I found an old 4 iron I played the amateur and California mini tour with back in the 1970’s and into the 1980’s. I thought about those days and when I used to play 1 irons and long irons. Now My Bag consists of an 8 dg driver, 13dg 3 wood, 15 dg 3 wood, 5 wood, 7 wood, 9 wood, 6-pw, 52 and 66 dg wedge and 1920’s style hickory shaft putter. Those are the 14 clubs I carry now and I really don’t need the 6 iron or 7 wood but I carry them anyway. Things have changed so much over the last 40 years, yes 40 years since I was 23 and heading to Studio City Driving range to see Joe Norwood, my Grandfather (Charter member of the SoCal PGA until 1990).
I’ve always gone for the pin. Since I could throw darts with my irons and woods, it made sense to me yet it hurt me in scoring and it has come back to roost now, although the height of my shots with my 5,7 & 9 wood far exceeds the height of my long irons which was really quite amazing when I starting changing to metal woods and letting go of the thoughts of using long irons.
I play only one course these days. It’s 6100 yards long, very small greens, bunkers so well placed that going for the pin is quite rewarding when one hits a perfect shot and at 63 years of age I no longer wish to play the longer courses. When I was younger I played the Wilson Course in Los Angeles and it was 7200 yards and during those days I could hit the ball longer but today, I keep it simple, I deserve to play from the men’s tees now.
I used to be able to visualise a 62 or lower at Willowwick Municipal Course although never came close. Even now I can visualise a 64 and have come to grips with the fact that my course management is very poor. Last round I was staring at the pin just 20 feet behind the bunker and into a heavy head wind. I thought to myself “This is where the glory or the disaster comes into play”. I hit an absolutely fantastic 9 wood, traveling straight at the pin, going high in the air, only to hit the wooden bunker sign right in front of the line of the pin. We could hear the sound of the ball hitting the wooden sign 160 yards away. Disaster had happened and all I had to do was play the same shot 20 feet to the left and I would have been pin high putting for a birdie.
I’m throwing away a good 10 shots a round, most likely more because when scoring starts to happen – lower scores seem to follow.
I’ve played this course for over 40 years and am just now going over each hole in my mind, picking out the correct club to tee off with rather than Driver, Driver, Driver.
All in all I’m playing pretty well for a senior, yes it’s a short course but accuracy is rewarded. I’m also playing 27 holes now but also riding in a cart. The days of carrying my bag are long gone and walking 18 holes is not so much tiring as it is demanding on my body and 27 holes walking is just out of the question.
Tomorrow will be a great day just because I get to play with my friend Louie and he plays a pretty good game. Also the weather in Southern California is superb even with 20 million people and a drought that is severe. As long as I stick to my game plan my score should be lower, I had so many game plans in the past, the key now is to stick to it and take what it gives.
Joe Norwood conceived a perfect golf swing with all the parts to hold and move and he really tried to impart all this in his book Golf-O-Metrics and our video (1988) now DVD called The Anatomy of Golf by Joe Norwood. His book is so packed full of knowledge and how to do things that is dismays most teaching professionals as they conclude the writing was not professional but I’ve read his book and am rewriting a new book on his swing for dissection and perfection purposes but the challenge of reading is offset by the perfectly hit straight ball. In my mind there are only two paths towards a swing that delivers. The other one is Moe Norman but his swing has been adjusted and other people are teaching it their way. I remember Ken Venturi’s commercials called natural golf on a swing that is not natural, neither is Joe Norwood’s. When he says “Poor Golf is a Gift” he is relating to the natural movements of the body which produce error and evidencing it with facts that the playing professionals have become better at preventing these errors.
When he says “Good Golf is Acquired” he is taking us into a swing that must be taught to the subconscious through metric exercises called Golf-O-Metrics designed so the golfer can teach his or her body to rethink and relearn new methods. Once these methods are drilled into muscle memory they become part of the subconscious.
This does not mean that the low handicap golfer is going to drop 10 strokes but it does mean he or she has a much better opportunity of dropping strokes when not having to consider their swing. There is one absolute guarantee with the Joe Norwood Golf Swing and that is the very high handicap golfer, with a bit of commitment and discipline, will drop a lot of strokes.
For a golfer to score a 108 and hit 3 good shots a round and be happy only concludes that he or she is happy to be out and playing at all. There is no reason why every golfer who plays can’t break 90 or be close to it with this swing but it does take commitment and discipline but then again, golf is a game to be played for the rest of our lives.