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a new golfers journey through the first two months so far....... - Page 6

post #91 of 98
Thread Starter 

Well the weather has really sucked lately which has meant that I've only played two rounds of golf all year so far in 2014 and neither round was at my country club.  This past weekend and the Sunday before I had to make a trip down south into Virginia to find a place to play that did not have snow on the ground.  A week ago yesterday we went down to Williamsburg which was a 2.5 hour drive one way but were able to play a very nice course that was a beast.  Royal New Kent was one of the hardest courses I've played.  I shot the highest round I've shot in a while shooting an 87 that included me losing 3 golf balls, I usually lose none to one every once in a while.  Still it was good to get out and play and the weather was in the low 50's which felt like Florida almost.


Then yesterday we went down south into Virginia again but only about an hour down 95 to a course called Forest Greens.  I played there for the first time last April and wanted to play there again so I could compare how my skill is now compared to back then.  The weather again was pretty nice at 50 degrees but because of all the rain lately the course was very very wet.  Thank goodness for lift/clean/place.  This course is also very difficult and we played from tees that had a slope of 139.  It was only 6500 yards so I did not feel that it was too long but it definitely was difficult.  I played pretty well but my short game was not good.  You could not be fat at all with any shot because if you were the soaked ground gave no forgiveness at all.  Still I ended up shooting an 82 on this very hard course which was 10 over par and an 8.7 index.  Had I been better with my short game I could have easily been under 80.  I putted pretty well and put a new putter in the bag, a Scotty Cameron Futura X that I had bought the day before.  It's so hideous but it rolls the ball so smooth and is such a stable putter. 


The good news is that my club is back open again and hopefully it does not snow for a while.  Next weekend looks to be cold but at least there will be no snow so even if it's too cold to play a round, I should be able to at least get out to the range and work on my short game as well......

post #92 of 98

Sounds like your game is coming along nicely. When you shoot an 82 under tough conditions and feel like you left a few strokes out there, that has to be a good sign!


Out of curiosity, what do you do within the insurance industry? I am a territory manager for an insurance company, and one of the nice perks of my job is that I'm able to play about 10-12 rounds of golf every year on the company dime.

post #93 of 98
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Big C View Post

Sounds like your game is coming along nicely. When you shoot an 82 under tough conditions and feel like you left a few strokes out there, that has to be a good sign!


Out of curiosity, what do you do within the insurance industry? I am a territory manager for an insurance company, and one of the nice perks of my job is that I'm able to play about 10-12 rounds of golf every year on the company dime.

Thanks!  I work as a risk manager for a large insurance agency.  Previously I was a supervisor/manager for an claims department of an insurer.  I do get to golf several times a year.  Last August I went up to Bridgeport, WV and stayed overnight as we played in a tournament at the Pete Dye Golf Club - the best course I've ever played.  Because my boss is a member of Congressional and Caves Valley (both top 100 courses), I do get some nice perks with my job which I enjoy quite a bit.


So I was able to play one round this past weekend.  It's supposed to snow 2-4 inches tomorrow so I guess next weekend I will be making yet another trip south into southern Virginia to play.  I have yet to play at my country club this year due to the weather.  For the last three weekends I have gone down on Sunday into Southern Virginia where it's a bit warmer and the courses are open.  I did not have to go as far as Williamsburg yesterday, instead stopping off I-95 in Stafford Virginia to play a course called Augustine.  It is another tricky course and I played from the middle tees which had 6309 yards, 137 slope, and a 71.40 rating.  Because it's in Virginia and they have an open HC season all year round, I have to post every score that I play in Virginia, even though Maryland HC season is closed from 11/15 to 3/15. 


Anyways, the course was in okay shape except for the greens which were damaged and the slowest greens I ever putted on in my life.  I drove the ball well and have been doing so lately.  I set a new record for FIR by  hitting 12 of 14 FIR.  I had 9 GIR.  I ended up shooting an 82 which came out to an 8.7 index for the round.  I had 36 putts which was not good.  I never got adjusted to the slow greens and left a lot of putts short and was lucky enough to make several 7 to 10 footers to save par.  I also gave away a few shots with my short game from shots that were 100 yards and in.  The ground thawed and became very soft and thus left a situation where if you are fat at all with the ball then you are doomed.  That's what happened to me and I know is surely a case of not hitting any balls during the week.  Hopefully that will be changing soon as spring arrives.  So overall it was not a bad round at all, I just wish the greens were a bit better.  The round still helps my handicap though as my hc is now trending down to 8.2L!!!!


I think that I am going to start playing in a few tournaments by myself this year, in addition to the several scrambles that I play with friends.  So I started looking on the Maryland Golf Association website and found out that the Maryland Mid-Amateur will be held in August and it will actually be at my country club!  To be eligible to enter though I need a hc index of at least 5.4.  I need to get to that by June.  That may be a bit ambitious but it would be nice if I could get to that point and play in the tournament. 

post #94 of 98
Thread Starter 

Update:  So it had been since January 19th since I played a round of golf or hit any golf balls.  So far 2014 has been difficult as I have been lucky to play once a week and sometimes, like last weekend (1/25 &1/26) I was not able to play at all as there was snow everywhere from where I lived all the way down to Virginia Beach.  This combined with the fact that I was not hitting balls during the week was making me mad and also it made playing more difficult too as I am just not as consistent with my shots as I was towards the end of last summer when I was playing twice a week and hitting balls several times during the week.  This had to change.....


I finally found a place that I could go to in order to hit balls during the week, no matter how dark it is and no matter how much rain/snow there is.  It's a golf park place by my house and they have a covered and heated range.  So I ordered a membership there and went there for the first time last Friday night.  I got too excited and got the jumbo bucket which is almost 175 balls.  I was sore as hell for the rest of the weekend as I had not hit that many balls in a long time.  Oh well, at least I now have a place that I can go once or twice during the week to keep sharp. 


The weather also cooperated for the first time this year and I was able to play a round on Saturday and Sunday!  Not at my country club though as it's still closed as are most courses near where I live due to snow.  An hour and a half trip down I-95 in Virginia there were courses open and it was great to play both Sat and Sunday.  Saturdays round was odd because only the front 9 was open at this course so we had to play two front 9's.  It was okay but I was frustrated by how many easy shots I missed.  My driving was fantastic (12 FIR) and I had many easy shots for GIR and the lack of practice had me missing too many GIR.  I shot 41 both times for an 82.


Sunday was much better as we went even further south to a course I have never heard of before and it was great.  The weather warmed up to almost 70 by the time we were done and the course was in great shape considering it's winter.  I drove the ball probably the best I ever had by missing just one FIR.  I was still erratic on the front 9 and had just 3 GIR and 3 pars.  Finally on the back 9 though I felt like myself again as I went on maybe my best streak ever by hitting 7 straight GIR and had 6 straight pars (several birdie putts lipped out or were just missed) and carded a 39 on the back to go with a 42 on the front for an 81 overall.  We played from shorter tees (just over 6k yards) and the slope was just 127 which is equal to about my course in difficulty (rating was 70).  So it was only a 9.5 index for the round but it was still just 9 over for the round and I felt so good on the back 9 as I was able to control the ball like I wanted with my irons.


After posting both scores (I have to post them because they are in VA), my hc is trending down to 8.3L from 8.4.  The bad news is that we are supposed to get a a few snow storms this week so I probably will not be able play golf next weekend, or at least that's the way it looks now.  While that will not be good, I can still hit balls and that's the most important thing.  So even if I cannot play I can go both days and play a simulated round on the range and also go there a couple of times during the week to stay sharp and continue to improve. 


My driving has been getting better and better despite me not playing or hitting balls.  I just feel really comfortable with my driver and I feel like I can hit the ball where I want to with the driver.  Let me tell you, that is a great feeling.  I have never had that before and it's only been 20 months as of yesterday since I first hit a golf ball.  I'm just now getting to the point with my driver where I can be pretty accurate with my driver while not sacraficing any distance.  My shot is still a draw and I am not able to hit a cut on demand and still place the ball where I want, but I can do that with my draw.  If I want to carry mounds on the right or have the ball end up on the left side of the fairway, I can do stuff like that.  Obviously this sets up my approach shots well which is why I have been so frustrated because the lack of play and practice has left me very inconsistent with my irons.  I'm convinced that this is just due to not hitting many balls and not playing as much as I used to though.  This should change as I start playing more and hitting the range during the week.


I said one of my goals for 2014 was to improve my short game.  Unfortunately I have not been able to work on it much at all due to the weather.  I still practice a lot of putting inside and that's fine, but I cannot wait for the weather to warm so I can work around the green and in greenside bunkers.  I was able to get up and down 3 times in a row yesterday on 9, 10, and 11 to save bogey all three holes which was huge as those would have been doubles and I would not have been able to shoot 81. 


There have been no changes to the bag except for putters.  As I mentioned about a month ago, I had put the R11 irons back in the bag as I thought the Rocketbladez with the stiff shafts might be too stiff for me for the winter.  The R11's were not stiff enough and the Rocketbladez are fine so I have them in the bag.  My driver is still the Titleist 910 d2 (I love that thing and I've had it since last June or so), 3wood is still my TM Burner Superfast TP 2.0 (I've had that for more than a year!), 2H is TM Rescue TP 11, irons 4-GW are Rocketbladez and LW is Rocketbladez.  I have also been experimenting with a 37 degree cheap chipper I got online.  On some shots it works amazingly from just off the green.  I have not been able to practice that much with it and am still getting used to it. 

post #95 of 98
Thread Starter 

Update:  so it's been several weeks since I last posted.  This past weekend was good because I was able to play golf on Saturday and Sunday.  The weekend before I was only able to play once and I had to drive to Williamsburg just to play.  With the weather still being cold on top of the fact that when I am able to play, it is usually at courses that I have never played before or only played a few times so I do not know the courses that well.  While my driving has been great, my approach shots have been off and on.  I'm making good contact but it's just that sometimes I do not know where to land a ball because I don't know the courses that well, if at all.  So while I'd like to be scoring better, I know that the fact that I am able to play is more important as scoring will come when the weather gets better and I play courses that I know.


I've been going to the golf park to hit balls at least once per week.  This started a few weeks ago and it is great because the bays to hit balls are heated and covered.  This has helped quite a bit and allows me to stay fresh so there is no rust when I do play golf. 


When I play rounds in VA I have to post those scores whereas when I play in MD the scores do not count.  My hc is still at 8.5 officially and trending to 8.4L.  I expect this to go up shortly because some of the good rounds that I scored at the end of last season are starting to come off with recent rounds that I am playing in the middle of winter in VA on courses that I have either never played before or only played a few times at most.  Combine that with marginal weather conditions (I'm just happy if the course is open at all so I can play) and I'm sure that this will tick up soon.  I guess the good news is that I am still playing somewhat regularly and we are now less than one month until the opening of the MD handicap posting season.


Yesterday I played a course in MD that I have played many times (my country club is still closed as snow is on the ground) and I know it pretty well.  They only had 17 holes open as there was still some snow on the ground, especially on the closed hole.  I played terribly to start the round but caught fire starting on #8 and I hit 6 straight GIR with 6 straight pars.  What shocked me the most was on number 12 which is a long par 5 that is right around 500 yards.  I've only gotten to a handful of greens in my life under regulation and those all happened at my country club when I had help from the wind.  Well yesterday there was no wind and I had one of my best drives ever that was just under 300.  I then hit my 3H more than 200 yards and ended up over the green!  I was shocked and it's clear that even now I am still gaining distance here and there and still improving with my ball striking. 


My short game needs a lot of work and will be a priority once the weather changes and I can actually work on it.  Currently I am getting up and down less than 20% of the time which is terrible.  I'm averaging about 7.5+ GIR currently and while there is still lots of room for improvement with my ball striking, I've made great strides with that currently and for me to be able to get my goals for this upcoming year I know that I am going to have to be able to improve my short game quite a bit.  Can't wait for the weather to change, this winter has been too long and too snowy!

post #96 of 98
Thread Starter 

I had a great weekend of golf, one of the best to date in fact.  And this is considering that we are not in season and it's still winter time.  I have been going to hit balls about once a week for the last several weeks now that I found a place that I can go and hit balls no matter the weather or daylight.  It has made a noticable difference again and I've noticed that I am playing better and better.  Especially with my ball striking with my irons and my driving.  Short game still needs a ton of improvement but I am not able to work on that much at all because we keep getting snow storms (like the 12 inches yesterday).  The addition of a "chipper" to my bag has made a big difference though.  I purchased a Cleveland Niblick which is a great club that I am consistently finding new shots that I can use it with all the time.  I am getting up and down more often but not nearly enough.


Saturday morning I drove out into Virginia about an hour and played a course I never played before, Goose Creek.  It's an older course from what I hear that was built in the 50's.  There are only two tee choices, white and blue and the whites are just under 6k while the blues are almost 6.5k.  Considering that the other three players in my group were shorter distance wise than me and considering that it was 27 degrees at the time we teed off, this was a no-brainer and we played the white tees.  Interesting course but I found myself wishing I knew the course better as I hit some shots that I would have hit different if I had known the course better.  I started out with a birdie on the first hole and went on to shoot an 82.  Not bad but not great either.  I know that this is a course where if I play it more I can definitely score good on because I left a lot of strokes out on the course.  It ended up as an 8.9 index for the day.


Sunday I finally got to play at my country club for just the second time all year!  It was a bit warmer out and it felt like I was home.  I played the best round of my life for the first 16 holes as I had just a 67 going into number 17 (the 9th hole as it was a shotgun start).  I ended up going bogey and double for a 79 that could have easily been a few shots lower.  I had the most pars I ever had (10) and a birdie with one double and the rest bogeys.  Everything went well until the last two holes but I felt very good about the performance and even my playing partners said that they could see the continuing improvement in my game.  I was able to get up and down 3 times in teh round, a record for me, so the short game is getting a little better. 


So I ended up with an 8.9 index on Saturday and 7.5 on Sunday, although Sunday's index will not count towards my hc since I played at my country club which is still not in hc season, though that starts soon on March 15.  A little depressing though that we got a foot or more of snow the next day which means that this coming weekend is likely going to have no golf or if it does, will entail me driving very far to play.  Spring has to be here at some point and we are long overdue for some good weather.

post #97 of 98
Thread Starter 

You could probably see steam coming out of my ears late Sunday night as it began to snow yet again in the DC area.  This was coming after a nice weekend where I was able to play both Saturday and Sunday at my country club, something that I had not been able to do all year.  I am scheduled to play in a tournament with a good friend of mine on Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd.  We had enough snow for the year in what was one of the coldest winters on record.  Then came the snow.  It was only supposed to be 3 to 6 inches the weatherman said.  I was hoping that I would get lucky and maybe it would be on the low side.  Of course that was not going to happen, we ended up getting more than 10" of snow Sunday night into Monday putting my tournament in jeopardy and will likely see me putting even more miles on my car this weekend which will likely force me to go deep into Virginia just to play golf this coming weekend.


I've been playing the last few weeks with a 42 degree Cleveland wedge that is like a chipper.  It is so versatile and I am learning to hit so many different shots with it.  It's a great club and I stumbled upon a 58 degree wedge from Cleveland that has the same kind of sole.  I immediately purchased it and this past weekend was the first weekend that I was able to put it in my bag.  The 58 is even better than the 42.  I am getting up and down much better and saving pars at a much higher rate than I was before.  Part of this is the club and the other part is the fact that I am working on my short game as much as I can.  I never used to have a bump and run shot in my arsenal before and had to rely on trying to carry the ball to the hole almost every time.  Now I can use a bump and run shot which is helping out a lot when the situation calls for it. 


This past Saturday, March 15, 2014 was Maryland opening day for handicaps.  I played at my club on Sat and Sunday.  The weather was not warm by anymeans but it was also not cold (you can tell it's been a long winter when 45 degrees is "warm" to you).  I played decent both days, nothing great but not to bad either.  I shot an 81 on Saturday and an 82 on Sunday.  I have been putting pretty well lately and this was true in these rounds.  The rounds were not that great as far as ball striking goes, average at best, but because I was able to get up and down a few times each round instead of shooting in the mid 80's each round, they were low 80's.  My handicap coming into opening day was officially 8.4 and after the weekend is trending up to 8.5L. 


I'm just hoping that the snow melts as fast as possible because I was looking forward to playing in this tournament on Friday/Saturday this week.  There is a lot of snow (8+ inches in most places) to melt though and I am not optimistic.....


No other changes to the bag except for the two Cleveland wedges.  I've been on a putter "rotation" using my 4 or 5 favorite putters depending on how I feel.  I know it's not optimal but I've been putting pretty good that way lately.  Still going strong with the Titleist 910 D2 driver although I have a 910 D3 with stiff shaft that I will likely break out when the temps warm.  Still using the TM Burner Superfast 2.0 13.5 degree 3 wood and Rocktbladez irons.

post #98 of 98
Thread Starter 

This past weekend was probably the best weather we've had all year long.  It was very nice out and not too much wind.  Hopefully this is a sign of things to come weather wise.  I'm up to 23 rounds played to date in 2014 and I am almost even with the pace for 2013 as through 4/18/13 I had 23 rounds played.  Comparing the stats from where I was ytd in 2013 versus 2014 is really neat.  I was not as good as ball striking at this point last year so actually par 3's were my best holes statistically.  As my ball striking has gotten better and better, the numbers have changed to reflect that par 5's are now statistically my best hole.


I've been playing okay lately, I got fit for a set of irons (speedbladez) and I like them quite a bit.  I got them a few weeks ago and have been going at least once per week to hit balls at the range and then playing as much as I can on the weekends.  I've been working on short game as much as I can lately and I am seeing some improvement.  This is evident in how many double bogeys I average per round versus last year (in 2014 I average less than 1 per round whereas in 2013 I was much higher).  I am staying away from the big number.  I'm currently averaging par or better on close to 45% of the holes.  My birdie percentage is not as high as I'd like, currently I'm averaging just one birdie every 2.5 rounds but with the greens and the recent aeration I hope this to change soon.


Currently my hc is at 8.6.  It ticked up a bit as I had some 79's come off my hc from late last year.  I have shot one sub 80 round already this year but it was right before hc season started so it does not count towards my hc. 

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