So, I have told the story about how, with MCS, you’re virtually finished with the swing when you set your address over the ball.
I proved it again on Monday when I accompanied Blake on his practice round at Rancho California.
I can’t remember which hole it was (Blake says it was the 11th, which is a 400+ yard par 4 with a big dogleg right), guarded by trees and a bunker on the inside corner.
We hadn’t yet worked on his “butter fade” shot (it is very difficult for natural draw hitters to envision and hit a fade – ask Hogan), but Jack Nicklaus showed the way on that – more later – but at any rate, Blake suddenly announced as we pulled up to the tee box that I was hitting a drive against him.
Bear in mind that I hadn’t made a swing all day, not even at the range where we had worked for the first time on his stance adjustment to accomodate for how right arm being longer than his left.
Still, I’m always game for a challenge, so I took his driver from him and teed one up while he recorded me – and feeling as stiff as a long driver’s favorite shaft, I put a pivot on it and smacked the ball down the right side of the fairway, either dead straight or with a tiny bleed, and was pleased to see it land in the middle of fairway just right of the dogleg corner.
We didn’t know the distance, but it was perfect, if you’ll forgive the embellishment. So, I immediately began to rib Blake and told him that the pressure was on as he put his tee in the ground.
DJ Drives 320 At Rancho California
As I said, if we had done this today or any other day (especially at Temecula Lake), he would surpass me with ease, I’m sure, but we hadn’t worked on his baby fade action and visuals, so while he didn’t miss it left, he didn’t catch it all, and he drove a decent ball out there, left of the inside corner but perfectly in the fairway center.
Blake “Not Catching It” – Still 302 Yards!
I had him on the angle, which even with equi-distant drives put me 20 yards closer to the hole, but upon lasering our positions back to the tee block – I was at 322 yards as the crow flies, to his 302!
And imagine what it’s like to think that with a less than satisfactory drive for him, he still popped it 302 yards dead center of the fairway – that’s what you call a playable miss, and then some.
Today, I see him fading it off the same starting line as my drive, or simply pounding the ball right over the trees – he sure has the length to do it.
Not content to leave it there, I demanded his SW after he’d smoothed his GW onto the green from 120y. “I’m finishing this hole!” I told him. Sure enough, I scuffed the wedge and though I was on the green, it was about a 25 foot putt, and he beat me on distance to the hole on the green.
I made my 2-putt par and will remember that hole forever, because I don’t see myself out-driving this young man ever again – call it luck.
Yesterday, we spent the day going over the “butter fade” shot for him, and how the short-stop slide will eiiminate the spin move on his leading heel on the follow-through, and how it can be varied to enhance a fade as opposed to a draw, and how when he began trying it out in earnest yesterday, he found that it made his stock shot even straighter (less draw) and – you guessed it – longer as well, with all clubs.
I’m telling you, his power peak has yet to be found – and it’s not as if you try to hit every club the maximum distance – it’s that the more efficient you are, and the more power you can generate, the easier you can swing with your stock distance in mind, and of course your stock distance will be longer than the next guy’s, and with less effort than his. There’s no downside to increased power once you calibrate the club distances.
So, Blake has gone in less than a week from a very talented college golfer with limited shots, to having it all in the bag.
His “Nine O’Clock Special” for flighting shots – awesome. In fact, on the last hole at Temecula on Tuesday, he crushed a drive over everything on a 400+ yard par 4, leaving him with 80 yards to the hole, and he flighted a beautiful LW to 5 1/2 feet for a near-kick-in birdie that he drained dead center
We’re now going to take the things he worked on yesterday to the course, and tomorrow, we have a date to play Torrey Pines South! I will of course take tons of pics and video, as I remember playing that course on Microsoft Golf back in the 90’s, a decade before Tiger Woods won the ’08 U.S. Open there – should be a magnificent day!
On Saturday, I’ll be winging back to Canada, but I will be following Blake’s adventures at McNeese State very closely – be prepared to watch yet another Texas high school prodigy do his thing with a golf club.
A great Thursday to all!