Even though I like to call golf goofy, the weather took that honor this week. On Friday May 24th, the temperature never got out of the 40’s and winds were around 20 to 30 miles per hour. Unfortunately this was the day of the 2 man scramble at South Park. These weather conditions were just a little too tough for a couple of mid 60 year olds. Pete and I had a bad day all around, getting only one birdie and 7 bogeys, to shoot a pretty lackluster 78, which was near the bottom of the field. This is Memorial Day and with the holiday, the blog is running one day late. The weather remained on the cool side for the rest of the weekend, but nothing as bad as Friday. The week was fairly blah except for today where I was able to muster a 2 over par 75 at Rolling Acre with some hope being shone for the pathetic short game. On Wednesday under 80 degree temps I shot 81 at Quicksilver and yesterday shot 77 at Buffalo. Yesterdays round was particlularly galling because I played very well but the short game was horendous and thus the 7 over par round. I hit 11 greens in regulation and shot 7 over, I’ll let you do the math. Today I hit 12 greens in regulation but did better in the up and down department thus the 2 over par score. I did make some adjustments in the short game technique and although I am not ready to take them to the bank I did see some reason for hope. The putting could be rated fair at best. Still trying to find some mental keys, but I still think the mystery lies it how much of a problem with ones golf game is physical and how much is it mental. Does one problem cause another problem. Can some kind of mental block or problem cause you to make physical mistakes. Or does some technique problem creep in first, that leads to broken confidence and other mental mistakes and blocks. I do not have the answer to this predicament. If you watched the tournament yesterday, you saw one of the leaders, while he was having one of the great rounds of the tournament. chile dip a chip in the bunker, then failed to get the ball out of the bunker, and barely made a 6 foot putt for a double bogey. This cost him the tournament. Boo Weekly, who won the tournament, missed 2 short putts down the stretch, which fortunately did not cost him the tournament. It is amazing, that even the golfing elite will make big mistakes at the worse times. Today’s round was my best round in a long long time. I may not be any closer to the answer but I have learned one thing during this scoring and short game problem. The answer can only be found on the golf course, not the driving range, the putting green, or the back yard. Next week looks like it is going to warm up and I see myself playing 3 to 4 rounds. We will see if I really have some momentum.
Finally added course number 87 this week as we went to Conley’s which is on Route 8 just south of Butler Pa. This course is part of a group of golf courses that are very close together right there on Route 8, and are about a 45 minute drive. I have reviewed the other courses Rittswood, Suncrest, and Lakevue North. Conley’s is a nice solid golf course that compares favorably with the other courses except for one thing, the price. Not really any senior rate and even with a coupon it was 35 dollars with a cart on a Wednesday, which is about 10 dollars more than the other 3 courses. We did go on “Weinie Wednesday” where the hot dog was free. The course played about 6400 yards from the tips, to a par of 70. The greens were very smooth and ran about a 6.5 on the stimp. There was a good variety of holes and the course had enough trees to make it a good solid challenge. There was some lakes in play and the 190 yard par 3 18th was 190 yards with a long carry over water. This course like all three of the other courses is not worth the trip but if you live in this area you have four solid golf courses to choose from all within a stones throw of one another. The free hot dog was cooked well and the condiments were ok, but the dog would not crack the top 10. We had a threesome with Andy shooting 78, David after a rough front nine came in with a 41 to shoot 89, and yours truly shot a boring 77. The rest of the week for me was just the continuing saga of a frustrating season so far. The rest of the rounds were 80, 79 and an 82 today. The short game still is a major road block to any scoring chances I have. There may be some hope from today, especially with the putting but the short game continues to be just horrible. Next week will be busy with a tournament on Friday the South Park 2 man scramble where Pete and I did pretty well last year finishing 7th in a field of 60 teams. My brain is tired now and it is time to rest, with visions of chip solutions on the horizon.
Back from San Diego after a great visit with the grand kids. Ready to get into the golf grind again, but was delayed with a last minute work committment. I did play Saturday and Sunday. With a 10 day break, and plenty of time off, I did lots of reasearch on some of the mental game and really thought I might be on to something. But all that I was on to was mental anguish. Saturday I didn’t do too bad, with a 75 at South Park, under some wet and chilly conditions but it was the ball striking that got me there and some better than average putting. Today under even more brutal conditions with a solid wind all day and temperatures only in the mid 50’s I could only manage an 83 at Scenic Valley. With conditions tough, this puts more emphasis on the short game, and a lot of the mental and physical keys that I thought would bring me results just brought me frustration. I am back to considering the lobotomy. On the plus side my putting improved even today, where I see some light at the end of the tunnel. But its back to the drawing board for chipping and pitching. The weather seems like it will improve and I am hoping to add course number 87 this week. It took awhile to come up with the swing thing and the mental part may be even harder. I guess I won’t be asking Sergio for any mental tips. I have to give him credit for the way he handled the situation even as it was happening and the after round questions, so I think there may be hope for Sergio yet. Tiger seems to be back and may become better than ever. He recovered nicely from his dunk in the water. Tiger has been in the last group so much when he wins, or wins by such large margins, that I do not ever recall him ever sitting, and watching on TV to see if someone could hole a putt, to either beat him or send it into a playoff. Next week golf will be full bore with 3 to 5 rounds and hopefully the scoring will get better. These short game blues has seen the handicap go from 3.2 to 4.4 which is big to see it go up a full stroke in such a short time. The search continues. Maybe I should watch a couple of Indiana Jones movies.
Having a great week in San Diego with the grandkids. I thought this would be a good time to give a little synopsis of the blog. I started this blog in August of 2010 with a two fold purpose. One was to keep me playing. Even though I have a played this game a long time, over 50 years I had 2 brief breaks. One was in 1964 because I was helping my Dad with a major remodeling project. I then quit playing from October of 1994 to May of 1996 for various reasons not the least of which was frustration. The interesting thing I discovered, was that I did not miss the game at all. In retrospect I should have sat out another year but came back that year at the urging of golf buddies. When I told people I was going to quit playing for awhile I got various reactions, including had I joined some religious cult where I had to give up something I really liked. I wonder if anybody got this reaction when they quit bowling. When I came back, I came back with a vengeance. I played in many golf tournaments, had some intense instruction in 2004 and 2005 but again was getting very frustrated with a lack of progress. I was about ready to quit again for good when I came up with the idea to play all the public golf courses with 90 minutes of my house. I came up with the number 90 for the number of courses because it would be 90 courses within 90 minutes. I thought I would be able to do this in about 1 year. Naturally it has taken a lot longer than that. Then I moved the number up to 100. The other purpose was to try to find a way to make this game easier and less frustrating. I have read golf instruction books and articles and have done pretty intense research on the golf swing. Recently I have found what I consider the key to the golf swing and I have described this in previous blogs. Now it is on to the mental game and the less than full swing game. There are two things that make golf totally unique.
There is no opponent that can influence the results of your play.
There is no standard of a playing field. Just think if they moved the foul line in basketball, the pitching mound, changed the size of football field or width of the goal posts.
The big question I have right now is do we put too much emphasis on the mental game. Golf instruction has become so technologically advanced that there is not one movement of the swing, the pitch, the chip, or the putt, that has not been dissected to the minutest detail. You would think that if you are having a physical problem with your swing that with a good instructor it would be discovered. If everything looks good then your problem is in your head. I am not too sure that is correct. In the coming weeks I will see if I can prove this premise. Last week I quoted an article about advice to hit the ball with a blank mind. This article was written in a magazine The American Golfer that was published between 1920 and around 1935. This advise was given by Stuart Maiden, “the wee Scotsman” in 1922. Stuart Maiden was Bobby Jones’s only instructor. When I say I have researched the golf swing I am not kidding. I will be in San Diego through Wednesday and I will be back on the links by Thursday and adding new courses the following week.