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Posts posted by RC

  1. I do not much like scrambles but you have to realize what they normally are for or about.  Typically there is some charity involved or maybe even to support a team or school golf program.  So I will play a couple a year but otherwise, I prefer to play another course the day of scrambles.  But when it is something like Meals on Wheels or the Heart Association, etc., you know you are not there just to play golf.

  2. Haas has a great move, but Adam Scott is the prototypical Harmon swing that I prefer.  Els, Mahon, Louie O., Rory and a host of guys today have very modern and at the same time classic swings.  The lower body is more braced today and swing arcs are more optimized than the great swings of the past, but almost everyone on tour has a great swing.  Perhaps a stranger topic would be who has the weirdest swings on tour and still gets results -- Jim F. is not the only outlier.  We could all name a few swings that maybe only the owner of that swing could make it work for them.  Try naming the Orville Moody types of today.

  3. I wondered the same thing, but when I looked up the Decisions, they were correct (at that time.)  Relief was only for your normal address and swing.

    Your fan story is alarming since some did and some did not take relief so one group was obviously in violation of the rules.  Maybe there was a local rule?  I've played a lot of places where circulation fans were near the green and I know one place the understanding was a local rule allowing relief.  But I would not count on that.

    There are guys on this forum that are far more qualified to answer rules questions...

  4. This rule has changed over time.  There was a time when the player could elect to play left handed (if he were right handed) and upon deciding his swing was impeded, and a drop was allowed, he could take a drop and then switch back to his normal right handed swing.  At our state amateur I had this come up one year and was advised that the rule for relief was only available if it was your normal swing that was impeded, however, I was free to swing away left-handed, just with no relief.  You always can swing from either side, of course, but you can only take relief from your normal swing impairment.  I started golf playing left-handed and then switched to right handed so when near a fence or a tree, I will often swing left-handed either by hitting the back side of a low iron or by flipping a lofted club upside down.

    I think a long time ago it may have been illegal to hit a ball with the back of club rather than the face, but that was so long ago that I forgot if that was true or an old wives tale.  The rule book then was pretty small and you could carry it in your back pocket.  Now my "Decisions on the Rules of Golf" is a pretty big book, and I have given up trying to remember all the rules.  There have been a lot of changes in over 60 years of playing this game, and I no longer claim to know them all.  Also, there were slight differences in PGA rules and USGA rules, a trend that is tending to be more limited now.

  5. Your waist high finish just reminded me of an surefire 20 handicapper who easily hit many drives well over 300 yards.  He was just retired from the majors as a centerfielder who had several 30 plus homerun seasons.  Flat swing, abbreviated finish, ball might go anywhere, but when he connected... wow.  I think some of his divots might have needed a front loader to fill.

  6. Finger pointing could be directed in many directions in this general topic.  Course designs should have appropriate tee boxes for those that do not want 600 yard par 5s and 500 yard par 4s -- most do, but the golfers in many cases select the wrong tees for their length and skill level.

    Murfield is in the British Open rota and I just read where members there consider it dishonorable to take longer than 2 hours and 45 minutes to play 18 holes.  That may be over-stated and extreme, but I do wish no round of golf ever took more than 4 hours and if a group was holding up play for whatever reason, they should be moved ahead or pulled to the side.  I think a foursome can play a championship course in 3 hours 45 minutes and not feel rushed, but I am dreaming thinking this will ever happen -- just go watch a high school golf tournament.  They are slower than glaciers.

    I enjoyed reading about Lee Trevino's approach to learn to play better.  He played faster, and turned that into an advantage.  I have yet to see a really good golfer take an extra minute or two over-reading a putt and concluded they putted any better than a more normal amount of time.

    Slow play is my biggest grip, not course design.  Course design can be handled by not playing unreasonable (for the golfer) courses or moving up a tee box (or two.)  It is much harder to fix a golfer who has programmed themselves to waste time, be unprepared to play when it is their turn, or who takes far too long to analyze and prepare for a shot.... just my opinion.

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  7. I recently enjoyed reading about Muirfield, the host of this year's British Open.  Slow play is considered dishonorable there -- and they play fast as a matter of tradition.  At one of my old clubs, the expected rule was every round had to be completed in or under 4 hours.... it was great.  Slow play was simply not permitted.  Golf teams were not allowed access to the course.  Indeed now at a different course, the slowest players we encounter is when we are playing behind high school golf teams -- truly dishonorable pace of play.  At least where I play most of the time today the marshals will go forward and ask slow players to stand aside and allow faster groups to play through -- not as good as a firm 4 hour limit but better than nothing.. Those that do not support faster play are hurting the sport.  Pace of play is the number one issue for golfers.

  8. That is strange... I could not find the Nitro LD history on Google either.  However, Nitro was a golf ball, touted for distance and I know they hosted LD contests becasue I went to one in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.  Maybe someone else can fill in some history here.  Maybe it was just a local Nitro rep who hosted the event.  My guess is the time frame was about the mid or late 1980s.  It was about the time Adams golf (and Barney Adams) located to the Richardson area (north Dallas.)  I remember that because Barney called me to to hit some new club designs and ideas he had.  Barney was very innovative.   I also remember we had our swing speed measured at the Nitro event and that was the first time I had had it done as accurately as the equipment there could do it.  Art Sellinger might not remember me but later on we met in Houston and I did hit some balls at one of his ranges.  He was a big guy.

  9. Interesting sign Fourputt...  I agree with it, but I am not that against those that chew sun flower seeds and spit in cups or well out of the way of traffic.

    I do not understand the mentality of those that say, "What's the big deal? I'll split hulls where-ever I chose."  This is a societal issue of courtesy to your fellow golfers and the more we dismiss and permit boorish behavior, the worse it gets.  That does not take a genius to figure out.

    To those who never encounter seed hulls on your greens, I am happy for you.  We seem to have plenty of spitters where I like to play and the putts that hit the hulls are deflected -- this is not an imaginary problem. it actually affects scores.  Our marshals do police the practice and try to stop it but some "players" stop for a hole or two and then start spitting again.  So I guess I am ridiculous for wanting the common courtesy of a green without someone's spit and trash on it.

  10. I have complained before about sun flower seed hulls spit on greens.  The recent resurgence of the tobacco chewing thread compels me to remind sun flower seed chewers that they too need to refrain from spitting hulls on the green.  Invariably (I guess because we all putt often from five feet and in) the area around the hole is a mine field of sun flower seed hulls and I have no desire to pick up what others have spit out.  Tobacco juice in the hole or on the green is disgusting, but so are sun flower seed hulls.

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  11. Normally I think great designs allow two choices with a reward for the more challenging selection.  However, some holes are designed so that one particular shot is the main defense of the hole and, if you sort of understand the designer's idea, it is fun to play these holes.  It could be the drive or the approach but the challenge is set before you and you are asked to execute the shot.  Great designs normally do not do this for shots requiring exceptional length but more shot shape control.  I do not like greens that slope away from you, for example, but there are holes that have this characteristic and typically they simply require a high slight cut (which by the way is not my favorite shot.)  I agree with a poster above who dislikes overly sloped fairways where you are asked to land a ball in the rough just to keep your shot in play.  My all time unfavorite design is a par four that demans a shorter tee shot than approach shot.  That seems wrong to me but my old university course had just such a hote.  It always seemed pointless and a waste of time, but it could ding your card with a bogey if you were not careful.

  12. That is a great unflolding of your experiences and you should be proud of your performance if your handicap is still as stated.  There are many very good golfers who have not done as well as you have.  You surely know what I mean about going after pins... you might get away with it a few times but like a rattlesnake coiled to bite, some of those pin placements can send your ball off into some of the most difficult recoveries I have ever seen.  I was advised of a tradition among some members there that you should not take unplayable lies, but rather just hack it out.  Trust me, that does not work.

    I hope you avoided the DAH on number 10.  Since there are no rakes, each swipe at the ball just makes it worse.  I have not been in it while playing, but I had to toss a ball into it and try to get out.  My best shot was to hit back towards the tee and I barely got it out, then it rolled down into the typical PV rough.

    No matter your score, playing there is a challenge and you feel the design trying to lure you into diaster.  There are longer courses, there are harder greens, there are worse bunkers, and there are more demanding shots, but when you put all those together, PV is relentless and just keeps leading you toward something you really do not want to do.  I loved the place.  Too bad I am getting older and cannot play it again to the level I would like to.  I have thought a lot about how to best play some shots there and decided my mistake was i did not use a mixture of approaches.  There are shots that should be played like English bump and runs, and I would always throw the ball up in the air.  Today, I think I would use every type of shot I could, no matter what they looked like.

    I bought the book on the history of the club and keep it right above my computer beside Harvey Penick's and Ben Hogan's books, which have personal notes and are signed.  It is a real toss up for me whether, if I had only one round left to play in life, whether PV or Augusta would be the choice.  Probably Augusta because I truly am humbled there by the beauty and history, but PV is the harder of the tracks for me.

  13. Originally Posted by phan52

    I feel just the opposite. Once I found out were the real penal stuff was, I avoided it. No matter how much the caddie tells you, you just don't know until you experience it. I wasn't gong to break the course record but I shot 10 strokes better the second time around.

    That you could shave 10 shots is pretty stellar,  I sure could not.  I've played many excellent and difficult tracks and I always intended to shoot around par and hopefully not above 74 or 75.  Pine Valley was the only big time track where that was just impossible for me.  I thought I needed to attack a few more pin positions to get the score down from an opening 78,  That did not work, the score went up due to a triple and a couple of doubles (which are not infrequent there.)  So then I thought, OK, you know the perils, play it safe.  The greens ate my lunch, and my score was the highest that round.  Over the years, I tried 5 more rounds and never got back to as good as 78 again.  I think the pressure of pushing for a score on a track that penalizes shots that are just a little off was too much for my game,  Pine Valley exposes my weaknesses and demands precision shot shapes for certain pins.  Trying to push the envelop there just did not work for me.

  14. One course continues to pop up as the hardest when rated by major publications and groups as the hardest and has, for the most part, preserved its reputation for years, even as equipment and golf balls have changed the game.  The course deserves its rating, it is amazing.  Probably your best score will be the first time around it because once you see all the trouble it becomes paralyzing:

    The course is Pine Valley, NJ.

  15. Palm Springs has so many great golf course you cannot go wrong there -- it is my pick of the best golfing destinations in the USA,  but maybe not in the hottest months of summer.  North of San Diego (Carlsbad) is Aviara which is a really fine track worth the trip, and my pick of the San Diego area courses.

  16. Many, many times, and each and one was joyful.  I know I am lucky so let's leave it at that.  I never thought, growing up and learning the game, I would ever get the chance, but dreams do come true in the most unlikely of ways.

    Chilli Dipper is very insightful about the difficulty of tee shots where you have questions or doubt about the the way to play the upcoming shot.  Number 11 and number 14 sit before you and ask you to hit a certain shot without of a lot of leeway.  You cannot (or at least I cannot) put the possibility of not pulling off the required shot out of your mind and that makes the choice of shot shape change from day to day.  Number 13 for example is not nearly as intimidating. Blast away and play for a draw, just do not pull the ball into the creek or across the creek.  Hit the planned shot and you are in great shape, Hit it a little right, the ball comes down unless you push it a lot -- it is not the end of the world.  18 is really not quite as bad as it looks because there is room to lay up left short of the trap when you are a little shaky.  The big mistake is the push right, catching a tree and deflecting further right.  You know when you feel confident and can bomb down the fairway and when you need to be satisfied with a shot towards the trap, maybe with a 3 wood.

  17. Number 11 was always the hardest for me... you have to hit it really, really hard and favor the right side which is very elevated -- the hole plays longer than 10 if you have a predictable draw.    Surprisingly number 14 is challenging since it is easy to hang one right and the slope takes you hard right.  So sometimes you get a little pull going and then you are dead trying to get over some really big trees to what might be the hardest green to control your location.  Now number 5 is much harder as it was in Hogan's day, the moved trap makes it tougher and the green only has one landing area for the most part.  Finally, number 7 is now officially a hard driving hole and well deserved -- maybe the most narrow shot on the course.  18 is not as hard as it looks if you are an accurate driver.

    But, eliminating the par 3s is a little disappointing since the tee shot on 4 is the hardest shot at Augusta in my opinion.

    Actually, the hardest shot at Augusta is the first hole, first swing and first time...You cannot even remember how to hold your club.  You just hope to survive the pressure.

  18. This brings up an interesting question about a swing.  I started out playing left-handed and switched to right handed in my teens.  To this day, I can hit a pretty decent shot left handed so I can use a 2 or 3 iron turned backwards and hit a low bounding shot pretty far, or I can turn something like a 9 iron upside down and actually hit an air-borne shot.  So, being a foot or so from an OB fence just means I might choose to make a golf stroke but left-handed.  This is not impractical for me and it is a normal choice I make a lot.  There was a time when I actually considered carrying a left-handed wedge because I chipped pretty well left-handed.

    But a ball in a burrowing animal hole already provides for relief, so I can take relief and then depending on how the ball and the one stroke distance no nearer the hole works out, I might have a completely different shot become my best choice.  The ball can roll up to two club lengths no nearer the hole so I might well have been prepared to make a normal stroke left-handed and now decide it is better ot go ahead and hit it right handed.

    Now there is a case I know where this is not allowed.  If my ball is near the cart path and I announce I want to play a left-heanded shot just to get an otherwise unallowed drop that might provide a better lie that would be a penalty or not allowed.  In this case, I cannot artificially create a relief situation. Taking relief from something like a cart path is done for your normal or ordinary stance and swing and not some manufactured swing.  It is normal for me to swing left handed if a right handed swing might hit a tree or an OB fence.  I suspect this situation might require some special considerations and understandings in order for the full intent of the rules to be honored.  I have studied the rules and decisions about this fine point and am still not absolutely sure of what is a normal stance and swing is if you can play either way.  And it is not unlikely that a controversy might prove me wrong on this dual concept.  I know you cannot manufacture an abnormal stance or swing to gain relief.  Surely this has come up at some point and there is some decision somewhere that covers it -- maybe Mac O'Grady knows the answer.

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