Robert Rock: Getting by with a little help from my friends

Golf News

Our columnist reflects on his latest European Tour exploits and reveals some of the advice he has been given recently

IT has been a bit of a topsy-turvy season so it was great to finish second in Ireland at Carton House and be involved again at the right end of the leader board.

I was really pleased with some of my ball striking which was the best I have had for a while and I holed a lot of putts on each of the first two days. 

Unfortunately they dried up a bit over the weekend but it was still a big step forward for me.
I have been following the coach Jonathan Yarwood on Twitter for a while and I played with someone he teaches who suggested sending him a message.

So I sent a video of my putting and he came back with some suggestions. I have been trying a lot of new things with my putting which you tend to do when you’re struggling and Jontahan didn’t like my set-up and suggested a new one which really helped.

I have also bought a SAM PuttLab at my academy which is an incredible bit of kit and gives you very precise readings on your stroke.

Now that I have one, I can’t believe I haven’t done it before.

I also had a bunker lesson from Jose Maria Olazabal which proved to be a great help. I had a shot at Open Qualifying at Sunningdale which I didn’t really know how to play. 

My ball finished in a little wave of sand where the bunker had been raked so Olly showed me how he plays his bunker shots, which is more of a short, crisper technique, and to make sure the clubhead swings quickly. 

So I practised that for a couple of hours and it saved me quite a few shots.

I really thought I was going to win in Ireland but Paul was superb on the final day. I lost my focus a little bit in the bad weather in the middle of the round and Paul cruised through that period and I then pushed hard and dropped the odd shot.
I don’t pay too much attention to the statistics but I have now started keeping an eye on the Strokes Gained putting stat which is based on the PGA Tour average from certain differences. He hasn’t been up there for a while and you got a bit of a sense that he was nervous but he closed it out in grand style in the end with the closing eagle.

We played some boys’ golf which is quite a long time ago now. We haven’t played too much together as he has been in the States but we always have a decent chat and it will be interesting to see how he kicks on from here.

Since then I frustratingly missed the cuts in both France and Scotland which is down to my putting again. 

If I’m not making any putts there is a good chance I will miss the cut, if I make all the short putts I should make the cut and, if I hole a few, I should be up there. It sounds simple but it tends to sum up my golf.

You can be talking just three putts a round and it can change everything. The difference between the cut and the leaders is quite tight these days and you can’t expect to have 34 putts too often.

I don’t pay too much attention to the statistics but I have now started keeping an eye on the Strokes Gained putting stat which is based on the PGA Tour average from certain differences. If you have a three-foot putt it will be 0.1, so if you miss you are losing out on the field by 0.9.

Likewise if you have a 60-footer and two putt you will gain on the field. There is a chart where you can gauge how you do against the field and I think it is a better reflection of your putting.

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