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A bit about my game

written by Steve Harris 04/05/2015

So thought I do a little blog about my game and pose a question.  Love to hear your thoughts…

17 Hole at Romsey Golf Club.  Decked out in my Bunker gear #bunkerstyle

17th Hole at Romsey Golf Club. Decked out in my Bunker gear #bunkerstyle

I properly started golf at about 15, initially joining a club called Wellow GC in November 1994.   In spring 1995 I joined Romsey Golf Club and have been a member ever since.  Most of my friends also joined Romsey at the same time.

I would thoroughly recommend any young golfers to join a club and get involved in the junior sections.   As part of the Romsey Junior section we played against many other clubs home and away. I got to play some excellent courses in the area. We never took the competition too seriously but always had a great time. Such opportunity for free golf at other course is something you really take for granted.

Starting at a 24 handicap I rapidly got down to 10 by 17 years old. I then struggled to get much lower, fluctuating between 9 and 11 for the next 15 years. Unfortunately I struggled with a serious case of the snap hooks! Ugly, unpredictable, and destructive, anyone who has suffered from this ailment will know the pain all too well. This placed a significant pressure on the short game and recovery which saved me on many occasions.

About 3 years ago I made some changes to my grip. I had noticed that the club was always twisted closed following a shot.   I could feel myself trying to fight the natural tendency of the club face through the whole swing.   Even lessons had not identified this as a major issue, my gut feel is that my left hand was twisting before initiating the backswing.

I made some simple changes to neutralise my grip and it rapidly changed my game. More fairways, better strikes and more consistency. I dropped from a 10 handicap in March 2012 to a 7 handicap now. I briefly got down to 6.4 at the end of last year but a couple of rounds over my handicap recently have returned me to a more realistic position. It’s still not perfect and I would describe my game as functional as opposed to spectacular, however on my day I have some good golf in my locker!

For a fairly tall guy (6′ 1) I am certainly not a long hitter. The average carry for my driver is between 200 to 220 yards. My driving is however normally fairly straight now, apart from the odd big block, or occasional hook. It’s certainly far better than when I was younger

My long to mid iron play is a struggle at times so I rely on the use of hybrids to replace 3,4 and 5 irons. The lowest iron I use is a 6 iron which I only hit about 150 – 155 yards. I do struggle with consistency of strike and greens in regulation percentage is probably lower than my average single figure handicapper.

My short game has been a saviour for many years. I am no Seve by any means, but I can craft a few shots, get up and down from some rather odd spots, and can normally whole some clutch putts.

Interestingly my putting has suffered in the last few rounds. I played in a club stableford on Bank Holiday Monday.   Hitting 12 out of 14 fairways in regulation and 10 out of 18 greens, I should have carded a much better score than 34 points (+9 gross).   I must have missed 6 or 7 very makeable putts and 3 putted on 4 occasions! At the end of the round I discovered my grip was damaged on the putter had actually become twisted to the left causing me to pull most of my putts. After a trip to the proshop I have had a new grip fitted (in the correct position) so hopefully this will now be resolved.

My game fits well with the course I am a member. With Romsey you don’t need to be long. Just straight with good short game. Romsey rewards accuracy over distance.  It requires short accurate tee shots, quality short irons, and confident putting.   Quality players who average 270+ off the tee wont need their drivers (or even 3 woods) in good conditions.   However they will need their ‘A game’ with wedges and short irons.   It’s a course that can make even a very good player look silly at times.

In regards to my swing, strike, and consistency I feel I am at a crossroads with a decision to make about my game. I would appreciate any thoughts or advice.   I probably won’t get much lower than 6/7 with my current game. Whilst functional, it lacks the quality of ball strike to get to a 4/5 handicap. I feel I have to consider whether an investment in lessons, and accepting I could need some fairly major changes to coil, turn and club path, is the right thing.   I have a little boy (9 months) and a busy job so significant time for practice is not likely to be forthcoming.   I also may need to undo years of muscle memory.   However part of me really wants to give it a go.   I do sometimes watch enviously my peers of similar handicaps who crush towering irons and boom drives.   I then step up and ‘tap’ it down the middle, or fashion a functional iron shot to the green.

Something I need to decide over the next few weeks I suppose.

Answers on a postcard people…!

Happy Golfing


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