Monday, July 31, 2006

New Putter - Daddy Likey...

Three loops at Green Caye last night:

Loop 1 (34):
4 pars (2 up&down)
0 birdies
2 doubles (1 OB)
3 GIRS (1 3-putt)
16 putts

Loop 2 (30):
4 pars (1 up&down)
1 birdie
0 doubles
5 GIRs (1 3-putt)
16 putts

Loop 3 (34):
3 pars (3 up&down)
0 birdies
1 double (1 water)
12 putts

The big news on this day is the new putter. This putter is quite a bit heavier that my old blade style putter. It's also a little longer. I had a hard time with it at first using my regular putting stroke but quickly found out how to hit it. I learned that with a heavier putter, you let the putter do the work. My old stroke was more of a "push" the ball. With the new putter, I use more of a pendulus stroke. Distance is controlled by how far I bring it back.

I'll reserve final judgement till I get more data. The preliminary results look good though. The last loop I did not hit a single green, my short game was utter crap, but I was rolling in putts.

This week we'll be getting ready for the trip north. I'm hoping I'll be able to get a few more loops in.

Hmmmm... would it be a good idea to slip the putter into a suitcase?


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Fast Play With My Son...

I got to the course early Friday after work. This time I had my son with me. He's eighteen months younger than my daughter so he's mostly interested in riding in the cart and running up and down the mounds around the greens.

For me, the key to golfing with a four year old is the same as shopping with a four year old. You have to keep moving so the little guy has to focus more on keeping up and less on getting into trouble. So, I played three fast loops in about two hours. Then we hit the range to "clean up" a bit. What I mean is, since there was no one on the range and there were golf balls and baskets all over the place, I decided to "clean up" some of the balls while my son gathered the empty baskets. Then we both hit a few shots.

The fast pace was enlightening - less time to think can be a good thing. I did pretty good off the tee, but my putting was not as hot as it was last time. I made one birdie and missed three that were within 10 feet (one went past five feet and I missed the comebacker for a three putt bogey - ouch).

Here's the stats on 27 holes at the par three course:

Game 1 (32):
5 pars (1 up&down)
0 birdies
1 double
18 putts

Game 2 (36):
0 pars
1 birdie
1 double
2 GIRs (had a three putt bogey here)
16 putts

Game 3 (34):
3 pars (1 up&down)
0 birdies (missed 2)
1 double
16 putts

I'll be going out without kids this afternoon. I'll be trying out my new putter. Yeah, and just when I started getting the feel of my old one. My old one is a $10.00 special from Academy Sports. I decided to get a center-shafted mallet style putter. I bought the Catbite Z-two for $30.00 on eBay. It looked like I'd have an easier time with allignment. A few putts in the house are telling me that I may need some time to get used to it.

I'll post the results...

Friday, July 28, 2006

My New Good Luck Charm...

My hernia surgery has caused me to fall way behind on chores around the house. The past few days being rain-soaked doesn't help much either. If that isn't enough, my sliding patio door is threatening to fall apart and I need to replace it before I leave on the Wisconsin trip. So, yesterday at lunch, I had a couple friends help me get a new door from the local home improvement center. I now have it leaning against the house ready to be installed.

Yesterday after work I needed to put the new door in, but my daughter reminded me that I promised to take her golfing and she's been patiently waiting for the rain to stop. A promise is a promise so the door will have to wait. I threw our clubs into the truck and with my mind far away from golf, I drove us down to the local par three course.

We started behind a foursome and we were by ourselves. My daughter hit several tee shots while we would wait. Her shots would really only travel about twenty yards. She would pick them up and we would then go chip and putt at the green. I was really stinking up the place hitting fat shots, thin shots, and everything was going right. If I would force the release (to coax a draw), I would hook the shot. I was not trusting my swing at all. My only joy was coming from watching my daughter (and that's all I need).

Then on the fifth hole, I decided to steepen my swing and open the club face a bit to allow me to more freely release. I made back-to-back birdies. We played two more holes before she had to use the restroom. I made a par and a bogey on those holes but more importantly, my ball was coming off the club nice, straight, and solid.

We returned to the first hole and with renewed confidence, I decide to keep track of my score. We were again behind a foursome so I decided to play two balls since we would have to wait anyway. I hit a Precept and a Nike so I know which shot is which for scoring. I simply put "P" and "N" on the scorecard. After the first hole where I made two bogeys, I was playing out a match for my daughter between "P"almer and "N"icklaus. She was enjoying my commentary, and I was focusing more on using the match to keep her interested than keeping up with the score.

I dropped two more consecutive birdies on two and three with the "N"ike. My daughter would watch the pin and scream with delight when the ball would land nearby. After solid play, I found myself at even par with the "N"ike ball on the ninth tee. I hit a great tee shot with a 5W down the middle. I was about ten yards short of the green. Then I got caught up in the moment and chili-dipped my chip and left a twenty-foot putt. My putter was hot, having converted six up and downs so for, but it was not to be. I tapped in for bogey.

A record-shattering 28!!!

On the eighteen holes I made:

9 pars (6 up&downs)
2 birdies
6 bogeys
1 double
30 putts
5 GIRs

"P"almer shot a 32 which is one shot off of my previous record of 31.

How can this happen? I think much of it has to do with the silliness I was engaged in with my daughter. While I focused on the shots, the time in between was focused on good father-daughter time. I knew I was playing well, but didn't really think about the score till the ninth. I only noticed it then because I had made four consecutive pars and recognized I may have a new record.

I've got a new good luck charm, my little girl!!


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Catch Up Post...

Things have been busy and interesting for me. I have had little time to blog and now I'm so far behind I need to catchup quick or forget what I've left out...

One year review...

I started playing golf on June 3rd last year. On that day I played Timber Creek Golf Course with my Father-in-Law. I shot 140 that day.

Since that day I have played many rounds at the local Per Three course, spent many hours at the Driving Range, and managed to play 47 rounds of regulation golf.

Here are charts of my scores and handicap over my play to date. It shows my initial handicap of 33.03 dropping down to 23.2 over 27 rounds:

I managed to take the kids out a few times. They both enjoy it and love to ride in the cart. They still have to grow into their clubs, but time will take care of that.

I wanted to participate in tournament play to help sharpen my game, but the wife's work schedule won't allow it.

Followup to Round with Dad...

You may recall I had a bout with bronchitis and only partially recovered enough to play a round with Dad the day before he left. That was almost a couple of months ago. In addition to that bronchitis, I managed to give myself a hernia just before they arrived.

Countdown to Launch...

I hope everyone is aware of our very successful STS-121 mission. The mission is a big part of my lack of golf and blogging lately. Preflight, I was busting my but to certify. Then I scheduled my hernia surgery for July 5th - two days after the Orbiter rendezvous with the Space Station. I knew there was a pretty good chance the flight would be delayed by weather, but my team decided I should schedule my surgery anyway. Well, I did and I was recovering at home when we docked. Oh well, STS-115 is just around the corner and I'll be in the MCC for that one (and the rest as well).

Before surgery...

Prior to going under the knife, I played a fast round at San Jac and shot a dismal 101. Following that, I took a day off on my birthday and went back to San Jac to redeem myself. And redeem myself I did! I played two rounds and shot 81 and 83. The 81 is a new course record for me, and after shooting 43 on the front, an awesome round!!!

Post surgery...

The Doc was a golfer and he said I should wait at least two weeks before I hit the links. He said I should feel it out and if it hurts, give it some more time. Well, two weeks and a day or two, I went down to Green Caye and signed up for a month with a cart. I was still feeling some pain, but I figured I could do allright riding at the par-three course. And I did, I shot eighteen holes and shot 31 and 36. I clubbed up on all shots and swung easy.

Then I decided to hit The Battleground exactly three weeks post surgery. That was a mistake. Swinging the driver took it's toll and walking up and down the very elevated greens only agrevated the situation.

That about brings me up to date. I took my son to Green Caye Monday, and I'll be taking my daughter tomorrow. I'm still hurting some and I'm not ready to walk a course. I'd probably be in better shape if I could wear sweats to work because wearing dress pants and a tucked in shirt applies enough pressure to have me in pain by the end of the day. Of course, this can only be delaying a full recovery. So why am I at work you say? That's easy, I love my job!

DTIGT (Days Till I Go There)...

I'll be heading to Wisconsin in a couple of weeks. I'll be playing with Dad at his home course with a random set of clubs. Dad usually walks, so I'll have to make a smart choice.

Well, that catches me up with my blogging. I made a good choice to have the surgery during the hottest part of the year. I'm looking forward to late September. With our return to flight, my mind is on my job, even when I'm golfing.

Back to work,

Follow Up - I found a previously unpublished post from late May while I was cleaning out my drafts. It landed in the correct place (thought it would float to the top).