Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Easy Come, Easy Go...

-Flashback- The Hot Streak Continues...

I played in a three-man nine-hole skins game last night and my five bogeys and four pars were good enough to win eight holes for 16 skins. My confidence was high going into tomorrows round...

-Currently- I Suck...

I played Pasadena this morning and shot 103 (51/52). What's sad is that I only lost one ball. What's sadder is my course handicap there is 89. I don't think I hit more than a half dozen solid shots. Everything was complete garbage. Somehow I managed to win 4 holes so I only lost 10 skins. Good thing it was just Martin and I. If it were a four man game, it would have had more impact on my golf gambling stats.

I tried to remain positive. Every crap shot I hit, I said to myself, "I have an opportunity to recover, now execute". Too bad I had to say that about 75 times. As I've said before, you have to take the good with the bad. Time to put this one behind me and move on.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Current Hot Streak…

What better is there to blog (brag) about than a current hot streak!

I played last night in a four man skins game at my home course, the Par-3 nine-hole Green Caye. I was playing bogey golf and the money pushed to the fifth hole, where I chip in for birdie. Then I go back to bogey golf and the money pushes again to the tenth. Martin had a tap in for par and was ready to get the skunk out of his bag until I sank a thirty footer to push the hole. Then I birdie the eleventh after my tee shot settles four feet from the pin. I then play par, par, bogey, bogey (the three-putt kind), par and again the money is pushed to the seventeenth. I roll in a twenty footer for birdie and I’m at even par on the back nine (with a pocket full of change). I get caught up in the moment, top my tee shot, and it settles on the down slope of the forward tee box. I hit a beautiful recovery shot off of that awful lie and I’m looking at a fifteen foot putt for even par on the back. I three putt for a double and card a 29 (+2) on the back (Martin got the final skin with an up and down par).

I have now shot 27 (E), 28 (+1), and 29 (+2) for my three top scores at Green Caye. Last night was also the first time I made three birdies in 18 holes. This is my best score since I got the Bridgestone J33s.

This morning I played Bay Forest (70.4/125) and the hot streak continues through the front nine where I card a 36 (+1) with one birdie, and two bogies (one was a 3-putt too). Then I fall apart on the back, 3-putting five times and hitting three balls in the water. In spite of the 48 (+11) on the back, I come away with my second best (by differential - 12.29) round of my short golfing career.

Here’s the quick recap:

NOTE: For those paying attention, I know I said I was going to sell my driver. I will, I just haven’t got around to listing it.

  1. Par 4, 389 yds. Driver finds fwy. 8i from 145 finds green pin high on the left. 2-putt par.
  2. Par 4, 368 yds. 3W finds fwy (water at 250). 8i from 150 finds trap pin high on the right. Chip out of the bunker and into the hole – BIRDIE!!
  3. Par 3, 158 yds. 8i to fringe pin high. Nice chip, tap in par.
  4. Par 5, 459 yds. Solid drive misses fwy by two feet. Topped a 3W from a bad lie. 3W approach short and right. 8i chip to 7 feet. Missed the putt, bogey.
  5. Par 4, 390 yds. Push fade into the trees 20 yds off the fairway on the right. I’m left with 180 into the wind but I have a small gap in the trees. Solid 5W pushed slightly right clips a branch and it’s flight path is righted, landing just over that trap on the right fringe pin high. Delicate 60* flop flies six feet in the air but travels only two feet and lands on the slope and rolls right toward the cup, missing by a hair. Tap in par.
  6. Par 3, 151 yds. Downwind to a back pin. I hammer a 9i and manage only the front of the green. I miss a short putt and 3-putt bogey.
  7. Par 5, 480 yds. Tricky hole, I stray from my game plan (4i, 5i, 6i) and hit driver right down the middle. 3W from 230 trying to carry the water is short, but a lucky skip keeps my dry. 7i punch under trees fails miserably. 60* chip to five feet. Putt drops for par.
  8. Par 3, 161 yds. 7i finds the green, 2-putt par.
  9. Par 4, 353 yds. Driver pushed slightly (narrow landing area) lands just in front of a grove of trees. I feel an 8i will not clear trees but 9i won’t reach back pin. 9i finds the front of the green. 2-putt par.
  10. Par 5, 461 yds. Solid drive slightly pulled lands in grove of trees 10 feet off the fairway on the left. 5i punch snags branches but has enough energy to get me about 40 yds out. 7i chip pushed right rolls up onto green. Missed a 2-footer to take a 3-putt bogey.
  11. Par 5, 482 yds. Push fade lands on bare dirt in trees 30 yds off fwy on the right. No shot toward the pin. Nice strong fading 3i looks like it’s going across the fwy at 45* makes a sweeping right turn and settles 30 yds in front of the green. 8i bump and run to 12 feet… and I 3-putt again for bogey.
  12. Par 4, 396 yds. Push fade 10 yds off the fairway. Mishit 5i from 185 stays in the trees. GW from a mud hole with my feet sunk four inches in the mire clears trees and finds the green. 2-putt bogey.
  13. Par 3, 148 yds. Into the wind to a back pin, I choose to fade a 7i because the green is long and narrow and runs back and to the right with a bunker guarding the front. Perfect shot finds green leaving about 15 feet - 2-putt par.
  14. Par 5, 503 yds. This hole is the killer. The wind is blowing from behind and to the right (not good should I push-fade again). I choose 3i and top it into the water. I drop and hit 5i and it fades right, looks like it’ll be safe but it rolls and rolls and rolls and plops into the water. 3W to pin high on the left. I’m sitting on a soft, wet, bare dirt lie and I need flop over a bunker to a pin tucked close. I dig in and land just short of the bunker. From a better lie the next flop settles a few feet from the pin and I sink the putt for TRIPLE!!
  15. Par 4, 420 yds. Dogleg left with a tricky water hazard carry to cut the corner. Perfect execution with a laser straight drive lands in the center of a very narrow fairway just 90 yards out. SW slightly topped hits the back fringe and hops off, rolling down the slope of the elevated green. Poor flop lands just short of the fringe. A putt off the fringe rolls 3 feet by. I make the comebacker for bogey.
  16. Par 4, 360 yds. Pull draw lands in exposed roots of a big oak. I take an unplayable lie and drop with a risky line to the pin. A perfect PW almost goes in the cup – inches!!! Tap in for par.
  17. Par 3, 155 yds. Downwind, I try to hammer a 9i to a back pin and dig a hole you could bury a dog in. The ball finds a small channel of water in front of the green. I walk up to 130, drop, PW finds the green. 3 putts later (missed another short putt) the ball finds the cup.
  18. Par 4, 415 yds. No. 1 hcp hole with water in front of the green. Into the wind, solid drive is pushed left by the wind (water on the right). Risky approach requires a fade into the wind to get around trees. From 155 I hit 6i and pull the shot off but face a 40 foot putt. Putt to 6 feet, and miss the par for another 3-putt bogey.

I’m a just little upset that I’m three-putting all over the place now. That’s really unlike me, but in my defense, the greens were smokin' fast. I balanced it out pretty good though with the chip in and several one-putts for a total of 33 putts (13 on the front!!). While I hit only four fairways many of my misses were not too bad and I made good use of my ball mark repair tool with 8 GIRs.

Three balls in the water and five 3-putts but you know what, I’m still smiling!!!

I feel like I can play golf,


Monday, February 19, 2007

Draw it Long and Straight in a Crosswind...

Cold and Windy...

Things have begun to dry out here in Houston. We are currently on the backside of a cold snap that included a series of fronts that kept the lows near freezing and the winds howling. Perfect conditions for playing your home course.

I spent a few evenings playing Green Caye in close to freezing temps with 15 – 25 mph winds. I was cold initially, but once I started playing I was fairly comfortable. One evening on the 8th I stepped into a puddle and by the 18th my foot was pretty cold. I played all over the place. The first night the cold hit I shot 35/34. The next time we went out was the coldest night we played. It was 35 degrees when we came in and the winds were 15-25 out of the NNW. That night I shot 33/32. I only hit three greens that night, but I managed nine pars and only one double. Then, like golf likes to do, I went out a couple nights later and shot 38/38 with six doubles and one triple.

The weekend rolls around and I find myself with an opportunity to play in daylight so I head back down intending to play 27 holes. The wind was fiercely blowing out of the NNW at 20-30 with huge gusts. This would be the same weather that Watson would play in the next day in Florida. I ended up playing 36 holes shooting 38/32, and 37/33.

I consider 32-33 a good round just like when I shoot in the 80s on a regulation course. Similarly, 34-36 would be an average round (90s on a reg course) and 37 and above is just a bad day (100s on a reg course). I was hoping this would be the month that I would have a scoring average below 35, but 37s and 38s will make that very, very difficult.

One particular hole has me thinking...

First, to give you a feel for the wind, number 5 is 175 yards and I normally play a 6 iron to the middle of the green. A NNW to NW wind blows straight from the pin to the tee box. I hit the green twice on Saturday with a 3 iron right in the middle. I tried with a 4 iron and came up a few feet short.

Now on number 9 (216 yards), you have a pretty pure crosswind blowing left to right. On this hole I normally hit a 5W. With a big crosswind like we’re having lately, I can’t hit the 5W because I can’t hit a reliable draw (lateral movement of ball flight into the wind) with that club and a fade would be disastrous. So, out comes the 3 iron. I close the club face for a pretty good amount of draw and fire at the left side of the green. The shot flies straight toward the left side of the green and the wind only starts to overcome the draw spin at the very end of the ball flight and it drops off slightly to the right, a foot or so short and rolls up ten yards or so onto the green. The next time, I do the same thing and I hit the green and roll up near the back of the green.

Now here’s my observation...

I normally can’t hit the green (even on a clam, warm summer day) with my 3 iron. Some readers may recall I used to hit a 4 iron and 3 iron onto this green using my Dads clubs, but I can’t hit my J33s as far as those clubs. So, I’m thinking that the draw spin on the ball, together with the wind straightening the flight path adds a very significant amount of yardage. For comparison, last night I was down there and of four shots the closest to the green was still 15 yards short (in relatively calm conditions).

I think it’s accepted by most golfers that a draw will travel farther than a straight shot or a fade, mainly because the spin on the ball adds roll. By my observations, I think maximum distance is attained with the conditions stated above. So, I’m left with these questions:

1. Is maximum carry distance achieved when the amount of draw is such that the ball flies straight to the target?
2. Does the same apply for a fade?

Has anyone observed similar results?