A beautiful weather week that turned nasty on the weekend, so just two rounds of golf played this week. Wednesday went to Quicksilver and pretty much stunk out the joint and staggered around to an 84. On Thursday went ot Butlers Woodside and shot a much better 74. This cold dreary wet weather looks like it is here to stay for awhile, so it looks like there might not be much golf played week this either. As I look back on this year it has been a period of the most solid golf I have played in a long time. Is this due to the new method of swinging the golf club or is it due to the fact that I have swung the same way for over 12 months. That answer will determine how much I write about this new swing thing over the off season. I am optimistic, that there is some golf left for the rest of this season, which will help in deciding what I will do. Mean while, the mental game seems to be as perlexing as ever. This year I will have dropped my handicap from the mid 5’s to the mid 3’s, a definite improvement but I have been there before. I have shot the most consistant golf with many rounds between 74 and 78. I have done all that with suffering through the chip yips and missing more than my share of short putts. So beside putting on some finishing touches on the physical side of the game, I am hoping to find the answer to why we can’t function on the golf course, at times. What makes this game so damn exasperating. The search continues.
Finally played a new course this week, as we traveled to Norvelt Golf Club, in Novelt, Pa. about a 70 minute drive. This course was a very pleasant surprise. The course plays about 6600 yards from the blue tees has many diverse holes and was in very good condition. The big surprise was the greens were the fastest we have played during this 2 year plus trek, as they ran a solid 9 on the strimp. The greens had some good slope on them too, so getting above the hole was deadly. The fairways were in great shape and the roughs were grown in well. The course was very hilly and had some really up and down holes. The course did have some blah easy holes, but more than made up for it, with some great scenery and some very tough spectacular holes. The greens were the thing. It took 86 courses to finally have truly fast greens. The hot dog at the turn was mediocre at best, but I would rather have great greens. I have already experienced the great dog and just fair greens at Firestone Farms. The only negative note was because of some lack of course knowledge, and some occasional poor ball striking, my 16 consecutive rounds in the 70’s came to end with an 82. Pete had an 84 and with great weather we had a very enjoyable day. This course was worth the trip. Today I went to Rolling Acres and got back in the groove with a 3 over 76 but it leads to talk about what I consider the most frustrating part of this game, namely the short putt. I missed a couple of real shorties today. Even when I shot the 69 at Rolling Acres this year I missed a couple of short putts, with one being around 2 feet. First lets define a short putt. I consider a short putt anything from 18 inches to 4 feet. I probably have even missed putts shorter than 18 inches but lets stick to that distance frame. The two most famous short putt misses in the history of modern golf is Doug Sanders at the British Open in the sixties, and Scott Hoch at the Masters in the nineties. What is amazing about both of those putts, is at the most they were 2 feet, and neither player even touched the hole. I’m not being critical because I do this all the time. So what is it about the short putt, that even brings golfers at the top level to their knees. I am going to touch upon some things that make short putts unique and hope to have some answers to the problems, which I do not have now. The short putt puts you in the “should” mode, like you should make it. If you miss a putt in the 5 to 10 foot range, even though you may be disappointed you still know that it can happen. But when you get inside the 4 foot range, then you think you “should” make all of them, and when you don’t, it can be a confidence shaker. The short putt increases your decision making processes. On a longer putt you are thinking optimum speed. If you miss it you want the putt to stop close to the hole. But on the short putt you got to think about hitting it a particular speed. The two extremes would be to die the putt in the hole or bang it in the back of the cup. This also will affect the way you read the break of the putt. Finally, the short putt, is just flat out, the most important shot of the hole. It is the final, hopefully, shot of the hole. Miss this and there is no tomorrow. Golf’s version of sudden death. Except it can happen 18 times and the death is your score. Well, with that happey note, I will leave you for another week. Eighty six down and fourteen to go.
Back in the Burgh after a great week in San Diego with the grandkids. The best part of the week was that I got to play golf with my daughter on Monday morning with the kids in school and pre school. We played 9 holes on this executive course which had three par 4’s and six par 3’s. My daughter did amazingly well considering she had not played in about 5 and half years. She was able to muster up a 42 thanks to some great tee balls and very nice chipping. She had 2 pars and did have some bad holes but overall played very well. I shot an even par 30 with the help of some great putting. Got back to Pittsburgh very late on Friday night and was in no shape to play on Saturday but got to Scenic Valley today on a very nice fall day with temps in the mid 70’s. It was a very ho hum day with 7 bogies and a chip in birdie for a 78. This week I should get back into the swing of things and may even be adding a new course or two. The weather is looking pretty good for mid October. The search for the answer will continue in earnest this week.
The blog is coming from San Diego tonight, as I am visiting the grand kids and golf will be taking a back seat for the next week. Did get in two rounds this week and they were quite contrasting rounds in play and venue. The first round was at Scenic Valley, and was highlighted by some good solid ball striking with many short putts missed, but some lengthy putts made for birdies, which resulted in a nice solid score of 74. Then I traveled to Bedford Springs for some R and Rm, and played a course called Down River. This course was in very good shape and very flat and pretty wide open. The course was fairly long from the blue tees playing about 6700 yards to a par of 72. The greens ran a 6 on the stimp and were very smooth. I played this course the next day after Scenic Valley, and it was a completely different round. Terrible ball striking with only 5 greens hit in regulation, but the short game which has been a problem all year, jumped into high gear and I managed to shoot a 77 which featured 3 up and downs from sand traps and numerous good chips and pitches from some very difficult positions. Bedford Springs is about a 2 hour drive, so Down River does not count as one of the 100 courses, but it was a very nice course to play at a very reasonable rate of 25 with a cart. This is another example of just how goofy this game can be. Even though the scores were only 3 strokes apart there was no comparison on how I struck the ball. I will be getting back home on Friday so again I will only be playing one or two rounds this week. The search will continue with the emphasis now on the mental game. I think there are three areas where the answer to this game lies. One, a permanent solution to the yips. Two a permanent solution to the shanks. Three the solution to the proverbial choke. I don’t mean even the tournament choke, but the choke we all do when we are close to shooting one of our best rounds and we fold up in the last 3 holes. The solution to these problems have not been found and may not even be close. Please don’t mention that Haney book on yips. A complete waste of book binding. So the search will go on with some hope, but with knowledge that it may never be found.