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Best Shot of the Week

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Nobody's had any good shots lately? C'mon now!

Let's see, my best shot lately was a very low pitching wedge from 85 yards to an uphill green. Ball landed 5 feet past the hole and drew back to a foot or two. Kick-in range. I didn't see it because it was all uphill (16th at Lake View). Sweet. I'm really digging that low, punchy wedge that is loaded with spin but usually just stops right on the second bounce.

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Playing in a benefit tournament for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital here in Memphis, TN on Saturday I had a few back to back to back great shots. It was a scramble but for two holes we played nothing but my ball for birdie-eagle. First was a six iron from 190 to about 3 ft. on #16, followed by driver (300yds), 503.h 19* (240yds) to 18 ft. and an eagle on #17. Probably the best string of shots I've put together in a while.

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I didn't have any good shots this week but I witnessed two. On Wednesday, my buddy Greg made a 2 on a 410 yard par 4 by holing out from 151. Today (Friday) he made an ace on a 143 yard hole. Both shots were identical. Soft draw that hit about 8 feet short on the hole, rolled like a putt and dropped in. Pretty cool to see.

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My best shot was the drive I hit on a hole at Oak Tree after putting one OB. I normally average about 270 off the tee, and this one went 320 on a flat hole. Having seen some few thousand drivers hit in the past month on launch monitors, I've gotten good at determining ideal launch conditions. This one was darn near ideal.

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Hit my Callaway Heavenwood from 218 yards out to make the green in 2. Ball landed about 7 feet from the pin and of course I missed the putt for my first eagle!

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Although not quite as exciting as an Ace, I watched my wife's uncle roll in puts from everywhere yesterday. Three of them were over 20 feet. Only problem was, he missed a four footer for 39 on the last. Best I could muster was a 230 yard draw around a dog leg left with my Hybrid. Set me up nicely to go at the green on a Par 5, but I missed a little left and couldn't get up and down for the bird.

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Went out today with Mrs. Rickins carrying a couple of new setup, and swing, thoughts. (Blame that on Erik, Dave Koster and a couple of others out here. )

Started rather unceremoniously, in no small part due to greens that were harder and faster than I've ever seen them at "our" course. (I think they stimped higher than my driveway.)

Okay, so after stinking up the first two holes and chunking a pitch on the third which yielded a bogey, the Golf Gods must have thought I'd paid my dues for the season. 513-yard dogleg right (sorta). "Okay" drive, but to the right. Cut a 3-wood a mediocre distance but back out in the middle. 120-yard pitching wedge - with new setup thought - hit six feet in front of the pin, rolled over the hole and stopped four feet away. Made the putt for birdie.

Continued to par three of the last four including a 35-foot, slightly downhill putt on the 9th that stopped inside the width of the ball from the hole.

Sure hope this wasn't the last time the Gods smiled on me.

Rick

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My best shots today were the several drives that I hit past the "long driver" on my high school golf team. In fact, I was not outdriven once today, despite playing with the longest and second longest of the HS golfers. My driving was spot on today, and put me in trouble only twice. Both times I managed a par after punching out and forward.

I shaped the ball as I wanted today off the tee. It was gorgeous. Aside from two a little towards the toe (they still went past everyone else), I felt as though I was hitting the center of the clubface every time.

I attribute all of this to a trip to the Titleist Science Van a few weeks ago. My driving has been pretty darn good since then. An article will appear this week on that experience...

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My best shots today were the several drives that I hit past the "long driver" on my high school golf team. In fact, I was not outdriven once today, despite playing with the longest and second longest of the HS golfers. My driving was spot on today, and put me in trouble only twice. Both times I managed a par after punching out and forward.

I assume it was the '76' rather than the round itself that was "fairly boring", as you described it in

What'd You Shoot Today? Outdriving the high school "big guns" consistently sounds anything but boring. A couple of nice scrambling pars, to boot? A lot of us would take that kind of a round any day. Rick

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I assume it was the '76' rather than the round itself that was "fairly boring", as you described it in

"Boring" golf being a good thing, it was the 76 that was boring, yeah. A "boring" score, to me, is one with lots of fairways, lots of greens, and very little scrambling. It also typically means lots of two-putts, as draining a few birdies is anything but "boring."

"Boring" golf wins U.S. Opens, again, so please don't think that "boring" is bad to me. I'll take a "boring" round of golf any day... except some times I like to make some putts!

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Played at Downing today. It's a local muni (the best around) and it's a pretty good challenge. 6400 yards or so, I think, with some stiff holes. Played a little moist today, limiting roll on drives (which I don't mind too much as it lets me see how far my carry is).

Anyway, was kind of hitting it all over on the front. Shot about 41 because I was always coming from the center of the fairway and pretty far out there - my driving has been pretty good lately. My putting, short game, and iron game not so much.

Despite playing like crap, I vowed to shoot 36 on the back. I picked one swing thought ("complete your backswing") after my first tee shot on the back was a lovely heel cut on a decent length par 5. With my new swing thought, I hit a solid 3W 240 yards to leave only 80 to the hole. I pulled the wedge a little bit and putted for birdie from 15 feet... and missed.

In fact, I made only one putt over two feet on the back nine - a par save at the par-3 15th. I missed one other green - the 210-yard par-3 11th - and hit every other green in regulation. I never putted from beyond 20 feet and I never made any of them either. I shot 37. It's tough to be disappointed about a 37, but I was happier with my putting. I realized that I'd been missing everything high and rolling a lot of putts 3 feet past the hole in the past two or three weeks, so I just adjusted to trying to die the ball at the hole. One went in, the others finished no more than a few inches away.

Played with a 74-year old guy named Ted today. He plays Downing "only five times a week." He shot about a 60 on the front nine (but kept up pace just fine). He called my range finder "a cheating device."

Anyway, on the back nine, the guy shot 45. He started hitting the ball really well (for him), and if he had a short game to speak of, he'd have shot 41 or so. Walking up 18, I commented on his improvement and he said "yeah, I watched your swing on the front nine and flattened out my backswing." I told him to look for my bill in the mail next week.

All told, an enjoyable day with enjoyable company. I've been trying a TaylorMade RAC Y-Cutter wedge (the retail model) lately, and I don't like the grip. So, $23 later, the wedge (and another club) now have the Golf Pride New Decade Multicompound on them.

Oh, 37 + 41 = 78. Not bad, considering I was missing the green from 100 yards on the front (okay, just once, but still. ).

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I realized that I'd been missing everything high and rolling a lot of putts 3 feet past the hole in the past two or three weeks, so I just adjusted to trying to die the ball at the hole. One went in, the others finished no more than a few inches away.

Frustrating as it can be to not get the ball to the hole, I've never been successful putting any way other than what you've described above. Perhaps it falls back to a very early image of lagging the putt to within an imaginary one foot circle around the hole, or whatever, but I find my misses far less likely to result in the dreaded three-putt.

The other "handicap" I've succumbed to in the last five years is eye glasses...with blended bi-focals. Peripheral vision is a joke and "seeing" breaks that don't exist goes with the territory. I've learned to compensate for it but I can't say it ain't a pain in the duff. Rick

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The 17th hole at my course is a 550-yard par 5. Today it was playing into a quartering 2-club wind. Actually maybe more - an 8I I hit on a 110 yard hole was blowing backwards by the time it hit came down... but anyway.

Drove right and missed the ribbon of fairway. Didn't have much of a shot so I punched out to about 230... except I clipped a tree limb and left myself in the right rough.

From there, just in the rough, I had to carve my 3W that 230 yards. The hole bends that way, too, and I had trees to go around. I did so, and as soon as the ball came off the clubface, I thought it was on the green.

Then a tractor pulled out in front of me. I like seeing my good shots so I can remember them for later. But no, the tractor pulled out. Disappointed, I slid my club into the bag and walked around the tractor. Yep, there was my ball in the middle front of the green, 25 feet from the hole. I almost made the birdie putt.

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The 17th hole at my course is a 550-yard par 5. Today it was playing into a quartering 2-club wind. Actually maybe more - an 8I I hit on a 110 yard hole was blowing backwards by the time it hit came down... but anyway.

You are a monster boy! I'm gonna want strokes!

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I played yeasterday in 30 mph winds with 40+ gusts. I actually drove the ball very well. My best shot was on number 9. It's a 400 yard par 4 with a slight dogleg left. It played dead into the wind and I ripped my drive up the left with hopes of fading it into the fairway. I came to rest in the left rough about 135 from the green with a huge tree about 40 yards infront of me. I hit a high draw that stopped 15 feet from the pin. Then I 3 putted for bogey. It was like putting on an ice rink all day.

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