In other news, I completely stunk up Grapevine Golf Club today. AAIIRRGGGG!!!!
August 28, 2010
July 11, 2010
This morning, I played 18 at WestRidge Golf Course in McKinney. We went off about 11:30 and finished a pretty slow round around 4PM. The day was sunny and hot, with a 1-2 club breeze most of the day. The greens had been recently punched, but it didn’t seem to make much difference. I had my best ever nine holes with a score of 38 (+2) on the front, with 3 birdies. I added a fourth birdie with a chip-in on the back, but otherwise played poorly on the back. Still, 86 is my best score ever, so I’m not complaining.
* Hit green in regulation.
- Off the tee. I hit only five fairways, which is my worst performance in a while. I also had three penalties off the tee, two into hazards and one out of bounds. I also hit two par-3 holes in regulation.
- Approach shots. Not very good, since I hit only two holes, other than par-3 holes, in regulation. One was stellar, though, a gap wedge to a foot on #6. I had one penalty on an approach, a 4-wood hit into a hazard I didn’t know was there.
- Wedges. I had a mixed day with the wedges. The good: A nearly perfect gap wedge to a foot for birdie on #6. The bad: A perfect drive on #10 and I chunked the gap wedge from the center of the fairway. My next wedge was good but I missed the putt for par. I also had a dead shank with a sand wedge. Yeech!
- Chips. I chipped in for birdie on #12 from about 3 yds off the green, and got up-and-down only three times all day.
- Sand shots. I hit into one fairway bunker, which I hit a good 9-iron out, but well short of the green, and into one greenside bunker that was full of water, from which I took relief.
- Putting. My putting was good today. I hit four greens in regulation, and made three birdie putts. I had 29 putts total, and no three putts at all. Probably my best putting day ever.
I was very, very pleased with my front nine, the best golf I’ve ever played. This was especially nice since I spent the week before I played unable to practice at all due to muscle spasms in my back. My back nine was mediocre, but I still managed to get home with my best score ever.
June 26, 2010
This morning, I went off at 9:33AM at Grapevine Golf Club in the June GGA tournament. The weather was hot and breezy. I went off on Mockingbird and finished on Pecan. As usual, it took a little less than 5 hours to play the round. The course was soft due to a heavy thunderstorm earlier in the week.
* Hit green in regulation.
- Off the tee. I hit 8 fairways (by some miracle — I hit mostly hooks with the driver). I also hit one of the par-3 holes in regulation. I fought the hook all day with the driver, and the one time the ball didn’t hook, I pushed it into a fairway bunker. On the holes I hit 4-wood, I hit every fairway. I loved my 4-wood all day. I had three penalties off the tee, all on par-3 holes.
- Approach shots. Aside from the par-3 hole, I hit 4 greens-in-regulation. My main miss was short.
- Wedges. My wedges were pretty mediocre today; I got up-and-down only three times, and one of those was out of a greenside bunker.
- Chips. I had two chips today, and didn’t get up-and-down from either one.
- Sand shots. I hit into one fairway bunker and one greenside bunker, both on the par-4 3rd hole on Pecan. My greenside bunker shot was almost perfect; I had a 1 foot putt left. The fairway bunker shot was hit very fat and didn’t go more than 50 yds.
- Putting. Terrible. Other than my 20 ft putt I nailed for birdie on the last hole, and a 30 ft putt for bogey on the first hole, I didn’t hit a putt outside of 4 ft. 36 putts total, and three 3-putts (two on greens hit in regulation). Yeech!
I was pretty amazed that I was able to post a score in the money considering how badly I struck the ball today. The hook bedeviled me with my driver all day. Three penalties on par-3 holes was just ugly golf. Still, once I gave up going for everything and played for bogey, I did OK. A score under my handicap is still pretty good.
Update: Finished 2nd (gross) in my flight.
June 7, 2010
This weekend, Johnnie and I played the GGA away tournament at Squaw Valley Golf Club in Glen Rose, TX. Last Thursday, we held the Calcutta auction for the tournament, and Johnnie and I paid $200 for our team. On Saturday, we were up at the crack of dawn and on the range before our 8AM start. I warmed up poorly, but had a good putting warmup. We went off #14 on the Comanche Lakes course in a shotgun start. My first tee shot was well-struck, clearing the water on this long par-5 hole nicely in the middle of the fairway. Two shots later I was on the green in regulation and 2-putted for par to open the tournament. Seventeen holes later, I had shot my personal best score, 87. Johnnie had a pretty good round of 96, and by the magic of handicap, our best ball total was 80 gross and 55 net. We were 4 shots up on our Calcutta flight and tied for the overall lead (net), after the first day.
* Hit green in regulation.
- Tee shots. I hit a total of 6 fairways, and had two penalties off the tee (balls in the water on #11 and #13). I didn’t hit any of the par-3 holes in regulation.
- Approach shots. I hit 4 holes in regulation and had one penalty on an approach shot (ball in the water going for the green in two on #2). My approach shots were better than indicated, as I was often putting from just off the green, which makes my putting stats better and my approach stats worse.
- Wedges. My wedges were pretty good on this day.
- Chipping. I didn’t have any chips, instead, putting when close to the green.
- Sand shots. I didn’t hit into any bunkers.
- Putting. My putting was good, as I had only 28 total putts and had eight 1-putt greens. I missed all of my birdie putts and had but a single 3-putt.
On the second day, we pretty much followed the script from the first day, except going off on #17. Despite hitting my first fairway (and the next five fairways), I played the first hole poorly, making double bogey. I did bounce back with a nice 15 ft putt holed for birdie on #18, but the rest of my game on Sunday wasn’t very good. Fortunately, Johnnie had a good day, shooting 90, so with my 95 and the magic of handicapping, we shot 84 gross and net 59. Our two day total of 114 gave us a victory by 5 shots (net). We didn’t win gross, naturally (coming in at 164, well off the winning score of 123). We also won our flight in the Calcutta draw — the big money!
* Hit green in regulation.
- Tee shots. I hit my first 6 fairways, but hit the 7th drive out of bounds left. I hit only two more after that for a total of 8 fairways hit.
- Approach shots. Not good. I hit only four greens in regulation. I sprayed balls everywhere but on the green. And two of the shots weren’t close, as I three-putted two of them (but did nail a putt for birdie).
- Wedges. How bad can it get? Here’s how bad: Three shanks, and three balls hit thin over the green. Terrible.
- Chipping. No chips today, that’s how far I was from the green most of the day.
- Sand shots. I hit into two greenside bunkers and two fairway bunkers. I got out nicely from one fairway bunker with an 8-iron, but hit a pitching wedge from another fairway bunker a little fat and not more than 50 yds. One of the two greenside bunker shots was good, but the other barely got out.
- Putting. I had two 3-putts, but other than that, had a pretty good putting day with 32 putts, including one for birdie. I had six 1-putt greens, but none of them was for par.
Not a very good day for me, but we still managed to shoot 59 (net), so I’m not complaining. These two scores were my two best tournament scores, so I was pretty happy with how I played over two days. My main improvement was putting (28 on Saturday and 32 on Sunday). The rest of my game continues to improve slowly, but much, much work remains to be done. But, finally, progress!
May 21, 2010
Yesterday, I played my first round of golf in over a month at Stonebriar on the Fazio course. I was worried that the muscle spasms in my back would keep me from playing; instead, the heat seemed to be good for my back and I had no problem at all. We played a two best ball shamble (everyone tees off, then plays their own ball from the best drive). Our team finished out of the money at +9, but I was pleased how well I played considering I’ve barely practiced at all. My driving was pretty good; I hit 9 of 14 fairways and didn’t have any penalties with the driver. I did put two balls in the water on par-3 holes, though. I hit 5 GIR, all on the front nine and got up-and-down 4 times for par. My putting wasn’t great, as I had 34 putts, which is better than I’ve had in a while (I have put the Odyssey 3-ball putter away and went back to my TWGT S2R putter). On the scorecard, I had a 92 (45 on the front and 47 on the back). Of course, since this was a shamble, not all the drives I played from were mine. Also, since we were counting only two balls and no scores over double by the rules of the tournament, my actual score would have been about 94. Anyway, I was pretty happy.
This morning, I went to the Byron Nelson tournament. I arrived around 11AM, got some lunch in our suite, and then went to the driving range, where I watched players warm up. I watched John Huston hit quite a few balls. I really like his syrupy smooth swing. I spent about 45 minutes watching a wide range of players. Jeev Milkha Singh had all sorts of gadgets on the range. The most interesting was some sort of swing aid that made sounds like beads in a shaft when he swung the club. He had some other gadget attached to a wedge. I saw Justin Leonard warm up; he was hitting 30 yard pitches and making the ball stop on the second bounce. Really, watching these guys warm up was really cool. I don’t know why I’ve never done that before, as this is the fourth or fifth time I’ve been to the Byron.
After that, I stopped back by the suite to get a bottle of water and went to the first tee. I watched John Huston tee off on #1; his ball flew over my head and ended up behind a tent. He took relief from the immovable obstruction; I was pleased that I determined before he arrived at the ball exactly the place he would end up taking a drop. He hit a nice shot onto the green from there.
I then watched another group (I’ve forgotten who was in that group) play #2, then skipped ahead to #3, a very long par-4 hole. The tee was up, and the wind was behind the players, so they weren’t even hitting driver on this hole. I walked #4, catching up with the group on that hole as they were playing their approach shots. I didn’t recognize any of the players on that hole, though one was possibly Bobby Hutcherson. He hit a nice long drive on this hole (one of his playing partners put one left into the water on the left), and then hit a wedge that struck the flag stick and spun back down the hill onto the front fringe. I found myself next on the bridge beside hole #5 and the tees for #10 and #16. I watched the group of John Sendon, Stuart Appleby and Chris DiMarco tee off on #10, then watched a group tee off on #16 consisting of Jarrod Lyle, Aron Price and Chris Wilson (these guys were really far behind the group in front of them). Next up on #10 was Michael Bradley, Will MacKinsey, and Brad Faxon.
The reason I was waiting here was I wanted to follow the young teenager, Jordan Spieth, for a few holes and see how the 16-year-old from Jesuit High School could play. I’d heard on PGA Tour Radio, while driving to the tournament, that he was at -2 and might make the cut.
And yes, this kid can play. I was right behind the tee on #16, an absolutely perfect spot to watch the players tee off on that hole. His group was right behind the group in front, and there was a massive crowd following that group, easily as big as those I’ve seen before at the Byron following Tiger Woods. All three players hit fine tee shots into the fairway; Jordan’s shot was maybe 5 yards behind the other two players. By the time they were to hit their approach shots into the green, I was already up by the green. Jordan hit first and put his into the deep bunker to the right of the hole. Next, David Lutterus hit a spectacular shot about 12 feet behind the pin, giving him an easy putt for eagle. Finally, Blake Adams (at the time -9 for the tournament) hit a shot into the same bunker as Jordan. Both of them hit excellent bunker shots and were able to make birdie on the par-5 16th.
Next, I positioned myself behind the tee box on #17 to watch the players hit their shots into that tricky little par-3 hole. The kid played safe and hit the ball into the right side of the green, away from the water on the left. He two-putted for par.
Next, on #18, Jordan hit a fine drive onto the left side of the fairway on this dogleg left hole with water lurking. He hit a nice shot from there and two-putted for par to finish at -3 and make the cut.
And that was my day at the Byron.
April 2, 2010
… but not getting the results I want.
Last Saturday, I played a two-man best ball tournament at Grapevine Golf Club. I’d been working hard on my swing, but still had problems keeping the ball on the fairway off the tee. My irons have improved, but my driving, previously the best part of my game, was now pretty poor. I’ve been hitting a mix of pushes and hooks, and in general, not having a clue about where the ball was going to go off the tee. The howling wind didn’t help either. When I hit the shot solidly, I didn’t have any issue with the wind, but most of the day my shots were anything but. I really only had two well-played holes: #2 on Mockingbird (hit my hybrid just over the green and got up-and-down for par), #3 on Mockingbird (hit a very long drive with the wind, leaving me a pitching wedge to the green, which I hit pin-high into the center of the green and two-putt for par). I did manage another par on #6 on Bluebonnet, but that was after a huge push with the driver, a mediocre iron shot short of the green, a pitch hit thin well past the hole and bombing a 35 ft putt into the cup. The one hole that really describes how my day went is #1 on Bluebonnet. I hit a good drive just short of the fairway bunker, a low 4-wood to about 10 yds short of the green, a pitch hit thin over the green, a putt from off the green no-where close to the hole and 2 putts for bogey. And my putting was just terrible all day, which didn’t help.
Yesterday, I had a lesson with Mike Murray at Golf Galaxy. I told him about my struggles with the driver and the longer clubs. He put me on the video, and again, I’d reverted back to not having enough hip turn at impact, with a bit of a lunge toward the target. He changed my setup slightly so that my knees were more over my ankles (feeling a little like riding a horse). He had me hit shots over and over with my 4-wood, making sure to feel like my left butt-cheek was moving straight back on the downswing. Viola! Instant improvement in ball contact. He told me to expect to have to hit 1000′s of balls before fully incorporating that movement into my swing.
After my lesson, I went over to the simulator and hit some drives. My driving improved dramatically, and I hit some of the longest drives I’ve hit yet on that simulator. My swingspeed is slowly improving. I’ve not gotten it to 100 mph clubhead speed yet, but I’m averaging about 92 mph now. My goal is a consistent 100 mph clubhead speed.
As it turns out, Bridgestone was in Golf Galaxy doing ball fitting. We started with my usual ProV1 ball, then tried the Bridgestone Tour B330-RXS ball and the e5 ball. I had the best distance with the Tour B330-RXS ball, and he gave me two sleeves of balls to try out on the course. I’ll play them on my next round and see if I can tell a difference.
March 17, 2010
This morning, I played 18 at the Indian Creek Golf Course on the Lakes course. We went off just before 10AM and finished about 3 hours and 40 minutes later. I like fast golf. The weather was very cold when we got to the course (mid-40s), but had warmed into the 60s by the finish. I shed two layers of clothes along the way. The course was playing firm, though there were puddles in some areas due to recent rains, and the greens had recently been sanded.
* Hit green in regulation.
- Off the tee. After several weeks of pretty good driving, my driver took the day off. I hit only 6 fairways today. I had problems hooking my tee shots today. I also hit one of the par-3 holes in regulation. I was in the woods far more than I usually am.
- Approach shots. I hit four greens in regulation (good), but also had two penalties on approach shots. One ball was lost left of the green on #5 (a hook) and one trickled into the water on #14 (a topped, pushed 5-iron). My fairway woods were worm burners today for some reason, but since the fairways were firm and fast, still managed to have short irons or wedges into the par-5 holes. My misses today were mostly hooks.
- Wedges. My full wedges were pretty good. My pitches were mediocre, as I only got up and down twice.
- Chipping. I didn’t do any chipping today, instead, used the putter near the green.
- Sand shots. I hit into only one bunker, the right hand greenside bunker on #17. I didn’t get out the first time (took too much sand) and went over the flag on the second (not enough sand).
- Putting. My putting was marginally better today, as I had only two 3-putts. However, I still had a problem leaving my putts short. 36 total putts.
Well, my scores are trickling downward, my iron play is improving, but driving balls into the tree meant I was unable to really give my irons a chance. This was my first bad driving day in quite a while. I had too many recovery shots to execute today because of that. Still, beats working.
March 16, 2010
I played 18 with the Shriners at Grapevine Golf Course on a cool, cloudy day with a little rain on the first 3 holes. We went off about 9:30AM on Mockingbird and finished on Bluebonnet. We were cart-path only, but the course was still pretty firm and fast. We finished about 4-1/2 hours later, not bad for cart-path only, which greatly slows down play.
* Hit green in regulation.
- Off the tee. I hit 7 of 14 fairways, and two of the four par-3 holes in regulation. However, I had three penalties off the tee, a hook into the woods on #2, a pull into the trees on #9 on Bluebonnet, and a push into the woods on #3 on Mockingbird. On all but the hook, had I played a 4-wood (the proper club) instead of a driver, I wouldn’t have had two of those penalties.
- Approach shots. I hit four greens-in-regulation, in addition to two of the par-3 holes in regulation. I had one penalty, a sliced 4-wood that trickled into the water on #1 on Bluebonnet. Otherwise, a pretty good improvement over my last round.
- Wedges. Pretty good on the front, pretty bad on the back. Because of my complete inability to make a putt, I didn’t get up-and-down a single time, despite pitches as close as 4 ft to the pin.
- Chips. I only chipped once, and it was a stinker.
- Sand shots. I didn’t hit into any bunkers today. Hooray!
- Putting. Simply awful. I thought my putting was bad on Sunday, this was worse. I had no one-putt greens, and had four 3-putts. Pathetic.
Well, my game (except putting) is showing some signs of improvement. 6 GIR is the best I’ve done since last year at Cowboys Golf Club. My wedges were good on the front, though lacking on the back. My course management was bad; two of the penalties would have been avoided if I’d used a 4-wood off the tee instead of the driver. My increased distance with the driver brought trouble that I’d not been able to reach before. I turned a potential 80′s score into a 96 today with poor course management and even worse putting.
March 14, 2010
This afternoon, Jarvis and I walked 18 at Tenison Highlands golf course in Dallas. We went off at 2:30PM and finished just before dark, on a gorgeous, sunny day. The course was pretty backed up all day; we waited to tee off on most of the holes. The course was playing firm and fast, but the greens were bumpy and most lies were hardpan with barely any base of dormant bermuda.
* Hit green in regulation.
- Off the tee. I hit 7 of 14 fairways in regulation. Most of my misses were pushes to the right. I hit only one of 4 par-3 holes in regulation. I continue to drive the ball pretty well.
- Approach shots. Pretty poor, although I did hit two greens in regulation. I was in the middle of the fairway several times with a pitching wedge or 9-iron in my hand, and failed to hit the green. My biggest difficulty all day was hitting fairway woods very thin, especially on 2nd shots on par-5 holes.
- Wedges. My wedges were terrible on the front nine, but they got a little better on the back. I got up and down only twice. My main miss was thin over the green.
- Chipping. I had very few chips, the best one was to about 4 ft.
- Sand shots. I hit into only one bunker, a fairway bunker. I tried to hit a 9-iron out, but hit the lip and the ball went about 40 yds.
- Putting. My putting sucked all day, the vast majority of putts I left short. I had five 3-putts and 39 putts total. This was my worst putting day in years.
Well, my play stunk today. Only my driver was hit decently today, the rest of the clubs basically sucked. Still, it was fun getting out in the great weather.
February 27, 2010
This morning, I played in a GGA ABCD 2 Best Balls tournament at Grapevine Golf Club. We were scheduled to go off at 8:28AM, but there was a 45 minute frost delay. It was quite chilly, but sunny, when we went off, and despite shedding two layers of clothes, was sweating on the last few holes. We played Pecan followed by Bluebonnet.
* Hit green in regulation.
- Off the tee. I hit 8 of 14 fairways, and none of the par-3 holes in regulation. I had three penalties off the tee, one hooked into the water on Pecan #3 and another hook into the water on #7, and one pushed well right into the crap on Bluebonnet #2.
- Approach shots. Not very good, as I hit only one green-in-regulation, a 6-iron to about 15 ft on Bluebonnet #6. I missed the birdie putt.
- Wedges. I had two really nice wedges for tap-ins, but also chunked two or three.
- Chipping. No chips today, I putted whenever close to the green.
- Sand shots. I was in three greenside bunkers today, got out cleanly but never got up-and-down.
- Putting. I had two 3-putts, had four 1-putt greens and a total of 34 putts. My 3-putts were due to bad distance control, one was well by the hole and the other well short.
Well, my lessons aren’t really working yet. I had a couple of good drives, especially on Pecan #9 over the water (made par). My only really good iron shots were a 6-iron into #6 on Bluebonnet and an 8-iron from a severe up-hill lie on #7 Bluebonnet that was pin-high but a foot off the green. I was happy to have had two tap-in up-and-downs with nice sand wedge pitches, but disappointed that I chunked a couple. My putting was typically mediocre and so were my sand shots. Not my best day, but I still might end up in the money on the individual leader board.