The Minors: Consistently searching

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Golfers can’t help themselves. Be they amateur or professional, winless or a major champion, players just can’t keep from tinkering with their game.

“You’re always trying to get better,” Jack Newman said. “Sometimes it doesn’t work that way.”

After casting aside early-season swing changes in the middle of the year and reverting to his action of old, Newman found himself still making adjustments.

“I’d play well one week, try and do something a little different the next week to make things better and that would usually lead to a missed cut,” said Newman.

“It was just too much tinkering. I wish I would have figured that out sooner, but I’ve come to realize that my swing doesn’t need to change. I just need to improve the little things.”

Newman’s recent results on the NGA Hooters Tour back his statements. Since July he's gone, T30-MC-T10-MC-T52-MC-T7.

After finding success one week, Newman felt urged to improve thereafter. It’s only natural: figure out what didn’t work during one event, fix it, and all will be better the next. What it took a little while to realize was that the changes that needed to be made had nothing to do with his mechanics.

“Course management,” Newman said. “That’s the main thing. I got away from what made me a good player and that’s my consistency.

“I’ve always been good tee to green. Nothing flashy. I have a casual game and that has always served me well.”

Newman found himself trying to “hammer” the ball at times. In the end, his quest for more power led to increased bogeys, a little more red for a lot more black.

“If I have to hit wedge into a par 5 (for his third shot), that’s fine. I was taking a lot of chances and they weren’t paying off,” he said.

His new/old outlook helped gain him his best round of the year, a closing 64, in his most recent event at Peoria Ridge Golf Club in Miami, Okla.

“Everything was working,” he said of his nine-birdie, one-bogey performance. “On the front nine I missed two putts inside 15 feet for birdie, but didn’t get frustrated. Then on the back, I made about everything I looked at. I had one bogey so there is always something you can nitpick, but I’m very happy with my process.”

Now comes the challenge: trusting what worked and not getting too caught up in what didn’t.

Tuesday, Newman was home in East Lansing, Mich., on campus at his alma mater Michigan State University. He was getting ready for a two-tournament stretch on the Hooters Tour which will lead to a 10-day respite and then a trip to the first stage of PGA Tour Q-School.

“Just working on my wedges, working on my tempo. Hitting some low cuts off the tee, but not doing any tinkering (with the overall swing). I feel like if my short game had been a little better last week I could have really contended.”

From East Lansing, Newman will head to Auburn, Ala., and then to Port St. Lucie, Fla., for his two Hooters Tour events. He’ll then trek back to Michigan before traveling to Pinewild Country Club in Pinehurst, N.C., for Q-School. It will mark his second trip to first stage, where he missed out on advancing by two strokes last year.

“I’ve got a month to get everything together,” Newman said. “I need to get hot. Actually, I shouldn’t even say that. I need to play solid golf. If I can do that then the results will take care of themselves.”