Friday, September 05, 2008

Expanding My Horizons...

Update…

It’s now been three years and three months since I started playing golf. My current handicap is moving down through 11.29 at the moment. I feel I’m kind of hanging on to that because I generally shoot in the upper 80s but manage mid to low 80s once in a while. A couple of those points are due to my playing the same regular courses.

I played in two recent tournaments at Green Caye. Both were glo-ball tournaments. One was during the full moon, and the other was during the new moon. Playing in the dark is pretty fun and very different, especially during the new moon. The format was 2-man scramble and I played with Martin both times. We won the full moon tournament with a crazy up and down round of +1 where we shot four bogeys and three birdies. We placed third in the new moon tournament with a steady even par round that featured one birdie and one bogey. Two other teams shot -1 and a five-hole playoff lasted well into the night. I’ve been winning enough cash to pay for my membership lately, which is nice.

Ball Striking…

I can work the ball well, either fading or drawing with my Bridgestone J33 Combo irons or my Bridgestone Airmuscle Utility Iron, but I can not for the life of me hit a consistent draw with my woods. As a result, I took the 5w out of my bag and replaced it with the Utility Iron. I needed something I could hit a long draw with off the tee and my 4i, even at 205 to 220, isn’t enough. My 3 iron offered a little more distance, but not reliably. The Utility Iron has a longer shaft than the J33 Combo 3 iron in my set (I have the 2 iron too but again, not reliable) and after a couple of range sessions I’m absolutely bombing this thing. I have not been real consistent on the course yet, but when I hit it good, it's real good.

I continue to have difficulty controlling the driver. In addition, I’ve been suffering a case of the pulls lately. I generally hit little cuts to mild fades with my woods (3w very consistently) so I aim down the left side and work the ball to the right slightly. Somehow I started pulling shots 10 to 15 degrees left about every third or fourth shot. That’s not good, especially on the tree-lined courses I like to play. It’s not fun stepping up to the tee wondering if I’m about to yank one left. I hit a few balls on the range trying to become aware of the conditions that the pull emerges from. I think it may have come from a slight strengthening of the grip of my right hand. It’s hard to tell though because on the range, after the first shot, the data is skewed.

Preparing to Join a Traveling Golf League…

While I’ve resisted playing in handicapped events (all of the tournaments I have played in have been gross scoring – no handicap adjustments) due to all of the sandbagging horror stories, I’ve decided to join a competitive league. There seems to be safeguards to prevent sandbagging and the member’s stats and records are posted. An example of these safegaurds: Players who turn in non-tournament scores for the purpose of handicapping will have these scores kept separate from the tournament scores and the player will compete to the lowest of the tournament or non-tournament handicap. The league plays different courses all around Houston and the season is year-long, playing every two weeks. It starts in October. Since my handicap is not GHIN, I will be playing my first three events as a guest this season to establish my handicap for next season. It will be interesting to see how I do on unfamiliar courses and the resultant handicap.

The first event will be on the 14th at Hermann Park Golf Course, a course I have never played. I reviewed the course and it looks like I could play well there. Even from the tips it’s very short (6014 yds; 67.9/117; Par 70), but has narrow, tree-lined fairways (built in 1922) and many greens are fronted by water. Finding the fairway will be a must. For this course, I’ll be leaving the driver at home as I can’t find a single hole where I could use it. Joining this league will give me plenty on material to blog about. I felt was getting too repetitive with my posts and so I slowed way down.

The Mrs…

My wife has been very supportive of my golfing in general. Of course bringing home cold hard cash ($30 to $120) when I return from tournaments helps. Joining this league will require a little more of my time because league tournaments will be played twice a month on Sunday mornings. Travel to and from the courses could be up to three hours and possibly more. There is more prize money to be won, but the competition could be tougher and these will be unfamiliar courses. My goal will be to place in the money (League pays T3) within the first five events. I’m sure she will continue to be supportive weather I win or not, but it sure is easier when I’m winning.

The Blogosphere…

Lot’s of my favorite blogs are no longer posting and lots of new blogs have been started. I’ll try to update my sidebar with links to the current blogs I’m reading.

Looking forward to more frequent posting,
-Greg

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