Editor's Note: Three Golf Digest editors are chronicling the ups and down of their golf season, with the free Golf Digest Handicap tool being the ultimate metric of whether they're getting anywhere. After their swings were analyzed by Golf Digest Top 10 instructor Mike Adams, the three have been trying to put Adams' advice to work. Here's the latest.
Golf Digest Handicap update: 5.5 (down from 6.0)
My goal: Get rid of the extra movement in the swing. Start making up shots around the green instead of losing them. Qualify for the U.S. Women's Am.
How it's going: Making changes to the swing isn't always pretty. I'm trying to stand a little further from the ball, so there have been a few range sessions that have consisted of a lot of topping, but every time I play, it feels more solid. As for the short game, I got real with myself about my wedges: Rusted out sweet spots aren't going to spin the ball. With fresh grooves in the bag, I'm seeing some good action on the ball and have found some balance between range sessions and practice green time (even though the range is still way more fun). Ah yes, the U.S. Am. I'm aware that a few stars are going to need to align for me to actually qualify for this thing. But I've made the important step of signing up for the qualifier (July 7!). I also played in a smaller tournament, which was a good reminder of what it's like to actually play for a score. I've got another little event next week, I'll be on my best behavior over Fourth of July weekend, and will hopefully make a few putts on the 7th!
Golf Digest Handicap update: 15.7 (down from 16.7)
My goal: Get within range of a single-digit handicap by the end of summer. Eliminate the inevitable mid-round I-forgot-how-to-play lapse.
How it's going: Scary as it sounds, I'm actually pretty optimistic. After studying video of my swing, I've made a concerted effort to fold in my right elbow during the backswing and that seems to help stave off the big hook I've been fighting for a few years. And when you're not fearing "The Big Miss" (Tiger and I are like kindred spirits), that opens you up to swing more freely. As I detailed last week, I was playing well enough recently to flirt with breaking 80 for the first time. That was the good news. The bad news is the round ended with me seeking help from a sports psychologist. So, there's still work to be done, but I like where this is headed.
My goal: Keep improving! Shoot in the low 90s consistently.
How it's going:I'm still shooting in the 93-98 range. If I can lower that range to be breaking 95 on a consistent basis, I'll achieve my goal of shooting in the low 90s. I'm combining the tips Mike Adams offered me along with some new equipment to hit the ball more solid. I added a 6-hybrid to my bag. Low irons have been the weakest part of my game. Now, when I have an 180-yard shot, I'm using this 6-hybrid to put my approach around the green, which is giving me actual chances for par. In the past, I'd almost be looking at an automatic double bogey because of my long-game weakness. It's obvious that putting a concerted effort into my game -- from an equipment and instruction standpoint -- has been a difference maker.