Now normally I like to spend a Friday afternoon pursuing a solo 9 holes and getting in some on-course practice, but the current waterlogged state of Chilworth and other local courses is putting paid to that idea. Which set me thinking. We are often told that we should make our driving range sessions more purposeful, so I thought I would turn that notion into reality in the absence of an opportunity to play the course. I decided to create a chart of the shots required to play the 18 holes of Chilworth not including putts, ie one, two or three strokes per hole, with an indication of the club required in each instance. A copy of the chart may be seen here.
Armed with my chart attached to a clipboard, I set off to a rather damp driving range to play my imaginary round of golf. For each shot I visualised the view I would have on the course at that point and determined whether the outcome of the shot could be deemed to be successful. The sort of good news is that in 76% of cases it was. So what about the 24% where it wasn’t? Well, I clearly lost concentration as the round went on, as my success rate for the longer front 9 was 84%, dropping to only 64% for the back 9.
The cause of failure was in all instances the same – a push to the right. Not a slice, but a straight full-on push. The clubs at fault were the longer ones: 3 and 4 hybrids, 3 and 5 woods (though, bizarrely, the 3 wood was the best of those clubs, with an 80% success rate). Nice to know, I suppose, that I can wield anything from a wedge to a 5 iron with total success. Given that I am pretty sure I know the cause of those push shots (my recurring failure to properly turn my hips as I move in to impact) I now have something to work on when I next go to the range in the more usual practice mode.
As a way of breaking up the routine of range practice, I think my undercover round was a useful experience, with the added benefit of providing a focus for improvement. I shall certainly do it again at some point, whatever the weather.