Erratic [ ih-rat-ik ]
Adjective: Having no certain or definite course; wandering; not fixed: erratic swing.
Other words besides “erratic” that come to mind when describing my golf game these days are: inconsistent, flighty, unreliable, meandering and unpredictable. To put it simply, I am scratching my head trying to figure out what is going on with my game. My last 10 scores have been 81, 84, 87, 92, 90, 84, 87, 81, 88 and 79. The difference between my high score (92) and my low score (79) is 13 strokes!
This past weekend, I played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with two days being quite good for a 13 handicapper -- 81 and 79 – and Saturday’s middle round a disagreeable 88. (FYI: From the regular men’s tees, The Kansas City Country Club, plays to 6,293 yards and is a par 70 with five challenging par 3s and three par 5s.)
Same guy. Same course. Same weather -- hot and humid -- all three days. What was really frustrating about Saturday was that that both my woods and irons lacked zip, oomph and spirit. My putting was okay, but certainly not good enough to offset my lackluster tee-to-green game.
And it wasn’t as if I was lost interest during Saturday’s round. There was the bet, a $2-$2-$4 Nassau, and I kept thinking that my Friday swing had to show up sooner or later. However, after a bogey, par, bogey, bogey start I began going through my checklist of reminders -- good posture; relaxed grip; turn whole body, not just upper body; steady head; finish the swing; slow down the backswing; watch the ball leave the clubface, and swing the club, don’t hit the ball. (This is what one of my partners told me at least three times on Saturday. I still don’t know what that really means. It seems to contradict the idea of “watching the ball leave the clubface.”)
Although I did manage to scramble to three pars on the back, none of the above reminders helped me regain any real pep with my longer clubs. My thinking was scrambled and, despite my efforts, the round couldn’t be saved.
Sunday was a totally different story – a 79 with 10 pars, five of which were the up-and-down variety and one double bogey. The difference between Saturday and Sunday? I did try to slow my backswing down. Could that one little fix be a permanent solution? I am hoping so, but experience has taught me that my fixes are always temporary.
The great sports columnist Thomas Boswell pretty much summed up my relationship with golf in this quote: “As every golfer knows, no one ever lost his mind over one shot. It is rather the gradual process of shot after shot watching your score go to tatters – knowing that you have found a different way to bogey each one.”
The odds are long that golf and I will ever come to a fair and equitable compromise agreement, one in which I will be consistently more consistent.
However, I am not giving up. I am going to keep fighting the good fight against both The Course and Father Time, which is why I am about to pick up my phone and book a lesson with our head professional, Andy Fisher. He may not be able to permanently fix me, but I am betting that he can help me develop a better relationship with the golf gods. If the lesson doesn’t help, perhaps he can recommend a sports psychologist.
Just for the record, my handicap has dropped down to a 12.