Fighting Back: Rob Smith Golf Blog
What A Difference A Day Makes

On Sunday last week, I finally got to play my first round with my new Benross Hot Speed clubs which had been delivered whilst I was away for much of May.

Before this, I had only had the chance to use a couple of the irons in a lesson with my new coach, Paul Foston.

Happily, these had behaved extremely well and I was really fired up about trying out the lot. Indeed, over the next eight days at Tandridge, I was to be playing four times.

The first round was, understandably, a little tentative. It was really a case of me and the clubs starting to get to know one another, learning one another’s preferences and style, and creating a relationship for the future.

Most importantly, apart from a couple of howlers with the driver, I hit a several mid-irons that were as good as anything I have ever hit.

I worked hard to remember Paul’s advice on stance and alignment, and when I also managed to slow the backswing down, the results were very encouraging.

The following day, my partner and I were up against a pair who had beaten two of our friends in the previous round and whom we had been advised were bang in form.

Very kindly, they sprayed the ball all over the place on the front nine which allowed us to turn 5-up, and despite losing 10, 11 and 12, Tony and I held on to make it through to the third round for the first time in history.

During the week, Scott Nightingale at Benross very kindly responded to my request to try one of their new Anaconda putters.

It arrived on Friday, but I decided not to use it for my first medal which was going to be scary enough without switching away from the comfort blanket of my old Ping Cushin which I have been using for at least 25 years.

To put myself into a medal with a new swing and new clubs was optimistic at best, and so it proved as a No Return made its way into the record books and another decimal point was added to my handicap.

I had known this would be too much too soon, and in trying to play safe during the round I had reverted to old, bad habits – completely not the thing to do!

Although dispirited, I knew the reasons and felt even more determined to put things right in the friendly match on Sunday.

And so it was that despite an opening hole where I spent no time at all on short grass, I knuckled down from the 2nd, concentrated hard on alignment and a slow takeaway, and received the ultimate accolade when our opponents told me I was really hacking them off!

I used my new Casino putter for the first time, we fell in love, Neil and I won the match, and I figured I had played better than handicap for the first time since this exercise began.

The differences between Saturday and Sunday are obvious. Concentrate on and commit to what your coach is telling you. Trust your clubs and your swing. Be positive.

I am off to Mallorca with a group of friends this week to play four new courses, and although my homework tells me there is a lot of water on them, I cannot wait to try and build on this confidence before I report back to Paul Foston next week for another lesson.