Follow writer Mike Wolf’s quest to lower his 18 handicap through MetaGolf’s Player Development Program in this online exclusive:
Shut Up and Shorten Up
There are plenty of great things about an afternoon round at City Park Golf Course in the heart of Park Hill (aside from it being in Chauncey Billups country, who ruled the playgrounds nearby as a youngster). If you work in the city, the course is always a short drive away. If you feel like grabbing lunch or dinner after your round, options abound. The Cherry Tomato, a solid Italian joint on 23rd and Dexter located blocks from the fifth tee, and Spinelli’s Market, an incredible deli next door to the Cherry Tomato, will satiate your hunger and tired legs after a long round, even if you rode in a cart all day.
The best thing about playing City Park though, is that it will aid your confidence when your game needs a little pick-me-up. Driving the fairway can be a relative term at City Park. If you happen to miss the fairway you’re aiming for, you may end up on a different fairway, and you may have an even better angle to attack the pin (though you may not be able to “attack” much of anything after hitting the ball fifty yards left of your target). While there are dozens of old trees lying about to snag an errant shot or two, you can still get away with a few terrible shots now and then.
During my last few visits to MetaGolf, I had been working on shortening up my backswing through video analysis. As my mechanical swing instructor Nicki slowed down my swing on the computer, she was able to literally draw a few points of emphasis and trace the path of my swing. “You’re swing comes to the top here,” she said freezing the frame when my elbows began to bend at the top. “I’d feel a lot better if it stopped here,” she said pointing to an earlier, shorter point of my backswing.
I took to the course on a hot July afternoon that turned divots to dust. As I’ve been working on shortening my swing, I’m beginning to hit the ball a little further each round. And when it’s 97 degrees in the middle of the city, the ball tends to roll a little further. Shortening my swing has also allowed me to save some energy for the last few holes, and further capitalize on MetaGolf’s insistence that I am a “rhythm golfer,” and must approach the game as such. My shorter pre-shot routine, developed by Dr. Bill Campbell, the mental specialist or “golf whisperer” at MetaGolf, has also simplified my game (the Golf Gods will get me for that one).
As Dr. Bill likes to say, “Take the thinking out of it.”
For the most part, I drove the ball long and straight through the cityscape. I shot 89, a slight improvement over my previous round at Foothills Golf Club, but I’m definitely hitting the ball better and with more consistency. Let’s face it, when you’ve got more confidence and you’re driving the ball better and longer, playing golf is a helluva lot more fun. Now about those 40-plus putts? I may need some more dulcet tones from the “golf whisperer.”