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The Drive to 300 Yards: Trying to make progress with golf courses closed

Well, the Ontario government certainly isn’t making things easy for me in my quest to hit 300 yards and get better at golf. I was able to hit the course for real before the government shut down golf courses (and other forms of outdoor recreation) in the middle of April.

I’m not going to litigate whether I think the restrictions to outdoor recreation in Ontario make any sense (spoiler alert: they don’t), but they’ve definitely impeded my progress.

I had been feeling really confident with my 3 wood due to indoor simulator sessions during the first part of spring (evidenced by my 274-yard 3 wood in the video above) and with my wedges, as I’ve been hitting 50 to 100 wedge shots most nice days in an empty field by my house. 

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Surely all of the work I’d been putting in would translate to the course (another spoiler alert: it didn’t). 

My irons were atrocious as the lack of practice with those clubs became readily apparent. Also, hitting out of different lies completely flummoxed me. I didn’t know what to do if the ball was above or below my feet.

And I found myself rushing my shots and not completely dialled in to what I was doing, focusing too much on socially distanced trash talk with my playing partners.

Since my coach Stew Bannatyne from Modern Golf and I weren’t able to get together in person, I set up a Zoom call to discuss pre-shot routines and hitting out of downhill, uphill and sidehill lies.

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Stew made it really easy for me to comprehend the small tweaks necessary in your set-up to hit shots out of different lies. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to an actual course to practise the new tips, so I had to make due in the Global News Toronto parking lot.

Stew’s advice paid off though. I’ve been hitting in the field I mentioned earlier for a while and I never realized it was a sidehill lie with the ball above my feet until after our conversation.

I finally figured out why I was pulling everything to the left!

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Hopefully, this is the last episode that takes place over Zoom and in a parking lot. I can’t wait to get on a course and have my next distance update outside. 

My goal is to keep the 3 wood going and get it into the 280s this month. I’m still waiting for my new driver to come in, so I need to keep progressing with my 3 wood for the next while (everyone in the country appears to have ordered new clubs this year).

Mike Arsenault is a Digital Broadcast Journalist and a host of Global News Weekend.

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