I “played,” to use that term very loosely, about ten times that year, having been hooked from the first day (I remember we adjourned following the round to a bar and grill, where I enjoyed a beer and clubhouse sandwich and asked when we were going to play again).
The next year, I “played,” again very loose use of that term, as I didn’t practice and only saw a driving range three or four times, about twenty times.
The next spring was that in which Tiger Woods won his first Masters, and I had actually first seen him play on television in the Mercedes Championship, where he defeated Tom Lehman on the first playoff hole (a long par 3) with a spectacular long iron to nearly kick-in distance after Lehman dunked his tee shot.
From there, I was a Tiger Woods fan (for a short time), but I didn’t watch another golf event until the ’97 Masters, and I can tell you, I didn’t miss many televised events after that for years to come.
Fast forward to 2005 when, years after walked away from the game in disgust over not being able to figure out the golf swing (with two different instructors from whom I took lessons), I dug the bag out of the closet and went to the range, returning that afternoon to tell my wife of less than a year, “I’m going to figure this out, once and for all…”
She thought me mad, and likely did so until some time in 2008.
I began this journey simply because, after a lifetime of relative success in other sports, I was frustrated and enraged by not being able to learn the Modern Golf Swing – sure, I had broken 80 that first year of taking it seriously in ’97, having bought a season range membership and playing quite a few rounds.
I’d even scored in the 70s on a former Canadian Tour course where I worked the range in the summer of ’98… but that “what the hell was that??” shot was always lurking, ready to ruin my round.
DJ Hitting Balls – February 1998
Even worse, I would have days where I couldn’t even get the ball in play off the tee, and I finally packed it in… until that U.S. Open Saturday in ’05…
I took one year off from my active swing research the season of 2009, when I decided I’d had enough of that and wanted to play golf, which I did several days per week without ever seeing the range that year (I might have gone two or three times the entire year), and teeing off cold each round, just to see what happened.
DJ On The Course – 2009
That year was the year I began to hit the ball distances I thought were only possible in the world of long driving, but sure enough, I hit dozens of drives over 350, including my top drive of around 380 yards, and I knew the research was paying off.
The First Hole On Which I Drove It 350y – 2009
I wasn’t finished however, so I returned to the “lab” the season of 2010 (my first MCS video came out that summer), and now I have reached the point where, as I blogged yesterday, the swing research is complete, my final swing model has been built, and there is nothing left for me to look at.
I have done the research to build the model that I will never discard, it’s the simplest possible model to use to swing a golf club and still be mechanically-correct, and the rounds I played the last couple of weeks, while nothing to write home about score-wise, showed me one thing – that I now have a golf swing that will allow me to play golf without ever fearing the shot before me.
And by that – I will still miss shots, and I’ll surely have swings where I’ve gotten careless or sloppy in my setup or mechanics, but never again will I stand over a ball and be afraid of the result, due to not knowing how to put a proper swing on it.
As I said to David D. last week when I faced a 275 yard second shot out of the rough to a 600 yard par 5 green after a 325 yard drive, “I didn’t hit it this far to lay up,” and proceeded to lace that ball hole-high with a persimmon 4 wood (missed a little left, into the bunker, but there in 2).
So, that means… after all the years of research, after having worked with golfers on their own swings, from high-handicap to collegiate scholarship to professional tournament players…
It’s back to playing golf!
This time however, it will be simply to play for playing’ sake, and to enjoy playing it with a fundamentally sound swing model.
DJ On The Course – California, May 2016 – 320 Yard Drive
And that, my friends, I will enjoy, for the rest of my days, or as long as I’m able to walk, because that was really the first goal of my beginning this journey 12 years ago.
Back Pain or Back Injury Swinging a Golf Club?
Lacking Power, Speed, Distance and or Consistency?
Need A Swing That Is More Easily Maintained?
If You Answered “Yes” To Any Of The Above Questions, The Answer Is In The Formula For The Golf Swing: