Thursday, December 14, 2006

My first money made playing golf

At the men's club tournament this past weekend I won $40 in cash and a $50 gift certificate at the pro shop. That's not too shabby since I paid $65 for the round of golf, cart, and food/beverage as well as $15 cash for skins. I made a whopping $10!!! Should I still be considered an amateur? Should I hire myself an agent? Ha!!! :)

Now I may be admitting my ignorance when I say this, but I didn't really understand what "skins" meant when I entered the contest. For those of you who are at my level of understanding when it comes to betting and/or different formats of scoring the game of golf, let me tell you what "skins" means.

Basically, all the money from everyone who contributed to the skins goes into a pot. At the end of the tournament, the person lowest score from each hole is eligible to win "skins" on that hole. However, to win "skins" on the hole, you have to be the only one with that low score on that particular hole. For example, I won skins on hole #6 at Club West with a birdie (2 on a par 3). No one else got a birdie, so I won skins. Now, the money from the skins pot is divided amongst all those who won skins. I don't know what happens if nobody wins skins on any holes...maybe the money is returned to everyone? There is potential to win a lot of money in skins (I won $40)...if you were the only one to win skins, you would get the whole pot!!!

The $50 gift certificate was because my partner and I tied for the best "net" team score. Net means they took our handicaps into consideration (I'll try to explain that in another entry when I fully understand)...in other words, it wasn't our raw score. Also, since we were playing 2-man best ball, we took the best net score for each hole. So, for example if I got a net 3 on a hole and my partner took a net 4 on the hole, my net 3 would go on our team scorecard. I thought this was a lot of fun because we got to play our own ball, but some of the pressure was off because usually if I blew up on a hole, my partner did well on that hole and visa versa.

Monday, November 27, 2006

78 at Pinetop Country Club!!!

Thanksgiving day was good to me and one thing I have to be thankful for is Golf! On Thanksgiving day my father-in-law played the Pinetop Country Club. They are re-doing the sprinkler system on the front nine, so we played the back nine twice.

It was a day of firsts for me. Hole #12 is a par 5 and I got my first eagle. I had a decent drive, but I wasn't on the fairway, so I pulled out my 5-wood and thought I would get it close. When I arrived to the green (we were walking) my ball was on the green about 20-30 feet from the hole. Interesting enough, my father-in-law asked me if I had ever eagled a hole, which I hadn't. As I was lining up my putt, I noticed a slight right-to-left break of about a foot and I didn't even think about sinking it...I was just trying to get it close and what do you know...it went in!!!

The next first came on the exact same hole....hole #12. I hit a tremendous drive (for me) of about 310 yards with about 225 left to the middle of the green. I pulled out my rescue club (#3 iron replacement) and hit a beautiful shot onto the green, but it rolled uphill about 54 feet past the hole about six inches onto the fringe. I was putting downhill and said to my father-in-law that it looked as if I wasn't going to eagle the same hole twice. As I sent my ball down the hill, I noticed it was rolling well and my father-in-law said, "it looks like it's on track" and when it fell into the cup, both of our jaws dropped and we couldn't believe that: 1) I sank a 54 foot putt and 2) I eagled the same hole twice in in the same round. It was amazing!

The last first followed at the end of the round. We added up my score and I broke 80!!!! The lowest score up to this point was an 80 at Longbow. I think everyone has a "whatif" moment after scoring a low score. My "whatif" was..."what if I hadn't scored an 8 on hole #17?" "what if I had scored a bogie 5 instead?" That would mean I would have received a 75 for the round!!!! What is it about golf where no score is ever good enough???? You gotta love this game!!!

(I won't mention in this blog that the following day I got a 90 on the same course and a 96 on a course in Snowflake, AZ :-)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Club West Mens Club

This past weekend I played a round at Club West Golf Course and decided to become a member of their men's club. I have never been a member of a men's club so it should be interesting, and hopefully a lot of fun!

The people at the golf club sure didn't seem to have much information about the club. I asked the starter when I bought the membership for some info about upcoming events and he didn't have any idea, so when I finished my round I asked a different employee the same question and he gave me a sheet with a list of events. When I got to my car and looked at the list it was for next year, so from now until January 1, 2007 I don't know what events are coming up. I have no idea about the handicap system they use, or if I need a certain number to log my scores or anything. I hope the quality of service and information about the club doesn't reflect on the quality of the men's club itself.....but it probably does. :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

85 then 83 at The Raven at South Mountain

This past weekend I played at The Raven at South Mountain twice. This course has nice views of South Mountain, which is just south of downtown Phoenix. I also really like The Raven because it has nice practice facilities, and unlimited practice balls are included in the green fee, where most courses charge $5 for just a few balls.

I was very pleased with my driver and my irons. My short game wasn't bad either, especially my lag putting, which I have practiced more recently. I used to leave a lag put either way short or way past the hole. Now I usually leave myself a 3 foot putt which I can usually make. My chipping was ok, but I remember a couple of times where I chunked my chip and had to either re-chip or putt from the fringe. That shouldn't happen!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Open Club Face is Back!!!

The dreaded Open Club Face has made a reappearance in my golf swing! It is so frustrating, but true. The good thing is that I knew it and could feel it, and Blair confirmed it. So, now I am really over closing the club face again to hopefully, quickly fix it.

Saturday I went golfing with my father-in-law, Jimmy at Superstition Springs Golf Club in Mesa, AZ. We had a good time. He brought along a friend from work who was actually a pretty good golfer, and I brought my buddy from work, Med.

I actually did very well on the front nine (40) but fell apart on the back nine (50), so I ended up with an even 90. It was so, so hot, so that is my excuse as to why I fell apart. Can you believe that it was 96 degrees at 5:45 AM on our drive to the course? Who knows how hot it got while we were there!!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Short Game Lesson

Today I had a lesson with Blair on the short game only. He looked at my chipping and was very pleased with how well I am doing with that considering that we haven't spent much time on it. The only thing he noticed is that I open my stance a little too much....I can close it a little more. He also noticed that sometimes I take my club back a little too short and then try to accellerate it through. I need to take the club back a little further so that it is a more smooth followthrough.

Next, Blair looked at my short pitch shots. Here again, I need to take the club back further so that I can have a smooth followthrough. Sometimes I take it back short and try to force it through impact.

Finally, we looked at my putting stroke. Overall I think Blair was impressed with my putting. I was alligning well and going straight back and through. One tip he gave me that worked well is that I need to picture a box that my putter head is going to go to. When I make my practice stroke, I picture this box and my putter face following through to the box and no further. Then I copy the swing on the real stroke. This takes my mind off a ball outcome and focuses more on the putter head, which keeps me from pulling my head and automatically watching the ball. Just in my lesson, I noticed a great improvement on my putting.

I asked Blair afterward if he could pick one thing to work on for my short game and he said "rhythm". This is true. If I work on my rhythm for the chipping and the pitching and putting, I will have a much better short game. Really, that's all we worked on for each technique.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Smooth follow through and Balanced Finish

I had yet another lesson with Blair and again, he was happy with my progress. In fact, he was very happy! He told me to work on:

1) Relaxing my arms after the impact and during the follow through. Currently my arms are very stiff and it needs to be more smooth. He also said to let my body swing the club through impact. I tend to force it through the impact area somewhat.

2) A balanced finish. On my finish, I usually over rotate and my right heel is to the right of the toe. I need to think of under rotating.

Now, these are small things, but Blair said this is the fun part of golf lessons....working on the small things. It has been hard work to fight through the big things, such as swinging over the top of the plane on the downswing and keeping the club face square or slightly closed on the backswing. I am also working on better contact with the ball, but this seems to be getting better on its own from fixing the other problems.

This morning there was no one behind us on hole #18 at Dobson Ranch, so I decided to hit some from 150 yards to see what club was the one. I first hit my 8 iron, which recently has been the club from this distance (it used to be my 7 iron!). Well, my 8 iron went 10 yds past, so I tried my 9 iron. I thought for sure it would be short. I hit two balls and they were both pin high and the pin was in the middle of the green! I can't believe that I'm hitting the ball so well that I am hitting my 9 iron 150 yds! Now, for most players, this is commonplace, but for me it is quite an accomplishment.

My next lesson with Blair is in two weeks and will be on the short game, or the "scoring" game. Even though my irons have been working well for me lately, it isn't reflected in my scores. Last weekend at Ocotillo I got a 93 one day and an 87 the next. I still usually score in the 90's. That is why Blair suggested we work on my short game. I don't know what we'll be able to accomplish in 30 minutes. We'll see!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Update on my golf swing

I have been working hard on my golf swing with Blair, having lessons every 3-4 weeks and this last lesson with Blair was very encouraging. He said that my swing was coming along great and that it is the best it has ever looked. Now, that can mean a lot of things :) but it was good to hear him say that.

Last weekend I golfed with my father-in-law up at Pinetop/Lakeside....although it was very windy and my scores didn't really reflect it, I think my game was better. I was hitting my irons very well and cleanly. A few times I was having trouble because I was hitting my irons "too good", in other words they were going further than I was counting on.

The only things that Blair told me to concentrate on were:
1) Setup - narrower stance (mine was too wide) and tilt my left hip.
2) Tempo
3) Full turn with my driver.

Things that I have noticed are:
1) With my driver, and my irons I need to keep my head more still. Because I have a tendancy to sway, my head sometimes sways too. I have found I am more consistent if my head position is relatively still throughout the swing.
2) I need to turn my right hand over at, or soon after impact. If you look at the pros, you can see all of their knuckles on their right hand after impact with arms fully extended. That is the look I want.
3) Loose grip will help with #2....with a grip too strong it is harder to turn over.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Lesson with Blair Douglass

To quickly summarize, I found that I need to:
1) Still feel the clubface a little closed at the top...it's looking better, but still tends to open a little on the backswing.
2) Keep the butt of the club pointed somewhere between my feet and ball on backswing
3) Club at top of backswing should point at the target, or maybe a little right of the target in my case.
4) Don't look up so quickly....see the divot before looking up.
5) Keep using the swing track for my clubpath, which is looking better.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

80 at Longbow!!!!

Yesterday I shot my best score ever at a relatively tough course! Longbow is located at Higley, just off the 202 in Mesa. My father-in-law, Jimmy, and I went at around 12 noon. I shot a 43 on the front nine and an amazing (for me) 37 on the back nine!



The 2 keys to my success were:
1) I never took my driver out of the bag! I only used my 3 wood.
2) My putting was uncharacteristically great! I hit all the putts I should have made and some that I usually don't make.

The funny thing is that exactly one week previous, I shot a 99 on the same course! :)