It had been a little over a week since my first golf lesson and I’m ready for round 2. When I arrived at the Stowe Mountain Club golf course last week it was a perfectly bright sunny day, so I bought summer golf gear, which was not helpful today. This morning the sun was doing its best to burn through the clouds but for now I was stuck with a chilly grey morning. So could I focus on my lesson and not how cold I was, I walked back to the pro shop and picked up another outfit. This time I went for the warmest-- and I’ll admit a slightly less stylish--option, so forgive the ill-fitting hoodie in the photos below.
When I walked out of the pro shop, Susan was waiting for me in the golf cart with a warm and welcoming smile. She looked like the definition of a pro from literally head to toe with her red Titleist visor and her University of Alabama “A” embroidered golf shoes. I hopped in the cart and we rode to the practice putting green where we reviewed what I learned about putting the week before. I remembered the majority of what I was taught, or at least the important stuff like how to grip the club, the correct stance, keeping the ball aligned with my lead leg and most importantly to relax and breathe. As I learned to put first in my first lesson, the stance is the foundation of a golf swing, with the putting stance laying the groundwork.
Now it was time to conquer chipping, which meant hitting the ball further and getting it in the air. Apparently, with each new distance, the stance just opens from that original position. When it came to chipping, my stance was marginally adjusted and opened slightly. As we did when it came to setting up my putting stance, I leaned the club handle on the middle of my left leg. However, instead of lining the ball up off the inside of my left foot like in putting I positioned the ball in the middle of my stance.
Chipping also uses the same stroke as putting, but with a sand wedge as opposed to a putter, while keeping the swing steady and sweeping the grass below. My swing tempo should again be the equivalent of rolling a ball towards a target, but instead of rolling along will the ground it will loft (you loft the ball, the ball floats or drifts or soars or travels or some other active verb) through the air and hopefully drop over the longer cut grass or crown and on to onto the green.
Sounds easy enough, right? I’m not going to lie, it turns out not only was I not a chipping prodigy, I was actually pretty terrible to start. I whiffed, hit a line drive across the green and somehow managed to get a chunk of grass in the air while the ball stayed on the ground, and FYI neither the grass nor the ball went even remotely close to the hole. Frustration was setting in.
The ever-patient Susan came over and took the ball of annoyance away and had me practice my swing just trying to graze the grass with my club, nice and slow, back and forth. After doing that a number of times I found my rhythm. It was time to attempt to chip that little white ball of frustration, and what do you know it soared through the air. It didn’t go in the hole, but who cares!
After I made a few solid chips we put the two lessons together. I chipped from outside crown or not as tightly cut grass, and then putt from where the ball ended up towards the hole. It was a challenge, but a good time. I’m definitely taking baby steps in the right direction. Now if only I could find the time to practice.
I wonder what challenges lay in store next week? Stay tuned.