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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/01/2011 in Blog Entries

  1. 18 points
    Here's a student many will tell you "lacks flexibility." He thinks it (sometimes, when I haven't seen him in awhile ), other instructors have told him he lacks flexibility, etc. His hips sway right, his torso turns about 75°, and he lifts his arms up to "finish his backswing." It's a bit better in the left photo here because he's been working on this for quite some time now, but even still you can see those trademark things: hips sway back, no secondary tilt, head rises, arms lift, turn isn't great. On the right you can see him doing the wall drill. You set up near a wall. You note how much space you have between your trail hip and the wall, and then you put your arms across your chest and make a backswing while you strive to increase that distance. Make the gap between your trail hip and the wall get bigger. Voilà! Secondary Axis Tilt, hips going forward during the backswing (yes, a bit too much, but this is a drill, exercise, or "feel"), head not going up, more torso turn. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. As always, these are actual swings, not posed shots. 2017-09-15: Edited the title. Originally it was "Lack of Flexibility and the Wall Drill". We teach this to people who DON'T think they lack flexibility, too. Even kids.
  2. 15 points
    There are several things which take almost no talent to do correctly, and if you can do them, you can become a better golfer and stay a better golfer. These things should be touchstones of a sort, things you check on constantly, but again which take no (or at least not much) actual skill to achieve. These are things even beginners can do. These lists are off the top of my head. Tier 1: No Real Talent Grip the club properly - in the base of the fingers, with the right number of knuckles showing for your swing. Set up properly - weight over the right part of your feet, arms hanging almost vertically, ball position forward of center. Learn the ball flight laws. You only have to learn them once. Learn that bad shots happen, and don't require a change to what you're doing or attempting to do. Change your grips when they get worn, slick, hard. Get a video camera, alignment sticks, and a few other training aids. You don't have to spend a lot of money here. Use decent clubs. Your muscle back 2-iron is probably not helping you much. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses. Your skin and your eyes are important. Tier 2: Minimal Talent Grip the club firmly while remaining athletically "loose" with the rest of your body. Tension in the wrong places can be a killer. Loose muscles are fast muscles. Learn what "start line" and curve your ball has on any given shot. You'll be miles ahead of the game when it comes to solving problems with your swing for the rest of your life. Practice effectively. It doesn't matter if you practice for 10 minutes or 10 hours a week, if you can practice effectively, you'll squeeze as much out of that time as you can. Nobody practices perfectly, but 90% effective is better than 30% effective. Nobody hits perfect shots when practicing, either, but you can make changes when practicing properly. Learn the Shades of Grey and your Shot Zones. Play quickly. Play without fear - golf is just a game we play. Tier 3: Some Talent Learn to putt with a backswing and downswing that are about the same size. If your ball goes too short and you feel you have to make a huge stroke, just swing it faster, but keep the through and backswing lengths the same. Learn to hit a chip shot with some forward shaft lean and without throwing the trail wrist. I'm amazed at how few people can do this, even if they're just hitting a shot onto a range with no real target, solely trying to "do" this motion. Learn how to make partial swings, particularly with wedges. Learn how to have a "B" swing for days when things are not going well. Develop a ball flight — it's okay if it changes as you continue to improve — and apply the bullet point in the section above to play it. I allotted myself 15 minutes to write this post and come up with what I could come up with, and that's it. Please add your own in the comments below.
  3. 11 points
    I'm having a mental game expert address some of my juniors next Saturday, and I had some additional notes for him. Stuff I wanted him to include that may be particular to my program, the way I teach, my LSW information, etc. And I thought some of you might benefit. So here's that part of the email: 1. Practice is not playing. I'd like them to know that when they're working on their swing, they care what the mechanics are, they care what things "look" like somewhat, they care about making the best MECHANICS or something, to change or improve. But when they're playing, it's all about the results, not what it looks like. Better mechanics eventually lead to better scores, but sometimes you have to find a swing that works THAT DAY. 2. One or two bad shots is not a pattern. If you duck hook it off the first three tees, then yes, you might want to do something different the next time you get a driver out, but don't rush into changing your entire swing thought or game plan after one or two or even three slightly funny shots, or you'll be changing something after EVERY bad swing, which happens more often than people realize. 3. Have realistic expectations. PGA Tour players: make 50% of their 8-footers and only 15% of their 20-footers. On better greens. Average 2.8 shots from 100 yards out in the fairway. They hit it to about 18' on average. Hit about 60% of their fairways, but almost always keep it "between the ropes." Hit three to four "great shots" per round on a great day. Their standard is higher, but still… they don't love every shot they ever hit. They also hit shanks, chunk chips, etc. You only see the leaders on TV. Get up and down only 2/3 times. Scrambling is tough. But they almost never take two chips or two bunker shots. Then of course, talk about how having proper expectations for yourself will be very personal. Expectations can be for one shot or for the score for 18 holes. 4. Have proper expectations and goals for entering tournaments, but enter them BEFORE you're "ready" for them. You might have a better way of saying this, but basically, we entered Natalie in HJGT events before she was anywhere near competitive for them… so that by the time she was competitive in them (now), she'd know what they were like. It's NEVER a bad thing to play as many events where you have to put your name and a number up on a scoreboard for all to see - it can only be BAD if you have unrealistic expectations about your abilities. Go into competitive golf with the proper mindset - that you're LEARNING how to compete, LEARNING how to deal with it all, how to handle the slow pace of play, playing under the rules, playing with strangers, everything… go in with the proper mindset and it's all about growth, regardless of the outcome.
  4. 11 points
    While it's always a great idea to spend some time with a qualified fitter, there are a couple things you can do on your own to see if your irons are properly fit for you. Recent feedback I've gotten from several fitting experts is that the technique of drawing a sharpie line on the back of a ball is better for dynamic lie fitting than using a lie board. The sharpie test is simple and allows you to hit balls off grass. The lie board with tape on the sole is obviously a popular method but the board is raised off the ground and the surface is different than grass. These differences can influence the club at impact and your swing. The lie board can encourage some players to sweep the ball while some players have a tendency to hit more down than normal, so it can be tough to get accurate and clean readings. Big reason why I like and wanted to share info on the sharpie test, I think it's best if you can accurately represent what will happen on the golf course. Here's how to go about performing the sharpie test. Draw a heavy vertical line on one side of the golf ball with sharpie and place it facing the club head. After impact, the line should be transferred onto the club face. If the line is perfectly vertical your lie angle is good to go (right pic). If the line is tilted out towards the toe of the club (left pic), your club is too upright and the lie angle needs to be flatter to get the line to vertical. Vice versa , if the sharpie line is tilted towards the heel your club, the lie angle is too flat and you would need to bend the club more upright. The test won't tell you exactly how much you need to adjust the clubs but it's a good start. For a static test, use a business card. Since it's static the test doesn't account for the fact that players are usually higher with the handle at impact, along with some shaft droop but it's something I recommend you do in combination with the sharpie test and getting your height/wrist-to-floor measurements. For this lie angle check, take your address position on a hard surface with the handle at a proper height; butt of the club pointing at or somewhere between the belly button and top of your zipper. Have someone slide a business card under the sole of the club. If the lie angle is correct, it should stop the where the one end of the card is at the center of the club (pic below). If the business card reaches the heel, the club might be too upright, too flat if the card doesn't slide to the middle of the face.
  5. 10 points
    This showed up in my Facebook feed this afternoon, and like most things, it made me think of golf. In particular, it made me think of improving and swing changes. I see it all too frequently. A new golfer hits a few good shots and thinks they have what it takes to play at a high level. I would be lying if said the same thoughts didn't go through my head almost 20 years ago when I started playing on a regular basis. I assumed that after a year or so of playing every weekend and hitting balls on the range once or twice a month, I would be ready to compete on tour. It didn't take long for me to figure out that it isn't that easy. I still figured that I could get to single digit handicap after a few years. Ummm... Nope. After many years and now only being a few years away from being able to play on the senior tour, I'm still not even close. It's OK. I still love to play, and I am a lot better than I was. After many years, this is what I am learning the most. It takes a lot of dedication and many reps to change even a little something in my swing. I am not swinging until my hands bleed, but putting in a little time every day is definitely making a difference. For those of you who are REALLY interested in making a change and improving, take a look at what it takes to succeed. For many people, the winter months are almost here. Don't waste the next few months. Figure out a way to work on your priority piece inside and get to work.
  6. 9 points
    There's a reason @david_wedzik and I trademarked the phrase "Golf is Hard"®. https://thesandtrap.com/b/the_numbers_game/angles_of_error Here's a par three that is often a 7- or 8-iron (but can be a 6-iron). A driver on a par five. And another par three that plays from 190-220 yards. In all three cases, you have about +/- 2 or 3° in which to hit your shot, or else we deem the shot "a failure." Set your expectations properly, and give yourselves the credit you deserve when you DO hit a fairway or a green. It's phenomenally difficult!
  7. 9 points
    When I was teaching drum lessons, students would complain that they weren’t getting better. I would ask how much they practiced since the last lesson and then listen to the excuses. I would tell them that if they really want to get better, they need to spend 3-4 days a week practicing for at least 15 minutes. Just taking lessons from me was not going to make them improve. The purpose of the lesson is for me to teach them what they need to practice, but practice is where things happen. I would explain that they can’t do 60 minutes on 1 day and call it a week. They need to practice almost every day. I would cover the principle of practice with students up front and they would agree. They would be dedicated for a week or so and then fizzle out. Just like golf, drumming is hard. If you take a second and try to make each arm and leg do something different, you will get what I mean. The basic rock beat is to have your right hand tap a repeating 4 count, your right foot tap on the 1 and 3, and your left hand taps on the 2 and 4. To add some spice with 4-way independence, have your left foot tap on every 1 count. Once you have that down, you need to double the times that your right hand is tapping counting, “1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and”. If you have never played drums before and was able do that with ease at a pretty fast pace, I would buy some drums today and rock out! People usually can't, BUT I can usually teach someone how to do that in less than 30 minutes. It’s very slow at first, and then slightly faster, then faster and faster. Now you have all had your first drum lesson for free. I'm not a golf teacher (yet), but I believe the same principle applies. Sadly, most drum students give up after a month or so. This is why there are so many used drum sets for sale on Craig's List. It doesn’t make sense to take lessons unless you are willing to put in practice time on your own. “Why do I need an instructor if all I have to do is practice?” you might ask. The instructor is there to check up on you and make sure you are going the right direction much like an airplane pilot is monitoring the navigational instruments and making adjustments. Sometimes they have to make major adjustments and other times a small one, but they can only make one adjustment at a time. The plane will not change course if the rudder and ailerons do not respond. This would be like a student who doesn’t practice. I think that most instructors teach something different on each lesson to make the student feel like they are getting value for their money, even if the student has not progressed from the last lesson. I think they are doing a major disservice to the student even though the student is more likely to stay engaged for more lessons. The student thinks that they are progressing when they really aren’t, and after a few months, their scorecard will confirm that. A math teacher does not progress to calculation before a student is competent with addition and subtraction. I hope not at least. If a student sees results from good teaching, they will be a student for life. I went to a drum clinic with a famous drummer a few years ago. It was Todd Sucherman who is currently playing for Styx. This guy is really awesome! I arrived early and got a seat in the front row. He played for a while and blew everyone’s minds. Then he started taking questions. He picked me and I said, “Since you’re a drummer, you have to be working on something, so what are you working on now?” He first looked shocked that someone would ask that question. After all, he is a master at drumming and making a living doing it. He then cracked a smile, let his guard down, and said he was working on some stuff from Buddy Rich, and it was “totally kicking his butt”. Even masters who are proficient at their craft are always trying to improve and learn something new. To apply that to golf, I think everyone needs a teacher if they want to get better. For someone who is content to play the game and enjoy doing it, that’s fine. For most of us, time is not in great supply, but trying to do the 5 Minutes Daily Practice Challenge has opened my eyes. I realized that I was like one of my students who wasn’t putting in the practice time needed to get better. I also learned that 5 minutes a day is not a lot of time. I hear a lot of people asking on TST how to find a good teacher, but I would say that first you need to commit to being a good student. Commit to a regular practice regimen, and then go find a good instructor. Anyone who is trying to improve should be posting in 5 Minutes Daily Practice threads regularly
  8. 8 points
    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. Sources: https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/people-have-been-trying-underplay-why-coronavirus-different-flu-n1156801 https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/10/28/does-the-flu-provide-better-immunity-than-a-flu-shot/ https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
  9. 8 points
    I want to take a moment to talk about my uncle Don. He is the guy who gave me my first swing lesson at a very young age. We were having a family cookout, and I had grabbed one of my days irons and was swinging it in the yard. He came over and showed me some things. I don't think my mother was too happy with him when I started making divots in her well manicured turf. This led to taking a few of my dad's "smiled" golf balls to the park up the street and hitting them back and forth every day. I would occasionally get invited to tag along with my dad, grandpa, and uncle at the nearby goat track. I killed a lot of worms at that place, but the occasional great shot (relatively speaking) wet my appetite for the game like nothing else. I wanted more and more. Uncle Don passed away yesterday. He was one of the calmest, coolest people I have ever know. I have never seen him get upset over anything. When he would hit a bad shot, which wasn't too often, he would simply say, "Hmmmm." and play his next shot. What I wouldn't give for another round at that goat track (now closed permanently) with those guys. I imagine he has already played a round or two with my grandpa on the great golf course in the sky.
  10. 8 points
    Dr. Sasho Mackenzie had a quote in the March issue of Golf magazine that I liked. Listen, there'll always be science-deniers and the belief that none of what I or other researchers do is necessary. They're going to be eroded away. There'll be fewer and fewer of these people once the community realizes that science and technology are simply about learning and understanding better ways to swing a golf club. I no longer feel bad for the instructors who fight it, because the information's out there. If they've got a theory that's different from mine, fine. I'm open-minded. I'll listen. Maybe I've made a mistake, but if they don't have an argument other than, "I believe in my method," then okay. I can't do anything else. We can't have a logical debate. I just feel bad for the golfers they're teaching. Emphasis mine. Unfortunately, another quote applies: You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.
  11. 8 points
    It is pretty incredible for me to realize that this Sunday, April 9th, will mark two years to the day since I was injured while playing golf down in Florida. I have not been able to play a round of golf since. It may seem to some that this is a pretty terrible thing for someone who loves the game of golf. As I have mentioned in the earlier blogs, it was pretty tough at first. I got through that season. The past two years have changed me in so many good ways and I am very thankful for what has happened and what I have been forced to learn through it. I am very pleased as I would image the readers of this blog are as well, to switch things from mostly talking about the past as it is time to start to discussing the future and what is happening right now. I will be back down in Florida next week in the same area where this all happened. No, I am not going to try and play my first round of golf at the course where this all happened two years ago. That seems like a bad idea to me. I grew up playing a lot of baseball, so I may have a few superstitions. I will just be taking a much needed break and get some rest from my crazy work schedule. When I get back however, I will begin taking my first swings at the range which will be the topic of the next blog, in about two weeks. I have been doing a lot of strengthening and stretching this spring, trying to get the wrist into shape. Does it feel the way it was before the accident? I am not sure it ever will. I do think I am as ready as I will ever be to try this again though. The wrist still feels strange some days. There is a dull irritating pain from either the scar tissue, or the surgery or nerve damage many days, but I think I will be able to play through it as long as the tendon holds in its place. I know I have been overly cautious along the way but I really don’t desire to have that surgery ever again. I needed to give it as much time to recover as I could allow. All that is left is each moment I spend in the present which will decide the future outcome of my love for playing golf. It is nearly time to get back out there and I would lie if I said I did not feel some sense of anxiousness about it. This time though, I have the strength and the perspective to handle whatever the outcome will be. For many of us golf is or has been more than just a game. I would truly miss playing and experiencing all the beautiful sights and sounds if this does not go well. I would miss the challenge of trying to better my play of it. I would miss the back and forth between good friends and competitors. When you are forced to do without however, you find these things are ultimately replaceable in some capacity, you find there are many incredible things to experience. So don’t be disappointed or feel bad if this does not go well. Golf may bring great enjoyment to us, but it should ultimately be nothing when it comes to happiness. I get that from things that truly matter. It is time to stop rambling though, and it is time to get to work. See you when I start swinging.
  12. 8 points
    There is a course here locally in Northwest Arkansas called The Blessings. I dearly want to be "blessed". Super exclusive club that only has 100 or so members, but is where the University of Arkansas golf teams practice. I saw on the ASGA website that the 2016 US Mid Am qualifying is being held at The Blessings. I instantly thought, "I'm in! I can finally play that awesome but super, super hard golf course" 7500 from the tips 77.7/148 rating/slope. Unfortunately I am an 8 index, and in order to even be eligible to qualify for the US Mid Am you have to have a max handicap of 3.7. I've been between a 7-9 index that last 2 years and quite frankly, have been complacent. I'm better than most guys I play against, but I want to play in more serious state and regional tournaments. Win my club championship. Excel at the game I love. I signed back up for Evolvr (awesome) and have been working on getting better at practicing. If I practice correctly, I will eventually play better. I have a pretty good attitude when it comes to the ups and downs of golf. Triple? Oh well. Move on. Need to make 2 birdies so its only really a bogey. I've been with Evolvr about 4-6 weeks now and at first I was confused. My mind and body were not connected because my practice sucked. I thought I could make a swing change by simply doing a few drills and then getting right back to full swings. Shoot....how hard can it be to change a swing that has been engraved for 7 years and thousands of swings? Hard. Very damn hard. I became very frustrated. I was spending 5-6 days a week with a club in my hands and making minimal progress. Then @iacas reminded me of the 5 S of practice. I wasn't doing the Slow part... This last week I put in time, worked hard. Even went to the range for 30 minutes only to hit 10-15 balls. It showed. Since the 5/1 revision my handicap shot up from a 7.3 to an 8.6. Then Wednesday I shot an 81 from the blended tees. (6.7 differential) Lower than my current handicap, so if I kept this pace up I would eventually have a lower index. Then Saturday I shot a 78 from the men's tees. Came out 41 on the front and a 2 over 37 on the back with a bogey bogey finish. Things are clicking. 5.9 differential. Handicap was estimated to come back down to an 8. Today, from the blended tees I shot 77 with a 40 on the front and another 2 over back 9. 3.4 differential. Index is projected to be a 7.5 if I dont play again before the 15th. Things are going in the right direction. I dont care if I come out in the US Mid Am qualifier and shoot 90. The course, after all, is going to be extremely hard. My goal for 2016 is to be good enough to just get there. Play that awesome golf course by earning it, and compete. Lets see how this goes.
  13. 7 points
    Every golfer has the thought at some point.. "If only I could consistently shoot in the 70s, then I would enjoy golf more." We get lost in our heads, dreaming of a fantasy where golf was one day an easy game. What if we didn't have to worry about water hazards, sand, or OB? What if 3-footers didn't bring us anxiety? What if we could enjoy that pure strike that we long for on every single shot? I'd argue that the better a golfer gets, the more enjoyable the game is. But.. not in the way that most golfers imagine. In this post, I will be examining our love affair with golf, how we can enjoy the failures that the game inevitably brings us, and why golf will never get easier (but can become more enjoyable). Why Do We Love Golf? What is fun about slicing a golf ball into the window of a house, or duffing a chip into the bunker? If you're a bit more experienced, what is fun about making a triple bogey on the last hole to shoot 82? Even at the highest levels, what is fun about missing a 5 footer to make the cut in a big tournament? Golf is a game of heartbreak. For every great shot, there are five bad shots. You will fail by most standards 99% of the time. You might spend hours on the driving range, and perform worse the next day. If you hit one shot in the wrong place, your entire round could turn for the worse. So why?? Someone explain to me why we love this game so much?? From another perspective, it does feel amazing to hit a pitch shot off tight turf, watch it bounce short of the hole, spin, and stop an inch from the cup. It also feels rather pleasing to hit a low stinger down the middle of the fairway on a tight par 4. Heck, it even feels great to make that dead straight 3-footer on the last hole to shoot 72! In reality, our love affair with golf comes from something completely out of our control. In pyschology, this external force is called "operant conditioning." More specifically, as we practice golf, our behavior is being reinforced on a "variable-ratio" schedule of reinforcement. In psychological terms, this means that our behavior (hitting another golf ball) is reinforced after an unpredictable amount of responses (you never know when that "pure" strike is going to come). This reinforcement schedule is often noted as producing a high and steady rate of response (why you can't get yourself to stop hitting golf balls). What you might not realize is that this type of operant conditioning is seen in one of the most addictive activities known to man... Gambling. Just like we pull the lever on the slot machine over and over, waiting for the symbols to line up, we also stand on the driving range, hitting ball after ball, waiting for that "pure strike" to happen. In other words, we are literally addicted to golf. Fortunately, golf is quite a productive and healthy behavior! But like all addictions, it can take control of us sometimes, and we find ourselves wishing it was the other way around. How can we improve our games to the point where golf doesn't take control of us? Wouldn't we enjoy it more if bad rounds and bad shots didn't bother us so much? How to Love this Brutal Game If you have read any number of golf books, business books, goal setting books, etc., then you understand what "the process" is. I know how redundant it may sound, but "the process" is the key to enjoying this game AND being successful at it. In our society, external outcomes are praised. We chase after these desires like mad men, and then when we finally achieve them, there is only a brief moment of satisfaction. Golf is no different. Each and every one of us are striving for a better game, and often have a specific level that we would like to reach. It might be breaking 90 for the first time, breaking 80 for the first time, or even winning a competitive tournament for the first time. Unfortunately, in the midst of these desires, we find ourselves judging every single shot we hit, every single score we post, what others think of us, and even becoming self critical during practice. In the end, where the ball lands, what score we shoot, and what our handicap becomes are not in our direct control. They are external to us. They aren't part of the process, and therefore will not produce lasting satisfaction if we choose to focus on them. The process is something more elusive, complex, and demanding. So What is "The Process?" In order to truly love golf and improve your game, you must dedicate yourself to a mindset that is common among elite performers. And that mindset is one that doesn't fear failure. It is a mindset that enjoys the process more than the results. Finally, it is a mindset that falls in love with endless improvement Notice that I did not mention anything about shooting good rounds of golf, winning tournaments, or beating your buddies on the weekend. All of these things are out of your control, and will be products of an effective process. Instead, you must focus on what you CAN control, and then TRUST that your preparation will produce the results that you so desire. By adopting this care-free (not care-less) attitude, those bad shots, bad rounds, and negative thoughts won't seem so damaging. Remember, the number on the scorecard is your compass. It tells you where you are pointing at the moment, but certainly does not require you to keep moving in that direction. If you shoot a high score, that simply means you have some thinking, learning, and practice to do. Nothing else. Making up an irrational story in your mind about your lack of skill as a golfer is a waste of time and mental energy. When you notice that you have started to think in a destructive way, simply bring yourself back into the moment, take a deep breath, and move on. Remember, golf is just a game. If you can understand this concept, you WILL enjoy golf more, and you WILL improve. Does Golf Ever Get Easier? You might look at the pros on T.V., and think to yourself: "If I could hit it like that, golf would be easy." What you don't realize is that each of these professionals is grinding over every shot, whether you see it in their eyes or not. Sure, they are more confident off the tee than 99.9% of the world's golfers, but that doesn't mean that golf is "easy" for them. Just like your home course provides you with challenges, the USGA/R&A provides these tour pros with challenges such as long rough, lightning fast greens, and humiliating pin placements. Rather than wishing golf to be easier, why not learn how to enjoy the challenge more? As a golfer who has shot 64 all the way to 104, I have a general understanding of what each stage of the game feels like. From my experience, if you focus on the process, and fall in love with continuous improvement, golf does become more enjoyable. Think about it in terms of money. In the book "Happy Money" by Michael Norton and Elizabeth Dunn, the authors report that once the average household reaches a minimum threshold of income ($75,000 in the U.S.), they experience a greater satisfaction with life. As the household increases over this threshold, happiness no longer correlates with rising income. For most people, golf is the same. Once you reach a certain skill level (usually when you can break 90 consistently), golf does become more enjoyable. At this point, you are able to get off the tee, keep the ball in play, and make a few putts here and there. Unfortunately, everything past this level becomes pure desire, and will inevitably bring a golfer frustration more often than not. So what are you to do after passing this satisfactory level of skill? Are you doomed for the rest of your golf career? Certainly not! You are just going to have to focus less on results, and more on the things you can control. Golf is enjoyable as long as you constantly seek ways to refine your process. Bad scores don't matter given you focus on improving your method of preparation and mindset rather than your score. Sure, there will be brief times where you might feel the game slipping. At these times, ask yourself what things you can control. Focus on the process. Be ambitious, yet detached from the results. Do something every day to improve. If you do these things, golf will remain the most difficult game known to man, but you will enjoy it. What do you think? Why do YOU love golf?
  14. 7 points
    I like this game. Essentially: You start with six balls. You start from three feet. You putt from three feet until you make a putt. If you make the putt, you take that ball and all remaining balls back three feet. If you miss, that ball or "life" is lost. Your "score" is the farthest distance at which you make a putt. So for example: Make from 3'. Six balls remain. Make from 6'. Six balls remain. Miss, miss, make from 9'. Four balls remain. Two lives lost. Miss, make from 12'. Three balls remain, one life lost. Miss, miss, miss from 15'. Your score is 12'.
  15. 7 points
    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.
  16. 7 points
    I once heard a story of a kid in Florida who practiced his backswing (at the range, with a ball at his feet) for nearly three hours. Let me say that again with a little added emphasis: he practiced his backswing for nearly three hours. He didn't hit a single ball. Didn't even make a downswing. He recorded, used a mirror, checked his video, and made backswings for nearly 180 consecutive minutes. That's madness. The backswing is an important part of the golf swing. A lot of golfers get off track with the backswing, and then must undergo a series of compensations from there until well after impact to hit the ball anything like they want. So, often, practicing the backswing is important. It's often a student's priority. For example, this student: He would roll the clubhead under the plane during the backswing, push it across or over the top of the plane later, and then just swing left from there. The balls were actually landing at the left corner of what's visible in this photo, some 60 yards left of where it appeared he was aiming. Anyway, that golfer now looks like this in practice: He, like almost everyone I have practicing backswing things, does what I call the Three-Step Backswing Practice Routine. Okay, I don't call it that; I just made that term up now. Make a S-L-O-W rehearsal backswing where you look in a mirror, turn your neck to look at your hands, or whatever you need to do to do it properly (which is often exaggerated). The intent here is to make the swing the way you want to, and see how it feels, and check it right then by looking at whatever body part(s) you need to. Reset in your address position. Make a S-L-O-W rehearsal backswing looking at the golf ball. Ask yourself mentally if the backswing was "good." Reset in your address position. If the answer was no, go back to step 1 or repeat step 2. If it was "yes," move on to step 3. Make a S-L-O-W rehearsal backswing looking at the golf ball. Ask yourself mentally if the backswing was "good," and then if the answer is "yes," reward yourself by hitting the golf ball. I don't even care much at what speed you hit the golf ball (it depends on your ability to hit it somewhat cleanly so you don't get frustrated). You see, I found that I could get students to make awesome improvements to their backswing when I said "okay, rehearse, make a good backswing." They'd do it, and it would be perfect. But then if my instruction was to "make that backswing and hit the ball," they'd lose 80%+ of what was good, because their focus shifted dramatically toward "hit the ball." By breaking it down and making them think "rehearsal backswing, reward if good," it prevents that shift to the golf ball from ever really occurring. Forcing the golfer to ask themselves "was that good?" before being allowed to make a downswing allows them to focus on making the backswing properly without worrying about the golf ball. And then, most of the time, the student makes a much better downswing because the compensations are minimized or gone. In this case, for example, we didn't spend one second talking about the downswing, and yet… So remember, three steps to improving your backswing without boring yourself out of your ever-loving mind: Make a rehearsal backswing while looking at it and making sure it's good. Make a rehearsal backswing while looking at the ball. Make a rehearsal backswing and, if you can say "yes" when you ask yourself if it was as good as it was in #1 and #2, hit the ball as a reward.
  17. 7 points
    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.
  18. 6 points
    Today is a momentous occasion my friends. 25 years ago, my wife and I got married. She mostly puts up with my insistence to play this silly game called golf. I guess that makes her a keeper. She only accompanied me once to the golf course and rode along watching me play. This was about 21 years ago when she was pregnant with my son and overdue. I convinced her that riding in the golf art might help to induce the delivery of the baby. I really wanted an excuse to play golf, and that was the best idea that I could come up with. I was wrong and quickly came to regret it. Several holes in she told me that I stunk. I have improved quite a bit since then, but it often takes a little honest reality to kick you in the arse and motivate you to get better. I'm not sure if that was her attempt at getting me to give up the game, or if she was trying to make sure that I never invited her out to the course again. All I can say is that the last 25 years have been anything but dull.
  19. 6 points
    I received a call from a business acquaintance last December. Over the years we had played golf together numerous times even with his living in Iowa and me in Michigan. Despite our age difference (I the elder by close to 30 years) and golf ability gap (his index around 1.0 and mine hovering near 10.0), our shared passion for golf made our friendship natural. He wanted to know if I was interested in joining him and his father on a golf trip to Reunion Resort near Orlando, FL. They had a group of seven Iowans and I would make it eight. We would stay at his father’s home on the Nicklaus course at Reunion. The group would prepare all meals in the home, and the cost would be 1/8 of the home’s cleaning fee and food purchases plus golf. “Yes!” I was in. A round trip Detroit/Orlando flight was purchased with accumulated “miles” and I waited for the big day to arrive. In early February I began to receive more information. Bring $200 as the gambling buy-in, fives and tens, please. Check! There was a hot tub so bring a bathing suit. Check! They had a car service that would bring me to the resort. Check! I figured the home would be a 4-bedroom house and each of us would share a room. Once I had the address to give to the car service I decided to “Google” the home’s location. Hmmm … I guess I had the wrong impression about where we would be staying. The house has 9 bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms. Everyone would have their own bedroom with private bathroom. Check!!! Then I received the last item of information. We would be paying 36 holes of golf each day for 6 days. 216 holes of golf! What did I get myself into? The last time I had played 36 holes in a day dated back to 2017. We played two Newport Cup matches a day for two days followed by a singles match. Back then I thought that was a lot of golf. Now, almost three years later, I was going to play three Newport Cup’s in the course of 6 days. Bottle of Advil. Check!!!! The big day arrived and travel to Reunion went smoothly. The group ranged in age from 29 to 73 and handicaps were 18 to 0. The competition was divided into two 3-day segments with foursomes in the morning (gross alternate shot) and net stroke play in the afternoon. Having played or practiced very little since November, I was extremely rusty and put up some horrendous scores the first three days. My partner saved me in the alternate stroke round robin matches but little else was going right. The sole positive was one’s handicap was set by the handicap we brought down (9-10 for me) combined with our first three days of scores. My poor play got me a nice fat “14” for the second 3-day competition. Fast forwarding to Saturday, the last day, found us on the Nicklaus course at Reunion. It is the toughest of the three courses and conditions were difficult with a 17-mph wind, gusting to 25. The course apparently likes to make their front and back hole locations very close to the edge, giving us at most 6 feet of leeway. My front nine was okay with no doubles and a handful of pars. Then a I seemed to pull things together down the stretch. I found myself on #18 green with a 15-foot putt for birdie, 4 points (quota game) and the win. Sigh. I missed it right by an inch or so finished 2nd. How did I survive the 218 holes? First and foremost, Advil. Two in the morning and two at noon. Next, the foursomes/alternate shot format in the morning did not require the same effort as 18 holes of stroke play. It served as a bit of a break. Finally, we actually did not play 218 holes. We were partially rained out on Wednesday and only played 11 holes in the afternoon. Also, some of the matches only went to the 17th hole and one ended on #15. I only played 205 holes in six days, not 218. I managed to win back $190 of my $200 contribution to the pot and made some nice friendships. If I get a call next December, what will I do? I will let you know once I complete my physical therapy.😉
  20. 6 points
    I was tempted to post "I doubt it," but I have this blog to use, so I'll use it for a quick discussion of this. I've taught a few thousand people to putt. I've never seen someone with their finger down the shaft who I would consider a "good" putter. More often - far, far more often - those with their finger down the shaft have distance control issues. The pressure they apply with that finger leads to added loft and wrist flipping, while many good putting strokes have de-lofted putters (4° turned down to 1°) and lead wrists that are slightly more in flexion than they were at setup. I understand what people think they're feeling - the pressure of the shaft/grip being applied to that finger - but again I've got SAM data and visual data (recorded) that leads me to these types of statements. I'm not super picky about putting grips. I putt with a pretty standard/classic reverse double overlap. My daughter is a single overlap kinda gal. I've taught claw grippers, crosshanders, etc. I could put the finger down the shaft (at least for awhile), and remain a good putter… but part of the reason I might be a good putter is that I don't put the finger down the shaft, and I've learned to control the putter swing by having a better wrist action than the one that the finger down the shaft encourages. Again, I've never seen a good putter who can actually control distance well with the finger down the shaft. Take it for what it's worth. P.S. If you try to putt without the finger down the shaft for awhile, don't judge the results immediately. Give it some time. And read this: P.P.S. Just because I've never seen it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It only means I've never seen it…
  21. 6 points
    It is always fascinating to me how all sports seemed to have developed a structure that tests the participants for a sufficient length of time to separate the wheat from the chaff. In football one has to play both halves. Remember the Super Bowl? The seventh inning stretch doesn’t end the game, the 8th and 9th innings must be played. Long ago when the game of golf was being formed, somehow the founders knew that 9 holes would not require the consistency a truly sound golfer must have to succeed. No, the test would have to 18. A recent tournament in which I played reminded me of what I might call “The Nine Hole Conundrum.” The “NHC” is that a double-digit handicap player can play almost like a scratch player, but only for nine holes. If 18 holes are played, the longer contest inevitably sees the player revert to the norm. In the tournament, Greg had a rough start Wednesday. Our shot gun start began on #16 and he was 5 over par when we made the turn to #1. At that point he became a changed man. He shot -3 for the front nine. Every shot was struck crisply, putts were holed and he even chipped in for a birdie. Then, when we moved to #10, he fell back to his original form. At the end of the day, he had shot 33-49-82. Most of us can probably recall how we once (or still?) were in search of “breaking 80” (or 90 or 100). We could perform admirably for 9 holes. It was totally frustrating to know we had the skills to reach our numerical goal but lacked the consistency to hold it together for a full round. I don’t have the answer. While I do have those consistent 18-hole rounds, there are many times where I fall prey to the “NHC” and turn a promising front side into a mess.
  22. 6 points
    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.
  23. 6 points
    I enjoy Rules discussions. One learns a few things and also experiences another’s perspective. I started playing competitive golf late in life (35 or so) but I made it a point to learn the Rules well before I ever entered a tournament. Frankly, I see no point in playing any game without a clear understanding of the Rules. Collecting double the rent on an unimproved Monopoly or “castling” in chess are details and one can play either game without knowing the rule. One is likely, however, to see more success if one is aware of all the “details”. Still, for all our efforts we all stub our toes on occasion. A discussion about Rules recently got me thinking about my top Rules snafus. I cleared a long cross hazard off the tee and got to my ball. It was just where I thought it would be, having barely cleared the hazard. Yep, “Titleist” was clearly visible. I laid up short of the next hazard because of a poor lie. Then I discovered that the “Titleist” I had hit was not my “Titleist”. That was the last time I have done that, so far. I and my other three competitors were finishing up a decidedly indifferent one day tournament. The organization that ran this particular event had a condition of competition that every foursome was to finish the round within 4 ½ hours or, if over that number, finish within 12 minutes of the prior group. As usual, every group suddenly stepped on the gas with about 3 holes left. For whatever reason, we just could not be bothered with sprinting between shots on the last holes. As we turned in our cards, the official said, “everyone in the group has been assessed a one stroke penalty.” He got ready for a tirade but we all shrugged and said, “okay.” He was momentarily stunned and then smiled. “I have never had 4 people accept a penalty so easily.” That was, however, the last time I was penalized for slow play. In the final round of our three day City Championship, I was surveying my severely downhill putt for par. As I addressed the ball, it rolled a ¼ turn. I had not touched it but back in the day, after taking one’s stance and grounding the club, any movement was on you. I announced the penalty and, fortunately, was aware enough to move the ball back to its original position prior to playing the next shot. I stopped grounding my club on the green for several decades. We were playing a tournament at my home course. I typically played the “White” tees but for this event, it was “Blue.” The driver of the cart I was sharing drove up and parked next to the “White” tees. I had honors. You can guess the rest. My pre-shot routine now includes checking the tee color. Of course, I have made both the ride and walk of shame back to the tee after losing my tee shot and neglecting to hit a provisional. Some might say I hit too many provisionals but honestly, I don’t plan to ever make that walk back again in a tournament. With the proposed changes to the Rules, I am getting ready to go back to “school.” There will undoubtedly be fresh opportunities for me to “step in it” a far as Rules breaches. Still, it won’t be because I did not continue to study and attempt to understand the Rules.
  24. 6 points
    The first TST-Michigan outing is in the books. We exceeded our target with a total of seven TST’ers meeting up in Okemos, MI. A few observations: It was interesting meeting the people behind the user names and avatars. My plan was to get to the course a bit early to put out a small “TST” sign to attract the members as we wandered in. Before setting out the sign, I passed a gentleman a couple times and I strongly suspected he was part of our outing. Why? No idea other than he seemed as interested as I in everyone wandering around. Yep! @JonMA1. We got lucky with the weather. While it was much chillier than we might have wanted, there was no rain. We have had a very rainy start to the year in the Soggy Mitten (aka Michigan) and attempting to select a day without rain is a real crap shoot. A few members had to drive close to 2 hours. For me, nothing is more depressing than making a long drive to the course in the rain. I often look at user names and make assumptions. One looks at @MSchott or @tlazzol and it is easy to assume that their first name starts with “M” and “T” respectively. And so it turned out that was the case. Then we get to @Wally Fairway. Okay, his last name was unlikely to be “Fairway” but I might have bet his first was “Walter” or “Wally.” Wrong! Joe? How the heck is WallyFairway named Joe? I am not sure how @Braivo connects to Mark, but maybe next time I can get in his group and find out. Amazingly, we all got there a bit early. Considering the traffic, construction projects and distance some had to travel, getting everyone there 30 minutes before tee time was a minor miracle. Every time I looked at @dennyjones, I felt like wagging my head side to side. I wonder why? I think we all left with the feeling that we could have played better. Still, we all hit some good shots and next time we will have great weather and our “A” game. I witnessed one of the best birdies in a long while. We had a fairly hefty par 3 (184 on the score card). It is cold. The wind is in our face. There is trouble between us and the hole. There is greenside bunkering. @tlazzol struck a pure hybrid/wood and hits the green. Then rolls in about a 35-footer for birdie. Outstanding! If/when we have a next time, we might consider setting up a “game.” No big stakes but maybe play one group’s best ball score against the other for a drink after the round. Also, we will try to recruit an even dozen players. Aim high!
  25. 6 points
    I watch my daughter, @NatalieB, play golf. Sometimes better than others, but this year, almost always in the 90s (and once, so far, in the 80s). She's playing from 5,000 to 5,300 yards, and she'll take 36-42 putts, and miss the green with chip shots, and hit the occasional shot that goes 20 feet when she's 140 yards out… And yet, she breaks 100 virtually every time. The other day she had two four-putts and a few three-putts, started with two triples and a quad in the first four holes… and shot 95. And yet, full grown men playing from 6200 yards who hit their driver farther proportionally than she does from 5200 yards sometimes struggle to break 100. My gut, instant reaction is often something like "my goodness, you have to play some pretty bad golf to not break 100!" But then I consider a few things. In no particular order… Generally speaking, @NatalieB advances her golf ball. It might be 120 yards at a time, but the truly bad 20-footers are few and far between. Generally speaking, because @NatalieB's good drives top out at under 200 yards, she doesn't hit them sideways too far. Generally speaking, @NatalieB aims away from all trouble, even if it puts her slightly in the rough. She just tries to hit the green from even 30 yards out, and eliminates nearly all risk with most shots. And that's it. That's pretty much how Natalie can break 100 without too much trouble. So why can't others? Why can't grown men, while a little girl can? And the reasons are simply the opposite of what's stated above. Guys struggling to break 100 generally don't advance their golf ball. They will flub more shots than Nat will in a round. When you're looking at shooting 90 to 95, five flubbed shots put you close to 100. They remove any margin of error. Guys struggling to break 100, when they hit their clubs, are not accurate. They might hit their ball 250 yards, which even if hit the same angle offline, travels much further offline! Guys struggling to break 100 don't take the conservative lines to every hole, every fairway, every shot. Long story short, and the real purpose of this post, which is borderline "too long to be a droplet," is this: if your goal is just to break 100, you could probably do that within a few weeks: focus on hitting your hybrids and irons somewhat solidly and putt and chip "okay." However, if your goal is to play good golf for the rest of your life, and to keep improving, just trying to break 100 is the wrong way to go. It'll set you back. You won't learn to hit your driver or longer clubs, you won't learn to take the right risks, and you won't learn to play the game the way you'll play the rest of your life.
  26. 5 points
    I am constantly critiquing myself. I give a lot of good lessons. Lessons about which I feel I did really well. Lessons I'd give myself an "A" for giving; not an A+, mind you, which almost never happens. But As and A-s. And I'm a pretty harsh grader. But today I gave a C+ lesson that I may have recovered and turned into a B+ lesson, if only by recognizing it early enough. The details are unimportant, but basically, I found myself talking about something that was probably priority #3 or #4 for the guy. It had to do with hand speed, when really his focus is on his turn and hip drive/slide. He asked a question, and rather than my usual vocal "That's not something we need to worry about now" (or some variant of that), I answered it. Then when I was done I recognized that I'd said too much, that it was unrelated, and I backtracked a bit by saying something like this: "Look, I just made a mistake, so I'm hoping you can overcome that by forgetting all of what I just said, because it's not related to what I'm trying to get you to do today." Then I spent extra time really simplifying even further and re-iterating the two things I wanted him to focus on quite a bit. More than I might usually do (and I repeat things a lot in a lesson). I think that being very critical of myself is important, and today I slipped into one of the things I'm most likely to slip into: giving away too much information. It's not about the "giving away" - it's about how if the student is only going to remember three things from a lesson, I don't want one of those three things to be the irrelevant stuff where I just talk about swing theory or something that's not super-specific and super-fitting for them right then. I'll probably follow up with the guy later on, too, to re-iterate the two thoughts I want him to focus on even more. 🙂 So, a bad lesson in my mind. The student was happy, but I was beating myself up in my head.
  27. 5 points
    People often confuse tempo and rhythm, or they'll use them interchangeably. I've almost surely done it many times to this point, but here is how I intend to try to use them starting now. Rhythm is the ratio and tempo is the speed. Rhythm Good putting strokes often have a ratio of 2:1. Again, it's the ratio of the putting stroke. You can have a 300ms backswing or a 600ms backswing, each with a 150 or a 300ms downswing, and that's 2:1. Both strokes have the same rhythm. Tempo The tempo is the speed of the putter head. Short putts and long putts should have close to the same time (which is why, for example, I like to have a 78 BPM putting stroke), but will have very different tempos. The shorter putt will have a slower tempo than the longer putt.
  28. 5 points
    Very good home-run hitting swing on the left. Better golf swing on the right.
  29. 5 points
    I can almost sense the collective cringes of those reading that title. We’ve seen newbies make this claim one week, only to post the next week how much they hate the game. I've certainly been guilty of it, though I’ve since learned my lesson. While most of the time we are talking about the one swing thought or swing adjustment that will carry us to single-digit greatness, other times it’s a can’t miss epiphany on the strategy that will have us navigating around the course like a pro. During yesterday’s round, I arrived at a par 5 that has a wide landing area for the driver. That's the easy part. A decent drive leaves about 270 to the green, but with a very narrow bottle neck about 100 yards from the green created by a fairway bunker and large tree on the left, and golf ball graveyard woods narrowing the gap from the right. My choices were to use a wood to carry the bottleneck, leaving a half swing wedge from where it opens back up, or mid-iron layup in front of the bunker leaving a good angle with a mid-iron to the green. I chose the latter option and it worked out perfectly… I mean I couldn’t have walked up and placed my next two shots any better. An easy uphill 6 iron that stopped short of the bunker leaving me the best angle to the downhill blind green, followed by a full 6 iron that felt good coming off the club and confirmed when I walked over the hill to see the ball resting in the middle of the green. I finished the hole thinking that was easy, I’ll just play it that way next time. Next time occurred an hour and a half later when I played the 9 hole course a second time. An identical second drive set me up for my can’t miss strategy. I addressed the ball with all the confidence in the world and promptly hit a push slice to the right leaving a poor angle to the green. Ok, no big deal. I’ve been hitting fades all day, I thought. I’ll just have to start the ball close to the tree line with a 4 iron and it should come back close to the green. What could go wrong? A minute later I was hitting my approach shot with a pitching wedge after that “can’t miss” 4 iron started 3 yards too far right, hit a tree, dropped straight down and rolled out onto the center of the bottle neck a whopping 80 yards closer to my target. It could have been worse. One of my favorite expressions is the Mike Tyson quote “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”. I think it’s profound in that we tend to put all our eggs in one basket with little regard to something going wrong, hoping so hard for the plan to work that we fail to have a contingency plan or even consider an alternate one. Fortunately, poor execution in golf doesn’t result in a right cross to the jaw from Mike Tyson, though we often react as if it’s just as debilitating. When I arrived home, a copy of “Arnie” by Tom Callahan was waiting for me on our table - a gift from my wife. I started reading it this morning and was struck by a quote. “From the Masters on” Arnold said, “I had a philosophy of golf: when you miss a conservative shot, you’re in as much trouble as when you miss a bold one.” Strategy, risk and reward, and execution are things we all love about this game. In my world, almost nothing really bad happens when I employ poor strategy or fail to execute. But somehow, it’s still important that it doesn’t happen. Yesterday, I was pleased that the bad results didn’t bother me. I’ve finally got it! Stay tuned for my next blog entry that asks the question "Should I quit golf?"
  30. 5 points
    I made it back from our Florida trip on Tuesday night. It was great to get away from my crazy work schedule for a bit, and experience a little sun after the winter here in Wisconsin. We were able to go the beach and do a little fishing as well. My son and I both connected with Snook(bass like but longer fish) which is a lot of fun. Any time you can catch a Snook from the beach with an artificial lure, it is a very rewarding experience. On my lunch break this Wednesday I decided to head over to the range. It was time to give this golf thingamajig another go. I was confident that all the waiting and physical therapy post-surgery had brought me to the point that it was finally time to see how my wrist would hold up to some swings. I purchased the smallest size bucket of balls they had which holds about 30 balls. I did not want to try and hit too many balls at first as I would not be making full swings anyway. I took out a 7 iron and started hitting some little chip and pitch shots, it was going well, so I started adding a little more speed with each swing. This is not really news for those who have seen my swing thread this week, but I was able to work up to about 125 yard shots with the 7 iron. It was actually a little more aggressive than I thought I was going to be on my first time out. The wrist was feeling great though and I was elated that it was going so well! It was hard not to get a bit carried away after over two years of not playing. I even felt the wrist to be strong enough to hit a few light shots with my 7 wood as well. Today I went back to the range and was able to work up to about 150 yards with the seven iron. It was about 85-90% of a full swing for me. I also hit a few balls with the 7 wood again as well. I was again very happy with these results. The wrist feels a bit sore, but I think that is mainly because after the surgery it had not been used for many of the motions that are needed in the golf swing. Overall it feels sturdy enough though. Time will tell if the wrist continues to handle repeated swings, especially with the longer clubs. So far it feels great and I feel like the surgery was likely a success. It is difficult to describe how it feels to be able to hit golf balls again after so long of not being able to do so. Simple things like the sound of the ball contacting the face of the club head and the feel of a well struck golf shot are things I missed greatly. I miss the sights, sounds and smells of walking the course as well. I can’t wait to get back out there an experience those. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, my perspective is different now, and should there be any setbacks along the way I will be able to deal with it. However, being able to hit golf balls a couple times this week has felt like an incredible blessing and is so rewarding to do after all this time. One BIG step forward and I am looking forward to completing my return to golf.
  31. 5 points
    Not sure which aircraft carrier this was, but imagine hitting balls in the wee hours of the morning and then this passes in front of you? Those white spots are seamen standing at attention, all surrounding the ship. Such a big object makes not a peep of sound.
  32. 5 points
    I have always enjoyed golf, but in 2010 at the age of 30 I discovered a passion for it. I moved to the Milwaukee area that year from Minneapolis and golf became much more affordable to me at the same time. I started playing a little more and at the end of the year I set out to see how much I could improve my play during my 30s. I started the journey in 2011 at around a 15 handicap. It may have been a bit late in life to try something like this, but it was a way to challenge myself and also enjoy the outdoors. I started playing early morning 9 hole rounds before work 3-4 times a week and I would go to the range a few times per week on my lunch break. I faced my share of challenges along the way. I would say I have a pretty natural ability to make changes and improve my swing, but I often struggled with that intangible ability to just make consistent shots off the tee. I did make some nice improvements early and entered the single digits pretty quickly. Not long after however, I endured a major bout with the shanks. I had them on and off for over a year. In the fall of 2011 I found the TST community and became a member in the search for a better swing. Ultimately signing up for some online lessons with evolvr.com proved to be the game changing help I needed at that time. I continued to improve over the next few years. In 2014 as 3.8 handicap, I somehow started battling the hooks. There were even a few weeks when I exclusively used a 4 hybrid off the tee, and did not carry a driver or fairway wood in the bag. I continued to work on the driver and woods at the range during this time. Ultimately a trip to visit @iacas ended up helping me make the changes that were needed to fix the problem more permanently. I ended 2014 with a 3.6 index and felt ready for 2015. Fast forward to April 9th 2015. I was playing a round of golf with my Dad in Florida. I had a decent front nine going considering I was coming off a long winter break. I was on the 9th hole which was a par 5 and I hit a nice drive down the left side. I was looking at about a 200 yard shot to get the front edge of the green for a good chance at making par or better. I had to clear some water at about 185 yards in left front portion of the green but it was not really an issue. I took out a long iron to try and place a shot to the open area just to the right and in front of the green. I addressed the ball and quickly felt comfortable with the shot. I had no idea what that swing was going to cost me. I began my swing and on the downswing near the point of contact, I both felt and heard a loud pop. The club went flying in the follow through and I immediately hunched over grabbing my left arm near the wrist. The pain was excruciating.
  33. 4 points
    I suspect I am like many other golfers after a round. We look at the scorecard and begin to analyze our round with a pair of rose-tinted glasses. “If I would have just …” If I could have …” I should have …” It is fun imagining how making better club selections, being more conservative/aggressive and taking a bit more time over that putt would-could-should have resulted in a score several shots better. Perhaps this exercise is why we often over value the “mental game” versus the physical aspects of golf. We assign many bad results to faulty thinking. The truth of the matter is, at least for me, that the thinking and planning is often fine; it is usually the execution that is sorely lacking. A good example was from my round last Saturday. Despite a bad break earlier in the round that resulted in a double, I stood on the 15th tee at level par. I was playing extremely well when one considers that I am an 8-10 handicapper. The 15th has OB all down the left side and the fairway slopes considerably to the left. I told myself to keep it right since the right rough is not a bad place to hit from and then promptly duck hooked my tee shot OB. Naturally, my 3rd shot was long, straight and ended up in the center of the fairway. My plan was fine, I just didn’t execute. Of course, my “analysis” after the round indicated that I should have hit my tee shot on #15 like my second effort, making a 4 instead of a 6. I also missed a handful of 5-10 footers for birdie that could have gone in. Finally, but for a bad bounce on a cart path that put me into the edge of a penalty area, I would not have lost a stroke or two on #6. After all the analytics, if I would have concentrated a bit more, I could have saved several strokes here and there, and I should have shot 69 instead of 74. In truth, I played about as well as I can Saturday. Yes, a few shots escaped me, but I did so many things right. Still, in my dreams I coulda shot 69!
  34. 4 points
    When a PGA Tour player shoots a really low round - 61, 63, 59… whatever… ask yourself: did the guy have to get up and down a lot or hole a lot of chips for birdie? Or did he hit a bunch of greens, leave himself short putts, and have a decent day with the putter? When a PGA Tour player needs to rely on his short game, he probably didn't have a great round. He may have salvaged a decent round, but he didn't have a great round. Great rounds - and good scoring over the long haul - are a result of the full swing. Hitting greens, and hitting it closer to the hole where you have stress-free pars, are key. The days when you make a bunch of putts or happen to stick it close? Those are your great rounds. The rest are just good rounds. I'm not sure anyone has ever chipped in six times to shoot a net 65, but they've stuck a bunch of shots close to do it a ton of times. Your short game is your crutch. It's there to keep a great round going, or it's there to bandage up a bad round and keep it being an "okay" round. Your full swing is the main determinant of your score. The days you hit it well are the days you have good rounds. If you have a little luck or hole a few putts, they become great rounds.
  35. 4 points
    We often hear, “that is a 1st World problem,” when we complain about many of the trivial irritants we encounter during the day. The following list clearly falls into that category. In my defense, there is not a lot of golf being played here in the Frozen Mitten right now and that likely explains my irritable mood. Also, I know at some point I have been guilty of a number of items on the list and likely a lot more! Still, sometimes it feels good to just vent. · Very long posts. Yes, I don’t have to read them if I think they are too long. At times, however, I start reading one without realizing that is it going to require scrolling & scrolling & scrolling. · Posters who ask a question but don’t answer the question themselves. For example, “Who is your favorite PGA player to watch?” Well, who is yours? It is one thing to ask a question when you have no idea how to proceed. When someone, however, asks a theoretical question or wants an opinion on a topic, the person posing the question should also provide an answer. · A question is posted such as: “What was your single best golf shot of 2016.” Inevitably a poster responds, “The three shots that come to mind …” and they proceed to describe in detail the three shots. Hey! The question was the single best shot, not your best three (or five or whatever). · Posters who, for whatever reason, choose not to reveal where they are located but post comments like, “around here the average cost of a round of golf is $25.” Thanks for the info but where exactly is “here”??? No one is asking for your address but if one listed a state or region in their profile then comments related to one’s location would make sense. · If you have Game Golf and state that 170 yards is the perfect distance for your 7 iron, at least make sure that your Game Golf stats back you up. So, aside from this blog post, what type of things irritate you a bit when participating in or reading golf forums?
  36. 4 points
    Well, I've hit 1,000 posts here. Woohoo! Took me long enough (almost 6yrs). So I thought I'd do the whole journey of golf thing like other posters have done, although I'll abbreviate it as much as I can so this doesn't get too long. Just fyi, I'm a terrible story teller. Ufta, it is a little long, but enjoy! Child, born in 1990, to 15yrs old I started before I knew what I was doing. My parents got me the blue plastic, double-sided iron and putter with wiffle balls that I could smack around the back yard. I apparently loved doing it. My dad and grandpa wouldn't teach me too much except on how to grip and stand. My swing was interesting. Apparently, I would bring the club up to the top, pause so I can adjust my feet, then swing back down and hit the ball. My grandpa was always amused that I could hit the ball doing that. He tried to get me to stop up through when I joined my first team in 7th grade. I'm not sure when I got my first set of clubs, but I do know that it was the typical starting set with a driver, 5,7,9 irons, PW, and putter. There was a 9 hole, par 3 course near my home in suburbs of Chicago, that I played most of the time. My next set of clubs was given when I joined that team in 7th grade. The clubs were actually an older ladies set of steel drivers and irons, but I hit them well enough (set was 1,3,5,& 7 woods, 4,5,6,7,8,9 irons, pw and putter). At this point, I was brought to my first 18 hole track, where I would eventually work for 4 years. Course is called Chick Evans, a Billy Casper managed course. But for the team, they only wanted us to play the smaller 9 hole courses. The point of the team was to prepare us for high school golf. So we played in competitions with coaches going with each group to go over rules and stuff. My only memory of this team was when I hit a shot on a par 3 to a couple inches. I was so happy that I ran up and tapped it in.... but with the flag stick still in. So I got a 2 stroke penalty. Lesson learned. During this time, my favorite club was my wedge. I don't know why, but I was soooo good with that club around the greens. I could chip, pitch, flop, sand trap, anything with that club and put it close every time. It seemed like I was chipping in at least once a round. Then came the SW. My dad decided to give me a SW for some reason and all that short game confidence went away. Also up to this point, I had never received a lesson. I was stubborn and didn't want anybody changing anything. With the team, was a PGA instructor who we all took a few lessons from and the only thing I took from this guy was changing my grip from 10-finger to an overlap. I ignored everything else he said. During these years, my whole family liked to golf. It was an interesting transition because my sister really liked to play (she's 3yrs older than me), but only if she knew she'd beat me. Eventually, we got competitive and then to me beating her almost every time. She hated that and at this point refused to play golf if I was playing too. So that ended her playing for a long time until she could accept I would always be a better golfer. My mom had the weirdest start to her swing. She doesn't know how it started, but in the beginning of her take away, she would fully cock her wrists then swing her arms back. My dad tried to fix it, but it didn't work. Took me until I was 22 and just starting to think about turning club pro for me to change it up a little bit. My dad though has always been a good golfer and has always supported my game. He grew up on Long Island and played Bethpage Black before it became popular. That was his home course. To this day, he could recite for you the entire course, as it was back then. That is really cool, but we haven't gone back to play it since the changes. We will eventually. One of my friends growing up had parents who worked at a golf course, so he had access to new equipment. My friend and I would hit balls at his house into their practice net pretty often. His dad and him had the new Cobra 440SZ (I think it was), but they both didn't like it and decided to give it to me. I went from a small steel head 1W to this big honking driver. I crushed that thing. The next year would be high school and I was already known a little bit to be a good golfer, possibly making the varsity team. High school The home course for my high school was a weird track that ran parallel to a Chicago branch river through the city of Evanston, called Peter Jans. It's called something else now. Tight fairways and holes, was a par 60ish. So most of the holes were par 3's ranging from 70yds to 210yds. The par 4's were between 250 and 300yds. When I say tight holes, I really mean tight. As in you have a 5yd window or less to hit your tee ball on some of the tees. It was severely tree lined so there weren't any issues with hitting a house. In any case, I played it a few times before tryouts. But after day 1, they moved me and another kid to the varsity tryout. They decided to keep us on JV anyway. That year I went from shooting around 100 on a normal 18 hole course to high 80's. I got better slowly after that, because I got popular from my tee shots. I was the big hitter. I went through a few drivers from cobra and eventually ended having their first version of the Xspeed 460cc driver. But I was already hitting up to 300yds when I was 15. Don'y get me wrong, my average drive was more like 265-270, but on the few times I successfully smacked it, it went a long way. I was hitting further than any of the seniors and i became obsessed with trying to hit further. Who cared about consistency when I could smack it 300yds. Towards the end of my freshman year, I joined the varsity to play in regional qualifying, but ended up shooting 100 or so. Sophomore year, I played mostly varsity but a few matches as JV. I don't remember too much about this year. Junior year I was fully on varsity and starting to shoot lower 80's, high 70's. But, by this point, my peers had caught up and that other kid from freshman year who tried out with varsity with me, got better than me by a few strokes. I still was trying to hit my ball 300+yds. I still couldn't focus on trying to swing consistently. Somewhere between sophomore and junior year, I upgraded my irons to cobra and got a titleist 3 wood and a cobra hybrid. Junior year was also when I got my nickname. Since 3rd grade, I've been singing in choirs, and in high school, I was standing next to another Phil. We called him P-dizzle and me P-killa. So, what did I do? I put that nickname on my golf ball, pkilla. I was playing in a tournament where a hole had in course OB (I HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE in course OB, I hate it so much, I find that OB every single time), so of course I sliced one right that went towards that OB line. So I hit a provisional ball out to the left and had my coach go look for the provisional. I ended up being a foot or so in bounds (seriously, i was). My coach and our #1 player, who had WD earlier in the day from bad play, came over with a big grin on their faces and I knew that they had seen what I put on my ball. So, I was now known as pkilla from then on. Senior year was a good year. I had dropped to #3 or 4 on the team and finally realized that I needed to get consistent. I was still the big hitter but I focused more on getting my scores down and coming up with proper course management. One particular tournament was at a course called White Deer Run. The first green had the pin stuck right on top of a mound that if you missed the putt, it came right back to your feet. I was going #6 this day and right before I teed off, one of those random thunderstorms came rolling through so we got everybody in for a couple hour delay. The coaches decided, due to light, to just make it a 9 hole tourney. I teed off on that first hole and it was wet enough that my birdie putt stopped right next to the hole on the mound, and I tapped in for par. I continued to play right around par for 7 holes, I had one bogey, and my coach came driving up to ask how I was playing. I didn't want to say 1 over because I knew it would jinx me. So I said I was doing ok. I think they took that to mean 3 or 4 over. As I was coming down the 9th hole, they were out watching and I parred the final par 5 to finish with a 37. Their faces were priceless when I told them. It gave us our first win in our schools history for a multiple team tournament. That year continued to get better and I was shooting right around par most of our 9 hole matches and around 75 in most 18 hole tournaments. So, during this time is also when you are looking at college. I knew, of course, that I wasn't good enough for Div 1 golf, but I thought if I went to a mid range D 2 school that I could play. I eventually went to WWU, from looking up golf, marine bio, and choir on a college search engine. I had myself, my coach, and all the above to try and get a hold of the college team coach. Never had a single answer until the day before walk on tryouts my freshman yr in college, although at this point the whole team was filled anyway so it was just there to appease the fans I guess. I had hard feelings then, but I got over it and played on my own. Anyway, back to senior yr high school, I ended up shooting a 74 at our smaller regional tournament and a 75 at the bigger regional tournament to move to sectionals. I had placed 5th, while our #1 guy shot 73 to finish 3rd. It was the first time in a long time that our school qualified for sectionals. But we were in for a hell of a day. Tight country club type course, but with howling winds. I played a high ball flight, so I was S.O.L. Both myself and our #1 guy shot 87's and the rest of our team shot worse. We didn't make it to state. One highlight that day came on #10 a short par 4 that if you carry 260yds over water, you can hit the green. My coach always says play conservatively, so I take out a 7iron or whatever. And he walks up and says, Phil, I want you to go for it. I was shocked, never in my life would I imagine him saying that. The wind was cross wind but helping a bit. Driver would go over the green, so I pulled 3W. With all the coaches and parents watching, I hit a pure push draw that landed on the green and rolled to 20ft away. Ended with birdie and it was sweet. But that was the only good shot that day. Oh well, time to go to college. One note from high school. But first, a bit of back ground on Chick Evans GC, it's a short course, par 71. But it has one of the hardest holes in the state, hole 3. Par 5, 500yds, you have to carry 180yds to clear water, BUT there's water left of FW and water right of FW, AND the fairway has that bow to it that any drive that hits the left or right side of the FW will bounce in the water 100% of the time. It just has to be a perfect drive. When the course is busy, I've seen as much as 4 groups on the tee, because they all hit 2nd drives instead of moving on to drop over the water. The hole continues with water down the whole right side and then it cuts through the FW in front of the green. This was my least favorite hole and then became my favorite hole. One summer (I think I was 16 or 17yrs old), I was playing with a 2-some, without my dad unfortunately, and I smoked a drive 330yds past the left water and to the wide part of the FW, but I found the ball to be lying low in a drain pipe grass area. I ended up skulling my 7-iron and it hit the front of the green, but rolled all the way to the back of the green where the pin was and dropped in for a double eagle!! I must've jumped 20ft in the air. haha! I couldn't believe it. Ended up around a 80 that day. College to today Well I already stated how tryouts was a bust. I will add that they required you to shoot even par on a newly aerated course (it was seriously the day before they had finished aerating). So it was impossible to play well. Anyway, I played on my own during the year and during the summers, I would go back to Chicago and work at Chick Evans as outside staff. So I was the guy that cleaned carts, gassed them, I was the marshal a bit, and I was the starter. The years during college I slowly got better and got to a 1 handicap or so. I continued hitting 300yd drives and at Chick Evans, there were only 2 par 4's left that I hadn't driven the green. Both of those holes were 370, and all the others were 340 or less, so I drove those. My lowest score was a 68 I think, so nothing special but it was a 60's score. When I marshaled the course, I would stop by and watch groups and offer tidbits of help if they'd like and I got reasonably good results and compliments from that. I didn't ever push it too far. But this was the beginning for me to look into being a golf professional one day. Also at Chick Evans, when I had just turned 21, I was on the #10 tee box playing with my dad. 170yds, into the breeze and uphill, but you can still see the green. I hit my 7iron and it one hopped into the hole for my first hole in one! Haha, my dad was more excited than me I think. Course I had to buy a few rounds after that round. That was the same 7-iron from my double eagle. I still have it stored away, but my plan will be to put it in a glass case. That's a special 7iron. My junior year, I started dating my wife, Kelly, and senior year was that time that I'm thinking about us but also graduate school. Univ of Washington had the program I wanted but is a super hard program to get into. Deals with diatoms inside hydrothermal vents and how it feeds the entire ecosystem around the vents as well as why diatoms show up at these vents. Cool, but because I golfed during summers instead of internships in the field as well as my GPA or whatever, I didn't get into UW. After graduating, I moved in with a buddy of mine for a year while he still attended WWU, and I started to work at Shuksan GC. I worked this time as pro shop staff. At this point, I'm figuring out what direction to take my life. This job was seasonal, so I had to find something for the winter. I ended up quitting and going to the casino to work as a customer service. I would eventually go to part time supervisor and part time slot attendant. But I worked night shift for the 2 years I was there. So start somewhere between 4:30pm and 8:30pm and work til as late as 6:30am (yes late, not early, it's still nighttime for me at 6:30am the next day, haha). But this gave me the opportunity to golf during the day. At this point, I had moved in with Kelly into a condo. She finished her MBA and then went to work for the state auditor's office and I worked nights and played golf during the day. During those 2 years, something clicked for me in my game and I went down to a +3 handicap at my home courses. But I still shot around 0 to +1 at newer courses. So, I decided to try a US Open qualifier. I used to love playing tournaments in high school. I loved the pressure, but that went away as I hadn't played in tournaments for 5yrs at that point. The qualifier was at one of my now favorite courses called Tumble Creek. I had a buddy of mine that I play golf with caddy for me. I played terribly and embarrassed myself by shooting 90. I made a thread on that experience and I was embarrassed to post that 90 for a year it seemed like. It shocked me and took me a while to get back to the course. But when I did play, I was back to shooting 69 or 70 at my home course and so I started to take lessons from a local pro who had worked with and caddied for Ben Crane in the past and is a good friend of his. He changed my weight shift and swing and I like the initial results. But those were the first real lessons I've ever taken before. My swing has always been just that, my swing. When lessons started, it wasn't mine anymore and I didn't know how to trust it. I stopped with lessons after 6 or 7 of them so I could find trust again. (It's honestly something I still haven't been able to quite do yet, but it's very close now). But in those lessons, my teacher was surprised at how fast I could pick up what he wanted me to do. I could do any swing he wanted, but the problem was that I couldn't duplicate it on my own. In any case, I continued to play obviously and started on the track to find an Assistant Golf Professional position somewhere close by. During that time, I got married, bought a house, and passed my PAT test, so that it would look good for my resume to say that I'm ready for the PGA program. When Kelly and I were moving into our house, I found an open Assistant position at one of the nearby courses. Funny, because the post was literally up the night before, and the morning after I walked my resume in and talked to the boss. I was offered the job a week later. I joined the PGA program in a few months and I'm still working on it, but more slowly than I first intended. Since joining the apprenticeship, I've been playing in a lot more tournaments and while my handicap is 0ish (I don't keep a real cap), my tournament cap from those events is a 3.4 (this is a cap kept & updated by my chapter of the PGA). I'm to the point again where I don't feel nerves on the first tee and I can just play my own game. But as I said earlier, I don't 100% trust my own game. I love my irons and wedges, it's my driver and 3-wood that I don't quite trust yet. I can keep them in the FW most of the time, it's more of ball flight. Sometimes it's a small cut, sometimes its a small draw. I could play one or the other if I knew which one would show up. Yes I can control one or the other to some degree when the shot calls for a draw because of a dogleg. It's on the straight holes that I have the problem, go figure. haha! So these days I'm just going as I go. My wife and i are thinking baby time within a year. So playing golf may get put on hold, but I love what i do and I plan to keep doing it for as long as I can. I'll keep at the US Open qualifiers for fun to see if I can make it one day, but I'm not actively looking to play on a mini tour or anything. I definitely need to have a plus figure tournament handicap first, which is my goal this next year.
  37. 4 points
    For the last couple of months, I’ve been trying to implement some changes a local teaching pro had been kind enough to share with me. The results weren’t bad at first, but as I started to work in more of his advice, my iron swing became harder to control. Still, I remained patient with the poor results — that’s how it works after all. I anticipated the bad rounds and, for a while, was able to control the frustration. The last two rounds pushed me over the edge. I tracked many of my 2016 rounds with GameGolf - both the good and bad. While 35% of GIRs is nothing to brag about, it does indicate a level of competence with irons befitting a high ‘capper. The last 36 holes I played yielded exactly 0. The round played on Sunday was surreal — and not in a good way. Even the first couple of years learning the game offered the occasional good shot. Fortunately, there were few golfers out on the rain-soaked course Sunday because I was no longer just swearing under my breath. (Even with the absence of witnesses, it was an embarrassing meltdown.) The aftermath of a poor round of golf normally brings about some sort of positive reflection. Not today friend I thought to myself. There was no optimism, no profound understanding that golf consists of good rounds and bad, and no plans moving forward. There was only the feeling that the train had jumped the tracks. I had taken a wrong exit with no idea of how to get back on the interstate. By the time I’d arrived home, the madness had subsided and was replaced by the realization that there are worse things in life than sucking at golf. 20 minutes later I was out in the field taking easy swings — immediately understanding how much work would be needed just to get back to the level of golf I’d enjoyed during the summer. The optimist in me wants to believe this may be a blessing in disguise. I am starting over from near scratch and would like to think some good habits can be developed. My daily practices consist mostly of easy, half swings working on a specific move while trying to maintain parts of the swing I feel are correct. The 5 Simple Keys are the real deal and I am trying harder than ever to ingrain them. But I’ve changed my opinion regarding the importance of results when trying to develop changes. I used to buy into how results during practice should be of little concern. I’d read where better players will accept shanks and tops while working on a specific move, and I tried to adopt that way of thinking into my own practices. There’s one important difference… they know that what they’re working on will eventually prove beneficial. I have absolutely no idea of what will work. I can only look at video and recognize that no good player in the world does what I’m doing. That’s not anywhere near the same as knowing what I should be doing. When I’m playing poorly, my result is anything from a weak fade to an all-out slice. I get the ball flight laws and believe I know what’s going on with the swing path and club face. What I fail to grasp is the reason(s). Might be keeping my weight back on the downswing, coming over the top, lacking a full shoulder turn, hands might be going outward from the top then in and across the ball at the last split second, any combination of these things or something I’ve never even considered. So trial and error and assessment by way of the results are all I really have. If I can achieve “better” results from a half swing where my keys — at least the first 3 - look somewhat correct, I’m going to assume I’m on the right track. If I can develop feels that will repeat the good results, I’ll gradually lengthen my backswing and speed up the club head through impact. Then, as the results begin to fail, I’ll hopefully be able dial everything back until the positive results return. My 2016 season is likely over. I’m still happy with the progress made through to the beginning of September, but after Sunday’s ass beating, things have definitely changed.
  38. 4 points
    A lot of people are questioning the rules of golf these days. Just like many are calling for a simpler tax code here in the US (myself included), people think the rules are too complex to understand. I’m guessing that it isn’t so much that they are too difficult to understand than it is hard follow when you have to penalize yourself. The world we live in seems to be migrating further towards a philosophy of “Do whatever you want”. People don’t think that laws apply to them. We are self-centered and spoiled and becoming more so as time goes on. For years, I fought the notion in a golf league that we should adopt a different set of rules to “simplify the game”. I asked what was so hard to understand about hitting a 3rd from the tee if your tee shot goes out of bounds. It’s a simple notion that is easy to understand. When their argument about rule difficulty failed, they would quickly revert to a rational of speeding up the game to prevent the walk back to the tee. I then explained the concept of a provisional ball if you hit your ball towards OB and aren’t sure if it stayed in. It only takes a few minutes if that to tee up another. More resistance came and then people started calling me “Rules Nazi” and said that I was taking the fun out of the game. Tagging @missitnoonan. The conclusion I finally came to was that they simply couldn’t face the reality that they were not as good as they believed they were and needed to take away some of the penalties involved in golf to shoot better scores. It stinks to have add 2 strokes to your score for one lousy shot. I’ve had to do this more often than I care to recall. I have had to take the “walk of shame” many of times when I couldn’t find my ball in the deep rough. After doing that a few times, you become familiar with the notion of a provisional ball. The funniest excuse I heard was that you shouldn’t be penalized for a lost ball because tour pros have marshals and galleries to find their ball and the common golfer does not. They didn’t like my response that they should go to Q-School and get their card if they need help finding their ball. The rules are complex and there are a lot of grey areas. This is why there are so many debates and discussions after the fact. When the playing field varies from course to course and the randomness of nature is involved, bizarre circumstances are going to arise. What do you do if your ball hits a power line that crosses the fairway and pulverizes or hits a flying bird and drops straight down? What if a dog runs across the fairway and picks up your ball that already came to rest and runs off with it? I have actually witnessed those things happen. I am thankful that there are people that have studied the rules in depth, but they are not available during the casual Sunday round. Lord knows we don’t want people flipping through the ROG app to figure it out in the middle of a round either. Playing by the rules is a learning process. You have to start with the basics and move forward, but first you have to commit to following the rules no matter what the outcome or how fair it may seem. After all this rambling on, what is my point? I suppose my point would be to man up, play by the rules, and stop whining about them. Don’t be like my older siblings who made up or changed rules of a game as they went along when they began to fear that they might lose to their younger brother. If you aren’t playing by the ROG as they are defined, you are not playing golf and need to come up with a different name for what you are doing. A coworker and friend who died of cancer said when I described the “rules” that were being proposed for golf league, “That’s not playing golf! That’s playing slap-and-tickle!” Rest in peace Mike. You always knew how to put things.
  39. 4 points
    I gave a lesson to a guy the other day who said he wanted to learn "how to play golf." He was being sarcastic, as he's played golf for 40 years or so, has made many nice changes and improvements to his golf swing, and is playing quite well for his age. Despite this, his texts from the day before were of the panicking type. I gave him a lesson. I wanted him to do two things. First, I wanted him to take his left shoulder down a bit more so his head didn't drift back and up during the backswing. Then, I wanted him to slide his hips forward an inch, two at most, further forward on the downswing. The former would clean up contact, the latter would bring the ball flight up. Three balls in I'm hearing about how "ecstatic" he is. Ten balls in and I'd heard the word six or seven times. We switched to the driver. The success continued. We added the hip piece. The success continued. Back in "the room" I drew some arrows and lines and measured some things in the video and made his before/after photos with notes. Then he said something which prompted me to look at his first lesson about sixteen months prior. What he saw didn't surprise me at all, but shocked him quite a bit. He saw essentially the same arrows. The same lines. The same measurements. The same notes. He'd been working so long on his "latest piece" (all summer, really), that he kind of forgot about his "first" priority piece. That thing that will always tend to creep up on you and nag you. That thing you always have to watch for. That's all. Long story short, if you're struggling, look back at your old images and notes and videos. Odds are, you may just need to remind yourself of something you thought you'd licked previously.
  40. 4 points
    It has been a while since I've looked at my Game Golf stats. Here is a run down. Strokes Gained versus Scratch (Future Goal) and versus 5-handicap (current) The major area of concern is my Short Game and Putting. I will say the downfall of Game Golf's strokes gained is that it doesn't take into account if you are behind a tree or in a difficult approach shot situation. I would suspect the "Off The Tee" stat is a tad higher, and the Approach is a tad lower. I had a situation the other evening where I hit a drive that put me on an uphill lie, about 25 yards behind a beat up pine tree, about 145 yards from the green. I proceeded to destroy a lower tree limb and my ball went only about 30 yards forward of the tree and to the right. I believe Game Golf puts that as strokes lost on the approach shot not the tee shot. The change might be a small number depending on how often you end up in a bad spot. Approach Shot Charts Game Golf's "Approach the Green" insight page shows percentage of shots that end up with in 15 yards of the pin. I kinda wish they allowed you to change that 15 yard number. Then I could get my average leave from the pin based on yardage from the pin. I took my stats from Game Golf and plugged them into excel. The 125-175 being above 60% pretty solid. The drop off from 125-150 to 100-125 is concerning. 70% of the time from 50-75 yards is probably not that good. I need to really work on my feel with my wedge shots at all distances. As shown below I do not miss that 15 yard circle on the short side often. As the yardages get closer to the pin the more often I miss the shot long. I find that I rarely miss a shot towards the left side of the green. I find that the longer the club the more rightward I will end up. Maybe the lie angles are off for me? Though i just had those checked a few months ago. I wonder if it's related to over-swinging as well. I do need to start adjusting my aim now on my irons. It could be I am expecting more draw based results when I am hitting more fades now as well. It might be time to look at my shot zones as well. Even with missing the ball more rightward then leftward I still get the ball with in 15 yards over 60% of the time from 125-175 yards. Shots with in 75 yards are compared at a 5 yard circle from the pin. From 25-50 yards I only get the ball with in 5 yards 33% of the time. From 0-25 yards I get the ball inside 5 yards 93% of the time. Clearly my short game is a struggle. Conclusion 1. I need to work on my distance control with the shorter irons and wedges. The miss right and miss left are not high compared to the miss long. 2. I need to adjust my shot zones for my mid and long irons. Driver Stats Here are my driving stats. 32% fairway is not a good number, but on most courses it's serviceable with how far I hit the ball. Rough has never been a big problem for me. I equally miss the ball left and right. Its' pretty much equal probability the ball will go left, fairway, or right. I really would like to take one side of the course out of play. I would really like to get near 50% FIR sometime. I would like to change from the 33% across the board to something like 10% Left, 50% Fairway, 40% right. With right not being off the course right. I hope this helped those who have Game Golf in a way they can look into trends of their own game. Hopefully others will look at Game Golf in the future as a tool that could hep their game.
  41. 4 points
    As someone who is used to walking an uncrowded course alone, the last couple of days were certainly a change of pace... Nicklaus, Palmer and Travino I had just walked through my 9 hole course this past Sunday morning and was making the turn back to the first green when a threesome in two carts went by. As I came up on the tee box, they suggested I should go ahead of them. I offered for them to join me and they accepted. As we introduced ourselves, there was something about the three of them that seem familiar. One of them was very outgoing and quick with a friendly insult. He had a resemblance to Lee Travino - both in looks and in personality. The second was a taller man, a bit more reserved but not without a quiet sense of humor. He of course would have to be Arnold. The third of the group who seemed to be my age or a bit younger, had the thoughtful demeanor of Jack Nicklaus. Of the four of us, he was the best golfer out there. After we finished the first hole, we folded up my push cart and got it to fit into Jack’s cart. I would of course pay the cart fee when I got back to the office, but it beat the hell out of me trying to keep up on foot. While Arnold was off on one side of the fairway of the second hole, Lee suggested I keep an eye on “that guy”. Apparently, Arnold was a bit loose with the rules of golf. Later in the round, Arnold told me “We’re just out here to have a good time. Only one of us takes this game very seriously” as he shot a glance over at Lee. Back in the cart, Jack told me the two had been friends and golfing partners for decades. It was easy to see that in the way the two would rag on one another. Lee was a stickler for playing by the rules. He hated gimme putts - he wouldn’t offer them and was even more adamant in not accepting them. His catch phrase was “just knock the hell out it!”. Didn’t matter if it was a par 5 drive or a 6 foot putt. Throughout the round, the three old friends continued to give each other a hard time at every opportunity. All the while, Jack was racking up the good scores. I was doing ok after a shaky start and ended up with an average round. After a nice iron shot off the tee, I heard one of them say "man, I wish I could hit my irons like that". The whole time I'm thinking "man, I wish I could keep my driver in play like these guys can". After the 9th hole, we all exchanged numbers with the promise of getting together whenever their normal 4th couldn’t make it. It turned out to be a very enjoyable round of golf. It gave me a glimpse of how much fun the game might be when played with good friends. The League of Extraordinary Gentleman Hackers The next day while at work, I got a call from the GM of my course asking if I’d be interested in subbing on one of the teams for the Monday Night league. I told him I would if he couldn’t find anyone else. When he called back two hours later and told me he’d struck out (I doubt he even made another call), I agreed to be there before 5. I’ve never played in any level of competition during my short time of golfing. I was nervous as hell for the rest of the afternoon. I showed up early, was explained the rules, the shotgun format, and what a skin was. Man, there was a lot to take in. When I see these terms posted here at TST, I have to google them just to keep up. I was now faced with actual participation. I passed on the skins, reaffirmed I wasn’t interested in joining the league (despite the GM’s best sales pitch), paid my cart fee, met the opposing team, and waited for my partner to get there. I was so nervous, I took the wrong cart to my car to load my clubs. This prompted the guy with what was supposed to be my cart to stop by and tell me “for future reference, the little number on the key ring is supposed to match the number on the cart". Great. This was going tits up in a hurry. To make matters worse, my playing partner hadn’t shown up and everyone was now out on the course. He finally arrived and we headed out to the 7th tee, trying to be as un-invasive as one can be driving a golf cart against the grain while 4 other teams are trying to play competitive golf. We finally get to the tee box - and the moment of truth. No warmups and more nervous than I’d been in a long time. I take a practice swing, try to relax and remember what’s been working so well for me, and… I stripe a 4 iron right down the middle of the fairway. Sadly, this would become the pinnacle of the match for me. I could do almost nothing right the rest of the evening. I few ok shots amongst a myriad of pushes, tops and slices, but a complete loss of confidence in my full swing. My swing path was off and I didn't know how to fix it. My playing partner was right there in the weeds with me. Our opponents were both pretty good. I would have had to play my best golf to keep up with them. For the most part, they were pretty cool with what felt to me like a train wreck. Then, on one of the par 4’s after my tee shot hit a tree and I was able to salvage a bogey, one of them called me out on my score. When both his partner and mine immediately confirmed the 5 was correct. he apologized profusely. I jokingly told him that with the way I’d been playing, I couldn’t blame him for questioning it. That broke the tension a bit and we ended up getting through the last few holes without anything else going horribly wrong. Overall, it was a hellish round of golf and everything I’d feared it would be. In his book “Five Lessons”, Ben Hogan refers to a sound swing being able to hold up against the pressure of competition. Mine had folded like a tent. As it turned out, my score wasn’t as bad as it felt but it still sucked. And the experience was so bad it was laughable. If anything positive came of this, it was the confirmation in my belief that a golf league just isn’t for me.
  42. 4 points
    It can be Hell getting old, but becoming a senior golfer has its benefits. Senior rates save one a bundle in greens fees. People expect us to tee off from the forward tees. In fact, it can be fairly easy to impress others who assume anyone over the age of 60 should be in a rest home. I became a minor celebrity one day down in Florida. As I was making the turn the starter asked if I was checking in. I told him I was making the turn. He nodded and said, “Oh, you are the guy who walks and carries.” If I were Native American, that might be a decent name; like “Dances With Wolves”, I could be “Guy Who Walks and Carries”. Unfortunately, being a senior golfer is not always a stroll in the park. On another golf website, a number of posters identified foursomes of "seniors" (whatever they think “senior” means) as being the typical group that would not allow faster players to play through. My response that they were stereotyping was lost on them. Kids, what do they know anyway. Still, I can understand why some might develop a stereotype about us (I am 63). Frankly, there are more of us "seniors" out on the course than just about any other demographic group in many places. The odds of occasionally running into a slow/rude/clueless/angry senior is a lot higher than most identifiable population segments one finds on a golf course. When someone talks about seniors being slow, I always flash back to a round I played at the quintessential “muni” in Sarasota, FL, “Bobby Jones Golf Club.” The courses are flat as a pancake, not too difficult and cheap. I had joined a threesome and we were following a foursome of walkers who appeared to average 90 years in age. They were a bit slow but the course was fairly full and no serious gaps were evident. As we walked off the 4th green, I saw one of their group creeping along a wetland near the 5th tee with ball retriever fully extended. When we arrived at the tee, someone in his group, which was walking down the fairway, shouted at the guy, “Morrie, put the damn ball retriever away and move it!!” While there certainly are seniors like “Morrie” playing golf, my experience is many seniors are pretty darn fast. When you may only have a few years left on Earth, you tend to want to move along. As to rude, at 63, I know I have become a touch more outspoken when I see someone insisting on being an idiot. For example, the caddie who always stood on the far side of the green away from the direction of the next hole. He was informed to get his butt over where his player would be exiting. Of course this bit of wisdom was delivered only after I walked the length of the 175 yard par 3 on which we were waiting. There is also the possibility that I have become a bit clueless as a senior. The single who drove up with his clubs rattling and music playing while I was teeing off on #18 seemed to think so. He asked if he could play in with us on #18 and I told him "No, unless you are a lot less noisy." He looked at me like, “what the heck is wrong with this clueless old guy?” I know the golfer who whistled a ball past my head on the finishing hole recently might say seniors are angry. As I walked to my car, he rolled up in his cart and offered up this explanation for why they did not yell “fore.” “Sorry dude, my buddy and me (sic) lost sight of my shot.” Let’s just say my response is unprintable and he left thinking senior golfers can be pretty angry “dudes”. Now that I think about it again, maybe those guys on the other website were right. Maybe I am just another slow/rude/clueless/angry senior golfer.
  43. 4 points
    We learned this week that the Fox Network has severed ties with Greg Norman, who served as the network's lead analyst for their broadcast of the 2015 US Open. This news prompted me to think about golf broadcasting and sports broadcasting in general. I think it is time for a change. But before we get to that, I think it's a good idea to look at how much better sports and golf broadcasting is today, compared to how it was just a few short decades ago. I grew up watching sports in the 1970s. Things were clearly different then. Some of the biggest differences between now and then are attributable to technology. There are more cameras now, so we see the action from many more vantage points than ever before, in all sports. The cameras are better...meaning we see clearer, sharper images, both in real time and in slow motion. Sound is much better. And of course the delivery system and the end-user view are radically changed; anyone who remembers adjusting an antenna or the "tuning" knob on and old TV knows that we are now spoiled with what are, in general, universally good, sharp, interference-free views of sporting events. The icing on the cake had to be large screen televisions, with sharp, colorful displays that we could only dream about when watching Jim McKay on "Wide World of Sports" or Keith Jackson do a college football game. Golf broadcasts today are a visual treat. In the 1970s and 80s, and even to a degree in the 1990s, there were far fewer cameras covering the action. We can see action on all 18 holes, and mobile cameras give us close up shots of the lie of the ball, the golfer's perspective, his or her reactions to the shot, etc. Even the camera angles are better: at one time, the target-facing cameraman seemed to always position himself somewhat off to the side of the player, so that every shot looked like it was going dead right. Graphics are better, particularly overhead shots and flyovers where stats about the hole are given, lines are drawn indicating carry distances, etc. And let's not forget shot tracer, a technology that seems universally loved and adds an exciting element to watching a shot in real time. Yet with all of these improvements, we still hear many, many complaints about golf broadcasting. Many of the complaints are sort of universal complaints that people might have about any live event coverage, i.e., too much advertising time, [insert announcer's name] has an irritating voice, or is stupid, etc. Here is a critique of CBS's coverage of the 2016 Honda Classic, replete with a laundry list of complaints big and small, many of them quite compelling. While it would be impossible to make everyone happy with respect to these sorts of complaints, I think there are ways in which golf coverage could be improved. I think the main problem with golf broadcasting on the major US networks is simply that they talk and analyze too much. It is just the natural culmination of years of "improvements," such as more cameras, more on-course reporters, more tower commentators, more sound, etc. There is a point beyond which any pleasant thing starts to lose its appeal, or even become unpleasant. Like that 20th cigarette your Mom made you smoke when she discovered the pack in your pocket, or the 4th piece of pie you ate on Thanksgiving Day. They simply talk too much. For any given shot, we might have non-stop talking, beginning with Johnny Miller or Jim Nantz in the 18th tower, to Koch's or Maltby's description of the lie, to a question by Miller about some aspect of the shot, to Maltby's answer, to the filling in of other information (club selection), to the conversation between player and caddie, continuing after the shot to an in-air description of the trajectory, followed by commentary and analysis of the result. This happens over and over and over, and to me, it's lost it's appeal. In fact, I'm sick of it. There are so many people, so many voices, that between the shot coverage, the comments on the players' personalities or outside lives, discussions of their swings, witticisms from the various court jesters (Feherty, McCord), the broadcast is a virtual verbal assault with almost no breathing room. They seem to enjoy hearing each other talk. European Tour broadcasts - perhaps because of a more limited budget - are much more Spartan. An entire shot might be taken without any commentary whatsoever, except for maybe "he'll have that for par to remain on 7 under." The experience is refreshing. To be clear, I'm not "venting" a dislike for any individual announcer (although I could...there are many who drive me crazy). I think that the overall broadcast formula has evolved into something which detracts from the viewing experience. Part of the fun of watching sports is the excitement, not knowing what will happen next. When I watch sports, I'm always wondering to myself, what is the player thinking, what is he trying to do, what might he be coping with in this situation? To do this in silence as you watch can make the experience richer, more dramatic. When someone other than the player is constantly talking about these things, it takes your focus off the player, and your own, unique reaction to the experience. Sometimes, less is more. It's true in so many areas of life. They need to understand this when they cover golf. It's ok not to talk. It's ok not to analyze a result. We don't need to hear why the shot went off poorly, or that you think it was the greatest shot you've ever seen. While all of these comments have their place and can have entertainment value, their extreme overuse has robbed them of almost any impact whatsoever. Take the experience of an important putt. Typically, there is the "what's he got Roger, left edge? Yeah Johnny, I'd say it's inside left if anything, not much there. Yeah Roger but he needs to hit this because it's into the grain...." followed by "this is on a really good line.....!!!" etc. For me, it would be far more dramatic to cut to the putt as the player is in the last few seconds of his preparation, and have the announcer say "from 22 feet, for birdie to take the lead." Then, simply watch and listen. A good camera angle can add much the drama. And the latter is important, too: Great quality sound, catching as much of the gallery reaction, as the putt approaches the hole, as possible. Some will say "then why don't you just mute your TV....I like the broadcasts the way they are." Fair enough...there is a workaround. But not really. Nobody wants silent broadcasts. Announcers and analysts are important. The issue is that I think the directors are placing too high a value on analysis, and are overusing it to the point of distraction. To me, the modern golf viewer experience has been spoiled in a fashion similar to how I believe smartphones have spoiled experiences like graduations, childrens' plays and recitals, etc. Being able to record something on a smartphone is a powerful, seductive thing, and few of us can resist it. Yet, when doing it, I find myself coming away feeling as if I missed actually experiencing and feeling the event, because I was distracted by my role as filmmaker. Similarly, when we watch golf, our attention to the shots and the drama of the tournament is diluted by the talking, the analysis, and the descriptions. Yes, we need some descriptions, and yes, the broadcasts would become very boring if all they did was describe results. But I think a significant amount of this chatter could be eliminated and it would improve the experience tremendously. I hope the TV networks will be willing to take a fresh look at their methods. It's not just a matter of finding the right person for the tower or a clever or funny on course commentator. It's about the golf, and the best way to deliver it to the viewer. I think they have some work to do and much room for improvement. What do you think?
  44. 4 points
    Michael picked at his food, moving it around with his fork and spoon. Jenna poked him with her chopstick, trying to get him to laugh. “It’s fine,” Michael said, finally. “You love Japanese,” Jenna said. “I did, yeah. It’s been too long, maybe. Doesn’t taste the same.” “You’ll get your taste for it again.” “I hope so, “ Michael said. Jenna picked up a piece of chicken, and ate it. She eats quickly, as quickly as she can, and the majority of her food is already long gone. She takes a bite of steak, a drink of sweet tea, a spoonful of fried rice; Michael’s spoon is still in his hand. * * * They walked to her car, his hand on her shoulder, steadying unsteady, broken legs. Michael stares straight ahead. He carries a to-go cup in his left hand. There is a beep, and the car door unlocks, and they climb into her sedan. It’s hot inside, and the seatbelt buckle burns Michael’s fingers. “Where do you want to go now?” Jenna said. “Is Millers’ Books still around?” Michael said. “Yeah, I think so.” She turns the key on, and backs out of the space. They pull out of the parking lot, and get on the road, and merge with traffic. It’s heavy, but it’s moving. “Do you still work over here?” Michael said. “Not anymore. I’m a teacher over at Henry High,” Jenna said. “Seriously?” “Yeah. I got my degree about ten years ago, been there since.” Michael leans his head against the window. “Jesus,” he said, almost to himself. Jenna doesn’t say anything; her hands shift on the steering wheel. “How’s it being at moms?” she said. “Weird. Kind of scary. I wish there was somewhere I else I could go.” “It’s on the market. We’ll split the money when it’s sold, and you can get your own place.” Michael plays with the air conditioning vent; shutting it, opening it, blocking it, cooling his palm in front of it. “She never wrote me. Or called. Or visited.” Michael said. “I know. She wanted to.” Jenna said. “Nobody did. Visited, I mean. Or call. Or write.” “It was tough.” Michael turned on his side, stared out the window. “I know.” * * * They were inside Millers’ Books, wandering the stacks. Michael had a book in his hand; something thin, from his childhood, but it dangled from his finger tips like he was desperate to get rid of it. “Are you going to get that?” Jenna said. “I have a copy at home.” Michael said. “Why are you carrying that one around?” “I like the way it feels.” There’s a table in the back; tucked away in the corner. It’s scratched, and beaten up, and the chairs around it look the same. For the first time, a smile spread on Michael’s face. He put the book down on the table and sat in the chairs. “I can’t believe it’s still here,” he said, almost to himself. Jenna sat across from him. “What is it?” Jenna said. “I sat at this table fifteen years ago. It was the last thing I did. I carved my initials into it.” Michael ran his thumb over an inscription: MJB – 3/2001. Jenna looks at it. “This was where you were?” Jenna said. “Mhm. I spent my last day here, before I had to turn myself in,” Michael said. “We looked all over for you. Thought you had ran.” “No. I was here. I didn’t go anywhere else. I had nowhere else to go.” The smile faded. He grabbed the book and put it over the inscription. He ran a hand through his hair. “I’m ready to go,” he said. * * * They were in the car again; on the road, back home. The radio was off, and it was silent. Michael had leaned back the seat, and his eyes were closed, but he wasn’t asleep. “You alright over there?” Jenna said. “Yeah,” Michael said. “I figured you’d fallen asleep by now.” “Can’t. Not yet.” “Why not?? “It’s not lights out yet,” Michael said. Jenna looked at him, and then back at the road. “What was it like?” she said, finally. Michael opened his eyes. “Uncomfortable,” he said. “That’s it?” “No.” Michael stared up at the ceiling. “You don’t talk about it,” she said. “There’s nothing to talk about,” he said. “There’s plenty to talk about.” “Nothing pretty.” “It doesn’t have to be pretty.” Michael didn’t say anything. He fiddled with the vent again. He grabbed the seat handle and pulled it up level. The car slowed; they were at a stoplight. “Are you ever going to talk to me? About any of it?” Jenna said. “Probably not,” Michael said. “I’m your sister.” “Hm.” Jenna looked at him. He was expressionless; he stared at the road. “I am,” she said. “A sister visits. A sister writes. A sister calls.” he said. “I didn't know what to say.” “Just like mom.” “That’s not fair,” Jenna said. Michael finally looked at her. “Did you know that dad still hasn’t called? Neither has Alex. My own father and brother want nothing to do with me. And I get it. I really do.” Michael turned on his side. He closed his eyes. “I wish that you would stop pretending to like me. We both know it’s not true,” he said. * * * Crickets chirped, and as the car passed, a dog barked. Jenna parked the car in Michael’s driveway. They sat in silence. Michael’s eyes were closed; he still hadn’t slept. “We’re here,” Jenna said, finally. Michael opened his eyes. He unbuckled his seatbelt. “Thanks for dinner,” Michael said. He got out of the car. He took the house keys from his pocket and didn’t look back. He heard the car pull away, and he didn’t look. He unlocked the front door, and walked in, and closed it. The house was cold, and dark, and his first step creaked. Michael stared into the dark.
  45. 4 points
    Dr. Don told me to warm up while he finished up some research. I watched him hit some shots then write some notes down into his notebook, mumbling to himself the entire time. When he walked over to begin the lesson he was visibly excited to share a break through he'd just come up with that would revolutionize the golf swing, "The Power Triangle". He said he was going to teach it to me because of my athleticism I'd be able to take advantage of it immediately. He went through a long winded explanation of golf physiology and new terms he'd coined to set the stage for this new swing he'd developed that would be the easiest and most effective swing method ever, after years and years of work, he claimed he had discovered Hogan's secret. I couldn't help be a bit excited for him as it was contagious, plus I was all for a easy to learn golf swing that no one else in the world was aware of. After another 15 minutes of setting the stage, he finally demonstrated the swing, it looked like his regular golf swing. He asked me what I saw, I said it looked like a normal golf swing, which is exactly the answer he wanted. He claimed no one discovered Hogans secret because it wasn't visible watching film, you can't see what his muscles were doing under his shirt. He went into the explanation of the feel he was creating in his deltoids and upper pectoral muscles out to his hands to create the "Power Triangle" (PT) and that if I used this same feel it would be impossible to mishit the ball. He had me set up and try to acquire the feel of the "PT" without the ball. I swung a few times and then he placed a ball on the mat for me to swing. The first five balls I hit were horrible, but he claimed I wasn't doing it right, when I finally hit a decent shot, he said "Thank you very much, you've got it". I hadn't done anything different on the sixth ball as I had the fifth but he was convinced I used the PT on the sixth shot. This went on the rest of the lesson, I now know that the swing was no different than any swing from a poor golfer, the good shot is the aberration, not the norm. I practiced daily and spent two more lessons learning the PT but the results weren't there, either the PT was flawed, not so easy to learn or I was just not meant to be a decent golfer. He was insistent that the swing method worked and that other students he taught we doing great with it, so I was really beginning to think it was me, until my fourth lesson. When I showed up for the fourth lesson he was back to hitting shots and mumbling to himself. He had me come over and shared with me that he realized there was a problem with the PT and had fixed it. The power didn't come from the triangle of the arms it came from the Power Rectangle, (PR) the box between the shoulders down to the hips and connecting across. He once again reviewed the physiology that supported the PR. I was a bit frustrated that I spent 3 weeks focused on the PT and now he was hitting me with something completely different but if it worked I was okay with it. We went through the same painful explanation and demonstration (that I couldn't see because it was what he did with his muscles) and then it was time for me to try it. I followed his instructions, took some practice swings and then tried to hit the ball but the results were the same, one shot out of every 4 or 5 was good, the rest were no better than I was hitting a month ago. I spent another 3 - 4 weeks practicing the PR and took my 5th and 6th lesson without any real improvement in my results. I'd hit some better shots but that was because I was making more adjustments to compensate for my bad swing but I wasn't any closer to having a sound golf swing. I had wasted three months working on swings that didn't improve my consistency or scores plus my overall frustration with golf was at an all-time high. I decided that I was done with taking lessons from Dr. Don. I knew Don would try to con me into more lessons so I'd go to the range at hours when I knew he'd not likely be there. That worked out well for a few weeks but the inevitable happened and Don showed up while I was practicing. He walked over, said hello and watched me swing. He was cordial and asked me how my golf game was but it had to be pretty obvious from his observations it wasn't going well. He used that as an in to explain the PR was also flawed and that he'd been working on a new swing method that he was having "phenomenal" results with. I was nice but stern and said that I wasn't interested in paying to be a guinea pig for his research. He said he understood but wanted to show me his new "Power Cube" and wouldn't charge me for it. It was awkward and I don't like being a jerk, especially to older people so I listened and went through the motions. After an hour Don left, my swing still wasn't any better and I made it clear to Don that I wouldn't be taking any more lessons. We remained cordial when we saw each other at the range but he knew he was selling snake oil. I'd watch him pull the same routine with others that he did with me and on a few instances he'd point me out as someone that took lessons from him. I asked him not to do that as it put me in an awkward position if they asked my opinion of him it would not be favorable. By September he had gone through at least two more iterations of his breakthrough swing and started to sell home made DVD's that he'd hand out to people and then a few days later hit them up for money once they confirmed they had watched it, it was sad. I felt bad for Don, he was so desperate to achieve his 15 minutes of fame and cash out that he'd become obsessed with Hogans secret and a catchy phrase he could market to the masses. He soon became "that guy" you want to avoid when you're at the range. I had wasted the 2013 golf season on false promises and my own stupidity and lack of patience in thinking there was a magic short cut to learning how to make a proper golf swing. I learned a valuable lesson, there are no silver bullets in golf, maybe Hogan was right, the answers were in the dirt.
  46. 4 points
    A big part of what separates TST from other sites is the instructional content that is provided. Golfers want to get better and there are a lot of threads on here that can guide golfers in the right direction. From all these topics and member swing threads we run into these popular questions, "What should I feel?" and "I feel so-and-so when I do this, is that right?". Honestly, the answer is......we have no idea. We're not seeing the swing and not in your body to confirm whether something is right or wrong. Unfortunately there isn't one feel that will work for every player. A golfer that moves their head forward (towards the target) on the backswing is going to have to feel something much different than a golfer that moves their head away from the target. This may surprise many of you but even golfers working on the same priority/Key will probably feel different things. We all have our own tendencies and instincts. Let's stick with the Key #1 example and say you're the player that tilts the spine towards the target on the backswing (left pic) and moves the head forward. What should you feel to stop doing this? Instructors can suggest feels and manually put you in a position but it's ultimately up to you to finalize the swing thought/feel. Instructors aren't there to tell you what to feel, they're there to help identify the priority, explain the cause and effect, guide you with how the body needs to move to accomplish the motion and recommend some feels. For the example above, the instructor decided to hold an alignment stick against the player's right hip and left side of their head and has them make a slow, practice backswing. The instructor will probably share a couple feels or images. After a few swings the instructor will ask you how it feels to you. This is important and something all good instructors do. The suggested feels may click with the player or they might have felt it more with the left shoulder bending down and across or that their upper back stayed "flexed over" or something unorthodox. Even a really odd feel can produce good mechanics, just depends on what works for the player. If you get credible advice on a Member Swing thread and aren't sure what it should feel like, do the drill associated with the priority/Key. Most helpful posts include a video or a couple of pics. Do the drill slowly, make yourself uncomfortable and change the picture. Film yourself doing it, take note of what you need to do, what you need to feel to get it right and use that for when you practice. Monitor the feels by filming your swing and your drill swings. If you're the golfer in the left pic, have a friend hold a stick against your head, or make slow practice backswings with your head against a door jam/door, or make the backswings with your right hip next to a wall, etc. Do the work and learn what feels work for you to fix your priority piece. If your head still moves towards the target and you're feeling your head move a foot off the ball, go back to the wall (or drill) for a refresher. Example from a recent practice session of mine. I needed to improve my hip thrust on the downswing. From 4-4.5 I needed to make sure the hips stayed on their inclination and then I could straighten the legs and extend the arms. So I rehearsed the movement slowly a few times, asked a buddy of mine, "does that look right?" and we filmed it. I basically need to "crunch" a little before I extended. The swing thought that I came up with was the image of a small nerf ball sitting on my left hip at 4 and I had to increase my hip tilt in a way that would "crunch" the ball. It's kind of a silly feel but one that resulted in the desired outcome. Understand that feel works for me (and that I'm not actually increasing my hips slants), it could be disastrous for someone else. When you're working on your swing and making changes, take ownership of your feels, don't solely rely on others to tell you what you need to feel for your swing. Take time in understanding how those feels effect the picture, use video to confirm. For member swing threads, instead of asking if a feel is right or wrong, post a video or pic and ask if the piece is being performed correctly. Help us help you P.S. Don't get distracted by Golf Digest articles from a tour pro sharing their swing thoughts. Tour players don't have the "secret" and most of them don't know anything about the mechanics of the golf swing. The swing thought in the magazine may work for that player even if they may not even actually do what they feel. Every tour player has their own swing thoughts and feels (so who's right?) and just because Jason Day had a great year doesn't mean his quickie tip is going to fix your slice.
  47. 3 points
    My Plan to Get Better at Golf By Shane Jones After over two decades, I have decided that I am not very good at golf. I mean at all, I am a terrible driver of the golf ball (If you look at my strokes gained statistics), I don’t gain a lot of strokes with my approaches. I am a terrible wedge player. I’m a decent putter, but anyone who plays miniature golf with a four-year-old child can do that. With all of stuff I’m bad at, I needed to find some things that I was good at to build on. I was reasonably long, both off the tee and with the irons. I am decent from 100-125 and 125-150 (I don’t gain a lot of strokes to a scratch, but I’m good enough to gain strokes against a 5 handicapper), I usually don’t have a lot of blow-up holes, and I know how far each of my clubs go with a normal swing. In the days, in which we are analyzing everything, you wonder, how you will ever get better at golf. I think that I may have devised a plan in which to do this. I will get into a more detail with each of these later in this blog. First, I’m getting lessons. I’ve already started this part. Next, realize that just because I can hit it 270 yards off the tee, doesn’t mean that I necessarily would need to. This isn’t the Soviet Union in 1947 after World War II with Joseph Stalin telling me, that I must hit it 270 yards on a hole with a 14-yard wide landing area, while having a firing squad locked and loaded at me. Furthermore, I need to have a better practice plan. I used to practice whatever I felt like that day. That doesn’t work especially if you want to get better. I’m trying to embrace the Five S’s of practice, so when the money down in tournaments, I’ll have dealt with it in practice. Practice isn’t just hitting balls either. As @iacas and @mvmac have preached, practice can be rehearsing a motion while waiting for a bus, getting a motion down in front of a mirror, or a golf specific workout. Finally, I need to GamePlan better. I need a back-up club to advance the ball safely, when my driver goes awry. You’ve made it through my first two introductory paragraphs without going to another blog or thread. Here is the meat and potatoes of this blog. Explaining myself about how I plan to get better. The biggest obstacle, I’ve had in my lifetime for golf is that I’ve never taken a lesson. (As of this posting, I’ve taken three). I asked all the questions in Lowest Score Wins to a few instructors. I accidently came across the instructor that I choose. I went into an indoor golf center and saw a sign for a 5-lesson package for $250. I received a $300 gift certificate for Christmas from a family member who knows how much I love golf. I was just trying to get some launch monitor time and the Pro there and I struck up a conversation. He asked if I had ever had a lesson. (I’m paraphrasing for time’s sake) I said no. He said, the launch monitor time would do me some good, but lessons would probably be better. He’s a younger guy (a bit older than me, probably Erik’s age or so). I asked him my questions, he asked me his. We went on like this for about 15 minutes and I decided it after a few days of going through the data, that he was right. So, I called and signed up for some lessons. The first lesson, was a “figure out where I was” and “where I want to go” lesson. So, he had me hit 3 solid shots with each of my clubs. So, we got my distances down, and he noticed that a lot of my shots were leaking to the right. That’s where the first seeming monotonous drill came in. They have the “Eye Line” training aid that you see advertised on TV and Internet. Craig is more old school… He pulled out 4 water bottles. (If you’ve read the “5 Minutes Daily Practice Challenge” thread the last couple months, you know what I’m talking about) he placed a ball down. Placed 1 bottle in front of my left foot and one in front of my right foot a little further from me. He says, take a waist high swing and don’t hit these bottles, once you can do that consistently 10 times in a row, for 3 days. You can move to a half swing (9:00). If you can do that, move to a three-quarter swing, if you can do that, you can officially hit a draw. I asked, “What about a full swing?” He grinned and said, “Your three-quarter swing, looks like a full swing to me”. After a month of getting this drill, down to a science, I go back. The results were amazing. Longer and hitting draws very close to the center line on some, relatively close with others. He complicated it for the next month. The hardest shot in golf to hit. The straight one. All four bottles. In a 6” X 6” square. Can’t hit the bottles. Nothing longer than a 9-iron, for a month. (It’s the hardest damn drill to get perfect that you will ever see.) After a month of that, I go back. I’m doing all that right. Craig notices that my body is a little out of sync with my arms during my transition. Now he has me doing this “Arms lead the body drill”. It’s not a hard drill to master, but I think he’s up to something. I don’t have another lesson until April (he’s going down to Florida for a month for a tourney or two and to see some family). I was second guessing myself for a very long time. For once, however I’m trusting the process. I DO believe this is making me a better golfer. Next, having a better practice plan. I used to practice whatever the hell I felt like. It was like okay, If I hit balls, I must drag the net out, put it up, hit balls and take it back down. (A pain in the ass if I ever knew one). This is related to getting lessons, either directly, or indirectly. I’m a believer that now that I am receiving lessons, I’m practicing better. I’m working on the two “SV4” skills for sure with what I am practicing. The bad thing is, no one ever really taught me how to hit a bunker shot. I kind of picked up things on my own. Then, the skills with less separation value, I’m left to practice on my own. Will I? I will, at some point. My pitching and chipping need some work. I guess when Craig comes back, he’s going to work with me on that. I need to plan better. I DO believe I am on the right track though, I’m getting tired, and my paragraphs are getting much shorter. The third thing is having a back-up club when my driver goes awry. (Sounds like something Tiger needs right now). My home course is 9 holes with two sets of tees. 6,385 yards. If you divide that by 28. It’s around 228 or so. I don’t need my driver (270 yards total) to necessarily get around. If driver is putting me into trouble, why be a stubborn ass and keep hitting it? I’ve found a “magic club” that can get me 220 yards or so off the tee and I can choke down to the graphite and hit it 180 yards if I must. If driver is causing double bogeys or worse, the 20-degree hybrid will be the way to go. (Mission accomplished there). Finally, I need to GamePlan better. I need to get my Shot Zones down to a science. Even if I must get some ¼” grid paper, a ruler and a compass and draw this out and keep the paper in my bag I will. If it helps me get better, damn it, I’ll use it. Well of all the blogs on The Sand Trap, this one may be close to the longest. I typed it up on Word so that I would have a spell check and such. But there you go, that’s my “Plan” to get better at this beautiful game. I want to thank Erik, Mike, and all the golfers and other members that keep the Sand Trap going. I’m sorry I wrote a damn novella for a blog, everyone.
  48. 3 points
    When someone is described as having demons, it’s usually to point out negative personality traits of an otherwise decent person. Weaknesses such as alcoholism, gambling, anger… damaging habits that cannot be fully controlled and either prevent a person from obtaining their full potential, or one which can rear it’s ugly face and derail whatever is good in his or her life. I think this can be said for the golf swing as well. Words such as a “tendency”, or a “bad habit” are used to describe an issue that re-occurs even with the best of players, damaging an otherwise better score. For me, demons serve as roadblocks to improvement. I’ve always hated it when someone said “I can’t”, when a better description might be “that’s very difficult for me”. The idea being that learning a skill might be harder for some than others, but not impossible. Still, for whatever reason there is a finite level of golf of which any of us can obtain, even if provided all the time and money in the world. For some, that potential might be scratch or better. For others, it might be low teens. I’m not sure where I will end up before the inevitable decline in physical ability kicks in, but I have a pretty good idea of where it won’t be. Here are a few of my demons… Lack of discipline and/or focus when practicing. I start out with the intention of disregarding results, but that often deteriorates after a few swings. I also give up too soon on new methods and continue trying those proven to be ineffective. Lack of understanding. While the hips move forward and rotate, the upper body only rotates. The hands and weight need to be in front of the ball at impact, but how can this happen when my arms are attached to the upper body…. which stays back? Quality information is readily available, but it serves no purpose if I can't make sense of it. Being unaware of what’s really going on in 3D space. Feel ain’t real for almost everyone, but what I feel and what I see on video are worlds apart. An inability to replace what I know are bad habits with those I believe are improvements. Learning to perform drills correctly seems easy. Applying them to the full swing, impossible. To those who have more control over these things, the solution might seem easy. But telling me to apply the 5S's of good practice is the same as telling someone fighting obesity to just put down the fork. All I can do is try to improve on the things that impede progress. I sometimes think about devoting an entire season towards developing better practice habits and reigning in my demons, simply say to hell with my scores. But there’s no proof that plan would succeed. Plus, I mostly enjoy playing my crappy level of golf… mostly.
  49. 3 points
    NBC announcers flaunt their lack of curiosity like... peacocks. If I were interviewing someone for a job and asked for his/her opinion of the new programming language Beta, which has been available for years, and that person said, I don't know anything about it, I've always used Alpha and it's better in my opinion, for me, that would not represent the candidate well. In the video, Peter Jacobsen says he tried Aimpoint Express and still hasn't figured it out. Miller then asks Gary Koch if he tried it and he says no, plumb bobbing would get the same result. Miller follows up with plumb bobbing is more accurate. David Feherty calls it The Fickle Finger of Fate, a disparaging moniker with the randomness it invokes, or maybe it's more for chuckles - Feherty seems like a smart guy and would figure out Aimpoint straight away. Listen, if you're going to knock something on national TV, at least take a detailed look into what you're dismissing. I'd have more respect for these statements if they were, I took a clinic, gave it a concerted effort to try it, I just don't get it. Maybe we don't know the inside politics. Maybe there's some friction between the media and the company behind Aimpoint. Maybe there's some kind of extenuating circumstances. But if this isn't the case, there's no excuse for all the announcers not to have taken a clinic (Aimpoint Express isn't hard to learn, kids learn it.) That's their job, to know golf, right? Putting is one of its aspects.
  50. 3 points
    Growing up, I hung out with the same group of friends pretty much every day. While we were pretty active with boating, fishing, football, basketball, tennis, etc., none of us were involved with golf, which kind of sucks. Throughout the last four years, my son has been about the only person who I’ve played golf with on numerous occasions. With his calm demeanor, you couldn’t ask for a better playing partner. Those rounds have been the most enjoyable and memorable. Just last month, he accepted a job downstate and will be moving 4 hours away. I’m very happy for him, of course, because this is what he went to school for. And we’ve already looked up courses in the Farmington Hills area and it appears he’ll have plenty of them close to his new home. The fact remains that I will be playing almost all of my golf now as a single. I don’t make friends as easily as I used to. My lifestyle and available free time - in addition to my sometimes abrasive personality - don’t allow for the burden that friendships can bring. And the thought of seeking out playing partners just seems, well, kind of weird. There are golf leagues I could join, but that brings back memories of playing in municipal softball leagues with a bunch of 20 and 30 year old bros who take a sport normally played by high school girls, way too seriously (that’s not meant as an insult to high school girls - their version of the game is much tougher). From what I understand about some of the golf leagues, the ends of winning justify the means of cheating. If there’s any truth to that, it doesn’t seem like a lot of fun. For the most part, the random joining up with others has been a positive experience. There has been the occasional a-hole, but most people are pretty cool to spend a couple hours with. The nice thing about playing golf with others is that I tend to keep my emotions in check and I sometimes play a little better golf. I also get to see that I’m not the only one who hits tee shots into the woods, misses short approach shots, and has trouble getting out of the sand. On the rare occasions when I’ve played with skilled players, watching that level of golf has served both as entertainment and as a level to strive for. The older players I’ve joined up with have a certain pragmatic approach to the game that many of us can learn from. I can see how playing in a foursome every Sunday morning with folks I get along with would be enjoyable, even if not entirely necessary. Golf is different things to different people. It can be competitive, relaxing, challenging, a good way to spend time with friends, or all of the above. For me, it’s a good way to get away from the daily BS of the workplace, the “drama” of family (in-laws anyway) and to avoid what sometimes seems too much like effort to get along with others. It also serves as barometer that what I work on in the way of practicing is beneficial. As I’ve posted many times, the feeling that a perfectly struck approach shot brings is a high that keeps me coming back. And even when my game is in the toilet (which is often), a 4 mile walk on a beautiful course on a beautiful morning with no one else in sight is not the worst way to spend time. So does playing with others make the game more enjoyable? Often times it does. Do I need the company of others to enjoy golf? Not at all.
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  • Posts

    • Played 2 man scrambled at Ellis Golf Club in Ellis, Kansas. (Senior) Probably a little over 50 payers.  We placed 1st in the 3rd flight and even won some money! Number 8 hole, from the fairway, I hit an 8 iron/hybrid, and backed the ball up just like the pro's.  I also birdied #3 par 3 by hitting about 3' from the pin.  Very rewarding day for me and my partner.  He was hitting the long drives and I was playing the short game.  Front = 39 and Back - 35 for a 74 total.  Retired Old Man
    • Day 18 - chip & putted for 30mins, then hit a few 9i, 5W, and driver on the range.   Driver & 5W: A- 9i: C  not sure why I struggled so much at first, but my tempo was too fast...once I figured it out, hit it much better.
    • Casual play I usually stretch at home and then proceed to the course.  If I did not stretch and there is time and a place on the ground that is not wet/muddy I will stretch at the course.  Then a bit of putting.  Almost never hit balls other than courses that may have a chipping area. Tournaments, I am typically working the registration desk and I am lucky to have time to putt a few and stretch.  If I am not tied up with administrative things, I will hit a few balls.  I like to see how my driver is behaving (a bit of a fade or almost straight is my standard flight) so I can anticipate whether to aim at the left side of the fairway or right.    
    • This weekend we had a very slow round. One of the guys in my group has back issues and was putting a swing donut on his driver to try and stay loose while waiting on the tee. Another in the group said it was a rules violation. I looked on my phone but the closest thing I found was he could not take a shot with any kind of training aid, but nothing mentioned using them during down time in a round. Did I miss something or was it ok?
    • Find a cart, grab the roof with both hands, and drop my hips to try and get my thoracic spine to crack and release

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