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November update from our LPGA Tour Pro Karen Stupples

Dear fellow golfers

Well here I am, still in Florida and thankful for the lovely sunshine. Am I alone in feeling good about the conditions? It would seem so, for all around me I see that everyone has his or her thick sweaters and corduroy trousers on.

What's the reason for this mass wrap-up? The temperature has plummeted to a low of 63º F. The local folk seem to think that it's cold but as far as I'm concerned it's positively 'tropical' in comparison to the weather in the UK.

I have been occupied with plenty since my last tournament in October. I firstly took a little time off.Not to sit on my backside, as such…but really to reflect on the 2000 season and to establish a plan of attack for next year. I only took a week, however it was enough time to gather my thoughts so that at the start of 2001 I shall be fully prepared for the coming season.

I am truly pleased with this current year in terms of improvement as compared to my first season in 1999. However, I was somewhat disappointed that my overall game proved to be really rather streaky as the months went on.I am certainly planning to be far more consistent in 2001.

Quite honestly I would like to have more top 10 finishes and even put myself in a position to win an event as this next year progresses. These grandiose thoughts are all very well but how am I going to achieve the success I desire? Once the goals were established the rest of my 'thinking week' was spent in deciding how my improvement would come about. I decided that the most important thing I needed was more lessons and with those lessons came the option to change some problem areas in the swing.

With a total of 2 months away from tournament golf I have the perfect time to make the necessary improvements.I am afraid the other need was a complete review of the equipment I was using. Those of you who have kept up with my travels will remember the difficulty I have been having in this particular department throughout the last twelve months.

Over the course of the year I had changed irons woods, putters, wedges… everyone at least once.This was in an effort to correct my swing problems without actually doing anything to the swing.Essentially, if I am going to improve my golf I need a set of clubs that are an exact match for my height, build, and strength. This way I can put a much better swing on the ball and get far more accurate feed back from the results of the shots. This is surely something that must be borne in mind by the average club golfer when reaching for a new set of 'sticks'.

It is now the end of November and I have had month to work at my game.The first thing to report is that I do indeed have a new set of clubs.My eyes were opened to how important shaft, loft, lie and weight are in the clubs one is using by Randall Doucette the master club fitter at the Faldo Institute in Orlando.As it turns out my clubs were too long, too upright and the shafts were far too flexible for me.When using these clubs the resulting 'left shot' is something I have struggled with all year.And because of this I, like anyone, be they amateur or professional, attempted to steer the ball to the right.

As you can imagine the golf ball could really wind up just about anywhere on these occasions. The good news is that I have taken the left side of the course out of the equation with my new clubs.All that I need to do now is to have complete trust them not to go left.I have over a month to get my subconscious to believe in the tools I have. All in all I feel really good about the changes I am making to my swing.

It's not easy But anyone who has ever had a lesson and been told to change even a small thing, like your grip, knows how strange it feels and how tough it is.So, my advice to you is feel good about your lessons and persevere…

Even Tiger Woods has trouble getting everything right. Once all the work is done with a little luck I should be able to make my way up the money list next season.

I hope you all have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year…

Best Wishes

Karen Stupples.

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