Home Club: North Manchester
Monday 20th June 2016: progress update…
Having spent time getting used to the change of equipment, I entered May full of confidence that I could get off my 11 handicap with the help of the upgrades and encouragement from Mizuno. Unfortunately, my competition scores have been outside the buffer zone on six occasions so I have gone up to 11.6 and therefore now have a 12 handicap. Unperturbed, I still have an inflated sense of confidence and still believe in my game.
Outside of qualifying competitions, I have been playing for my club in the local Alliance League and am unbeaten in matchplay with my regular partner Nigel Cannon, having won three and halved one in May and June. I also played in the ‘Luke Gilmartin Trophy’ at North Manchester GC, and with considerable help from Yuk Lin Yiu we won! I will have my name in gold letters on another board at my club.
Among my excuses for my handicap going in the wrong direction are (a) picking poor tee-times and getting the worst of the weather in Manchester (the rain has really been a problem for me); and (b) some mild back problems that resulted in me seeing an osteopath recommended by the club professional. His remit is to keep me playing golf, and after a couple of sessions we have made some good progress.
I’ve also been practising my short game and had a couple of lessons from our PGA pro, who has helped me make a few important changes. Firstly to my alignment, and secondly, a more controlled backswing. By shortening the swing I am striking the ball more consistently and feel more confident when playing into the green.
One alteration I have made myself is to use my Mizuno JPX EZ Driver a little less and hit more 3-woods off the tee. My worst scores on individual holes have come when I’ve been wayward off the tee, so on any par 4 of less than 380 yards, I’m now hitting the ‘spoon’. Confidence in my 5-wood is high so I don’t mind being further from the green as long as I am on the fairway. This seems to have been working, and in practice rounds I’ve been scoring well via this strategy.
Having ‘buffer zoned’ last weekend (level in a Bogey competition), I expect to start posting some better scores in the weeks to come – no excuses!
Monday 23rd May 2016: progress update…
I’m currently working on getting my new driver to go straight as I’m a bit erratic at the moment. I’m trying to get a better hip turn in my swing and that has been leaving the face open a bit so I’ve developed a fade. As a result, I’ve had a lesson from Jason Peel, the pro at North Manchester, to get my weight transfer working better and get my hands through a bit quicker. Now, if I commit to the hip turn and the weight transfer properly, I get a long straight drive with the Mizuno JPX EZ driver, currently set to 10.5 degrees neutral.
The JPX EZ 3-wood and 5-wood are going great and I just need to work out how far they are actually now going with my ‘Game Golf’ system out on the course in the dry. I’m guessing a bit at the moment, and seem to be going through the back of a few greens, which is encouraging in a way I guess, as it probably means they’re a little longer than my old clubs.
The JPX balls are great and while it’s difficult to specifically gauge the effect they are having on my game, I certainly have a great deal of confidence in them, which is really important to me.
However, my golf in general hasn’t gone too well recently by my high standards. The only handicap qualifier I have played to date was on 20th April when I carded a score of 89 so have received a +0.1 on my handicap. I’m not too distressed about this as I did go up a full shot at the start of 2015 before achieving a significant reduction during the rest of the season. On the plus side, with fellow member Danny Jones, I did win a ‘Finch Tour’ event at Manchester Golf Club on 22nd April.After a week’s holiday in Wales in early May the season is now in full swing at my club, so I look forward to hopefully reporting some more encouraging competition results in my next progress update in a few weeks’ time.
Wednesday 26th April 2016: full custom-fitting session at Celtic Manor…
Driver: Mizuno JPX EZ 10.5˚ draw, Orochi regular
3-wood: Mizuno JPX EZ 15˚, Orochi regular
5-wood: Mizuno JPX EZ 18˚, Orochi regular
Hybrid: Mizuno JPX EZ 4/22˚, Orochi regular
Irons 4-PW: Mizuno MP-25, NS Pro 950 stiff
Wedges: Mizuno S5 52˚/9˚ and 58˚/12˚, NS Pro 950 stiff
1/2″ longer than standard, 2˚ upright
Peter had never been fitted so we spent time establishing the correct lie angle and shaft length. He had great tempo and decent clubhead speed so we went for a slightly lighter shaft in a stiff flex. We added a 4-iron as I didn’t feel he needed the four wedges he was using, opting instead for a 58˚ as his most lofted. The JPX ball and JPX EZ driver really reduced Peter’s spin and improved his launch, yielding 20 more yards and a tighter dispersion.
My first fitting was comprehensive and beyond my expectations. The irons felt lighter, so it really surprised me that I hit them noticeably further than my own. The JPX ball was a real revelation, and I’m hoping the extra distance we’ve unlocked could be the key to reaching my goal. I’m already thinking 8.4!