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Blog Entries posted by mcanadiens

  1. mcanadiens
    It may have been a cold gray day yesterday afternoon, but I enjoyed my nine holes very much. 
    The quick tour of the front nine with Ralph and Bob sure beats the hell out of watching my beleaguered fantasy football teams, but Sunday was just a bit better than usual. My driver finally cooperated. The normally recalcitrant 1W hit five fairways and narrowly missed a sixth with legitimately solid 250-yard drives. Have no idea where that's been all year, but better late than never. I finished with a 42. Maybe not conventionally impressive but about as well as I've done all year for nine holes.
    The pleasantness of the round and the steadily approaching end of the season, got me reflective. 
    Covid, crowds, closures and crappy golf were so much a part of the spring and early summer. Losing KIttyhawk was hard. Particularly for an introvert like me, the place was the one social outlet I really had. No matter what time, one of Kittyhawk's courses would be available. The range was huge. Sometimes, I'd come just to chip and putt on one of the three big practice greens. The slate of events my old association had for us meant that a hacker like me could always compete in events with people like me and I got to know a lot of those guys. Those are all things that can't be replaced.
    None-the-less, I'm thankful for how things eventually turned out.
    Mostly, I'm thankful my new friend Ralph was willing to let me join him for his 2 p.m. tee times. Through him I met several other club members and made the business of securing tee times possible on a course that was jam-packed most of the season. Getting to know these guys over the season has been enjoyable enough to take the sting out my struggles hitting the ball.
    I'm also very pleased to be a member at a course like Miami Shores where the City of Troy is actually investing in the facilities instead of closing them. Course conditions there had always been fairly decent. To that the city recently added a new driving range and new clubhouse. The range has been so successful that they are building an additional tee area at the far side of the property. Enough were using it that we kept running out of turf. The pro, Kyler Booher, and his staff do an excellent job.
    I think I'll try to ramp back up with the handicap next year. Maybe if I get back to some level of decency we'll even give the Club Championship another try.
    Either way, I've got a home course to do it at.
  2. mcanadiens
    Following the Club Championship experience, I decided to ease off considerably. Golf really wasn't enjoyable. Too much time stomping around the "natural area" looking for another slice or pull. Even just the business of counting up the strokes, penalties and lost balls was mind-numbing. There just really wasn't a point. So after that July Sunday, it was time for a change. 
    First, came two weeks off with no rounds or visits to the range.
    Then, I visited the range on a particular Thursday and started to think about the way I used to hit the ball instead of the way I had been trying over the last year and a half. The results weren't immediately very good, but I didn't care.
    Finally, I played nine holes with my new crew at Miami Shores. Didn't count a single stroke. Hit a few good shots and a few bad. Picked up on the 7th. But had a pleasant time anyway. 
    That's sort of been the routine as many weeks as not. Nine holes as often as 18. Playing not for score, but to try to hit a few solid shots and toy around with my swing. It's getting a bit better I think. I'm back to lining up the ball on my toe like I used to before those disastrous lessons I took. Trying to quiet the hands and get that weight on the front foot. Clobbered the 1W 250 (good for me anyway) on the last two holes Saturday and got a birdie on No. 8 (not that I was counting).
    Needless to say, I haven't posted for handicap since the CC. Then again, it really doesn't matter. There are no competitions at Miami Shores for people like me, so why worry about it. 
    Figure I'll stay here at Shores anyhow. It's close and inexpensive and I got my weekend group to play with. Maybe next year I'll break out the card and pencil again. Maybe, I won't. But this will do for now.  
  3. mcanadiens
    The 5W plan started well Sunday morning, but stuff progressively got worse as we went along and the back nine was another train wreck.
    Kind of like yesterday I started decent with pars at 1 and 2 and scrapped my way to a 45 on the front. Resorting the 5W kept those balls in play on the front, but left some really long seconds. Some dodgy work with the wedge and few less close misses with the putter and it could have been better. But the back nine had two major blow-up holes and really not a lot of anything good for a 55 and another triple digit score. Only two strokes better than that rotten 102 I carded yesterday,
    I was riding so tiredness or the heat are not reasonable excuses, but swings (and different kinds of shots) were all much poorer. The back is a little bit tighter than the front, but it isn't that tough. This weekend cements in my head that I'm now a triple-digit golfer. It's not as if it is some particular flaw that can be corrected with just a bit more practice. The almost bogey golfer from two years ago is gone and this is what is left.
    Like some fellows pointed out in my post for the first round, I stuck it out. I took every stroke, counted every penalty and turned in an accurate and complete scorecard. It was a chance to meet some of the better players at Miami Shores, so that's worth something.
    Taking a bit of time away from golf sounds like a good idea right now. We'll see how I feel about it next week.
  4. mcanadiens
    I started with a birdie and ended with birdie. .. In between was total, unrelenting horse shit.
    The whole plan this weekend was to hit the 3W off the tee. It seemed ok on the range in my warm up, I got away with a push on No.1 and made birdie with really solid 5W and 8I shots. Then everything fell apart. Went OB three times before I started hitting the 5W off the floor. Ended up with a 102.
    True to advertised, these guys who entered this Club Championship are definitely players. The board was almost all 70s and 80s. Some poor bastard in the senior divisions shot a 91 and still beat me by 11.
    I can't get off the tee and that's most of it. All the penalty strokes (4 if I remember right) were off the tee. This past two weeks I tried to work with the 3W and actually felt ok about it until the fourth hole. Then it all dissolved. Thought now is just hitting 5W off the floor like I did on 18.
    For what its worth, I kept my pace, held my temper ok and my partners were very nice. Got em a beer on No. 19.
    I got a real god-damned problem hitting a ball off a tee. I'll just try to make the best of it tomorrow and do the best I can.
  5. mcanadiens
    So if I'm going to sign up for the Miami Shores Club Championship, I got two days to do it.
    Between the new home course, Covid and other assorted lame excuses, my rounds played are way off from normal. I've gotten out a few times and met some of the guys. Most of them have been very nice. But ... playing in this thing sounds a bit scary right now.
    For one thing, I'm playing even worse that normal (as if normal wasn't bad enough). The driver has been removed from the bag now. I can keep 3W in play, but the GIRs aren't happening. Even worse, my short game has been spastic. Seemingly ok one moment and then turf-eating awful the next.  If you told me two years ago that I'd play Miami Shores eight times and not break 90, I wouldn't have believed you. 
    The other thing is that this isn't the same three-flight club championship I had at Kittyhawk. There was a group of us high-capped hackers and we played amongst ourselves for best of the worst. Apparently, that doesn't happen at Miami Shores. In talking to the club pro, he said most guys who would be double digits don't even keep a handicap, let alone turn out for stuff like this.
    So am I gutless if I don't play or am I being considerate?  
  6. mcanadiens
    After missing them last weekend, I managed to track down Ralph and Bob Saturday. We played both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
    A gregarious 70-year-old, Ralph was only a once in a while player, then he retired and became a full-time player. Like me, he's a bit of hack. That makes us a good pair in the shared misery sense if nothing else. His normal routine seems to be playing nine holes in the early afternoon, going home and coming back for another nine in the evening six days a week. As such, he's sort of like the mayor of Miami Shores and knows just about every regular there. The one strike against him is that he's a bit slow. He'll stand over his ball and waggle in slow motion, take the club back equally slow and just when you think it will never happen, whips the club down and through. 
    Unlike us, Bob is a player. Appearing to be in his late 50s or early 60s, Bob plays from the tips and is in the fairway so much that you'd think he'd get bored. He had more birdies and pars than bogeys and I doubt he had more than a single double.
    For myself, it was two rounds up to the new normal standards of hacking, a 94 and a 96. It was the usual suspects that did the most damage, driver and wedge. I was really pleased with how well I hit my 5W and irons. Those kept saving par a possibility on a lot of holes until my regretful short game scuttled that. Then there were a couple of blow-up holes to boot. The worst of the lot was No. 9 on Sunday. My tee shot on this longish par 4 was a freak slice that almost looked like it spun backwards towards the end of its sad, short flight. Then I misjudged a punch shot under a tree branch. The shot stayed under the tree branch ok, but I clobbered it through the fairway and into the junk. When the smoke cleared, it was the dreaded snowman on the scorecard.
    My game isn't ready for prime time yet, but it looks like I got some guys I can play with from time to time. That's a start.
  7. mcanadiens
    An e-mail from the City of Dayton suggests I should be receiving my refund very soon. So that brings up a question. What do I do with it?
    The original plan, when a full slate of KHMA events was presumably going to occur, was to spend the cash for a combination of lessons, shoes and a driver. Well, we got the new shoes last Friday. Soon the golf budget will have the cash to buy the driver, but does blowing that money on a driver still make sense?
    It's almost June. I've got absolutely no events to look forward to at this point. If I'm just going to banging the ball around Miami Shores casually, what difference does getting a fancy, expensive driver make anyway?
    While having no men's association, Miami Shores hosts a couple of events that could be entered supposing COVID doesn't cancel them. Of course, my game isn't really up to it at the moment. There is a County Championship in early September that I could shoot for theoretically. 
    For that matter, I've not actually bothered to get my ghin paid up and updated yet. The $30 bucks is nothing, but is even tracking the HI more trouble than its worth at this point?
    So with 80% of my Dayton pass on its way back to me, its either:
    1) Reallocate the cash to other budgets, figure on just keeping golf really casual this year and forgetting about handicap indexes,
    2) Set the County Championship as an actual goal, spend the money, buy the driver, get lessons and work toward it
    3) Just get the HI sorted, get some lessons and see what I can do without fussing over the driver or any competitions.
  8. mcanadiens
    Between golf course closures and Covid, the whole business of hitting a golf ball solidly has suffered.
    Really any spring is a bit of starting over for me. In past years, I'd be grinding things out at Kittyhawk in late April and early May to put together some sort of workable swing by the time the summer started. Obviously, that's simply wasn't possible. The sporadic rounds I was able to play were chock full of miss hits and improvement has been slow to come. 
    At about the same time that Dayton pulled the plug on Kittyhawk, Miami Shores opened their driving range. That has helped. The only alternative was a mat range on the other side of town. Hitting off mats is a lousy idea for me because they result in wrist-shattering fat shots on turf. The Shores range has nice, well maintained turf and is often the fallback on days where getting on the course is impossible. I've had some productive sessions out there, but getting any result on the course didn't happen until yesterday.
    The front nine was more of the same old garbage, but things sort of came together on the back. The weight finally got forward on time. The head stayed steady and I remained on balance throughout the swing. I parred five of the last nine holes and hit some of the best shots I have all year.
    Coming up 18, a par-5, for the first time in a long time I actually swung with some confidence. After a so-so drive, I smashed a 5W 210 yards straight down the middle, made a quality 8I shot to the green and only missed my birdie putt by inches.
    I'll take my positives where I can find them. 
  9. mcanadiens
    Stopped by Miami Shores GC, Troy, OH yesterday evening, filled out the form and paid the money and now have my shiny yellow membership card.
    Once reassured that most of my money will be refunded by Dayton, Miami Shores was an obvious choice for all the reasons in my previous post, but I really did consider my options thoroughly. 
    The thought of simply bouncing around to various courses instead seemed like a good idea for a moment. Playing new courses or ones I haven't seen in years sounded adventurous. The reality of it, as a solo player, dispelled a lot of that. I did manage to get out to a few places. I saw Rocky Lakes Golf Course for the first time and played Windy Knolls for the first time in a long time. I also found a lot of jammed-pack parking lots and full tee sheets. Getting on courses as a single this year hasn't been easy.
    At heart, I'm a homebody. I love the familiar. The odd visit to a place is nice, but I want a home course.
    A canvassing of the various courses and there membership offerings confirmed that every other option was both more expensive and more distant. Sugar Isle and Homestead aren't far away and are nice enough courses, but they aren't nice enough to beat Miami Shores. There are actually some half decent deals at the higher-end public courses south of Dayton, but again, too far and too much. 
    Now comes the tougher part for a somewhat anti-social type. When can I play and who can I play with?
    I guess it will just take some time. Miami Shores doesn't have a men's association like we did at Kittyhawk. Those automatic 9 a.m. tee times on Saturday and Sunday were pretty handy. It occurs to me that I might need to be a bit more flexible if I'm going to get my rounds in. Perhaps, I should try playing 9 holes after work. Normally, it ought to be possible to get on the course by 6 and be done within a hour-and-a-half. With the course so close, I'd arrive at home by 8.
    Any how, I've got my new home. Now its time to start breaking it in.
  10. mcanadiens
    A visit to Miami Shores yesterday affirmed its position as the number 1 option.
    While selling me range balls, Club pro Kyler Booher confirmed for me that they are still selling their partial memberships. Doing the rough math, the pass justifies itself after the 25th round. A full membership would require 75 rounds before that would pay off.
    It remains a concern how often I'd be able to get out. Miami Shores was stem-to-stern again yesterday and Kyler said that only two tee times remained open for Thursday (today). However, on my way to the range I ran into a ray of sunshine named Ralph. He's a retired fella that I've played with on half a dozen occasions. It seems anytime I play the course I'll eventually hear him yell "Hello William" from the next fairway over. Anyhow, he's got a standing 2 p.m. tee time and says I can join him and his buddy Bob whenever I'd like. 
    The course itself is pretty basic, but is normally in decent shape for a muni. It's got a lot of straight holes with wide fairways. There is only one water hazard and the green-side bunkers are generally off to the sides instead of in front of the greens. Instead of fairway traps it has some "natural areas". Basically these are chunks of real estate they let grass and weeds grow. A ball is often just as dead in that stuff as if you splashed it. The greens are probably the most challenging aspect of the course. They are reasonably fast and undulated. If you end up above some of the holes, its a likely three putt.
    So affordability? Check. Course difficulty (or lack there of)? Check.
    Seemingly putting Miami Shores over the top is proximity. It's a five minute drive from home.  The worst case scenario is a shut out, but that disappointment is more easily dealt with when you aren't making much of a drive. I could walk there if I had to.
    This card is just a bit dated as it still has Ken Green's name on it. But the course specs are all the same.

  11. mcanadiens
    Needless to say I was very angry when I heard the news of Kittyhawk being closed permanently last week. Then certain people kind of hit a sensitive button for me. Let's call it my money button.
    Anytime I feel I'm getting done over, my reaction is over-the-top rage. As it turns out, some of that may have been unwarranted. I communicated with the City yesterday and was told that refund proposals were in the process of being mailed out. Not sure what the proposals will be, but it sounds like it will be something anyhow. 
    You see, Kittyhawk wasn't just some raggedy courses that I had a pass for. It was my golf community. A place where I knew the people, was a member of an Association that had regular events and knew I could get on at least one of the three courses anytime I showed up. For a loner like me it was a sense of connection. Now it's all gone.
    The point of this blog is going to be about where do I go from here both in the short term sense of the remainder of the year and future years.
    Obviously the amount of a refund that I end up getting will greatly effect what options I have. Normally, speaking I allocate $400 for additional greens fees beyond what my pass covers and this year I pulled together $1,000 more for equipment and lessons. Part of the equipment budget has to go to shoes if I'm going to play at all. The pair I've been wearing are about to fall of my feet.  I'd also been planning on getting a driver to replace the relic (a 1990s Taylormade Burner) that I've had in the bag.  
    Maximizing the value of that money plus any refund I obtain is the objective.
    Some ideas ...
    1) Purchase a similar pass for Miami Shores for the remainder of the year and play there as much as I can. 
    2) Belay the driver and spend the money playing a variety of courses throughout the area. This could sort of provide me with a chance to consider other possible home courses for future years although it is hard to see anyone beating Miami Shores on location and price point.
    3) Content myself to play very little actual golf and get a range pass. I could probably save some money doing this.
    4) Actually retain the City of Dayton pass and play Community. (Someone is going to have to really convince me I can get enough rounds down there) 
    5) Bag golf altogether and find a new hobby. (God only knows what that would be.)
    I'm sure there are some things and combinations, I'm not really considering yet, but it is time to move forward.
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