Still, I was excited to get together with my instructor once again, this time on the course on what can only be described as a frigid October afternoon. I had to give him credit for putting on his Boston Red Sox winter cap — a day after the Sox had claimed the World Series title — and hitting The Old White TPC and The Meadows with me.
Because I hadn't practiced like I should, there was still plenty of talk about my swing as we navigated around some of the most picturesque holes in golf and took in the stunning fall colors. But this lesson was a little different. As Winters does with the normal playing lessons he gives to his clients, this session focused a lot on course strategy and the mental part of the game.
Winters explained that having a plan, playing with confidence and knowing how to respond from a bad shot is every bit as important as knowing the proper swing mechanics. And I fully believe him. When things went bad at the Pro-Am at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, I was completely able to get them back on track.
The message from Winters was clear. You're never too good or too bad to have a plan and a preshot routine on every swing. With that in mind, we worked on mine, focusing on different types of shots — drives, long irons, chips, putts, everything I might need during a round of golf.
My swing? Well, it had some problems. I hit a couple of good irons, but I also hit a few where the tight grip and tight elbow got me into trouble. What I learned, though, was how to clear my head, picture a perfect shot, instead of what could go wrong, and to evaluate my situation with every swing of the club.
Although I was disappointed with myself for not practicing the lessons learned from the first session with Winters, I again left encouraged. There's still a long way to go, but I feel confident that I can eventually become a decent golfer and not embarrass myself when the Pro-Am comes around again in September.