I finally did it!
After months of hard work, which included shadow swings at the Global News studio, hitting balls in an empty dog park, losing a bunch of reduced-distance practice balls and dozens of hours at the driving range and on courses throughout southern Ontario, I hit a golf ball over 300 yards.In my previous two sessions with Stew Bannatyne from Modern Golf, I hit probably a dozen balls over 290 yards, but just kept coming up short of that 300-yard barrier. I was worried I wasn’t going to get there.
A record round and learning course management
I just needed to put everything together and, as you can see in the video at the top of the post, I was able to do that. And my celebration with Stew reminds me a little of the beach hug in Rocky III between Rocky and Apollo Creed. Story continues below advertisement
I couldn’t have done it without Stew and his instruction. There were many times where it felt like I was taking a couple of steps back and actually getting worse, but Stew was always there with the right piece of advice to get me back on track.Since working with Stew, I have increased my top driver distance by almost 60 yards (from 244 to 302) and my top swing speed from 108 miles per hour to 113 miles per hour.In the session where I hit the 302-yard drive, I probably hit about 50 driver shots total. And my average distance of those 50 was 276 yards and my average swing speed was 111 miles per hour. Both numbers are well beyond what my top effort was at the start of the year.
Drive, Chip and Putt Challenge with an 11-year-old champion
My driver accuracy is still pretty inconsistent — I still have a two-way miss on course, so I don’t bring the driver out as often as I should. But I’m hitting my three-wood off the tee between 240 and 260, which is enough distance for most holes on courses under 6,500 yards.I mentioned in last month’s post that I broke 90 for the first time. I was able to break 90 two more times over the past month! However, I also had a couple of rounds in the high 90s, as my short game is still maddeningly inconsistent. Story continues below advertisement
Hopefully, Stew’s putting lesson in the video will help me out. Speaking of Stew, the final episode of the series will air next month when Stew and I have a student-versus-teacher 18-hole showdown at a course yet to be determined (I will be getting a stroke a hole).One of my high-90s rounds this month was alongside the old-timers’ group I have the four-year bet with (details in this Global News story).I didn’t win any more beer and, worst of all, I’m forced to end this post with the following message from the group:“And finally, I want to send a shout out to the Thursday Leaderboard guys at Saugeen Golf Club in Port Elgin, Ontario. A couple of weeks ago, they showed me that I’m not ready to play with the big boys just yet!”Mike Arsenault is a digital broadcast journalist and a host of ‘Global News Weekend.’
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