Stonetree Golf Course, #9 from #8 tee, Novato, CABoy am I glad that I decided to go out and get some golf in today. First of all, it turned out to be an absolutely perfect day (low 60’s and crystal clear). Secondly, I went over to Stonetree (since I got shut out of trying to expand a twosome at an over-booked course) and Stonetree booked me as a single. I also enjoyed the pace of play. We played in 4 hours despite a slow twosome…

But even more fun was the fact that with the exception of a few unfortunate holes, I really played pretty solid, consistent golf. I shot an 88. The first time I’ve broken 90 on this challenging, quality track in about two years. I had two birdies (on #2 and #13) and… drumroll… miracle of miracles… no three putts! I’ve been using Dr. Joe Parent‘s “longer, not harder” approach to putting in order to control my speed on the greens, and it’s been working.

For the full shots, I’ve been using slow, conscious practice swings to feel my tempo (as discussed in earlier posts on this golf blog, “thai chi” practice swings). These help me remember to swing easy and to stay conscious of my full swing. For the first time in a really long time, I feel like I’m really feelin’ it… most of the time. In fact, I’m feeling my “swing of ease” which gives me more consistent contact and thus more solid shots.

And I’m getting better at taking a little bit more club in order to swing easier. I’m getting good results this way and they are turning out to be some of my best shots. I remember in particular the two approach shots that led to the two birdies. They were both easy “3/4” swings with plenty of club for the distance, and the results were two birdie putts that were only about four feet each.

Whew. It’s a relief to play better after a somewhat dry period. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I think I can keep this up, one swing at a time. I’m going to just keep breathing and doing my best to stay conscious and centered. And, I am grateful that this is real progress. I think an 88 at Stonetree is about 6 under my personal par, or a net 66. Not bad.

This weekend I’ll be experiencing some courses down near San Luis Obispo (a couple of hours North of Santa Barbara) that I’ve never played before. I’m looking forward to that and will, of course, report on them here.

Meanwhile, Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Birdies and pars to ya.