home course to this day.
Another missed cut then to add to all the others over the summer and this one really was a disappointment as I really feel like I am much more in control of my game. It has to be said though that on Thursday that was not the case at all.
Four over par is no good at this level, it leaves you with too much to do, and was so dispiriting after starting nicely and being one under early on. As I mentioned last week, Kevin my pal made the trip with me and as someone who has seen my game progress since I was eleven years old he is a good man to have around.
After watching me chip for a while he came forth with his opinion and he was as gentle as he could be with me. “That was a bit clunky mate” followed by the very ironic “nice strike pal” and “ooh the duff and run”. Safe to say Kev was not so impressed with my chipping.
You saw a picture of Kev last week on his balcony and he is the best example of the old saying “never judge a book by its cover” I have ever met, no offence meant pal.
A slightly misguided youth led to a plethora of Tattoos adorning his body in all manner of styles, and as David Beckham has shown there is nothing wrong with that of course, it's just that if you go back 18 years and you are just playing in your first county golf match you stick out like a sore thumb, hence Kevin making his debut on a glorious spring day in 80 degree weather wearing a roll neck jumper.
A stirling county career followed howeve,r culminating in the captaincy of Wiltshire the past two years. How did he do as captain - National Champions for the first time in Wiltshire’s history. A feel good story if ever there was one.
Anyhow, Kev has played off scratch for twenty years so he knows a little about the game and he certainly knows a poorly struck chip when he sees one. As it happens I have not been as confident with my chipping as I should have been for a while and he pointed out why. Striking them out of the toe aren't I, nowhere near the middle of the club.
Strange isn’t it, if I was hitting putts or iron shots out of the toe I would never stand for it, but for some reason I had not questioned it with my chipping. It took a while to work out how to get the strike out of the middle of the club mind you and a slightly disconcerting thought process is involved, take the club back inside then try and shank it!! Works like a charm I tell you.
So after a lazy Wednesday morning courtesy of not being in the pro-am, a late afternoon practice session culminated in me chipping in time and again and a burst of shot-making on the range left me in high spirits and raring to go on Thursday.
It shouldn’t have done because after a lovely start over the first four holes I ended up only hitting four fairways, hit it behind four trees, and scored four over. One word was prevalent in my mind after that round and it did begin with F and had four letters but it was not four, or fore for that matter.
I learnt something though, not that I haven’t been told the same thing many times, but I just don’t swing it like I do on the range. I was blighted by a snatched pull hook, a shot I just don’t hit on the range and i'ts killing me. After a terrible round of golf I strode onto the range and nailed thirty shots.
Gordy my caddie was almost hysterical at this and brought the house down with this immortal line, in the voice of Boycey from Only Fools and Horses he said “blimey, he’s like Ben Hogan on the range and Terry Wogan on the course”.
A plan was formed for Friday though and it was a very technical one indeed. It involved disconnecting my neuro pathways by way of deconstructing my internal patterning hence disturbing the symbiotic relationship between concentration and over anxious fast twitch muscle reflexes. In other words “don’t stick your tongue out when you swing David”.
It's only a theory but as it is I think it's quite a good one. The 'tongue out' is a classic sign of concentration, nowt wrong with that of course. However tension is no good either and over concentrating can be a cause of tension disrupting a good natural smooth rhythm. My tongue appears when I am concentrating deeply as does the snatch from the top of the backswing, both of which are conspicuous by there absence on the range.
Now here is the fickle thing, if a psychologist suggested this to me I would have told him to go away and stop being so ridiculous whilst saying to him “you will not be earning a single penny from me and if I have my way from nobody else on tour either”. As I came up with the plan I kind of think it’s a little bit genius. The tongue stayed indoors on Friday as did the hook and I played really very nicely indeed. Eleven good tee balls as they say in the States and had I have holed my fair share of putts I could easily have been five under par.
We will see how it goes next week at Valderrama where I believe I have a nice new set of Cleveland irons to try out which is good, something new to break this horrible run I am on. It is time for a strong few weeks to end the season. I am determined to do it.
One last thing, was there really any chance of last week being a good one when the week started off so badly. Strange things were happening, in fact I thought I was going a little bit mad at the airport, I kept hearing people say “doors to manual” then someone offered me their boarding card then once I was on the plane someone else asked me for a cup of tea. I was just about ready to give some verbal back then I realised why, my wife had let me leave the house to catch an Easyjet flight dressed like this……
I could have killed her, as for Kevin, well don’t even get me started I think he he said something like “what goes around comes around”.
The former European Tour golfer and ISM founder looks into the world of golf, life on the world's fairways and the fortunes of his stable.
This is where, from time to time, you will find out what I've been up to!