Medical Mess

Hey guys,

 Well I am just a medical mess, one thing after another.  First I went through a bunch of surgeries, I’ve always had some crazy bone tumor above my ankle (making it impossible to wear any other golf shoes than Footjoy eComforts because they are the only ones that don’t have a high back), I’ve had surgery on my left wrist to remove a cyst, and now I have a lot of pain in my right wrist which I think is another cyst.  The one in my left wrist was very big, and these ones in my right wrist aren’t even visible, so hopefully surgery won’t be required.  Chuck and I had to cancel our lesson today because I couldn’t swing through the golf ball without taking my right hand off the club.

Other than that I am doing great, my golf swing (when I am capable of making one) feels 100 times better than it ever has.  I am finally comfortable with my takeaway.  It took so long to get the right feeling for me and it was so simple.  All I am feeling is that my hands go back a little inside while the club works up.  I occasionally err on taking it back too outside, but I will take that right now.  It feels a lot more natural now.  Chuck and I decided to take things a little slower with my swing, as we are both very impatient people and were trying to move way to fast.  I am probably even more impatient than he is, so it has been a struggle for me to only work on small pieces at a time.  Right now we are working on getting more load into my right side going back.  I didn’t feel much load into my leg and foot at all before, so it’s an odd feeling, but one that is necessary both for control and power.  Chuck’s technical name for what we are working on is “finding my ass”, because that’s where I should feel a lot of support for the load.  So far it’s been going well I think, my swing feels a little more in rhythm and a little more powerful, yet it still needs a good deal of work.  Hopefully I can make progress a little faster. 

With my wrist being hurt, I’ve been practicing my putting and little bump-and-runs a lot.  My putting is still the best part of my game, and it’s been getting even better over the past few days.  My bump-and-runs are also pretty dang good considering all I am doing is employing my putting stroke with a more lofted club.  Bump-and-runs are all about just choosing the right club and the right spot to hit.  My stroke it pretty good so all I try to do is feel how hard to hit the ball.

Hopefully my wrist will heal up fairly soon and I can get back to making progress, I am extremely frustrated not being able to swing a club, I get very antsy and bored not being able to play.

Technorati Profile


Hey everyone, I know it’s been quite a while since I have posted anything on the site, but I have been working super hard!  Let me just update you guys on a few things that have been going on.

As you saw in the new video, my swing is improving a lot, but will still take a lot more to get it to where it needs to be.  Unfortunately I cannot swing on that good of a plane all the time.  When I really focus on just that plane of my swing, I can do it, but once we start working on other things, I fall back into old habits and the club gets deep and flat.  It has definitely gotten better, my bad swings aren’t as deep and inside, but it’s going to take a long time to get it to where it’s always up on plane. 

My posture is something that I have been having problems with.  I am a bit more relaxed at address now, with not as much S-Shape in my spine, but I really struggle with standing taller and not slouching with my shoulders.  I told Chuck it makes me feel like I am in a straight jacket when I pull my shoulders back.  I need to work very hard both at the course and at the gym to make it more comfortable. 

So my swing is definitely better, a work in progress, but we all know that the short game is where money is made.  Honestly, my chipping has suffered a bit with all the focus being on my full swing, but it’s not terrible.  I have some things I need to work out before my chipping gets really good.  For one thing, I flip the club a little too much, especially if I am trying to get a lot of spin on the ball.  Basically, my chipping is very inconsistent.  The thing that saves my scores is my putting.  I became, in my mind, an awesome putter through working with Chuck on some things and through trial and error by myself.  Chuck has worked with me on the tempo of my stroke and the path.  I went through a trial and error with my grip and speed control.  I used to get the putter very low in my fingers with my thumbs on top of the club, and I struggled with pulling the ball a lot because my right hand would turn over a lot through impact.  What I do now is I have the grip much more in the palms of my hand.  My left hand is much more flat with my thumb running down the center of the grip.  The biggest difference is my right hand.  It’s a little more under than it used to be, my thumb isn’t on top of the grip anymore, it’s more down the side and I feel like I control the speed of my putts with the pads of my two middle fingers.  My stroke is more a push stroke now, I feel like I am just pushing the ball toward the hole.  I don’t pull the ball much at all now and that led to a lot of confidence which in turn helped my speed. 

Hopefully I will be able to post on here more often, I have just been so busy that it’s hard sometimes.  Thanks for reading! Any questions just post in the comments section!

Club Championship

Hey Guys,  Good news and bad news.  First the good news.  I played fantastic in the first round of the Club Championship.  I shot a 75 with only one birdie, so I was really doing well getting the ball up and in.  I putted extremely well and my ball-striking was pretty good, definitely not where it needs to be, but it’s getting there.  I struggled with my chips which cost me a few strokes, so I really need to work on that area much harder.  I was very happy with the way I played and ended up being the Round 1 leader by 4 strokes.

Bad news…after the round Chuck and I went out to practice and we both hit off the first tee.  The Head Pro came running down and told us we were both disqualified for playing on the same course between tournament rounds.  Extremely disappointing.  First, I just should have known that rule, so that’s disappointing from that standpoint, second, I had a very good chance of winning the Championship tomorrow and now I can’t do that.  If I had gone out tomorrow and lost it that would be one thing, but not being able to even have a shot at it is what gets me.  At least I learned this now during a small tournament like this and not later at a larger one.  Looks like I need to go read the Rules of Golf.

Healthy At Last!

Well guys…I had my last procedure, so I should be pretty much recovered in a few days.  The Club Championship at Windermere Country Club is on Saturday and Sunday this week, so the past 2 days after getting back from Virginia all I have been doing is playing and focusing on hitting the ball.  It’s tough for me because I don’t really trust my swing so I am always thinking about mechanical things.  I have played well off and on that past 2 days, so I think I will be all right going into the tournament.  I will let you know how the tournament goes.

Next 2 Months or So

Hey guys, sorry about the lack of posting lately, but it might continue for a little while.  I had to have a minor procedure over the holidays which turned into a disaster and I was on the couch for about 2 weeks.  Today was my first day back with Chuck in over a month.  Unfortunately I have to have probably 3 to 4 more of these procedures before I am healthy, I am just hoping they aren’t as bad as the first one.  Chuck, my father, and I have decided that we are going to get all the procedures out of the way as fast as we can so that we can continue on with my progress without interuptions.  I will work with Chuck briefly in between each procedure just so I don’t completely lose all the progress we made.

Today was a decent day.  I lost a little of the progress we made and we worked on just hitting punch shots out of divots to get my timing better.  My hips are spinning way out of control and my shoulders get extremely steep and open at impact causing a lot of toe blocks with the occasional pull.  I played decently on the course, with some solid shots, it will just take a while to get back.  Hopefully my procedures go well and I can get back to it going full steam ahead.  I’ll keep you posted.

Recovery From Layoff

Hey guys I think I am on the right track to recovering from my week layoff over thanksgiving.  It’s amazing how long it takes to get some things back.  My short game is still rusty, but getting better.  My swing is starting to come back.  Chuck set up a hitting bay in his garage where he can take videos of my swing and we can work on things there when it is cold and/or rainy.  Pretty soon he will be getting a nice launch monitor to go in there and already has a big projection screen for larger than life video analysis, so it’s a great place that is getting better.  

We are still working on my swing plane, as I started to leak into old habits after taking off, but it’s getting better.  I am trying to keep my arms more in front of my body, my right arm and elbow tend to get really behind me and that puts me in a terrible position to start back down.  I am trying to feel like from the takeaway my left arm moves more straight back or even outward and rotates the club open and up, as well as feeling like my arms are close together and my right arm works up with the left.  My swing has always been pretty long, so getting my arms to stay in front of my body should help tone it down a bit.

I graduate from school on December 16, and then go back to Virginia for two weeks for Christmas.  I am going to have to brave the freezing cold weather and practice a lot because I can’t take anymore time off.  It lets too many bad habits get in.  If anyone has any extreme cold weather golf ideas leave a comment please.  Any certain clothes that keep you warmer than others but you can still move in?  Thanks guys.

After Thanksgiving

I have now learned the hard way that taking off anymore than one or two days is definitely not a good idea for me.  I took off 6 days over Thanksgiving break and went back to Virginia to spend time with family.  After living in Florida, I about froze to death.  The last few days weren’t bad, but when I got there it was in the 30’s.

My short game was affected the most.  I lost a little touch around the greens and have some inconsistent contact.  I just feel uncomfortable with a club in my hand.

Today we worked a little more on my driver, and the results were really good.  I am holding my shoulders back and swinging my arms down in front of me on the downswing.  I was releasing the club well today and it produced some very solid drives and a little more club head speed.

Another thing we worked on today was trying to get more load into my right side (or in my case getting just any load would be an improvement) and to limit my hip turn on the back swing.  When I don’t get to my right side and turn my hips way too much it gets me way out in front of the ball which I have been fighting for a while.  It didn’t really click today, but I will be working on it.  Hopefully when I get it right it should add some more distance and sync up my swing better for more consistency.

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.

18 Holes Today

Today Chuck and I played 18 holes at Windermere.  I am fortunately making somewhat of a switch from a good range player and a terrible on course player, to a terrible range player and a good on course player.  I need to become good at both for confidence reasons, but right now I would rather be good on the course if I could just choose one.  My head was not working right on the range today, so we just went and played 18.  I hit the ball all right, some pretty decent shots and some bad ones.  My long clubs are terrible, but my short irons and short game are pretty good right now, so I make up for the bad drives.  I had 3 birdies and still shot 77.  Two doubles really screwed me up.  I hit what I felt were two very solid 5 woods, but when I looked up they were going straight left and in hazards. 

I was really inconsistent on the greens today.  I made some bombs for birdies, but then three putted twice, once from within 15 feet and the other on the last hole. 

The long game problem has to be solved soon because right now the only course I can play is Windermere.  It’s only 6700 yards and pretty forgiving.  Windermere’s only real defense is its greens, which are insanely sloped, and considering I am putting all right now, it’s not that big of a deal.  If I went to another local course like Orange County National or Keene’s Point, I wouldn’t stand a chance.  For one thing, I can’t hit a driver straight, and for another, I can’t hit it far.  That’s the worst combination right there.  You can get by if you are short if you can hit it straight (Fred Funk), and you can get by if you are a little crooked if you hit it really long (JB Holmes), but I have the worst of them all, short and crooked.  Anyway, Chuck tells me that wednesday is going to be a hardcore range session, so hopefully we can figure out things then. 

One last thing, Chuck promised me that if he spent one hour in the bunker with me that all my bunker problems would be fixed.  We were in the bunker no longer than 30 minutes and I already feel extremely confident in every bunker I step foot into.  Today I hit a great bunker shot, probably 20 yards or so to a pin at the bottom of a big downslope to about 6 feet and made the putt for par.  With practice I feel like I can learn some different shots for different situations and become a pretty solid bunker player.  That’s what I have been most excited about the past few days.

Past Week of Work

Hey guys, sorry it’s been a while since I have posted on here.  I’ve been really busy working hard at both my golf game and fitness.  In a few days I am going to send Chuck a write up of some of the workouts I do so that he can post them on the homepage so you guys can get an idea of what I am doing.  My trainer Andrea is awesome, she kicks my butt and I can definitely feel the results, especially in my core.  There have been a few days where I haven’t been able to move from being so sore, but no pain no gain.

I have been making steady progress with Chuck on my game.  We’ll start from the bottom up:

Putting – Chuck hasn’t done much with my putting lately because it’s been pretty good.  I fiddle around sometimes with my grip, but I’ve been putting very well both on the practice green and on the course.  Occasionally I will have streaks where the ball bounces a lot on the green, but I usually figure out what is causing it.  In the future I’m sure I’ll have Chuck look at my stroke to make sure everything is right.  I think where I get the most off is my alignment.  I have trouble sometimes setting up square, erring both ways (open, closed).  Also, The putter I use isn’t fit right for me, so I need to look into a new one.  It’s too long, and I already had it cut down once, so anymore will make it too light, so I think I just need to get one that comes stock at about 34 inches.

Chipping – My chipping has been taken to a whole new level.  I am learning how to control the spin and trajectory very well.  I still have my days where I struggle, and still don’t have a lot of shots.  Today on the chipping green I really struggled on a shot where there was a lot of grain growing toward me.  I chunked all the shots out of there.  I also struggle with what shot to play  at the right time.  I tend to try to throw the ball most of the way to the hole and spin it on every shot.  I need to learn when to play the correct shot.

Full Swing – We’ve made a ton of progress here.  We are intertwining a few things right now.  Swing Plane, tempo/rhythm, and width.  As you all know, I tend to swing the club very flat and inside and probably will fight that for a while.  It all starts at my takeaway.  I turn my body a lot right from the start and swing my arms along with my body, making me swing very inside.  Right now I am trying to feel like I start my swing with just my arms.  Then comes the width.  I get my right arm moving behind my body, making it very easy for the club to go inside.  I need to feel like my arms are staying in front of me during the whole swing and have them stretched out for maximum width.  When I do this, it feels very upright and very odd, but after doing it for a while I started to get used to it.  When I don’t do this, I get very collapsed at the top of my swing and my swing gets very long.  Lastly is tempo.  I have always had a very fast transition, which has always thrown me way out of sync.  It also makes me get collapsed at the top even worse because my arms are left behind as my body turns.  Chuck is having me feel like I pause for a full second at the top of my swing.  A visual I have been using is Vijay Singh, because he always looks like he pauses at the top for so long.  I also use one of Vijay’s techniques of “seventeen” during my swing.  As I get halfway back I start saying “seven” and at the moment of impact I should be saying “teen”.  It’s just a mental way of getting in rhythm. 

 Just to let you know how the progress is coming, during today’s nine holes, I was 2 under par through three holes and missed an easy birdie putt on the fourth hole.  I finished up at even par, but made a lot of good swings.  I’m excited about the future of my swing, I’ll keep you updated.Š

Tournament Results

Day One:

Day one was the best ball format.  We got to use 90 percent of our handicap, and I was put down as an 8 handicap so I got to use 7 strokes, Chuck of course had to add one stroke to his score on the easiest hole being a +1.  I was surprised at how nervous I was on the first hole.  But I played the first hole pretty darn good I would say.  5 wood to the middle of the fairway, 6 iron lay up to a little over 100 yards, 54 degree wedge to about 6 feet left of the pin, and made the putt for a birdie net eagle.  Great way to start the tournament.  That calmed me a bit and then I just started to have fun because that’s what we were there for.  Our playing partners were real cool too.  A big dude named Bruce who had actually bet on us to win and his buddy dave I believe.  They made it ever more enjoyable.  Anyway, I had a few highlights to the round.  The birdie on the first hole, then on number 11 I was in a bunker over the back of the green, chunked my first shot and left it in the bunker, and then holed out my next shot for par.  Another highlight would be making par from the water on the last par 5 on the course.  I hit my tee shot right and the ball was about 2/3 above the water, so I took a pitching wedge and hit it as hard as I could, got pond scum all over myself, and still got it to the fairway.  I don’t think I missed a single putt inside 5 feet that day, my putting has gotten so much better lately and it shows.  I shot a 76 for that round and Chuck and I together shot a net 65 (7 under).  That put us in 2nd place behind a 63.

Day Two: 

Day two was the stroke play portion of the tournament.  Chuck and I would both keep our own scores, add them up in the end, and then take away our handicap from the score.  Once again I birdied the first hole after making a nice curling putt.  I then proceeded to bogey the next three holes in a row, but made it up on the 9th with another good birdie for a 37.  I played the back nine very solid except for some missed putts.  My putting was not working out too well on sunday.  I had so many easy birdie putts that I missed and I also three putted three times.  It was driving me crazy.  I made one birdie and three bogies on the back nine for a 38.  So I shot 75 for the second day, which is pretty good for me right now.  If my putting had been better I could of shot so much lower.  We ended up getting second place by ONE STROKE.  But it’s all good because I had a very good time and hit some really good shots.  There weren’t any real highlights from sunday except for just playing all around solid.  I hope I can continue to strike the ball as well as I have been and keep gaining confidence.

This week Chuck and I are going to work on getting me fitted into better clubs than I have now.  I think Wednesday we are making a trip to golfsmith to hit some drivers because I hate mine ( I hit it I think 3 times total over the 2 rounds ).  I’ll keep you updated as the week goes on.  Hope all had a good weekend!

Upcoming Tournament

This weekend Chuck and I will be playing together in the Member-Member Tournament at Windermere Country Club.  It’s a two day tournament in which the first day is best ball and the second day is a cumulative score between the both of us.  If I shoot 80 and Chuck shoots 70, then we get a 150 for the second day.  The course is already short from the back tees, but they are making us play from the white (middle) tees for the tournament.  This makes it more difficult for Chuck because he will be tempted to blast his driver and get as close to the green as possible, which could bring in some problems, but it makes it easier for me because I don’t hit the ball very far.  I will be playing from the white tees the next two days to get ready.

I am actually somewhat nervous because I am really uncomfortable with my swing.  I was really confident with the progress I had been making, but it seems like the last week I have gone backwards.  I am not hitting the ball as solid as I was, and it seems like I just keep hitting it shorter and shorter.  Hopefully over the next two days I will get more comfortable and will really be working on my short game so that I can be confident that I will get up and down everytime I miss a green.  My putting actually has been pretty solid lately, so I just need to make sure I get the speed down and I will be good. 

Anyway, the next few days this is what I will be working on to prepare for the tournament:

1)Short game – up and downs will be really important, especially in best ball I would imagine.

2)Putting – Just getting the speed down

3)Swing Plane – Just doing the same things  I have been working on the past two weeks.  I keep slipping back into getting to flat and inside, so I need to get a lot of practice in on this, especially the shaft drill.

4)Alignment – My alignment has been pretty bad lately, which obviously makes me hit some poor shots.  I just need to work on this with clubs on the ground and using my preshot routine to set me up well for the shot.

5)Just not thinking – With all that I am working on, it’s hard not to think, but I have to stop.  I need to just feel the right swing in my practice swings and then trust that I will swing the same way in my real swing. 

I’ll update you after the tournament to say how we placed, or should I say, to tell you how we won!

Today’s Lesson

I have to gloat a little bit.  Chuck and I had a chipping lesson today, and we worked on adding more flow and release to my chipping.  I have always chipped a little stiff armed that produces little to no spin.  We worked on adding a little more speed to essentially produce more spin.  The first 45 minutes I was struggling with it just because I am not used to putting so much speed into my chips and I was thinking too much.  After I stopped thinking and just felt my way through it I actually improved a lot.  I noticed an immediate change in the trajectory and spin of my chips.  Of course it wasn’t perfect, but it will take some time to get used to.  Anyway, on to the gloating.  Chuck has never been beaten in a chipping contest on the Windermere Chipping Green, until today.  I beat him three up through 16 holes.  Granted he hasn’t practiced in quite a while and was just hitting one type of shot the hole time, that’s ok…I still won. 

The 9 hole practice was decent.  My score wasn’t too great, 5 over, but I hit the ball a bit better than I did last time and the one or two chips I hit were decent integrating the new chipping.  My sand game is still terrible, and it cost me a shot, but I haven’t spent a lot of time on it.  I hit some solid iron shots, but my driver was getting me into some trouble.  I have a huge problem with alignment, and it screws me up real bad.  Something to work on. 

I’ll be playing a lot over the weekend, so I will let everyone know how that goes.

Assessment Day

As Chuck put it in his blog post, yesterday was my Assessment day of the past month of work.  We had the 18 hole chipping contest first.  I’ve been somewhat uncomfortable over my chips lately.  I am putting almost zero spin on the ball so it’s tough sometimes to control how far they roll out, even with my 59* wedge they were rolling quite a bit.  I was fortunate that the greens were so slow yesterday or I would of had to hit flop shots to every hole to stop the ball.  My short chips were actually pretty decent, but the longer ones tended to fly to high and there was one unfortunate blade across the green.  I think I am flipping the club through impact a little, but I will leave that for Chuck to determine.  Chuck won the match, and he has never lost a chipping match to anyone at the Windermere green, but that will change in the near future!

Next was the putting.  I am actually very comfortable over my putting at the moment, which is something new.  I had a few putts that hopped a lot on me in our contest, but I am not sure that was due to my stroke or the greens having sand and fertilizer on them.  I hit some bad pushes, but those were few and far between, and I don’t believe I had any three putts.  I won the putting match by one hole, and that just shows me that I have more confidence in my putting.

The 9-holes we played yesterday in my mind were very disappointing.  I told Chuck on the course that my swing felt like a lot of work.  It wasn’t feeling easy like it had been the past few days.  I basically was just too mechanical, which I always have been, but somewhere in the past few days I stopped trusting that I could swing the right way without thinking about it, and it showed.  Chuck said in his blog that I hit a few solid shots out there, and maybe it’s because I am too much of a perfectionist or that I had just come to expect myself to be able to do certain things over the past few days, but I can’t recall one solid shot.  I was hitting weak drives off the heel, thin iron shots, blades out of the bunkers, and chips that were coming up way too short.  I hit some solid putts, which was nice and saved some shots, but I just felt that the progress I have made over the past month just wasn’t showing.  I shot 4 over par, but it felt a lot worse. 

I certainly understand that I will have plenty of days like this, but that doesn’t mean I won’t hate those days.  No golfer likes to hit the ball bad, I just have to figure out a way to get the ball in the hole when it’s like that.  Oh well, it’s in the past, all I can do is learn from it and then forget it.  I have also decided that I need to invest in a new brain, because mine isn’t working too well right now, so I will have to look into that. 

Swinging On Plane

I unfortunately had to take another few days off from practice this past week to go back to Virginia and meet with a surgeon to fix some health issues.  I came back and was very rusty, shooting a 4 over par 9 hole score for my school tournament last wednesday. 

My lesson with Chuck on Thursday was nothing short of awesome.  We started to work on the plane of my swing.  We had worked on this for a while a few months back, but I could just never get it down.  Finally it clicked in our Thursday lesson.  I was letting my arms get disconnected on the backswing which was causing the club to drag inside and get way behind me.  It caused all sorts of problems.  Keeping my arms going more straight back during the takeaway made it so much easier to swing up on plane and immediately my ballstriking improved.  What was special about it though was that I could bring it out to the course.  On Thursday I shot 38 for our 9-hole practice with a double bogey. 

Today (Friday) was just a continuation of Thursday’s lesson.  Chuck brought a new training aid he bought (a little yellow plastic gadget to help you set your wrists) and we worked with that for a while.  It’s extremely awkward for me to set my wrists so early, so it was tough.  We only got to play a few holes because the course was so busy, but I struck the ball well and the confidence I had in the ball striking carried over to my chipping and putting.  It was such a great feeling and makes playing golf so exciting.  After today’s lesson I went out to a golf course called Erroll Estate Country Club, and had a very up and down round.  I had 3 pars, 2 bogeys, one double bogey, and 3 birdies for a total of 37.  I was proud of myself though because the double bogey came on the first hole and I recovered well.  It will take some time to get used to the swing plane and get comfortable without having to think about it, but I am very excited about the progress I have made.

Today’s Round

Played 18 holes today with Chiuck instead of having a range lesson.  I need to get a handicap for future tournaments, so we started on that today.  I hadn’t been able to practice in three days at all because I was house searching for a place to live in the next few years.  I have to move out of my school apartment at the end of December.  Finally found a place after hours of looking, but it took it’s toll on the practice time. 

 For some reason during our round I was real tense, my arms were shaking a bit everytime I addressed the ball.  The front nine was actually pretty good, started off with a birdie on a Par 5, but had some bad holes and eventually shot 38.  We stopped for some food at the turn and after that I stopped shaking so much.  Apparently the shaking helped though because the back nine was abysmal.  I missed every green, had some course management mistakes that cost me, and over all felt I just couldn’t do anything right.  I shot a 43 for a total of 81, which is definitely not a score I felt like I should of shot after the past week of improvements.  I felt like during the round I wasn’t getting a good turn behind the ball and my swing was getting long and slow.  Therefore I hit some pretty weak shots.  I hit some pretty poor chips as well on the back nine and couldn’t get up and down to save my life.  I stayed after the round for another 45 minutes working on the chipping.  Tomorrow will be better, I look forward to it.