Finally a new course was added this week as we went to Totteridge in Greensburg Pa. about a 55 minute drive. This course started as a country club but ran into financial difficulties and went public about 5 years ago. The course played about 6600 yards from the tees we played from but has tees that will make the course play over 7000 yards long. We had a beautiful day to play golf and the course was in very good shape. This course is again one of these courses that I call a fake links course. They cut down all the trees, let weeds grow up that they call heather and hope the ocean moves in real quick. Despite this, the course does have many interesting holes. The fairways were very good, with the greens running a nice 6 on the stimp and were very smooth. The roughs were grown in nicely with very few bare spots. The course was fair and enjoyable to play. The green fees are a little stiff, but over all this course was worth the trip. If they get more competitive with the fees I am sure this course would get more play. The hot dog at the turn was ok but nothing special. We had a threesome and course got its way with most of us. I shot a ho hum 80 with no birdies and one double bogey. David had an 84 and Pete had a tough day with a 90. Earlier in the day I shot a 37 on the second 9 to go with my 34 of last week at Mt. Lebanon, but I do not know if that was good enough for a win. I played South Park on Saturday shot 37 on the front from the blue tees, but then storms came in and I went home. Today we went to Village Green and I shot a miserable 84. Before we get into that debacle, I have to mention one of the strangest shots I have ever hit in my life, the last time I played Village Green, about 10 days ago. It was on the 17th hole which is a very tight 400 yard par 4 with OB on the right and a creek on the left. The right side of the hole has a bank which will kick everything to the left. I hit a good solid drive along the right side just about 5 yards into the rough. The ball hit the top of the white 150 yard post, at the point that is angled at about 45 degrees toward the hole, and can not be more than an inch wide. It caromed off the post way up in the air and backwards some 55 yards. The most accurate drive I have ever hit in my life. The odds of hitting that post exactly at that point some 250 yards away would be far higher than getting a hole in one. Needless to say untweaking the tweak has been a much tougher endeavor than I would have ever thought. I will have some work to do this week and hopefully I can back to where I was about 5 weeks ago. At least a new course was added this week so I am one course closer to possibly being put out of my misery. Seventy seven courses down and twenty three to go.
No new courses again this week as competition and some threatening weather came into play. This was a very up and down week with some changes made. By the end of the week I had untweaked the tweak. The week started off well enough with a good 9 hole practice session at Mt. Lebanon. On Wednesday I got off to a solid start to the Mt Lebanon Men’s league championship by shooting a nice 1 under 34. I followed that up later in the day at Village Green with a 74. I was feeling pretty good going into the 36 hole North Park mens championship on Thursday. There I laid an enormous egg by shooting a very smooth 85. Nothing specatacular, 13 bogies and 5 pars. The second 18 was not much better but I finished up on the last 4 holes I played with 3 pars and birdie but then the rains came and I was ready to pack it in. Even though I had shot the 1 under par 34 on Wednesday, I made some very nice par saves and was quite fortunate to shoot the score. After giving the tweak a solid 3 to 4 weeks, I decided to go back to the original way I was doing the new swing. Over the weekend this gave me just so so results with a 74 at South Park and a 78 today at Riverview. I did feel more comfortable with the swing but poor thinking was the culprit for not scoring any better. I have to say this was one of the most disappointing weeks I have had in a long time. I still feel this is the answer to the physical side of the game. Not much work done on the mental side this week due to the fact that I made the swing change. Even though I thought this was a minor change and I was really narrowing down the controlling factor of the golf swing it seemed to me that these muscles just do not seem to do the job. Next week I feel certain that I will be adding a new course to the list. I also found some new reading material that may help with a muscle explanation on what I am doing. I don’t think there has been anything written for what my brain is doing. Obviously this game can jump right up and tear your heart out. Just ask Adam Scott. Does anybody dispute that this game is just plain goofy.
No new courses this week but a very good week none the less. On Wednesday we went back to what I call golf heaven, Mill Creek in Boardman Ohio for a 36 hole day. It was a perfect day for golf and the course was in great shape. Again we only paid 37.50 for 36 holes and a cart. We played the North course in the morning and the South in the afternoon. I hit the ball really well in the morning but a bulky putter kept me from shooting any better than a 4 over par 74. I felt really good going over to the South course but then my brain went into stupid mode, started off with 2 double bogeys and never really recovered and shot an 82. I could shoot 90 on this golf course and still walk off the course a happy man. It was just another great day in golf heaven. On Sunday we played Murrysville, and I had a really up and down. After I bogied the easy first hole I righted the ship made a couple of nice pars and then birdied the par 3 fourth hole. After I parred the fifth hole I then proceeded to butcher one of the easiest holes on the course and double bogey a very short par 5. Then I settled down with 2 more birdies to be even par after 12 holes. Then I went into another funk and bogied 4 straight holes. I parred the last 2 holes to shoot a 76. I usually don’t go into such detail on a round but I think this is a good prelude to the next step into finding the answer. I am 95% sure I have the answer to the physical side of the game. This is the longest period in my golfing life that I have been swinging the club the same way. So now it’s time to go after the mental side of the game. Like the physical side of the game the mental game has had a lot written about it. We that play the game know the drill. Stay in the moment, stick to your routine, one shot at a time, and blah blah blah. Again, like on the way to hit a golf ball, I strongly feel that something is missing. I started this blog 2 years ago out of desperation to try and keep playing this game that was driving me nuts. It has taken me this long to find the swing thing. Hopefully I can find the mental key sooner. Speaking of mental, I may be slowing down on playing new courses subconsciously to give me more time to find the answer. Think about that for awhile. The search continues.
With grand kids and family in town for the week it was a welcome slow week on the circuit. I played 2 rounds this week both close to home. On Wednesday I shot 79 and today I had a big fat 83. This “little tweaking” I am doing with this swing is causing more problems than I thought it would. After shooting a 4 under par about 3 weeks ago it makes me wonder if this tweaking is the right thing after all. This does remind me a little of the problems I was having with the swing in the spring. So I will be still doing the same thing for awhile longer. One thing about today I did finished pretty strong. I started doing some of the drills that I use to do for the swing which I had got away from because I had been hitting the ball so well. My concentration has not been as good because of the slight change and that has contributed to some of the higher scores. This week will get back to normal and we will add some more courses. Hopefully we are getting closer to the answer as there are only 24 more courses to go. Do golf clubs float.
This was a busy week, as three new courses were added. On Wednesday i went to Lake Vue North, in Butler Pa which is a 45 minute drive. This course plays 6100 yards from the back tees to a par of 72. The greens were running a 5 on the stimp and the course was in good shape overall. The course had a good variety of holes with lots of tree lined fairways and water that came into play on about 4 of the holes. There were a few unique things about this place. First the course did not have a course rating or slope. Even though the course was only 6100 yards the third hole was a 600 yard par 5. Finally they had the best sand traps of any course I have played so far. The sand was that nice fine white sand and there was plenty of sand in all the traps. The back nine is easier than the front and I was able to take advantage and shoot a 2 under 34 which gave me a 73 for the day. The hot dog at the turn was good with some good condiments. On Thursday I went retro at Rose Ridge in Allison Park Pa which is about a 50 minute drive. The reason I said I went retro was this was just like playing golf back in the 60’s. There was no watered fairways so everything was brown. The front nine greens were like concrete but the back nine greens were like a sponge. The greens had some burned out areas but were smooth, even though they barely made a 4 on the stimpmeter. The course did have a good design with some interesting holes and some water that came into play. This course needed some tender lovin care and I,m sure it would have been in better shape if I had played during the sping or the fall. The hot dog at turn was ok. Even the scorecard reminded me of the scorecards from the 60’s, very small with no frills. Despitie having to bang putts all day I had a consistant ball striking day and with the help of lots of roll was able to shoot a steady one over 73. The course played about 6500 yards from the back tees to a par of 72. On Sunday the group went to Lenape Heights in Ford City Pa. which was a 70 minute drive. This was a newer modern course which is having the typical delusions of grandure. The normal green fees on the weekend are 55 with a cart although they do have a senior rate even on Sunday of 45. The course plays 6250 from the back tees to a par of 71. The greens were running a 5.5 and were very smooth. The course was in very good shape. I suppose because of the green fees the course was not crowded at all for a Sunday. The course is hilly but has a good variety of holes with some very narrow conditions. There is some water on the course which comes into play on about 5 holes. The $3.13 hot dog wss like everything else about the place nothing special but overpriced. I shot 78 thanks to playing the par 3’s 7 over. The rest of the group did all right with Tony shooting 76, Pete 82, and John 85.None of these courses were worth the trip. Lake Vue was the most enjoyable and had the best value. The shot of the week for me came yesterday at Lenape at the 2ond hole a short par 5. I pulled my drive which inadvertantly cut the dogleg. I hit a 5 iron from the rough that was able to hop a bunker on the left onto the green and hit the pin to stop about 4 feet from the hole. On Saturday I shot a mediocre 77 at South Park. Overall though the game is coming along and I am about as comfortable with my golf game as I have ever been. Next week there will be no new courses as the grandkids are in town with some less golf overall. Seventy six down and twenty four to go.