New to this site, just found it the other day and have really enjoyed it so far. I have been keeping a journal of my first two months of golf. I'm a 32 year old male that just started golfing on June 2, 2012. I've been playing a lot and practicing a lot as well and am eager to improve. I'm seeing some improvements and am reading as much as I can and trying to learn as much as I can to tweak my swing to get better. Here is what I've been through/done so far.....I figure that it would be good reading for other's just starting in the game as I have found that reading other people's experience has helped me......
Here is what I have written in my "golf" journal so far:
June 2, 2012….It feels like it was so long ago, however, in reality it was just weeks ago. June 2, 2012 was when I started golfing. I had been golfing before, but it was back in the summer of 1997 when I was 17, had no clubs or anything, and played two rounds with a friend of mine and his father at Little Bennett. It was nothing structured, just hacking. Since then I had wanted to get involved but did not. Finally on June 2, 2012, I had a reason to get involved as I had to take my cousin-in-law golfing and then bring him back to the house for a surprise birthday party. It worked perfectly since I had just moved back to Maryland and found work down here. This would give me much more time during the week and weekends to potentially play golf. That was the plan anyway. I did not realize that I would get hooked so quickly and play as much as I’m playing now.
So on June 2, 2012, Bill (my cousin-in-law) and I go to Needwood Golf Course. We were going to play the 9 hole Executive Course. This seemed to be ideal since Bill has played before but not much and I had not played in years. We started on the practice range and hit some balls and then moved to the course. The nine holes comprise of 7 par 3’s and 2 par 4’s. Most of the par 3’s are less than 120 yards from tee. The two par 4’s had to be no more than 320 from the tee. It was a fun time but also frustrating. I had no idea what I was doing and one shot would be somewhat good while the next swing I took could miss the ball entirely. The bottom line was that we had a good time and I was sore for days after.
Score was not kept. That’s a good thing because I kid you not, if I had counted I probably would have been at 70 for a par 29 Executive Course……..
After a few days, the soreness wore off and I felt the itch to play again or at least hit some balls. I had no clubs though. When I golfed with Bill I had borrowed my Uncle’s clubs. The next weekend I brought my Uncle to Dick’s to help me pick out some clubs. Primarily I needed a set of irons as my Uncle had older driver, 3 wood, util/rescue, etc. I ended up with the TaylorMade Burner Plus irons. I hit them versus the regular Burner 1.0 irons and liked the Burner Plus much much more. The Burner Plus had a deeper bottom of the club which was more forgiving and I noticed this right away. This must have been a big deal because being so inexperienced to feel this much of a difference in clubs was surprising. The set was reasonable (under $400) and came with 4-PW and it included an “A” wedge (I call it a gap wedge, it’s a 50-52 degree loft). I found a cheap Maxfli golf bag for under a $100, picked up some $90 Foot-Joy golf shoes that were water proof and purchased a $60 cheap Maxfli putter. All of it was just under $700. Back at the house my Uncle gave me a TaylorMade R5 driver, some kind of Cobra 3-wood, an older TaylorMade util/rescue. Thus I was good to go.
The next two weeks I was at the range a lot, hitting a lot of balls and I played the Exec Course at Needwood several times. Consistency in my shots did not exist. I could hit a good shot followed by missing the ball on the swing completely. It was frustrating. I did not keep score when I played the Exec Course. Finally after a few weeks of reading quite a bit online and reading several books along with the fact that I was going to the range 4 plus times a week, I started to hit my irons a bit better. This was the biggest challenge – that is getting the ball airborne on my irons. It’s still a problem today but it’s much better than it was.
Finally I played my first 18 holes. I do not remember the date but I remember the course and the score. I played Needwood, full 18. I was paired with 3 nice guys, one father in law and two son-in-laws. Apparently this guy had two daughters that these unrelated dudes were marrying/married to. One of the guys was very good (he shot 84) and overall it was fun. My game was very up and down over the course. I counted every single shot, no mulligans. I shot 127. Yep, 127. On one hole, I carded a 13. The problem on many of the holes was that I did not hit the tee shot solidly and “dribbled” it. Not wanting to take a mulligan, I played from where I dribbled it to and it was a disaster. Thus the reason that many of the holes on that day resulted in at least a 8 on the hole or worse.
It was really frustrating because I could hit some good shots and this was encouraging. I knew that I was a beginner but what frustrated me the most was that I wanted to be as accurate as possible to get a handicap and find out what my real handicap is and then to formulate a plan to get better. The problem with this is that when you dribble a tee shot, playing it from where you dribbled it too just makes the score so much more bloated. Yet at the same time, it’s not right to just forget about that shot either and re-tee. Thus while my scorecard showed 127, the score was not that bad. I lost some balls, but not a ton. On that first 18 holes I probably lost about 4 or 5 balls. Nothing ridiculous. The whole problem was just those dribbled tee shots that I decided to play. In some cases this meant hitting a ball from rough that was just 8 feet in front of the tee box!
The next round was also a full 18 and was at Needwood. I was paired with a nice older couple in their late 50’s or early 60’s. The husband and wife were actually pretty good and I was paired with them for the front 9. Unfortunately the play was so slow that they decided that after 9 holes that they were done. I continued the back 9 by myself. I was probably a little more consistent that I was the first round but not by much. Again the single biggest issue was inconsistency from the tee. The dribbled shots ruined the round and ultimately I shot a 126. As was the case in the first 18 holes, the score probably did not reflect what the round really was. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to sound better than it actually was because in many ways it was really ugly, however, in reality if not for several dribbled tee shots that I had to play from, the score would have been closer to 110 if I had to guess. As with the first round played, I lost about 5 or 6 balls on the course.
The two first 18 hole rounds included terrible iron shots from the fairway. In many cases the shots just did not go far and did not get airborne at all. I continued going to the range though and the week after the second round of 18 holes, I started hitting down on the ball with my irons and I noticed a decent improvement in getting most of the iron shots at least somewhat off the ground. Even as I write this on July 18, 2012, my irons shots from fairways and tees have a ways to go, but, it is miles ahead of where I was a month ago.
During this time after the second round, I was still going to the range a lot during the week and was eager to do anything to get better as fast as possible. I purchased a new driver and a new Hybrid/Rescue. I got good deals, bought them online. The driver is a TaylorMade Superfast. It’s from a few years ago and was only like $120 or so. I like it and am still using it. I’m still getting used to the shaft being so long though. It’s 46.5”. Lately I’ve been choking up and that is helping. The one thing I can say is that when I really hit a drive and get the sweet spot, it is a HUGE difference and feels ****ing incredible. I cannot really explain it but when I get that really good hit, it feels and sounds way different and gives me a few seconds of real euphoria. The util/rescue that I bought was also TaylorMade. It’s the SuperLaunch Rescue 3H at 18 degrees. It’s suppost to be like an iron but I swear I cannot hit the club at all. Even on the tee. I have since given it up and gave it to my uncle who in turn gave me a 3 iron (my iron set did not come with a 3 iron, it started at a 4 iron). Thus I started playing with an older Titleist 3 iron with a graphite shaft. I cannot hit this that well either and can only hit it marginally better than I could with the 3H.
With that same purchase of clubs, I also bought a machine that you can use indoors/outdoors to putt into and it will kick the ball back to you automatically if you get it in. I use it quite a bit at nights in the hallway. I have noticed that my putting has gotten much better and I believe that it’s because I am practicing with this. Also, I found a putter in the garage that Aunt Fran had in her golf bag. It’s a mens putter. It’s an Oddesey “Rossie II Deepface”. I started playing with it when I was practicing putting at home and it is much heavier and better than the cheap Maxfli putter that I bought at Dicks. I put the Rossie II in my bag and began immediately using it when practicing and playing rounds.
One item that did not work at all was a swing training aid that I also bought online with the club purchase. It was a metal stake type contraption that you stuck in the grass. It had a string with a plastic golf ball that hung down and you could hit it with the ball not going anywhere but staying on the string and just going over the top of it. I tried it and immediately knew that I wasted 20 dollars. The string does not come down far enough so you end up hitting this plastic ball that is 6 inches off the ground. Also it does not simulate hitting a real ball at all. I have not used it since I tried it ONCE the night it arrived.
By this point, it was leading up to the weekend of June 30/July 1. On Friday June 29 late in the evening the storms came in. Massive damage from the derecho. I remember telling my Uncle when it started that I was hoping it was not going to be too bad as I had a tee time on Saturday morning at Needwood. I was half joking. What neither of us knew was that neither one of us would be playing on Saturday and that we would not even get power back until Thursday night of next week (July 5). Thus from Friday June 29 at about 10:30pm through Thursday July 5 at about 9:30pm, there was no power. The damage was so bad that there was no way I could have golfed even if I knew Needwood was open or not?
On Sunday, July 1, 2012, there was obviously no power. I was bored and really did want to play if possible. I had already set up a tee time during the week for Sunday morning at Falls Road Golf Course. It’s another one of the Montgomery County courses and I saw the ratings and reviews online. It seemed like it would be good to play as the reviews and ratings were favorable. I had no idea if they were open or not. Thus I drove over and sure enough they were. They had limited power. The other issue that was occurring at this time when there was no power was that the heat was brutal. My tee time was just before 9am but it was already almost 90 degrees and very humid. The high temps during the day and days preceeding and following that day were over 100 each day. I really thought that I had drank enough water the night before. Besides, my tee time was early and it was not supposed to be as hot so I figured that I would be fine. What a mistake I made……
I was paired with one guy and we went off as a two-some. The guy was a lawyer I think, older guy in his mid to late 50’s probably and was a pretty good golfer. Not a bogey golfer but he could probably get between 100 and 110 I’d guess. Anyways……the first hole at Falls Road for that round started off great. I actually got a legit par on it and it was a moderate length par 4. The next few holes were also solid and before I knew it, I was in really good shape. Then the first par 5 of Falls Road came and I dribbled the ****ing tee shot. What made it worse was that it went off to the left about ten yards forward and five yards to the left. Thus it was stuck in some ****ing British Open links type tall grass that ****ing Tiger could not get out of with one shot even if he had to. I cannot remember how many times I hacked at that ****ing ball but I finally got it out. This hole is a longer par 5 and has a steep valley that goes down in the middle of the hole with a highly elevated green. I ended up shooting a 13 again, this time on a par 5 at Falls Road though.
By this point, we were on like the 7th or 8th hole and I was sweating a lot. I was trying to drink a lot too and thought that I was staying ahead of the game. There was some slow play in front of us which made things worse as we had to sit and wait while I became more and more dehydrated. In the meantime, my game was hurting. Part was inconsistency and a big part was that I was becoming dangerously dehydrated. I cannot remember but think that the front 9 I shot something like a 58 or so. I remembered thinking that considering the conditions and such, at least it was an improvement. Then we hit the 13th hole and I really started feeling sick from the heat. I knew at that point that I was not going to be able to finish the round. Thus I had to ask my partner to drive the cart back to my car as I had to “wd” from the round. He was nice about it and generally concerned as he kept stating that I should go inside and cool down. I thanked him and stated that this was not necessary as I really only needed to get in my car for a bit with the AC and then drive home. This is what I ended up doing but not before puking in my car. Fortunately I had a plastic bag to do this and thus there was no mess.
When I got home I do not remember much but drinking lots of water and passing out for the rest of the day. I guess that is what heat stroke/beginning of heat stroke will do to a man…..
On Tuesday, July 3, 2012, I found out that we were getting out of work at 3pm that day as we had the next day (Wednesday, July 4) off. Since there was no power and nothing to do, I quickly went online and booked a tee time. I had been wanting to check out Montgomery Village Golf Course for a while and here was my chance. It was not always available to get on since it was semi-private. I figured that it would be in the same kind of shape that Needwood and Falls Road were in. I mean after all, it was semi-private, right?
So I get to Montgomery Village and get my cart, and pay my fees. The fees include a bucket of balls to hit. I start to notice immediately that the place is actually not in that good of shape. I quickly hit some balls and feel pretty good. I was sure to drink a lot, and I mean a lot of water at work during the day when I found out that I would be golfing that afternoon. While it was hot out, dehydration was not an issue on this day…..I was paired with two dudes around the same age as me. They were friends. One of the guys was an okay golfer, probably around 100 or so while the other was a fat porker type build that could not hit a driver at all. In fact he only tried like twice and dribbled or shanked the tee shots. Thus the porker was hitting irons from the tee even on par 5’s. This did not do much to help his game. Don’t get me wrong, I am not throwing stones while living in a glass house as my game was probably just as bad overall as the porkers, but the bottom line was that he really was bad.
I can definitely say that I will never golf at Montgomery Village Golf Course ever again. It was the most ghetto course I’ve seen to date. I had read online that the fairways were “rye” grass and also noticed that the greens were Bermuda grass versus the normal bent grass greens that are found in this area. I was really surprised to see that there was really nothing in good shape at all at this course. The greens were terrible, aside from the fact that the Bermuda grass greens were much much slower than the bent grass greens that I am used to putting on, there were divets everywhere and overall the course was in shambles. I ended up only playing 9 holes since I had a tee time the next day at Needwood. I shot roughly a 55 or so for the front 9 holes.
The next day I was paired with two Asian guys, both very good players and one hippie type fellow. It was a fun round. I was keeping score but then stopped this sometime around the middle of the front nine. The reason was that I was still dribbling some tee shots. At this point I realized that while I want to be accurate that it is not helping to play as is. It’s better to re-tee and hit a shot. Technically the score does not count and thus I stopped. Several times throughout the round this occurred but it was much better to re-tee rather than to play the ball from where it was (which in many cases was not a good position and only made things worse). There was some improvement on the round, but still lots of mis-hits and inconsistencies with ball striking for sure.
Then came Saturday which was July 7, 2012. I had another tee time at Falls Road early in the morning. I was paired with three fellows that were friends. Two of them were about as good as me and one of the guys was a little better than me (shot in mid 90’s). I was keeping score and had shot a 54 on the front 9. On the back 9 though I faded and bad. Got sick from heat exhaustion once again and ended up puking on hole 13. I either hurt myself before by swinging on the back 9 somewhere or hurt myself by puking because I had some kind of pulled muscle to the side of my right pec muscle, almost under my armpit. It was bad. So bad that I could not hit anymore shots and I just rided out the rest of the round with the other guys. I putted and chipped a bit.
From what I did play of the round, there was some improvement. There were still some mis-hits from the tee, but not as many. There were also mis-hits from the fairway with the irons but again, not as many……The next week I did not go to the range at all due to the pulled muscle. I was not going to play at all in fact because I was supposed to go to CT for family reunion. I was ill though and did not go. Saturday night I decided to get a tee time for Sunday since I had nothing else to do and my pulled muscle was not completely gone, but good enough where I could play golf. Thus I booked a tee time at Needwood. I was paired with two ladies and one other guy. It was a good group. Everyone was about the same abilities. There was quite a bit of improvement on this round of 18. I ended up braking 100 by shooting a 99. Front 9 ended up with 52 and back 9 ended up with a 47.
Overall the ball striking was much better. From the tee I believe that I only had one real mis-hit that dribbled off. Other than that I made decent enough contact to proceed. Don’t get me wrong as things were not great, but they were good enough where I only had one dribbler. Ball striking from the fairway was better as well but there were still some shots that went almost no-where. My putting was not as good but this was likely because I did not practice at all. It was great to know that I finally broke 100. The worst hole that I had was either an 8 or 9. Thus nothing really really catastrophic that completely ruined the round.
Now it’s mid-week and I have rounds planned for Saturday and Sunday. My side is a little sore still and my back is as well. I think that I will be good enough to play on Saturday and Sunday. I hope to play both days. I’ve yet been able to play full 18 holes on back to back days but would like to do it this weekend if possible. On Saturday I have a tee time at Falls Road and on Sunday morning a tee time at Needwood. Goals for the weekend? I’d love to put a number on it and say low 90’s or something but something tells me that by taking that approach that it may not be as helpful. I just want to see more improvement. I have not been going to the range in the middle of the week because of soreness. I’m not sure if that is going to be a continuing trend or just something that will go away and then I can go back to hitting balls during the week. At the same time, I’m not sure that going to the range really helps that much. I thought it would help more than it does. The problem is with the irons. It does no good to hit irons at the range. It may be good right before a round to get loose but not to improve ball striking. Maybe off the tee might be okay but the fact that the mats are synthetic, there is a huge difference between hitting the ball off the fairway/rough versus one of those mats.
One thing is for sure, that is that I want to be able to post a solid full 18 hole score at Falls Road which I have not been able to do as of yet. Both times I have come up short due to the heat. I will be sure to drink plenty on Friday night so that this is not a problem on Saturday or Sunday. What will be in my bag for the weekend? The big change is that the 3H TaylorMade Superlaunch is coming back in. I gotta start hitting that. Since I’m not hitting the Titleist graphite shafted 3 iron any better than that, I’m pulling it and putting the Hybrid back in. I thought about going back to the R5 driver if only because I may be able to hit it better than the Superfast for now. The reason is due to the decreased shaft length. I’m going to keep the Superfast driver in the bag and just choke up when necessary. The Cobra 3 wood will be in the bag although it almost never gets used in a round. I’ve hit once or twice during the round. It’s been from the tees. I’d love nothing more than to play that from the fairways but I cannot hit it for shit off the carpet. Since I may need it off the tee (especially on a really long par 3 for example), it is going to stay in the bag. The final “wood” type club will be the 3H in the bag. I may start to try to hit that off the tee as well for the longer par 3’s. I tried this at the range but the problem is that the tee is too high. I may try to hit from the tee in a round but use a very low tee height. There are a couple of par 3’s at Needwood and Falls Road that I could see this being very helpful for. Thus the 3H is in the bag and not coming out any time soon (especially since I bought another one to replace the one that I gave to my Uncle – it’s the exact same club that I bought online again – I know this sounds nuts but it was only like $80).
The usual irons will be in the bag…..Those are the TaylorMade Burner Plus iron set (4 through PW and AW). I’m taking Aunt Fran’s Titleist Sand Wedge out. It’s not a bad club, but with the gap wedge from my iron set and the lob wedge that I already have (Cleveland lob wedge ‘used’ from Uncle Joe’s Country Club), there just is not a need. I end up using that lob wedge quite a bit. I like it but it is older and would like to get a Taylor Made one. I may go online and buy one, but, for now, the Titleist SW is out and obviously I’m keeping the Cleveland 60 degree lob wedge in. I use it a lot chipping and pitching from around the greens and getting out the numerous bunkers that I find myself in throughout the round.
The putter is the Odyssey Rossie II. This means that I will be carrying only 13………
Friday July 20, 2012
I have a lot of golf set up for this weekend. Tomorrow morning have a tee time early at Falls Road and then on Sunday morning have an early tee time at Needwood. Yesterday afternoon I got confirmation that I will actually be playing with someone that I know on Sunday. Vanesah will be playing with me on Sunday morning. That should be fun – we’ve never met but from what she states she is a pretty good golfer that can shoot around 90. If I have a good day like I hope, I should be right around or at least withing in range of that as well.
Yesterday I also upgraded my clubs as well. I purchased online a 60 degree lob wedge (TaylorMade burner 2009-11 model) and a 55 degree sand wedge (TaylorMade Burner 2.0 model). They will be delivered later today so I can put them in play tomorrow. I tried to find models that matched the set of irons I have but I could not. The wedges that I purchased yesterday will at least be close. I will now be adding a wedge (sand wedge) and thus will have 14 total clubs which includes 4 wedges (pw, aw, sw, lw), irons 4-9, putter, driver, 3W, and 3H which will bring my total to 14 clubs.
Monday July 23, 2012
A weekend full of golf. I played two rounds, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Both in the morning. Weather was a huge issue. Saturday morning I get to Falls Road and it’s raining and has been raining for almost the whole night before. The course was very wet. I figured that I would bring my umbrella but that it would not be that big of an issue since the cart has a roof on it. Come to find out only when I get to the course that there are no carts allowed out on the course that day because it was so wet. It was walking only. Thus I had to walk the whole ****ing course in the rain with just a push/pull cart. It rained hard at times and I can say that I did not play well at all. I had lots of mis-hits and overall I did not really enjoy playing. Towards the ends of the round it stopped raining but then started back up again. I played with three guys that all knew each other. Two of the guys were good golfers that ended up shooting 85 and 86 in really shitty conditions. The other guy was at my level if not worse than me although he scored better than me for the round but by only 4 strokes.
I had some issues driving the ball and the conditions were very very shitty. Walking was not as bad as I thought but I was still very tired when I got home. I felt like everything was rushed because of the weather and the fact that you had to walk to everything made it seem much worse. By the time I’d get to my ball, I’d be almost out of breath or rushed because I was usually behind the others. I ended up shooting a 111 for the round with splits of 55 on the front nine and 56 on the back nine. I had streaks where I was driving the ball well. There were also “flashes of brilliance” as well where I par’d a hole and then on some I blew up with a score as high as a 9 on one of the holes. I was surprised as we went to the back nine to find out that I had shot only a 55. I thought for sure it was going to be worse. It was pretty much just hit or miss on each hole. There was no telling if I was going to shoot a good score or a bad score.
On Sunday, I thought that the weather was going to be better and was also excited because I thought that I would be golfing with Vanessa. She sent a text in the morning stating that she would not be making it. Thus it was just going to be me. I was upset when I found that it was raining when I was on the driving range before teeing off. It did not rain as much as Saturday and after a few holes on Sunday, the weather was not an issue for the most part. Carts were allowed at Needwood on Sunday. I was paired with two older guys who were really bad and one guy that was a little older than me and was just a bit better than me although he had been golfing for much longer. Sunday was also a mixed bag. I did drive the ball well pretty much the whole day though. One or two shots was all that was bad as far as the driver goes. I had a lot of missed iron shots. I did not have the 3H in the bag on Saturday but did on Sunday. I had a few mishits but then started to hit the 3H well. So well that on a par 3 on the back 9 I tee’d off with it on a longer par 3. I’m starting to hit it better now and look forward to using it more. The best part was clearing the pond on the 18th with only my second shot with the Hybrid. I hit a monster drive onto the fairway and my partner talked me into hitting over the pond on the second shot instead of laying up like I likely would have done. I did make it over the pond with the Hybrid. After the first 9 holes, I was at 52. Not a bad score. The same score I had the week before on the front 9, but the back 9 was much worse. I came back in 47 last week when I broke 100. This week I came back in 60 to shoot a total of 112. I was not happy. The conditions were so much better and a course that I was more familiar with and I shot worse than the day before when I had to walk and the conditions were worse!
In reflection, I’m not far away on this past weekend to rounds at or below 100 easily. If I curb almost all “duffed” iron shots that is at least 10 shots right there if not more. If I can clean up my game around the greens to include chipping and such, then that is likely another 10 shots at least. I cannot tell you how many shots a round I waste around the greens because I chip too far or not far enough to get me where I need to be. The driving is improving very nicely and it’s just the duffed shots and the longer irons that continue to plague me. While my drives were not as accurate on Sunday as Saturday, I hit them much more solidly and they went very far and pretty consistent too. I only had one dribbler that I hit with the driver.
My hitting an iron off the tee is still not very good. On Saturday for example I was on the green in one and shortest to the hole as I hit a fantastic 8 iron on the back 9 at Falls Road. On the third hole though earlier in the day on Saturday, I hit the ball 30 yards off the tee. It is so hit and miss.
While I do not have a handicap at this time, I would say that it is right around 110 which includes many of the only 9 hole rounds that I also played…….
At this point in time, I am really not sure what I want to do/play next weekend. I am thinking that it may be a good idea to go to the driving range later this week and hit balls. I really need to start hitting my irons better somehow, someway. It would help out so much. As of now, the weather is supposed to be pretty good for next weekend. Again, I have nobody to golf with next weekend though. I will have to think it through. I guess I could play the usual and do the usual thing. I am improving, that’s for sure as a few weeks ago I was shooting 126 and 127…..I guess it’s just frustrating because it’s not consistent and not happening as quickly as I’d like it to……
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
There was a new addition to the golf bag last night…….I could not help it. One item that is probably the most important but that I have not put enough money or effort into is the putter. The one that I initially bought (some Maxfli piece of shit) sucks. I had been using a mid 1990’s model Odyssey Rossie II Deepface that Aunt Fran used. I had no idea that it was one of the iconic putters in golf since it was the first putter to use a face insert. I just liked the way that it felt versus the Maxfli.
Well last night, I was at Dicks because I wanted to buy those “safe” golf balls so I could practice inside the house as well as outside and not break anything. I also got a turf matt too so that I do not tear up all the grass and shit. I walked by all the putters and had to try some out. After about a half hour of trying many of them out, I settled with another Odyssey. It is also another mallet style putter…..it’s the Odyssey White Ice 330 Mallet. The insert feels really good and it is at 34”. I liked the metal x inserts too, but I could not find one that I really really liked. Thus this one was only $99.99 and so I picked it up.
I also went ahead and booked my rounds for next weekend. On Saturday I will be playing Falls Road again and on Sunday I will be playing at Needwood. I would be lying to you if I said that I did not have high expectations about this coming weekend. It is imperative that I improve versus last weekend. That is why I went to Dicks and bought those balls and that matt because I can practice hitting my irons at home without breaking anything and still hopefully being able to get good practice in. I will also be practicing my chipping/pitching for around the greens because as I mentioned in yesterdays post, there is at least 10 shots per round that are usually wasted right there.
Wednesday July 25, 2012
Talked to Vanesah yesterday and it appears that we will be playing this weekend on Sunday. Saturday she is playing at noon, I’m a bit squeamish about that tee time due to the heat. Thus we are playing Sunday tentatively at Holly Hills in Ijamsville. It appears to be a private country club. From what Uncle Joe tells me, it’s a hard and hilly course. In the event that it falls through, I will be playing at Needwood on Sunday and still playing Falls Road on Saturday morning.
One thing that I am determined to get better at is my short game. I was practicing last night indoor hitting chips and short pitches downstairs off of the fake turf matt that I purchased along with the “safe” golf balls. Without a doubt the biggest issue is deceleration of the club through impact. Hopefully by practicing it will get better. This got me to wondering though…….if I cut this “fat” off along with the stupid mis-hits of the irons, what is the best possible round that I could shoot?
This is a hard question to answer because it would mean that all my other shots are what they are, yet I am taking out all of the “fat”. It’s easy to say that if all my shots where good that I could shoot par or better but I have to remember that this is with my current ball striking and distances. With this being the case, I figure that there is at least 10 mis-hits per game with my irons. If I add in the fact that there are 10 strokes lost in the short game, this would reduce my score by 20 with my driving being the same and my putting being the same. Lately my putting has not been as good but I have been practicing this week especially with the new putter.
Let’s be clear, I drove the ball well on Sunday. Very well. The best I’ve driven it.
Friday July 27, 2012
After being out yesterday (sick), I am back today and hoping for a good weekend. Tee time is set for just after 9AM on Sunday at Holly Hills Country Club in Ijamsville with Vanesah. I’m already cringing at what my score is going to be on that day as the slope of the course is almost 140! Jeez, that’s getting up there! Tomorrow morning I have a tee time early at Falls Road. I’d be lying to you if I said that I did not have big expectations for tomorrow. I plan on playing well, better than I’ve ever played. There is no reason that I should not. Driving is better than it has ever been based on last Sunday’s performance. I just have to be consistent and drive the ball far tomorrow and let things flow from there. When holes start to fall apart, that is the time that I have to slow things down and relax. I’m not going to rush stupid shots tomorrow. I’m just not going to do it. I’m going to relax and not let the pressure or frustration get to me. That happens too much and then I end up doffing a ****ing iron shot and end up adding more unnecessary shots to my score than is required.
I’m just going to open the clubface more on my irons and hit down on them. That’s all that I can do. I have to hit down on them and I am not going to try to kill it either. I’ll just club up and swing easy and down on the ball. I want to envision on how the shot is going to be and then just let my brain do it somehow. What I’m realizing is that when I get too technical and focus too much on that shit that my swing and my round/game falls apart. Everyone likes to give advice and because I am eager to get better, I want to take what anyone will tell me. Not anymore. I’m just doing my thing. There is no one right way to get the ball in the hole. There are lots of right ways and as long as I do that well, that’s all that I care about.
No I do not expect every shot to be great or for there to be no duffed shots. There will be. I’m sure that there will be sculled chip shots and duffed iron shots from the fairway. I expect much less of those however. I also expect that when I take out driver that I will hit the ball well. There is no reason not to. I showed that I could do this last week and will show it again this week. I practiced a bit last night and the night before with my chipping inside and it feels better. It’s not perfect, but I am hitting down and committing to the shot more so than I was before which is a big difference. I hope things go well!
Monday, July 30, 2012
Played 36 holes this weekend and while I would have liked to have shot better, I am seeing improvement I believe. I also made my first legit birdie (on a par 5, no less). On Saturday I played 18 holes at Falls Road. I was paired with one other guy, an older guy who had been playing for years but was probably only marginally better than me. He was only better than me because he could better hit his irons and approach shots with more consistency than I could. I never drove the ball better in my life than I did on Saturday. I did not miss one tee shot with my driver and hit more than half of the fairways. Most of the drives were very long and very straight. I hit about 50 or so balls before the round which definitely helped out.
The par 3’s killed me on Saturday. I did not score better than a 5 on any of the four par 3’s on the course which. I just could not hit my irons from the tee at all and this killed all of those par 3’s. On the par 5 16th hole I scored my first birdie in my life. It was a good tee shot over the water filled valley, followed by an excellent shot with my hybrid club to get it just short of the green right up against the left rough. I then chipped pretty well to about 13 or 14 feet on the green. From there I made my birdie for my 4. It felt great.
The new putter that I got during the week (Odyssey white ice 330 mallet) performed okay. I ended up shooting 53 on the front nine and coming back in 48 for a total of 101. A long putt on 18 lipped out and I missed breaking 100 just barely. The strength of this round was my driver. The weakness was my irons specifically off of the tee as I shot like shit on the par 3’s. Iron play otherwise was okay, not that great. I did hit the hybrid better on Saturday. There were a few mis-hits and topping of the ball but this is happening less and less as I continue to like this club more and more. After Saturday’s round I tried to be positive even though I knew that I could have done and should have done much better considering how well I drove the ball.
On Sunday I played 18 holes at Holly Hills Country Club in Frederick County. In retrospect, I should have hit some balls on the range to loosen up. My driving was not as good as it was on Saturday but was still pretty good. I only missed/chunked one shot from the tee with driver. The course was much harder as it was up and down and constantly sloping. Nobody in our group played well at all. In fact on the front nine we all played terribly. I was going to be north of 60 if not for a par 3 towards the end of the front 9 where I somehow hit a fantastic hybrid off the tee to hit the green while going over the water. I ended up shooting par which saved me on the front nine as I ended up shooting a whopping 57!
The back 9 was much better as I ended up coming back in 49. I had a few pars on the back 9 which was good. I did not putt that well as I was just not hitting the ball hard enough on many times and ended up with several occasions on the back 9 where I was putting for birdie and ended up with a bogey. My iron play from the tees was a bit better but my irons from the fairway were terrible. There were so many duffed shots and it was really frustrating as I felt like I was taking a step backwards. There were “flashes of brilliance” for sure but at times it was pretty bad.
The course did not play as tough as I thought that it would, however, it was still a steep up and down course with lots of elevation changes. I guess I’d play it again, however, would prefer to wait a while until I can hit my irons much better. So I’ve counted up all of the rounds I’ve played to date including the ones where I only played/scored for 9 holes. On those rounds I just doubled the score which I think is fair. In total I’ve only played 11 rounds (it feels like it’s been a lot more than that for some reason). I did not count anything on the executive course at Needwood though. Through those 11 rounds, my average score is 111.8. This is just an average though and not a true handicap as I did not calculate slope and figure out what the real handicap was for the course. I’m also not throwing out any scores either so this average includes the bloated 127 and 126 scores that I shot about a month ago.
I am seeing progress, especially with my driver and 3 wood off the tee. Also seeing improvement with hitting the hybrid club. Unfortunately I am not seeing as good of an improvement with my irons. I think that I may have found the issue though – that I am not keeping the club outside of my hands on the backswing. I plan on trying to fix this and see if it works. It should as the ball flight of my iron hits tells me that I am hitting the ball with a closed club face which is resulting in no height on my iron shots and forcing the ball to hook left. From what I’ve read this is a tell-tale sign that I am not keeping the club face outside of my hands on the back swing and even as I mimic how I hit my irons now, I can clearly see that this is the case.
I will be going to the range this week and focusing on this especially. If I can repair this then I know that I can shoot much better. My chipping/pitching is improving and I am not playing badly from the sand at all as I am usually getting out of the sand. It’s just that there are so many duffed irons either from the tee or especially from the fairway and rough which is adding a lot of shots onto each round. I need to fix this somehow and quickly. I have not been going to the range as much and will be doing that this week at least once, maybe twice. You can see that through the rounds as other parts of my game has improved, my iron play has not improved if any at all and this correlates with me not going to the range. At first I was going all the time but had to cut back due to the pulled muscle in my ribs. Part of this was still adjusting to playing as much golf as I am playing. There is virtually no soreness now as I believe that my body is adjusted/adjusting.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still a little sore but it’s not an actual injury which I believe is what I had before (albeit a slight injury/muscle pull). With this being the case I need to start pounding balls back at the range again to practice my irons…..It’s been just under two months since I went out with Bill Harper on that Saturday. If you asked me then what my expectations would be for where I am now, I’m not sure if I am happy or not to be honest. I think that I am surprised that I have played as much as I have. I am surprised that I have been out there to play as much as I have. I think that from the first week or two that I thought I’d be further ahead of where I am by now, however, I also under-estimated the game as well.
It is very hard to try to be objective as I can and not be biased but I really think that I am improving. The numbers say so anyway and I know that I am driving the ball better. I’m not necessarily putting any better though. My irons are marginally better than when I started. I’m doffing about the same number of irons. The difference is when I hit a good iron shot versus before. Now when I hit a good iron shot it is very good versus average before. I’d love to sit here and write down that by the time the end of August is here that I will be scoring X or something like that. I just do not think that it’s reasonable to set that kind of expectation considering the game. That’s the hard part because examining my game is naturally biased and the one sure fire way to not be is to just go based on numbers alone.
I have already booked my rounds for next weekend which will be August 4th and 5th. On Saturday morning I have my usual 8:15am tee time at Falls Road and then on Sunday I have a 8:18am tee time at Needwood.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
I find out today that I am playing a round at Four Streams Golf Club on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 I think that some clients will be there as well but I am so excited. Needless to say that I am also worried as I will need to play well. The last thing that I want to do is go there and shoot terribly. Yesterday I was reading and watching the golf channel and fully believe that I have found the problem with my ball striking with my irons. This will likely apply to both shots from the tee and not from the tee. The club is getting behind my hands on my backswing. Thus when impact occurs, the club face is “closed” and causing a lack of lift with my irons and pushing the shot to the left – this makes sense because the club face is closed. Thus I will need to keep the club face outside my hands on the backswing. I am also strongly considering a massive grip change.
When I first swung a golf club when I was 15 or 16 years old and went to the driving range that one time, I did not know how to hold a club so I went with the baseball grip. Since I started less than two months ago, I have been using the interlock grip. From my research I can see that with my swing and the interlocking grip, this causes the club face to come inside of my hands on the backswing which is having an adverse effect on my iron shots. By going to the baseball grip, this should help keep the club outside my hands.
I’m going to try to do this the next time that I am at the driving range. If it feels good and works, then I will implement it. If not then I will keep the interlock grip and be aware to work on keeping the club face outside of my hands on the backswing. I really think that this will solve the problem and that if I hit enough balls that I will get this fixed. This is by far and away the biggest issue with my golf game as of now. Not being able to hit irons off the tee has a huge effect and a negative one at that. If I can consistently hit irons even somewhat better, then I can turn all of those 5’s and 6’s that I have been getting on the par 3’s into 3’s or even better.
Considering that I shot 101 on Saturday at Falls Road and on the four par 3’s, I scored one 6 and three 5’s. There is 9 shots over par right there. If I am able to par all of those holes, 9 shots come off my score just from my tee shots on par 3’s! That does not include all of the iron shots that I hit in approach to greens that were either duffed, went left, or not quite accurate. There has to be at least another 10 to 15 strokes that can be saved right there alone on approach shots. Being conservative if I can shave 19 strokes off my score, that goes from 101 to 82 and that does not include any increase in my short game around the green or putting for that matter.
It’s a huge issue and if I can get it fixed it will make a world of difference in my game. Even if I do not save 19 shots but at least 12 shots or better, that will put me consistently in the 80’s and considering that I have been playing for almost two full months, that will be huge. Very huge. I would love to think that by the end of the summer I can be consistently in the mid 80’s. If that is the case then I am better than I thought and really need to consider taking lessons and giving a go at this. What does that mean? Well I do not think that I will ever be on tour or anything, however, if I am mid to low 80’s by the end of September or early October, then that means that I have a legit chance at being a real scratch golfer. What will that do for me?
Not sure what that would do. It would mean that I should really join an actual golf club. It could mean playing in some tournaments. Who knows, it could mean more but that would just be a bonus. I would be very happy being as competitive as you could be without being a *********er. I am sure that it would help my career and also give me a great outlet. Golf has already done that since I have moved down to Maryland. It has made things much easier and given me something to do, something to focus on. I have not had that in years. Considering that it has been less than a year since Dad has passed, I never thought that I would find a hobby or something to do and be so into it like I am to golf right now.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
I went to the driving range last night and had a pretty good session. I hit 100 balls in total, most of them with my irons. I started with the AW and worked way up to 4 iron, then hit my SW and LW before moving on to the hybrid club. I also tried the 10 finger grip. It was okay and I was hitting the balls more straight. What I also found out was that I can probably keep my interlocking grip. It feels a bit better for now anyway and what I found out was that by “weakening” the grip by moving my left hand to the left, this opens the club face much more on my iron hits. Some of them still went a little left but not as much of a hook as before and many of them went straight.
The biggest surprise of the night was how I hit the irons off of the high tee at the practice range. In doing this it went much better versus how I was hitting my iron tee shots before. Thus I cannot wait to play on Saturday to try this out on the par 3’s. I should be able to lower my score quite a bit now that I can hit the ball off the tee with my irons much better than before. I also hit the hybrid pretty well from the ground and from the tee. This will take more practice I am sure but it is trending in the right direction for sure.
I also hit my driver several times. I tried the weaker grip on the driver. I am not hitting it as far with this grip but it definitely goes straighter more often. Thus on shots with my driver from the tee when I have to be in the fairway, I have this to fall back on somewhat. There were a few mishits but not as many as before. It was definitely the range session that I had since I figured out to hit down on the irons. I’m so excited and thrilled that I was hitting irons from a very hit tee no less so well. This is going to be huge on all of those par 3’s.
There will be no reason not to break 100 on Saturday, that is for sure. Just on the par 3’s alone. If I hit my irons from the tee the way that I did last night last Saturday, my score would have been close to 90 instead of 101, that is a definite. I lost so many strokes on those par 3’s last Saturday that it was really painful. I mean, I did not score better than a 5 on any of the four par 3’s that were played and on one of them I had a whopping 6 (third hole). While Sunday’s par 3’s were better mostly because I hit that great shot with the hybrid on the one longer par 3 that went over the water and also hit that beautiful 6 iron on the first par 3 of the back 9 where I was putting for birdie but ended up with a bogey 4, those two holes were much better than on Saturday. It was just luck though. The first swing that I had on the par 3 that I used the hybrid on was a complete miss. I then came back and hit a great shot to within 12 feet or so and two putted to make my par. Let’s not forget the first par 3 on the course on Sunday that I completely blew up on and scored a 6. I hit a terrible tee shot that went less than halfway to the hole and ended up in the rough. The second shot was over the green just barely and ended up in a bunker behind the hole. I hit PW for my second shot. Instead of walking back to the cart and getting a SW or LW for the third shot, I hit PW on the third shot from the bunker. What made this worse was that it was not far from the hole, not a lot of green to work with, and also I hit the shot with a closed club face that sent the ball flying 40 yards behind the tree backwards towards the tee! I then finally got a different wedge and hit the 4th shot to the fringe. The problem was with the shape of the green and it did not allow me to putt from there because if I did then I would have had to putt through at least 10 feet of fringe sideways! Thus I chipped for the 4th shot and ended up in the rough in front of that bunker again. Then on the 5th shot I decided that enough was enough with the wedges and putted. Of course I did not make this and then had to putt again to finally get my 6 and end the agony on that hole.
Fortunately the next par 3 was the one that seemed pretty far away and one that I had to carry over a long pond. Since I could not get any lift with the irons, I hit the hybrid. I do not remember the distance but it was like 160 or so. Thus if I was going to hit an iron it probably would have been like a 5 iron. The decision to hit the hybrid was not so much because of the distance that was involved but was more so because of the fact that I had to get the ball in the air over that long pond. Thus I decided to hit the hybrid and somehow hit a great shot. The next par 3 after that was on the back 9 pretty early on. I toiled with possibly hitting the hybrid again but decided against it because there was no water to go over and the distance was just not there. Thus I did not know if I could effectively take off enough on hitting the hybrid. Thus I decided to hit a 6 iron into the wind. I’m not sure how I did it but somehow I hit a great shot to get on the green and get within 15 feet. I was the only one that hit it on the green. Sure enough I three put to get a bogey even though my second shot was a putt for birdie, albeit a long sloping birdie putt. I still should have come out of that with a par at least.
The last par 3 on Sunday was pretty far away, playing almost 180 yards. Thus it was an easy choice to go with the hybrid. Unfortunately I hit it a bit short and right into the rough. A bad wedge shot after that sent it over the green and into the rough. The third shot I did not have a lot of green to work with at all and was not far away. The ball was sitting up a bit in the rough. I had my LW with me and thought what the hell, why not try to hit a flop shot. I should not be surprised that it did not work. I opened the club head but I think that the ball was just sitting a bit too far down and I hit it thin off the bottom edge of the club and it went shooting out to the left and almost hit Vanesah! From there I was able to hit a decent bunker shot from the bunker below and left of the green for shot number 4. Shot number 5 was from the fringe and was a putt that of course did not go in and thus I finally ended the agony by making my 6th shot on the hole, a putt.
The par 3’s on Saturday were even worse as I have mentioned already. Actually, I just counted the par 3’s in my head that are at Falls Road and there are actually 5 of them, not 4. The first one is the third hole on the course and is not that long, usually plays about 150 or so yards. The tee shot was terrible and I ended up hitting it about 30 yards and into the rough. The rest of the hole went terribly as I ended up with a 6 on the hole. The second par 3 is after the terrible “valley” par 5 hole. It’s probably the hardest par 3 on the course as it plays about 160 but plays longer than that as the green is a bit elevated. It’s a hole that I’ve never hit a good shot on ever since I started playing there. This time it was no different although the tee shot went pretty far, just not far enough as it ended up about 20 yards short of the green and severely down. It was a blind second shot and I sailed it over the green into the rough. I think that I ended up shooting something like a 5 or 6 on that hole. It was definitely no better than a 5.
The third par 3 on the course is on the 9th hole and is one of the easiest par 3’s on the course. My tee shot again was terrible and ended up about halfway to the hole and in the rough. The second shot ended up on the green but I three putted and ended up with a 5 when I should have and could have saved a much needed stroke and ended up with a 4 instead of the 5 that I ended up with. The fourth par 3 on the course is on hole number 11 and is one of if not the easiest par 3’s on the course. It does not play that long either. I actually hit the tee shot in the air but it was too much club this time and ended up sailing over the green and to the left and ended up in the rough in front of the tee box on the next hole. This left me with a blind second shot over a hill with a bunker to the green. I hit AW here and hit a good shot as my partner told me that the ball landed about 2 inches from dunking in the cup. Unfortunately there was no spin and too much left on the ball as it kept going off the green and into the rough. I then hit a chip with my third shot and ended up on the green but then two putted and ended up with a 5.
The last par 3 on the course is not that difficult either. Once again I hit a poor tee shot that had no lift and no distance with my iron. I ended up about halfway to the green and in the rough right off the inside of the cart path. I hit the second shot a bit too much and ended up in the bunker. From there I was able to get out and two putt for another score of 5. Thus on the five par 3’s on Saturday I scored 26 or 27. Even if I was able to bogey each of the par 3’s the next time that I play, this would mean a score of 20 and would save 6 or seven shots right there. If I am able to par a few of them then this could mean as much as an 11 stroke swing. An 11 stroke swing last Saturday would have scored me a 90 instead of a 101 and this would have been with no other changes to my game.
Considering all of this and now that I can hopefully hit good enough iron shots (even just off the tees on the par 3’s, not including the improvement in my iron shots on other holes after the tee shot), I am very excited about this weekend. I’m playing Falls Road this Saturday. I’ve invited Vanesah. Not sure if she is going to come or not. On Sunday I plan on playing Needwood. Expectations are high. I plan on going to the driving range again probably tomorrow night to hit another hundred balls or so. Then it’s time to play on Saturday!
Thursday, August 2, 2012
No range last night. I may try to go tonight to hit some balls. If not tonight then I will go tomorrow night. I am getting so excited about Saturday and Sunday. All I have to do is hit the ball with my irons the way that I hit them on Tuesday night at the range and I will be at least 10 strokes better. I mean, if I had shot even par on the par 3’s at Falls Road then I would have posted a score of 15 versus the 26 or 27 that I actually shot. If that’s the case then I would have shot a 90!
While I am this excited, I am also a bit cautious because I have had these kinds of thoughts going into a weekend before, like when I figured out to hit down on my irons. I thought for sure that I would be shooting in the 80’s or 90’s and it did not happen. The difference is that I am just thinking about being better off the tee with my irons on the par 3’s. I hope to be able to hit the ball better from the fairway with my irons but I know that I will not always be in the fairway and also will not have the best lie and will be hitting on slopes and such. If I can just manage good shots off the tee though on these par 3’s then I will be in really good shape, especially considering that none of the par 3’s at Falls Road are that difficult and because there are five of them instead of the usual 4 or less.
I got a response back from Vanesah and she will not be playing with me on Saturday. Thus it will be just me this weekend on Saturday and on Sunday. The more I am playing the more I am starting to like the Falls Road course more and the less I’m liking Needwood. It’s not that Needwood is bad or anything. The slope is several points harder though (close to 120 versus 115 for Falls Road). I think it’s just because Falls Road has less trees and seems to be more wide open than Needwood. The back 9 at Needwood is really out there and I think that it’s pretty difficult as well. At this point since I do not have any other options, I am going to go forward with playing there on Sunday. I might as well, I mean, I have no where else to play.
I thought about scheduling something for a different course but I also like to stay with courses that I know and that are not that difficult. At this point I am just trying to shoot good scores more so than anything else. Uncle Joe is coming back on Friday and I am kind of hoping that he invites me to play golf with him on Sunday. I still have not played with him at all as of yet in the two whole months that I have been golfing. I thougth for sure that we would have played at least once by now but this is not the case. Every time that I ask he is either playing in a tournament or already has a four-some that he is playing with. I’m not sure if this is his way of blowing me off or if it is legit. Still, considering that I am taking care of the whole house for the week I would not mind playing Montgomery on Sunday but I do not think that this is going to happen.
The other area of opportunity, especially on Saturday when I play at Falls Road is with my game around the green. Lets take last Saturday as an example. On the first hole I hit a great drive that ended up being less than 30 yards from the green on the fairway. I did not hit a good pitch and ended up short of the green and then ended up three putting from there to end up making a bogey on a hole that I have made par on before and could easily make birdie because it’s not that long of a hole and is really straight. I did hit a good drive but it was not like I absolutely killed it for close to 300 yards. It’s not like that at all. I did not even hit it 250 but the hole cannot play that much more than 300 yards if even that far.
I just lost a lot of strokes last weekend with my putter and also with my short wedges around the green. The chips and pitches that I hit were and are getting better but there are still plenty of strokes that I could potentially shave off. The putter was really disappointing all of last weekend. What was once the strength of my game has disappointed me lately. It was not the accuracy of the putts either, it was more so the speed of them and the fact that I was just not hitting the longer putts hard enough to get to the hole and even have a chance. This left me with so many 12 plus footers for my second putts. Needless to say that not many of these go in and that ends up being a situation where I am three-putting which is no good. I do not expect to make the really long ones on my first putt but I have to turn these into situations where I leave only a few feet left and end up two putting. There had to be at least 7 times where this occurred. If I can improve this area, I can potentially pick up 5 strokes or more.
I know that the chipping and pitching is just one of those things that the more that I do it the better I am going to be. This is especially true on the par 3’s where I was hitting such bad tee shots that it was putting me in a position where I was hitting from the rough and trying to get on the green. I’m thinking that this part of the game will improve if I can hit better shots from the tee. I do not expect to be on every green from the tee but if I am at least in the area then this would lead to a better outcome then having to hit my second shot from 70 plus yards from the thick rough in between the tee box and the green.
As long as I drive the ball like I did last Saturday, I will be plenty happy. I hit the ball so well driving it far and in many cases pretty accurate. I’d like to hit a few more fairways but I will be happy just hitting it as I did last week. Beggars cannot be choosers is what they say. One pleasant surprise that occurred on Sunday was the way that I hit my three wood from the tee. I did not have to break it out really at Falls Road but had to break it out for several tee shots at Holly Hills and in each case that I hit three wood it was really good. Off the top of my head I cannot think of any holes that I would use this for at Falls Road but it’s nice to k now that I have it in the bag and can use it with confidence if needed.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Well I decided to take some leave time and play a round of golf this morning. I had a 7:04am tee time and played at Falls Road before going into work alter in the day. I played the best so far I’ve played by shooting a 92! While I am very pleased with the score, it could have been so much better as I went out through the front 9 in 43 and came back in 49. The front 9 I played pretty well and had almost no real mis-hits. I had some shots that I could have hit better, but things went pretty well. The back 9 I did not play as well. I had several mis-hits and left a lot of shots out there. There were at least 5 duffed shots on approach that I used a hybrid or iron/wedge on. The worst was the last two holes. On the easy par 4 17th hole, I hit a perfect drive and had an easy AW shot right to the flag. Nothing in front, just an easy shot that I did not hit well and ended up well short of the green. Then I hit a LW and it went past the green. I ended up with a 6 on a hole that I should have birdied or at least scored par at the worst! The final hole, number 18 is a little harder than the 17th but is not that hard of a par 4. I hit an okay drive but then the second shot ended up in the bunker on the left side of the green. I was able to somewhat control the damage and ended up with a 5 on the hole, but still, I could have done much better. Holes number 13 (hardest on the course, a par 4) and the 15th hole were the worst. On number 13 I had a 6 after I hit a long drive but ended up in the bunker. My second shot had my ball go into the adjacent bunker. I then hit a 7 iron that I caught all of and it went over the green…..Thus a double bogey. The 15th hole I hit a great drive that was long and in the fairway. The issue was that I hit a poor second shot and ended up in the rough. I then hit a 5 iron too far and went over the green and I scored another 6. Those two holes were not good.
The good news is that I played the par 3’s much better than I had before. Out of the 5 par 3’s I think that I had a score of 19 on all five of them which was not bad. I only made one green in regulation but all of the shots went somewhat far and were at least around the green where I could go for par or thereabouts. I kept track of my total putts for the round as well. I had only 17 putts on the front 9 while I had 19 on the back nine and thus had 36 total putts. Not sure if this is good or not since I have not kept track of this before today……
Overall I have to feel good about the round. I drove the ball well again, there were ZERO duffed tee shots with the driver. I had one really bad drive where I lost the only ball of the round on the 10th hole. Thus I played the whole round with just 2 balls. I am playing Falls Road again tomorrow but have a slightly later tee time and I am sure that I will not be done with the round faster than I was today. We finished right at 10:30 so the round lasted almost exactly 3 and a half hours. We teed off right at 7 o’clock.
I’m fairly pleased with my putting as I made many good lag putts. While I chipped the ball well, many of the chips were real short because I did not want to risk sailing the ball over the green. This usually left me with a long putt that most of the time I was able to hit well enough for a good lag putt to the hole. There were a few putts that I hit that I left too short but it was much better than it was last week where that was a common occurrence.
I am now charting my rounds online at FairwayFiles.com. I entered all of my scores that I know of. For the rounds that I only completed or kept score of 9 holes, I just doubled that score to give me a score for the full round. This is what the website suggested and also this is just more data so that I can have a more accurate idea of where I’m at. So far I’ve played 12 rounds where I’ve kept a score (including a few 9 hole only rounds from when I only played 9 holes and from when I was sick and injured). My handicap index as of right now is 28.4. I’m sure this will go down if I continue to play like I did today. Today’s round could have easily been under 90 and even close to 85. My goal for tomorrow is to break 90.
I’ll be playing the same course tomorrow and it’s not like I played out of my mind today or anything. At least I don’t think so. I had no birdies on the round and only 3 pars. The rest were bogeys, doubles, and one triple bogey. Now that I have a handicap I can use ESC as well meaning that the most I can score on any hole is 8 strokes according to the website. While I had no holes with 8 today (a first in my golfing career), it’s nice to know that there is somewhat of a safety for protection. If I played the best I could have possibly played this morning, I estimate that I would have shot a 38 at best this morning on the front 9 and probably 8 strokes shaved off of the back 9. Thus I estimate that if I played the best that I could have possibly played today, I would have shot a 38/41 or just under 80. This is a pretty conservative look though, maybe it could have been even better, who knows?
I had a decent warm up this morning and ended up hitting almost 50 balls before I was up. I plan on doing this every time I play golf as I’ve learned that no warm up = bad golf. Hopefully I can play tomorrow at least as well as I did today. If I can shoot the same front nine or thereabouts and shave 6 or 7 strokes on the back 9 tomorrow then I will be happy. An 8:15am tee time awaits me tomorrow!
Monday, August 6, 2012
On Saturday I got to play with Dan from the office. We had a 7:51am tee time at Falls Road. The pressure was on as I wanted to show that I could play and play well. Unfortunately, I played about as bad as I could possibly play that day. I did not drive the ball very well at all, and as a result, played most of the day from the rough which made scoring very difficult. I went out in 47 and came back in 51 to shoot a 98. I had a whopping 40 putts. I putted as bad as I have ever putted in my life which did not help things at all. Dan shot a great round of 85.
Overall there were not that many highlights of the round for me, I played like shit. I guess the good news is that if this is the worst that I play and still end up breaking 100, then I am getting better. By the end of the round I was getting tired after having played the day before as well.
On Sunday, I played a little better but still not all that great. I drove the ball a little better than I did on Saturday, but not the way that I had been driving it the week before. The result was that I was in the rough a lot but not as much as I was on Saturday. There were quite a few positives to take from my round on Sunday looking back at it. I had several really good second shots that ended up being on the green. I had a great up and down to save par on the second par 3 on the course. There were still some mis-hits as well but not as many. I putted better and ended up shooting a 45/48 to shoot a 93, the second best round of my life to date.
I broke out the 3 wood several times and tried to hit on approach, I did not use from the tees. I did not totally duff the shots with the three wood although I did not catch any of them really great either. Still it was a step in the right direction. I had several situations where I was more than 200 out and it made sense to try to give a good whack with the 3 wood. I putted much better and had only 33 putts. I did not nail anything from really long but was consistent with my lags and made several medium range putts from ~10 feet or so which was good.
I’m learning that if I can end up in the fairway more then I will have a much better chance at doing well on the hole. This was clear before but now I’m really starting to see this first hand as it’s so much harder to hit a shot from the rough and to get it to the green or to advance it far at all. Thus I need better accuracy as well as something that I can hit long from the deck on the fairway on the longer par 4’s and par 5’s as well. Thus I just purchased the Taylormade Burner Superfast 3 Wood which matches the driver that I have. The 3 wood that I had been carrying around and almost never using (until yesterday) was that older Cobra 3 wood from Uncle Joe. When I was playing on Saturday with Dan, while we were on the driving range before teeing off, he let me hit is Burner Superfast 2.0 3 Wood and I tried hitting that from the deck and loved it. Thus I knew it was time that I had a new three wood. Thus I made the purchase.
It’s not the same club that Dan has but should be similar enough so that I can hit it like it did in those few swings on Saturday. I was playing around this weekend and I could even hit my driver from the driving range mats better than I could with that Cobra. The Cobra is not bad off the tee as sometimes I can really get into the ball and nail it, but I need something that I can hit consistently from the carpet. I have a feeling that the Cobra is at least 8 years old and thus it was time for a new 3 wood. The only club that I have not bought since starting golf……I got a good deal on it, it was only $99.99 (because it was released in February of 2010) but oh well, it should be fine for me. I hope to get it this week so I can put it in play for the weekend. I was reading the reviews on it today and everything that I read online was great about the club. If I can also hit it from the tee as well and gain accuracy then I would be in even better shape as I continue to work with my driver.
I’m not sure what happened on Saturday and Sunday but I just was not as good with my driver as I was on Friday or even last week. Last week I was excellent with the driver and hit a lot of fairways a week ago Saturday (a week ago Sunday at Holly Hills my driver was not as good either). Thus I am really hoping that I can hit the new 3 wood well from the tee and make more fairways as well has have something that I can use to bomb from the carpet on the longer par 4’s and especially on par 5’s as well.
I’ve been logging everything online at Fairwayfiles.com and as of now, my official handicap is 27.0, this kind of sucks. I removed those first two rounds I played, the 127 and 126 and it dropped by one to 26.0. I think that this is more accurate as those first two rounds were the first two 18 hole rounds I ever played and I was dribbling tee shots left and right which I do not really do anymore. Thus I removed them from my record on Fairwayfiles.com and just started recording and counting after that which starts with July 1, 2012. I think that this is fair seeing how I first played on June 2, 2012 on that Executive course at Needwood but no score was kept.
Thus after two months and four days, I’ve officially played (not including those first two 18 hole rounds at Needwood of 127 and 126), 12 rounds and my best score is 92, worst is 116, handicap is 26.0. I’m really sore from golfing for three straight days and very tired as well. Not going to go to the range for a few days, going to wait until at least Wednesday or Thursday probably before hitting again as I want to give my body a chance to recover. I’ve booked tee times this weekend for Falls Road on Saturday morning and Laytonsville on Sunday morning. There is a chance that I am playing with John Shaffer at his country club, Argyle this weekend although I’m not sure what day. To be on the safe side though, I wanted to make sure that I booked both days so that I have a fallback to play in case something does not work out.
Hopefully I can continue the trend of improvement this coming weekend. This past weekend had a lot of positives since Friday morning. I played 54 holes of golf in 3 days, shot below 100 each time when previously I had only broken 100 once in my life! All of this considering that I played like shit on Saturday and fell completely apart at the end of the back nine on Sundays round. The last four holes on the back nine on Sunday were all 6’s. Only one was a par 5 though, the other were par 4’s. If I could shave even just 4 strokes off those last four holes, all of sudden I’ve broken 90 and this is still with how bad I played most of the par 3’s yesterday. I played the 5th hole well yesterday getting up and down for par on the par 3, but other than that, it was ugly. I had a 6 on the second to last par 3 of the day and on the 9th hole mis-hit my iron shot which only ended up going 30 yards or something. Basically I made a mess of the par 3’s again. I ended up shooting 8 over on just the par 3’s yesterday. I par’d one of them and the other four were just bad. Thus I scored 23 when 15 was par. If I even just average a bogey for all 5 of the par 3’s, I go from shooting 93 to shooting 90! This is still with me only hitting 3 or 4 fairways the whole round. If I can double that, then I can definitely shoot in the mid 80’s with me putting like I did yesterday and the chipping game getting better and better. Also, if the mis-hits on approach shots continue to decrease (and they are I think, there are still some of them in each round but I’d guess that I have chopped them at least in half if not even better than that), then I can really be cruising.
Everyone that I talk to keeps telling me to go and get lessons and hooked up with a coach right now. I’m going to hold off on this though. People keep telling me that the longer I wait the better the chance that I will develop bad habits. I can see where they are coming from in telling me this but I believe that they are wrong. I have already made so many tweaks with my swing and am very open to change. I’ve weakened my grip quite a bit on irons, changed the way I hit with my driver, and have moved the ball in my stance. I am open to anything and am willing to change quickly. I do not hit that many balls where a change would be that difficult. I usually only hit a hundred to two hundred balls during the week before hitting about a hundred before each round that I play or so. Thus it’s not like I am hitting thousands of balls during the week where if I had to make a change it would be that much harder. Since I am only hitting a few hundred, if I do need to make a change then I can.
Another thing to factor in is how weak I am. I do not lift at all and am probably well over 25% body fat. I’m only starting to get used to hitting a golf club. Even this weekend I was sore because of the swing change with the irons. In fact when I was on the range before yesterday’s round, I was in a lot of pain and had to take some ibuprofen which did help. My point is that I do not even have that much of a muscle memory built up yet where it’s an issue. As I continue to swing and get used to swinging a golf club, my muscle memory will build and also hopefully my strength. I obviously do not hit my irons far at all and my driver while I can usually hit it pretty solid, it’s not like I’m crushing it 275 plus as of yet. I just usually hit it pretty square and it goes 225 on average or so. Thus as I continue to get used to hitting a golf ball and hopefully get in better shape, this can only have a positive effect on my golf game.
All of this makes things look positive to me. It seems like every round of golf that I go on and am paired with people, they cannot believe that I have only been golfing for two plus months. It’s not a lie though. Outside of going that one time when I was 17 years old, I have not golfed before in my life. Maybe I have finally found something that I am good at. That is all that I actually really want to do in life, is to find something that I am the best in the world level at and then do that. I am just kind of kicking myself for not starting this sooner. I was in so much better shape and more flexible when I was younger. I could only imagine if I had started golfing then where I could be now? I guess better late than never though…..lets keep our fingers crossed that I keep improving and quickly at that…….