The Long Shot: Trouble at the range
I'm not going to lie. I love the driving range. I've always been a fantastic range player. I can stand out there all day admiring the shots I hit at nebulous targets off clean lies. Because there is no traditional course or range in Manhattan, I spend much of my time at Chelsea Piers Golf Club -- a four-tiered super range that juts out into the Hudson River.
Thing is, I only can get there a couple of times a week, so the shots I've been hitting lately have been ugly, low hooks. The other day, some smug stranger walked up to me and said, "I've never seen anyone hit a 9-iron like that. Drawing it is an unorthodox strategy." All right, smart guy, settle down.
So I called Tim Mahoney, my ESPN Golf Schools instructor, and asked if he would make a trip. He obliged, mostly because he was working an event for American Express in the city but also because I'm super-dramatic and prone to overreaction when it comes to my swing.
It took Tim approximately 14 seconds to figure out what I'd been doing wrong. And yes, that's annoying. But I'm hitting it much better now. I've gained about a club-and-a-half distance and my misses are playable, which is a nice change.
Problem is, this is the range we're talking about, where I'm much closer to playing like a pro than I am on a course. The plan is to make all of my swing changes by the first of the year. After that, I'll play for real as much as I can and work on my short game.
In the coming weeks -- after the college hoops preview debuts in the Nov. 19 issue of The Magazine (I do have work to do!) -- I'll be spending time with Tim in Scottsdale, Ariz., and getting fitted for fairway woods and hybrids. Plus we have some great head-to-head matches in the works. So stay tuned and keep sending your thoughts and tips.Sarah Turcotte is an associate editor for ESPN the Magazine. This is her first foray into pro golf. E-mail your "A" tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.