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Not this guy 😃
Bought an Olympic barbell set and a power rack to go with my old bench and dumbbells. Still need to get a cable pull down attachment, but it’s out of stock. I’ll probably pick up a rack for the plates because stacking them up on the floor is going to get old fast.
I might even get a mat for the floor and put some hooks on the wall to hang my resistance bands. There’s a stability ball brand new in the box buried behind the tote bag. The sky’s the limit - well actually my low ceiling is, it’s 81”.
My entire basement smells like industrial rubber right now.
It seemed like my off season was going to start early when we had a cold snap and snow in early November. Fortunately, 2022-2023 is an El Nino year for the Mitten and we had a very temperate December with very little snow. I managed to play four rounds in December, including New Year’s Eve. My 2023 year started early with a round at Lake Forest GC (Ann Arbor) on January 3.
The round in January was a real lifesaver. My previous attempt at golf on the last day of December had been a mess. I could do nothing right, and my ball striking was horrendous. That round was going to sit in my gut like a batch of bad clams.
When I arrived at the course on January 3, my expectations were extremely low. In fact, “low” is not exactly correct. More accurately, my expectations were that I was going to stink-out the place. I was really surprised when I hit 3 solid shots on the opening par 5 and made par with 2 putts. I continued to strike the ball very well. When I was unable to reach a green in regulation (primarily because of the very soggy turf and low temperatures), my short game kicked into high gear. I missed all my birdie putts but Made loads of par putts and shot 77.
The correct approach to golf is to quickly forget your last shot or round and concentrate on the next one. Unfortunately for me, I tend to dwell on the season’s last round, and it often colors future play. As the cold and snow descends upon the southeast corner of the Mitten state, I can now look back on my last round and feel good. Yes, 2023 is going to be a great golf season.
FINALLY! I’m finally posting this entry to catch up on what has happened since my last post (November 7 I believe it was). And honestly, not a lot has happened. The rest of the semester was a blur as far as golf goes, and I haven’t played or practiced a ton this winter either. Here are a few highlights:
11/12: My second lowest round on Downback. Wasn’t the greatest start: +6 through five holes. I parred six through eight then bogeyed the ninth to make the turn in 43. My only bad hole on the back nine was a double on the 16th after blocking my drive right, and I shot 40 on the back for 83 total.
11/23: My brother and I finally got to Bryan Park (the Players course). I made the turn in 40, helped tremendously by a birdie on the 420-yard 18th. Then we made the turn to the front. I birdied the second hole after my brother and I hit our drives so far we both had 8 irons to the par 5.
Unfortunately, two very unnecessary doubles in the next three holes derailed me a bit, and I finished with a 42 on the front for 82 total. A solid number but no doubt a bit disappointing.
12/23: This isn’t a round of golf, but it IS something I can add to my resume. The few days prior to the 23rd, we prepped the old carts for departure because on this day, we would have a new fleet arriving.
I got to work at 7AM and we began immediately. The new fleet was parked in a nearby lot and for about three hours that morning, we moved the old fleet out and the new fleet in, and we began to get those carts ready for play. They were first taken onto the golf course on December 28.
I do have a few more rounds than the ones I’ve listed, but none of them are really worth talking about. Here is my plan for the next semester:
MONDAY/FRIDAY: I have a huge gap between classes these two days (4hrs on Mon and 5hrs Fri), so that gap is when I will be practicing.
TUESDAY/THURSDAY: I have three classes Tues and Thurs but they are back to back to back and I’m done at 12:15. So, depending on how much schoolwork I have, I will plan to practice for about an hour and a half.
WEDNESDAY: Since I didn’t play in many Monarch Tour events last semester (only played in three), I will make it a goal to play in at least five or six this semester. On the days I’m not playing Monarch Tour, I’ll dedicate that time gap (3-5) to any schoolwork that needs to be done.
Obviously I’ll be working throughout the week as well, but that is one specific time gap that I’ll be devoting strictly to schoolwork.
WEEKENDS: Giving myself two options with weekends as well:
a. Play 18 holes one day, hour and a half to two hour practice session the other day, OR
b. Play nine holes both Saturday and Sunday, with a one hour practice session.
So for the most part, my play days will be limited to weekends and practice days will be during the week. This schedule means playing just once a week and practicing five of the other six days.
This is also a tentative schedule. I’m taking a private voice lessons class (don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this but I’m a music minor) that only meets once a week for half an hour, and I’m also going to try and work in the golf shop there one or two days a week, just for an hour or two at a time to get myself a little bit of extra cash.
So once I figure out when both those things happen and how they will impact my tentative schedule, I will create a final schedule that I’ll put in that week’s post. Starting next week I’m going to begin again with posting once a week on Sundays. It feels good to be posting again!
It’s been over two years since “It Happened”, and I finally had surgery on my knee yesterday. They did a scope where they removed some arthritis and then performed microfracture surgery. They drill a bunch of holes through the cartridge into the bone to create a super clot causing it to heal. I can’t put any weight on it for 6-8 weeks which stinks, but I should be ready before the snow melts. He said I will eventually need knee replacement, but this will kick the cam down the road.
Thankfully there is golf on tv to watch.
Saw a comment on my junior golf post from last year. So, I’ll summarize this year and what my plan is next year.
Jr Camps, once again averaged 40 kids over 4 camps. Everything has gone well there. The instructors we have brought in from the outside comment on how simple, organized and smooth it is. We changed from serving chicken and cheese taquitos to having chicken nuggets. The kids liked that move. Next year, I need to add more targets for kids to hit into and buy a dodgeball set. We have a sports station that has been successful but I think dodgeball will definitely add some spice to it. I will also move to 5 camps, since we have the demand and time for it.
PGA Jr league was interesting, a good interesting. My original plan was 2 teams again, but I filled those 24 spots in 2 days. So, I opened slots for a 3rd team. We ended up getting 32 players. Probably could’ve had more but I was late in adding that 3rd team. The season went well overall. I even brought a team (8 players) to the championship season, and finished 6th of 10 teams. I had several better players say they weren’t available, but everyone that went, had fun. The format is a 2 person scramble, the winning team shot 28, 32, 32, 34. Beat next best team by 15 strokes. I’d be looking for them to be at Nationals.
The hard part is what to do next year. My course is a beginners course, so from the perspective of inclusion, I should do an in-house league where I open up 17u and 13u teams. I think I could get 40-50 kids playing. But specific, 1 on 1 instruction, is not really happening. They’d have to get better from competition, practice, and the drills. The other option is limit to 2 teams to get them more individual attention. This would also mean I would still compete with the neighboring courses. But I hate the idea of turning kids away, so I am leaning towards the first option. The goal of the league is to get kids playing and enjoying the game. So I’ll focus more on that.
That also leaves the door open for what can be next for the kids that want to play better. The WJGA (Washington Junior Golf Association) has a good schedule with good competition. They have eligibility requirements per age in order to play. My idea is to make a year long junior program that allows more competitive golf (than PGA Jr League) and individual instruction to help kids prepare for WJGA tournaments and beyond. No other public course in my area offers such a program, so I hope it will be successful. The eligibility of the program would be the same as WJGA.
In essence, I hope to have a 3 tiered junior program. Jr Camp is the beginning, for those wanting to see if the game is right for them, just a daycare option, or for kids just wanting to keep their game going. PGA Jr League is the intermediate, to get kids playing the game. So there is a commitment, unlike jr camp. It can have both competitive and non competitive players. WJGA is the expert level, for those who want to be more competitive.
There is still a lot to plan but I think it will be a good year.
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I did it. Putter head complete.
This design is called Cazador Mustang. Cazador meaning Hunter in Spanish (my high school nickname), and Mustang being my high school mascot.
This design was milled from aluminum in Georgia, by PrintForm. It’s my dads father day gift. I need to paint the logo and the words and that top arrow and then it will be done.
I have a shaft from GolfWorks that I’ll be epoxying soon, and then I’ll be installing a grip. I can’t wait to give it to my dad!
More stuff like this to come!
Its been too long since I updated this blog but it is March 2022 and time to reconsider goals & plan. Looking back last year did not achieve much of what I wanted. I lost most of the weight I was looking for but put some back on over the winter. I'm not giving up on that, just need to moderate my portions. As for golf, I did AimPoint as planned and that was time & money well spent. Putting improved last year but the rest of my game was still inconstant and did not improve as I had hoped. I did get a good lesson from @iacas in October when he changed my grip. Unfortunately, this winter was very busy and I did not practice at all so that change is still feeling "Off" and I need to practice it.
I got to the range for the first time this past Saturday but things went off the rails real quick. I had hit @ 5 balls with my 7 Iron to warm up when I heard a "Bang" in the parking lot. I turned and saw someone had backed into my SUV. He tried to drive off but when he heard my wife scream to people in the lot to stop him and he saw me running into the parking lot he stopped. Lucky for me I was able to see into the parking lot and get there pretty quick. Since it was in a parking lot we had to go to the police station to get a Case Number for my insurance. So much for hitting balls on Saturday. Good news is the damage is about as minor as possible and insurance will cover 100%.
I'm going to give some thought to my 2022 goals and get those posted soon. One goal I am putting out there to @iacas @dennyjones @ChetlovesMer @Carl3 @saevel25 and @Chris Brooks and others is to see if we can do another TST Group lesson in Erie. It was a fun & beneficial.
If you don't know what fisking is, take a minute to read about it here:
I'm going to have a stab at fisking a terrible article I read from the Guardian's golf correspondent on the rules "controversy" at the Solheim Cup. If you didn't see the whole controversy, a European player picked up an American ball that was overhanging the hole before she should have. That mean the ball was holed with the previous stroke, and the Americans won the hole instead of tying it. Cue the pearl clutching from some members of the media, in particular this Guardian writer:
And now, for the fisking. It probably won't be as elegant as some of the greats at fisking, but this article was so bad that I wanted to go through it paragraph-by-paragraph to trash and mock it.Quote
The smell of cordite fills the Solheim Cup air once more. A contest which has an uncanny knack of throwing up moments of huge controversy has reverted to type in Ohio. Nelly Korda, the world No 1, was the beneficiary of an intervention from rules officials that left the European captain Catriona Matthew visibly riled. And no wonder; a key moment had been determined by a stopwatch and a television monitor.
The key moment was the European player breaking the rule, Ewan. The stopwatch and television monitor are not necessary unless she picks up an overhanging ball. And, neither were actually necessary in this case - it was so obvious that the Rules Official watching the group with her naked eye had already identified the possible issue before going to television. Still, the key point that Ewan glosses over: none of this happens if Madeline doesn't break the rule! The rules officials don't get involved unless a player breaks a rule.Quote
Korda’s putt for a three on the 13th during the Saturday afternoon fourball session rested agonisingly above the hole. In an obvious bid to speed up play – the match in question had earlier been warned over their pace – Europe’s Madelene Sagström stepped forward and tossed the ball back to Korda. Cue chaos. Rule 13.3b states: “If the opponent in match play deliberately lifts or moves the player’s ball overhanging the hole before the waiting time has ended, the player’s ball is treated as holed with the previous stroke.” Sagström’s intervention was after seven seconds; 10 were permitted to Korda as per the rulebook. The incident moved the US to one up in the match, which Korda and Ally Ewing duly won by a single hole.
An obvious bid to speed up play? Come the f*** on. We don't need an excuse for what it was - a brain fart. It happens. Ewan, being a Scotsman, should know that what Madeline did did not actually speed up play at all. It would have been faster for her to actually set up for her putt and get ready to play while Nelly emoted on the green.
Another question for you, Ewan. You're on site at the tournament. Did you ask Madeline why she picked up the ball? Did she tell you she was trying to speed up play? Or are you just coming up with an excuse to paint her in the best light possible?Quote
It must be noted that Korda did not cry foul. The Floridian – on her knees in dismay – was clearly of the wholly legitimate viewpoint that her putt was not going to drop, save the miraculous arrival of an Arctic blast. The hole had been won on the advice and actions of the Solheim Cup’s chief referee. “It was never going to go in,” argued Sagström, only to be told that did not matter. Matthew disputed with the referee that the ball was overhanging.
Nelly said she didn't know if the ball had a chance to go in because she didn't get a chance to look at it. Sort of undercuts your first point here.
Again, the hole was not won because of the rules official. It was won because Madeline picked up the ball too early. It is important to talk about the first thing that led to everything else happening! Ewan is very conveniently skipping over that whole problem here. None of this happens if Madeline doesn't break the rules.Quote
“It was definitely awkward, you don’t want to win a hole like that,” said Korda. “We didn’t want it to happen this way. It was very unfortunate. Hopefully they [the Europeans] are OK with us. We didn’t even have a say.” Still, having won the hole via such dubious circumstance,
Dubious circumstance? Infrequent maybe. Dubious? Since when is following the rules dubious? This is one of the highest level competitions for women golfers out there. Why it is a question on whether they should follow the rules of golf at all?Quote
the US pair could have earned widespread praise and protected the integrity of the competition by immediately conceding the next hole and returning the match to all square. They decided otherwise.
This is hot garbage. Europe could have protected the integrity of the competition by not breaking the rules in the first place. The integrity of the competition is much more dubious if you don't follow the rules.
And why should the US give back a hole that they rightfully won? Are they trying to win the competition or get praise in the media? Sure, it would been widely praised in the golf media, but it might have also lost them the Solheim Cup. It came down to a pretty thin margin and every half point mattered.
Final question on this - is Ewan Murray an authority on the integrity of the competition? Or the spirit of golf? Ewan, have you cracked open the Rules of Golf about what the spirit of the game is. If you had, you might have seen this as the first bullet when the rules are talking about the spirit of the game:Quote
All players are expected to play in the spirit of the game by:
- Acting with integrity – for example, by following the Rules, applying all penalties, and being honest in all aspects of play.
The spirit of the game is following the god damn rules. You don't throw away the rulebook because your nebulous view of the integrity of the game is offended. And, to be honest, even though Ewan is a Scot, I don't really trust or care what golf writers think the spirit of the game is. Golf writers who apparently can't be bothered to turn to the first page of the first rule in the book do not have any authority on this subject. Even if they are Scottish.Quote
Sagström, who was partnered by Nanna Koerstz Madsen, was visibly and understandably dejected as the match closed. “I believe in integrity and honour of the game of golf and I would never pick up a putt that had a chance to go in,” she said. “I personally don’t agree with the decision with the ball being on the edge but I didn’t follow the 10-second rule. It sucks right now. I feel like I let my team down.”
I'm highlighting this because I really don't think Madeline did anything awful. She broke a rule. It happens. She didn't have any moral failing. The ball was not going to fall in the hole. She did not cheat or even try to cheat. She just broke a rule. I feel bad for her because I think it was an innocent mistake, and it sucks that she is taking it so hard.
And, I think this is the last bit I want to highlight, even though it's not from the writer.Quote
The golf world looked on agog. Thomas Bjørn, the former European Ryder Cup captain, said: “Do rules officials in golf realise how unbelievably stupid they make our game look?”
Why is enforcing the rules make golf look stupid? If you think the rule is wrong, why don't you come up with a different rule that will satisfy you? As a former Ryder Cup captain, I think your opinion would be taken pretty seriously. Also, note that Bjorn is European and undoubtedly has a rooting interest here.
I actually think the overhanging ball rule is fine, and I'm not sure there's another way to write it that's any better. Maybe I'll write that up in a different post.
That's all the energy I have on the article. The rest of it is just a recap of the day. I've already put too much time into this. Do better, Ewan Murray.
The starting line-up has changed with the addition of a face balanced TM Spider Tour putter. I ordered it at 33.5" with the tour red body with black, silver, and tour red accents with a black shaft. Three footers don't stand a chance.
Intrigued with the driving iron buzz, I checked out the offerings wanting to be fit into a 2 iron Cobra or Titleist U510. When the dust settled, the Titleist U500 was declared the champion in the 20* lofted 3 iron with the 6.0 Hzrdus Smoke Black. I let go of the process and I hit this thing the best and most consistent. I was consistently carrying this 212-215 with a tight dispersion. The 2 irons being a little longer with a flatter face carried about the same but were just all over the place. This is the same carry as my Adams 2 hybrid, which after many years has been retired and fits perfectly gapped between the 3 wood and 4 iron. The first strike on the course was into a par 5 with 225 to the front edge of the green and I got it to one yard on the fringe. I hit a couple of bullets on some shorter par 4s so we shall see how this goes. Even on some poor strikes, I seem to hit it better than my hybrid and it certainly sets up a lot cleaner.
Other tweaks - I bent the 4 iron one degree strong to 23, 5 iron 1/2 degree to 26.5 (6 iron is at 30 and 4 degrees from there), flattened the SW 1/2 degree to standard and the lob wedge 1 degree to 1/2 down. For reference my 3-Gap are 1/2 up and my SW and LW from a fuller swing hit dead on middle. I was feeling a little heel in the LW and the bunker scrapes were just inside the midpoint. Taking it down a degree puts the center for short game outside of center toward the toe. I could immediately tell a difference in the nip city factor and wished I did this a while ago.
It may have been a cold gray day yesterday afternoon, but I enjoyed my nine holes very much.
The quick tour of the front nine with Ralph and Bob sure beats the hell out of watching my beleaguered fantasy football teams, but Sunday was just a bit better than usual. My driver finally cooperated. The normally recalcitrant 1W hit five fairways and narrowly missed a sixth with legitimately solid 250-yard drives. Have no idea where that's been all year, but better late than never. I finished with a 42. Maybe not conventionally impressive but about as well as I've done all year for nine holes.
The pleasantness of the round and the steadily approaching end of the season, got me reflective.
Covid, crowds, closures and crappy golf were so much a part of the spring and early summer. Losing KIttyhawk was hard. Particularly for an introvert like me, the place was the one social outlet I really had. No matter what time, one of Kittyhawk's courses would be available. The range was huge. Sometimes, I'd come just to chip and putt on one of the three big practice greens. The slate of events my old association had for us meant that a hacker like me could always compete in events with people like me and I got to know a lot of those guys. Those are all things that can't be replaced.
None-the-less, I'm thankful for how things eventually turned out.
Mostly, I'm thankful my new friend Ralph was willing to let me join him for his 2 p.m. tee times. Through him I met several other club members and made the business of securing tee times possible on a course that was jam-packed most of the season. Getting to know these guys over the season has been enjoyable enough to take the sting out my struggles hitting the ball.
I'm also very pleased to be a member at a course like Miami Shores where the City of Troy is actually investing in the facilities instead of closing them. Course conditions there had always been fairly decent. To that the city recently added a new driving range and new clubhouse. The range has been so successful that they are building an additional tee area at the far side of the property. Enough were using it that we kept running out of turf. The pro, Kyler Booher, and his staff do an excellent job.
I think I'll try to ramp back up with the handicap next year. Maybe if I get back to some level of decency we'll even give the Club Championship another try.
Either way, I've got a home course to do it at.
Just walked 18. The pace was perfect. 4 hours to walk. I was worried I would hold people up, but my group was walking, and so were the people behind us. Really worked out well. Being able to walk is a total game changer. 5 mile walk makes it feel like less of a huge waste of time, LOL. I am of the old school of thought. Proper golfers don't use those silly toy carts. Carrying my bag for 18 started to get uncomfortable on my shoulder, and a bit clumsy, so I will invest in a push cart.
As for the round, it was a good one. I was driving straight most of the day. Possibly the best driver day of my life (I never hit driver during my 20s) I lined the driver up 2-3 inches behind the ball, to catch the ball on the upswing, and I finally got some loft on the drives. They don't go far, but many were straight. Had a few pure irons that felt great, but overall, I am hitting irons thin, and not really taking the right divot.
Shot of the day? I holed out a sand shot. Open stance, back foot, 2" of damp sand. One bounce and plop, into the hole.
Worst hole was +2, so that's good. I feel my misses are getting lucky. Thin iron still stays straight and in fairway. Only hit one trouble shot from under trees today.
Title. Seriously. Every day I talk to people who underplay COVID-19 by comparing it to the flu. Just today I spoke with someone who told me, "Tens of thousands of people die from the flu each year, we don't shut anything down for that!" Well you know what? It's not the flu. The flu is something we understand and have historical data for. This is new. A severe flu season has a death rate of 0.17% (something like 80,000 flu-related deaths in 48 million cases). As of today, 6,501 people died out of 169,374 confirmed cases, for a death rate of 3.8%. Even if somehow only one in ten people with COVID-19 are tested and confirmed to have it, it would still be twice as deadly as the flu.
The flu also has a shorter incubation period, with symptoms typically presenting after two to four days. An individual infected with COVID-19 may not present symptoms up to 14 days after infection. That's a possible two weeks for a seemingly healthy individual to go about their daily lives, spreading the disease.
I mentioned that it's new, right? Anyone who has had the flu before will have some natural immunity to similar strands in the future. But, viruses mutate. It's not perfect, but it's something. We have no pre-existing immunity to COVID-19, which potentially makes every single person in the world vulnerable to infection.
Quarantines, school closures, and other changes to our daily lives have inconvenienced us. I get it. But this is about so much more than not being able to watch your favorite sports team compete, or your vacation plans being cancelled. It's not about politics or mass media hysteria. This is a real disease with a serious negative impact to the world and we (Americans) have the opportunity to do something about it before it gets out of hand and we end up like China or Italy.
Sorry, had to get that off my chest. I'll burn this f***ing soapbox now.
After working out today I remembered this blog and decided to post an update.
My goal remains the same, get down to 190.
Today was the first time in months that I did a proper workout. I took it easy because injury will just delay progress. Right now I’m building up my stamina and strength again.
Today’s workout - Ran / Walked for 30 minutes to warm up. Did two circuits of squats, pushups, shoulder raises, and planks.
Thoughts - I’m glad I pushed through for a 2nd run circuit in my warm up. The first run iteration was tough.
Going forward - I want to post once a week with an update.
Nutrition Goals - lots of veggies, good proteins, good fats, limit dairy and processed carbs. Fast 14-16 hours a day.
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Played yesterday in the WA Assistant's Championship at Fircrest GC. Weather ended up being perfect despite the tendency this time of year to rain. I ended up shooting even par 71 and T-4th.
The round started off interesting, with a duck hook drive into the woods left. I punched it out to 100yds and stuck the 3rd to 8ft which I made to save par. My irons overall were good. The tough part about this time of year is getting distance dialed in as the air starts to cool, so needless to say I was leaving a few shots short. Not a lot short but enough to annoy. Wedges were in the same boat, good enough but left a few short of where I wanted. Driver started out rough, but I found the click halfway through the round. I needed to feel like I was sitting back towards my heels a little at address. Unfortunately, one wayward tee shot did lead to a double bogey. That hole started with the bad drive, but I punched out and left myself about 45yds for my 3rd. I left that on the green but 20ft for par. Missed that and the following 4 footer. That 20ft putt was the last time that I hit a putt by the hole that round 🙄 The 4ft putt was stupid, I got lazy and lifted. Once I found my driver swing, I was hitting the ball great tee to green, but like I mentioned, I left all birdie putts short.
Overall, I birdied 2 par 5's and 1 par 4. The par 4, I stuck my 52 to a foot, thought it had a good chance of going in. I also had that double bogey and a 3 putt bogey late in the round.
I played with 2 other guys, both of whom are multiple-time winners in our chapter. One of them ended up winning with a 68 and the other shot 73. Comparing our play styles, I'm right with them tee to green. But short game, they are super sticky. Leave them a chip or pitch within 30yds and they are within 5ft almost every time. I lost a couple shots from not chipping/pitching my ball close. I knew it's been something for me to work on, but it was good to see where I need to be at.
This was the last real tournament for me this season. Having my kid this summer made it difficult to play in any big events, as expected, but next year I'll be in a few more I hope.
It's been a different kind of year for me, in regards to golf. Just about a year ago... I found out that the job I'd had for over 7 years was going away. With it... a decent salary and a very, very flexible schedule would be going away too. Luckily, I had made a great friend through golf who immediately offered me an opportunity. It was going to come with a steep learning curve and, early on... a sizable decrease in pay... but it was a job.
With those changes came some choices. I decided to leave the club I was a member at... dedicate more time to work... and life was just going to be different than it had been. Golf, which is about the only 'activity' I get out for, has taken a back seat. With less playing time and less practice time, it means in increase in my scores when I do get to play. Gone are the rounds in the low 80's which could creep into the high 70's if it all came together. Instead, the scores hover around the mid 90's with the random score in the 80's on a day when I don't chunk 50% of my short game shots.
Still... I knew that the second half of the year would be better for my golf game. I have plans to play both the the Champions and the Stadium Courses at TPC Scottsdale in September. There's a 3 round tournament in Hilton Head during the middle part of October. There's some tournaments in August that I'm looking forward to, as well. All that aside... the big thing is that we're planning to join a club again in the coming months. No more battling for tee times on public courses. No more 'surprises' on the public courses where half of the fairways are gone. I'll be back in a comfortable spot with a solid practice area and availability to get out and practice various aspects of my game on the course... and hopefully that means the return of my scores where they were at this time last year.
Anyway... all that aside, I have been patient and optimistic. The Thursday before Father's Day, I was surprised by my wife when she told me to pack my clubs, my shoes and some clothes. We were headed down to Hilton Head (which is quickly becoming my second favorite place on Earth) for the weekend to play golf! She told me that she had made a tee time for Sunday morning. When I asked where, she told me we would be playing Harbour Town on Sunday morning! She knew it was on my list... and she wanted to give me an experience. Although she's very new to golf (maybe 10 rounds under her belt)... she wanted to play too, but we were concerned that it was going to be too much for her to handle there since the caddies were going to press the pace. After some discussion, she said she'd just ride along instead and enjoy the course and seeing me play.
To make up for it, I contacted Palmetto Dunes and asked if we could get out on the Jones Course at some point Saturday afternoon. I explained that we'd have our daughters (12 & 13) with us... but that they'd just want to ride along. The woman I was dealing with replied and said she had reached out to the director of golf there and he would provide us a four-seater cart and not charge us any riding fees for the girls. We got a great rate... booked a 2:15pm tee time... and were ready for a great time!
I was a little nervous because I hadn't played in a month leading up to that weekend... and when I had played, my scores were pretty rough. I was looking at Saturday as a way to kind of 'warm up' for Harbour Town. Everything I had heard from friends who played it... the course was tight and scores could get out of hand in a hurry if I wasn't careful.
The Saturday round was peaceful and relaxing. I didn't play well, but I enjoyed spending the time on the course with my wife and girls. The scenery was as perfect as I described it to my wife. She was excited to play the 10th hole and see the ocean from the green... and she was just generally excited to be playing and seeing exactly what I'd been saying to her about golf on Hilton Head. It's just better, in my opinion. I love the layouts. I love the Spanish moss hanging from the trees. I love the gators in the ponds. It's just special to play there.
On Sunday morning... it was time to head to Harbour Town. The girls stayed in the hotel while my wife and I headed across the island to Sea Pines. My tee time was 7:39am that morning and I was in the first group off. We arrived a little later than planned so I was a little rushed once we got to the course, but we were surprised when the attendant in the shop said he wasn't going to charge my wife the rider fee of $50 because the course was going to be slow and they had plenty of carts. After my wife spent some time looking around in the pro-shop... I headed over to the range to hit a few balls. After about 10 swings... I realized it was already 7:30 and I needed to get my stuff together and head to the first tee.
As I approached the first tee... our caddie for the day was there waiting for us. Randy had been a caddie at Harbour Town for about 7 years and was a 2.0 index from the blue tees at the course. While Randy and I were talking, the rest of our group showed up. It was a father and his 2 adult sons who had surprised him with this round for Father's Day as well. After some brief discussion, it was decided that my 13.0 handicap would best be suited for the white tees (6253 yards... 71.4 rating... 136 slope).
I was given the honor... Randy retreated up the fairway to keep an eye on shots... and away we went. What follows is a hole-by-hole recap. I wouldn't be upset if you skipped past this now... but for my own selfish reasons... I'm gonna post it all.
Hole 1 - Par 4 - 380 Yards -- Handicap Hole 11
Tight. That was the word that kept running through my mind all weekend. Standing on the first tee... I could tell that it was true. Randy's instructions were to not miss left... but don't miss right either. At 380 yards... at 7:40 in the morning... at sea level... I didn't have another club to hit. It was driver or bust for me. Luckily, I made a pretty decent swing and the ball trickled just off the fairway on the left side. As I got to my ball... I had about 100 yards to go. I guess they had moved the tees up quite a bit! If I had known that... I would have hit a 4 iron off the tee and left myself an 8 iron or something. Oh well... it worked out in the end. I was told short was better than long... so I took less club and came up a little shy of the green. A decent pitch to 4 feet and a smooth putt and I walked back to the cart to put a par on my card. I wish I had known there was only going to be 1 more of those on the card that day.
Even through 1
Hole 2 - Par 5 - 471 Yards -- Handicap Hole 13
This was not as tight. In fact, it looked pretty open. I took a more aggressive swing with my driver... and although I struck it well, I found myself up the right side, kinda blocked out. I wanted to punch it through the pines on the corner with a 5 iron... but I topped it instead. I was left with about 170 yards from a waste area. Trying to play a fade didn't work out well, and instead... I pushed it and short-sided myself. An okay pitch ran to the far side of the green and I needed 2 putts for a bogey. It could have been worse.
+1 through 2
Hole 3 - Par 4 - 381 Yards -- Handicap Hole 9
"Hit your drive up the right side so you'll have an open look at the green." Okay Randy, thanks for the tip! I pulled my drive low and left. It sat in the rough up the left side. My only shot was to aim at the trap to the right of the green and try to get up & down. I hit my target with an 8 iron... but the ball finished just out of the bunker on a slope with a steep uphill lie. My wedge went completely under the ball and I didn't even get the ball to the green. My putt from the fringe came up 4 feet short and I made that for bogey.
+2 through 3
Hole 4 - Par 3 - 165 Yards -- Handicap Hole 15
On our drive down, my wife asked me if there were any specific holes I was looking forward to on Harbour Town. I told her that I was especially looking forward to 4, 14, 17 and 18. Well... here we were!
What water? The pin was right at about 158 yards from the tees. It should have been a perfect 7 iron. Well... it would have been if I hit it solidly. Instead... I came up well short. I wiped my brow when the ball landed and it was still dry. My pitch from about 25 yards (yeah... I struck that 7 iron wonderfully) ran over the left edge of the cup and finished 7 feet above the hole. Tricky putt coming back. It leaked to the right at the last second and I made a 3rd consecutive bogey.
+3 through 4
Hole 5 - Par 5 - 497 Yards -- Handicap Hole 5
"See those electrical boxes up the right side? Aim for those. They're the perfect starting line. Oh... one last thing. Don't go left. You can't see it, but there's water there." C'mon Randy! Don't let that be the last thing you say to me! I was focused on those electrical boxes. Now... I'm worried about trouble I can't see!
Well... I avoided the water. I started the ball at those electrical boxes... and then it faded off of them and landed in the trees. Dang! I didn't finish my swing. My chip out of the woods with an 8 iron wasn't great... but I was just trying to lay up to about 140 yards or so now, so... easy swing. Whoops! That's not the club face. Drop 4... hitting 5. Topped it. Hit a low cut that finished about 30 yards short of the green.
My wife put her head down and put the camera down too. She was embarrassed. So was I. Oh well... this is gonna be a triple now. Time to regroup. From 30 yards... I hit a low pitch that checked perfectly... tracked the entire way and dropped in for an unlikely double! CRAP! She put the camera away!
Stupid unseen water hazard.
+5 through 5
Hole 6 - Par 4 - 373 Yards -- Handicap Hole 3
"Aim for the last tree up the left side. That's the perfect target for you. It's open here so, driver is a good play." Cool... thanks Randy!
I smashed my drive. Right at that tree. "Oh... that may have run through the waste area into the hazard." Well... at least he didn't tell me about the hazard this time until AFTER I hit it there! I took a drop... and had an angry white-faced hornet coming at me. I had inadvertently parked the cart on it's nest. My wife ran into the fairway. The drink cart lady ran with her. I got to the cart... put it in reverse... backed up about 10 yards... let the hornet back in his home... and then messed up the rest of the hole en route to a triple.
Gators? Snakes? No big deal. Hornets?!? Way to rattle my nerves, Harbour Town!
+8 through 6
Hole 7 - Par 3 - 160 Yards -- Handicap Hole 17
"No real trouble here. Just don't go in the sand that surrounds the entire hole. It's a real tough up & down from there!"
The tees were up a bit... so it was an 8 iron for me. 100%... no doubt. My wife's behind me with her phone taking pictures and/or video. Make this a good swing. Clearly I had too much crap running through my head this day. My swing was okay... the contact was meh... and my 8 iron fell out of the sky 20 yards short and in the bunker. I'll have to look at that swing on the video or pictures she took.
"Oh... I was taking pictures of this little toad on the tee box. I didn't know you were hitting yet."
I didn't want to see it anyway. Splashed out of the bunker... nearly holed out... but it ran by about 6 feet and left me another quick, downhill putt. Nope. Bogey.
+9 through 7
Hole 8 - Par 4 - 405 Yards -- Handicap Hole 1
Wonderful... the most difficult hole on the course and I'm playing my worst golf of the day. "The big tree up the right side is your target. Let it fly."
I did just that. I let it fly right at that big tree with a nice, tight draw. I was through the fairway and had about 145 to the hole, out of the rough. Tired of coming up short... I took an extra club but I flared it out to the right a bit. I was pin high, but off the green. As I got out of the cart, I told my wife I was going to chip in. From behind the green, one of the guys I was playing with chipped in for par just before it was my turn. I clipped the ball perfectly... it checked up just enough and rolled up to about 2 feet before stopping. Close... but not close enough. Tap in for par though!
+9 through 8
Hole 9 - Par 4 - 298 Yards -- Handicap Hole 7
Easily my most frustrating hole of the day. This hole is pretty wide open. Not a ton of trouble. Let it go and leave a little wedge into the green or lay back and take a full short-iron into the green. You choose.
"You're hitting the ball well off the tee. Let it go! Rip it at the clubhouse." Sounds good to me, Randy!
I blistered my drive into the breeze and found the center of the fairway. I left myself about 50 yards to the flag. No real trouble. Just make a nice swing and put it close. The other option is to completely decelerate... chunk it 10 yards and hit the same shot from a little closer. That was the path I elected to follow. Next swing was better but tugged. From 25 feet, I rolled the putt 2 feet past and tapped in for a bogey to close out the front side.
+10 through 9
So... it was pretty much what I was expecting. I figured on a few pars and a hiccup hole or two. Take the 5th and 6th holes out and it was not a bad score for that side. Having now played much... those 50 yard shots that I messed up on the 9th hole are becoming my nemesis, so... I wasn't shocked by that, just annoyed. My putting was decent. I missed a pair of putts that should have gone in. By my count... if I was playing or practicing more consistently, I could have been 4-5 strokes lower, but... it was what it was. I was excited to get to the back nine and see what was in store for me there!
Hole 10 - Par 4 - 398 Yards -- Handicap Hole 12
After a quick stop to use the restroom, wash my hands & face and grab some water... we were on the 10th tee. Randy didn't have much advice on this hole. It was pretty straightforward. Avoid the left side where the water was and you'd be okay.
This is a quick recap for this hole. I put 2 balls in the water... took my maximum score and sat in the cart enjoying the scenery while the rest of the group played the hole.
+13 through 10
Hole 11 - Par 4 - 387 Yards -- Handicap Hole 6
This is another fairly straightforward hole. I made it ugly by yanking my tee shot way left. It went nowhere, fell down in the trees and forced me to punch out. I was kind of aggravated at this point... hit a poor 5 iron heavy and short... pitched on to about 12 feet and two-putted for a double. Not the start to the back nine I was looking for.
+15 through 11
Hole 12 - Par 4 - 376 Yards -- Handicap Hole 8
"Do not try to cut the corner. I've only seen one person cut the corner in all the time I've been here. Jason Day blasted a 4 iron up over the trees. To this day, I don't know how he saw that line and decided to take it but it was the best shot I've seen on this course. Ever."
Okay then, Randy. I hit about as good a shot as I could there. I nice little fade that started up the left side of the fairway and peeled back to the center and bent around the corner of the left-to-right dogleg. I was left with about 130 yards to the pin. Again, I took more club because I'd been coming up short... and again, I pushed it out to the right. I got very aggressive with my chip and it rolled 23 feet beyond the hole and led to a bogey, wasting a perfect tee shot.
I'm definitely not Jason Day.
+16 through 12
Hole 13 - Par 4 - 339 Yards -- Handicap Hole 10
"You cannot be on the left side of this fairway and have any look at the green. Stay out to the right. Less than driver. If you listen to anything I've said today... make it be this. Do not go left."
Oh Randy... you're faith in my ability to control where the ball goes is almost amusing. Less than driver... breeze into my face... no control with my 3 wood. Hybrid it is. I struck it like crap... but it stayed to the right side of the fairway. I landed in the rough right next to a sprinkler head. Good thing because my lie was garbage. After a drop for relief from the sprinkler head... I was left with 155 yards or so to the flag. Here comes Randy...
"Long. Do NOT be short."
Yes sir. Extra club... perfect flight... lands past the flag... and over the back of the green.
"Good. You'll get up & down from there way easier than from that front bunker."
My chip checked in a hurry and stopped 15 feet from the hole. I never gave it a shot and tapped in for a bogey.
+17 through 13
Hole 14 - Par 3 - 148 Yards -- Handicap Hole 18
This is THE hole I was most looking forward to. I'd seen it so many times on TV. I'd played it in video games. I just couldn't wait to get here.
"Don't dunk it." C'mon Randy... you're better than that! Don't do that to me.
The bottom edge of my 9 iron struck the ball firmly in the equator. The ball never got higher than my shin. It screamed over the green into a spot that Randy said he'd never seen anybody ever play from. Well... you're welcome for the memory, Randy.
Dead from where I was... I had to close my eyes because I had twigs from the trees I was under poking at them. I hacked a wedge out of the trees but short of the green. I then chipped to about 5 feet and made that putt for bogey. Certainly could have gone way worse than that, but... I wanted a par at that hole.
+18 through 14
Hole 15 - Par 5 - 541 Yards -- Handicap Hole 4
Last par 5 of the day. Gotta make it a good one. Swing hard! Wait... scratch that... that's a bad idea.
I did it anyway... and pulled it into the trees again. Punch out... attempt to hit a low, swooping draw that hangs up in the rough... push an 8 iron way right of the green... flub the pitch... blade the next one over the green... chip to 6 feet... one hand it in for a triple.
That's my blueprint for most par 5 holes anyway.
+21 through 15
Hole 16 - Par 4 - 361 Yards -- Handicap Hole 14
"The tree straight ahead is in the middle of the fairway. There's room to either side of it. Left of it brings the bunker into play. Right of it just makes the approach slightly longer, but it's a short hole."
See... THIS is the type of information I'd love to have had throughout the day, Randy! Tell me what my target is. Inform me what my options are and the risks and/or rewards to each option... then let me choose.
I hit a poor driver at the tree that faded just to the right and went into the rough, but I was left with 145 yards or so to the green with nothing in the way. Simple game! My 8 iron hit the green (although it was 50 feet from the hole) and I finally had my first (and only) green in regulation on the day. An awful putt left me 7 feet and I missed that for my only three-putt of the day. Bogey. Dang!
+22 through 16
Hole 17 - Par 3 - 159 Yards -- Handicap Hole 16
Wow. Just... wow. I've played a lot of golf holes. I've played in the mountains... at the beach... in the Caribbean. Without a doubt, this is the prettiest hole I've played so far. It was a gorgeous day... blue skies with a few clouds. The view was just spectacular. The struggle throughout the round was worth this view. The $300+ greens fee was worth this view. Everything was perfect here.
I was too distracted to care that I flared another 7 iron short and right of the green. My pitch checked up quickly again and I needed 2 putts from 18 feet for another bogey.
I didn't care. What a golf hole.
+23 through 17
Hole 18 - Par 4 - 414 Yards -- Handicap Hole 2
This hole is the one every golfer knows. Calibogue Sound all along the left side of the hole. The iconic light house in the distance beyond the green. The reeds between the tee and the fairway... and then again between the fairway and the green. The mile-wide fairway. It was picture time. Randy took photos for everybody on the tee and then said he'd do the same on the green when we finished up.
"It's a little down wind. The fairway is there. Just... hit it."
Indeed. My final drive of the day was my best drive of the day. I couldn't find trouble unless I hit the ball 50+ yards offline in either direction. Swing away! Right down the middle. Second longest drive of the day. I smiled... picked up my tee... breathed a sigh of relief... and hugged my wife for giving me this opportunity.
Once to the ball, I still had 182 to the hole. All carry over the reeds. I hadn't missed an iron shot left all day so the water wasn't in play. Start the ball at the flag... let it peel off to the right. Tons of room over that way. Easy 5 iron... and I pull hooked it into Calibogue Sound. I dropped where I crossed... hit a wedge to about 13 feet... left the bogey putt short and tapped in to finish out my day.
+25 through 18
After we had all finished up and looked back down the fairway... it was again time for pictures. The dad and his sons in front of the lighthouse. Then my wife and I with the lighthouse in the background and the Harbour Town flag flapping in the breeze. All this in a few minutes over 4 hours.
It was awesome. I played like garbage... but I didn't care. I was just happy to have had the experience. My wife went above and beyond to get me there. I knew I'd play there eventually... but to have it happen unexpectedly made it all even more memorable.
As far as single rounds go... it was the most money I'd ever played for one round. It was worth every penny. Randy was awesome. Great stories throughout. Laughed with us (and at us when we hit poor shots). He talked a little smack... told us about himself... inquired about our lives... and overall, just added an extra fun element to the round. It was like having a golfing buddy there as a caddie.
My wife took a bunch of pictures throughout the round. She and I laughed together about my bad shots (and there were plenty). We took in the scenery. We enjoyed the jokes in the group and had a good time.
After the round, I went into the locker room to clean up a little. It was also amazing. In addition to the lockers and typical showers... there was an entire lounge upstairs with a phenomenal view. Down in the pro-shop, my wife bought me a polo and she bough herself a travel mug to add to her collection. We headed out... collected the girls from the hotel... went back to Sea Pines to walk around a bit and then took the 4 hour drive back home.
Where The Ocean Course at Kiawah was a 10 round fight for me... Harbour Town was like a Sunday drive.
The rumors are true. It's a tight course... but if you've got control of your ball, it's not that bad. The rough isn't overly thick (supposedly because they want you further penalized by rolling through the rough and into the trees & waste areas). The greens are as small as they claim. I wasn't playing well, but I hit only 1 green in regulation. I average about 6-7 when I play.
I'm looking forward to going back when my game is a little sharper. Until the next one...
Hello again, I haven't written one of these blogs in a long while. I haven't really been on the site for a long while. I had been practicing and posting every day for 405 days, That streak came to an end on May 10, 2018, when I went into the hospital. The last 11 months I have been going through things outside of golf, that are more important for my growth as a human being. Golf is my getaway, my therapy, my distraction, and my hobby.
I love the game, it sometimes doesn't love me back when I'm playing it. Whether I'm hitting a 9-iron at the second that checks up too soon or I lip out that 4-footer on 18 for a 71, Golf is hard (R). I've decided that I really don't care that it's hard, I've decided that I just want to go out and relax and have fun playing the game. In the city championship last Labor Day weekend, I made the flight finals for the first time. I've played in that tournament every year since 2010, I lost 7 & 5 (ironically I played the same guy in the finals this year as I did in my first ever match), 2011 4 & 3, 2012 I was really sick Sunday and had to W/D, 2013, I lost 1 up, 2014 I lost 2 & 1 2015 I finally won a match 3 & 2 (It helped that I was out-driving my opponent by 70 yards), then lost 7 and 5, 2016 I lost 1 up, 2017 I made the semis and lost 3 and 2, Last year I hilariously won the 12th hole of my first match with a triple-bogey 8, to go 1 up in the match. Whilst laughing about it on the way to the 13th. I proceeded to play the next three holes, par, par, birdie to win 4 & 3. In the semifinals, I was 1 down after 6, (I started terribly was something like 4 over through 6 medal), I chipped in for birdie at 7, made par at 8, made birdie at 9 after hitting a terrible drive (I knocked the third shot to 4 feet), made bogey at 10, nearly made 1 at 11 (ended up making 3 I missed a 5 footer that was already conceded), and birdied 12. I went from 1 down, to 5 up in 6 holes, I put the match away with a par on 13 and won 6 & 5. (yes I won 10 with a bogey, my opponent had trouble with the right side trees, the only reason I made 6 was I took 3 to get down from 5 feet off the front of the green) I played the last 7 holes in 2-under and didn't even know I was playing that well until someone told me after my match ended.
I was playing well but got tanked in the final 7 & 6. I did not play badly. I won just 2 holes, the 2nd and the 11th, however, that being said, I was losing holes to pars and birdies, I made only one double-bogey and that was on the 7th which is a par-3 (It was a good 5 too, I pushed a 7-iron into Fall Creek which is Oscar Bravo, and made 3 with the second ball, nearly holing a 15-footer to halve the hole. I think he shot 1 or 2 over, I shot 8 or 9 over and we halved #9 with birdies, which was a funny exchange, because he chipped in from just short of the green and I holed about a 30-footer on top of him. It was very different finishing second in my flight instead of last or T-3 twice. Going into the tournament, I decided that I was going to go out and just have fun, and whatever happened so be it.
Over the winter I didn't do much practicing, as a matter of fact, very little. If you've seen my signature, I have different clubs in play right now but still have my Exotics bag. Actually might actually switch to Maltby from GolfWorks for the time being. I don't necessarily need the best and greatest new clubs.
Becky and I separated for 5 months between October and March and we have since reconciled. Without getting to personal, one of our goals we came up with, was to try to do a hobby together. She tried golf a couple times with me, (she actually witnessed me birdie both par-fives on the front which I seldom do), but we decided we were going to either bowl or try disc golf. Come to find out disc golf is very inexpensive to get started in. I'm still trying to figure out the rules, but I'll get it. It's fun, it takes less time than real golf and is just as tricky. I was talking to one of our regulars at the golf course about it just yesterday, we're making predictions on which one I break par in first, disc golf or traditional golf.
I've played 9 holes twice this year so far. The first time out I really didn't putt so I couldn't count it, but I estimate, I shot probably 39 or 40 on the front (or white tees, Newman is 9 holes with 2 sets of tees). Yesterday I shot 38, with one of the scratch players playing skins and they we're surprised. I didn't make any birdies but my par with a half-whack on 18 was good enough for $15, and my scratch partner and I cleaned up in the side match too. for my two bogeys, I lipped out on 11 after a decent bunker shot, and I was short sided and laid-up my chip to 15 feet on 14, and singed the edge, the rest we're all pars. I covered his double on 10 and his bogey on 18 (he birdied 12, 14, and 17 to shoot 36) so we were 3-under as a best ball team.
I'm playing well, I have a very simple pre-shot routine with one swing-thought, right foot, left foot. My balance is a lot better, I actually finally figured out where the "balls of the feet" are. The step-through is now gone, my balance is back, and hopefully with any luck at all, I might get down into the 4.x by the end of the season, it'll be difficult, but I think with my new approach I can do it.
I'll give you guys an update this time in May on how my game is doing to see if I've improved.
For those of you who are wondering, Alina shot 49 for 9 holes last week (She's 5 1/2). She went with me and I really didn't play, She did. Mike told me. "Be careful, out there" She striped he drive from the actual ladies tee on #1 over the bunker, (She carries it about 125 yards now, and she is deadly with her hybrid (She has one of those now as she outgrew her other set). I played a little (I only brought a few clubs to pitch, chip and putt with so I had my 9-iron, wedges and putter with me. She actually beat me on #7, She made par and I made bogey and I didn't let her win the hole I legitimately did make bogey. When she parred 7, I knew she had a shot to break 50. This group of ladies was behind Alina and I, and they usually would be a little snotty about a twosome in front playing slow (we weren't Alina plays nine in 1:45). Saw Alina, par the 7th. To par she was +10 through 7. (She made 9 on #1) She piped a drive and hit 2 hybrids on the green at #8 and almost made par, tapped in for bogey, She hit a perfect drive on 9 and I let Alina make this decision herself, she grabbed her driver for her second shot (She got it just short of 250 out, off a 140 yard bullet), I think she thought she needed birdie to break 50, but she only needed a 7 (I don't tell Alina her cumulative scores, I tell her at the end) She topped one down there about 50 yards just short of 200, she then hits hybrid, hybrid on the front of the green (pin was all the way back) And three-putted for double... But that was all she needed for her first sub-50 9-holes. One of the ladies behind us, came up and asked me what she'd shot, I said "49 and she started with a 9." Alina plays the par-3s well at Newman from the ladies tees mainly because, well, it's just a driver for her.
I talked to a local pro recently about maybe getting her a fuller set, and he advised against it for now, as her game develops and when she gets older then we can revisit that then. Not bad for a kid that plays 3 or 4 9-hole rounds a year at this point. But asks me to go hit golf balls all the time. She stripes it and I mean stripes it.
I finally got around to playing 18 holes of golf with only 4 clubs this morning - something I've wanted to do since early in the season. My goal was to keep the score to within 5 of my average. The 4 hybrid and 9i were shoo-ins. The 4h because I seem to hit it well, and the 9i because I can use for a short bump-and-run all the way up to a 130 yard full swing. I then had to decide on two more. I decided to bench my gap wedge, which is the go-to club from 100 yards and in, and go with the sand wedge instead. The reason being too much roll on short sided flag locations seem to be costing me strokes. Perhaps forcing myself to use a more lofted wedge would be beneficial.
Last, I decided to go with the putter and disregard @boogielicious' advice to learn to putt with a wedge instead. This would have allowed another option for the full swing. I have to admit there was little chance the putter would be left behind. It's not that I'm at all good with the putter, but it's used from off the green a lot and it's better than trying to putt with any other club. That would turn out to be far from the truth.
The first 9
The first two holes were pretty typical, a couple of bogeys that resulted from less than perfect tee shots. Still, I felt pretty good about how the round was going. Then came the par 5 3rd.
Two beautiful 4-hybrid shots left me with a short approach of around 90 yards. Time to test the SW on a shot I'd have used the GW for all-day-long. Good contact, high, and right at the flag, 2 putt for par.
Nice, I thought. Not a bad start and everything felt good. Next up were three par 4's in a row followed by a par 5. The hybrid felt really good off the tee and whenever I needed less than a full swing, the club responded very well as did the SW and the 9i. I would hit GIR's on those next four holes. My full swing and partial swings were golden.
But the golf gods giveth and they taketh.
The first par 4 had a pin location to the front of a very fast downhill green and my partial hybrid approach had found the back. To be honest, I was ok with the 3-putt bogey in this situation. Besides, the way I was striking the ball, I'd make up for it with subsequent pars.
The pin location on the next par 4 was uphill with my SW approach landing about 25 feet below. The lag putt can only be politely described as wimpy. It wasn't a poor read, or a bad bead, I just didn't get anywhere near the speed I knew was needed to get it close. 3-putt number 2.
Despite temps in the 30's, I was starting to get warm under the collar. It was hard to enjoy one of my best ball striking rounds when I couldn't close the deal. But c'mon, that was only two holes. Surely the putting would get back on track.
The next par 4 included a beautiful partial hybrid, a flighted 9 iron below the pin... and three more putts including a miss from 18".
In all fairness, I shouldn't have hit the green on the next par 5. The 4h approach to the green started a bit right, but a tree branch deflected it to the green. There was no way the golf gods were going to let this bit of luck remain unpunished. Hence, a nice 4-putt and my first double of the day.
The second 9
Instead of describing each of the next 9 holes, I'll only say that the golf gods had a hard-on for me today. Sure, they'd allowed decent putting this second time through the 9 hole course, but as if to say "you didn't think we were just going to give good putting back to you" they made sure to take away the good ball striking. The hole where I got my only par on first 9 resulted in a 10 the second time through. The comedy of errors leading to that wonderful score included playing bloody knuckles (literally) with two oak trees when I tried to punch out an errant 4 hybrid shot from between them.
Eat $#!^ and die, golf gods!
As for the four-club "challenge", it should have been more fun than it was, but that's on me. There were positives...
• My goal was to keep the score within 5 of my average and I kept it to within 1.
• I not only hit the ball solidly on most shots, I was able to adjust and control distance, and even shape a couple of shots.
• In many situations, the SW is a better club than the GW around the green.
• The 7 GIRs is the highest I've had in some time - and there were several nGIR as well.
• The round didn't cause me to putt more poorly than usual, the GIRs only exposed my poor putting. High GIR = more putts unless you're good at both.
This round also backed up what I believe to be true. Using a safer, shorter club off the tee doesn't guarantee a better score for everyone. I hit 71% of my fairways today, did not get any penalties, and still failed to break 95.
Instead of leaving the driver at home, maybe I should become as skilled with that club as I am with the 4 hybrid.
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I wanted to put together a series of golf tips and strategies to help the Average Joe better enjoy this crazy game we all love. A large part of this blog is going to be short tips like "How to Get Rid of Shanks" or "Stop Picking Your Head Up," but occasionally I will write some longer articles as well.
So to kick off this series, here's a tip that helps keep your score down that even I sometimes forget: don't take penalties. Generally speaking, penalties are strokes that inflate your score without helping you score any better. I know it may seem tempting to hit a big drive OOB and get another shot at it, but you're almost always better off just hitting a good shot the first time. The same goes for water hazards - stay out of them, no matter how dirty your ball may have gotten over the course of a round. Chances are, you're not going to be able to retrieve your newly washed ball anyway. Save yourself some extra strokes and wash your ball at the ball washer which many courses have at the tee box. Your scorecard and your wallet with thank you later.
That's my first tip, hopefully of many. Any comments or questions, please leave them below. And if you liked this post, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe.
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Although my injury really didn't completely stop me from golfing, it caused me to be apprehensive with my swing. However, tomorrow's surgery will leave me in a cast for a week and a brace for at least 8 weeks or maybe more. This surgery is going to be a test of my fortitude. I don't know if I will be able to work, I know I can't lift weights, drive a stick or golf for 3 months. We shall see if I survive. It sucks to be self employed in these circumstances. I will keep you posted...
So today I had another lesson and we worked a ton on alignment, and making sure that my upper body doesn't lean too far away from the target. This causes my centered turn to end up being around my hips and spine, but keeps my chest behind the ball which causes chunks, no matter how far over I slide my hips. Instead, now my hips slide and as a result my chest hangs back but is slightly ahead of the ball giving me clean contact. Not to mention, controlling my starting line is getting much easier. Every once in a while I still get shots that start just left and hook farther left, but overall most of my shots go straight and barely move or just draw a tad.
With my driver, I feel like my right leg is almost extending and my weight is turning around that. Similar to what happens in Justin Thomas's swing. In fact, my 'homework' was to watch JT bomb his driver to get an understanding of proper hip turn while my torso 'hangs back' and my right leg extends.
Oh, and I can hit my 3 wood!
“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” ~ Arthur Ashe
I overheard the golf coach at my daughter's golf camp say that he can get any girl with average golf skills a scholarship to college. But I thought to myself, what about the rest of the aspiring young golfers out there?
So here is my way to help give back -- the first (of hopefully many) golf scholarships for high school/undergraduate students who are on their school's golf team.
The $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to the best golf essay submitted. The golf essay topics may include, but are not limited to:
- How you and your team overcame overwhelming odds
- How your personal journey led you to embrace the sport of golf
- How the game of golf has helped you in your studies or in preparing for your career after school
- How you can personally help grow the game of golf
Plus, all entrants have the option to publish their essays published with links to their social media profiles, providing vital exposure for applicants looking to make a name for themselves in the golf industry.
For more information and to submit essays, please visit the website:
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I am subtitling this: “the Tao of Cipher”
Last week I was able to play my first full round of golf in over two years. It was not pretty, but it was so much fun. I completely chunked about nine shots and I took at least 4 penalties. I had the absolute best time doing so. A co-worker and I took a couple business partners out and it was very rewarding to be able to do that again. All the hard work, patience and time weighing the tough decisions have been to the benefit of playing again without a concern at this point and without any sort of swing alteration to do so. I am incredibly pleased with the result and with being able to play again.
It gives me great joy to know there are many days including yesterday in which my wife will mention the positive change she has seen in me. I don’t want to keep bringing up perspective, because I think it is and has been the least relatable thing in this blog so far based on the reactions and comments. I will just leave this series to be for now with a few final thoughts. This is probably one of the best things that ever happened to me, even if my wrist decides to give out next week. If everything continues to go well don’t be surprised if I play quite a bit less than I did in the past, but also enjoy the game more than I ever have. Don’t be surprised if I do not work on the swing at the same level or someday soon really at all. Don’t be surprised if there are days I would rather go throw a disc into some chains or go fishing with my son and daughter nearly every weekend. Don’t be surprised if I have little to no interest in playing competitive golf. I will however probably try and get the game in shape enough to qualify for and be part of the Newport Cup if I am lucky enough to be chosen. I was looking forward to that the last time and I would like to redeem that missed opportunity. I am most looking forward to meeting some of people I have not met yet from the site and also seeing those again that I have.
Thank you to all who have read this series and have wished me well over these past couple years. If anyone comes across this blog in the search for information on this injury, please reach out to me if you are experiencing the same thing. I know the information out there is not great.
I will possibly try and continue with another series of blogs in the future, but for this series on the “Reflections on Golf and Life After ECU Injury” I am signing off, for now. Wishing you all great health and don’t forget to take a moment to enjoy each day you are.
Posted this on IG yesterday, just something I thought would be interesting to throw out there. I could be completely off but when you look at players that have had long, relatively injury-free careers they tend to have more "freedom" with their lower body (Phil, Jack, Sam Snead, Vijay). By freedom I mean allowing the hips to turn, trail knee losing some flex and the lead knee moving inward. I've also felt Tiger's swing, especially in recent years, is too restrictive and hurts his downswing sequencing.
Someone commented that it wasn't a good comparison because the swing of Tiger's isn't a driver swing, it actually is but I'll also share this driver swing from last year in Phoenix.
Here are some of the comments and my responses: