This is the second in a series of game improvement entries.
The Grand Del Mar has a thing about stars, and not just the movie stars who visit.
The gorgeous property just north of San Diego has a five-star resort with a five-star spa and a five-star restaurant, Addison, which probably ought to have a star for each of the eight courses on the chef’s “Carte Blanche” menu.
The golf course, golf school and instructional team? They’ve got five stars here in the GottaGoGolf blog after a two-day intensive experience that included a unique set of 90-minute lessons with the resort’s top teachers.
Paired up with Kristen Williams, The Golf Chick blogger with a similar index to my current 18.5, the day began indoors, listening to @GrandDOG.
That’s the Twitter handle of Director of Golf Shawn Cox, who mesmerized our small Travel Industry
Ladies Golf Open group with his passion for and knowledge about golf on every level.
“There’s a fine line between making sure someone is ready for the golf course and scaring them that they’re not ready,” Cox told us, talking specifically about women’s fear of the course. “Emphasizing technique can lead to fear.”
Then, giggle, we went outside for a day of serious technique emphasis. First, head professional Erik Wilson worked with us on reading putts. Here, a few pointers we learned:
- Align the line on the ball with the center line on your putter. (My Callaway rental clubs had a line, and this technique worked great; alas, I got home and realized my beloved Ping putter has no center line. Time to go shopping!)
- When you make a sucky putt that rolls far past the hole, don’t hang your head: Watch it to the bitter end, so you see the line of the return putt.
- The No. 1 goal for players at the level of Kristen and me: eliminate three-putts and get below 36 putts per round.
I personally learned that I am usually aimed more right than I think, and so I need to pay special attention to my initial alignment.
After a quick lunch at Club M (delicious Bloody Mary), it’s time for swing lessons from Kristen Muranyi. Surprise, surprise, I am consistently aiming right of the target — and so my swing is taking a dreaded path from the outside in to correct my aim. This explains why I’ve lost some distance.
Just for confirmation, we go to the video, and there I am next to Tiger Woods. Guess what, he does it better — and I’ve also got a bit of the dreaded chicken wing from protecting an achy front shoulder. Muranyi gives me some drills, including a half-swing, and I manage to hit one or two good shots while she tends to the other Kristen.
They’re behind me, so I’m not quite sure why the Golf Chick seems to be in such agony — but, she’s been fighting demons lately and Muranyi is encouraging an adjustment. They, too, go to the video for inarguable evidence.
Now it’s back to the GrandDOG, who takes us into a little room and explains why we no longer need a so-called short game. Chipping and pitching, he tells us, used to be thought of as a miniature swing, but he shows video of players (yes, there’s Tiger again!) who make chips with quiet legs and minimal turn.
Then we go outside and he teaches us a technique where our feet are close and we take the club back and then through. Miracle of miracles, the ball goes airborne and lands softly every time. If we want more run, we just put the ball a little farther back in the stance.
When it was all over, was I a birdie golfer? Was Kristen? Nah, we struggled to put our new swing and finesse game thoughts in a comfortable place on the golf course the next day — but, the putting bullets we put to work right away.
We are both going to have to, ugh, go to the range.
Part 1 of the series: 5 reasons video makes women golfers miserable – but should it?