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Showing content with the highest reputation since 08/09/2019 in Blog Entries

  1. 14 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.
  2. 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/
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.😉
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 3 points
    I got a call from my friend on Friday with some awesome news. We have invites to play Valhalla and Firestone CC in the next few months. That's the good news. The bad news is that my game is a total mess. I have only played a few times in the last 2 months and haven't been able to break 90. I plan to enjoy the course and the day no matter what, but I would hate totally stink up these nice courses. I tend to pick up my game when playing a nicer track, but I just don't have the goods right now. Now that I no longer need to mow 2 times a week, I need to set up the net and get some work in. Usually at times like this, I would spend some quality time at Kittyhawk's 70-80 practice hole to tune up my short game a bit to help save some pars and bogeys. Since it is closed, I am looking for other options. I have only played 10 times this year, and all but 4 of those are partial rounds. I am usually sitting at 30-40 rounds by now, but that's the difference between having a membership to a course and not. Previously being in a golf league also got me out more. All of this COVID BS has me somewhat depressed too. Golf used to be an escape from life, but lately it feels like a chore. Time to snap out of it and go play!
  9. 3 points
    My first round of post lockdown golf was scheduled for 7:00am on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. In the Mitten we are currently limited to walking only. I was planning on going solo since my two regular golf buddies had bailed. One friend has a bad back and can’t walk a course. The other has decided to skip golf until the “virus thing” has worked itself out. As instructed, I used the online system to book my solo round. I was lucky and got the first scheduled tee time of the day. The course was limiting groups to three or less and tee times had 12-minute splits. When I scheduled my time, the next group was 7:24am. Unless someone signed up with me, it looked like there would be decent spacing of the groups. As I drove to the course on Tuesday morning, I was excited and a bit nervous. Would there be a crowd of golfers milling around the parking lot and first tee? Did someone sign up with my tee time to make it a threesome? Having not touched a club since March 20, would I be able to hit the ball? I rolled into the completely empty parking lot at 6:45am. So far so good … until I walked over to the fence surrounding the course and discovered the entry gate was locked. Okay, I was a little early so I was prepared to wait a bit. Then another car rolled into the parking lot and it was the course manager. We greeted each other from 30 feet and he said once he got the computer up and running, I could show my receipt to him through a clubhouse window. No one was allowed to enter the clubhouse. 10 minutes later I was standing on the first tee. No one had taken the other two slots at 7:00am so I was solo. While I enjoy having company on the course, for my maiden COVID round I was happy to not need to social distance. A small miracle occurred on the first hole. I striped a drive down the middle and then put my approach on the green, pin high. At that point, I became acquainted with the first of several COVID adaptations: the upside down cup. This course flipped the hole liner/flagstick holder upside down. The result was an extremely shallow “hole”. A putt with any speed often would roll over the inverted cup liner or bounce off the flagstick. Maybe 50% of my putts managed to stay in the “hole”. I decided if I hit the flagstick, I would consider the putt holed unless I really rammed it. Another issue was the bunkers. Naturally, there were no rakes to prevent multiple people handling the same rake. The course had only been open to the public since Monday but there had been no attempt to rake out the bunkers before the morning’s play. Fortunately, on this day, I did not end up in any bunker. If I had, I was prepared to play it as it lay or take relief from severe “damage”, depending on the situation. As a solo golfer with no one in front of me, I finished the 18 fairly quickly. I was generally happy with my ball striking, short game and putting. The course was in decent shape with freshly cut and smooth greens. Their speed was a bit less than mid-season but a few times I was happy about that. The fairways were cut and allowed some bounce/roll and they had also cut the rough to playable height. The course appeared to be mostly open as I toured the 18. After making the turn, I had the entire back nine to myself. I had read some posts that a few local courses were packed and that very slow play was the rule. That was not my experience this day. Social distancing was easy and as the first one out of the gate, pace was never an issue. On my way to the parking lot the manager, superintendent and a worker were chatting together (6 feet apart!). I thanked them for keeping the course in good condition and for making it possible for golfers like me to play. I am scheduled to play another course in a couple days with a foursome of acquaintances. I hope things go as smoothly as my first time playing COVID golf.
  10. 3 points
    Played yesterday in the WA Assistant's Championship at Fircrest GC. Weather ended up being perfect despite the tendency this time of year to rain. I ended up shooting even par 71 and T-4th. The round started off interesting, with a duck hook drive into the woods left. I punched it out to 100yds and stuck the 3rd to 8ft which I made to save par. My irons overall were good. The tough part about this time of year is getting distance dialed in as the air starts to cool, so needless to say I was leaving a few shots short. Not a lot short but enough to annoy. Wedges were in the same boat, good enough but left a few short of where I wanted. Driver started out rough, but I found the click halfway through the round. I needed to feel like I was sitting back towards my heels a little at address. Unfortunately, one wayward tee shot did lead to a double bogey. That hole started with the bad drive, but I punched out and left myself about 45yds for my 3rd. I left that on the green but 20ft for par. Missed that and the following 4 footer. That 20ft putt was the last time that I hit a putt by the hole that round 🙄 The 4ft putt was stupid, I got lazy and lifted. Once I found my driver swing, I was hitting the ball great tee to green, but like I mentioned, I left all birdie putts short. Overall, I birdied 2 par 5's and 1 par 4. The par 4, I stuck my 52 to a foot, thought it had a good chance of going in. I also had that double bogey and a 3 putt bogey late in the round. I played with 2 other guys, both of whom are multiple-time winners in our chapter. One of them ended up winning with a 68 and the other shot 73. Comparing our play styles, I'm right with them tee to green. But short game, they are super sticky. Leave them a chip or pitch within 30yds and they are within 5ft almost every time. I lost a couple shots from not chipping/pitching my ball close. I knew it's been something for me to work on, but it was good to see where I need to be at. This was the last real tournament for me this season. Having my kid this summer made it difficult to play in any big events, as expected, but next year I'll be in a few more I hope.
  11. 2 points
    Stopped by Miami Shores GC, Troy, OH yesterday evening, filled out the form and paid the money and now have my shiny yellow membership card. Once reassured that most of my money will be refunded by Dayton, Miami Shores was an obvious choice for all the reasons in my previous post, but I really did consider my options thoroughly. The thought of simply bouncing around to various courses instead seemed like a good idea for a moment. Playing new courses or ones I haven't seen in years sounded adventurous. The reality of it, as a solo player, dispelled a lot of that. I did manage to get out to a few places. I saw Rocky Lakes Golf Course for the first time and played Windy Knolls for the first time in a long time. I also found a lot of jammed-pack parking lots and full tee sheets. Getting on courses as a single this year hasn't been easy. At heart, I'm a homebody. I love the familiar. The odd visit to a place is nice, but I want a home course. A canvassing of the various courses and there membership offerings confirmed that every other option was both more expensive and more distant. Sugar Isle and Homestead aren't far away and are nice enough courses, but they aren't nice enough to beat Miami Shores. There are actually some half decent deals at the higher-end public courses south of Dayton, but again, too far and too much. Now comes the tougher part for a somewhat anti-social type. When can I play and who can I play with? I guess it will just take some time. Miami Shores doesn't have a men's association like we did at Kittyhawk. Those automatic 9 a.m. tee times on Saturday and Sunday were pretty handy. It occurs to me that I might need to be a bit more flexible if I'm going to get my rounds in. Perhaps, I should try playing 9 holes after work. Normally, it ought to be possible to get on the course by 6 and be done within a hour-and-a-half. With the course so close, I'd arrive at home by 8. Any how, I've got my new home. Now its time to start breaking it in.
  12. 2 points
    I managed to get in three rounds this week, improving my score each time: a 97 on Monday (44-53), a 96 on Wednesday (48-48) and a 94 on Thursday (50-44). Chipping/pitching was rock solid this week, which I was pleased to see. I hit a lot of my <50-yard chips/pitches inside ten feet, and a handful of those inside five, including a chip in. Easily the best part of my game as of right now. I feel a little less confident about tee shots. I did have some really good ones, but there was at least one per round that I sprayed. One OB, and two water-bound shots. I did hit at least half the fairways every round, but those sprays are a little concerning. I normally don’t spray it. Next up, iron play. Iron play was, at my best, 7/10. At worst, it was about a 3/10. Contact was my main problem, mostly ugly chunks. I’m looking to improve that when I get in front of my net later today. Lastly, bunker play. I hit two truly good bunker shots out of, say, ten. Most of my bad bunker shots are when I leave my first one in the trap. Unfortunately, that’s the only part of my game that I can’t really practice, because the range is closed, and our practice bunker is part of the range. So overall, there were several things I found that need fixing, with iron play my main focus. I’m gonna practice today and tomorrow, and then start with a fresh week on Monday.
  13. 2 points
    I recently attended a USGA sponsored seminar on the new World Handicap System (WHS). Our Club needed to have one member certified by the USGA and as handicap chairman, I was the logical choice. As a member of TST and from reading material on the WHS, I was familiar with the general outline of the changes and new procedures. My hope was that the seminar would fill in a lot of the details. It did. Two items on the agenda were most interesting to me. Playing Conditions Calculation Because of its newness in the USA, the Playing Conditions Calculation (PCC) was particularly interesting to me. Based on the day’s scores, everyone’s posted handicap results may be adjusted when the scoring is particularly worse or better than usual. The adjustment is done course by course rather than over a region or state. Any condition that might affect scoring could result in a PCC adjustment (rain, wind, rough, temperature, hole locations). The PCC doesn’t need to know why the scoring was higher, just that the average handicapped scoring was well above (or below) what one might expect on a typical day. At the end of each day, GHIN will automatically look at each course and the scores posted. If a minimum of 8 players with indexes 36.0 and under post scores, a PCC calculation will be made for that specific course. When there are only 8-10 scores posted, the likelihood of a PCC adjustment is very low unless the scores posted were extremely divergent from what one might have expected. A day where 100 scores are posted has a higher likelihood of a PCC adjustment if the scores diverge from the expected level. The calculation is done every day for qualifying courses. An actual adjustment will likely be somewhat infrequent. I am not a math whiz so the fact that the USGA/R&A considers the PCC calculation as proprietary (i.e. secret) was not a disappointment. There was a bit of grumbling from some of the other attendees. The PCC adjustment will be in whole numbers (-1, +1, +2, +3). The PCC is subtracted from all the calculated differentials of every player posting a score for the course on the day of the calculation. Differentials adjusted by PCC will be identified in a player’s handicap record. When viewing one’s handicap in GHIN, clicking on “Stats” brings up a detailed listing of the past 20 differentials. There is a column labelled PCC where one will eventually see any PCC adjustments. Stroke Index Allocation (Handicap Holes) For match play and maximum hole score determination (formerly ESC), the USGA is recommending a “triad system” for determining on which holes a player gives or receives strokes. The recommendation calls for viewing each nine holes as three sets of 3-holes (or a triad). The first nine holes are rated with odd number (1,3,5,…) and the second nine even. If the back nine is considerably more difficult than the front, the numbering can be flipped. So far so good. Here is where it gets tricky. The USGA recommends that the #1 and #2 handicap holes should be allocated to the middle triad for each nine. The #1 handicap hole should be chosen from #4, 5 or 6 and the #2 handicap hole selected from holes #13, 14 or 15. If none of the middle triad holes are sufficiently difficult (among the hardest 6 holes on the course), then the #1 handicap hole can be #3 or #7 and the #2 handicap hole allocated to #12 or #16. The USGA has further recommendations for allocating handicap holes (e.g. don’t have back to back difficult holes - #1 handicap hole followed by the #3). The USGA has begun to send their recommended new handicap hole allocations to every member club. The issue for each club now becomes whether they want to accept the recommendation. A club might face changing the #1 handicap hole from the 9th hole to the 4th hole even though the membership generally considers the 9th hole as the toughest. If the club adopts the USGA recommendations, the score cards will need to be re-printed and the membership educated. The USGA has some good points related to match play for why they want to make these changes. If all the “stroke holes” fall at the end of each nine, often matches will be decided before the higher handicapped opponent receives most of their strokes. Similarly, by spreading the “stroke holes” across the full 18 holes, no one must give a majority of strokes extremely early in a match. Still, by somewhat forcing the allocation of handicapped holes into a pre-determined pattern, the USGA may reduce the accuracy of the “net double bogey” calculation. Link to USGA Appendix E https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/handicapping/roh/Content/rules/Appendix E Stroke Index Allocation.htm Inevitably, there will be issues (e.g. an old score card not matching the new Stroke Index Allocation). On the whole I think the WHS will be more accurate in measuring our potential if we, the members, use the system correctly.
  14. 2 points
    One of the big changes in 2019 was the USGA/R&A overhaul of the Rules of Golf. Our Club runs a series of net tournaments for our members. Our members range in age from 50 to 94 with handicaps of +1 to 36. I was a bit pessimistic that our members would be able to accommodate all the Rules changes. After a season of watching our members play in our Tournaments, here are a few of my observations. The option to leave or remove the flagstick has turned out to be a bit of help on pace of play. In almost every instance, we have left the flagstick in when putting or chipping from a significant distance. We no longer need to tend or remove the flagstick for a long putt and then replace the flagstick for a chip. Unless a ball gets in another player’s line, we all just putt or chip without delay. Once close in, many of us are ambivalent to the flagstick being in or out so if someone wants it in, we all putt with it in, or vice versa. The few times we have had an “in-out” situation, the first player to hole out serves as the caddie. Most players have gotten used to the knee height drop. There is a tendency for some players to crouch a bit when dropping. Whether this is an accommodation for aging backs and legs or a bit of an unconscious “cheat” is unknown. Unless someone squats down while dropping, I don’t think I am likely to make an issue of this. We have had a bit of confusion over whether the new Local Rule related to lost or O.B. balls was in effect for our events. It was not. Still, I have heard anecdotal accounts of some of our higher handicap groups using the Local Rule during our Tournaments. We will need to make that a point of emphasis next year. Almost nobody uses the term “Penalty Area.” Old habits die hard. Also, there is still some confusion as to whether a red marked penalty area allows the “back on a line” option (yes) and the yellow marked penalty area the 2-club length option (no). Accidentally moving a ball on the green never happened in my groups. I am sure it happened during the season but not when I was present. I still have an involuntary twitch when I see someone tamping down scuff or spike marks and other non-pitch mark damage. I will learn eventually. Also, I have not witnessed anyone spend an inordinate amount of time repairing the green so my concern that this Rule change might slow things down has not come to pass. A couple likely double hits were seen and it was a relief to not have to ask the player whether they thought they made a double hit. I like this change. Some players are likely not following the “relief area” limitation when a ball rolls after a drop judging from what I have seen. Under the old Rules a ball could roll 2 additional club lengths. We may need to review that with our club members. The ability to move loose impediments in a penalty area or bunker is used by our players. No one has made an issue thinking this was a penalty. Accidentally moving a ball during a search was never an issue when I played. I think this Rule is ripe for abuse but I have not seen it. All in all, our aging members seemed to have picked up on most of the changes. All the effort put in by the USGA, our State Association and our Club seems to have worked. Of course, there are a lot of nuances to the Rules that I and my fellow members likely missed or forgot. Still, the transition went a lot better than expected. What has been your experience?
  15. 2 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!
  16. 1 point
    Today I decided to go to the local Golf Super Duper Store to try out a 3 wood that caught my eye. As the product expert sets up my request, I take a few practice swings with my own club. The lighting is not great, its hard to see if my club face is square, and I hit about the 3 worst balls in my life warming up. I was hemorrhaging on the astroturf as someone's grandfather just stood behind me wondering why the hell I asked to try the tour model. Then, on the 5th ball, I finally hit the ball down the middle with a quiet draw to roll out at 245. Feeling some redemption I hit 2 more on a similar note, put the club down, and walked slowly to the end of the hitting bay. On to the first victim, I mean club. Snap, push, skank, slop, and then a gorgeous draw on the line 245 with identical numbers from my 3 wood. I hit 2 more and then the guy says, "I don't know what you are looking for but that Diablo Octane Tour you brought in put up identical numbers. It's got a heavy stock shaft that feels like it was tipped". Then he says, "Henrick Stenson would still be playing this club if he had his way". OK, I get it, don't fool with what isn't broken. At this point I am feeling frisky so I ask to hit a driver model that has the newest and greatest shaft ever in it. In fact I may have just ordered that shaft and its coming Wednesday. Well the store is having an issue in getting inventory so he sets up what he can find and hands me an adjustable game improvement club set to 8.5. Low snap, low push, and then as he steps away I open the face for more loft and I hit it. I mean on the screws coming down on the center line and I stop right there. I mean why even chance it by hitting another ball? So he comes back and says that looks pretty good. He tells me to come back when they get their inventory in and I thank him for his time. Now I don't know why it took so long to hit a decent ball because that did not happen when I demoed my irons. I can only think that the thrill of the long club, coupled with the instant gratification of seeing the numbers, only intensified my out of body experience. So yeah, once I swung it like I do in real life I was rewarded with my mere mortal numbers, but nothing fear inspiring like you see on the commercials. All in all, the trip was not a total fool's errand as I happened to find some shorts on sale. Like modern drivers they were bigger than the ones of yesterday. While I blame Covid on that I can only think that 25 years in the same size was a pretty good run.
  17. 1 point
    If there is one thing that I have learned over the years is that your setup and backswing should put you in the very best position to make a good swing through the golf ball. So during this latest comeback, it was pointed out to me that I was slipping back into a pattern of relying too much on compensating moves because I was working against myself before I made my downswing. My setup had the outside of the right hip even with the outside of my right foot which encouraged a hip slide instead of a hip turn. By moving my weight a little more to the left and setting the right hip inside the right foot I was able to turn that hip and keep a more steady and centered head. To help with the feeling of keeping the right hip turning back inside that line I hit balls while doing the right foot stepping on a ball drill. The pictures below show the drastic improvement in position which has led to being centered and my ball striking having that crispy feeling that you get when you hit the ball in the center of the clubface consistently. Its amazing how this setup adjustment made such a difference in the quality of ball striking and distance control. Progress is being made!
  18. 1 point
    After missing them last weekend, I managed to track down Ralph and Bob Saturday. We played both Saturday and Sunday afternoons. A gregarious 70-year-old, Ralph was only a once in a while player, then he retired and became a full-time player. Like me, he's a bit of hack. That makes us a good pair in the shared misery sense if nothing else. His normal routine seems to be playing nine holes in the early afternoon, going home and coming back for another nine in the evening six days a week. As such, he's sort of like the mayor of Miami Shores and knows just about every regular there. The one strike against him is that he's a bit slow. He'll stand over his ball and waggle in slow motion, take the club back equally slow and just when you think it will never happen, whips the club down and through. Unlike us, Bob is a player. Appearing to be in his late 50s or early 60s, Bob plays from the tips and is in the fairway so much that you'd think he'd get bored. He had more birdies and pars than bogeys and I doubt he had more than a single double. For myself, it was two rounds up to the new normal standards of hacking, a 94 and a 96. It was the usual suspects that did the most damage, driver and wedge. I was really pleased with how well I hit my 5W and irons. Those kept saving par a possibility on a lot of holes until my regretful short game scuttled that. Then there were a couple of blow-up holes to boot. The worst of the lot was No. 9 on Sunday. My tee shot on this longish par 4 was a freak slice that almost looked like it spun backwards towards the end of its sad, short flight. Then I misjudged a punch shot under a tree branch. The shot stayed under the tree branch ok, but I clobbered it through the fairway and into the junk. When the smoke cleared, it was the dreaded snowman on the scorecard. My game isn't ready for prime time yet, but it looks like I got some guys I can play with from time to time. That's a start.
  19. 1 point
    Between golf course closures and Covid, the whole business of hitting a golf ball solidly has suffered. Really any spring is a bit of starting over for me. In past years, I'd be grinding things out at Kittyhawk in late April and early May to put together some sort of workable swing by the time the summer started. Obviously, that's simply wasn't possible. The sporadic rounds I was able to play were chock full of miss hits and improvement has been slow to come. At about the same time that Dayton pulled the plug on Kittyhawk, Miami Shores opened their driving range. That has helped. The only alternative was a mat range on the other side of town. Hitting off mats is a lousy idea for me because they result in wrist-shattering fat shots on turf. The Shores range has nice, well maintained turf and is often the fallback on days where getting on the course is impossible. I've had some productive sessions out there, but getting any result on the course didn't happen until yesterday. The front nine was more of the same old garbage, but things sort of came together on the back. The weight finally got forward on time. The head stayed steady and I remained on balance throughout the swing. I parred five of the last nine holes and hit some of the best shots I have all year. Coming up 18, a par-5, for the first time in a long time I actually swung with some confidence. After a so-so drive, I smashed a 5W 210 yards straight down the middle, made a quality 8I shot to the green and only missed my birdie putt by inches. I'll take my positives where I can find them.
  20. 1 point
    Today rounds off a solid week of golf, with scores of 95-90-92. I’m getting so close to consistent scores under 90, but I need to figure out what I need to work on. Today, I’ll evaluate my game over the last three playing days, and give each category (Woods/Hybrids, Irons, Short Game, Putting) a letter grade. Woods/Hybrids: B. The driver is bringing the overall grade down. I’m slowly but surely getting rid of the slice, but it continues to haunt me every now and then, and when it fade, it sometimes does so more than I’d like. The range at my home course is closed, so I’d love to find another way to work on the driver. Irons (6-PW): B+. Contact with my irons has been excellent this week, but direction is off a bit. Alignment is the only thing I really need to work on in this category. Short Game: A. Aside from bunker play, my short game (not including putting) has been outstanding this week. Once the range opens up again, I’ll get in the practice bunker and work my bunker play. That’s the one area of my game where I have little to no confidence. Putting: D. I am not at all pleased with my putting this week. Lag putting has been inconsistent, I’ve hit more bad lag putts than good ones. 4- and 5-footers have definitely been shaky, and those short ones have often been the result of poor lag putts. I even three-putted from six feet once. That’ll be the first thing I work on when I go back to the course. Overall, putting is the main thing I want to work on when I get back to the course. I feel like improving my putting alone, as bad as it was, will take three strokes, at least, off my rounds. I will put in new entries once a week, every Friday. If you want more, let me know!
  21. 1 point
    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?
  22. 1 point
    Very good home-run hitting swing on the left. Better golf swing on the right.
  23. 1 point
    I have always stopped playing golf when low temperatures turn the course into a solid block of ice. For me, it isn’t fun to watch my ball carom off the green like an errant shot hit into a parking lot. I don’t mind cold weather but playing on a concrete-like course is not my idea of golf. So, why was I standing on the first tee at Whitmore Lake Golf Links last Friday? One of my regular golf partners, Mack, is a confirmed cart rider. To my knowledge, he has not walked 18 holes in at least 20 years. The only time we have ever walked a course was 9 holes when wet conditions prevented the use of carts. He almost collapsed and I pushed his cart for him (while carrying my bag) over the last couple holes. Mack called me early last week and reported that: 1. Whitmore Lake Golf Links would be open on Friday, 12/13/2019. 2. They were allowing carts 3. The forecast was for 42 degrees 4. The first tee time (10:00am) was open and only $12 for 18 holes with a cart. Did I want to play? Against my better judgment, I said “sure” and booked the time. Of course, a close inspection of the forecast would have shown that the temperature was going to be below 32 degrees for the three days prior to Friday and the high on Friday would be at 4:00pm. Details, details. Friday morning rolled around and as I prepared to depart for “The Links” I noted that the temperature was 30 degrees and a light coating of frost covered everything. I figured the course might declare a frost delay and bump us to Noon, so I checked the local breakfast places in the area. There was a place right up the road from the course. Upon arrival at the course, I noted several carts staged outside the clubhouse. There was a light coating of freeze-thaw ice on some of the fairways but the course looked relatively green. I went into the clubhouse and found the single employee on duty. I asked if they were letting people out and he said “yes”. He added that they only had the first nine open as the second nine had too much ice on it. The raised wooden cart paths over the wetlands were too dangerous to drive on. We could go around the first nine twice. So that is how I found myself on the first tee at 10:00am. Our first problem was getting a tee into the ground. Eventually I found a hole made by someone earlier in the season and forced my tee into the same hole. With that problem solved, we teed off and watched our balls careen down the fairway 300 yards. Cool! Of course, now we had to play a shot off a tight lie with as much “give” as a pool table’s surface. We decided to move our balls laterally to the rough to give us a bit of cushion. Even then, one needed to pick the ball. Mack hit a lovely wedge to the center of the green and watched it bounce 20 feet in the air and scurry off the back. I punched a low 7 iron 20 yards short of the green and ended up over the green, too. As the round progressed, we took advantage of some prodigious drives. We got better at judging the distance to expect the ball to bounce & roll on approaches. We also discovered that if one hit the rough, the ball would almost always come up short; accuracy was still needed. The greens were bumpy, sandy, aerated blocks of granite. If one missed the green, a chip shot’s first bounce was significant but then the ball quickly lost momentum once it started rolling across the fuzzy, sanded surface of the green. Similarly, putting was a challenge just to get the ball to the hole. We toured the front nine twice in 2 hours and then had a nice breakfast. We dressed appropriately so we never were cold. And truth be told, it was kind of fun hitting 300 yards drives and then trying to maneuver the approach on to the green. We celebrated our successes and we laughed a lot at our failures. Yes, it was a good time. Still, if Mack calls about this coming weekend, I plan to be “unavailable.”
  24. 1 point
    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.
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