Getting Back in The Swing of Things
by Dusty Schmidt | Published: Jan 14, '12
This week was really huge for my golf game. I got a lot of hard work done. I am feeling much more comfortable with everything, no question.
I started off the week playing a practice round on Monday for a 3 day event in Oceanside, CA. The course was bizarre and pretty bad to be honest. The course was called Arrow Wood Golf Club and it was a shortish course (only 6,800 yards) with fairly wide fairways. The only rub was that on about 75% of the holes if you did miss the fairway by more than 5-10 yards, you were going to either be in a hazard or OB. As long as you were hitting it decently, you should tear it up. But if you got a little wild off the tee, you were going to be in for a very long day.
Fortunately for me I was striping it off the tee. I only missed 4 fairways the whole tournament and they were mostly just a few yards off the short grass. I also hit some really nice iron shots and put myself in a great position to shoot some low scores. Unfortunately my chipping and putting (which is usually the best part of my game) was abysmal and that cost me a chance to win the golf tournament.
On day 1 I shot 74 and it was the best tee to green 74 I have ever shot. If I had any clue what I was doing around the greens, I would have shot 65. I think I missed 6 putts inside of 5 feet and missed a boatload of putts aside from those short ones that I could have made. I had one stretch where I 3 putted 3 holes in a row from inside 12 feet for birdie. Let’s just say I wasn’t a happy camper after that!
After such a poor putting performance, I spent 2 hours before the round on day 2 working on my putting. That meant an early wake up call for a poker player, but you gotta do what you gotta do. The work paid off quite nicely and by the time I got to the 15th tee, I was 5 under par for the round. I hit a 5 iron in the bunker and chunked my bunker shot some 50 feet away and 3 putted. I made some routine pars on 16 and 17 and then hit my tee shot down the middle on 18. The hole location was cur right over the water but I wasn’t too concerned about that. Maybe I should have been. I hit my 9 iron right at the flag but didn’t completely flush it and it landed about 6 feet from the pin and spun back into the water and I made a 6! So I gave back a potentially good round and finished with a 70.
Day 3 was more of the same. I missed 1 fairway and 4 greens (3 of which were on the fringe) and made nothing and shot 71. That should have gotten me a small paycheck of $500, but I learned that I was penalized 2 strokes for something that happened on day 1. On day 1 I hit it into the fairway bunker on 18 and it had a big lip on it. I played the shot out of the bunker and went for the green which was right over the lake. I thought I hit a pretty good shot, but when I ran out of the bunker to see where it went, I saw a splash so I thought it went in the lake somehow. I wasn’t sure though because I thought I hit a good shot so I decided to play a provisional ball in case it went in the water. I figured I could play a provisional ball and then go up to the green to see if my ball cleared the hazard and save the group some time. As I had just dropped the ball, a player in my group said that my ball was on the green about 20 feet from the hole. I went to pick up my provisional ball and the guy told me not to and he thought I might have to accept the penalty by virtue of dropping the ball.
I decided to play 2 balls which is allowed under the rules in these cases and take it up with a rules official. When I got into the clubhouse he told me that there was no penalty. Later on the rules official called the USGA and they said the official made the wrong ruling and I ended up having to add 2 strokes and that cost me a paycheck unfortunately. It is obviously a stupid rule and I thought a lot about it and I have no idea how it makes logical sense to penalize a player in that spot. I hit the ball on the green 20 feet away and somehow by virtue of dropping a ball on the ground I somehow get 2 strokes added! Oh well, it is a stupid rule, but I need to know them all since there is nothing I can do to change them so you live and you learn.
I had a great lesson yesterday with a guy named John Ray Leary who is someone I grew up playing junior golf with. He has some PGA tour experience and is now doing some coaching. I have been working with Michael Neff in Portland, but needed someone to keep an eye on me while I am in California so it is great to get to work a little with John since they both have similar beliefs on the golf swing. It is great to have great coaches whether I am in Oregon or California so I am pretty excited about that.
It has been fun trying to work on the game of golf the way I work on my poker game. Looking back, I didn’t know how to practice golf anywhere near as good as I do now. I feel now like I understand the formula for how to work on things whether it be golf, poker or anything truthfully. It is important to practice and prepare for everything you do in the most efficient and sensible manner possible. The work I have done with poker is undoubtedly going to be huge for my golf game. It has been a lot like working on poker to be honest. Especially when I get into the swing labs and I can see that for example a PGA tour player might have there shoulders tilted at 42 degrees (I am making these numbers up) and I am at 47 degrees, then I need to obviously adjust that. Just like in HEM where I might see that a great player check raises 15% in certain spots, if I am only doing it 7%, I might want to work on increasing that number. So it has been quite fun to work on my golf game in a way that I can easily relate to with poker.
Next week I have an event on Monday at El Camino CC and I might play one on Wednesday at Brookside golf club next to the Rose Bowl. I love that golf course, but I need to look for a place to live down here so I may have to take that day to find a place.
So to wrap it up, I have shot 74-74-70-71 in my 4 tournament rounds so far to start my journey. All in all, I am already seeing improvement and while I am not setting the world on fire, all in all it is not a terrible start given where I am coming from.
The clock is really ticking before Cardoza takes over the rights to my books. We are approaching “last call” for original versions of my books. If you are interested in my books, please go to Dustyschmidt.net and enter code DUSTY to receive 50% off the already reduced price. I think you can get both of my books for something like $25 once you apply the discount, so please take advantage of these cheap prices before they go up substantially when Cardoza takes over.