I followed Blake and his father around Pine Dunes Resort Golf Club yesterday (rated #1 golf course in Texas by Golfweek Magazine), which plays a little over 7,100 yards from the tips and has a difficulty rating of 74.4/131.
If you’ve never seen this course, it is tight, lined with pine trees down both sides of every hole, and if you don’t control your ball (you can miss a fairway by only 3 to 5 yards in places and never find your ball), you will score off the planet – the perfect venue for Blake to see if he could control the ball with the swing changes he’s making.
His -1 round of 71 was surely the highest he could have scored, with 4 birdies, a bogey and a double. The 3 dropped strokes came from two swings.
Pine Dunes GC
The double was sheer bad luck on a par 3 hole measuring 254 to the hole, where his tee shot clipped one solitary pine limb 30 yards off the tee, leaving him well over 200 yards from a nearly unplayable lie in a tangle of fallen branches and tall grass, and the bogy came on another par 3 where he got careless with his alignment and hit his tee shot exactly where he was setup, into trouble right of the green.
Aside from those two shots, you would have never known that he was in the process of changing his down swing mechanics.
Again, as with his spectacular round at Torrey Pines South last month in La Jolla, I was shaking my head at some of the shots he hit.
The 2nd hole plays 340 to the middle of the green, and he simply hit driver to the right greenside bunker on the fly, just missing the up and down, and I quipped to him that he just bogeyed the par 3 hole (it’s a par 4, of course, so it was a par).
On the back nine, the first par 5 is set up deliberately as a 3-shotter (nearly 600 yards long and with a waste area beginning around 310 yards), so Blake hit a 3 wood – and still found the rough at the end of the fairway at 300 yards.
No worries – with 275 to the front of the green, he smoked a 3 wood to about 3 yards short, and made bird with a chip and putt – take that, Pine Dunes architect!
He’s once again going to have to recalibrate his distances after I’m gone, because the swng changes have made him even longer, as if he needed any more distance.
On one hole, he even said before hitting his 9 iron from 165 yards in the middle of the fairway, “I’m just going to hit an easy nine,” and barely waved at the ball – it travelled 175 over the green, but he easily chipped up and drained the par putt. But a 175 yard 9 iron just waving at it?
Remember, he’s 5’9 and about 140 lbs soaking wet.
Shaking my head.
The bad news – his spanking new TaylorMade 3-wood didn’t make it through the week – it is now rattliing, making it the 3rd TM fairway wood head he has broken this spring and summer.
At any rate, he’s back in full control of his swing and that “big miss” move is history. I’ll be heading back home tomorrow and Blake can get on with the rest of his summer, dialing in his new distances and playing some amateur events before returning to McNeese State for his sophomore season.
He’ll be practising and playing Pine Dunes until he returns, so a better place at which to do so, I can’t think of, with its claustrophic fairways and some very long holes from the golds.
The future is very bright for this young man, and I feel privileged to be a part of his development into a possible game-changer.
As for me, I’ll be heading home from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport tomorrow, and aside from the wilting East Texas summer heat, I can’t have enjoyed the trip more. Bullard is a small rural town, far from the big cities, and the rural Texans in this corner of the state have been as friendly as in any place I’ve visted yet, moreso, in fact.
One more day with Blake, and then it’s curtains for this trip.
Want to learn more about the MCS Golf Swing Theory? Try one of DJ’s “Secrets of the MCS”video shorts available via download.
Or you can download the very latest MCS Golf Swing video “MCS – Perfect Pivot“ based on the flawless pivot action of Ben Hogan.