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New 2 Golf

My thoughts about getting hooked on golf - Learning the game - Getting the kids involved - Local course reviews

Updated: 2017-10-10T05:32:58.961-05:00


First Ace...



Scored my first Ace last night at Green Caye Golf Course

..- 150yds, 9-Iron -..

Taken from

In 1999, Golf Digest reported, "One insurance company puts a PGA Tour pro's chances at 1 in 3,756 and an amateur's at 1 in 12,750."

Fun with the numbers...

Since I have kept pretty good records of most of the golf I've played, I get 1 in 6723. Those numbers are a bit skewed because I play most of my golf (little less than 2/3) at a par three course. If all my golf had been played on regulation courses and I got the ace after playing the same number of par 3 holes, it would have been 1 in 21,438.

The Joy...

The Eagle three was more joyful.

The Ace was more like, "Oh my God I got my first hole-in-one... I got my first hone-in-one... I GOT MY FIRST HOLE-IN-ONE!!!" And from there it was more a sense of relief that I have one under my belt.

Oh Happy Day... Oh Happy Day,

Kids Logic...


The Boy...

So we're doing a lot of clean up after the storm and for the first time in our kids lives, my wife is giving them TV dinners. After hearing this the kids get real excited. My six-year-old starts talking about what to watch while they eat, and I attempt to end the conversation by reminding them of our rules.

We have a "no eating in the living room policy".

So my six-year-old asks, "Dad, why do they call them TV dinners if we can't watch TV while we eat them?".

I have no answer for that.

Insurance Sucks...

Looks like we have about 3000.00 - 3500.00 worth of damage. Our insurance policy, like everyone else's around here, has a hurricane clause that sets your deductible to two percent in the event of a hurricane. That makes our deductible is 3600.00.

Golf is not a Priority...

Sorry for the off-topic posts, I'll be back on track in a few weeks I'm sure. Not many courses open at the moment anyway. I understand Green Caye will be open tomorrow. I hope to get down for a loop, but we'll see how much work I can get done by then.


Let there be Light...


...and air conditioning.

We're okay. Power was out for about 62 hours. We sustained minor damage. There are many in much worse shape.

Businesses are slowly opening. There are lines for everything. We learned some good lessons for next time. More later.

We're okay.

Can't find a Tee Time...


Or a Hotel...

We decided to hunker down and ride this one out. It's heading right for us. I called a few courses to see if there were any tee times available for tomorrow and no one even answered the phone.

Waiting for the power to go out.

See ya on the other side,

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 [...]

First Eagle...


Catching Up...

Wow, a seven month hiatus from blog posting. What have I been doing? For starters, I stopped keeping track of my stats at Green Caye for three months of membership.

I played in a couple of tournaments at Green Caye. One was a 2-man scramble where Martin and I won first place. The other was an individual event where I won second place. I missed one tournament where they play in the dark with glow balls from the front tees and hang glow sticks on the pins. They might do that again during the next new moon (end of this month). I hope I can make it because those seem like a lot of fun.

This last month (my 21st month of membership), I did manage to keep my stats and they show continued improving trends. These stats would have been a bunch better had I not shot 38 (+11) twice this month. But as I say, you have to take the bad with the good.

Without throwing up the charts…

My GIRs went down, UNDs went up, birdies went up, putts went down, pars went up, and scoring went down. All good stuff.

Now for some numbers…

I’m getting up and down 37.6% of the time at Green Caye and that improvement shows on regulation courses as well. I think the worst tour players get up and down about 50% of the time.

My par three scoring average is 3.56 and that’s down from 3.59. I’d like to get this number down below 3.5. I think that’s achievable.

My First Eagle...

The big news here is that I scored MY FIRST EAGLE Wednesday July 30. It was at Beacon Lakes on the eighth hole, a par 5 of 490 yards. A tailwind and hard fairway combined to give me a 300 yard drive that settled a few yards right of center in the fairway. The approach was to a front pin on an elevated green that first rises, then slopes away. My shot needed to hit within the first yard or so if I expected to be near the pin. If it landed more than fours yards deep it would likely roll off the back of the green. From 190 yards to the center, I selected an 8 iron expecting to carry the shot about 175 yards. The shot came off perfectly, landed on the front of the green and rolled a yard or two to settle at 2 feet. I have never been so nervous over a two foot putt before. For added pressure, the greens had just been punched and sanded that day. After seeming to have to concentrate just to breathe, I managed to roll the putt in and score my first eagle.

The sense of joy is similar to when I broke 100. Breaking 90 and breaking 80 seemed come and go as a matter of course. I almost expect this to be more joyful than making a hole in one, or an eagle two because it’s something I tried to do. A hole in one and an eagle two are just not expected, they surprise you. Also, I have had several looks at eagle, perhaps the closest was from about 12 feet off the fringe. Hole in ones and eagle twos kind of surprise you. Eagle three lets you look at it real close before you take a shot at it.

Dad’s coming down for a few days next week. He’s not really my Dad, he’s my Father-in-Law. My Dad passed in 96, so my Father-in-Law is now my honorary Dad. I’m going to enjoy every moment while he’s here because you never know at the time that you’re playing your last round.

Even Par…


I played four loops last night at Green Caye, and the second loop I shot even par, tying my course record there. I made a nice string of pars through the fourth hole, and birdied both five and six. I didn’t think too much about my score till after I parred the seventh. I tried not to think about it, but as I walked to the eighth tee I started to think about the results. I quickly gathered myself mentally and focused on the upcoming shot. I had been having some trouble with this hole for some time. There is water immediately right of the green and the green gets smaller as it gets farther away from the water. I’ve hit plenty of shots into the water here, I’ve pulled plenty left. I tried taking a club that would take the water out of play but it’s a difficult hole to get up-and-down.I decided to club up and hit a smooth shot at the pin. I pulled it slightly but landed on the green some 15 to 20 feet left of the pin. Releaved, and wanting to stay in the moment, I started thinking about the putt. By the time I got to the green I was thinking about another birdie!!!Now this month I’m trying to focus on getting my putts past the hole. Sadly, I’m not having too much success. I leave many putts short or just a few inches past the cup. I just can’t seem to find the speed to go one or two feet past the cup and to be honest, I miss plenty of birdies as a result.So there I was on the eighth hole at two under with a 15 to 20 footer for birdie and I slam the ball six feet by and miss the comebacker.The ninth is the toughest hole on th course due to it’s length and OB on both sides. Over the past three months I’ve managed to par it just 25.8% of the time. I didn’t know the exact number when I got to the ninth tee, but I knew I usually bogy this hole. I tried to focus on the shot and the target but I couldn’t get the thought of hitting OB out of my mind. In my preoccupied state I hit a weak push off the toe that was short but in play. The pin was on the right side of the green and after giving up a shot on eight, I hit my short pitch left of the pin to the fat of the green. I had a chance, but I was easily twenty feet or more from the cup. A conservative two putts and I had earned my second even par round at Green Caye.I’m very happy about the even par round, yet dissappointed that I gave a shot up with the three-putt. I played two more loops and finished with about forty minutes remaining on the lights. Since the temperature was in the mid 30s I had the course all to myself; so, I hung out on the ninth green and had a great practice session. Great Practice Routine…My intent was to practice putting but I ended up working on up-and-downs (half of which is putting). I took five balls and tossed them in all directions around the green. The goal is to get all five balls in the cup in two. Each ball must be played out before the next ball is hit. Once a ball is in the hole, it stays in the hole unless it takes more than three shots to get the next ball in the hole. With this rule, you must avoid three-putting. Oh, and you can’t go home until all the balls are in the cup. While I did put myself in come challenging locations around the green, I was surprised that it took me over twenty tries to get all five balls in – and I never had to pull a ball out of the hole.The number of balls you use should challenge you to complete the session in a given number of shots (or amount of time). For added fun, do it with a friend and make it a competition.Tempo…I’m starting to think about tempo. I’ve heard a lot about tempo. I think my game could benefit if I could find “my” tempo.A common error I make is to get too quick at the top; I start the downswing too early. I’m fairly certain that working on tempo would reduce the occurrence of this problem.I looked around and I found an electronic metronome that has a headphon[...]

Last Update for the Year...


I didn’t expect to play much till after the holidays, but at my wife’s urging (and because Green Caye is easy on the budget), I went down and signed up on the 21st. The first evening I played I had some reservations about maintaining my past months level of play and it showed in every aspect during the first loop where I shot a 34 (+7) featuring a pair of three putts and ball lost OB that resulted in a double. I played better the second loop where a birdie on five made up for the bogey on one and left me even at seven… where I pulled my shot left into the water. I came in with double, bogey, bogey for a 31. At the end of the night, I spent 20 minutes or so practicing putting on the ninth green.

The next evening was very windy (out of the NW at 20-25 gusting to 40) and during the two and one-half hours of play the temperature dropped from 63 to 39. I played three loops fairly well considering the winds. I made solid ball contact and I felt like I shot better than my scorecard showed. My scores were 33/33/34 and maintaining or besting a 32 average was beginning to look bleak.

The next evening I got an early start with the intention of playing for four hours or so (I can play as much as 45 holes in four hours). The weather was clear and cool with temperatures in the low 40s. I started playing fairly solid but a couple of three-putts spoiled a good loop and I finished with a 32. The next loop I struggled. I was hitting fat shots and my putting was terrible. I finished with just two pars, a triple, and 19 putts that resulted in a 36 on the card. With plenty of time left and a determined attitude, I played a third loop that was better until the fifth hole where I pulled a shot OB and made a triple. On six, I thinned a short chip and made double. I finished with 35 and went home, defeated.

I did not play again until the 29th. The temps were in the mid 40s with a light breeze out of the east. I wanted to find some confidence so I hit about ten shots on the range before setting out onto the course. Of those ten shots I hit maybe one solidly. I set out without expectations. I hoped to play well but had I bit of a feeling like I had little chance in reviving this month’s stats. Here’s what came out of five loops:

I played some very solid golf. It was one of those days where everything was working pretty good. My chipping was very good with many up and downs being tapped in from three feet or less. I was definitely tired on the final loop and left about 30 minutes early instead of practicing putting. I brought the average score down to 32.07 from 34 and change.

I’m reading FEARLESS GOLF, Conquering the Mental Game by Dr. Gio Valiante and Mike Stachura and it’s been a great read so far and has the potential of replacing The Inner Game of Golf by W. Timothy Gallwey as my favorite golf book. I’m not too good at doing reviews and such, but I think that we all tend to like the golf books that validate our particular approach to the game. This is certainly the case with me and this book (and Tim’s book) is helping me expand and refine my golf journey.

Happy New Year,

16th Month at Green Caye Completed...


Where the Rubber Meets the Road…Another progress report - that’s what I do here.If some of the stuff here has been said somewhere else in this blog it’s only because it’s heavily on my mind. I think about this stuff ten times before I make a blog entry and I’m not likely to look back to see if I had addressed those thoughts in the past. I generally review what I had been doing one year ago, not necessarily a month or two ago.I competed in the tournament on the 30th at Green Caye. There were fourteen competitors and everyone had a bad day. I shot 35 (+8) for T4. Two players shot 33 (+6) for T1 and a playoff decided the winner. It was won with a bogey on the first playoff hole. I was expecting 29 or 30 to be the number to win. Leading up to the event I was carrying a 32 (+5) average and I shot a 30 (+3) in a practice round a couple hours prior to the tournament. As I said in a recent entry, golf is mental. It is the mental victories that are the most rewarding for me in golf. It is the mental discipline learned in golf that can be put to use in other aspects of our lives. As my tournament performance suggests, I have a lot to learn.Green Caye tournaments have non-standard formats and this one was no exception. It was individual stroke play with moving tees. Everyone started on the center tees (the whites). Anyone making par or better moves to the back tees (the yellows) for the next hole, and anyone making double bogey or worse moves to the front tees (the greens) for the next hole. Bogeys move (or remain) at the center tees. I almost always play the back tees (the yellows) because I play at night and these tees offer the best lighting conditions. My lack of play from the more forward tees may or may not have contributed to my poor performance; however, I have started a new routine where the first loop I play is from the whites.Sometimes I get in a hurry. Often I’m hurrying so that I can complete my 18 holes before they shut the lights off. Other times I’m hurrying to distance myself from a group that has let me play through. Martin pointed out to me that I always play poorly when I’m in a hurry. Upon hearing this, I realized how true it is. Much of the enjoyment I get from golf comes in tracking and reviewing my progress (can ya tell??). Sometimes, when I’m in a hurry, it’s because I want to complete nine holes so that I can record it. The result is that my mind is not on the shot, it’s on the pace of play. Most of the enjoyment I get from golf is experiencing a good shot. I need to refocus my mind when making a shot. I need to slow down enough to enjoy each and every shot. Then, quickly move on to the next one. Again, the hard part will mental.This time of year is my favorite time to play. The conditions are generally a bit soggy, but I love playing in cold and wind. Also this time of year, some nights can get extremely foggy. I mean so foggy that you can’t see a pin 100 yards away. My best memories of last year are of playing in the fog. I love hitting a shot and watching it disappear into the fog, turning my head and listening for the distinctive sound of the ball hitting the green, and finally walking up expectantly searching the green for the result. Another great benefit of winter golf at night in Texas is that most folks feel it’s too cold to play. The Stats...I have nearly completed another month at Green Caye. My last day to play will be the 19th, but I don’t expect I be playing any more until after the Holidays. I took a couple weeks off to play some regulation courses but the rain and schedule constraints kept that to a minimum. Looking back on the previous month, I wanted to work on lag putting. I expected that if I could minimize three-putts I could lower my scoring average. So, how did I do…Logging 29 loops in 12 visits, I[...]

Great Putting Streak...


I've updated my sidebar to show my best putting streak - recently went sixty holes without a three putt. Then I three-putted three times in eighteen holes (33 total putts, so not too bad). The funny part is I really felt I only hit one bad putt on the day.

Sometimes even a well stroked putt fails to fall,

Golf is Mental…


It's All in My Mind...

I was reviewing my statistics and I have determined that Golf is Mental. Previously I had concluded that my recent rash of three-putting was due to two primary causes. One of those causes was the addition of snakes to my golf betting. This cause is most certainly mental. The other cause I pointed to was my improved GIR statistic. It seems reasonable to conclude that more GIRs provide more opportunities to three-putt, but looking at the data, I can see that this is NOT the cause.

This month I three-putted 25 times (over 225 holes) and 13 of those were after a GIR (13/25). The previous month showed 4/8 and the months before that get worse with 2/3 and 7/10. Looking at these ratios it is clear that more GIRs have nothing to do with my dramatic increase in three-putt frequency. That leaves snakes as the primary reason. Like many before me, I conclude: Golf is Mental.

Controlling the mind…

In looking at the data, there is a nice drop off in the three-putts just prior to the conclusion of the month. It is after loop number 18 in the chart below.
After loop eighteen, there is a stretch of at least 36 holes without a three-putt. That is the point where I finally got control of my mind. The final two three-putts during the month were still mental, but I feel I did not give those particular putts the proper respect and I was a bit over confident.

So how did I manage to control my mind? I wrote about it here where I discussed taking a practice stroke at a midpoint on the line and that worked for me. But it wasn’t the act of making those practice strokes alone. Those practice strokes gave me confidence and that confidence led to trust. With this trust, I can stroke the ball more freely and with considerably less tension.

So, What Now…

I certainly have not conquered the mental aspect of golf, but identifying that a recent struggle was completely a mental one, and looking at how I overcame it is a great start. The answer is confidence and trust. In the most general terms this can be applied to any golf shot. Simply consider how much confidence you have in the shot you are about to make. Consider weather there is another shot that you have more confidence in. I think the best place to realize this is chipping. Shots around the green generally have the most options; choose the option you trust most.

Playing Head Games,

15th Month at Green Caye Completed...


I finished out the month at Green Caye playing 27 holes. I shot 35/30/32, made 12 pars and 1 birdie, hit 10 GIRs, and managed only 3 up and downs. In the crap department I suffered one triple bogey, one double bogey, and 2 three-putts (one was the double bogey). The triple was on the first hole (the second hardest hole on the course, 185 yds to an elevated, turtleback green protected by mounding right and water on the left) where I drew my shot left into the water. I’m trying to figure out how I managed that since while warming up on the range, trying to hit a baby draw, I couldn’t hit it no matter how hard I tried (I did manage a couple hooks though). So I aimed at the pin and went for a baby draw. The ball started just slightly left and a baby draw moved the ball further left just enough to ensure that it had no chance of holding. The shot bounced off the fringe and plunked into the water.This is that familiar place where I often visit called “no-confidence land”. I set up for a shot and expected a different result. I had no confidence in my ability to hit a baby draw. I wandered into a contradiction. I set up for a baby draw yet my alignment to the pin was more for a straight shot. I like to say I hit the shot but I didn’t play the shot.Let me explain it more in tune with my thinking at the time:I aimed at the pin and went for a baby draw. I was confident, based on my range work just a few moments ago, that the ball would likely fly straight or possibly fade slightly.Using the words of Lee Trevino, I felt I was “dancing with the one I brung”.So, I’m wondering why I was able to hit the baby draw on the course when I could not hit the shot on the range. I think the answer is “focused concentration”. Harvey Penick would often tell his students to “take dead aim”, and that is the precise difference between what I was doing on the range and what I did on the course.On the range I often pick a landing area and try to work the ball into that area (like I did on this particular day). On the range I think more about swing mechanics, club path, and release timing than I do about the landing area. I’m focusing more on myself and less on the target.On the course I focus on the target (I take dead aim) and trust that my body can hit the shot I intend to hit. I think in this case, focusing on the target kept my mind off of swing mechanics and allowed me to execute the shot.There are a few things going on here and I’m just going to see if my hands can keep up with the typing as I think about them… I committed to a shot that I had no confidence that I could make. That just seems so wrong when I read it, yet it felt like the right thing to do when I did it.Somewhere in this is the difference between what I do on the range and what I do on the course. It seems that shooting at an area may be suitable when your target is a fairway, or even a green complex. Does the concentration required to focus on a specific target somehow produce more accurate shots?How does focusing on a specific target compare with a general target in terms of concentration level. How does this apply to chips and putts? How can this be investigated? Clearly though, you do not want to be thinking about swing mechanics on the course. So should warm up range time be free of swing mechanics too?Perhaps the lesson here leads me right back to Harvey Penick and “take dead aim”. Perhaps it boils down to trust. Would the result have been different if I set up for the baby draw with the correct alignment (center, or just right of the center of the green)?In any case, there is some level of concentration that allows the body to produce the shot the mind envisions. This is the key to exceptional performance. I need to reread Tim’s Gallwey’s boo[...]

Snake Bit...


A Short Story...Last time I mentioned that I played a course in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I also mentioned my friend, Bill, who has recently taken up golfing. The back-story here is somewhat entertaining so here’s how it went down… Bill and his wife, Cindy, invited my wife, Kerri, and myself to go to Lake Charles for the weekend. When Kerri told me about it, I said it sounded great. I said (kidding of course), “Great, I’ll go golfing while you guys hit the casino”. My wife knows I don’t care much for the casino, but her response was a big, “Ahhh… I don’t think so”. Some time later, Kerri is talking to Cindy and tells her (also kidding) that I wanted to go golfing while they did the casino thing. Cindy’s response was, “Oh great, now Mark will have someone to golf with”.It turns out that a third couple was in on the trip and the guy, Mark, is a golfer. This guy has been friends with Bill for 20 + years and has been trying to get him to take up golf for nearly all of that time.Upon learning that the two guys he invited to go to the casino were going golfing, Bill opted to buy a set of clubs so that he wouldn’t be stuck with the girls in the casino while Mark and I were out golfing.Yes, I got to go golfing on that trip!!The point of that story is that it was Mark who introduced me to “snakes” in the golf betting world.Snakes on the Loose...When adding “snakes” to your skins game you must pay close attention to three-putts. Whenever anyone in the game three-putts, he/she is considered to have been bitten by the snake. The last person to three-putt has to pay each opponent one skin for each of the total number of three-putts that occurred by all players during the game. So, you can see that it’s most important not to be the last person to three-putt.The Problem – I’m a Three-Putting Fool…I have been hitting GIRs better than ever this month and I even had two loops where I managed 78% GIRs. Like I said in my last post, more GIRs gives more birdie opportunities and you should (and I did) see an increase in birdies with more GIRs. The bad news is that more GIRs also provides more three-putt opportunities and worse still is that my three-putt stats have gone through the roof. I had a couple rounds where I three-putted five times over eighteen holes… ouch!! The "snake factor" adds considerable pressure and shines a spotlight on whoever three-putts. Now in our skins game, you win a skin if you win a hole. If you get a GIR you get a skin but only if you make par. Now think about the momentum and emotional swing that happens when you go from being closest to the pin to three-putting. You not only lose the greenie skin (and possibly the hole), but you now have the snake and the snake grows each time it bites. Confidence is the first thing to run from the snake. Time to work the mental game.The Solution – So Far So Good…Now I don’t like to serve wine without cheese (Was I whining back there? Cheese is good though so hang in there – remember I’m from Wisconsin), so I’m going to share how I’m currently overcoming my three-putting woes.I have really tightened up my lag putting by making some practice strokes from a point (or points) between my ball and the cup. Here’s what I do:I walk along the line from the ball to the cup to survey the shot. I look at the line from the cup back to my ball. These two steps are just to gather information about the line, the green condition, the slopes and undulations. Then as I walk back to the ball from the cup, I stop and take some practice strokes from some intermediate points on the line. These points could be an apex of the break or just a halfway point. On really long putts, I may do this at[...]

Better GIRs = More Birdies...


I recently completed my fourteenth one-month membership at Green Caye. Here are the results (click to enlarge):Here are the long-term per-loop statistics (click to enlarge):While fourteen loops per month is just under the running average of sixteen, I made some slight improvement in GIRs and Birdies which I suppose is expected at this stage in my golf development. I’m starting to get a little more of a birdie-hunting attitude when I play on the par-three course.The big disappointment is a somewhat dramatic increase in three-putts. We just added “snakes” to our skins game in an effort to reduce the number of three-putts. Unfortunately, at least for the moment, it seems to be having the opposite affect. Our last skins game had three players and we three-putted ten times over eighteen holes. I managed two of those three-putts and they were both in the second loop where I began to worry about it since the “snake bite” was getting to the point where it would sting a bit. It got to the point where if my tee shot was a bit off line or short, I would actually hope to miss the green so I wouldn’t have to worry about a long lag putt.My biggest problem continues to be looking up. I seem to fall into these slumps where not matter how hard I try, I yank my head up before I hit the ball. This problem has been killing me in regulation play. It’s compounded by my wanting to hit driver (recently reshafted) and leaving myself 90 – 110 yard shots into the green. I can’t decide if I should hit a light gap wedge or a hard sand wedge. This has been a departure from my game plan of trying to leave a specific distance for the approach shot and it makes two things quickly apparent:1. I need to work more with my wedges2. Game plans workI played two new courses, Longwood GC north of Houston, and Mallard Cove in Lake Charles, La. Both very nice courses, shot over 100 on both. I need to nail some low scores or my handicap will jump up accordingly.I’m working on the low trajectory high-spin shot that should hop and stop. This is a neat shot and you feel great when you can execute it. I’m having difficulty controlling distance though and this shot needs to find the green.I just signed up for my fifteenth month at Green Caye because there is construction going on near Beacon Lakes and they are only playing the front nine (I prefer the more difficult back nine). Also, one of my non-golfing friends has taken up golfing. He seems to be a natural putter so once he finds his swing I expect him to improve rapidly.The weather is getting more tolerable and I’m looking forward to returning to standard time because there are fewer golfers out there playing under the lights.Enjoying the cooler temps,-Greg[...]

Crazy Idea...


Who among my readers have played golf in in a Tropical Depression?
It's headed right for my house... Looks like it'll be on top of us by 8AM tomorrow morning. If the rains not too bad I may just give it a go after the center passes, say 9 or 10AM tomorrow.

So far, I've been unsuccessful in finding a playing partner.

Any takers?

September Update...


Recap of Wilderness…Robert, Martin, Dad, and I played The Wilderness at Lake Jackson on August ninth. Luckily, this was in the middle of a 10-day dry spell and it was HOT! The Wilderness is a very nice course – maybe the nicest course I have played. Dad and Martin played the Green Tees (6151 yds 68.4/115) and Robert and I played the Maroon tees (6720 yds 71.0/122). The tips were a little much for me (7106 yds 72.9/126), at least for my first time playing the course. The greens were big (some 4 clubs deep) and very undulating. They move the pins every day and have a pin placement chart in all the carts, which was great. The plaques on the course at 100, 150, 200, and 250 gave front, center, and back distances, which was also great. I played pretty solid and carded a 92 after losing three balls and suffering four three-putts. I hit my 3W until the fifteenth hole where I decided to try the driver. When I started my transition from back to downswing the shaft came apart. Earlier in the day, my bag fell off the cart onto the cart path and the driver was obviously damaged as a result. Dad had a few bad holes and ended up with a 99. Robert was on his game and posted an 87. Martin sat out the last four holes because his knees were giving him a hard time climbing up the mostly elevated green complexes.Last Ten Rounds…Here are some snapshots right out of my spreadsheet: (click for larger image)(click for larger image)The rounds that have the score highlighted in gold are rounds played from the tips. As you can see, my scoring is about the same (or worse) as it was before I started playing from the tips, but my handicap has gone down due to the higher slope and rating. While my scoring doesn’t show it, I feel my game is as good as it’s ever been right now. I had a short spell of crappy play there for a few weeks, but I ‘m over it and all cylinders are firing. A month or more away from Green Caye has allowed my short game to deteriorate a bit so I’ve signed up for my fourteenth month to work it out. I will summarize my golfing experience at this point by saying that I hit the ball better, my hot streaks last longer and my cold streaks are overcome faster. When I started playing from the tips I threw out a goal of getting down to a 12 handicap and I feel that should be easily attainable if I can keep playing once a week or so (plus whatever I play at Green Caye).Re-Shafted Driver…I mentioned my driver shaft broke and while I was hitting it semi-ok, I had resolved to make the 3W more consistent and so, the driver was not getting used much. I began researching shafts and settled on the Graphite Design Purple Ice in 65 gram stiff. I chose this shaft hoping that it would provide a lower trajectory than the previous shaft. This shaft is a little stiffer than the ProForce V2 57gram and a little heavier as well. The shaft retails for $114.00 and I got a new one on ebay for $32.00. With the money saved, I took it to the shop to have it pured and installed which cost $48.00. So far it seems to have been worth it because I’m hitting it great and it feels extremely solid at contact.Last night at Beacon Lakes I hit Driver on eight holes and got the fairway six times. I missed the first two where the first one I got under the ball and popped it up and the second one I ended up about two yards out on the left. The last six were right down the middle and I felt so confident that I wanted to use it on more risky holes where I normally hit 3W or 3 iron (of course I made the safe play).Updates...While I'm not posting as much (I just seem to be repeating myself), I update my stats sidebar with some regularity. It currently shows my [...]

It's Raining, Again...


It's raining today but I'm all smiles. I managed to play Beacon Lakes in between storms last night. I played from the tips again (72.8/126) and carded another 86 (44/42). I lost three balls on the front nine and played the same ball on the more trecherous back nine. Here's some stats:

Fairways hit... 6
GIRs........... 4
Birdies........ 2
Pars........... 5
Putts......... 28 (one 3-putt)
Bogeys......... 6
Doubles........ 5
Triples........ 0
Balls lost .... 3 (3 water)

Both birdies were 20 feet or so and while I chunked a few chips, the majority of the chips left makable putts. The end result is that my handicap is at a new all time low of 15.39!!

So here's some advice to any golfers out there who's handicap has flatlined:

Play the next set of tees. If you don't have the length to play the next set back, play the next set foreward. Do something to provide a new challenge.


Enough with the Rain Already...


We have had 39 rainy days since June 1st. The last four of five rounds I've played ended with a rain check. Today is nice and sunny with a 20% chance of rain... And I'm in the office. I might sneak out tomorrow (20% rain chance forecast) to use a rain check.

Plan Panning Out...

I went down to Beacon Lakes to put my "Play from the Tips" plan into action. The course was crowded and I got paired up with three seniors who were playing from the white tees. I like to walk and they were in carts and I decided to play from the whites (68.6/119 and 5756 yards) as well. After a snowman on the first hole, I managed a 42 on the front nine. I hit the 445 yard par 5 in two, then drove the green on the next hole, the 299 yard 6th. Missed both eagle putts, but that was two eagle putts in a row!! Then I fall apart losing 5 balls (two on one hole) and finish with an 89.

Yesterday I finally get to play the tips (again at Beacon Lakes) 72.8/126 and 6777 yards. I was really all over the place but two bad shots can be overcome with a single good shot and I come out with an 86 (43/43) after losing three balls. The highlight of this round was a 4 iron to 10 feet on the 220 yard par three 7th where I got the birdie. I didn't feel like I was playing that well, but it was my second best round by differential of 11.84 (best is 11.32). My handicap went from 16.9 to 16.09 for my new record low.

Blogging from the tips,

Yeah, I'm still here...


I'd like to post my second year review, but there's not that much to write about. I suppose it could be summed up by saying I've become an average golfer in just two years. I generally shoot in the low 90s upper 80s and occaisionally have good days (low 80s), and bad days (100+). I feel like I'm a 12 handicap, but my stats tell me I'm a 17.

I'm going to start playing from the tips on several courses. I feel 6800+ yards is where I belong and the couple times I've played them I've scored 88 and 91 and had the same number of penalty strokes as I normally do.

Does a 17 handicapper have any business playing from the tips? I've heard both answers and for me, I feel it's the best way to drive my handicap down.

The main reason I'm posting today is because I played today and had a bit of an epiphany...

Most of us consider the long par four a difficult hole, a tough par, a take bogey and be happy hole right? Then we turn right around and call the short par five an easy hole, an easy par, a good chance at birdie. Can you see what I'm geting at here? The short par five is always longer than the long par four and we have a mindset that we have a good chance at birdie. Doesn't that mean that we should look at the long par four as perhaps a tough birdie hole, a good chance at par, or at worst, a bogey?

Dad will be down the second week of August, I think the 7th. I'm working STS-118 which launches August 7th. Houston, we have a problem...


I'm Excited...


The New Guy...

Once a month my department has a little bowling tournament. My group was holding the top spot somewhat handily. Then, out of nowhere, another group wins three in a row. Now we're tied in wins and the next tournament will claim bragging rights.

We got a new hire in my group last week. While he and I were walking down the hall with a particular trash-talking member on the other team, I said to the new guy, "So I hear you have a hell of a bowling game". I really had no idea. I got what I expected though, a neck-snapping head turn from the trash-talker. What I didn't expect though was his reply, "No, but I have a pretty good golf game".

I've been trying to spark some golf interest within the group for some time. We had a total of four golfers including me. The other three are casual golfers who's games... well, let's just say they don't get out too often.

So I talked a bit with the new guy and he seemed pretty into the game, said he plays from the tips and scores in the 70s. I told him I was playing at Green Caye that evening and he would be welcome to join me. I gave him my number and left it at that.

Later at Green Caye as I finished the third my phone rings and it's him and he's at the clubhouse. I meet him back at number one and we played two loops. We didn't keep score, but I'd say he play at least as good as I did, and I played pretty good. He hits about a half a club farther than I do, has a great swing, and prefers to walk.

We're playing Glenbrook next Thursday. I'm looking forward to playing with someone who's likely 10 strokes better. I always seem to play better when I'm playing with better golfers. I'm also looking forward to playing from the tips. I definitely have the length to play from the tips, I've always played one tee box up because that's where my usual playing partners play from.

General Update...

I'm over my 'bout with the shanks. It was a difficult experience. Last month Martin left for the summer. I'm storing his golf cart in my garage for him while he's away. Before he left, he paid a month's dues for me at Green Caye. Can you have a better golf buddy than that? I don't think so. Martin is my regular opponent when playing for money so I'm mainly practicing now. Lately I've been playing the green tees (most holes 80 - 115 yds) to work on my wedges. I've been having trouble with hitting fat shots. Sometimes I hack out a divot you could bury a small animal in. I started out trying to slow down my swing a bit, but had only slightly better results. Acceptable results came after I started using a very narrow stance.

The wedge work paid off - I finally shot a good score (82 (38/44)) after several rounds in the mid to upper 90s. I made eight pars, two birdies, five bogeys, and three doubles. I was hitting greens like a pro. My putting was marginal though and I 3-putted two holes on the front after hitting the greens in regulation. I got a little loose on the back where I made the three doubles. Another highlight, I lost only one ball.

I might get out to Green Caye Sunday and/or Monday night. Then it's off to Glenbrook with the New Guy.

Two-Year Update...


I’ve been golfing for two years now…

I didn’t play as much this year as I did last year, logging just 36 regulation rounds. My hcp was 23.86 at the start of my second year, is currently 17.06, and dipped down to 16.59 along the way. I played more at Green Caye though this year, logging seven months of membership during which time I logged 132 nine-hole loops.

My last months per-round stats were very solid at Green Caye fueled mostly by good putting and chipping. Making just three triples in 126 holes was huge too.

Ave score: 33
Ave pars: 3.9
Ave putts: 16
Ave GIRs: 2.4
Ave UNDs: 2.2
Avd Birds: 0.29
Ave 3-putts: 0.70

Also noteworthy, I got to play Magnolia Creek (72.2/127) with Dad during his visit and I beat him 94 to 104. I played a solid game and would have scored much better had I not blew up on the fourteenth, a par four, with a nine. Not losing three balls would have helped too (no, I didn’t lose a ball on the fourteenth). I really wanted to show Dad how far I’ve come in two years and I did that. I drove the ball well and managed to hit one 300+ yards. On the eighth, a 152 yard par three, I called a fade and hit a beautiful shot with a soft eight iron that came down just a yard or two short. On the 16th, a 189 yard par three, playing about 185, I called a draw and slammed a high towering shot the landed in the back bunker (easily 195 all carry). Oddly, that was probably the longest six iron I have ever hit (I usually get 175-185 with a high draw). The course is loaded with bunkers and I found my fair share of them. I got into five bunkers, made two saves (one was a greenie from a fairway bunker) and took two shots to get out of one of them (yes, that would the the fourteenth and it was a deep, dark dungeon).

With a free evening, the boys (Dad, Me, and my boy) went to Green Caye for a couple loops. I don’t know how I managed to do it, but I shot 38(+11)/38(+11) with hardly a single solid shot. Dad tore me up with 32(+5)/34(+7). No matter, I was happy to show Dad where I learn the game.

I’ve been taking the kids to Green Caye with some regularity. They are both playing from tee to green and they really seem to enjoy it. They have both come along quite well with their game and I just let them have at it. I only offer minimal coaching (unless they ask) but I do teach them ediquette. At the moment, I only take one at a time.

Things have been very busy at work with the STS-117 launch on Friday 7:38 EDT.

I’ll post more when I can,

April Update...


Ramblings…I’ve been struggling for the past few weeks. What initially seemed like a simple swing change from very flat to somewhat steep has proved more difficult than it initially appeared. It has turned into a bad case of the shanks where my wrists lock up when I come down. The result is shanked shots way right.Scramble at Green Caye...What complicated things were that I played in a scramble on Friday and the days leading up to it were spent battling these shanks. It seemed I had it licked, but we decided to play a few holes before the tournament and on number two I shanked it. To make matters worse, our starting hole ended up being number two – a return to the scene of the crime with fairly predictable results. I shanked several tee shot during the tournament, but my chipping and putting were solid. The conditions were extremely windy and we came in at +4 where E won the event. We were +1 till nine where we both hit our tee shots OB on the right and we carded a triple for the hole.The tournament was four-man scramble with each team split into pairs. Each pair would play scramble format and then you would use best ball score between the two two-man teams.My trouble with the shanks was just the beginning of my mental breakdown at the tournament. We were paired with a couple of younger guys (early twenties) and I sort of got off on the wrong foot with them. I’m normally pretty fun to play with, even in a tournament format, but these guys would think of me as a jerk by the end of our first hole.I hit short, my teammate hit the green, one of the guys hit right, and the other hit long. They decided to go with the shot that went right yet the guy who hit long was taking practice swings at his ball. I asked to clarify which ball they were playing and they said the one to the right. When the one guy addressed the ball that was long, I again asked. He said they were taking the ball that was right but he was just going to play his out anyway. I told him he couldn’t do that because this was a tournament and you can’t hit extra practice or fun shots.So, now I’m a bit of a jerk. We get to putting and the same guy makes his team’s first attempt at a bogey putt and comes up a foot short. Then he taps it in. I tell him that they were done with a double because he tapped in. They felt the other guy should have a shot at the bogey putt, but I countered that because he tapped in, it counts as a shot. And now I’m a big jerk as far as their concerned. To make matters worse, my playing partner felt I was being a little harsh as well, so it really weighed on my mind throughout the round.Working out the Kinks…In the last few days I’ve hit fewer shanks (with tremendous recovery shots) and my confidence is returning. My swing is pretty solid and about as steep as I want it to be. I’m taking nice divots, ball contact is solid, and distance is as good as it’s ever been even with the old set. My putting is better after a bad bout of three putts. It has been 39 holes since my last three putt. I hope I can extend that considerably to bring that stat back down.I Likey My New Stuff...In other news, I’ve made a few purchases since the beginning of the year:Bridgestone J33 2 iron ($42 shipped)Bridgestone J33 52* wedge ($44 shipped)Bridgestone J33R 10.5* driver w/UST Proforce V2 ultralight 57g stiff shaft 45.5 in ($153 shipped)Adidas golf shoes ($31 shipped)The Inner Game of Golf by Timothy Gallwey ($8 shipped)All of these items were pur[...]

Look Back, Review, and Learn...


Tenth Month at Green Caye…I recently completed my tenth one-month membership at Green Caye. I did good in some areas and worse in others. I’m learning that like the ball, you chase your problems. By the time you have one problem worked out, another flares up.In terms of loops played I did pretty good especially considering February is a short month. I managed 28 loops in 14 trips. Several trips where I played only one loop were offset by a couple of times where I played three or more loops. In terms of score I averaged one stroke more than the last month (which was my best) due mainly to several loops with really big numbers. I had eight loops greater than 36 with two 40s at the end of the month that really put an end to keeping my 34 average. I have to look back to Nov 2006 to see a score over 39. Average Pars/month, GIRs/month, Up and Downs/month, and Birdies/month all went down slightly which is not too bad considering I was using a flatter swing. Average putts went up to 17 from 16 and average 3 putts went up to 1.0 from 0.60.So, what happened to my putting? The past month was very wet and soggy. I adapted a very flat swing to help pick the ball without taking a divot. My thought was that ”picking the ball” was the best way to deal with soggy conditions, and a flat swing was the best way to “pick” the ball. Somewhere along the line, I started to putt with the toe of the putter way up in the air. I made some good putts, and I liked the change. However, there is truth in the numbers – this method has got to go (and now that the courses are drying up, I need to steepen the swing and start taking divots, and fix the putting style).Changing It Up…I had a semi-golfless weekend. I mean I didn’t expect that I would be playing any golf at all. So, I did a little swinging in the living room and in the backyard with a SW and a 3 iron to try and get a good feel for the steeper swing. By Sunday afternoon my wife had decided that she was canceling her girls night out which provided me with an opportunity to golf. I went down to Green Caye and got a bucket of balls. The wind was blowing at 10-20 left to right across the range. After about 30 balls I was comfortable with the steeper swing and I had made a few observations. DISCLAIMER – These are my observations. I have never taken a lesson and I am not claiming that I do anything “correctly”. My purpose here is to document my experiences in learning the game. With a steeper swing:Working the ball requires less club face manipulation at addressI tend to pull my shorter ironsDistance may be greater than with a flatter swingI was hitting the last few balls when Martin called; time to put the new swing to the test! Like the last couple weeks, my first two loops for this month’s membership period were hot and cold. I started out pretty good with a 34 on the first nine. On the third hole, with the wind blowing right to left I hit a fade 7 iron over the green on the left. That was about 175 yard carry on a fade and I normally would use a 6 iron for a fade on this hole. On the fourth, and considering better distance with the steeper swing, I tried to draw an 8 iron from a back tee position to a back left pin (about 165 yards) and landed on the back right fringe. After practicing some techniques suggested by The Wedge Guy, I holed my first short chip for birdie using his “gravity” method – Thanks for the tip Wedge Guy!! I picked the right club for the next two holes and [...]

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.


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.Par 4, 389 yds. Driver finds fwy. 8i from 145 finds green pin high on the left. 2-putt par.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!!Par 3, 158 yds. 8i to fringe pin high. Nice chip, tap in par.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.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.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.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.Par 3, 161 yds. 7i finds the green, 2-putt par.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.Par 5, 461 yds. Solid drive slightly pulled lands in grove [...]