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  1. 11 points
    I'm having a mental game expert address some of my juniors next Saturday, and I had some additional notes for him. Stuff I wanted him to include that may be particular to my program, the way I teach, my LSW information, etc. And I thought some of you might benefit. So here's that part of the email: 1. Practice is not playing. I'd like them to know that when they're working on their swing, they care what the mechanics are, they care what things "look" like somewhat, they care about making the best MECHANICS or something, to change or improve. But when they're playing, it's all about the results, not what it looks like. Better mechanics eventually lead to better scores, but sometimes you have to find a swing that works THAT DAY. 2. One or two bad shots is not a pattern. If you duck hook it off the first three tees, then yes, you might want to do something different the next time you get a driver out, but don't rush into changing your entire swing thought or game plan after one or two or even three slightly funny shots, or you'll be changing something after EVERY bad swing, which happens more often than people realize. 3. Have realistic expectations. PGA Tour players: make 50% of their 8-footers and only 15% of their 20-footers. On better greens. Average 2.8 shots from 100 yards out in the fairway. They hit it to about 18' on average. Hit about 60% of their fairways, but almost always keep it "between the ropes." Hit three to four "great shots" per round on a great day. Their standard is higher, but still… they don't love every shot they ever hit. They also hit shanks, chunk chips, etc. You only see the leaders on TV. Get up and down only 2/3 times. Scrambling is tough. But they almost never take two chips or two bunker shots. Then of course, talk about how having proper expectations for yourself will be very personal. Expectations can be for one shot or for the score for 18 holes. 4. Have proper expectations and goals for entering tournaments, but enter them BEFORE you're "ready" for them. You might have a better way of saying this, but basically, we entered Natalie in HJGT events before she was anywhere near competitive for them… so that by the time she was competitive in them (now), she'd know what they were like. It's NEVER a bad thing to play as many events where you have to put your name and a number up on a scoreboard for all to see - it can only be BAD if you have unrealistic expectations about your abilities. Go into competitive golf with the proper mindset - that you're LEARNING how to compete, LEARNING how to deal with it all, how to handle the slow pace of play, playing under the rules, playing with strangers, everything… go in with the proper mindset and it's all about growth, regardless of the outcome.
  2. 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'.
  3. 7 points
    Hello again, I haven't written one of these blogs in a long while. I haven't really been on the site for a long while. I had been practicing and posting every day for 405 days, That streak came to an end on May 10, 2018, when I went into the hospital. The last 11 months I have been going through things outside of golf, that are more important for my growth as a human being. Golf is my getaway, my therapy, my distraction, and my hobby. I love the game, it sometimes doesn't love me back when I'm playing it. Whether I'm hitting a 9-iron at the second that checks up too soon or I lip out that 4-footer on 18 for a 71, Golf is hard (R). I've decided that I really don't care that it's hard, I've decided that I just want to go out and relax and have fun playing the game. In the city championship last Labor Day weekend, I made the flight finals for the first time. I've played in that tournament every year since 2010, I lost 7 & 5 (ironically I played the same guy in the finals this year as I did in my first ever match), 2011 4 & 3, 2012 I was really sick Sunday and had to W/D, 2013, I lost 1 up, 2014 I lost 2 & 1 2015 I finally won a match 3 & 2 (It helped that I was out-driving my opponent by 70 yards), then lost 7 and 5, 2016 I lost 1 up, 2017 I made the semis and lost 3 and 2, Last year I hilariously won the 12th hole of my first match with a triple-bogey 8, to go 1 up in the match. Whilst laughing about it on the way to the 13th. I proceeded to play the next three holes, par, par, birdie to win 4 & 3. In the semifinals, I was 1 down after 6, (I started terribly was something like 4 over through 6 medal), I chipped in for birdie at 7, made par at 8, made birdie at 9 after hitting a terrible drive (I knocked the third shot to 4 feet), made bogey at 10, nearly made 1 at 11 (ended up making 3 I missed a 5 footer that was already conceded), and birdied 12. I went from 1 down, to 5 up in 6 holes, I put the match away with a par on 13 and won 6 & 5. (yes I won 10 with a bogey, my opponent had trouble with the right side trees, the only reason I made 6 was I took 3 to get down from 5 feet off the front of the green) I played the last 7 holes in 2-under and didn't even know I was playing that well until someone told me after my match ended. I was playing well but got tanked in the final 7 & 6. I did not play badly. I won just 2 holes, the 2nd and the 11th, however, that being said, I was losing holes to pars and birdies, I made only one double-bogey and that was on the 7th which is a par-3 (It was a good 5 too, I pushed a 7-iron into Fall Creek which is Oscar Bravo, and made 3 with the second ball, nearly holing a 15-footer to halve the hole. I think he shot 1 or 2 over, I shot 8 or 9 over and we halved #9 with birdies, which was a funny exchange, because he chipped in from just short of the green and I holed about a 30-footer on top of him. It was very different finishing second in my flight instead of last or T-3 twice. Going into the tournament, I decided that I was going to go out and just have fun, and whatever happened so be it. Over the winter I didn't do much practicing, as a matter of fact, very little. If you've seen my signature, I have different clubs in play right now but still have my Exotics bag. Actually might actually switch to Maltby from GolfWorks for the time being. I don't necessarily need the best and greatest new clubs. Becky and I separated for 5 months between October and March and we have since reconciled. Without getting to personal, one of our goals we came up with, was to try to do a hobby together. She tried golf a couple times with me, (she actually witnessed me birdie both par-fives on the front which I seldom do), but we decided we were going to either bowl or try disc golf. Come to find out disc golf is very inexpensive to get started in. I'm still trying to figure out the rules, but I'll get it. It's fun, it takes less time than real golf and is just as tricky. I was talking to one of our regulars at the golf course about it just yesterday, we're making predictions on which one I break par in first, disc golf or traditional golf. I've played 9 holes twice this year so far. The first time out I really didn't putt so I couldn't count it, but I estimate, I shot probably 39 or 40 on the front (or white tees, Newman is 9 holes with 2 sets of tees). Yesterday I shot 38, with one of the scratch players playing skins and they we're surprised. I didn't make any birdies but my par with a half-whack on 18 was good enough for $15, and my scratch partner and I cleaned up in the side match too. for my two bogeys, I lipped out on 11 after a decent bunker shot, and I was short sided and laid-up my chip to 15 feet on 14, and singed the edge, the rest we're all pars. I covered his double on 10 and his bogey on 18 (he birdied 12, 14, and 17 to shoot 36) so we were 3-under as a best ball team. I'm playing well, I have a very simple pre-shot routine with one swing-thought, right foot, left foot. My balance is a lot better, I actually finally figured out where the "balls of the feet" are. The step-through is now gone, my balance is back, and hopefully with any luck at all, I might get down into the 4.x by the end of the season, it'll be difficult, but I think with my new approach I can do it. I'll give you guys an update this time in May on how my game is doing to see if I've improved. For those of you who are wondering, Alina shot 49 for 9 holes last week (She's 5 1/2). She went with me and I really didn't play, She did. Mike told me. "Be careful, out there" She striped he drive from the actual ladies tee on #1 over the bunker, (She carries it about 125 yards now, and she is deadly with her hybrid (She has one of those now as she outgrew her other set). I played a little (I only brought a few clubs to pitch, chip and putt with so I had my 9-iron, wedges and putter with me. She actually beat me on #7, She made par and I made bogey and I didn't let her win the hole I legitimately did make bogey. When she parred 7, I knew she had a shot to break 50. This group of ladies was behind Alina and I, and they usually would be a little snotty about a twosome in front playing slow (we weren't Alina plays nine in 1:45). Saw Alina, par the 7th. To par she was +10 through 7. (She made 9 on #1) She piped a drive and hit 2 hybrids on the green at #8 and almost made par, tapped in for bogey, She hit a perfect drive on 9 and I let Alina make this decision herself, she grabbed her driver for her second shot (She got it just short of 250 out, off a 140 yard bullet), I think she thought she needed birdie to break 50, but she only needed a 7 (I don't tell Alina her cumulative scores, I tell her at the end) She topped one down there about 50 yards just short of 200, she then hits hybrid, hybrid on the front of the green (pin was all the way back) And three-putted for double... But that was all she needed for her first sub-50 9-holes. One of the ladies behind us, came up and asked me what she'd shot, I said "49 and she started with a 9." Alina plays the par-3s well at Newman from the ladies tees mainly because, well, it's just a driver for her. I talked to a local pro recently about maybe getting her a fuller set, and he advised against it for now, as her game develops and when she gets older then we can revisit that then. Not bad for a kid that plays 3 or 4 9-hole rounds a year at this point. But asks me to go hit golf balls all the time. She stripes it and I mean stripes it.
  4. 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 hav every different tempos. The shorter putt will have a slower tempo than the longer putt.
  5. 5 points
    I am constantly critiquing myself. I give a lot of good lessons. Lessons about which I feel I did really well. Lessons I'd give myself an "A" for giving; not an A+, mind you, which almost never happens. But As and A-s. And I'm a pretty harsh grader. But today I gave a C+ lesson that I may have recovered and turned into a B+ lesson, if only by recognizing it early enough. The details are unimportant, but basically, I found myself talking about something that was probably priority #3 or #4 for the guy. It had to do with hand speed, when really his focus is on his turn and hip drive/slide. He asked a question, and rather than my usual vocal "That's not something we need to worry about now" (or some variant of that), I answered it. Then when I was done I recognized that I'd said too much, that it was unrelated, and I backtracked a bit by saying something like this: "Look, I just made a mistake, so I'm hoping you can overcome that by forgetting all of what I just said, because it's not related to what I'm trying to get you to do today." Then I spent extra time really simplifying even further and re-iterating the two things I wanted him to focus on quite a bit. More than I might usually do (and I repeat things a lot in a lesson). I think that being very critical of myself is important, and today I slipped into one of the things I'm most likely to slip into: giving away too much information. It's not about the "giving away" - it's about how if the student is only going to remember three things from a lesson, I don't want one of those three things to be the irrelevant stuff where I just talk about swing theory or something that's not super-specific and super-fitting for them right then. I'll probably follow up with the guy later on, too, to re-iterate the two thoughts I want him to focus on even more. 🙂 So, a bad lesson in my mind. The student was happy, but I was beating myself up in my head.
  6. 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!
  7. 4 points
    Dr. Sasho Mackenzie had a quote in the March issue of Golf magazine that I liked. Listen, there'll always be science-deniers and the belief that none of what I or other researchers do is necessary. They're going to be eroded away. There'll be fewer and fewer of these people once the community realizes that science and technology are simply about learning and understanding better ways to swing a golf club. I no longer feel bad for the instructors who fight it, because the information's out there. If they've got a theory that's different from mine, fine. I'm open-minded. I'll listen. Maybe I've made a mistake, but if they don't have an argument other than, "I believe in my method," then okay. I can't do anything else. We can't have a logical debate. I just feel bad for the golfers they're teaching. Emphasis mine. Unfortunately, another quote applies: You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.
  8. 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.
  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
    We're in that special hell of rules controversies with the implementation of the new Rules of Golf. There have been some growing pains with the new rules, and that has allowed the golf media to tee off on its favorite target, the USGA. Which, to be fair, can make itself an easy target: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/despite-harsh-words-from-some-tour-pros-usga-pleased-with-roll-out-of-new-rules-of-golf. That aside, I wanted to talk about the "controversy" about the knee-height drop that the Rules now require. Rickie Fowler got a one stroke penalty for dropping from shoulder height this past weekend. Cue the complaining from him: https://golfweek.com/2019/02/22/rickie-fowler-hit-with-one-shot-penalty-for-illegal-drop-at-wgc-mexico-championship/ I can forgive him - he just had a brain fart, probably didn't gain an advantage in this situation, it cost him money. I'm always annoyed when I get a penalty, personally, and it's absolutely never my fault, okay? But cue the pearl clutching from the media: https://www.golf.com/news/2019/02/25/backstopping-pro-tours-under-policed/ I'm here to tell you that this is wrong, and knee-height drops actually make a ton of sense. One of the best things the new Rules do is simplify dropping. Now, all you have to do when dropping is land the ball in the relief area (without touching you or your equipment before hitting the ground) and ensure the ball comes to rest in the relief area. If you don't do this, you have to redrop. Pretty simple. Yes, you have to figure out what your relief area is, but that's pretty simple, too. (For a fuller explanation of this, see Rule 14 and the definitions in the Rules of Golf.) The old rules were much more complex. Specifically, if your ball rolled to one of 9 areas after you dropped it, you had to redrop. For example, if your ball rolled more than 2 club lengths away from where your ball hit the ground, you had to redrop. You had to know all of these 9 areas to know if you needed to redrop or not. So, the new way is simpler, right? Instead of learning 9 different triggers for a redrop, you only have to learn 1. Great! Why am I talking about when you have to redrop? This is why we're dropping from knee height. Generally, under the new Rules, your ball cannot go as far after hitting the ground as it used to without triggering a redrop. Dropping from knee height reduces the chance that a redrop will be necessary. It also means that a ball has less of a chance of embedding in sand when you drop it. It makes a ton of sense, really. Now, you might say, that's all fine, but why not allow dropping a ball from anywhere above knee height? I think you could easily game the rules to be able to place the ball when you really want to by simply dropping from shoulder height instead of knee height. Think about dropping on a side slope, for example. You're much more likely to have to redrop and place if you drop the ball from a higher point. Sure, this is rare, but why take the chance? We're all on the same page, right? Knee-height drops make a lot of sense. (If you want to know more about the changes to dropping, this is an excellent article that talks about this in a bit more detail: https://rulesgeeks.com/2018/12/30-days-of-2019-rules-changes-day-16-procedure-for-dropping-a-ball-in-playing-it-from-a-relief-area/) Now to the point of all of this: golf media, please take 5 minutes to understand the rule before issuing a HAWT TAKE about the rule. The USGA has a one page sheet that explains the rule: http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules-hub/rules-modernization/major-changes/new-procedure-for-dropping-a-ball.html. You don't come off very well when you fail to read that. I know it's fun and easy to just mindlessly bash the USGA, but they do get things right. This is one of them. (Oh and by the way, the Rules are actually really good, as a whole. Maybe I'll talk about that in another post later.)
  11. 3 points
    This isn't apart of my normal road to championship stuff, but just something I thought about a lot in the Kuchar caddy payment thread. Part of the Kuchar issue is what role the caddy actually played, in his win. But, it begs the larger question of what does a caddy really do for a Tour player? Besides the normal role of carrying a bag and raking bunkers, etc., a caddy is, imo, in essence a GPS for the player, a support person, and sometimes a coach. Not that the player can't get the info on their own or that they don't already. But, a player does not make it to the PGA Tour because of a caddy. Many of these guys played in college without caddies. They were already top athletes before they decided to hire an extra hand. They made or bought their own yardage books and marked them up with notes during practice rounds, they found their own yardages, they decided what shots to play throughout the round, they played through any emotional stress, etc, all without a caddy to get to where they are. I said before that a caddy is like a GPS. Well, GPS's should be able to speed up pace of play. A player using a caddy should be able to make decisions faster, and I think this is true most of the time. But I'm sure there are cases where the caddy second guesses the player and then they sit there for 5min debating what idea is best. The real question, I think, is how many strokes is gained purely for a caddy helping by way of being a GPS? I'd say it's a pretty small number and definitely not a stroke per round, because all the info given is something the player can already do for themselves and pace of play is laughable on tour. Another part that a caddy helps with is emotion / mental support. Especially for newer players on Tour who may have a lot of jitters, having a support person to keep the noise (distractions like all the bill boards with their name, pic and stats, all the people or audible noises, and then the typical noise like bunkers or hazards to try and ignore) in check can mean something. Keep you focused on the game when needed and not the emotions that come with the game. After a bad shot or maybe in between shots, distracting the player to make them feel more content. A player doesn't want to be on overdrive or pissed, there's a middle ground where the best golf can be played and having a caddy to help keep you there can save one from a stupid decision or rushed swing. Again, how many strokes can be gained from having a caddy for emotional / mental support? I'd say it's definitely higher than the GPS caddy, but still not a lot. The last part a caddy could help with is by being a coach. This could go either way as for how helpful it is. No one should really be trying to change their swing or routine in the middle of a round as it usually creates more problems than it solves. But like in the case of Holmes in the final round this last weekend, the caddy actually helped adjust his set up with his driver in the middle of the round, and he seemed to hit the ball a bit better after that. It's hard to assign a value here to potential strokes gained, because I don't think it's very common. I could be wrong. Either way, most players, I'd assume, have some sort of back up plan should their swing go haywire, so having a caddy there for this purpose may not be needed. As far as the local caddy vs normal caddy topic, from my own experience at Pinehurst #2, the caddy that was given to our group supposedly knew every crevasse and slope but routinely mis-read breaks on the greens. Maybe he was doing a half-assed job intentionally or maybe he really didn't know the course. Either way, he didn't help for being a GPS caddy (because of having a yardage book and rangefinder) and he definitely didn't help for being a support or mental help caddy. My experience is just one example but a local caddy is unlikely to provide any emotional support to anyone unless they know each other, but may help as far as a GPS caddy. For Kuchar's case, he played/walked the course before marking all his notes, etc. I doubt he needed the caddy for helping with GPS-like stuff, and because the two didn't know each other, the caddy wasn't really a support person. He definitely filled the role of carrying a bag and raking bunkers, but there likely wasn't more to it than that. So, what is a caddy worth? Is it worth paying a few thousand dollars a round for the potential stroke(s) gained on the field? I doubt it's a physical issue because those guys could just as easily carry their own super light bag with a few balls, etc (or I assume push carts are acceptable, just frowned upon). Unless you hire a local caddy, you'd have to pay someone a livable wage for them to constantly travel with you. Or maybe it's not about the golf at all, it's about traveling with someone instead of being bored outside of playing. I don't know. Either way, I think caddies play a minimal role in the performance of the player.
  12. 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?
  13. 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
  14. 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."
  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
    Very good home-run hitting swing on the left. Better golf swing on the right.
  17. 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.”
  18. 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.
  19. 1 point
    mudder noun mud·der | \ˈmədə(r)\ plural -s Definition of mudder 1 : a race horse that runs well on a wet or muddy track 2 : a player or a team (as in football) that performs well on a wet field After my final round of 2018, I was thinking about the course conditions the past month or so. While we have had relatively mild weather, it has been wet. I don’t do particularly well in wet and muddy conditions. I play in all sorts of weather: hot, windy, cold, rainy. Of all the conditions, a wet course presents the greatest challenge for me. I am not a mudder. For me, four factors create a mudder: distance, ball striking, patience and equipment Distance: Wet & soggy courses result in no roll out. Unless one hits the ball for good distance off the tee, the course becomes too long to consistently score. If on average one loses 20 yards a tee shot (and 2nd shots on par 5’s), a 6,700 yard course becomes effectively 7,000+ yards. A 6,300 yarder plays to 6,660 yards. Further, that is figuring only 20 yards per shot are lost; often it is 30+ yards. Of course, moving up one or two tees is an option for casual play but tournament play typically offers no relief. Ball Striking: Wet turf leaves one little margin for error. The slightest fat shot will be a disaster. And the effects of a wet club face and ball compromise distance and spin. One study on the subject supports the idea [ http://blog.tourspecgolf.com/wet-versus-dry-golf/ ] Patience: Wet conditions often results in slower play. Cleaning clubs, fiddling with umbrellas, getting rulings for casual water all slow things down. If carts are being used, cart path only is a real time killer. Even the best players are going to find scoring difficult, so patience and a good attitude are crucial. As Bill Belichick recently said when the forecast was for cold and snow: “We aren’t playing against the weather.” Equipment: A quality rain suit, waterproof shoes, rain gloves and dry towels go a long way toward making soggy conditions more playable. When one is wet and cold or spending extra time trying to avoid being wet and cold, one game often suffers. When one is equipped properly, one’s attention can go toward playing golf and not merely surviving. I have the patience and equipment. My problems are distance and ball striking. On a good day I might carry a drive 200 yards. On a wet day, any hole 400 yards and over becomes a “par 5” for me. And even the shorter holes find me hitting hybrids and fairway woods for approaches. Hitting off wet turf is an issue too. My less than pure strikes result in an increased number of fat shots. Also, as the “TourSpecGolf” study shows, wet clubs and balls result in shorter carries. Of course, I have never been one to give up when conditions get tough. Sometimes patience can overcome the other factors. My wife and I used to play in a mixed two-person scramble at a local course. We typically ended up in the middle of the pack. One year, on our 2nd hole, the skies opened up, sending a lot of couples back to the clubhouse. My wife asked whether we should go in. “Hell no”, I said, “over half the field is going to quit. That just improved the odds of our winning.” As it turned out, I was correct. We played on and won. Maybe my wife is a mudder!
  20. 1 point
    We probably all have personal markers that tell us the golf season is approaching. Our anticipation grows as we tick off the events at foreshadow our return to the course. Even those lucky players who reside in more temperate climes likely have a seasonal timeline (e.g. if the course is being over-seeded with rye it must be November; if the tourists are arriving, it must be January; if the rye is dying, it must be April). The pre-season’s kick-off in our little corner of the Mitten is the annual Michigan Golf Show. For the past several decades the show has been held in early March. The arrival of the golf show signals to me that the golf season’s start can’t be far behind. This year, we are only 4 days away from the show and yet we remain in the icy grip of Winter. Four weeks ago, Punxsutawney Phil promised us that Spring was just around the corner. WTF, Phil??? That fat rodent is a liar!! We have had non-stop snow, ice, rain, wind and cold since he publicly declared Spring was just around the corner. In addition to Punxsutawney Phil and the golf show, the are several other signs of golf season approaching. The first is the blooming of our crocuses. In our front flowerbed we have several of these perennial flowers. Because of the southern exposure, those little suckers sometimes pop out in early February. This year, there is not even a hint of these harbingers of Spring. They are still under several inches of snow and ice. Next comes the “clearing of the snow.” As the days get longer and the sun is higher in the sky, the snow on our front lawn has no chance. Patches of olive green and tan start to appear and then one morning, the snow is gone. Once the snow and ice clears, the thawing process for the ground can commence. This year, a look out the window reveals a sea of white, with more being added I as write this. Not an inch of bare ground is visible. Finally, as I drive around the area, I keep an eagle eye out for the surest sign that a course is about to open, flag sticks in the holes. Like golf’s equivalent to daffodils, suddenly a course will be in bloom with brightly colored flags. Of course, in the electronic age there is no need to search for flags; all the courses will email us when they plan to open. It is not as fun as cruising around but certainly more efficient. Sadly, there appears to be no let-up for our weather. The extended forecast is for more of the same: cold & snow. Sooner or later, however, Mother Nature will give us a break from shoveling snow and driving on icy roads. The magical transformation from Winter to Spring will occur. We will once again be on the course, a full season will lie ahead, and great things will happen. I can’t wait.
  21. 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…
  22. 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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  • Posts

    • Whatever happened to just asking to play through?
    • I do rest my driver on the ground. In fact, I tap my driver to make sure the head is sitting on solid ground.  I have an odd setup for my driver. If anyone were to watch me from behind, they’d think I am setting up for a practice swing because the ball and my club head are nowhere near each other! 
    • I have golf trips to Hawaii every year and I fly with Alaska Air. I pack EVERYTHING  into the golf bag so I don’t have to check another bag in. So far no issues. I lock my bag with a TSA approved lock and they always open and rearrange my things. And I always pack to the limit of 50lbs!
    • I believe the issue with distance is small and easily addressed.  Here are my thoughts: Let's say in the not too distant future the PGA tour is made up of guys that look more like long drive competitors.  Big tall muscular athletes that instead of going to the MLB or NFL see a more viable future in golf with distance being at the forefront.   There will still be your sharp shooters that can hit a 7 iron with the same accuracy as some of the bombers hit a wedge but they will be much more rare. When this is the case, they might have to build new longer golf courses that suit these super athletes or expand the existing ones in length.  Why is this a problem?  You only need enough courses to provide a year's worth of weekend tournament play.  These courses can have a much larger gap in the tee blocks so amateur short hitters can still play the courses if they want to see what a golf course played by the big boys feels like.  All the other golf courses in existence can remain the same because as previously mentioned they will still suit >99% of the golfing population.  If you are in the <1% of the golfing population who can hit 340+ yard drives while keeping the ball in play most of the time, then yeah, you are going to over power a lot of old golf courses, congratulations.  If you get really good maybe you can make the PGA Tour and play the big boy courses. A lot of the old history rich courses are going to become obsolete to these new super athletes.  So the tour can do one of two things.  Stop playing there because times have changed and it is what it is.  Or they are treated as separate events with a different set of rules (equipment restrictions).  
    • No they wouldn't..lol. But that was entertaining.

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