Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Lesson 3 of 4 with PGA Professional Jamie Smith
Lesson 3 of 4 With Jamie Smith, PGA Pro:
Leave work a few minute early for my 1pm lesson with Jamie at Bow Creek, giving me plenty of time to get there and be ready. Before I am out of my car, he is in his cart picking me up from the parking lot. The lesson starts before we leave the lot, he asks me, about an e-mail I sent him the day before. I e-mailed him after Friday's lesson, I played that afternoon with some co-workers, and I did well, shooting an 87. Saturday comes, and I play with Joe Cippolini and his group of guys at Honey Bee, and I proceed to shoot the worst round in about 8 months, a 101.
"John," he says, " Today's lesson we are going to find out where you head is at, because your swing is coming along." We jump in his cart, go to the club house and pick up his clubs. He is playing the New Burners but with Rife KBX steel shafts, tell me the combo gives him a forgiving iron with a fitting pro players shaft to do everything he needs to do with a club.
We ride right out onto the course for a playing lesson, 3 holes to test my swing, but more importantly, to see what I am thinking on the golf course, and how I am executing it. This usually cost more for a playing lesson, but he insists it will be better for me, and we are only playing 3 holes, so there is no up charge. Guess I owe him lunch now in Myrtle Beach though.
First hole is a par 5, about 500 yards. This hole is pretty straight, some trouble with trees on the right coming into the fairway, but open and clear on the left side. He tells me so many people make the mistake of lining themselves up with the tee box, and not where you want to hit the shot. He tells me where do I want to be after this shot. I say fading the ball around the trees about 280 yards down the fairway, with a shot at the green for my second shot. He asks me out of ten times, how many times can you hit a shot like that? I say maybe 1, which is true. Lesson 1 is applied right there. Managing the course, and knowing what you can and can't do. "let's make you a bogey golfer first, and you will have your shots at the pars and a few birdies as you improve and manage the game." Words of wisdom! I aim to left of the trees on the right, right over the left ladies tee for a spot in the middle of the fairway, and Jamie and I both hit it, about 250 yards, in perfect shape. The next shot is about 250 yards, and I know I am not getting there with my 3 wood, so he says, cut that distance in half, aim for a spot you want to hit into the green from. Boom, a smooth, easy 8 iron and I am about 115 yards out. 9 iron into the green and a par is had. Nice, easy, smooth. My swing feels more natural, I am relaxed, not over swinging, and managing myself and the course.
Second hole is a par 5 also, but this one dog legs right, and straight out about 250-260 is a big bunker. I have learned my lesson and say, I am not pulling my driver, what do you think I ask. How about a nice 4 iron right down the middle, giving us a good second shot. We both hit them about 200-210 yards, in the middle and a perfect angle for a second shot. I know I can't get there with anything but a perfect 3 wood, so I hit an 8 iron to about 100 yards. He hits in to about 75 yards. We both then hit easy Pitches to the green, where I end up 2 putting for par.
Last hole, the confidence is there, a par 4, little to the left, but mostly straight, but woods on both sides of the hole. Lesson 2: "Why would you hit your driver here when you could hit a more reliable 3 wood. You will still have a short iron into the green either way, so go the safe route in case you do mishit the wood." Makes sense to me, both of us put our 3 woods out about 220 yards. (I make a note that I out drove him here as a silent moral victory in and of itself!). He hits a 9 into the green and pushes it a bit, trying the ride the wind back toward the center of the green. He doesn't get it to come back enough, he's off the green but pin high. I hit my 8 iron about 15 feet from the hole, pin high, easily the best shot I hit all day. It felt smooth, effortless and was right where I aim and I make the put for a birdie. (Chef and Egg, wish you where there for El Burro Loco reasons!)
Learning to manage the game and the course, trust in my irons and my swing, that's what I came away with, and wish I could go back and replay Saturday's round, I know I can improve upon it.
Tomorrow lunch time is my last lesson of the 4, and after work, off to play 9 holes with the guys from work and Chef. I am hoping to carry these lessons and attitude to the course tomorrow!