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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Forget About The 2nd Shot. This Is The One That Matters.

Annika Sorenstam was providing commentary for the 3rd round of the  US Women's Open today and was listening to the other commentators banter about Jodi Ewart Shadoff's missed 2nd shot.  But Shadoff was setting up her 3rd shot.  Annika shut down the banter with a fairly decisive observation: Forget about the 2nd shot.  This is the one that matters.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Stop Peeking!

After all that pre-round fretting and worrying I managed to bogey the #2 hole at Stoney Point yesterday, even with a fairly limp 2nd shot.  If I'd kept my head down, I might have collected a par.  Truthfully, I was still fretting about the creek when I took that shot, and I admit that I peeked, just to have the pleasure of watching my ball fly up to its safe place, perfectly set up for a 3rd shot over the creek and onto the green with my trusty 8 iron.

I knew I shouldn't take the peek, but it was irresistible, and it was my downfall from a likely par to a slightly disappointing bogey.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How Far Is It, Really?

How far to that bunker?  The little creek? Over the pond? The big tree on the left side of the fairway?  The front of the green?  The questions that plague all of us and questions that are particularly acute when we step onto a course we play rarely or have never played before.

The Links at Stoney Point, Par 5 2nd hole
I'm playing The Links at Stoney Point tomorrow and I've already started fretting about the 2nd hole.  It should be an easy par 5, so long as I can avoid that bunker on the left about half-way down the fairway, and I had the hole under control until they remodeled and changed the course of the creek that intersects the fairway right right at the green.  Now I worry.  How far from the bunker (once I'm past it) to the creek?  The green is huge, but the front fringe is practically in the water.  And shifting the creek unbalanced my sense of distance.   I need to recalibrate.

Slow Play? Not Us!

I hope everybody enjoyed the slow play post because I've just unintentionally deleted it! Whoops.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Wrap-Up: Golfing Road Trip

It's all good.  What an amazing trip!  Even as I was dragging my feet, even as I was trembling with anxiety, even as Barb and Shirley were talking me out of withdrawing and going home on Tuesday with my tail between my legs, Pat promised me that my game would change as a result of this experience.  Pat was correct.

I stepped up to the first tee for my final match, looked out over the fairway that stretched out in front of me, picked my spot, and took my shot.  The ball went there.  It wasn't a long drive, not even for me.  But it was straight and true.  And my drive stayed straight and true for 18 holes.  Stunning.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Finding My Mental Beast: Road Trip Update

I lost my match today, but that's not the story.  I found my mental beast!  I actually summoned my mental beast, and the summoning worked!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2nd Round: Golfing Road Trip Update

We played our qualifying round in more brutal head.  "Qualifying" in this case translates as "flighted."  Everybody plays.  When I turned in my card I was asked if I wanted to be placed in the Championship Division or the Senior Division.  I just laughed.  My score was embarrassingly high.  No picking up when I've reached my maximum number of shots and a course I haven't played before are doubly challenging.  However, I shaved 10 strokes off my back 9 score, so I'm getting better.  Will my improvement curve be enough for tomorrow's match?

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Practice Round: Golf Road Trip Update

Now I know how Bubba Watson felt at the British Open when he announced to the entire world, "This course is too tough for me."

For the first 9 holes of my practice round I kept digging deep, looking for the mental best CoachDayne has assured me lurks within.  The beast declined to come out today -- too hot and humid -- until the last two holes.

I followed Darrell's advice, took my swings with authority and confidence.  But even when I struck the ball well (and you know the sound of a good strike as well as I do), the poor things ran smack into a wall of humidity and dropped out of the air in mid-flight like bird poop.  Disheartening.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Golfing Road Trip: What Was I Thinking When I Said Yes?

I thought it was a good idea in February when Barb and Shirley asked me if I wanted to participate in the SCWGA Match Play Championship.  A week at the beach in June always sounds good in February.  So I sent in my tournament registration fee and paid my part of a beach house rental and put the event on my calendar.
Sanctuary Golf Club, Beaufort, South Carolina

Now the road trip and the tournament are upon me.  I'm not ready.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Thanks, Grandpa! I miss you!

You've all met my son, Wes, who slips in and out of my blog rather frequently.  In an earlier post, Back in the Game!, I wrote about how golf is entwined in our relationship and how Wes lured me back to the game of golf when I was well past 50.  As I began this blog, knowing that it was his grandfather who lured him back to the game of golf, I asked Wes to write a guest post about his golfing relationship with his grandfather.  Father's Day is the perfect moment to share his reflections with you.  That said, I proudly hand off the Father's Day post to Wes:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Master Plan

Adam Scott has finally given me a very workable strategy for dealing with my dratted grip problem.  (For my non-golfing readers, Adam Scott is a terrifically good Australian golfer who won the Masters this spring, lost the British Open to Ernie Els, another terrifically good golfer, and is on track to win the US Open this week.  He doesn't get as much press as Tiger, but he doesn't do outrageous things either. He just plays very good golf.  And he's not hard to look at, either.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Is Golf Really For Everyone?

I've used this blog to guide my readers through the lighter side of the Game of Golf, and I promise all of you that I'll do so again.  But I feel that, just for a moment, I want to shift gears and address a more serious and insidious issue that has cast a rather large shadow over this marvelous, universal, inclusive athletic activity.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Kudos to the Junior Golfers

The Junior Golfers Warming Up at Star Fort

I've been watching Lydia Ko, the New Zealand teen phenom, battle her way through the LPGA Wegmans tournament for the past two days alongside women who've been doing this for 10, 15, even 20 years, and I've been thinking about the wonders of junior golf.

Yesterday, on the driving range warming up for my own first round in the Star Fort Member-Member tournament -- I'll take a look at my own ongoing grip crisis in a day or two -- I became aware that the voices filtering into my consciousness were not adult.  I looked around and realized I was surrounded by junior golfers who were working diligently on getting their grip set, their stance and alignment fine-tuned, their arms and bodies in synch.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Anybody Identify?

I got this from my Google+ pal, CoachDayne.  Couldn't resist.  What club would you use?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rain, Rain, and More Rain!

Golf in the rain is no fun.  Or is it?  There's something very primal about staying on the course and finishing a round after the rain starts.  Rain adds another element to the challenge of the course.   It strengthens your golf mojo.  Fairway roll is nonexistent.  Bunkers demand a different, more delicate touch.  Greens slow and balls act as though they're coated with molasses.  Mere mortals depart the course and take refuge in the clubhouse.  Golfers play on!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Become a Mental Beast!

After one of our regular rounds several months ago the Star Fort Ladies Golf Association members were discussing who was and who wasn't going to enter a particular tournament.  I wasn't.  I'd been struggling with some aspect of my game (I can't remember which aspect -- the particulars come and go in this chronic life problem) and felt I wasn't good enough to be competitive.
The Star Fort Ladies Golf Association
at their Mental Beast Best

My golf pal, Betty Bates (front row, far left in the photo), who is about as big as a short minute and plays with her husband's and sons's discarded clubs, and who is as fiercely competitive as she is a gracious competitor, pointed her finger at me (and all of us who play golf with Betty understand fully the deeper meaning of that pointed finger) and said, "Golf is for everyone."  I signed up for the tournament.

Monday, June 3, 2013

On Coaches

Coach Finis Horne, c. 1980
Photo by Bob Stoner,
Used With Permission
I've been obsessing about my grip problem for the past day or two and reflecting on how much I miss Greg, who taught me how to grip my clubs -- "same grip, 13 clubs" -- he'd tell me softly as he rotated my left hand, yet again, and got it into the proper position, until the grip became natural to me.  As Sunday unfolded, my perspective broadened.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Gradually Things Got Worse

Stacy Lewis struggled at the  Shop Rite Tournament today and I struggled at Star Fort.  Round after round, over the past 12 weeks or so my score has been gradually creeping upward.  Initially it was a low, short drive here and a wimpy second shot there, nothing I couldn't cover with a strong approach shot (isn't that why we carry hybrids and irons?) and still walk off the green with bogeys and an occasional par.  I didn't give the situation a thought.  It wasn't interfering with my game, or at least the outcome.  Why worry?  Everybody has a few bad shots now and then.  Maybe I needed to accept that, as my golfing pal Barb so gently reminded me, I'm now "an old geezer" on the course.  Perhaps, but the other old geezers in the Star Fort Ladies Golf Association didn't seem to be having problems with their game.