Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day 2 at Pinehurst Golf Academy: Humiliation or Revelation?

I began Day 2 of the Pinehurst Golf Academy feeling pretty anxious about my game and the fixes I needed to make. But, went into the day with an open mind. This is what I'm hear for. It's not their fault that I have a homemade swing that could look like Charles Barkley's on any given day (please note that he was never referenced when they compared my swing. but then, they didn't reference much of anyone).

Aside: Note to Pinehurst. There are early risers here. And coffee drinkers. But no in room coffee makers. 5 am is a better time to begin serving coffee.

After breakfast and heading back over to the academy, we started our day with routines and practice "class." Nothing really shocking, but reinforced. And they gave us a deck of cards to play "short games." Might be fun in Michigan when we're looking for more reasons to stay out on the course. I know that I'm going to have to figure out a way to work in more practice if I'm going to be able to keep improving. Saturday and Sunday mornings before playing just won't cut it.

After Eric finishes up class, we head to the range for some more full swing work. Jeff starts off with me, again, reinforcing especially my backswing and standing tall, exaggerating my backswing. Feels less foreign than Day 1, but it is a big change and often feels like I'm trying to dislocate my right shoulder. But, it's working. Practice swing. Hit ball. Practice swing. Hit ball. Step and repeat. Over and over. Takes me to a mirror to see the back swing. Asks me if I'm really left handed. Yes. Asks me if I ever played golf right handed. Uh oh. Is the reality that I am so "broken" that I need to start over and play right handed? But, then back to hitting balls and practicing. It's clicking. Then Brian comes over. Asks if I've ever had my clubs fitted. No -- how easy is it for a left handed woman, who is also short, be able to have all of the shafts and clubs to be fitted properly? Well, probably not that hard, but I'm an immediate kind of person and can walk out of the PGA Superstore with a set of clubs. He comes back with a seven iron that is slightly shorter than my clubs. Feels pretty good, but not entirely sure right now if that's making a difference. Everything is different.

Then Eric comes over -- Eric is in charge of the Academy -- works with me some more. Then break time and time for sand play. Paul (who we figured out finally sounds like Damon Wayans and we're giggling thinking of him with that hat he wore in In Living Color) does the demonstration. Clearly has done this demo before because he's hitting four balls out of the sand at the same time, backwards balls, four irons with a lip, etc. I'm so "obsessed" with my other game that it's hard to commit to the bunker play.

Then putting analysis (big surprise that they determined that I have a longer back stroke and decelarate on my return). Then putting practice. Finally lunch and then we're going to go back onto the course for some on course training. We get Eric.

On course is interesting because we hit off the tee -- them forcing me to hit my driver, which is going more forward, but still pretty awful. After our tee shots, head to different places. 150 yards out. 125 yards out. Shot over a bunker onto the green. Side hill down hill lie to the pin. Long putt off the green. Short putt off the green. I'm taken away in the middle of it for some video. And come back for one more hole with Eric. When he's getting ready to head back to the Academy, suggests that I go with him back for more range instruction. Wants to synch my "new backswing" with follow through. Sounds good. How often does one get the chance to have instruction like this?

Back on the range, Eric sets up a station for me and works on my follow through. More out. Feels like I'm hitting a baseball compared to where I was. Foreign, but when a couple go where they are supposed to, it feels so "simple." Alternates me between my 7 iron and 3 wood (yes, the 3 wood). 7 iron grooves in pretty easily. 3 wood -- harder. But having not hit this club in almost a year, can't expect it to "work" as easily (Kris, one of the other selections had the opposite. Wouldn't hit his irons). Practice swing. Hit ball. Practice swing. Hit ball. Step and repeat. A lot of golf balls. Eventually my body didn't really want to hit the ball. But Paul came and gave me a couple of final "checks/fixes" and I hit a couple of great 3 woods before ending for the day.

Shower. Dinner with Brad, Kris and Dan and Tim who are producing this segment. While we've interacted with the rest of the people in the academy, we do spend more time together in our group, going through the same experience. Couple of drinks and then bed. We're all dragging a bit. This is a lot of golf.

Day 3. Swing analysis: then and now. Wrap up. Then back to Dallas.

I go to bed feeling pretty good -- actually better than pretty good -- about my swing.

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