Robert Rock: Getting by with a little help from my friendsAugust 2, 2013 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.