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The Tournament

First off, I want to apologize for the lack of updates. As I had mentioned in my first post, this was a bit of a selfish experiment. I love to golf, I love to write, and I love to write about golf. The creation of this blog was a means to fulfill those various wants, and hopefully make a few people laugh along with me.

But as is so often the case, real life tends to get in the way, and I stopped writing. And sadly, for the most part, I stopped golfing too. Everything is perfectly fine. Things just got a little hectic with travel, work, and all the stuff that goes with it.

In any case, one of the cumulative points of this blog was the Golf Town National Amateur Championship, which I’m proud to say I golfed in this past July. One would be smart to assume that I didn’t emerge victorious, but it was quite an experience. The following is a bit of a recollection of events from that beautiful July day.

First off, for anybody who has ever considered entering a tournament like this, but had some trepidations about it, you should definitely reconsider. They do a fantastic job of making every golfer feel like a professional, no matter what class you end up in.

Which brings me to the first shock I had. They posted the tee times for the tournament the night before, organized by the various golfer Classes, and lo and behold, I was in the Championship Flight. No worries, I thought. It will just be the worst score ever posted by a Championship Flight golfer.

Thankfully, when I arrived and presented my handicap card, I was moved the more appropriate C Flight.With my caddy Jon in tow (they allowed caddies, so I brought a caddy. What?), we met the other members of my group, and drove to our first hole, a nice 165 yard par-3.

I think anybody would be foolish to think there are no nerves at this point. Of course there are nerves. For perhaps the only time in the round, you have the exact same score as every other golfer on the course. Thankfully, I didn’t have to go first.

Our first playing partner promptly put his into the trees. The second partner chunked his about 50 yards ahead. I don’t know if my shot would have gone this way if not for my partners’ first shots, but I put it right on the bottom edge of the green. One GIR, one hole. Not a bad start.

As we drove up to the green, Jon and I gave each other the appropriate low five out of everyone’s sight. Can’t get too confident we said, but it felt good nevertheless. Just hit the greens and two-putt for par on every hole. Seems easy enough. Until I realized we would be putting on a marble surface all day.

I 3-putted for bogey. Not exactly the start I was looking for, but I was still up on my playing partners. And a miraculous green-side ship on the next hole gave me an easy par. I was doing okay I thought, and the next two holes didn’t raise any red flags; except for the greens.

To be perfectly honest, I have never putted on greens this fast. The only break was my heart after each ball went sailing past the hole. An easy 5 footer could easily become a 20-footer the other way if you missed the line. It was atrocious, and I watched my game slip away.

Jon, to his credit, really tried to keep me in it. He tried to talk me off the ledge after every bad shot. But one bad shot begets another, and once those negative thoughts creep in your head, you start doubting your game. I tried swing changes, modified my club selection, and just generally lost all composure. While my playing partners slowly found their games, my only saving grace was a 4-hole par streak. Other than that it was double, triple and quadruple bogies.

I ended up finishing the round with a 107, good enough for fourth in the C-Flight. And not quite good enough to take home a prize. But I did take home this little tidbit; I can’t wait to play in the tournament next year.

 

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Posted by on August 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

There are 18 Holes in Golf

When I took up the game of golf for the first time, I always thought the ideal round was about 12 or 13 holes. Anything beyond that was tiring and frustrating. I would be lying if there were times that I didn’t still believe that.

That said, what I have learned in my short golf career, is that there are 18 holes for a reason. And knowing that can really help get you through a round.

About 2 weeks ago, right after the Canada Day long weekend, I got home early enough on Sunday to consider an 18-hole round. My friend Jon was enthusiastic to go, and I explained I would be happy to go, as long as we could drive the course (3 days of sun, and 35-degree heat was my motivation for the power cart).

We went out, had no practice, and I promptly birdied the first hole.

Great, I thought. Not a bad start at all.

Onwards to number 2, and while Jon struggled, I promptly birdied again, bringing a pretty good smile to my face. It had already been a good weekend. Could it actually be getting better?

I parred 3, leaving me 2-under after 3 holes, and being an idiot, I began calculating “what I could shoot today.”

When we finally got to 4, I over shot the fairway on a dog-leg left and went straight into the bush behind. We drove up, found the ball, and not wanting to mess around with my score, I took 3 shots to get to a decent approach shot. I forget what happened next, except that I hit a 6-over par. I went from playing in the red numbers, to playing bogey golf; all in just one hole.

And this is where I need to remember there are18 holes. I should have just shaken off that bad hole, and put my head down for a few more birdies and pars. Instead, I slipped. And my game kept on slipping. I missed fairways, greens, and my short game disappeared altogether.

In less than a week, I get to play in the Golf Town National Amateur Series, and I have more than a few trepidations as the day approaches.

Will my new driver work out? Can I find my short game in time? And most of all, can I remember to shake off the bad hole, and play good golf on the other 17. Only time will tell.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The New Driver- Taylormade R9

So I finally took the plunge and bought myself a new driver.

I had been playing with my TaylorMade R7 for about 2 years now, and as I watched those around me purchase fancy new clubs, I felt it was finally my turn. And after trying my friend’s TaylorMade R9 on multiple occasions, I had decided it was the club for me.

Now there were two major differences with my friend’s club that were concerning me:

1) The loft. He had purchased an 11.5 degree loft, and I was used to playing a 9.5. Striking the ball was a lot easier with an 11.5, but I still wanted a bit more distance. So I decided on a 10.5.

2) The flex. His shaft was a 60 gram, regular flex. I was playing a 60 gram, stiff flex. Now typically when your flex is too soft, you tend to slice the ball. The clubhead gets behind your hands, and opens the clubface. However, when I tried his regular flex in a tournament, I never sliced. Not once. In fact, they cleared the left side of the course just for me.

To back up a bit, I was fairly confident after trying his club in a tournament, that a regular flex and a 10.5 degree loft would be just fine for me. And so when I was traveling on business last week, I made the purchase.

Now I want to preface the rest of this story with a simple statement that should always be adhered to: Never, ever buy a golf club if you’re not going to be golfing within 2 days. It’s agonizing.

I spent the remainder of my business trip fawning over my new driver, and fluctuating between sadness and a jealous rage whenever I drove past a golf course. Needless to say, I could not wait to get home and hit this club. And so on my first evening back home, my friend Jon and I headed to the course.

I ripped open the box that I had packed the club in, took out my fancy new tool, and adjusted the clubhead to a neutral upright position. Perfect, I thought. Just a nice easy draw. We took a few practice swing, and it was my turn to shine.

As an aside, I feel it’s important to note here that the first time I hit my TaylorMade R7 two years ago, I swung so hard and I completely heeled the club, putting a golf ball sized dent on the bottom of the head. It was a constant reminder to never swing too hard, and I was very conscious of it as I approached my tee shot with my new driver.

I stood over the ball, prepped my grip, my stance, and looked down the fairway before exhaling. Taking the club back felt natural, and so did the contact as I crushed the ball down the fairway, as it slowly drew in to the left side.

“Whooo!” I yelled out. “I love it!”

The next 2 driving holes were the same. Small draws, and far. I was in love. That is until the last three driving holes.

Now I don’t know if I was starting to swing too fast again, or if I was letting my grip turn over. I could have even been taking the club back differently. In any case, the next two drives went hard right. The slice was back (or power fades, as I like to call them).

I shrugged, but this was getting in my head. And as I approached the 9th tee box (we were only playing 9), I asked the golf gods for something. Anything to make me believe I had made the right purchase. It was right, alright. As in right side, out of bounds.

The worst part is, the confident shots and the confidence-wavering shots were a even tie. 3-3. And now I don’t get to play until Sunday.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Having Too Many Objectives in Golf

Well, I guess I learned my lesson.

As I wrote here yesterday, I had a chance to play in my first corporate tournament of the year. It was an absolutely perfect day for golf, so I really can’t complain. But as I wrote here yesterday, I also established a few goals for myself.

I probably should have just stayed at home.

You see, before I left for the game, I sent a quick text message to a friend:

“Would you mind if I used your driver?” I asked.

“Not at all. Do you want the adjustment tool?”

“Nope. All good.”

Big mistake.

I wanted to borrow the driver for a few reasons. 1) His new Taylormade R9 was much nicer than my old R7. Also, I’m thinking about buying an R11, so this figured to be a good test. 2) It was a higher loft and a softer shaft; two things I’m considering when I purchase my new club.

It all seemed like such a great idea. I could play a new club in a relatively stress-free game, and at the same time, hopefully crush a few balls into the fairway. Needless to say, I should have brought the tool.

The driver itself is a thing of beauty, but is set all the way to a draw, with an 11.5 degree loft to boot. Previously I’ve played a neutral 9.5 degree loft, so I’m not used to going left very often. So first shot of the day I saddle up aligned straight down the fairway, and I absolutely crush the ball. Except it goes left. And it keeps going left. My favourite part of this was the “Get right!” comments from my teammates, but this ball was gone.

I was fine with the result. Sure I just lost $2 as it sailed away, but it was a best ball tournament. No need to worry or stress. Just have fun. Besides, the reason I came was to win longest drive and closest to the pin. And those two holes were coming up next.

We finished out with a par, and off we went to the closest-to-the-pin Par-3.

I feel it would be prudent for me to point out now that I have never hit this Par-3 green before. Usually I hit it hard to the right, so why I thought today would be any different is beyond me. But today was different. Today I thought I would adjust for that, and so I hit it hard to the left instead. Another ball lost.

I don’t think I really need to describe what happens on the next hole, which just happens to be the longest drive hole, but I will tell the story anyways.

As Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.” But I’m young and foolish,and I had a new driver in my hands.

I walked up again, lined up my shot, absolutely smoked the ball once more, and watch that “Draw-setting” take my ball away from any reasonable playing surface. No longest drive today. Although if out-of-bounds ever counts, I’m sure I’ll win.

And so describes my day.The two original goals I had set for myself were gone before the first 3 holes were done. And the driver I couldn’t wait to hit was not treating me so well. We finished out the day at even-par. If not for a few heroic putts from one of our teammates, it could have been much worse.

But I did walk away with a few bright spots.

  • Wearing Loudmouth pants to a tournament is an instant hit.
  • Never, ever try to do more than one thing on the golf course. Have one goal, and stick to it.
  • And I know now that I want a softer flex on my next driver; I just won’t set it to a draw.
 
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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The First Corporate Tournament

You know you’re hitting the summer months when the corporate tournaments start.

In what is becoming a bit of an annual tradition for my Dad and I, we play in a local Association’s “Nine and Dine” each year. I don’t really have that much of an affiliation with the group, but generally it is a good time. The nice part too is that it’s played at one of my regular courses. So I know it well.

That said, I find that corporate tournaments always deliver an interesting game of golf. As with most, it’s a four-ball, best-ball game, with the fortunate part being you don’t have to play your terrible shots. That is, if you’ve ended up on the right team.

For me, I like to go to these tournaments and try to win every prize I can. It’s a bit presumptious, but it’s a fun way to add some competition to the day. Last year, I just missed getting longest drive. And closest to the pin is a pipe dream. And there’s all the little side games as you wait to tee off on each hole.

The game itself isn’t really a good test for you’re overall game. Sure it’s fun to make the occasional great shot, but at the end of the day, nobody really cares about the scorecard. It’s just a fun way to go out and play a game of golf,  when you could be at the office.

This year, to spice it up a bit, I made sure that my Dad and I were rocking some Loudmouth Pants (well, he’s wearing shorts. I have to golf in pants). We went with the loudest colours we could find, and knowing one of the other players in our group, it will surely lead to a lot of chirping at each other all day long.

As I said, I’m not so much looking at this to help my game. I will, however, be going for every prize I can. Updates and photos to follow!

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Superstitions in Golf

To be honest, I’ve never really considered myself to be that superstitious. I’ve knocked on wood where appropriate, and I’ve grown the occasional playoff beard (mostly because it’s socially acceptable). But beyond all that, I don’t really have a list of superstitions.

That is, until I started golfing.

You see, golf, for me at least, is a combination of both skill and superstition. And I didn’t really think I had any superstitions until about a year or two into playing golf more regularly. Once I posted a few good scores, that’s when I really got on board.

The first time I noticed was after I had hit a relatively good score up to that point. Rather than looking at the scorecard and making notes on what worked and what didn’t (Greens in Regulation, Putts, Fairways… these are all good starts), I decided to look at what I did differently. And what did I come up with? Pants.

That’s right. I wore pants instead of shorts. And to this day, I still believe that I play better in pants. No matter how bloody hot it is on the course, I justify my pants-wearing by saying “I play better in pants.”

Now, I’ve realized that “I play better” is a bit of a silly excuse, so I’ve developed new sayings:

  • “They breathe really well.”
  • “This way I don’t get bug bites on my legs.”
  • “At least I don’t get a sock tan.”
  • “I don’t have any nice shorts.”

Ridiculous, isn’t it. And the worst part of it all is that these little superstitions are kind of like self-fulfilling prophecies. The moment I have a good round again, I can chalk it up to the pants.

Now I should point out that my other superstitions are much less obvious. For instance, I’ve taken to always taking my glove off after each shot. You wouldn’t really notice it, but I definitely do. The same goes for my hat. If I’m playing really well, I will refuse to adjust my hat. No matter how hot it is or uncomfortable, the hat must stay rooted in its position.

Recently, when cleaning out my house, I found my Grandfather’s old head covers. The head covers themselves were too small to be effective, but the plastic 1, 3, and 5 tags seemed like a perfect addition in my bag and help bring me a good game. So I went out, played a mediocre round, and only after the game did I realize I left the tags in my car. The bad round was caused by no other reason than I didn’t have those tags.

I’m sure I’m not the worst golfer when it comes to superstitions. As I’ve said before, pre-shot routines are just as bad for many golfers. But the interesting part about all this is that when I notice I’ve done something differently (like adjusted my hat when I’m not supposed to, or forgotten to remove my glove), it mentally affects my game. So much so that I usually mess up the next shot. Which is why we have superstitions. It’s not so much about what you do, but about clearing your mind of any distractions.

And what better way to clear your mind than to make sure you’re doing everything the exact same as you always do.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Long Layoff Between Golf Games

I seemingly find myself in this position every year. I start our golf season playing close to four times a week, and by June I’ve hit a wall.

It’s not that I don’t want to be out on the golf course; quite the contrary in fact. It’s just that all the things I neglected during the start of the season begin to catch up to me. Things like family, work and bills have somehow become priorities again. As I said, I’d rather be golfing.

At this point, I’m close to about a week without even swinging a golf club. In that time, I’ve packed up a house, played a baseball game, played a volleyball game, and “forgotten” to do any exercise. Golf, as a game that requires muscle memory, has been seriously neglected.

If not for the ramblings of a very persistent friend, I’m not even sure when I’d have the chance to go golfing. He has been very insistent that we go play after work today; so that’s the plan.

With that in mind, and reality setting in, I’m trying to look at this game realistically. One would assume that I won’t have the same form today that I did when I was playing 3 or 4 times a week. And knowing that myself, perhaps I will swing just a bit slower and just a bit more in control.

At the same time, I have to wonder what this will do to my already fluctuating handicap. The handicap system, I’m told, is intended to deal with anomalies in scores.But what if these anomalies are becoming more consistent? Can I expect my handicap to start climbing again?

The other frightening scenario is that my friend might have an opportunity to beat me. This is an interesting game like that at times, and the distinct possibility exists that if I play my worst, and he plays his best, I could lose. A scary thought given our usually stroke differential of 20.

So tonight will be a bit of a litmus test for me and whether a layoff in golf will help or hinder my golf game.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2011 in Uncategorized