From February 27 to March 2nd, I had a lovely trip down to Georgia and Alabama for golf with my friend Greg and 5 other guys.
After flying down to Atlanta on Thursday, Greg, Brian, and myself drove about 1.5 hours over to Alabama and took on the Lakes Course at Grand National, which is where they've previously hosted the PGA TOUR's Barbasol Championship. The weather was pretty cold and it was quite windy. With the soft conditions, the course played very long. In my opinion, the best hole was the Par 3 16th hole.
Quite honestly, I was struggling during this round. I felt like I was thinning nearly all my full shots and I even topped a few. My iron shots were also leaking a little to the right. It wasn't until the back nine that it occurred to me what the culprit was…my shoes.
Typically, I buy shoes from New Balance because, first and foremost, they are comfortable for my feet. I have a size 12.5 EEE foot, so it always helps that New Balance has something that doesn't kill my feet. Secondly, I like them because they perform. Lastly, I can usually find something that I like aesthetically.
That's how I choose shoes: comfort > performance > style.
During my most recent Portugal golf trip
, my old New Balance golf shoes died.
They were of a minimalist style and weren't high off the ground. However, the new Fresh Foam LinksSL ones I got have quite a bit more sole height. Making my usual golf swing with a high soled shoe that was used to a lower soled shoe now made sense why I was thinning everything. The more rightward iron shots made sense too because effectively I would've had a flatter lie angle coming in to the ball.
Once I realized that, I started to adjust on the back nine and had my best drive of the day on the last hole, but it still took me 2.5 rounds to fully get used to the shoes and start hitting my normal shots again without having to consciously think about it.
Anyway, after the round, we drove another 2.5 hours to Ross Bridge, where we would stay the next two nights. With the golf and all the driving, it was a fun but long day.
Saturday, we took on the even longer Ross Bridge.
I still wasn't playing my best, but I continued to get more used to the height of my new shoes and I was able to shift more and more over to swinging without thinking as much.
For Sunday, we originally planned on checking out and driving 1.5 hours to play Silver Lakes, which is where a US Open qualifier will be held in a couple months. However, due to it saving drive time, letting us sleep in an extra 1.5 hours, being wet and wintery conditions, and getting Greg back to the Atlanta airport on time, we decided to just play Ross Bridge again.
During the front nine of the second time around the course, I continued to get more consistent and on the back nine I felt like tour level golf, like I know I can play, started to finally show up. I ended up shooting +1 on the back nine (lipped out a par putt on the 18th), which would equate to a +6 handicap over 18 holes, given the difficulty of the course rating and slope. I would argue it was an even better round than that because the tee shots were all carry with no roll (and sometimes backing up a yard or two!). I think on that back side I played as good as any tour player.
So, it was nice to get adjusted to my shoe height and finish the golf trip like that.