Is it wrong to win money on your own captain’s weekend?
If I’ve one weakness with the flat-stick it’s from about four to seven feet – I just don’t hole enough of them.
I know the stats for the pros – that they make just over 50 per cent of their putts from eight feet – and I’m not stupid enough to think I’m suddenly going to turn into Luke Donald on the greens.
But if I can start making just a few more, my handicap is surely going to tumble.
I’ve been working closely with Duncan McCarthy, of Leeds-based Ignite Sports, to try and get the most out of my new Titleist clubs and, recently, we’ve been focusing on the greens.
Duncan’s discovered I’ve a tendency that I am sure many of you share. I like to take a sneaky peek as a putt is on its way.
He wants me to watch for the circle of the ball as it leaves the putter face. That forces me to keep my head down a little longer than usual and make a correct stroke.
I’m a sucker for drills and Duncan’s given me one that I’m definitely going to be repeating before a round.
You place tees around the hole at distances from two to 11 feet. Performance counts here, so you score a point for each successful putt you make – and you can only do it once.
With different reads, slopes and breaks as you go round the circle, it brings the pressure of a game situation while also honing your stroke. I managed four at the first attempt.
Duncan’s given me another piece of advice to help me hole out more often. He asked me to associate my favourite golfing moment with a colour.
In my case, it was easy. It was the yellow of the Open leaderboard as I played down the 18th at Royal Troon with the grandstands up.
Now I use yellow to trace the line to the hole. The key is trying to get all of this into my game so it becomes as natural as possible as quickly as possible.
Here we are then. The next time we meet it will be after actual competition and with stats and results – thanks to ShotScope – to draw upon.
I’ve not been this optimistic about the start of a campaign before.
My driving is on the mend, I’m a huge fan of the 818 hybrids and if I had to choose between my AP3 irons and the wife I would have to think about it.
I’ve usually had a question mark going into a new season. There’s not been a year where I haven’t bought something, or tinkered with my set up, after the first few weeks.
But I’m honestly very happy with where my bag is at present. That’s not only good news for my game, but brilliant for my wallet.
Bring it on!
About the project
Club Golf editor Steve Carroll has been fitted into the ultimate Titleist set – from the brand new 718 irons to the Pro V1 ball.
Having compiled stats, including driving accuracy, greens in regulation, sand saves and scrambling, for three months before his fitting, Steve is about to take to the fairways to see how custom fitting has improved his game.
After spending the winter getting used to his new clubs, he is now going to game them in competition – bidding to prove personalised fitting makes a real difference to club players.
Steve’s stats will be monitored using the Shot Scope performance tracking system. He will compare his numbers on a variety of criteria, including driving accuracy, greens in regulation and scrambling.
WITB: Here’s what Steve was fitted into
Driver: Titleist 917 D2, 10.5° (GDI G-Series 50 stiff shaft)
3-wood: Titleist 917 F2, 15° (GDI G-Series 60 stiff shaft)
Hybrids: Titleist 818 H1, 19°, 23° (Aldila Tour ATX85H – 2.8 – stiff shafts)
Irons: Titleist AP3 4-PW (AMT Black regular shafts)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM6 48°, 54°, 60° (Dynamic Gold shaft)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Futura 7M (0.5° extra loft, 34” shaft)
Ball: Titleist Pro V1