It has been exactly 6 months after I retired. Here's what happened to my golf after I have retired.
I have been playing 5 - 6 times a week. However, a simple majority of the rounds have been less than 18 holes. I simply quit when I get too tired, get hungry, etc.. Being able to play everyday, I don't feel I need to finish around.
With more time, I thought I'd get warm up before a round but I don't. I feel I can learn more by playing. Instead, I go to range practice whenever I can't play a round - raining, course bought out, etc..
I avoid playing during busy hours, like Saturday. That means I am playing a lot by myself or with my wife. This gives me time to focus more on each shot. When I play in 4-some, sometimes, I get distracted.
My HI improved immediately after my retirement. Playing 5 - 6 times a week helped me improve on my short game, and course management. HI improved by about 4 - 5 strokes over the 6 months, not all at once though. However, I don't think it will continue to improve unless I do something different.
Practiced on weekdays for average of 60 - 90 minutes at home, and range.
Did golf specific workout on Mon, Tue, Thur, and Friday.
Played 2 rounds on weekend. Played about 125 rounds in 2015.
Practice 3 times on weekdays for average of of 90 - 180 minutes at home, range, and/or in field.
Do golf specific workout for 2 days, 1 day off, 2 days, 1 day off, ...
Play 2 rounds on weekdays, and 1 - 2 rounds on weekends. Play about 170 - 190 rounds in 2016.
Post in Member Swings forum.
12/28/15 - day 1 of retirement, I hit 50 chip shots with LW, SW, GW. The focus was on noting & controlling distance. I hit another 50 balls with various clubs, 3/4 shot to full swings, focusing on proper hip turn. Played 8 holes of practice round, focusing on short game around green. Back home, I did mirror work for about 10 minutes, and another 10 minutes of iron swing with focus on proper hip turn. I did a golf specific workout and 15 minutes of ThighMaster. What I did today will be my new daily routine. I call it RiCK's forever golf plan.
24+ years in the same company and I apparently made some friends. At least 4 different farewell lunches were done or coming up. A few more to be scheduled before 12/24/15, my last day at work. Who said there are no free lunch in life ?
At least two people have shed tears. I simply don't know how to act when I see tears in people's eyes. I become speechless ... and deeply touched.
There have been a stream of people coming to my office for "chat," and people stopping me on hallways for the same. Some, I have not seen for some time. Almost all of them are surprised or shocked that I am retiring. There are two camps - those who can't believe I can afford it and those who don't believe I should retire so young. I just smile and tell them that my work is interfering with my golf game. The thing is, many of these people have means to retire also but don't have courage or the need to retire at this point in their lives. Not me. My golf game must improve .
Many insist on my contact info post my retirement. But I know I need to make new friends and they in turn will forget about me over time. Only a handful of those will stay in touch. That is life.
I was holding down two directors' job. My groups will split accordingly. Most of my employees have concerns after working for me for so long. A few have, in jest, insisted that I don't retire. Not a chance.
I don't know what the remaining 13 days at work is going to bring. So far, I am enjoying the these chats and goodbyes. I thought it'd be sad but that hasn't been the case. Weird.
Well, today, I walked up to my boss and told him that I am retiring at the end of the year. I turned in my resignation but it was more than that. I kissed goodbye to work, period. For many reasons, that was one of the hardest thing I had to do in recent memory. It took a lot of convincing on my part.
I worked since I was 14 for 29+ straight years. I studied hard, got into a good school, majored in Computer Science, and worked my butt off for many years to climb up the corporate ladder. The longest vacation I ever took was 10 days, rarely calling in sick. I spent more time at work than at home. Most of people I know and deal with are from work. Work has been a dominant part of my life. To stop working means that my life is changed forever. I need to make new friends, create new daily routine. That's a scary transaction, one that I don't know how it is going to turn out. I had to repeatedly convince myself that I have what it takes to start a new, different, and better life.
Then there was the question of leaving a $250k/year cushy management job with prestige, and lots of fringe benefits. I know some leave more lucrative job than that but most people will kill to have mine. Many of my family members and relatives will look at me as if I lost my mind but I did a lot of math and convinced myself that I can make it work. It took a lot of convincing. A lot.
What convinced me even more? As I got older and became more financially independent, I lost tolerance to bad politics people play - blaming others, taking someone's credit for his own, scheming, stabbing people on the back, doing unethical things to advance, .... Without much exaggeration, my boss and one of his henchmen is right out of Dilbert, and/or The Office TV series. I felt like I was selling my soul to these unscrupulous people to pay mortgage, to pay for the privilege of playing golf at nice courses, wining and dining at fancy restaurants, etc.. Well, no more selling my soul. It's time to pick the people I want to hang around with instead of being forced to dance with the devils.
But the biggest convincing I did? Life is just too short. At 53, my body will only degrade. It's now or never to improve on golf. It's now or never to climb the Half Dome, hike into the deepest part of Grand Canyon, run a marathon, rebuild a vegetable garden in my backyard, read good books, never to worry about setting the alarm clock to go to work, ..................................................................................................... There's just too many fun things to do that sure beats work. That sure convinced me.
After working 39 years since I was 14 years old, I am about to leave the work force for good. The org. I work for has been always a politically toxic place led by a sociopath and his equally bad underlings (my peers). For the last 2 years, I have been conning myself that I need to put up with the BS to pad my retirement fund to travel the world, play the best golf courses, eat the best food, i.e., live in style. But the BS bucket is now full. I can't stand another day of work. I am mentally exhausted and no amount of golf is going to relieve the stress I get from work. It is impacting my health. Having lost a younger brother to cancer a few years ago, I know a life can be short, too short to shorten it with a stressful job. My health over accumulating more wealth ...
Luckily, despite making a few bad financial decisions, we are ready financially to retire. My wife and I saved like ants. We lived far below our means for all these years (until recently when we decided to splurge a little to see what it is like). When others in my position were buying luxury cars and expensive houses, we bought Hyundai and lived in a relatively modest dwelling. I knew my relatives were talking behind my back about my "stinginess." We invested any and all disposable income and let the power of compounding do its job. I didn't panic sell when stock market plummeted time after time.
For others who may be reading this blog, I suggest you read The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy Book by Thomas J. Stanley. Anyone can be a millionaire over time holding down a regular job. You too can retire early if you so desire. I know some people need to work to live. They can't separate work from life. That's not me, and that's not many of us.
So ... it's time to call my own bluff. Write that resignation letter. Kiss goodbye to the stock options which is yet to be vested. Sign up for ACA. Make the list of things to do in retirement. Plan on practicing & playing more golf. One more year working is one more year dying. It's time.
I would think all three in varying degrees for different players.
Can a man or woman carry their own bag, get their own distances and be their own best friend? Absolutely. It's not an inherent essential element of golf play, professional or otherwise.
But why take a chance really?
In general my take would be similar to @bkuehn1952's. The arena is so cutthroat competitive for relatively large sum of moneys, that any advantage, however small or even if it only perceived at best, would be acquired.
I know I would. Especially the 'carrying my own bag' thing sounds like it would cost me some physical fatigue strokes over 72 holes.
I'm not a mudder either. Especially in the Winter months when the fairways are dormant. Our club doesn't overseed even though we play year round. This year our course has been wet since October. It's just not much fun playing on thin soaking wet Bermuda. While our greens drain pretty well there are some low areas in our fairways that will have to be re-sodded when Spring arrives.
I think you summed up the why do use caddies pretty well in three reasons:
Pack mule / course maintenance
GPS / course scout / game manager
Emotional Support / Coaching
I think the real question is why do pros maintain a regular caddie as opposed to using someone different each week. I think the answer is obviously NOT #1 and obviously YES to #3.
But I think #2 is an interesting issue. I would imagine most tour stops have good local caddies - I must assume that Riviera has some good caddies that really know the course so well they might be an advantage over a regular caddie - think the guy Crenshaw used at Augusta. But I would guess some of the issues with using a local caddie are: 1) there's probably not one for the entire field; 2) how do you know / do you have confidence that you are getting a good one? Still I'm a little surprised no head strong pro has tried the "local caddie" strategy. Maybe because there might be more downside than upside.
I don't know if this will work but this links to an article from two years ago where a tour pro talks about what the tour would be like if there were no caddies.
Undercover Tour Pro: What If We Had To Play Without Caddies? - Golf Digest
Here's the question: What would the World Ranking look like if we had to carry our bags? No caddies.
Also, FWIW, there was an interview podcast last year with Webb Simpson's caddie right after he won the Players. He talked about one of the things he does to prepare for a big round is prepare a list of non-golf things to talk about to keep Webb from thinking about golf every minute of the round.
Interesting subject to discuss.
I mostly go long with your ideas. Outside of the physical effort of carrying the bag and grooming the course, I imagine one of the biggest reasons every pro has a caddie is because they can have one. And they are afraid that IF a caddie might make a 1 or 2 stroke difference, then they sure as hell want to have that advantage when everyone else in the field has a caddie.