Wow this week came around quickly! It seems like yesterday I was driving around St, Andrews at the National Final of the BMW Golf Cup International – hoping that I had the round of my life to win and then floating on a cloud that I actually managed it. Fast forward six months I have to say I have worked my balls off. When I step on that flight tomorrow I can safely say I dont feel like golf wise I could be any more prepared, thanks to DT and the work we have done through the long winter. Fitness wise yeah I wont like, I have dipped my toe in and done about ten workouts during the winter but not as many as I had hoped to do. But hey I do have a full time job to fit in around this stuff so I can cut myself some slack – we all could do with going to the gym more!
If you want some evidence on how far I have come – check out these stills from when I started to the video of now. Great work DT!
Where it all started…..
To more like how it is now…(taken January)
With this week being the last week before Dubai we were all about focusing on scoring well and preparation of the game as a whole. Looking at the situations I am most likely to face in Dubai and doing all-round stuff rather than introducing any new technical elements to crowd my mind.
Monday 27th February 2017
We had hoped to do an 18 hole lesson at Prestbury however mother nature had got the better of us and we had to re-route to the Damian Taylor Academy due to rain. Learning on the course is great but standing around going over pitches and putts under a brolly is not fun. We will save it for a sunny day when it will be more valuable.
Session 1 – Range Routine
Before every round I am going to get into the ‘zone’ by doing our prepared range routine that we worked on earlier in this blog – Lesson 2 – Range Routine . That’s getting 100 balls and not just spanking them down, enforcing bad practices and habits, but to do a full and effective warm up and escalation from stretching off to hitting balls as if we were on the course. The aim being stepping onto that first tee having moved up through the gears and now already in the flow rather than it taking 4 holes to get going.
Session 2 – Emirates Majlis Course and Faldo Course
DT has an excellent, fully equipped academy room at High Legh Park Golf Club, which includes a couple of big screen TVs connected to his computer and the internet. I have not played either of the Emirates Golf Courses – named the Majlis and the Faldo – so as we werent able to do a course management lesson by doing 18 holes at Prestbury we decided to do 18 holes of the Majlis instead, what could be better. How we achieved this was to get up on the screen a flyby of every hole one by one. That let us visualise the hole and DT could give me his advice on how to see it and what strategy to use on each. That is where I benefit from having a coach who has been on those courses many time with European Tour clients of his. If his advice was good enough for them stood there on the tee then its good enough for me.
We then proceed to go to the matt with the club of choice I would hope to use on the course and swing a shot like I would on the day. Picturing different distances and approaches to each hole. Its not perfect but it gave me something of an idea which hopefully when I am there I can take myself back to the little room in the rain in Cheshire when the pressure is on in the Dubai desert. What would DT do maybe in pen along my golf bag when selecting a club. One thing to joke about though is DT’s a lot more confident that the Driver is the club off the tee than I am!!
Session 3 – Pitching Test
Pitching is going to be a big scoring factor in Dubai. The greens are rapid and I want to give myself a chance with the putts so making sure they are on the green and close to the flag as possible is vital. I also noted the bunkers and water around a lot of greens which I dont want to come into play at all. So we did another of the Trackman Pitching tests – we actually had a little competition taking my handicap into consideration. DTs pitches were a joke but he had a shocker on 70 yards and handed it to me.
Wednesday 1st March 2017
Session 4 – TrackMan Combine Test
Back in at the Academy for the last lesson before the flight. The blog must be gaining some momentum as some of the High Legh Park staff even asked DT if I was the blog guy – even if they couldnt get the name of the blog right!
Still wanting to get fully prepped on all round game we did the great Trackman Combine. I love it because it is as close to a round of golf feeling you can get in a range. The pressure of each shot and trying to shoot low. There isnt any putting or chipping out but its still very testing mentally as well as physically. I have to say today I was poor on the combine. Maybe nerves creeping in who knows – trying too hard. Everything I was doing I wasnt happy with and it escalated. DT gave me a couple of techniques to reset myself if it happens again. We arent talking complete breakdowns here but things were going left of target too often, closing the face down and I wasnt happy with how the ball being struck.
Session 5 – Chipping
Back out to the short game area to work on some chipping from 15 or so yards from the green – at front, middle and back targets. DT was doing demos on using the bounce of the wedge (the number relating to the underneath of the club) that you use to cut through the grass and get the ball in the air.
We were working on turning the body through the shot, coming at it accelerating not decelerating, speed of the swing and club angle being straighter up in the air than normal. All things to encourage a positive strike on the ball rather than taking grass before hand and causing a ‘fat’ shot that doesnt go anywhere or a ‘thin’ shot that pings off through the green. I just have to remember to swing positively, take a couple of practice swings to feel the shot and then commit to it.
Session 6 – Bunkers
We have never worked on bunkers in the entire time we have worked together. That must say something about how much work the rest of my game needs! Dubai is made on a desert with plenty of greenside bunkers so I know the first time I land in one I will be glad we spent some time here working on the best things to do short siding yourself – comming at the ball steeper and opening the face up to take the sand and get the ball up and down over the lip to the 90-100 yard long bunker shot where you are nicking it off the top without topping it. DT got in there and gave some great demos on foot positioning, ball positioning and taking the £10 note from under tha ball rather than the ball itself.
Session 7 – Putting Refresher
Last but not least I had been out putting a few times on my own and confused myself onto what pointers we had worked on. So we just tidied up my setup over the ball in the last 10 minutes of the lesson so that my eyes were directly over the ball and pivoting from the bottom of my back – keeping head still. We didnt spend too long putting as these greens after a long, wet English winter will be alien to the hot dry Dubai greens. So its going to be important for me to dump my bags when I get there and get out on that practice green doing some work to get the weight right otherwise my second putts will be with my wedge from off the green!
Fingers crossed then away we go….