Handicaps and hybrids

It is fair to say that my game has not been in great shape in recent months. Go back a while and I was in the prizes pretty much every Tuesday morning, but of late my name has been absent from the winners’ list announced over post-round coffee and bacon roll in the clubhouse. And the harder I tried, the worse I seemed to get. So it was with a mixture of relief and disbelief that the other week I found myself turning a pretty solid performance on the front nine. And not just that, but holding it together on the home leg as well. End result: an even 20 points on both front and back nines, best score on the day and a cut in my handicap to 23, my lowest so far. After a period during which it had been slipping by 0.1 pretty much week on week, that did feel good. Mind you, the following Tuesday, it was back to slash and burn golf again: I’m sure there’s some homely adage involving steps forward and steps backwards that describes my golfing prowess.

Phil looks as bewildered as I am by his hybrid

Phil looks as bewildered as I am by his hybrid

That said, I do feel that maintaining a focus on right knee and left shoulder, as mentioned in a previous post, is having a positive effect on my swing plane, and there is even a danger of an element of consistency creeping in. One of the clubs that this has helped me with most is the hybrid. Now, I have enjoyed a less than totally harmonious relationship with my hybrid, or hybrids, over the twelve months that I have been playing regularly. Ironically, some of my best shots in retrospect were played with my late lamented Big Bertha Diablo 3 hybrid, but I have never really felt at ease with the club that is hailed as the answer to every weekend hacker’s prayers. They might be relatively easy to hit, but they do, in my hands at any rate, have a tendency to metamorphose into hook machines and curl the ball into the longer stuff down the left hand side of the fairway. And that despite my being the owner of what was by all accounts the best hybrid money could buy in 2014, the Callaway X2 Hot (a number 4 22 degree affair in my case). I say was, because the X2 Hot line is, of course, now old technology and has been superseded by the reborn Big Bertha range. Plus ça change, etc, etc.

X2 Hot Hybrid

X2 Hot Hybrid

But, by thinking about maintaining some degree of flex in the right knee and by fixing some unsuspecting blade of grass in front of the ball with the kind of stare encouraged by obsessive compulsive tendencies, I have found that the hybrid will after all send the ball soaring off in the intended direction and resisting any inclination to suddenly veer off to the left. Now that is pleasing. So much so that I might almost have overcome the resistance I had developed to taking it out of the bag when standing 180 to 190 yards out. And I am once again considering getting a 19 degree version to complete my bag. Now that’s progress.

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