Welcoming daffodils, and re-starting golf lessons

by Rob Tiller

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This week I saw the first daffodils! I just love those little guys, especially the early ones –- the harbingers. On Sunday, I got up to Raulston Arboretum, where the daffs were exuberant, while most other occupants were still slumbering.

Through the long winter nights, I spent some time learning more about photography and adding to my tool kit. I’ve got some new tools to try out, including a nice flash (the Nikon SB-910) and a new macro lens (Tamron 180 MM) that should be great for closeups of insects. I’ve got new software (the CC versions of Lightroom and Photoshop) and have been experimenting with image healing, filters, and focus stacking. I’m ready for the great blossoming of spring.
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Partly with spring in view, I began taking golf lessons a couple of weeks ago. A golf course is a type of garden, and we are privileged to have a good number of such extraordinary gardens in piedmont North Carolina. It seems a waste not to explore and enjoy them. And so I’ve vowed once again to try to get over the hump that separates me from playing golf at a better-than-mediocre level. I’m healthy, fit, and mentally able, so it’s not implausible. I just have to improve my technique – by a lot.

As I’ve noted before, when there’s something difficult to be learned, I’m a big believer in finding a gifted teacher and doing what she says. The teacher-student relationship can be rich human experience, but even when it isn’t, it’s generally the most efficient way to get a skill set. When you don’t know how to do something, it’s hard to teach yourself. This is especially true of complex physical endeavors.
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I found my way to GolfTEC in north Raleigh, and Jessica Yadlocsky. Jessica is an ex NCAA all American and a former touring professional on the European tour, so she knows something about the game. She’s patient and encouraging, and has a good supply of tricks and strategies for addressing common problems.

At our first lesson, she said my set up was fantastic – tour quality. The problems began, however, when I put the club in motion. I have a bad habit of coming over the top, a not uncommon swing flaw. I found her diagnosis persuasive, and her suggested treatments made sense. She stipulated that I should practice at least two hours a week.

As the name suggests, GolfTEC has a technology angle, with lots of video equipment and measurement algorithms. Jessica set up a space just for me on their website with video of my lesson and video drills. As her student, I’m entitled to practice in their shop, which allows viewing every swing from two angles in slow motion. That feedback is revealing and helpful, although also a bit humbling. Already, thanks to Jessica and the video feedback, I’ve made progress addressing some of my swaying, overswinging, and going off plane. I’m optimistic.
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