Thursday, April 1, 2010

Peering into the Darkness

Fishers Glen Driving Range
4717 Fishers Lane
Philadelphia, Pa

Last night I made my third pilgrimage to the practice range this season. It was a wonderful, warm evening and I was expecting to find a fair amount of fellow golfers hammering balls off the tees. Imagine my surprise when I arrived shortly before 7 p.m. and found the range completely empty.
Deciding it was time to step-up my practice, I went for a medium bucket of balls. My plan was to use this practice session to hit my middle irons--7-iron, 6-iron, 5-iron, 4-iron--and hybrid, as well as a few fairway woods if I had any golf balls remaining. I took my time, rehearsing my pre-shot routine before hitting a golf ball, and my practice session took about an hour.

I warmed up with some stretching and then hit 10 sand wedges, starting with easy chips and working up to a full swing. My practice session then went as follows:

  • 7-iron -- 15 balls
  • 6-iron -- 15 balls
  • 5-iron -- 15 balls
  • 4-iron -- 10 balls
  • Hybrid -- 10 balls
  • 7-wood -- 4 balls
  • 3-wood -- 2 balls

I tried not to focus on the results of each shot, but concentrated on my tempo--using a 1-2 takeaway and swing, my alignment using my alignment sticks and making solid contact on each shot. I did well with the 7-irons, but hit a lot of fat shots with the 6-iron. The 5-iron saw my tempo improve and my contact was crisper, but I had mixed results with the 4-iron. I'm not certain I will carry the 4-iron this season, but I wanted to work with it as I make my decision. I hit the hybrid really well, with only a few pulled shots. The 7-wood was not pretty. I used my last two balls to hit my 3-wood off the tee, imagining in each instance that I was standing on the tee at the 18th Hole and needed to hit the fairway. Mission accomplished on both swings.
I feel my swing is in much better shape at this point in the season than it was a year ago. My next practice session focus on the short game, which means heading to Juniata Golf Club's practice green for some putting and chipping. Then it may be onto the course after that.