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bjwestner

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About bjwestner

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    DC area

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  • Handicap Index
    3.7L
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    Righty

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  1. I figured I'd post an update.....Through 5/22/16 I've been able to play 36 rounds in 2016. The weather this year has been awful and it's still that way. Saturday was a complete wash out and yesterday I had to play in the rain. Doubtful that I'll get to 100 rounds this year. Handicap is at 3.8 officially and trending the same. I've been and am still a bit frustrated. I know that I'm better than what I am scoring and I don't want to make any excuses but I have to think that among other things, the weather has been so awful lately that it has not helped things. Fortunately I think we are finally done with the bad weather and it's going to warm up and dry up. I've heard this many times before though so I'll believe it when I see it. Still hitting balls 2 to 3 times during the week and playing as much as the weather will allow on the weekends (ideally a round sat and sun mornings). I had been due for an eagle for so long, I was so close so many times last year but went without one. I finally got another one on 4/30/16, not at my course but at a nice course close by that I played with a friend. It was on a par 5 and I holed out from about a hundy. That makes 3 eagles in total. My stats year to date are very similar to last year, which I think is great considering we are only in late May and the weather has been crap. I am averaging more doubles though and that is really the only difference (besides a 2% drop in bogeys which basically went to an almost the same increase in doubles). I'm averaging a birdie or better 7% of the time which is a small amount higher while pars are even at 62% of the time. My putting is down a whole stroke from 32.4 putts to 31.4 putts and my scrambling is up almost 5% to just under 35%. GIR is down slightly to 57% from 58.4% in 2015.
  2. Thanks for the kind words k-troop.....I live and work in Rockville. Used to live in Gaithersburg (that's where I went to high school). I never made it to club golf. I ended up getting a membership to Olney Golf Park which is where I hit balls during the week. In the winter time I'm sure that club golf would be better but then again, there are only a limited number of spaces and I'm sure everyone and their brother is in there in the winter time. I've heard good things about it, but I don't like to wait as sometimes I have only a short period of time so I needed something where I was not going to have to wait for a stall to open up.
  3. The first month plus of the season has been up and down. The weather has been very inconsistent and as a result I've had a very hard time nailing down consistent yardages with my clubs. Add to that the fact that I am gaining distance and club selection has been difficult. The greens at my club have become very hard which has also given me some trouble, despite that I have a high ball flight. The good news is that they are being punched this week. More good news is that the cold weather is hopefully gone for good. I've said that before though, so I hope that this is really it. As a result my handicap is currently at 3.8, trending to 3.7L. I've gotten to play some other courses in the last few weeks which has been nice. I can't say that I've been playing bad, but at points it's frustrating but that's the game of golf I guess. Yesterday I hit 13 GIR and had 36 putts w/o making a single birdie. Nothing went in. It was like there was a lid on the hole. Oh well, weather is now much warmer and no cold weather anywhere in the forecast. Hoping it stays that way for a while!
  4. So the handicap season starts tomorrow. We've been lucky to have some pretty warm weather the last two weeks or so where I live and while the scores did not count, it was almost identical to playing early season golf. My handicap is officially at 3.1 to start the year and I've never been better going into the start of a golf season. The most shocking thing for me is how well my short game has held up over the winter despite a lack of practice in that area and the distance gains that I got over the winter by working on my core and my swing mechanics. The biggest swing change that I made was working to not let my left knee shift to the inside and keeping my left foot on the ground and not allowing any of it to come off the ground. I still have a lot of work to do in this area but the progress that I have made since last fall is incredible. It's amazing how much easier it is to keep my head still when I don't allow my left foot to come off the ground at all. In not allowing any part of the bottom of my left foot to come off the ground, my left knee stays stable. This in turn allows me to hit the ball further and look like a golf swing instead of the swing with the driver being so "whippy" and the club swinging around my body. Because I am finishing normally, this allows my belt buckle to rotate more at the finish and point towards the target. It's a chain reaction of things that is happening that is helping so many aspects of my swing. It's easier to keep the same spine angle by doing this as well. It also allows me to swing at a more consistent tempo instead of "getting quick". I could go on and on but I think you all see my point. I wish I had focused on this sooner. I worked on many things and have obviously done a decent job in my progression, however, I can tell that for me anyway, this is a real cornerstone type of thing because it effects so many different things in my swing. The flipside of this is that I am struggling a bit with my irons. It's not awful but, it has steepened my swing a bit and I've been hitting a few more fat shots because of this. Before, I guess I had timed things up with a negative spine angle to hit my irons. While not ideal, I got good enough at this which kept me as a picker, not a digger. The ball did not go as far though as it does now with my irons. I firmly believe that while I've noticed a bit of a drop off in my iron consistency that this will improve a lot in time. The only downside is that I am hitting a few more fat iron shots per round. I have to be careful with my driver because there is a miss with this and for me that is coming right over the top because I did not turn deep enough and slicing one to the right. This does not happen that often at all, but does on occasion and I am sure that as I continue to get my core stronger and more flexible and continue to to adapt to this that the improvement will by far outweigh what I did last year. While I'm no expert, I noticed that this stops me from flipping and crucially makes the turnover of the club much more natural. My hands are higher and while this steepens the swing and I now have to be careful for hitting the ball fat where before that was never an issue because my swing was too flat and it was hard for me to turn the club over. As such, I did not hit the ball as far as I should have and my shot was a weak fade that died at the end. I'm truly amazed at how just by keeping the left foot on the ground throughout the swing it has cured so many ills of my swing in just a few months time.
  5. Thankfully, no. I've been working so hard on keeping my left foot on the ground and not letting any of it come off the ground during my backswing. I still have a ways to go but that stopped the reverse pivot. I'll see if I can get a friend to video a current swing of mine and attach it.
  6. Well, haven't posted all winter and figured I'd give an update. It's been an incredibly frustrating winter. The first few months were fine as the weather was playable which was all I could ask for. The last month and a half or so has been terrible. There was the blizzard that dropped 30+ inches of snow where I live which made playing golf lately very difficult. I was able to make sure that I did not go two weekends in a row without playing. I've played the last three weekends which was good because last weekend I finally felt back into somewhat of a rhythm again. Of course what happens as we are approaching the coming weekend? We get several inches of snow last night right in time for the weekend. Everytime this seems to happen and it's very frustrating. I continue to hit balls 2 or 3 times per week. Sometimes that does not go so well when it's so cold and windy out but I figure it's got to be helping. I have not been able to work on my short game at all this winter and I am very surprised at how well it's held up despite the inconsistency in playing this winter. My handicap has gone up to 2.9 (I have to post rounds that I play in VA and that's why it's gone up from 2.1). When I do get to play lately the conditions are not very good at all with the courses being very soggy. Thus I'm probably closer to a 5 right now if all scores counted. I'm okay with that though because I know that it's just a matter of time before I can start playing every weekend at least twice a weekend and for the courses to dry out. When that time comes I know I'll be in the best position that I've ever been in to start a golf season. Last weekend I was able to play at my country club for the first time in well over a month and shot a 4 over 76 which included a double. I had a streak where I went the last 5 holes of the front 9 in 1 under with 5 straight one putts. That was the best my short game has ever been. Amazingly I have not changed equipment at all (except putter). This is the longest that I have gone with playing the same equipment and I'm finding that I'm very comfortable with what I have in the bag and I feel like I continue to get better with what I have. I used to go through clubs too quickly but I've finally found what I like and what works for me the best. I'm not really good with goal setting the last few years because I really don't know what I am capable of and what I am not. I suppose I'd like to get to scratch by the end of 2016 but I have not idea if that is reasonable or not? Maybe it's not high enough of a goal? I'm just not sure. On June 2, 2016 that will be 4 years since I started playing golf and it's gone by so fast. I'd like to win the club championship this year as well but again, I'm not sure if that is a realistic goal or not.
  7. So the handicap season is done already. Hard to believe that it went by so fast. On March 15, the start of the handicap season, I was at 5.3. Now I am at 2.3. So I lowered my handicap by 3 shots which I am pleased with. I struggled at the beginning of the year to come up with a goal. I never really came up with anything official other than that I thought it would be a success if I was under 3.0 at the end of the year. Towards the end of the season I ran into some issues as I was going long on my approach shots. Thus I guess I am still gaining distance. Also, the weather is colder and not as consistent and it's more windy which has made it much tougher to select the right club than it was during the nice weather conditions in the summer. I continue to practice two or three times during the week and I go to the gym on the nights that I do not hit balls. Unfortunately I am not able to work on my chipping and putting during the week because of how dark it gets right after work. I've noticed that there has been a bit of a drop off in my short game as a result of this. I improved a lot this past season in many different areas. At one point I was averaging just over 12 greens in regulation although this has dropped to just under 11 over the last 20 rounds. Part of this is the cold weather that has been present for the last month or so (I play early on Sat/Sun mornings). I am making many more birdies now than I was at the start of the season. I'm averaging almost 1.5 per round for the year. I've also been able to increase my scrambling percentage to 36% and change which is about a 10% improvement from 2014. I'm averaging 31 putts per round. One of the biggest reasons for my improvement has been that I've gotten better at avoiding double bogey or worse. I'm averaging just one double less than every two rounds. Part of this is because I know my country club so well while the other part is attributable to the improvement in my game overall. As I mentioned in my last post, I need to gain distance. I'm not going to go nuts about it and shoot to hit a 7 iron 200 yards or something silly like that. If that's what I wanted then I'm sure I could get that by changing clubs and getting some ridiculously low lofted irons to achieve that. I know that I am still gaining distance which is good and I have to continue to do this so that I can play longer courses more reasonably. As the spring time approaches next year, I am going to go to a guy locally that has a trackman and see if I need to change clubs/etc. I like what I have now, but I learned this year that playing the wrong clubs can cost you a lot and I want to make sure that I am playing what I should be playing according to the numbers. Other than that I guess I'll just keep doing what I've been doing. It has worked pretty well so far in almost 3 and a half years since I started playing golf. How much I improve in the next year is going to depend on a lot of things, some of which are not in my control, such as how bad of a winter we have here in the DC area. I'm hoping that we get lucky and unlike last year, I am able to play golf regularly. Last winter was brutal and I felt like I missed out on a lot of rounds. There were some times when I was only able to play like once every 3 weeks last winter. I really hope that is not the same way this year.
  8. Has anyone else tried these yet? I have not seen much written about them so I figured that I would start this thread for some feedback about these wedges.....I've had 3 of them in my bag now for almost 3 months or so. My PW is part of my iron set and it's at 45 degrees loft, so I decided to go with a 50 degree gap wedge, 54 sand wedge, and 60 lob wedge. The 50 has 9 degrees of bounce (ATV sole was not available at this loft). The 54 and 60 have ATV soles. Yes they are very expensive as they retail in stores and most places online for $160 per wedge. I was able to buy each wedge brand new on Ebay for less than that, I think the highest I paid was $125. Still pricey. Overall I do like them a lot and am happy with them so far. I got them because I thought that I could get more spin than my Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 CB wedges and as a result, get closer/more accurate with my wedges to score better. I definitely notice much more spin with the EF Spin Groove wedges. Not only do I notice it, but my golfing partners have as well. Overall the ball stops much quicker with these than the Cleveland wedges. It should be noted that I have nothing against the Cleveland wedges, they are very nice and I liked them a lot.....I just wanted more spin/control around the greens and the EF Spin Groove Wedges have done that. Some people have said that they look weird with the way the grooves are chemically put on the face of the club, but that does not bother me at all. The clubs do what they say they were going to do and I'm spinning and controlling the ball much better than before. I'd say that the only downside is that with the 50 degree gap wedge anyway, it does not go as far as the 50 degree Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 CB wedge I have. I found that I could hit my 50 degree Cleveland consistently carrying 110 when I needed to. With the 50 degree EF spin groove wedge, I'm 5 - 8 yards short of this and it's taken me a while to figure this out and adjust. The EF's are less forgiving in my opinion as well, but this is probably to be expected considering who these wedges are primarily marketed to. Chips/pitches from tight lies stop much quicker and full shots with my 50 degree have great back up action, where my previous gap wedges did not. I can now play shots past the hole in situations and play for the ball to spin backwards when necessary. Overall, very pleased with the wedges, I only wish they made a 45 or 46 degree PW instead of their lowest option available at 47.
  9. As of the 10/1/15 handicap revision, my handicap is now currently at 2.0 officially. I'm really amazed at the progress that I have made, especially the last two months. The 2015 season has been odd in that the first few months I felt like I was better than what my scores were, and then from around late July or early August to present, my handicap has really dropped dramatically. I was just over 4 in late July and then in a two week span (1 revision), I dropped quite a bit. In the process, I completely bypassed the 3's completely! I went from just over 4 to being in the 2's. Looking back at what changed during this time, it was clearly the equipment and the fact that I got equipment that fit me better made all the difference and the numbers clearly show that. I went from the Taylormade RSI2 irons with regular stock shafts to Bridgestone J15 dual pocket cavity irons with the stiff dynamic gold S300 progressive shafts. I also got fitted for a new driver and realized that I was losing so much distance with my Titleist 913 driver because of way too much spin. The Ping G30 LS Tec driver has been fantastic - I really love that thing. I am much more accurate and much longer as well. As a result I started making a lot more birdies. Before I was averaging just under 1 birdie per round. The last 20 rounds, which takes me back to 8/1/15, I have 36 birdies in 20 rounds. That's almost two per round! I also switched balls. I had been playing the Bridgestone B330 RXS for a while but I switched to Pro V1. The ball goes further and is more durable. It's a bit harder as far as feel goes off the putter but I believe it has the same amount of spin. After the iron change, I went from averaging just under 10 greens in regulation per round to just under 12. This increase in greens per regulation caused me to have a couple more putts per round. I did not initially recognize the correlation though and went through a month or so when I thought something was wrong with my putting. I could not figure it out until I realized that this was because I was consistently on more greens in regulation. When I drilled down into the data, the extra greens in regulation per round matched almost exactly the increased number of putts. When I took this into account, the net effect was that the shots that I had dropped off my scores were due to improved ball striking and while the number of putts went up, the improvement in ball striking more than covered the increase in putts per round. So I went from something like around 44-47 strokes other than putts per round down to 40-43 strokes other than putts per round. I count any stroke with a putter as a putt and my putts went from just under 32 putts per round to 33.5 to 34 putts per round. At the beginning of the year I struggled with establishing a concrete goal for this year but decided that I would be happy if I got my handicap to below 4. I've already accomplished that goal, albeit in an odd way that saw me not improve much at all in the first part of the year to dropping strokes at a crazy rate in the last two months with the right equipment. I'm not really sure what to expect or shoot for in the future but I think that I can definitely get to scratch or maybe even better than that. I was thinking that it might be reasonable to get to scratch by the end of the 2016 golf season. That may be too weak of a goal or it may be too strong and not reasonable, I'm really not sure. I am planning to make a trip to Durban South Africa at some point this coming winter to see a distant relative of mine, who won twice on the European PGA Tour and now runs a golf school in Durban, Wayne Westner. I've never had an instruction up to this point and figure that it might be good to do that and by going in the winter here, it will be summer in the Southern Hemisphere. So I hope to be able to go down there at some point this coming winter. My short game is still a work in progress. I am pleased with the progress I have made this year and I know I have come a long way, however there is still a long way to go. I started 2015 averaging just under 30% scrambling. The last 20 rounds have me at just over 36% scrambling. The reality is that my short game is actually better than that because my greens in regulation have gone up, the amount of scrambling opportunities that I can actually convert to save par - I am doing well on those. I don't have the data but I'd guess it's close to 50%. So why is the scrambling % only at 36% and change then? Because the rest are opportunities where it's not reasonable to expect to be able to get up and down (i.e. wayward drive and I had to chip out leaving a scrambling opportunity that is not just off the green). So that's where I'm at currently. As this season rapidly winds down, my focus for this winter is going to be on gaining distance by improving my flexibility and balance while continuing to hit balls several times a week and play as much as the weather will allow. I truly believe that I have A LOT of room to improve because there is a lot of room for improvement in my balance and lengthening my swing. This tells me that there is distance out there that I can gain and lots of room to improve. Also, I still have not had any lessons yet, so I'm sure I can improve a lot with instruction. I'm not chasing distance either, the reality is that even local state level tournaments are played on courses that are close to 7000 yards. To be able to be competitive at that level, hitting my driver 250 and my 7 iron 150 and change is not going to allow me to be competitive at that level.....
  10. I just realized that I had not posted anything in almost two months and the last time I did, which was in early August, my handicap 3.9 and trending to 3.5L. I guess a lot happens in almost two months because my handicap is now officially 2.4 and trending to 2.0L. This past weekend, I shot an even par 72 on Saturday and broke par for the first time on Sunday! I shot a one under, 71 on Sunday. It must have been shortly after I posted last when I started a streak where I shot a lot of low rounds. I shot several 73s, and several 74s as well. So I've been playing very well lately. I'm not doing that much differently.....I'm still going to hit balls a few times during the week and working on my short game and then playing at least twice on the weekends and every once in a while I will get out to play once during the week. I did start using a more detailed golf stats tracking site called birdiefire.com. It allows me to track my strokes gained putting versus the PGA tour and things like that. Other than that I've been busy at work which is why I have not posted in a while, sorry. Golf is going very well lately and it just makes me more motivated to keep working and playing. I'm already past what I thought I'd get to this year so I just want to play as much as possible as I can't believe the season is almost over!
  11. now I'm even more confused..... https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2014/02/09/the-hot-hand-might-real-after-all/N8V34bGLWhPqk0Sx9yoHWI/story.html
  12. in the end there is basically one formula that reigns above all others: more practice =/correlated to: better golf/lower scores/etc. watching his tv show alone does nothing if you do not practice/play
  13. I'm not sure what thread this should be in, so I put it in golf talk - forgive me if that is incorrect. Some of you may be familiar with the so called, "hot-hand fallacy" that applies to gambling and apparently some sports like basketball. I'm wondering if it applies to golf, specifically if it applies to putting? It took me a while to understand how this hot-hand fallacy applies to basketball. I can understand it applying to gambling, but I struggled with the fact that since a basketball player's percentage of field goals or free throws is dictated by the skill of the player primarily (although other factors are present, i.e. defense/team/etc), how could this be right then? Maybe I'm suffering from some sort of bias, but watching basketball for many years and witnessing many stars have great games where they got "hot" and scored a lot of points had me thinking like many, that they got "hot" that night. Apparently the hot-hand fallacy is basically saying that when a player gets hot or cold that they are not really hot or cold but this is a normal streak and the player is not hot or cold. There apparently is no evidence to support that a player has a greater chance of making a shot if he/she made the last two/three/four/etc shots. While I'm not sure I totally agree (Wilt does not score 100 on the Knicks by chance in my opinion), I'm not a genius, in fact far from it and am aware that like many I suffer from many biases.....this got me to wondering though, if LeBron makes 10 threes in a row and this is just a by chance streak and he is really not hot, is this is the same for golf and specifically, putting? How many times have we watched golf or played with someone that we thought "got hot" with the putter? I can remember a round last year when I thought I was hot with the putter and was making so many putts that a good friend that was playing with me joked "dude, your putter is the Enola Gay, your dropping bombs all day with that thing"......is all this not what we perceive it to be? How much data is necessary to prove otherwise? Because 18 holes is almost certainly not a big enough sample, how many holes is? How does this tie in with skill and practice and improving as a putter? The world just watched Jason Day dominate the golf world for what, like the past month or so....is he not hot? If putting is like basketball, which it can seem to be in many ways, then what/if anything does this mean? I figured I'd ask the smart people of this website because I am confused at the moment. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot-hand_fallacy I was trying to learn/read more about the role of luck/chance in golf, that is what lead me to read about the hot-hand fallacy and start wondering about this which is how I got to this point......
  14. Glad to hear he's okay. I heard this driving to the course early Sunday morning when not a lot of info was known and feared that he would die. He's the type of guy when you take into account his past (alcohol/etc.) where I would not be surprised to hear that sort of thing. How is the injury to a finger related to ribs/collapsed lung though?
  15. As someone mentioned above, I also liked the back and forth between Feherty and McCord/Faldo. Gonna be a shame to see that go. I can't stand NBC or FOX's coverage.
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