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P.A.T. Number 1

For those PGA guys out there, you’ll know that P.A.T. stands for Player Ability Test, or Player Assessment Test. It’s part of the final step to passing the grade as a PGA professional and is basically a way for the PGA to measure one’s golfing ability through a round or two of golf. Today, I gave Pat his own P.A.T.

It’s been about a month since Pat and I starting working hard on his game and today was the day I wanted see just exactly where his game stood. It began with an 18 hole chipping match on the practice green. Pat chipped the ball very well, a 100% improvement over just a month ago on his short chips, but the longer ones we hit he performed poorly. It should be said that he hasn’t spent much time practicing them, but this is simply an assessment, not an excuse session. Pat lost the chipping match to me 2 & 1 which isn’t bad because I’ve not lost a chipping match before on Windermere’s putting green.

The next test was a putting test on the same green and Pat won 1 up with a clutch 5 footer on the last hole for the win. His putting has also improved a great deal, but he did block several putts so we will be looking into this one. The greens were terribly slow because of fertilizer and sand so that played into the test and he was able to over come these slow conditions pretty well.

Finally, we played 9 holes. I have a deal with Pat that he can play his first tournament after he beats me 4 times in a row. The last time we played he played well and did beat me, so he was going into today’s round needing another win to keep the momentum. Unfortunately, it was not to be as I made 4 birdies over the nine holes and barely missed two eagle putts. Pat didn’t play his best either, so the “streak” is over after one win. He hit some very solid shots but most were blocks to the right when he missed. He wasn’t approaching the ball from the inside enough, but was able to hit some fine shots today. His putting was pretty solid but the rest of his short game didn’t come together. He hit a poor bunker shot that cost him a couple strokes, so we went to the practice bunker after the round. We’ve got some work to do in that area but I’ve never worked with him on his bunker play and it will be a very easy and quick fix.

Overall, I score Pat’s round of 4 over par 40 a “C”. He’s been playing very well, but I could really see him struggle with the mental aspects of the game today. He was getting mechanical out there and that is something that we have only slightly addressed at this point. We’ve made a lot of changes to his golf swing that have not yet settled in, so I’m going to take a slight break from some of the heavy lifting and get him to trust the changes we’ve made without thinking about them until he begins to have more trust in his swing. Then we’ll be ready to move on. I expected Pat to shoot around 1-2 over today, but when the mind is in the wrong place, it becomes very difficult to play good golf.

For the first full month’s worth of work, I couldn’t be happier. While Pat’s score didn’t reflect his improvements today, it doesn’t bother me one bit. Everyone gets a little “mental” now and then when working on dramatic swing changes like we have done and his scores will soon follow his better swing. His scores have been averaging 1-2 over par over our 9 hole playing lessons before this P.A.T., so I feel that we are right on track and even well ahead of schedule.

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