As some of you may know from my previous blog entry I am on a quest for single figures this season. Following on from my winter form I honestly thought that it would be a formality this year, ever the optimist me.

I had booked lessons with my pro and he worked hard on my grip trying unsuccessfully to convert me from my baseball to an overlap, having tried an overlap grip with limited success on the advice of some very knowledgeable GM forum members before, I sadly returned to the baseball grip as I was never really comfortable with the change.

The main thing I worked on was a wider stance with the driver as I had a tendency to lean back and not shift my weight properly and would end up with a wicked slice on my drives, as J_F and Boabski know about only too well after the day out at Blairgowrie. After a few weeks working with the pro everything was going well, I was hitting the drives further, straighter and occasionally with a little draw.

We also worked on my alignment as I was sending everything left of the target with my irons, the problem was that I was getting too close to the ball at address yet again, despite getting advice before on this very fault it must take a while to penetrate my thick skull.

It was time for the opening medal of the year, I was filled with confidence and had great expectations and as expected I got off to a flier, NOT. I shot 10 over my handicap of 14, what had gone wrong? From what I can remember as I was in a state of shock, most of it was down to my poor short game not something I am used to as this was supposed to be my strong point.

After analysing every shot in the bar afterwards, and so as not to dent my confidence I put this poor round down to myself maybe expecting to much too quickly and started to look forward to the next medal round in a weeks time where I could redeem myself.

I spent a bit of time during the week working on my chipping and putting with great results, and felt I was ready to get the cut I thought I deserved in the medal on Saturday.

Alas on the first tee it all started to go wrong again, I sent my tee shot wildly left into all sorts of trouble and with my confidence now shot I proceeded once more to have a nightmare round, up +1 again.

It was the same for the next three weeks something always happened to knock my confidence and I would then start chasing shots and finish by hacking my way around the rest of the course, having started the season at 13.5 I was now at 14 and heading in the wrong direction.

Not sure what else to do to correct this slide, I sought out more advice from the pro, he told me to keep working hard and that it would all fall into place one day, I needed that day to be sometime soon for the sake of my sanity.

So I kept working on my game during the week and played the odd full round also, what was really encouraging was the fact that in most of these bounce games I was shooting at or below my handicap so it couldn’t all be bad could it, something had to click and get me playing well in medals, my god it just had to.

The something turned out to be some sound advice after the latest crash in a medal from my mate Mike, he said I always started well on the front 9 and would be well under par here, but when we got to the tenth tee I would start thinking about what I needed to score on the back 9 to break par, and that I was thinking ahead to 14 + 15 where my game usually falls apart rather than concentrating on the hole I am playing, basically to take it one hole at a time and try not to worry too much about the odd bad hole.

With Mike’s advice I headed out for a match play tie on the Monday and tried to concentrate on nothing other than the next shot, no easy thing to do by the way especially for someone who has the attention span of a goldfish. Anyway I started of with 4 straight pars and went on to win the tie 6+5.

I entered the Tuesday medal the following day and played my best medal round ever, a scratch 78 nett 64 for my first big cut of the year. Everything was now rosy in Toad’s golfing world.

So to the Saturday medal four days after my greatest medal round I managed to better that with a 75 nett 63, I was now down to 10.7 a cut of 3.3 over a couple of weeks and well on my way to single figures.

In the last two medals I have hit buffer zone so thankfully I am coping well with the big cut in such a short space of time, I was scared that maybe it was just a couple of freak results that you get now and again, and that I would start climbing slowly back towards 14.

Thankfully that is not the case, and after my poor start I am now looking forward to the rest of the season and will keep you updated with my progress in the eternal quest.

Toad