I had my second lesson today (well, when I wrote this; I forgot to post it) with Don Byrd at the Golf Club of California. The lesson started off … poorly. I had to run some errands after the lesson. Naturally, I forgot a mask and had to go back and get it. Then I had to go get gas. So while I left nearly an hour before my lesson, I was running very very late.
Still, I got there right as Don was finishing his previous lesson so no harm, no foul. He picked me up and we went over to the range.
We talked about my (lack of) practice over the past few weeks. I mean, I’ve been to the range two times, have putted several times, and played once. He did not want to hear about my success at Emerald Isle (well he did) but I don’t think he wanted to read my blog then and there.
Anyway, we hit about 10 pitching wedge shots and 10 8 iron shots at the range and he worked on adjusting my stance and correctly hinging my wrists. The pitching wedge shots were okay (not nearly as good as last time) and the 8 iron shots … were not great. I was struggling to hit the ball straight since I was busy trying to align my wrists and my elbows with my chakras in my knees, shoulders, and feet.
Golf is struggling and I was practicing golf, man.
Then he said, “Let’s hop in the cart and take it out to the course.”
I mean, I knew that I was eventually going to do this. But it was a mixture of excitement (yippe! golf!) and trepidation (what about my errands! Also, what about my course plan!?)
So … off we went. We got to the first tee box … and then we went past the black tees, past the blue tees, past the white tees, all the way to the red tees. Which, honestly, I should be playing. I’m very, very bad at golf.
So one thing that was problematic was that I wasn’t able to my usual “take notes after each shot” routine which is what I’d like to do.
Anyway: Hole 1 on the Golf Club of California is a straightaway par 4 with bunkers that protect you from the hazard long of the fairway and a lateral hazard/wetland right. There’s a severe dogleg right at the green to use the hazard to protect it.
Don had me hit 8 iron off the tee which I promptly chunked. Then I hit a long fade (I think). That’s what I would have hit there anyway — my goal was to get to 120 yards out or so.
I also wanted to tell him that I hit one ball usually and just play that. But it was a lesson and I was very self conscious that I was justifying my poor play, in general. So I didn’t tell him this.
So we approached the first ball and I promptly hit a big slice out of bounds with my 8 iron. But I hit the second one pretty well into the fairway again, maybe … xxx yards out? I don’t remember.
I got to my second ball in the middle of the fairway and hit my pitching wedge very crappily and out of bounds. Then I hit my second shot really well onto the green.
Then when I got to my second ball, he told me to hit a sand wedge. And so I did, it was a sand wedge that stuck to the green and spun back. I hit a good shot!
I putted both balls on the green close and Don conceded to me each gimme putt. It’s kind of hard to calculate a real score on this one, because … i would have made different choices. And also would have written down what I did. I think I actually made one of the putts from about 5 yards.
Don also to me to stop trying to read putts and just try to get the distance right. “Once you get the distance right, your mind will compensate for that in line with the break.”
But I was in the fairway the whole time. I was so jazzed to be playing golf that I didn’t really pay attention to what he was saying.
The second hole we drove past all the other tees to the front tee again. I suggested that I would probably hit driver here since there wasn’t a downside but Don said, “You want to build on success. Sure you could hit driver but most people aren’t thinking of hitting a distance. They’re thinking of hitting it as far as the ball can go.”
I told him I didn’t think about that but I hit 8 iron instead.
So no driver. Instead, it was a pure, 150 yard 8 iron to the left side of the tee into the fairway. Then another 8 iron to the end of the fairway (with a big slice but leaving me in a decent position based on how I aimed it). Still in the fairway though.
That left me a PW slightly over a tree. I completely missed my aiming point and went long and right with my PW.
That left me a very long chip from off the green. However, I did pretty fantastic and got the ball to a concession distance. That’d be a 4, thank you very much! (I mean, i missed that second putt multiple times…)
The third hole I had another shot that I hit really well off the tee. (8 iron again). Then on my second shot, I punted my 8 iron quite a bit left after about 400 practice swings. Fortunately, it hit a tree and bounced out, leaving me a tricky pitch shot over a bunker. But I pitched it well over the bunker and onto the green.
It rolled out a bit, leaving me a 6 yard putt or so that I completely ignored what Don was saying. I missed the putt like 2 times. The second time, I said, I missed high. Don said: “Just shoot straight!” So I did and made the putt, go figure.
Those kind of successes on the course make me giddy. “See, daddy, I did the thing you ASKED me to do.” In this case, it was a bit more impacted by the fact that I was, in fact, not doing the thing he asked. Then I did it and I would have had another par.
So it was really exciting to get to play. My drills are going to be hitting tees at the park and trying to putt regularly. We’ll see how that goes.
Since I have played with Don, I have practiced putting 3 times at a course and 1 time at home, and have practiced my full swing 5 times (2 times at a range). I also did some chipping practice that went very well too.
Playing on 7/15 with some friends so I will likely have a lesson … at some point after that?
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