Yesterday I played in the Queen of the Valley Hospital Foundation’s Day for the Queen fundraising golf tournament. The format of the event was a shamble, which I enjoyed immensely and wrote about extensively on my Examiner golf blog. The basics of a shamble are this: everyone tees off, you choose the best ball to play from, then everyone plays their own ball in from there and you record your two lowest net scores.
It made for two shots at redemption on every hole: off the tee, and then into the green. As a team we needed to make sure we used two drives of each player by the end of the round. I’d played a similar format tournament at Sonoma Golf Club last summer, where we each needed three drives on the card. I started off hot, but my group kept opting to go for comparable drives, figuring that I’d be strong through the end of the round. By the time we made our turn, I still needed a couple more drives and felt the pressure mounting.
I related this story to my group before we started the tournament, and then proceeded to start red-hot off of the tee. On the first hole it was a close choice between my ball and another, but mine was on a flat lie, and just a little closer to the hole. On the fifth hole I outdrove the group with my 3-wood, crushing a career drive 183 yards (I measured it backwards with the rangefinders). I had my drives out of the way by our fifth hole.
Interestingly enough, as the day wore on my drives started to fade. Literally. After crushing drives straight down the pipe, I suddenly began slicing everything. Look at the setup on the 18th tee, our 10th hole of the day:
Setup seems ok. My shoulders are a little rounded, and back a little bent, but I like the distance from the ball, and stance. Interesting to note that I’m setup for the right side of the fairway, thinking draw, then hitting slice. The top of the takeaway on the next shot is revealing:
The club angle at the top is far too upright. Looks like I am set up to return the club back to the ball outside in, playing slice only. Funny thing: on the next hole, I set up facing the left side of the fairway expecting to play a fade, relaxed, swung inside-out, and crushed it perfectly straight…out of the fairway.
My remedy was to pull out my driver and truly swing easier. I started hitting the fairway again, and managed to relax my swing overall. But I never would have known what the problem was if I hadn’t asked one of my teammates to snap some photos of me. Interesting to note, and I’m going to try and make a habit of using a camera on occassion.
My putting was on fire, until I started thinking about what each putt meant. But early on I was dropping huge putts for net birdies and even a net eagle. I missed two crucial putts on the last four holes, and re-grouped to make the only birdie on our final hole of the day, a downhill, 186-yard par-3. In fact, it was my drive and my putt that gave us our only birdie on that hole. Gotta love high handicaps and net birds.