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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Birthday Golf

All of us have weird, idiosyncratic golf rituals.  I was once chatting with my spiritual daughter, Jane Lybecker, about our plans to reconnect with family and friends in the aftermath of a great disaster.  I confessed that I didn't have a plan.  (Jane, who's remarkably prepared for disasters, carries a 4-day water supply in her car at all times.  I would succumb to dehydration.)
Jane and her Sister Kim, Ready for a Family Golf Round 

That led us to consider the barriers to reconnecting when, in our cases, we are separated by great geographic distances.  (You can't get much further apart than South Carolina and California.)  We decided that the best we'd be able to do if faced with cataclysmic forces of destruction was drive to the nearest golf course and play a round, all the while sending out loving thoughts to everyone in our networks, who would also be playing a round of golf while waiting for the world as we know it to end.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Now I ask you, which role model would you prefer?  This one?

Lydia Ko, 16-year old New Zealand amateur golfer

Lydia Ko won the Canadian Women's Open back-to-back in 2012 and 2013.  She's a schoolgirl from New Zealand and an incredible golfer who somehow is able to maintain a steady, even-handed balance, play top-notch golf in high stress tournaments, and maintain this smile throughout.  She's modest, self-confident, and unassuming.  What's not to like?

I'd love to have her dating my grandson, being my granddaughter's best friend, and showing other teenagers what happens when you work hard, play hard, and be nice to others.  I'd frankly jump at the chance to add her to my list of granddaughters!

Miley Cyrus performing at the MTV Awards
Or this one?  Joining your family at Thanksgiving as your grandson's new girlfriend?  How about joining your granddaughter on the family trip to the beach?  No? Why ever not?

I thought about embedding the video for your viewing please but I decided it was just too vulgar for my blog.

Let's get serious here.  I'd rather be a member of a golfing family than an MTV family.  But that's just me.  Maybe my age is showing.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bad Day on the Links? Want to Quit?

When I game back to golf after a 30 year sabbatical I was faced with some serious problems.  I remembered that I had once played a respectable game of golf, but all those small skills sets that fit together to make a competent weekend golfer had left me.  My swing was flat.  My feet were flat.  My back and my knee joins were 30 years older than the last time I'd held a golf club. I'd forgotten how to keep my head down.  I'd forgotten how to keep my feet still when I putted

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Golf Channel, Take Your Feet From Off Our Necks!

I don't ask much of the Golf Channel.  I'm a bright person.  I understand that their advertising money comes from viewer ratings, that there are more men than women who golf (by about 3 to 1), and that men are going to prefer watching other men play golf (although the why of this one escapes me); and women, at least some of the women I know, also follow men's pro golf much more enthusiastically and closely than they do women's pro golf.  I get all that.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Solheim Hubris? Not Me!

I suppose as an American I should be lamenting the loss of the Solheim Cup to Team Europe, but with 12 matches left to be played, that would be a bit premature.   Despite the Saturday afternoon Team Europe clean sweep, I confess to having enjoyed watching the Saturday matches unfold.  There were all hard-fought contests that went to the last hole or two in the round.  I saw some spectacular golf and, for me, that's the next best thing to playing golf, which I can't do right now because South Carolina is covered in rain and I don't enjoy mud-golf.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Rhythm & Rulings

I'm still trying to figure out what happened Friday at the Solheim Cup when Carlota Cignada dropped out of that lateral hazard on the 15th hole.  Frankly, I'm not at all surprised that Rule 26-1c and Rule 26-1c(ii) were in conflict.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Solheim Unfolding

There's really nothing worse that getting rained out or blacked out when you're keenly engaged in a golf tournament!  I'm sitting in the Oklahoma City airport and, after 4 days without an internet connection, I need to catch up on my email and see how the morning round at the Solheim went.  Guess which one got my attention!

Guess who really wants to be in Parker, Colorado, right now, rather than in Oklahoma City!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Match Play: It's Not Over 'Til It's Over

For me, match play is fundamentally different from stroke play.  In stroke play, 2 bad holes can tilt the contest.  In match play, there are still 16 holes to be played, and they're all equally weighted.  And that's the essence of why I love match play.

The approaching Solheim Cup is probably (alongside the Ryder Cup) probably the most well-known match play tournament in golf, but match play is a format that easily engages golfers at all skill levels.  Still, the Solheim makes my heart beat faster.  At a deep and basic level, because I, too, have felt it, I understand and identify with the fierce rivalry that so engages Team USA and Team Europe in this biennial competition.

But match play isn't limited to the Solheim and Ryder Cups.  The format can frame golf rivalries and competitions at all levels of player skill.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Round 3: Indian Valley

Wes decided we'd play our 3rd round at his home course, Indian Valley Golf Club.  It's a pleasant place.  Golf there is always relaxing for me and I enjoy the course challenges.  The water hazards of South Carolina courses are replaced by terrain variations that I don't routinely deal with, so in order to stay competitive I need to think through my shots more carefully when I play Indian Valley.  There's a good bit of up and down and tilt on the fairways, and the greens tend to be much softer than those at home -- just some different conditions, but over the years I've learned how to make adjustments to my game to take advantage of a different set of opportunities.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Round 2: Bodega Bay

The Links at Bodega Harbor is one of all time favorite golf courses.  It's one of the first courses Wes took me to play when he dragged me back to the game and the 5th hole, which has variously terrified and befuddled and challenged me over the years that I've play the course remains one of my favorites.  Take a look back at Playing Favorites, an earlier post about my relationship with the 5th hole.  I think you'll enjoy it.

Bob Caldwell (left) and me, and one of the other Bodega
regulars, enjoying a pre-round group hug!
Wes and I go back to Bodega Bay again and again.  The course is about an hour north of Marin County -- the filming location for Alfred Hitcock's film, The Birds, for those of you who are over 50.  And, as is the case with the game of golf, we have developed friendships.  Bob Caldwell, the PGA Pro at Bodega, always greets us with a big smile and I inevitably enjoy a great hug from him.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Round 1: Mare Island

This morning dawned chilly and foggy, a typical August morning in the Bay Area.  I scrambled for enough clothes to keep me from shivering and chattering through the front 9 for our 9am tee time, ending up in a long-sleeved tee with arms that extended beyond my fingertips that I borrowed from Wes beneath a regular golf shit, covered with a black fleece vest that could come off as soon as I got warmed up.  And shorts and my black Ecco shoes with the hot pink soles and laces, which I felt certain were the right shoes for this 3-round match play tournament.  And Wes looked like, well, he looked like Wes.  We ate huge bowels of oatmeal and packed lots of snack food and off we went, onto the freeway to join the morning commute.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mare Island Tomorrow

Today was a travel day.  Tomorrow Wes and I start out summer tournament at Mare Island, the oldest golf course west of the Mississippi.  I really love playing the course, but I admit that I'm always a little startled when I pause on my way to the first tee to read the little warning: WATCH OUT FOR THE RATTLESNAKES.  Just another variation on golf course fauna, I suppose, but I don't typically think of rattlesnakes as a part of my golfing environment.

In any case, I've checked my clubs that hang on the was of Wes's garage between visits.  I have balls, tees, a purple cap, a couple of ball markers, and clubs, so I'm good to do.  Stay tuned for the first round report tomorrow evening!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Now What? Saturday's Plan B

Third round play's been suspended at the Women's British Open because of high winds.  The Star Fort Ladies Golf Association got bumped from it's customary Saturday round by the men's member-guest tournament.  Saturday isn't getting off to a smooth start.  I need a Plan B.  Otherwise I'm going to get stuck cleaning the bathrooms!