My First Nine of the Season

Michigan’s climate and my other responsibilities finally cooperated and today I got to play my first nine of the season.

The weather was spectacular: sunny, breezy and sixty degrees; in short, perfect golf weather. I wore long pants and spent much of the round thinking I should put on the windbreaker that I had tucked in my golf bag. But I didn’t. I simply enjoyed the fact that I could walk a quick nine without breaking a sweat.

The inaugural round was at Fellows Creek in Canton, Michigan. It’s a community track with three distinct nines: woodlands, parklands and links-style. I played the east course, the links. As this is the beginning of the season, it’s in terrific shape. Thousands of league golfers have not yet had a chance to pockmark the ground with divots. Fairways and greens were a bit soft from recent rains, but that didn’t affect my play.

As you might expect, I had a rough start. (I have not even practiced at a range this year). My first tee shot popped up and that led to a double. I lost two more and then two more after that. On the fourth, however, I managed a scrambling par. My second shot fell short of the green, but I managed to pitch it close and get it down.

The foursome on the next hole let me play through. I hit the green on that par three, but the ball skipped off the back and I lost another to par. I managed another par on the following par 5, hitting the green in regulation and finishing with a two putt.

Another show was lost on the 220 yard par 3, but deliberately so. The right side of the small green is guarded by a pond, so rather than take a chance, I aimed short. My pitch was close, but I two putted.

With pars on the remaining two fours, though, I finished in fine fashion. That left me eight over for the nine—not bad considering that I haven’t played since September last.

I concentrated on setup and alignment, thinking about the keys from the Jim Hardy Plane Swing book (see the ad in the sidebar) for a two plane golfer. Always remember, Hardy says, that the two plane swing tends to be a little steep and a little narrow; when you’re not hitting it well, you need to take steps to compensate for that.

Friends of mine will be curious about my decision to try the two plane swing. I spent all of last summer trying to become a one-plane golfer. But I always found myself standing taller and setting up in the “inverted K” of the two planer. So this year, I’ve decided to go back to the setup that I was initially taught. The one plane may be better, but it never felt comfortable.

I struck the ball well today, so I hope that bodes well for the rest of the season.

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