Updated: Jan 27, 2021
We all know 2020 was one of the weirdest years most of us seen. No need to dwell on the past... Time to look forward to 2021. This post serves as my official notice that in 2021 I'm going in search of scratch. Not cash (but I'll take some if you have some), but the goal most golfer aspire to be... a scratch handicap.
Currently (January 2021) my Golf Canada Handicap index is 4.9. So that means I have to shave 4 strokes off my index to make to scratch. Not an easy feat, but not impossible either.
With less than 2% of the golfing population playing to a zero index or better, getting to scratch is a lofty goal. I'm not an idiot (I have made some idiotic decisions on the golf course that have led to high numbers, but haven't we all?) I know that reaching scratch is a difficult task that may not happen for me. But on the other hand, I also believe planning, preparation and practice will give me a shot at my goal. If I shoot for the moon and miss, I'll land among the stars. I have certain golf positive aspects of my life that will assist with my lofty goal. 1. I live in Victoria BC, where I can golf and practice all year. This is huge. If I was snow bound for 5 or 6 months like most of Canada is, I don't know if I would be shooting for scratch. I'd have a lot more ski days in, but my handicap would be higher. 2. I work for a school district. This means I'm off work each day around 3pm and I have summers off. This goes well with my ability to play and practice year round.
How will I get there? The tools I'll be using will fall into three main areas: Homework, Practice, and Playing.
Golf Digest Workouts
I subscribe to Golf Digest Schools, I pay $13 per month and get access to follow along at home work outs, videos of Tiger, tips and various other videos. The video I access the most is a follow along half hour workout video hosted by Kaitlyn Pimentel, you can find her on Instagram at @kaitlynpimentel_golffitness. I like the video because Kaitlyn takes me through a warm-up, stretch and golf related workout all in 30 minutes or so. The cool thing is if you're small or big, you can adjust the weights you lift to help you get a good workout from the video. My sore legs, butt and core are telling me that I didn't workout enough over the Christmas holidays but I'm getting back into the weekly workout groove. I also like that Kaitlyn is an actual golfer. I see a lot of exercise videos on the ole interweb that are targeted to golfers by non playing hosts. Don't the hosts who are non golfers know that we golfers can tell they don't play the game? The workouts not only help my golf game, but they make me feel good about myself when I'm not golfing.
Twitch Swing Trainer
What is the Twitch Trainer you ask? “The Twitch Trainer is by far the best swing speed training aid I’ve ever used.” - Cameron McCormick. I stole that right off the website and they probably paid Cameron to say that. Honestly though, the Twitch Trainer @thetwitchtrainer is a swing trainer that helps me find fluid speed with what feels like less effort. I found out about the Twitch Trainer after seeing World Long Drive competitor Cassandra Myer @cassmarie_b use it on her Instagram feed. Give Cassandra a follow if you want to see and hear her hit balls, exercise, and eat healthier than most of us. In unrelated to golf news, if you're a Canucks fan, be forewarned she's a Blackhawks fan and we all know they ought to be kicked out the NHL. Stinking Hawks.
Now, since I'm being 100% truthful, I haven't used the Twitch that much lately. The combination of short daylight and having sold the target for my compound bow (which I used as a Twitch impact bag) have moved my Twitch work down the list a little bit. But with my new goal of being a scratch golfer I'll begin using the Twitch and their workout again. I can tell you when I first bought and trained with the Twitch my driver swing felt fast, effortless and smooth. I found that my drives were landing in spots that were unfamiliar territory. I remember hitting one on my home course with my regular Saturday morning four ball and saying "THAT'S RIDICULAS!" as I watched my ball fly through the air and land. I was 20+ yards past my normal spot and it felt like I didn't even swing the club that hard.
I'm still working out the details of how I'll be working on my putting at home. I have one of those green roll out putting matts and it serves me well. I set it up and then add a string line down the center of the matt and putt until I make 20 in a row. I'm not allowed to leave until I make 20, and my personal best is 27. With the mat, string line, and line drawn on my ball I know that everything is set up correctly before making the stroke, so if I miss, I know it was the stroke not the set up. This is my go to drill at home, I'm also thinking of adding a drill where I try to make putts with bottle caps or popsicle sticks attached to either side of the sweet spot on my putter. Therefore if I miss the sweet spot, the ball hits the bottle caps or popsicle sticks and lets me know instantly that I missed the sweet spot.
I'm looking to add one or two more drills to my putting work at home, just to help with keeping it fresh and reliving some of the boredom from doing the same drills over and over.
Next up is the work I'll be doing on the range, and how I'll strive to play on the actual course during a round, but those are topics for another day and another post. You can see below what I'll be working on as I continue my journey.
PGA Professional lessons
The Practice Manual
Golf Insider Performance Diary
On Course Strategy
Playing with the tendencies I have
Playing golf not golf swing
Here's a list of the websites and pages that I wrote about today. Golf Digest Schools Website: https://schools.golfdigest.com/
Kaitlyn Pigmental Instagram: @kaitlynpimentel_golffitness
Cassandra Myer Instagram: @cassmarie_b
Twitch Trainer Instagram: @thetwitchtrainer
Thanks for reading, don't forget... you can also buy Better At Golf Dice to help you with your golf game.
P.S. I've also decided on a reward if... NO... WHEN I get to scratch: New irons. New P7TW's That's right. TIGERS irons, if that isn't impetus to practice I don't know what is.