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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/27/2019 in Blog Entries

  1. 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.
  2. 7 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. 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'.
  4. 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.😉
  5. 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.
  6. 4 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.
  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
    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.
  9. 3 points
    I got back into working out towards the beginning of the year. I used to lift back when I was a teenager so I have a solid background and it turns out I was in decent shape because of work. I'm paying a lot of attention to doing things with proper form even if it means I'm using lighter weight, because building the proper foundation is important to me as a more mature person, but also because I'm significantly more prone to injury these days than when I was a teenager. I find I enjoy doing exercises that I avoided in the past like core stuff and supplemental lifts. I do have a confession to make, though: I have never liked running. Didn't do it much as part of my fitness routine as a teenager and didn't do it much up to this point. One day last week I just said f*** it, this is supposed to be about growing as a person, right? It was time to suck it up and get over whatever issues I had with it and just do it. So I did. On Friday I ran a mile for the first time in over a decade. Didn't push myself and clocked in a respectable 9:48. It was actually better than I thought I was going to do, TBH. Went out again yesterday after work and ran 9:04. I can probably push it below the nine minute mark, though it probably already is because the track in the park by my house is slightly longer than a quarter mile. Next time I'm going to see if I can run two miles and eventually work my way up to 5K. I'm actually excited about this, seeing how well I can run and trying to improve it. It's kind of like the way I approach golf. It's funny because I used to hate running. Now I'm researching clothing for different weather and waterproof socks. I've always said that if I started playing golf as a teenager, I probably wouldn't been disciplined enough to stick with it. Seeing now that my entire attitude towards running has changed as I've matured, I'm more confident than ever at the validity of that statement.
  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
    It's been a different kind of year for me, in regards to golf. Just about a year ago... I found out that the job I'd had for over 7 years was going away. With it... a decent salary and a very, very flexible schedule would be going away too. Luckily, I had made a great friend through golf who immediately offered me an opportunity. It was going to come with a steep learning curve and, early on... a sizable decrease in pay... but it was a job. With those changes came some choices. I decided to leave the club I was a member at... dedicate more time to work... and life was just going to be different than it had been. Golf, which is about the only 'activity' I get out for, has taken a back seat. With less playing time and less practice time, it means in increase in my scores when I do get to play. Gone are the rounds in the low 80's which could creep into the high 70's if it all came together. Instead, the scores hover around the mid 90's with the random score in the 80's on a day when I don't chunk 50% of my short game shots. Still... I knew that the second half of the year would be better for my golf game. I have plans to play both the the Champions and the Stadium Courses at TPC Scottsdale in September. There's a 3 round tournament in Hilton Head during the middle part of October. There's some tournaments in August that I'm looking forward to, as well. All that aside... the big thing is that we're planning to join a club again in the coming months. No more battling for tee times on public courses. No more 'surprises' on the public courses where half of the fairways are gone. I'll be back in a comfortable spot with a solid practice area and availability to get out and practice various aspects of my game on the course... and hopefully that means the return of my scores where they were at this time last year. Anyway... all that aside, I have been patient and optimistic. The Thursday before Father's Day, I was surprised by my wife when she told me to pack my clubs, my shoes and some clothes. We were headed down to Hilton Head (which is quickly becoming my second favorite place on Earth) for the weekend to play golf! She told me that she had made a tee time for Sunday morning. When I asked where, she told me we would be playing Harbour Town on Sunday morning! She knew it was on my list... and she wanted to give me an experience. Although she's very new to golf (maybe 10 rounds under her belt)... she wanted to play too, but we were concerned that it was going to be too much for her to handle there since the caddies were going to press the pace. After some discussion, she said she'd just ride along instead and enjoy the course and seeing me play. To make up for it, I contacted Palmetto Dunes and asked if we could get out on the Jones Course at some point Saturday afternoon. I explained that we'd have our daughters (12 & 13) with us... but that they'd just want to ride along. The woman I was dealing with replied and said she had reached out to the director of golf there and he would provide us a four-seater cart and not charge us any riding fees for the girls. We got a great rate... booked a 2:15pm tee time... and were ready for a great time! I was a little nervous because I hadn't played in a month leading up to that weekend... and when I had played, my scores were pretty rough. I was looking at Saturday as a way to kind of 'warm up' for Harbour Town. Everything I had heard from friends who played it... the course was tight and scores could get out of hand in a hurry if I wasn't careful. The Saturday round was peaceful and relaxing. I didn't play well, but I enjoyed spending the time on the course with my wife and girls. The scenery was as perfect as I described it to my wife. She was excited to play the 10th hole and see the ocean from the green... and she was just generally excited to be playing and seeing exactly what I'd been saying to her about golf on Hilton Head. It's just better, in my opinion. I love the layouts. I love the Spanish moss hanging from the trees. I love the gators in the ponds. It's just special to play there. On Sunday morning... it was time to head to Harbour Town. The girls stayed in the hotel while my wife and I headed across the island to Sea Pines. My tee time was 7:39am that morning and I was in the first group off. We arrived a little later than planned so I was a little rushed once we got to the course, but we were surprised when the attendant in the shop said he wasn't going to charge my wife the rider fee of $50 because the course was going to be slow and they had plenty of carts. After my wife spent some time looking around in the pro-shop... I headed over to the range to hit a few balls. After about 10 swings... I realized it was already 7:30 and I needed to get my stuff together and head to the first tee. As I approached the first tee... our caddie for the day was there waiting for us. Randy had been a caddie at Harbour Town for about 7 years and was a 2.0 index from the blue tees at the course. While Randy and I were talking, the rest of our group showed up. It was a father and his 2 adult sons who had surprised him with this round for Father's Day as well. After some brief discussion, it was decided that my 13.0 handicap would best be suited for the white tees (6253 yards... 71.4 rating... 136 slope). I was given the honor... Randy retreated up the fairway to keep an eye on shots... and away we went. What follows is a hole-by-hole recap. I wouldn't be upset if you skipped past this now... but for my own selfish reasons... I'm gonna post it all. Hole 1 - Par 4 - 380 Yards -- Handicap Hole 11 Tight. That was the word that kept running through my mind all weekend. Standing on the first tee... I could tell that it was true. Randy's instructions were to not miss left... but don't miss right either. At 380 yards... at 7:40 in the morning... at sea level... I didn't have another club to hit. It was driver or bust for me. Luckily, I made a pretty decent swing and the ball trickled just off the fairway on the left side. As I got to my ball... I had about 100 yards to go. I guess they had moved the tees up quite a bit! If I had known that... I would have hit a 4 iron off the tee and left myself an 8 iron or something. Oh well... it worked out in the end. I was told short was better than long... so I took less club and came up a little shy of the green. A decent pitch to 4 feet and a smooth putt and I walked back to the cart to put a par on my card. I wish I had known there was only going to be 1 more of those on the card that day. Even through 1 Hole 2 - Par 5 - 471 Yards -- Handicap Hole 13 This was not as tight. In fact, it looked pretty open. I took a more aggressive swing with my driver... and although I struck it well, I found myself up the right side, kinda blocked out. I wanted to punch it through the pines on the corner with a 5 iron... but I topped it instead. I was left with about 170 yards from a waste area. Trying to play a fade didn't work out well, and instead... I pushed it and short-sided myself. An okay pitch ran to the far side of the green and I needed 2 putts for a bogey. It could have been worse. +1 through 2 Hole 3 - Par 4 - 381 Yards -- Handicap Hole 9 "Hit your drive up the right side so you'll have an open look at the green." Okay Randy, thanks for the tip! I pulled my drive low and left. It sat in the rough up the left side. My only shot was to aim at the trap to the right of the green and try to get up & down. I hit my target with an 8 iron... but the ball finished just out of the bunker on a slope with a steep uphill lie. My wedge went completely under the ball and I didn't even get the ball to the green. My putt from the fringe came up 4 feet short and I made that for bogey. +2 through 3 Hole 4 - Par 3 - 165 Yards -- Handicap Hole 15 On our drive down, my wife asked me if there were any specific holes I was looking forward to on Harbour Town. I told her that I was especially looking forward to 4, 14, 17 and 18. Well... here we were! What water? The pin was right at about 158 yards from the tees. It should have been a perfect 7 iron. Well... it would have been if I hit it solidly. Instead... I came up well short. I wiped my brow when the ball landed and it was still dry. My pitch from about 25 yards (yeah... I struck that 7 iron wonderfully) ran over the left edge of the cup and finished 7 feet above the hole. Tricky putt coming back. It leaked to the right at the last second and I made a 3rd consecutive bogey. +3 through 4 Hole 5 - Par 5 - 497 Yards -- Handicap Hole 5 "See those electrical boxes up the right side? Aim for those. They're the perfect starting line. Oh... one last thing. Don't go left. You can't see it, but there's water there." C'mon Randy! Don't let that be the last thing you say to me! I was focused on those electrical boxes. Now... I'm worried about trouble I can't see! Well... I avoided the water. I started the ball at those electrical boxes... and then it faded off of them and landed in the trees. Dang! I didn't finish my swing. My chip out of the woods with an 8 iron wasn't great... but I was just trying to lay up to about 140 yards or so now, so... easy swing. Whoops! That's not the club face. Drop 4... hitting 5. Topped it. Hit a low cut that finished about 30 yards short of the green. My wife put her head down and put the camera down too. She was embarrassed. So was I. Oh well... this is gonna be a triple now. Time to regroup. From 30 yards... I hit a low pitch that checked perfectly... tracked the entire way and dropped in for an unlikely double! CRAP! She put the camera away! Stupid unseen water hazard. +5 through 5 Hole 6 - Par 4 - 373 Yards -- Handicap Hole 3 "Aim for the last tree up the left side. That's the perfect target for you. It's open here so, driver is a good play." Cool... thanks Randy! I smashed my drive. Right at that tree. "Oh... that may have run through the waste area into the hazard." Well... at least he didn't tell me about the hazard this time until AFTER I hit it there! I took a drop... and had an angry white-faced hornet coming at me. I had inadvertently parked the cart on it's nest. My wife ran into the fairway. The drink cart lady ran with her. I got to the cart... put it in reverse... backed up about 10 yards... let the hornet back in his home... and then messed up the rest of the hole en route to a triple. Gators? Snakes? No big deal. Hornets?!? Way to rattle my nerves, Harbour Town! +8 through 6 Hole 7 - Par 3 - 160 Yards -- Handicap Hole 17 "No real trouble here. Just don't go in the sand that surrounds the entire hole. It's a real tough up & down from there!" The tees were up a bit... so it was an 8 iron for me. 100%... no doubt. My wife's behind me with her phone taking pictures and/or video. Make this a good swing. Clearly I had too much crap running through my head this day. My swing was okay... the contact was meh... and my 8 iron fell out of the sky 20 yards short and in the bunker. I'll have to look at that swing on the video or pictures she took. "Oh... I was taking pictures of this little toad on the tee box. I didn't know you were hitting yet." I didn't want to see it anyway. Splashed out of the bunker... nearly holed out... but it ran by about 6 feet and left me another quick, downhill putt. Nope. Bogey. +9 through 7 Hole 8 - Par 4 - 405 Yards -- Handicap Hole 1 Wonderful... the most difficult hole on the course and I'm playing my worst golf of the day. "The big tree up the right side is your target. Let it fly." I did just that. I let it fly right at that big tree with a nice, tight draw. I was through the fairway and had about 145 to the hole, out of the rough. Tired of coming up short... I took an extra club but I flared it out to the right a bit. I was pin high, but off the green. As I got out of the cart, I told my wife I was going to chip in. From behind the green, one of the guys I was playing with chipped in for par just before it was my turn. I clipped the ball perfectly... it checked up just enough and rolled up to about 2 feet before stopping. Close... but not close enough. Tap in for par though! +9 through 8 Hole 9 - Par 4 - 298 Yards -- Handicap Hole 7 Easily my most frustrating hole of the day. This hole is pretty wide open. Not a ton of trouble. Let it go and leave a little wedge into the green or lay back and take a full short-iron into the green. You choose. "You're hitting the ball well off the tee. Let it go! Rip it at the clubhouse." Sounds good to me, Randy! I blistered my drive into the breeze and found the center of the fairway. I left myself about 50 yards to the flag. No real trouble. Just make a nice swing and put it close. The other option is to completely decelerate... chunk it 10 yards and hit the same shot from a little closer. That was the path I elected to follow. Next swing was better but tugged. From 25 feet, I rolled the putt 2 feet past and tapped in for a bogey to close out the front side. +10 through 9 So... it was pretty much what I was expecting. I figured on a few pars and a hiccup hole or two. Take the 5th and 6th holes out and it was not a bad score for that side. Having now played much... those 50 yard shots that I messed up on the 9th hole are becoming my nemesis, so... I wasn't shocked by that, just annoyed. My putting was decent. I missed a pair of putts that should have gone in. By my count... if I was playing or practicing more consistently, I could have been 4-5 strokes lower, but... it was what it was. I was excited to get to the back nine and see what was in store for me there! Hole 10 - Par 4 - 398 Yards -- Handicap Hole 12 After a quick stop to use the restroom, wash my hands & face and grab some water... we were on the 10th tee. Randy didn't have much advice on this hole. It was pretty straightforward. Avoid the left side where the water was and you'd be okay. This is a quick recap for this hole. I put 2 balls in the water... took my maximum score and sat in the cart enjoying the scenery while the rest of the group played the hole. +13 through 10 Hole 11 - Par 4 - 387 Yards -- Handicap Hole 6 This is another fairly straightforward hole. I made it ugly by yanking my tee shot way left. It went nowhere, fell down in the trees and forced me to punch out. I was kind of aggravated at this point... hit a poor 5 iron heavy and short... pitched on to about 12 feet and two-putted for a double. Not the start to the back nine I was looking for. +15 through 11 Hole 12 - Par 4 - 376 Yards -- Handicap Hole 8 "Do not try to cut the corner. I've only seen one person cut the corner in all the time I've been here. Jason Day blasted a 4 iron up over the trees. To this day, I don't know how he saw that line and decided to take it but it was the best shot I've seen on this course. Ever." Okay then, Randy. I hit about as good a shot as I could there. I nice little fade that started up the left side of the fairway and peeled back to the center and bent around the corner of the left-to-right dogleg. I was left with about 130 yards to the pin. Again, I took more club because I'd been coming up short... and again, I pushed it out to the right. I got very aggressive with my chip and it rolled 23 feet beyond the hole and led to a bogey, wasting a perfect tee shot. I'm definitely not Jason Day. +16 through 12 Hole 13 - Par 4 - 339 Yards -- Handicap Hole 10 "You cannot be on the left side of this fairway and have any look at the green. Stay out to the right. Less than driver. If you listen to anything I've said today... make it be this. Do not go left." Oh Randy... you're faith in my ability to control where the ball goes is almost amusing. Less than driver... breeze into my face... no control with my 3 wood. Hybrid it is. I struck it like crap... but it stayed to the right side of the fairway. I landed in the rough right next to a sprinkler head. Good thing because my lie was garbage. After a drop for relief from the sprinkler head... I was left with 155 yards or so to the flag. Here comes Randy... "Long. Do NOT be short." Yes sir. Extra club... perfect flight... lands past the flag... and over the back of the green. "Good. You'll get up & down from there way easier than from that front bunker." My chip checked in a hurry and stopped 15 feet from the hole. I never gave it a shot and tapped in for a bogey. +17 through 13 Hole 14 - Par 3 - 148 Yards -- Handicap Hole 18 This is THE hole I was most looking forward to. I'd seen it so many times on TV. I'd played it in video games. I just couldn't wait to get here. "Don't dunk it." C'mon Randy... you're better than that! Don't do that to me. The bottom edge of my 9 iron struck the ball firmly in the equator. The ball never got higher than my shin. It screamed over the green into a spot that Randy said he'd never seen anybody ever play from. Well... you're welcome for the memory, Randy. Dead from where I was... I had to close my eyes because I had twigs from the trees I was under poking at them. I hacked a wedge out of the trees but short of the green. I then chipped to about 5 feet and made that putt for bogey. Certainly could have gone way worse than that, but... I wanted a par at that hole. Stupid golf. +18 through 14 Hole 15 - Par 5 - 541 Yards -- Handicap Hole 4 Last par 5 of the day. Gotta make it a good one. Swing hard! Wait... scratch that... that's a bad idea. I did it anyway... and pulled it into the trees again. Punch out... attempt to hit a low, swooping draw that hangs up in the rough... push an 8 iron way right of the green... flub the pitch... blade the next one over the green... chip to 6 feet... one hand it in for a triple. That's my blueprint for most par 5 holes anyway. +21 through 15 Hole 16 - Par 4 - 361 Yards -- Handicap Hole 14 "The tree straight ahead is in the middle of the fairway. There's room to either side of it. Left of it brings the bunker into play. Right of it just makes the approach slightly longer, but it's a short hole." See... THIS is the type of information I'd love to have had throughout the day, Randy! Tell me what my target is. Inform me what my options are and the risks and/or rewards to each option... then let me choose. I hit a poor driver at the tree that faded just to the right and went into the rough, but I was left with 145 yards or so to the green with nothing in the way. Simple game! My 8 iron hit the green (although it was 50 feet from the hole) and I finally had my first (and only) green in regulation on the day. An awful putt left me 7 feet and I missed that for my only three-putt of the day. Bogey. Dang! +22 through 16 Hole 17 - Par 3 - 159 Yards -- Handicap Hole 16 Wow. Just... wow. I've played a lot of golf holes. I've played in the mountains... at the beach... in the Caribbean. Without a doubt, this is the prettiest hole I've played so far. It was a gorgeous day... blue skies with a few clouds. The view was just spectacular. The struggle throughout the round was worth this view. The $300+ greens fee was worth this view. Everything was perfect here. I was too distracted to care that I flared another 7 iron short and right of the green. My pitch checked up quickly again and I needed 2 putts from 18 feet for another bogey. I didn't care. What a golf hole. +23 through 17 Hole 18 - Par 4 - 414 Yards -- Handicap Hole 2 This hole is the one every golfer knows. Calibogue Sound all along the left side of the hole. The iconic light house in the distance beyond the green. The reeds between the tee and the fairway... and then again between the fairway and the green. The mile-wide fairway. It was picture time. Randy took photos for everybody on the tee and then said he'd do the same on the green when we finished up. "It's a little down wind. The fairway is there. Just... hit it." Indeed. My final drive of the day was my best drive of the day. I couldn't find trouble unless I hit the ball 50+ yards offline in either direction. Swing away! Right down the middle. Second longest drive of the day. I smiled... picked up my tee... breathed a sigh of relief... and hugged my wife for giving me this opportunity. Once to the ball, I still had 182 to the hole. All carry over the reeds. I hadn't missed an iron shot left all day so the water wasn't in play. Start the ball at the flag... let it peel off to the right. Tons of room over that way. Easy 5 iron... and I pull hooked it into Calibogue Sound. I dropped where I crossed... hit a wedge to about 13 feet... left the bogey putt short and tapped in to finish out my day. +25 through 18 After we had all finished up and looked back down the fairway... it was again time for pictures. The dad and his sons in front of the lighthouse. Then my wife and I with the lighthouse in the background and the Harbour Town flag flapping in the breeze. All this in a few minutes over 4 hours. It was awesome. I played like garbage... but I didn't care. I was just happy to have had the experience. My wife went above and beyond to get me there. I knew I'd play there eventually... but to have it happen unexpectedly made it all even more memorable. As far as single rounds go... it was the most money I'd ever played for one round. It was worth every penny. Randy was awesome. Great stories throughout. Laughed with us (and at us when we hit poor shots). He talked a little smack... told us about himself... inquired about our lives... and overall, just added an extra fun element to the round. It was like having a golfing buddy there as a caddie. My wife took a bunch of pictures throughout the round. She and I laughed together about my bad shots (and there were plenty). We took in the scenery. We enjoyed the jokes in the group and had a good time. After the round, I went into the locker room to clean up a little. It was also amazing. In addition to the lockers and typical showers... there was an entire lounge upstairs with a phenomenal view. Down in the pro-shop, my wife bought me a polo and she bough herself a travel mug to add to her collection. We headed out... collected the girls from the hotel... went back to Sea Pines to walk around a bit and then took the 4 hour drive back home. Where The Ocean Course at Kiawah was a 10 round fight for me... Harbour Town was like a Sunday drive. The rumors are true. It's a tight course... but if you've got control of your ball, it's not that bad. The rough isn't overly thick (supposedly because they want you further penalized by rolling through the rough and into the trees & waste areas). The greens are as small as they claim. I wasn't playing well, but I hit only 1 green in regulation. I average about 6-7 when I play. I'm looking forward to going back when my game is a little sharper. Until the next one... CY
  16. 2 points
    Distance control is an "athletic" thing for most golfers. Unless you're Bryson DeChambeau, who knows that a 12" backstroke makes the ball go 15.739 feet (or whatever), players tend to putt best when they tap into their athleticism. That's why studies will point out how golfers putting from 25+ feet with their eyes looking at the hole often have better distance control (even though they slightly mishit some putts) than golfers looking down at the ball. Combine both: do what Tiger Woods learned to do from his dad. When taking his last look at the hole, he'd take a mental "snapshot" - a picture - of the hole, the green between him and the hole, his putt. Then, when he looks down at the ball, he sees the ball but he also sees the "photo" and then, per his dad's instructions, he "putts into the picture." I do this, and almost always have, even though when I started playing golf it didn't have a "title."
  17. 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!
  18. 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?
  19. 1 point
    Very good home-run hitting swing on the left. Better golf swing on the right.
  20. 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.”
  21. 1 point
    I thought last week was bizarre, but let me tell you about this week. I'm sure that many of you have heard about the tornado outbreak last Monday on Memorial Day. We now have 12 confirmed tornadoes in the Miami Valley. One was a strong EF-3 that did major damage. With all of this, there was only 1 fatality when a flying car crashed into a house killing an 81 year man who was sleeping. The most destructive of these was on a track to my neighborhood, but turned south a little about 5 miles west of us. We were hunkered down in our laundry room and heard a the freight train sound as it passed several miles to the south of us. We came out of our safe area and started watching the news again only to find another EF-2 heading straight for us. This one did not turn, but fortunately it stopped just short of our neighborhood about a quarter of a mile from our house. I have never heard hail pound our house like that. Fortunately, it only left a small ding on the top of my car and a few on my kids cars. I drove through the war zone like area to make sure that everything was OK at work since we had 3rd shift people there. Our servers shut down nicely, but our firewall was throwing hard drive errors and needed to be replaced. Our Internet connections are down and look to be for a few more days as they repair massive damage to power poles. Where the tornado crossed the road less than a mile north of work, they were using snow plows to clear debris. Guard rails were twisted up like flimsy metal,. Trees and buildings were leveled. My former employer who is just up the road sustained no damage even though their neighbors buildings are almost rubble. Heavy equipment was upside down. Work is still without power and likely will be for a few more days. We rented a large generator trailer and are able to process parts for our customers, but our IT infrastructure is struggling as am I with lack of sleep. In the midst of all this, I thought my home course, Kittyhawk, would be in horrible shape, but the larger tornado missed it by a half mile to the south while the other missed it by a quarter mile or so to the north. Other than having no power or water, they were open for business Tuesday evening, so I went out for golf league. You can see the [rotten] fruit of that effort on my Game Golf. The greens were exceptionally slow given the lack of maintenance, but that is quite understandable. The president of our golf league says that he is not going to count the round because of the conditions. I'm calling BS since the course was open with no pending weather that day. We have played in monsoon rain before because the course was open. The other leagues were playing and there was one other person from our league there as well. That is 2 out of the six of us. Thoughts on this? This Memorial Day will be quite memorable, but unfortunately not what it is supposed to be memorable for.
  22. 1 point
    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.
  23. 1 point
    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…
  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.
  25. 1 point
    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!
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  • Posts

    • Even with recent course closures, there has only been one day that I've trouble getting out on the course. I played with a friend from HS on Sunday morning. I called Thursday and got a 10:10 tee time.
    • Back in the day I could hit the ball a mile! Played near a scratch handicap. Also walked and carried a lightweight stand bag for many year despite an ACL reconstruction on my right knee, and MCL sprain in my left, various and sundry ankle breaks and sprains, and a left shoulder separation. But, after some time, my knees informed me that they no longer liked that!  So, I bought a pull cart. Played that way for quite a few years, until my knees started talking to me again! I fought against it for years until a 9 hole round of league golf would have me in pain for much of the week made me decide to ride in a cart!  You have to deal with reality! 
    • I tend to go with the higher quality (potentially older) used clubs.
    • A bit off topic but I believe the extended tee times both separate groups but also limit the number of carts on the course.  15 minute splits  puts a maximum of 16 carts on the course per hour and a total of 64 maximum in 4 hours.  Many of our local courses only have about 60 carts so to keep carts available to the groups later in the day, they limit how many go out. As to all the games that are being played at @FlyingAce's private club, I might seek out similarly affected members and go as a group to the head pro. Present a series of reasonable changes you would like to see instituted.  Give the pro a chance to make things right.  If he ignores your reasonable requests, it might be time to find a new club.
    • It is harder to find a tee time, for sure.  Palm Beach County just a few days ago started requiring a credit card to make a reservation.

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