Monday, October 14, 2013

Swing Thoughts: one week to go

En route to Randall's Island, where I served detention this weekend.
The entry deadline has passed, the field looks to be set and there's just one week to go until the first-ever Brooklyn Open. I just now read over some of the official tournament documentation and frankly I'm feeling a little freaked out right now.

The first tee time is supposedly at 7:30am.

I'm not much of a morning person, so playing out in my mind some worst-case (i.e. early tee-time) scenarios, I am reeling a little bit.

In order to settle the game-day nerves as best as possible, I figure I'd need to arrive at the course at least a solid hour before tee time so I can hit plenty of chips, putts and full shots on the range.

It's roughly a half-hour drive from my home to Marine Park GC. Obviously I'll have to study some traffic patterns this week to see if traffic jams will necessitate some more drive-time; still, at best I'd need to leave home no later than 6. (Sunrise by the way happens at 7am around here.)

Which means I'd have to set the alarm for 5 am. Honestly that prospect is bothering more than anything else right now. Once I get the actual tee time I'll post another update and then we can really start with the hand-wringing, but nevertheless as of right now I've begun to gear up mentally for the worst.


Going into the tournament my game is far from where I hoped it'd be. A couple weeks ago I thought it a good idea to try and implement some, you know, enormous changes to how I swing. Try to once and for all get rid of an inside takeaway that I've habituated over, I don't know, several years. Okay!

Obviously that leaves me caught between bases in a serious pickle right now. Reflecting on it in between driving range swings this weekend, I wondered if maybe this was a sort of a malignant subconscious attempt to craft myself a premade-excuse for a poor showing in the tourney.

But I don't think that's the case. Playing this event might be kind of a big deal for me personally as it'll be my first, but it's still just an inconsequential little one-day handicap tourney. A hit 'n' giggle really. Trying to achieve a rock-solid swing is something I've been pursuing for the longest time and I'd probably be in this same tangle even if there was no tournament.

So anyways what prompted all this was taking some hard looks at the swing mirror and realizing some ugly truth about the way I go about things. Specifically there's a takeaway that's too inside. Along that inside path, the club gets too far behind me at the top and from there I have to either come over the top or else try to sling it out, from underneath the plane. Whatever. But okay, I accept it.

Still sucking it too far inside on the takeaway, but an improvement.
Basically I have had to come to terms with the fact that for the whole time I've been playing, I've had a distorted view of the proper plane, and also in all this time I've never really been in a solid position at the top--garden variety suckage, I know. (Sorry--I never meant for this blog to become a journal for all my hacky swing thoughts but hey, this is my world right now.)

I've started to change. I've started to see glimmers of light, which means perceiving the plane formed by the shaft at address, and moving the club back more along that. It feels pretty weird but video evidence is showing me that we're on the right track.

Here I am at the top. Clubface still shut but I'm not even going to try to worry about that now. The shaft is still across the line but only slightly now--a big improvement.
I spent a good part of Saturday in a self-imposed detention at Randall's Island. I did something I've never done before which is consume two big buckets of balls all by myself. Due to limited bike portage I only brought a wedge, couple of irons and driver. I'll be honest it was pretty rough. The 8-iron was working pretty well with the new action, but I couldn't manage to hit a 4-iron or driver. I practically debased myself trying. Blustery winds only added to the futility. Frankly it was disturbing to watch.

If this was a pitch-and-putt tournament, I'd feel pretty darn confident right now. But it's not. Based on preliminary indications it's going to be about 7,000 yards of golf. Which means the long clubs can't hide in the bag that day. None of them. The driver must be used on several holes, and the par 3's are all long.

So I have exactly a week to get myself straight. If I don't, I could very well find myself resorting an emergency plan B (or C) and teeing off with short clubs, playing every hole like a par 5. That would be unfortunate and a worst-case scenario, but I'd rather do that than hit a bunch of skanky uncontrollable low hooks off the tee in a tournament situation.


On another topic, I wanted to say thanks to everyone reading this blog. According to the Legitimategolf IT department, web traffic has been growing steadily since the get-go and that is really satisfying. Last week in particular was a banner week in terms of hits.

Spam comments have been flowing in, and while annoying, at least they let you know that you've achieved a certain visibility on the internet. And recently we got our first genuine troll comment, and while it sent me into a brief rage initially, that also lets us know that the audience is growing.

We know that you have a choice in time-wasting sites on the Internet, and so we thank you for choosing


  1. Sounds nerve-wracking, this whole process. I f around with my swing constantly too, and am in the process of correcting/changing stuff. Can't imagine trying to compete in a tournament right now. Just be confident that you have the ability to cobble together (your words) a decent enough score even if you're not hitting it as good as you'd like.

    At least you're putting yourself out there regardless. Good for you.

    BTW, did you delete the troll comment?

    1. Thanks for the solidarity man. Every little bit helps in these precarious times. The troll comment, it's still there in the Rockaway Beach post. After cooling off I posted a fairly level-headed reply.

  2. The first golf tournament, I remember mine very well. I was so worried about topping the opening drive (or worse) that I was ready to puke. I didn't so I expect you will do fine too. Don't change your game, just play the usual round with one exception. When faced with a really tough shot, dial it back and play safe. Avoid the triples and worse.

    1. That's some good advice BK and you know what, I am going to take it. No need to attempt heroics, a solid disaster free round would be a coup. And about the first tee shot, it's a par 5 so at least I'll have some options if I start getting the pukey feelings--if things get really bad I'll tee off with a short iron.

    2. Short iron? No way man. Let it rip on the first tee. You know how to play this game. Don't change your style. You've seen and played with gents and jerks. Nothing should surprise you. Play it like you always do; with attitude.
      Good hunting my friend.


    3. You are right, I should just let it rip. Who cares. 5-wood it is.

  3. If in general you hit your fairway woods properly from the tee, I would use a 3 wood on the first tee. Much less that can go wrong: even if you top it a bit, it'll be out there, mostly straight, with no damage done as it's a par 5. The first time I had that puky feeling on the first tee, I went with driver (it was a long par 4 though), and that was a fairly big mistake...

    I am sure you'll do fine. Go Legit!

    1. I'm not crazy about all this topping talk, but thanks for the encouragement Duff!


Don't spam me bro.