Monday, October 31, 2005

Random Thoughts and the Weekend Report...

License in a Crackerjack Box

I've been walking a lot lately, ever since I got a pushcart. My motivation was to save money on cart fees. I've really come to enjoy walking the course when I play. Now the downside of this is that I don't ride much and when I do please don't put me behind the wheel. Yes, that was a bit of foreshadowing...

I played on Sunday and we rented a cart. Care to guess who drove?

It's certainly not hard to drive a golf cart (see my first post) but I'm just either too focused on my game or too involved in talking about my game that I don't think about driving the cart. I pull up too close to the ball, I drive on par 3 fairways, I drive up to the tee box when someone's about to hit, I log my score before pulling away from the hole, I try to write my score while pulling away, I forget to apply the brake... I'm a hazard out there. I have enough to focus on with the actual play of the game worrying about driving the cart. I may be exaggerating a bit, but I was repremanded at least twice but my partner. Does the Pro Shop offer driving lessons?


I work in a cube farm environment and there are two people a few rows down from me who often sneeze in such a way that you would think you were at Wimbledon watching the final match. My coworker and I often keep score based on who sneezes. So I started thinking about how hard tennis players hit the ball and the benefit of expelling such a guttural howl with each swing. If you think about it, many people hit their driver with everything they've got. Why not a big Haaarrrgggghhh on the tee box next time you swing the big stick? I mean think about it. You really wouldn't be bothering anyone, you may get a few extra yards, and you may intimidate your opponents. Of course you might want to try it on the range first. And you should probably be a pretty long hitter. Tiger must be pretty intimidating just being Tiger but imagine Tiger with a big Haaarrrgggghhh on the tee box!!! I've read that the PGA is struggling with the TV networks with dwindling viewer ship. I tell you this could be the answer.

The Battle at The Battleground

I played my 13th round at a regulation course on Sunday. The last time I played a complete round at The Battleground (70.8/125) I shot a 131. Of course that was just my 5th time on a regulation course. This time I shot 119. Pretty good improvement over the last time, but pretty dismal compared to the 94 I shot at bayou (69.4/111). But in my defense, The Battleground is a pretty tough course with tight fairways that slope toward the water and that water is found on 14 of 18 holes. As always, my game plan was to keep the ball in play and again I failed miserably. Seven balls decided it was warm enough to take a dip, and two more were so embarrassed by my skills that they flew off into the woods. My putting was fair (37 putts; four 3-putts and three 1-putts) and my driving was pretty solid averaging just over 240 yards on the six fairways that I hit. I made two pars, four bogeys, five doubles, two triples and a few worse than that. Two terrible holes were the first, where I hit two into the water after shagging my tee shot and carding a 13, and the fourteenth where I hit a monster drive into the woods that I never thought I could reach (and into the wind too), followed by one into the water which culminated in an 11 on the score card. Sure I'm dissappointed with a score like that, but I had a great day anyway. I know I'll be hitting in the 90s real soon and with a little luck (keeping the ball in play) I'll be breaking 90.

Thinking about taking up SCUBA,
-Greg (clmax)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Random Thoughts...

To Golf or Not to Golf

The weekend is coming and I'm having some funny feelings about playing. What if I score above 100? Maybe I should just go to the range and work on my irons. Maybe San Jac (a non-regulation 9-hole course where I shot 99 and 97 recently); I might be able to break 90 at San Jac. How about Battleground. Yeah, there would be no shame in shooting over 100 at Battleground. What to do, what to do...

I know there will be ups and downs, but I'm still excited about breaking 100 and I don't wan't the dissapointment of shooting another 100+ round, especially at Bayou. Then again, who's to say that I wouldn't go down there and do it again? I don't know. What to do, what to do...

I Golf Alone

I was thinking today about why I'm blogging about golf. I suppose the main reason is that I've read a few golf blogs and I've really enjoyed them - still do too. But in the end, I think it's because I golf alone. I've only been playing since June and have not established any weekly round or regular partner. I mean I have a few buddies that I golf with on occasion, but none on a regular basis. And so, I golf alone. I grab my gear and head out to the course hoping I get paired up with some good people. With no one to play with, I have no one to share my ups and downs with. And so, putting pen to paper so to speak helps me to release my golf thoughts so I can focus on other things.

God Bless the Space Program

I work in the Manned Spaceflight Program here in Houston (Houston, we have a problem) and the average person has no idea the benefits that we reap because of the technology sharing program. One of the coolest things for checking out golf courses is Check it out if you haven't already. If your area is supported with high resolution satellite images, with a little effort, you could have a great yardage book for that new course you've been playing. I've found courses that I never knew existed. I've studied the courses that I play, making notes and measuring yardage. Fun stuff - give it a try.


I was hoping I would "talk" myself into a decision about what to do this weekend. I know one thing, I'll be playing golf. I just need to decide which course.

What to do, what to do...
-Greg (clmax)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Breaking 100...

I finally broke 100… Last weekend I played on a regulation course for the 11th time (not counting the one day that I played Battleground and did not finish because it got dark) and I had a great day on the links. A great day indeed. I shot a 94 at Bayou Golf Course - smashing through the 100 barrier!!!

A Round to Remember

The weather could not have been better. I showed up a bit early so I could hit the range and see if I had (in my mind) figured out why I had been slicing my drives again. By the bottom of the bucket, I was hitting nice and solid with my irons, my hybrid was a little unpredictable but occasionally solid, and my drives were mostly effortless draws that had me grinning from ear to ear.

As I walked up to the clubhouse to pay my $7 greensfee, I passed by two gentlemen walking out to the first tee. That’s right, walking!!! I put on some hustle in hopes of catching them before they tee off. I sure didn’t want to be paired up with some folks in carts because I’m always rushing to keep up. I managed to make it to the tee box and they invited me to join them. Sa-weet!!!

Tough Start

My heart was pumping a bit from hustling from the clubhouse and these guys (John and Robi) had already hit their drives so I pulled out the big stick and teed up. I kind of wanted to take a moment to catch my breath, but I figured I was hitting beautifully at the range, just grip it and rip it. And I did… I lined up to favor the right because water lines the entire length of the hole. (1) - I ended up mildly slicing the ball off the fairway. Not too bad, just over the cart path. (2) - I shanked my next shot but managed to get back across the cart path and onto the fairway, but behind some small trees. I had to fire a shot toward the water and I was still 200+ out. I figured a 7i would put me in a good position to attack the green. (3) - Of course this ends up being one of those times when I nail the sweet spot and my ball has just enough energy to roll into the water. I suppose now would be a good time to mention that one of my strategies for this round was to KEEP THE BALL IN PLAY!!! (5) – My approach shot falls just short. Add a chip and two putts (6,7,8) and I feel my chances of breaking 100 slipping away – in the same fashion that my third shot did.

I pulled things together and scored a bogey on the next hole.

Heaven in a Hybrid

The third was the absolute best golf of my life. It’s a par 4 dogleg left with water all along the left side. You have the option of playing straight or trying to cut the corner a bit. The risk of course is you have to hit about 180 to carry the water. John and Robi hit their shots to the right of the fairway amid some trees. I decided to go for it and landed a sweet drive in the fairway about 185 out from the pin. I made it to my ball and thought hard about what to hit. I knew this shot would set the tone for the rest of the round. I could play it safe and hit a 7i and go for bogey (a perfectly good plan when trying to break 100), or I could try my new hybrid and go for the green. Well, I chose the latter and dropped the shot on the green about 15 feet from the pin!!! I jumped in the air several times in absolute amazement – I was so excited!!! A GIR from 185!!! I two putted the hole for a par and walked off the green with a smile that would last for hours (days, weeks???).

From there I shot bogey, double (on a par 3), double, par (on a par 3), bogey, and double (lost one in the water). For those keeping track, that gives me 48 on the front – right in step to break 100!!!

The Back Nine

I shanked my tee shot on the tenth, but since it was a par 5, I just figure I hit my third shot first. The second shot was fair. My third shot missed the green to the right. I shanked my wedge but landed on the green but 40 – 50 feet from the pin. I aimed the putt about 5 feet to the left and hit it easy, as this was a downhill shot. The ball rolled like it was on rails at what seemed an agonizingly slow speed until it dropped in the hole. I got some nice comments on the par and my grin was beginning really coming into it’s own – muscle memory setting in ;)

Solid Golf

The next few went bogey, bogey, bogey, double (after losing a ball in the water). The 15th is a par 5 where I hit my third shot 220+ yards on to the green!!! A cold front had just passed and the wind was picking up. My tee shot was good, but my second shot was topped and only went about 20 yards. After my third shot I stood there somewhat stunned as I looked at the ball way up there sitting on the green. I wanted to pinch myself. I left myself with a long putt and managed to get it to about five feet. Then I missed the short putt and carded a three-putt bogey. Disappointed but still grinning from ear to ear, I pressed on and bogeyed the 16th. The wind was really picking up and we teed off the 17th into the wind on a dogleg left with water on the right after the turn. John and Robi hit great shots, but I sliced mine off to the right – lengthening the hole. I topped the second shot, regained my composure and belted one right up to the left of the green, pin high from about 200 yards out. Two putts and another bogey bring my score on the back to 40.


The 18th is a short par 4 of 330 yards with water stretching the length of the hole on both sides. The wind was a steady 20-25 mph crosswind from left to right. John hit a safe drive to the right side of the fairway, landing near the water. Robi hit a similar shot a little closer to the center of the fairway. I’m up. I have eleven strokes to realize my goal. I thought for a moment about hitting a 6i twice but in the end I grabbed the driver. Lord let me draw this shot… Smmmmaaackkk… A sweet draw up the left side landing about 140 out on the right side of the fairway. Thank you Lord. I pulled the 7i and lined up well left of the green since I knew the wind would push me toward the green. Smmmmaaackkk… No No No!!! I pulled the shot left and watched as the ball screamed out toward the water on the left side… and then slow… and then stop it’s movement, hanging out over the water… and then start back… Come on… Come on… and then drop on the fairway to the left and short of the green. Thank you Lord. I didn’t have the best lie, I had to hit over a bunker, and the pin was tucked up close to the bunker on the elevated green. I have a hard time with my sand wegde off of a poor lie, but there is no way I could stop the ball on the green with my pitching wedge. A poor shot fell just short of the bunker but with a better lie. A second chip and two putts later and the 100 barrier was smashed with a 94!!!!!

What a day. I managed a 94 after losing three balls and missing two short putts. Wow what a feeling. Next stop: Breaking 90!!! I can’t wait :D :D :D

Still grinnin’,
-Greg (clmax)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Get the Ball Rolling...

I suppose I'll start with a quick introduction... maybe state the purpose of this blog... perhaps a random spewing of thoughts... hmmm...

I want to write a blog because I'm really enjoying learning golf. Also, I would like some sort of record to reflect back on.

My name is Greg and I'm hooked on golf. It all started when my Father-in-Law (Terry) brought his old set of clubs down during a visit for my son's 3rd birthday (May 30th - take a moment to mark your calendar). My wife told him that I would take him golfing during his visit - then she told me!! I guess I'm pretty lucky because I can always say (and I always do) that this whole golf thing was her idea. Terry and I went to the range one evening and hit the course a day or so later. That day, June 3rd, I shot a 140 at
Timber Creek. He told me an average beginner score would be 108 (six strokes per hole). I decided to give the game an honest chance and resolved to break 108 before his next visit in about two and a half months. Did I do it?... I'll post the answer in a future entry.

I have a daughter who recently turned five. I'm thinking about getting one of those junior sets for her and seeing if I can spark an interest. If anyone would like to share their experience with getting their kids involved (what works/what doesn't) I'd love to hear about it. So far I have learned one very valuable lesson about taking the wee ones golfing. I was playing at Glenbrook one day when I heard a crash. A man had a four or five-year-old child along with him for the ride and while he was making his shot, the child pressed the accelerator and soon after, crashed into a tree. It appeared that there was no physical injury. If you're familiar with Glenbrook, you know that this could have been a disaster.

The lesson: If you leave a child in a golf cart, secure the cart. Remove the key, park against a tree, park behind the ball... Or something to prevent this from happening. I don't know that I would have given this much thought if I had not seen this incident.

There you go dear reader, some solid golfing advice from an absolute beginner.

Now I'm blogging,
-Greg (clmax)