The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answer

Yesterday August 27th we played golf courses 5 and 6. This time at least we did stay in Pennsylvania but again we headed about 75 minutes north of Pittsburgh to play Tam O Shanter and Castle Hills golf courses. This was by far our most enjoyable day. The weather was perfect and both of these golf courses were in excellent shape. Both courses were very similar. Tam O Shanter played about 6500 yards and Castle Hills played about 6300 from the tips. We started with Tam O shanter in the morning. This course is fairly tight with lots of tree lined fairways and some excellent par 3’s. The greens were running little faster than 5 and were very smooth.  The pro shop at Tam O Shanter has to be one of the most well stocked of any public course. If your looking for clubs I would suggest to play and look at this good selection. The only negative of the day was that the hot dog at the turn stunk. It was basically uneatable. In fact it was worse than having no hot dog like at Kensington. The hot dog at Castle Hill was fair at best but it tasted like filet mignon compared to the other piece of garbage. I only ate  half of it and I only ate that much in disbelief. I thought maybe my mouth was dry and it was making it taste bad. As my Dad use to say” It was enough to make a buzzard puke”.  Off we went to Castle Hills and again another pretty course with some excellent greens . The best we putted so far. They ran a solid 6.5 and you paid the price if you got above the hole. This course was not as tight as Tam but it made up for it with quicker and more undulating greens. [ To show you how similar these courses played, I shot 77 and 76, Pete shot 80 and 80 and Donna shot 92 and 93. I hit the ball very well today and I am working on something that may  have a lasting effect on my golf game,we will have to wait an see. The most interesting thing about my play today was how the way the ball was lying on the grass affected the shot. Tam’s fairway were more lush than at Castle. This made iron shots particularly short irons fly farther at Tam and this cost me about 3 times during the round. When we got to Castle Hills the fairways were shorter just a little sparse in places and the short irons did not go as far. If you can play these courses as a tandem they are definitely worth the trip. The greens were spectacular and there is a good variety to the holes. My game has been improving and we will see if this new process with the swing will continue to progress. It could just be temporary solution number 387. The biggest thing I came away with from these 2 rounds because of the difference in the fairways is to pay attention to how that ball is lying and how much grass is underneath it. It can make a difference of 20 yards even on a pitching wedge. It was a great day and with some hope on the horizon. 6 down 84 to go.

The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answer

August 11 we went to golf courses 3 and 4 and again we went into Eastern Ohio near the same area as last week. The first course we played was Kennsington Golf Club. This is a new golf course, about 4 years old and again connected to a housing development. This was the first time I had ever played this course and I had heard some good things about it. We played from tees that made the course play about 6600 yards and there are tees that will stretch the course to 7050 yards. The golf course itself is ok with some pretty nice holes, but it is a position type of golf course. We played the first 6 holes and then we ran into a green that was almost completely burned out. Then another and another and eventually there were 9 greens that were a mess. The greens that were ok ran about a 5 on the stimpmeter.  Needless to say this took away some of the enjoyment of the day. The overall condition of the course was not great either. We only had a threesome today. I shot 77, Pete shot 86 and Donna shot 84. It’s hard not to be too harsh on a golf course that is in this bad of shape even a new golf course but lets just say that it is not worth the trip even if you just have to walk out your back door to play the place. We made the turn a little after 11am and there were no hot dogs to be found, a very bad day at Kennsington Golf Club. There’s potential here but they better start taking care of the place. The next stop was Reserve Run golf course which is about 15 minutes south and east of Kennsington and it is about 10 or 15 years old. This is the first of many courses that I will call short golf courses. From the tips it is only 6162 yards. This golf course was in good shape, with the greens running a nice 6.5 on the stimpmeter. This course is very enjoyable to play. The holes are easy to follow and it is fairly wide open but there are some holes that can be very tight. There are some blind shots but overall it is a nice course to play. Is it worth the trip. If you pair this course up with Copeland Hills the first course we played I would most definitely say Yes. The course is not difficult and greens are not severe so any level of golfer should be able to play here and have a great time. The hot dog at the turn was just fair but at least they had some. Man, I was hungry. I shot a 75 Pete shot 82  and Donna 82. It was another hot and humid day but clouds rolled in and it was better in the afternoon. Did we find any answers today. Obviously I am playing a little better. In rounds of the last 7 days I have shot 75 76 77 and 75. These rounds are not 2 handicap caliber but there is some improvement here. Have I made some adjustments? Yes. Will they be long term? Who knows. The second 18 at Reserve Run was interesting. I birdied the first hole a short par 5 and then made only 1 bogey and 6 pars to be even par as I headed to the 9th tee. For the next 5 holes I simply lost control of my body. I hit 3 horrible tee shots on the 9th, 10th, and 13th holes and had short game blues on 2 other holes to make 4 bogeys in the next 5 holes. I pared the 13th hole despite the drive and then bogeyed the 14th hole when I flew an 80 yard pitch shot over the green on a fly, from the middle of the fairway. Then I pared in from the there. Golf does this to you. You simply for whatever reason lose control of your body. From a 3 foot putt to a tee ball there is something in the thought process system that causes your body to do things that it would never do on the practice tee.  I had a golf instructor tell me once “Control the body, control the golf club and you will control the golf ball. Can we do that we will see. 4 golf courses down 86 to go.

The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answer

Today started the 90 golf course trek through Western Pennsylvania. We started however in Eastern Ohio. The first course is an old traditional course called Copeland Hills which is in Columbiana Ohio which is about 12 miles from the Pennsylvania border. It is a long but fair golf course and the tees we played from today were about 7000 yards long. Just about as long of a golf course that this 60 yr older is willing to play. The golf course was in great condition and even though the greens were slow about a 4.5 on the stimp meter they were very smooth and putted extremely well. There are 4 sets of tees so you can play a much shorter course but even from the front tees this golf course can give you a challenging day. All the holes are tree lined and though the fairways are not extremely narrow you still have to drive the golf ball if you are going to score. It is a very enjoyable course to play and definitely worth a one hour to an hour and half drive. The rate for a senior is 23 dollars with a cart. It is a great golf course for anybody, but a low handicapper would particularly enjoy the challenge of this fair but difficult golf course. Yours truly continued his struggles with a laborous 87. Pete and Ron shot 88 and 80 and we are all single digit handicappers. Donna shot a 92 and she is about a 16. The second golf course we played today was Firestone Farms which is about 5 miles east of Copeland. This golf course is a newer golf course about 10 years old. So naturally  there are less trees and more houses near and around the golf course. This golf course is also in good shape but the greens were not as nice as Copelands. They were just a touch quicker a 5 on the stimp meter but they were very bumpy and definitely had some brown areas. Despite this, the course is very enjoyable to play. The senior rate is 25 dollars with a cart.  Little more room for errant drives and not quite as long as we played the tees that made the course play around 6800 yards. There are tees that will stretch the coures to 7200 yards but we will leave that for the big boys. Everybody in the group did a little better on this course as it is not as tough. I shot an 80 with a  pretty nifty 38 on the back. Pete and Ron shot 80 and 79 respectavly. Donna shot 89. The hot dog winner was definitely Firestone if no other reason the condiments. Jalapenos, Banana pepper rings, and a much more flavorful dog. Copelands dog wasn’t bad, I have had a lot worse but it couldn’t compare to Firestones. Very nice day 48 dollars for 36 holes. It was hot and humid and we were lucky that the thunder storms went south of us for the most part and we only had about a 10 minute delay on the back 9 at Firestone. Is Firestone worth the trip, barely. Hopefullly they can fix the green problem. Having many houses around the golf course is not something that adds any esthetics to the course. Did I find any answers today. HELL NO! It is all very frustrating. My game is in such disaray that even health insurance couldn’t help it. I started the day by trying to get back to what I thought was some fundentals and ended the day by just hitting the damn ball. The putting today was bad but I had good speed all day but really could not buy a putt. The short game was worst, and well, with the heat and the humidity I mostly thought all day that at least bowling alleys are air conditioned. So it is back to drawing board but I am lost.      
 

The Goofy Game of Golf Searching for the Answer

During the next 24 months I hope to play 90 different golf courses in the Western Pennsylvania area. These golf courses are all public golf courses and will be no more than an hour and a half drive from my home which is about 5 miles south of Pittsburgh. These are all regulation golf courses with the shortest being about 5800 yards and we will play from tees when this is possible which will make the course play  about 6700 to 7000 yards. Will not play from tees that are over 7000 yards long. I have been playing this game for 53 years missing one year in 1964 and not playing from October of 1994 until May of 1996. Some years I have played more than others. Some years over this period of time I have played as little as 12 to 15 rounds and other years I have played over a 100 rounds. Golf is one of the oldest games known to man and I still think we really don’t know how to play the game on any level even at the highest level which is the PGA tour. On each of these blogs I will give an example of why this game for lack of a better term is just plain goofy. About 13 years ago there was a young man who won one of the biggest golf tournaments on the PGA tour by a whopping 12 strokes. After such a dominating performance he spends the next 12 months changing his swing. Now he goes on to dominate the golf world but what would people be saying if he had not won another major tournament. Why did you change your swing. The young man of course was Tiger Woods. Why would you go through a major swing change for the next 12 months when you just had won the Masters by 12 strokes. Tiger addresses this by saying he wanted to get better but how much better can you get when you destroy the field at a major championship. Granted he went on to win more Majors including a unprecedented 4 in a row. Do you think he could of done that if he didn’t change his swing, we will never know but its what makes golf a goofy game. Other players have done similiar things after having great success on the PGA tour with not as good of results. In fact some have been career ending moves. What makes an individual do this when he is having success at the highest level of golf I will never know. I am in one of the worst stretches of play in my life. My handicap has risen from 2 to 5 which takes a pretty prolonged period of worst than normal scoring to do something like that. It has been very frustrating to say the least. Talk about swing changes. I change my swing on every shot. Do I expect to find the answer to what makes this such a goofy game. HELL NO! But I think this is kind of a cool thing to do and then maybe I will pack up the clubs and do what every golfer wants to do and few actually do and that is to throw bag clubs and ball in a body of water. I will give a short critique on all the golf courses I will be playing including “How is that hot dog at the turn?” I will make comments on the condition of the greens and the course and how overall enjoyable the course is to play.