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3 Sandbagger

About Saxguy102

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  • Birthday 11/30/1979

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  1. It's been awhile since my last entry, but let me dive back in. After that last round, I wasn't pissed, just frustrated. My first round with new irons was awful. I couldn't hit a solid shot at all and it was probably my worst ball-striking round in 5+ years. Thin, fat, heel, toe, I was all over the place. And all this after an awesome range session witht he new sticks. So I decided to head back to the range before my next round to try again. I started out pretty wild. Lots of skulls and blades. I focused on my head and body movement. I have a tendency to not get set behind the ball and then either slide ahead with my head or to push my body out towards the ball. This leads to a few thigns. If I get a head of it, it's either a blade or a big push. If I dive out over the ball, its a chunk or a push. So I focused on turning and staying behind the ball. It worked like magic. Started hitting a nice controllable shot and immediately felt comfortable. I focused more on crisp contact and fundamentals than anything else. And I'll tell you what, the 710 MB's have an awesome feel when you strike them. I also got my new driver and I was lacing it. Little lower ball fligth than I'm used to, but good to see it hit and run. Felt pretty solid. Next up, a chance to rebound on the course.
  2. So after an awesome practice session, I teed it up 3 days later with my new irons (still no new driver). I thought for sure I'd have a fantastic round. Quite honestly, it was one of the most disappointing rounds I've ever had. I played at Lansbrook again on a nice day, went through my normal routine and set out to the first tee ready to break in the MBs. Course: Lansbrook ( Course Link ) Tees: Gold (Tips) Yardage: 6,846 Rating: 73.3 Slope: 131 I never have a problem off first tee. If anything I get a little tight and hit a big block. Today, I hit a low rope hook into a hazard I honestly didnt know existed. Took my drop, hit a gap wedge (not a new club) to about 50 feet and made the bomb for par. Auspicious start. Even through 1 Second hole, par 5. Smoke driver in the fairway. All ready to lay up with a new iron and I skull the crap out of it. No idea where that came from. Hit gap wedge just right of green and got up and down for par. Even through 2 Hit a 7 iron on the par 3 third well short of bunker (horrible mishit). Got up and down for par. Even through 3 and Ive hit zero solid shots. On 4 I hit 3 wood off tee and hit fairway. Approach was bladed, again into trap. Fluffed first sand shot and knocked second sand shot to abotu 25 feet. Two putted for double. +2 through 4. On five (par 4) I hit driver left, punched out, and then chunked 2 straight shots before hitting a marginal pitch and to putting for another double. +4 through 5 Next hole, par 5 I hit driver left, punch out, miss green with bad iron shot, hit green and three jack it from 20 feet. +6 through 6 with 3 doubles in a row. Still no solid shots. Par 3 seventh is over water and I chunked my iron off tee into hazard. Took drop, missed green, chipped up and two putted for triple. +9 through 7. I hit driver on 8th tee and hit fairway. I then hit a nasty cut with a 8 iron, chunked pitch into bunker but got up and down for bogey. +10 through 8. On 9 I hit driver left, missed green with another poor iron shot and couldnt get up and down taking bogey. +11 through 9 for a 47 and zero solid shots. I'm frustrated. Back 9 isnt any better. Hit the fairway with 3 wood, miss green, cant get up and down. Bogey. +12 through 10. Eleven I miss green wtiha nother poor iron shot, but get up an down for par (finally). +12 through 11. On twelve I blast driver way right, punch out, hit green with pitch, cant get up and down. Bogey. +13 through 12. On the par 5 thirteenth I hit the fairway, and then forgot how to play golf. I take a triple (Im not recounting my poor play anymore). +16 through 13. On 14 I hit the fairway with driver, miss the green, get up and down for par. +16 through 14. I make another par on 15 with a 2 iron to fairway, missed green, but nice up and in. +16 through 15. Sixteen I hit fairway with driver, hit two bad iron shots, miss green, cant get up and down and take bogey. +17 through 16. Par 3 17th, I hit a bad iron shot short and left, cant get up and down, take bogey. +18 through 17. Par 4 18th Ive given up at this point. I hit an ok drive, but miss fairway, miss green, cant get up and in. Bogey. +19 through 18. That's a 91 (47-44). Stats Score: 47 (+11) - 44 (+8) = 91 (+19) Score per Par 3: 4.0 Score per Par 4: 4.9 Score per Par 5: 6.5 (This is ridiculous) Fairways Hit: 3/7 + 5/7 = 8/14 (57%) Missed left on 4 (28.6%) and missed right on 2 (35.7%) Greens Hit: 0/9 + 0/9 = 0/18 (0%) Scrambling: 33.3% Putts: 29 (1.61 putts per green) Sand Shots: 3 with no sand saves Penalties: 2 I hit no greens. None. Not one single stupid green. I honestly can't recall one solid iron shot that I hit. After a great practice session, I couldnt hit a thing. I've only had one day like that before about 8 years ago and it was enough to quit for a few months. This was pretty bad. I immediately felt like I had wasted hundreds of dollars. I hit driver and 3 wood alright, but couldnt do much else. I couldnt make sense of why my range session had been so crisp and just a few days later, I couldnt make solid contact. It had nothing to do with the clubs. Had I been playing with the 990s or a shovel and baseball bat I wouldve hit the ball the same. I talked myself into giving it another practice session during the week and at least a few more rounds. If I didnt see progress, I decided I would just become a once a month golfer. I'm extremely better than a 91. My handicap is soaring in the double digits (not enough rounds to make it official yet). Stupid golf.
  3. I finally got my new irons and was excited to get out on the range to hit them a few times before taking to the course. My driver didn't come in on time (dangit), but I figured swingingthe new irons would be enough. I headed to the range for a practice session for the first time since my goal setting. I took my old 6 iron just to compare in a side by side flight at the range. I warmed up with some gap wedges to loosen up and make sure I was swinging alright before I marked up the blades. After about 15 minutes of stretching and 8-10 gap wedges, I decided it was time to hit the new irons, starting with pitching wedge and working my way up to the 3 iron. I'll admit, I was nervous hitting my first shot. Was hoping I didn't piss away a few hundred bucks. I got set up, drew back the club and made crisp contact. Nice solid ball flight, good feel. I looked at the club face and the grass marks were dead center on the clubface. Awesome feeling. I hit about 8-10 shots withe very club, 80% of them being great shots with a few thin ones here and there. As I got up to the 5 iron I remember everyone saying the CBs would be higher and more forgiving, so I was a little nervous as to what the 3,4, and 5 iron would look like. I hit the first 5 iron and it was a beautiful shot, slight draw, no issues. The height was actually really good. I hit the 4 iron and thought the same and went to the 3 iron. I was really worried after everyone saying how low the ball flight would be and how unforgiving it was. I striped abotu 10 straight 3 irons, all a nice high draw. I then worked my way down with the irons, seeing if I could flight the ball up, down, left, right. With the high irons, I had a hard time flighting it down (existing issue) but could move the ball left and right with ease. The mid and low irons I was able to do pretty much what I wanted with them when making a good swing. Was just a great feeling. So far I felt vindicated in my decision to get new irons. I hit them well, the feeling and responses were great all day. I took them over to the short game area for some chipping (practicing the bump and runs). This is where the setup really helped. The thinner profile had me feeling super confident and I noticed my chips were much more crisp and aggressive. All in all, not a bad session, so I scheduled a round that weekend to see how they handled the course. I'll give you a preview. It was ugly.
  4. After a week or two off from playing due to family matters I teed it up for one last round with my 990s and 983K before my new sticks came in. One last walk with sticks that had seen me go to as low as a 3 handicap before the changing of the guard. I played a course that has always given me fits and hoped to conquer it. Well, I had no such luck. Course: Lansbrook ( Course Link ) Tees: Gold (Tips) Yardage: 6,846 Rating: 73.3 Slope: 131 First hole is a Par 4, 410 yards that doglegs left about 70 degree with water down right and through fairway with OB left. I took 3 wood off the day and nutted it down middle of fairway, witha bout 140 left to flag. The group in front of us waved us through (playing through on first hole, really?) so I proceeded to skull a 9 iron short and right. Hit a horrible pitch to 40 feet or so and two putted for bogey. +1 through 1. Second hole is reachable par 5, at 518 yards with water all down right and open on left. I hit driver and pulled it a touch, but in good shape. Didnt catch enough to go for it in two so I laid up to about 150, but a bit further right than I wanted as a few tree limbs would block my next shot. I thougth I could clear the tree so I went high. Unfortunately I nicked one tree branch, it fell straight down, hit a root, bounced hard right, hit cart path and bounced in the water. Ugh. Frustrated I dropped and chunked my pitch. Then bladed one to back of green and two putted for triple. +4 through 2. I was pissed because my 3rd shot wasn't a bad shot and I got penalized for a shot that wasn't terrible. Ah well. Third hole is 180 yard par 3. I pulled 6 iron and left it right (solid hit, just pushed) and ended up in trap. I pured my bunker shot (i.e. no sand) and hit it in the water to the side of green, which shouldnt be in play. I walked all the way over, took my drop, hit an awesome pitch to 3 feet and made the putt to save double. +6 through 3 and it looks like a bad day. Fourth hole is 365 yard par 4 straight away with wide open landing zone. I pulled 3 wood and hit the right side of fairway. Drilled 9 iron to about 5 feet and made putt for birdie. +5 through 4. Fifth hole is tough 456 yard par 4 with trees down both sides. I hate this hole. I hit my drive right in rough but playable. It was wet from rain earlier in week and I got my next shot just a tad heavy. I proceeded to chunk and run my next shot (see a theme with my short game), chipped on and two putted. 4 shots from 40 yards for a double. +7 through 5 and I'm starting to wonder if I can handle blades. Sixth hole is long par 5 , 571 yards. I pounded driver, pulled 3 wood (stupid) and short sided myself. Hit a flop that was well hit, just didn't carry it far enough, chipped up, two putts for bogey and +8 through 6. Seventh hole is long par 3. Listed at 196, it plays about 210. I hit 4 iron to front of green and 3 putted (first putt was about 60 feet and I was miserably short). Bogey and now +9 through 7. Eighth hole is straight away 420 yard par 4. Hit driver left in woods, punched out, hit green on third shot and 2 putted for bogey. Nothing going right here. +10 through 8. Ninth hole is 410 ayrd par 4. Hit driver left rough, iron short of green, but go up and down for par. +10 through 9 for a frontside 46 and some serious doubts about my game. Tenth hole is short par 4, 368 yards. I hit 3 wood off tee way right, punched out, punched out again because my first punch out was awful (really wasnt bad, but got bad break) missed green from about 125 and then got up and down for double. +12 through 10 Eleventh hole is 186 yard par 3. Hit 4 iron, missed green to the right (water all down left), couldn't get up and down and took a bogey. +13 through 11. Twelve is 383 yard par 4. Hit 3 wood right and into hazard. Took my drop, played a nice little 9 iron to 6 feet and made putt for par. Good save here. +13 through 12. Thirteen is reachable par 5 at 512 yards. I hit driver way left and in trees. Punched out, laid up, missed green, chipped on and two putted. My short game is awful. Double here and +15 through 13. Fourteen is 400 yad par 4. I hit driver and hit fairway, hit wedge into green, two putts, routine par. +15 through 14. Fifteen is 343 yard par 4 with trouble everywhere. I hit 4 iron off tee and miss right. Punch out for second shot. Hit my next shot into greenside trap but way away from pin on very sloped green. Hit bunker shot over green, up and down for double. +17 through 15. Sixteen is long par 5 at 580 yards. Smoke driver, hit a drawign layup that hits sprinklerhead and bounces dead left behind tree. I punch out for third, hit green and two putt for bogey. Bad luck. +18 through 16. Seventeen is 186 yard par 3. 5 iron onto the green, 3 putt (again) for bogey and +19 through 17. Eighteen is huge dog leg left, but only 378 yards. I blast driver way right, hit approach just short and get up and down for par. +19 through 18 with a 45 on back. I'm disgusted with myself. Stats Score: 46 (+10) - 45 (+9) = 91 (+19) Score per Par 3: 4.3 Score per Par 4: 4.7 Score per Par 5: 6.8 (This is ridiculous) Fairways Hit: 5/14 (35.7%) Missed left on 4 (28.6%) and missed right on 5 (35.7%) Greens Hit: 4/18 (22%) Missed 14 effing greens Scrambling: 21.4% Putts: 30 (1.67 putts per green, 2.25 per GIR) Ouch Sand Shots: 3 with no sand saves Penalties: 3. Ugh Not the last round I wanted. I hit some very solid shots as well as some bad ones. My short game is gone, there is no escaping that. But I felt like bad luck got the best of me today. I could count at least 4 shots where I hit a very good shot and got penalized due to bad breaks. It happens. I'm hoping I didn't buy more club than I can handle at this point.
  5. Being pretty sold on the irons, I started to focus on the replacement to my 983K. I was pretty long with the 983K but had not gotten fit for the shaft (though I did dem0 3 different shafts over a month to help me decide) and wanted to make sure I had the best equipment I could. The first fitting I went to was outdoor, but no launch monitor by the same guy who did my iron fitting. Through the process he put me in the D3 head, 8.5 degree and we started on the A1 setting. Started with the PX shaft, but I wasn't a huge fan of it. We then went to the RIP 60 and I really liked the feel of that shaft, but it was a bit light compared to what I wanted. I hit it well, but felt like it was just too light to know where it was in my swing. We then went to the Ahina '72 and that felt great. He pretty much said that was the way to go, but I wanted to see the numbers to do a real comparison. He said to come back out when he got his launch monitor back (in a week). Me,being the impatient person I am, went to Golfsmith that weekend to test out some different shafts. I also demoed the clubs from Edwin Watts to do some range hitting. Golfsmith showed that the RIP 60 gave me the best numbers (launch at 13.5ish, carry of 276, spin in the 2400-2700 range). The Ahina was right behind it with slightly lower launch and same spin. So I went to range and hit them both. Both felt good but I couldnt get over how the RIP felt so light (not a good thing). I went back to Golfsmith to hit a few more and was on a different hitting bay. This bay gave me tremendously different numbers. Launch of 10.3 degrees and spin almost in the 4,000s. I was not amused and didn't know which way to go, so I decided to wait for the launch monitor with the Titleist rep. Met back with him later that next week and we started with the 983K to get a baseline. I hit it well, but had spin numbers in the high 3,000's. We went to the D3 (8.5 degree) and started with Rip 60. Great numbers but couldnt get used to it. With a swing speed of 111 and ball speed of 163 he said Ic ould play an X shaft, but I'm not confident that I'd be able to muster up that one perfect swing on 18 being dog tired. Plus I'm not getting any younger. He said a stiff would be fine. We went to the Ahina 72 and my numbers were pretty good. Almost identical to RIP. I was hitting a slight cut so we went to setting D4 (I think) to help me turn it over a touch. This helped with the numbers a bit, the ball flight was much more acceptable to me off the face, but I wasn't thrilled with the feel. So I went to the Ahina 82. Was a touch heavy for my taste, but gave me prety good numbers and ball flight. We talked it over for a bit and I decided I liked the flight of the '82, but the feel of the '72, so we made the call to tip the '72 a half inch to give me the right weight, but also the right flex, right inbetween S and X. I hit about a dozen more each with the 82 and 72 and knew I made the right call. I ordered the 910D3, 8.5 degrees set to D4 with the Ahina '72 tipped a half inch with Golf Pride Black and White Multi Compounds and ordered the 710MB's 3-PW with same GP grips (multi compounds) DGS300 shafts and 2 degrees upright. I felt very confident in what I had ordered knowing the driver numbers (at least based on launch monitor) were adding about 8-10 yards with a bit lower ball flight and a touch of a draw when I went after one. I was able to move the ball fairly well with the D3, which I struggled with on the 983K. I could move it left to right on command 5-20 yards, but rarely could I turn it over. The D3 I felt like I could move either way. The irons were gonna be the challenge, could I get my game in shape to hit them. He said it would be about 10 days to get the clubs, so I figured I'd take my 990s and 983K out for one more spin.
  6. That first round trying to get back into the game didn't go well. I suppose I should also mention that my wife was about to have our first kid, so getting to the range to practice was virtually impossible. And in fact, my son was born 2 days after that last round, so it took me awhile to get back out onto the course. I would hit the range for 20-30 minute quick sessions and to demo some new clubs. I wanted to get new irons. Though I loved my 990s, I always wanted a set of blades and knew that I was good enough to hit them, at least I was. I started to demo a few different setups and even went to get fitted. I'm a loyal Titliest guy so I demoed the AP2 and CBs, but no one had the MBs to demo. Meh, those are the ones I wanted. I went to the range with 6 irons of each and hit them both well, though the AP2s had too high of a ball flight and I didnt like the thicker lines it offered. The CBs were nice, but didnt feel like I should spend close to a grand on clubs that were essentially the updated model of the 990s. I also demoed the 910D2 and D3, and fell in love with the D3, though my 983K was still tough to beat. After hitting them on the range, I started to take lunch breaks from work to go to Golfsmith to hit clubs on the launch monitor. After they told me they couldnt track irons, I decided to get professionally fit. I called the Titleist rep in my area and set up a fitting. I had never done one and was nervous, wondering if I should wait until myg ame was intact but decided there was no time like the present. The guy was really nic and kne his stuff. I warmed up with some wedges and then we jumped into the fitting. I striped the AP2s but told him I didnt like the lines. He agreed on my ball flight (too high) and we went to the CBs. Those were a better fit, btu still a bit high. I finally asked for the MBs and he cautioned me saying more top pros played the AP2s and CBs than MBs. But he relented and let me hit them. My ball flight was perfect, I loved the lines, the look, the setup, everything. We then went back to the CBs to work on lie angle and shaft. I knew I needed upright clubs, and told him that. We grabbed the lie board, and sure enough I needed 2 degrees upright as the toe was dragging through early. I knew this from watching my divots over the last few years. The toe always entered first and caused my club head to hang open a touch. Shaftwise I liked the KBS, and the PX was ok, but we felt the Dynamic Gold S300 was a good fit. Kept my ball flight in good shape, good launch and I like the weight of the club. I could've gone with any of them, but saw no distance, control, or feel improvement. We talked about drivers and agreed to do that another day, though he thought the 910D3, 8.5 with Ahina shaft would fit best based on swing and flight. I left and told him I would call to order irons but wanted to look at grips and such first. Next up, driver fitting.
  7. So I promised some actual golf details, and they'll be in this post. This round took place in early February 2011 on a rainy, wet, somewhat cold day. This was before I put any specific goals in place other than just wanting to get out and play more. This would be the first round with the GolfShot GPS to track stats and such. I played alongside my dad and brother. I'm a little foggy on some details since it was 2 months ago, but will do my best to fill in the gaps where I can. Course: Westchase Golf Club ( Course Link here ) Course Rating/Slope: 71.8/130 Tees/Yardage: Blue (Tips) - 6710 Par: 72 First hole is a short par 4 that bends slightly right with water all the way down right hand side and OB all the way down the left. It's just an iron off the tee as the hole measures 344 from the tips. The tee shot makes me nervous as right is my typical miss. I decided on a 5 iron off the tee and hit it thin and left , but in play. It left me a short iron in with traps short and left and long and right. I bladed a short iron (gap wedge I think) over the back of the green and about 2 from the water. The pin was tucked in the back (shortsided myself), and I failed to get up and down, taking bogey. +1 thourgh 1 Second hole is a 549 yard par 5 that I have no chance of hitting in 2, so I take 3 wood off the tee and hit the fairway. Laid up and eventually hit wedge into the green. 2 putt for par on a pretty routine hole. +1 through 2 Third hole is a 212 yard par 3. I chunk 6 iron into the water, go to drop zone, put it left of the green (way over the top) chip on a two putt. Triple. I hate myself. Now +4 through 3. Four is a 374 yard straight away par 4. I hit 3 wood and hit the fairway, hit a short iron in, hit the green, two putt for par. Back on track. +4 through 4. Five is a long par 4 that is narrow with trees down both sides. Tough hole. 426 yards and no where to land the ball. I bang driver and miss the fairway left, but playable. Have to carry a trap with no bailout room on approach and I land squarely in trap. Flub my first bunker shot, get the second out, two putts, and a big fat double. +6 through 5. Six is a longer par 4 (440 yards) but is pretty open. I smoke driver and hit the fairway. I fail to hit the green (short and right if I recall correctly) but manage to get up and down (finally) to save par. +6 through 6. I have a nice pattern going of par, blowup, par, blowup etc. Seven is a 152 yard par 3 that plays longer. I hit 7 iron and chunk it short of the green (and greenside traps, miserable strike). I pitch long (afraid to dump it in traps) and two putt for a bogey. +7 through 7. Eight is a big dogleg right par 5 that is short and easily reachable if you hit the center of the fairway (or left). I hit driver and it goes high and right into a lateral hazard. I take my drop and decide to go for the green from about 230. Need to hit a cut around the bend. Hit it solid but it stays left (no cut) and I'm in the greenside bunker. I get out to about 15 feet, miss the putt and walk away with a bogey. +8 through 8. Nine is a decent par 4 (404 yards) but I can't hit driver as there is waste land about 275 out. I hit 3 wood and hit the fairway. Miss the green short and right on second shot, fail to get up and down walking away with a bogey. That's +9 through 9 and a 45. The back nine starts with a par 5 that I hate. Water left and right and pretty tight landing zone. It's 505 and I can hit it in two if my tee shot is playable. I hit driver right and into the water. Damnit. I hit a little punch/lay up on my third shot (after dropping). I miss the green right and can't get up and down taking a double. +11 through 10. Eleven is a par 3 at 190 yards with water short and houses left. I hit a 4 iron that barely clears the water (way high on clubface) but I get up and down for par. +11 through 11. Twelve is an easy par 4 at 369 yards. I normally hit iron off the tee but felt like I needed to make something happen. I hit 3 wood way left into the hazard and have to drop. I skull it from about 110 yards over the green. I then blade my chip back over the green. I chunk my next chip to about 30 feet and two putt for a big fat triple. In my heyday this would have elicited multiple swear words. Now, I'm pissed, but able to laugh about it. +14 through 12 and the wheels are coming off. Thirteen is a reachable par 5 at 507 yards. I hit 3 wood right and in a fairway bunker. I hit a decent shot out and then miss the green but get up and down for par. +14 through 13. Fourteen is another short par 4 at 368 yards. I hit 3 wood in the fairway but miss the green. I can't get up and down (see a problem here?) and take bogey. +15 through 14. Par 3 is next, 160 yards. I hit 7 iron to back of green (just off, no green in reg) and manage to get up and down (2 putts) for a par. +15 through 15. Sixteen is 395 yard par 4 that seems to give me trouble. I hit 2 iron off tee and hit fairway. Miss green short and right but get up and down for par. +15 through 16. Seventeen is a 402 yard par 4. I hit 3 wood right and out of play (lateral hazard). I drop and miss green with next shot, no up and down and a big fat double. +17 through 17. The home hole is a 388 yard par 4. I blast driver, more out of frustration than anything else and go right, but in play. I miss the green short (what a surprise) and dont get up and down and take bogey on the final hole. +18 through 18. That's a 45 on the back for a score of 90. Nasty. Stats: Score: 45 (+9) - 45 (+9) = 90 (+18) Fairways hit: 4/7 - 2/7 = 6/14 (43%). Missed right on 5/14 and left on 3/14 Greens hit: 2/9 - 0/9 = 2/18 (11%) This is ugly Putts: 17 - 13 = 30 (1.7 per hole). This is not good when you see I hit only 2 greens Penalties: 2 - 3 = 5. Differential: 15.8 You can see my short game is just awful at this point. I can't hit greens and I can't get up and down, not a good combo. Didn't hit many solid shots either. Aggravated, but hit a few decent shots to keep me going. Next round will be posted soon as I try to play catch up.
  8. I got fit this year for the first time and it's produced great results. My scores are coming around, but the ability to consistently make proper contact is awesome. Mine are 2 degrees upright and its made a world of difference.
  9. I had always tracked stats when I played golf. Score (obviously), fairways hit, greens hit, and putts were the norm. I usually kept them on the scorecard but generally paid very little attention to them in my practice sessions or future rounds. I decided that keeping this information and actually using it would be a good way to see where I was losing shots and how I could fix any issues I was having. So after my previous few rounds (detailed in last post) in the mid 90's, I decided it was time to work on my game or just come to grips with the fact I'm a bad golfer. For my brithday, my parents, brother and I went and played Westchase, a decent track that is a family favorite. It's a nice set up, not too particularly long (6.700 yards) and has a 71.8 rating and 130 slope. It's where I shot 80 at Conference and was one of the first courses to have GPS in the area many years back. I had just purchased the Golfshot GPS on my iPhone after looking at other options like SkyCaddie, Golf Buddy and others. The Golfshot GPS made sense since I had the iPhone, it was much cheaper ($25), and allowed for some good stat tracking. We showed up a two hours early to stretch, warm up, and I wanted to get some extra putting and chipping in. What I failed to mention in my previous entries was how bad my short game was. I was literally unable to hit my 60 degree wedge for pitches and chips. I either got too long and loopy in backswing (pitches) and would chunk it or too quick (chips) and blade it. I had zero confidence in my short game, almost reverting to putting everything or taking 7 iron and bumping everything to middle of green. Unfortunately we got some bad weather, so that delayed us, but I was able to get in some good stretching, and once the weather cleared I worked on my full swing. My main goal was trying to shorter my backswing a touch and make sure my take away was down the line, not inside. I worked on that and felt comfortable, so I went to hit some bunker shots and short game shots. Bunker shots were good (didn't hit many) and then worked on chips. Disaster. It was the yips, but without the putter. Blade, chunk, chunk, chunk, blade , blade, etc. I finally just locked in and said just forward press and use the putting stroke and distance be damed, just stop blading it. It worked well, but was a temporary fix. I did some work on my putting stroke, but it still didn't feel right. Felt I was way inside on the way back and was pushing my hands out to try and get it back on line. Speed was good, but not great. After about 15 minutes putting, we got ready to hit the first tee. Before I get into the round (next post), let me back up just a second. In my previous few rounds I was bombing driver, but a little loose (off to the right). My iron game was pretty bad. I had lost distance and was starting to hit a huge block with them. My putting was nasty. I felt comfortable with speed but my stroke had become more mechanical. I was thinking so much that I lost my feel and started to get a very wobbly, inconsistent stroke, not good. My chipping/pitching was the worst. If I missed the green, say 7-10 yards off (short and right usually) with pin middle of green or short side I would grab the 60 to land it on fringe and have little to no release. Well, inevitably, my first shot would feature me getting nervous (lack of confidence) and de-celerating leading to a chunk and either dumping it in a trap (if I had to carry one) or simply advancing the ball about 2 feet. My next one I would tell myself to hit through the ball, accelerate, and sure enough I would which led to me blading it to back of green (or over). Even my bump and runs with mid irons were getting bladed. I couldn't hit a shot. It was so bad that I would joke with my brother "I might as well just kick this a few feet and then throw it over the green and hit from there". Bad times. But this is what I wanted; To track practice, results, progress, and see if I could obtain my goals.
  10. As the calendar flipped to 2011, I got a sudden urge to get out and play more. Now, I live in Florida so outside of rain I'm never really restricted by weather. Of course, the flipside is that 50 degree weather to us (me) seems frigid. So with the new year upon us and cold weather (for Florida) here, I tried to get out and play a few rounds with my brother and dad. I try and get to the course at least an hour early and often try for 90 minutes. I'll meet up with my playing partners, go pay, grab a medium bucket of balls and head to the range. My routine was typically the same at this point. Stretch for 10-15 minutes, grab PW, hit a few half swings, then ramp up to full swings working on contact more than anything else, especially in cold weather. Having not played a lot recently, my misses are skulls with the short irons and chunks with lob wedge and all my long irons. After hitting a few wedges thin, I go up to 8 or 7 iron, blister a few and then move up to 4 iron where I dig a trenches. I never hit 3 wood on range (don't know why) and then pound a few drivers. My miss here is high and right. So after littering the 9th fairway with a dozen balls, I pack up and head to the putting green. Here I find a flat spot, rip the flag out and hit 7-10 3 footers. I then back up to 6 feet and do the same and continue working back until I'm about 17-20 feet. I figure these are the putts I need to be thinking "make" on. After that, I find some putts with slope, downhill, uphill, sidehill etc and work on speed. I move on to long putts (20+ feet) and work on speed. Then I finish with five 5 footers and have to make them all to go play. Sometimes it takes longer than I'd hope. I don't recall specific rounds from 2-3 months ago, but I will tell you how my first couple went in general. I used to be the guy who would play with the same ball for several rounds, or at worst, lose one ball a round. These first few 2011 rounds I lost on average probably 5-6 balls a round. I was awful. I was miserable. I realized I couldn't just walk on to the course and play well anymore and thought (again) about just not playing as much or at all. But I enjoyed the time outside, though I was cold, and enjoyed time with friends and family. I found that my swing was a mess, and that worse than that, my putting stroke had gone to hell. I didn't know if I was hunched too far over, standing too tall, too far inside, it was just a mess. My first few rounds were in the mid 90's, a huge change from just a few years back when I was at 75-76 almost every time. Where does my game go from here?
  11. Figured I might as well let people know what I was swinging as I attempted to master the game of golf. In high school, I started with a set of hand me down irons (Lee Trevino blades) with clubfaces about as big as a nickel (it seemed that way). My woods were "custom made" in the sense that they were Callaway knockoffs called "The Bomber Stealth". You read that right, not the Stealth Bomber, but the Bomber Stealth. Embarrassing for a kid in a private school when everyone else on the golf team had Titleist and Callaway equipment. My frst putter was an old generic mallet that was about as smooth as broken glass. And I played whatever balls we found at the driving range. Yea, high class. And my golf bag was an effeminate green color with a stand you had to manually set up. I somehow survived and actually managed to become a sub 50 (9 holes) golfer. After my junior year, my parents saw I was serious about playing and upgraded my irons, but not the woods (why would you give up the Bomber Stealth anyways?) The woods were a no brainer because I couldnt hit driver or 3 wood anyways. The irons selected for me (for me, not by me) were Top-Flite cavity backs with a muscle bar of some sort. Link is here . Not much room for forgiveness, especially for a newb golfer. I made them work along with a Bobby Grace putter given away at a junior clinic seen here . Was able to use this equipment to get to a solid 43-45 golfer (9 holes). Quick tangent: Never had played 18 holes until Conference where I was our team's 5th golfer (out of 5 starters). Playing at Westchase, I expected to shoot 90 (45 x 2, duh). I birdied the last hole to shoot 80. Awesome feeling. Followed it up with an 83 at District and a 9th place finish. I knew then I could at least play this game a little. After my senior year, I went and grabbed a shiny new Titleist 975D driver. Everyone had one on my golf team and I saved until I could get one. Wanted to be part of the in crowd. They also had the DIC irons (962 at the time), but alas, it was Top Flite still for me as I couldnt afford a new set. I rocked those clubs throughout my senior year (1998) and up until about 2001 when I decided I wanted some better sticks. I went to a local store where I knew the owner and traded in my Top Flite irons for the Titleist 990s. Fantastic club, loved the look, no idea how they felt as I had never hit them, but they were Titleist, couldnt go wrong, right? Took them straight to the course, and on the first hole thought I had 157 in to center of green (I remember this like it was yesterday). Grabbed 8 iron, flushed the shot, and came up 20 yards short and thought "What the heck did I just do?" Come to find out I was 184 out, the sprinkler head had just been moved. 2nd hole had 179 in and decided to rip a 7 iron. Nutted it, pin high, immediately in love with irons. They were (and still are) great sticks. Went 2-PW in the 990s. Also bought (this was back in 1999) a Scotty Cameron Teryllium Newport 2 putter. The black one with white dots on the back. $329 bucks, best investment in my golf game ever, hands down, no questions asked. Over the years I picked up some Vokey wedges (worked at many golf courses, gotta love getting stuff at cost). Picked up a Titleist staff bag with my name on it, and a few other things. Always played a Titleist ball. Titleist Professional, then Titleist Prestige, then on to Titleist ProV1 and finally the ProV1x. A few years back, probably in 2005 or so, I bought the 983K (8.5 degree) with Graffaloy Pro Lite shaft and the 980F (15 degree) with Dynamic Gold S300 shaft. Still have those in my bag. I guess I'll summarize here. Didn't intend to make this a long drawn out post. I provided pictures. All old pictures are not my clubs, just the right model. All current clubs are my pictures Drivers Bomber Stealth 8.5 degrees (1997-1998) Take a look Titleist 975D 7.5 degree with stock shaft (1998-2005) Take a Look Titleist 983K 8.5 degree with Graffaloy Pro Lite shaft (2005-present) Take a Look Fairway Woods Bomber Stealth 3 and 5 wood - no idea of loft (1997-2005). I will say this, I think my shot length has a lot to do with fact I had to hit 5 wood off tie while everyone else was hitting driver. Had to conjure up distance somehow Titleist 980F 15 degree with Dynamic Gold S300 shaft Take a Look Irons Lee Trevino Blades 3-PW (1997-1998) Take a Look Top Flite Tour irons 3-PW (1998-2000) Take a Look Titleist DCI 990 with Dynamic Gold S300 2-PW (2000-2011) Take a Look Wedges Some cheap Walmart wedges (1997-2001) Vokey 54, 60 degree wedges (2001-present) Take a Look Vokey 52 degree gap wedge (2004-present) Take a Look Cleveland sand wedge that I hate (2003-present though I never hit it) Titleist oil can wedge, Cleveland gun metal wedge, Cobra Trusty Rusty (all in the bag at some point and given to little brother) Putter Some cheap knock off mallet (1997-1998) Bobby Grace Fat Lady (1998-2000) Take a Look Scotty Cameron Teryllium Newport 2 (2000-present) Take a Look 1 , Take a Look 2 Balls Titleist Professional 90 and 100 (1997-2000) Titleist Prestige 90 and 100 (2000-2005 or 2006) Titleist ProV1 (2006 - present) Titleist ProV1x (2008-present) Bag My horrifying pale green "stand" bag (1997-1998) Ping hopper (1998-present) Titleist staff bag (2001ish-present) Current (as of February 2011) Titleist 983K 8.5 degree with Graffaloy Pro Lite shaft (2005-present) Titleist 980F 15 degree with Dynamic Gold S300 shaft Titleist DCI 990 with Dynamic Gold S300 2-PW (2000-2011) Vokey 60 degree wedges (2001-present) Vokey 52 degree gap wedge (2004-present) Scotty Cameron Teryllium Newport 2 (2000-present) Golf Pride Tour Velvets on all except putter That's all I have for now. Next up will be getting to actual golf rounds and practice (I hope).
  12. I was never the most accurate player, either off the tee or with irons. My first 3-4 years of golf (age 16-19) I couldn't hit anything higher than a 5 wood. Literally. Snap hooks, huge push slice, tops, and anything in between resulted from trying to hit a 3 wood or driver. So I settled for 5 wood off the tee which meant I was generally hitting longer irons into the green than most people. It was a good news/bad news situation. I missed more greens, but got a ton of work on my short game, and that's where I excelled. My teammates in high school, and anyone I played with thereafter knew me as "The guy who could get up and down from anywhere". While a slight exaggeration, it was largely true. My short game was phenomenal, and my putting stroke was pure. I felt like I could make any putt at any time, which helps the confidence when you miss a green but feel it's playing to your strengths. After I got my swing under control and started to hit a driver and 3 wood, my game really started to come around. I was a fairly long hitter for my size (5'10", 150 in my prime) hitting driver around 275-285, 5 iron around 198-202 and 7 iron in the mid to high 170's. As I started taking lessons and working on my swing, I got rid of a flat backswing that had a hoist at the top to get back on plane. I was a career slicer and turned it into a fade. I got to a point to where I could manufacture any shot shape and really was comfortable moving the ball, but relied on a fade, particularly with my irons. Off the Tee I never felt comfortable with driver, but once my swing came around, I was able to use it as an advantage with decent length. My miss was high right off the tee, not a good spot to be in most the time. 3 wood was never really an option as I felt no more accurate with it and was really just giving up distance. It was largely a club just for show in my bag and occassional use as I went pin hunting on par 5's (with little success) Iron Game Long irons were never a strength. Though I was never wild with them, I always felt like it was "hit and hope". My ball flight was low and this led to a reluctance to hit long irons into greens. Nothing like hitting a bullet 4 iron into a green that had almost no chance to stop. Over time, as I re-tooled my backswing and corrected a few flaws, my ball flight got higher and soon I relished hitting long irons as I had a trajectory that I could move around depending on situation. Mid and short irons were always a comfort to hit, as they are for most people. I loved getting into my 8 iron or lower and knowing I had full control. Being a brash young golfer, I went pin hunting more than I needed to, not caring if I shortsided myself because I was confident in my ability to get up and down. Wedges/short game Pitch shots were the best part of playing. I loved the creative part of the short game where I could pick any kind of shot to hit. Low, high, bump and run, one hop and stop, so many options and I could play all of them. Of course, when I fixed my swing, I hit more greens, which meant less opportunity to hit short game shots and since I never practiced my short game, that ability kind of fizzled. My short game slowly went south and became a liability, which I'll get into more later. Putting My favorite part of the game. I love putting. I love my putter. I like to discuss the read on the greens with people on any putt, even if it isn't mine. I once felt I could make anything, but after a long layoff, I became tentative and more reluctant to put a solid stroke on the ball. I started to hit at the ball rather than stroke it and came pretty close to losing my putting touch. The mental part of my game is and was strong. I like to layout the options, account for the variables, and choose what best fit the situation. I rarely had mental lapses. I talked through shots with myself or my playing partners if they were willing (not soliciting advice, just thinking out loud). Overall, my game was in good shape in the early to mid 2000's. I was confident, felt I could hit any shot I needed and like to be creative on the course. Now, it sounds like I'm stroking my ego, and I don't mean to. I was not a scratch golfer. I mishit tons of shots. But I had the ability to hit different shots and I knew I could pull them off. Of course, results will show that I wasn't able to hit every shot, otherwise I'd have a different day job. But nonetheless, my game was looking good. A few setbacks with minor swing changes and as I got more consistent with my irons and woods, my short game suffered. I started to hit more fairways and greens, and started to get up and down less when I did miss a green. In the mid 2000's, my swing started to get long and loopy and I lost some consistency. Less greens hit, although this time my short game didn't save me. I went from shooting mid 70's (around a 4 index) in 2002-2005 to mid 80's on my best days in 2006-2008 before I all but gave the game up. Played a few rounds here and there and high 80's were the norm. My last few rounds in 2008 were miserable and I pretty much gave up the game until late 2010, which I've already detailed. Next up, equipment, what was in the bag, and a few other items.
  13. Here's how this whole project started. A group of buddies and I were playing at Lexington Oaks and they wanted to play from the whites. I had typically played the tips as that's what we played in high school matches. I wanted to play the back tees for a fair comparison of my game to my "glory days" but the other guys wanted the whites, so I relented. First hole was 385 from tips, 325 from the whites. I hit 4 iron, sand wedge, two putts and wham, a par. I shot 38 on the front and minus a ridiculous triple on a par 3 (110 yards where I chunked 3 straight shots) I played well, or so I thought. The course was so short from the whites that I just bludgeoned it to death. 3 iron, wedge. 3 wood, 9 iron. I birdied every par 5 because I had no more than 6 iron in (now I know how Tiger felt his first few years on Tour). I thought, "dang, I must be really good to shoot 78 and not have played in 18 months." Fast forward a few months and we're now playing Lansbrook. I coerced them into playing the blue tees (not the tips, but not the whites). Uh, that was a mistake. I couldn't over power the course from the further distance tees and ended up shooting an ugly number, lets just say north of 85 but south of 95. I was humbled. My iron game was gross, my once glorious short game looked like a 3 armed man trying to kill an octopus. It was not a good round, but it was a good experience, one that opened my eyes to how much I had regressed. I'm the type of person that can enjoy golf without scoring well, but that doesn't mean I don't want to play well. I play with my family a lot and the important thing is time together, but that's no excuse to start skulling every iron in my bag. So with that in mind, I made the decision that I was going to start up and get my game in gear. Scratch will always be the goal, but my interim goal was to get back into single digits. And that's where we start. Next post up will give some background on my game.
  14. ( I am stealing this idea from TourSpoon who has an excellent run through his goal of becoming a low, single digit handicapper. I liked his idea and even though this is more of a personal journey, I figured why not share it with a bunch of strangers. This first post is light on golf details, but they'll be coming. Hope you enjoy ) I wasn't a child prodigy when it came to golf. In fact, if you take out any versions of putt putt and mini golf, I'm not sure I touched a club before the age of 8. When I was growing up, golf was indeed for of a game for the rich folk. Not that my family was poor, but we certainly weren't the upper echelon country club types. My first memory of golf was in Georgia on a family trip with my parents, brother and grandparents. It's probably my first memory because I parred the hole, a Par 3 over water. Before I get into that, I suppose I should back up. I did a few of the junior clinics where 40 kids are dumped off by their parents and 2-3 teachers try to get a handle on it. You'd go once a week or so and eventually there was a tournament at a local par 3 course where everyone got to play and received a trophy. All of those things blend together. But that first par, now there's something I won't forget. I hit my tee shot and it was a low line drive that skipped twice on the water and rolled onto the fringe. Not a bad start for a youngster. I hit something resembling a bump and run and left myself what seemed like an eternity for par, probably 20 feet. Being a young, brash kid, I did what you were supposed to, lined it up, smacked it, and watched it dance towards the hole eventually falling in. My elation was not on the fact I made par, but that I was allowed (after asking) to do the Chi Chi swordfight celebration. I'll always remember that. In fact, I can tell you that the ball I played with was a kid's ball that was half red and half white. Good memories. That was really the end of golf for me until high school. My high school finally got a golf team, and why wouldn't we, we were a private school that catered to the stuffy country club type. After 3 months of lessons, I tried out for the team as a junior in high school and made the team. I continued practicing and playing through the end of my high school days eventually becoming a decent player. I averaged around 42 or 43 for 9 holes (the length of a high school match) and shot 80 at conference at a tough track (Westchase Country Club) for my best score ever and followed that with an 83 at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor (think Transitions Championship for kids). After high school I continued on playing for fun and worked myself down to about a 3.2 handicap. I can vividly remember working towards being a scratch golfer. Breaking 80 for the first time (at Tides in Seminole with my uncle and brother), breaking par for 9 holes (at Cove Cay with my instructor) and almost shooting par over 18 holes (3 rounds in a row at Buffalo Creek shooting 73 on a par 72, so close). I was a decent golfer, fairly long, moderately accurate, and a killer awesome short game. I kept playing, plateauing at about a 4 index and each time I got close to breaking through, something in life interrupted the continuity of life. School, family vacations, and a death in the family. I continued on, playing as I could, regressing to a high single digit handicapper when I met my future wife. As they tend to do, other things in life become more important than golf. I played occasionally with friends, at bachelor parties and in scrambles, but it became a once every 3 month thing as opposed to twice a weekend and once a week outside of that. In fact, I played so little that in 2009 I think I played twice all year. Not good for the ole confidence. Which brings me to the point of this blog. I love golf, by far my favorite sport. The individuality, the pursuit of perfection, the fact that you can compete with friends and enjoy the day outside all reels me in. After playing with a group of friends in late 2010, I re-discovered my love for the game after what amounted to about 2.5 years away (give or take the occasional round). I made a decision after that round (where I shot in the high 80's at Lansbrook), I was going to get back into the game and make a goal for myself. And here we are. I will say this, I made the goal in late 2010 and started working towards it in early 2011. I kept track of goals, days played, rounds, practice sessions with the goal being to keep a journal of my progress. A friend of mine said I should blog about it and I figured, why not? Why not lay it out there for everyone to read. The first few posts will be me catching up to present day (I'll be sure to include dates on those posts so as not to confuse anyone). I'll get into my goals, where I see things going, and hopefully, some progress will be made. To those who made it this far, thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing my triumphs (lots of those please) and failures (ugh) with everyone.
  15. Congrats on the lowest index ever for you! Way to rebound after a rough start and keep plugging away. Impressive 76 with 2 fairways, but sounds like your iron game was pretty solid. Keep up the good work. What's your bag set up these days? Mine's posted pretty recently in the WITB thread.
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