Chip Chop – getting to grips with golf

As promised, I am addressing both the last two golf-lessons sessions together as I got carried away by my subconscious last week.

The second of the five lessons saw us gathered on the edge of the practice putting green and Jason introduced us to a new way to hold the golf club. This is a Pitching-wedge or a Wedge (with P or W written on it) and is used to ‘hop’ (my technical term*) or ‘pitch’ the golf ball from just outside the putting green, up onto it.  pitching wedge*Jason called it ‘chipping’

For this our hands had to be interlocked, the forefinger of the left hand (higher on the handle) trapped between the fourth (little) and the third finger, thumbs pointing down the handle. Initially I didn’t want to let go of this grip until my hands had learnt what it felt like – it was as if I wasn’t sure I’d get it quite right again if I did.

Next we had to lean forward from the hips, bend the knees slightly and draw the golf club in towards us so that it rested on the ground just behind the ball (set up on a tee). We then had to lean ourselves towards the left, the weight bearing more on that side, 70 / 30. Keeping our left arm straight and our wrists ‘locked’ we swung the club back past our right foot and forward, through the tee to the same distance the other side, ‘cutting’ the grass as we did so and – if we got it right – causing the ball to pitch upwards and forwards to land on the putting green and roll about the same distance the other side. Theoretically placing the ball in an convenient spot for a decent putt into the hole!

chipping Ann
More suitably attired this week

You know – it worked. it was great to see all of us popping the golf-balls up and onto the green. Some with more vigour than others, some less so, but all moving the ball in a neat hop off the slightly coarser grass onto the smooth sward of the green.  The whole of the rest of the hour was taken up with ‘perfecting’ these and either making our shots slightly longer or slightly shorter – depending what we were achieving initially.

Lesson three, and we did not head for the putting green – this time we were taken off to the driving range. Here we did a recap of the previous week first, as we were using the same clubs and the same grip (which I learnt later is the only grip we will need – apart from for putting)

driving range
Driving Range

The difference this week was in the distance we were trying to achieve. This time it was as if we were within sight of the putting green but not close enough to just pop it on.. we, therefore, had to lift the ball over the rougher grass but also send it a distance to try to get it to the green – or at least close enough for the type of shot learnt the previous week to be used.

To achieve this we needed to swing the club further… taking it way past horizontal and up into the air. This has to be very controlled, and uses wrist action to take it beyond the horizontal.

So, grip in place, we first repeated our stance… but this time the shoulder/weight lean of the body over the left leg is closer to 60 / 40. The arms are brought back for the swing, keeping the left arm basically straight, when on the horizontal the knuckles should be facing forward (away from the player) and then the wrists are turned so that the club raises up vertically. The swing is taken ‘cutting’ the grass and the ball is driven in a long shallow arc forward a long distance.

driving range view
View up the driving range

We spent the rest of the time trying to get this action right… it was so tempting to look at your arms, stance, club… anything except the ball… and yet (as Jason reminded us) the eye should always be on the ball.

Another interesting lesson – showing how the correct grip and stance can result in the ball being hit far more times than it was missed and a good proportion of those times it even went in the right direction and in the correct manner… though to  see the spread of the balls in the view down the driving range – you’d not think so 🙂

So far I am pleased to say that, should I ever find myself on a ‘pitch and putt’ course, I could now get the ball to go in something like the right direction – which is more than I could have managed three weeks ago!

Can’t wait for the next lesson – I wonder if we get to use the ‘big-headed’ (my technical term again 🙂 ) clubs next?

Only two more weeks to go on this 6 at 60 … I need to start sorting out the next challenge.

What type of challenges would you set for yourself?

What criteria would you use?  (mine is just that it has to be something I’ve never done before)

Do share, you know I love to hear from you

BTW I hope to get it fixed so that your comments will appear quicker – had problems ever since the spam was getting in and had to be re-filtered – my tech guy (#1 son) is coming to visit in a fortnight)

PS If you are around Liskeard in Cornwall at the weekend I shall be at the WORDS WORDS WORDS Author Event in Season’s Bistro from 10am – 1.30pm Saturday 17th May with my books, doing a short reading from them and signing and dedicating copies for customers – love to see you there 🙂

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The shoe dilemma – and the activity you didn’t guess.

Well, it seems no one was willing to take a guess. Perhaps the clue wasn’t big enough.

shoes
Garden cloggies ? .. or .. Flip-flops … perhaps?

So what did I do on Friday ? … I went along at the crisp time of 9am for a golf lesson. Yes, GOLF… well at 60 that seems to me like the sort of activity people might take up. After all my friend (of whom I have spoken before) who took up belly-dancing on her sixtieth was already playing golf.  I have been belly-dancing for YEARS … so this is the the obverse of ‘what crazy thing can I try?’ –  ‘what expected thing can I try?’

Now, those of you who know me will understand when I say I really wasn’t sure what to wear on my feet. I tend to live my life wearing sandals… yes even in the Winter. As I have got older I do not always wear them when it is raining (or when my feet are likely to get wet – as on grass) because this is the only time that my feet ever feel cold and I may be weird but I’m not daft. So my footwear wardrobe consists of flip-flops, everyday sandals, high-heel sandals, hiking sandals, trainer/fitness sandals (trainer type sole – but sandal top – which, incidentally they won’t let you wear in a gym ‘in case you drop something on your toes’ – I stopped going) and then a pair of ‘motor-bike’ style boots for wet weather. For the record I also possess garden cloggies (black with sparkles) and proper farmer-type green wellies (proper mud and all) and hiking boots.

Now, the hiking boots always start off fine… but very soon my feet overheat and, I presume, swell a little, as the boots then become tight and uncomfortably hot. (NB. larger sizes just flop about so not an option) This is the reason I do not ‘do’ trainers either. I thought the cloggies or Wellingtons would be going a bit too far on the casual side.. so ended up wearing the motor-bike style boots. I figured that at least they didn’t have too much of a heel (to damage the green) and they looked respectable.  The other four sensible people on the day wore trainers!

golf2
Jason putting us through our paces – golf course scenery in the background

This is a special introduction course run by Jason, one of the the professional golf coaches, at St Mellion International golf and country club, which is less than 2 miles from where I live and, along with the special offer to try golf, was as good a reason to go there as any. This first morning was not raining, but the grass was wet and there was a chill wind blowing. The golf-course is set in the heart of the Cornish countryside and is a lovely place to spend an hour or so. It was obvious how popular it was as a steady stream of golfers set off on their rounds over the time we were on the practice putting green. For that is what we were to learn the first morning.

golf1
Our class of wanna-be golfers

So, we learnt how to hold the putter. How to putt different distances, 5, 10, 15 and 20 ft. and then how to pace these distances out so when walking from your ball to the hole ( to remove the flag) you could also decide how to hit the ball to putt it the correct distance.

On the way we learnt various gems of golfing etiquette. Just the sort of thing that every newbie needs to know and would, perhaps, fail to ask.

I have to say – I am quite looking forward to my next lesson though may have to find something more conventional to wear on my feet 🙂

Golf does seem to be a very respectable sort of game … I’m wondering whether my main character in the novel I am writing at the moment (A Respectable Life) might be a player of this sport .. if not her, then perhaps her husband. You see, you never know where inspiration can come from or what information you learn on the way may find its way into a novel… the whole of life is good research material 🙂

Any thoughts on Golf and golfing?

or even footwear 🙂

Do share – you know I love to hear from you!

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