Posted by: linleygolf | February 16, 2017

Kiawah Island

Fellow golfers, I recently was privileged to get up and play 4 rounds of golf in 3 days at Kiawah Island.  This was a great golf experience.  Without any doubt I can recommend playing golf in this area south of Charleston, SC.   When I lived in Canada, I never thought I would be interested in golfing at Kiawah.  But with Rory winning the PGA Championship and stories about the Ryder Cup in ’91 made me want to play the course.  We played 4 courses in 3 days and it was highlighted by a round at the Ocean course.  We drove up from Jacksonville and played in the afternoon at Turtle Point.  We played the Ocean course the next morning and another round at Osprey Point in the afternoon. We finished up the next morning at Oak Point and then drove home. Phew !!!

The round at the Ocean course required a caddy ($100 USD).  It was so cool to play with a caddy.  I had a caddy when I played Chambers Bay.  My caddy, Robert, was awesome and he gave me great reads and fantastic advice.  I began the round with a triple bogey despite sitting in the fairway and having 155 yds to the green.  I then proceeded to birdie the par 5.  Playing with friends and a professional caddy can be a bit unnerving.  Robert kept telling me to breathe and relax.  I did have some messed up holes, but I did make some great shots. I finished with a 91.  It was the lowest round of all the guys (12) on the trip.   There were 5 players in single digits and 2 guys below 5 index.  5 shot over 100 at the Ocean Course.  The wind was blowing quite hard and that is what makes the course so difficult.  You have to hit it solid ALL the time.  I was very satisfied with my round.  I could have scored better.   I missed some birdie putts.  I was nervous about playing these rounds.  I am in the middle of a major swing change and it is difficult to commit to shots when you haven’t perfected the swing.  It was a good test of the swing.

It had been a while since I played so many rounds in such a short time.  It took its toll physically and mentally.  I need to keep working on my fitness and keep practicing my swing.  Here is a sample of the need for food and stretching after round 1 and starting round 2.  I began Osprey point with a par and then I shot 3 triple bogeys in a row.  The food kicked in and then I made 7 par and 4 bogeys in the next 11 holes, then I got tired again and end with 2 doubles – LOL. I love this game and will keep trying to improve.

img_6489img_6484

img_6490

img_6496

 

Posted by: linleygolf | January 14, 2017

New Coach !

When I first got to Florida, I decided to improve my game.  Having arrived with a 6.1 index, I foolishly arrived expecting to “tweak this and tweak that” and all would be smooth sailing to a scratch level.  I signed up for lessons with a former LPGA star golfer from the 80s and I was ready to rock.   Mary is an excellent teacher and a great communicator.  I learned that my swing was not as good as I had thought and slightly more than tweaks were necessary to seriously improve my game.  We went for the basics and revisited , setup, grip, posture, etc…. I made good improvement right away and my handicap skyrocketed to 18.something !!!  OK does that seem right?  NO it doesn’t.  As it turns out this negative “improvement” was NOT Mary’s fault at all, it was ALL mine.  In re-tooling the swing, we uncovered some major flaws.  I was able to slap the ball around with my old swing and score decently, but that was not what I was searching for.  So over the past few years, I began to improve and slowly move back towards my old handicap.  It is now at a 12.7 so there is a long ways to go.  I have focused solely on full swing.  There is alot to improve in my chipping as well, as that has deteriorated due to the disgusting Bermuda roughs I have to play out of here in Florida.  I am supremely confident on Bent grass but totally gun-shy in Bermuda.  Inevitably my scores will get lower when I chip and putt better as well – at least like I used to.

I actually have had a lesson in over 2 years and Mary works out of Florida during winter month and Wisconsin in summer months.  In addition, work has kept me far too busy, and I have had little time to actually work on my game.  Well I have decided again to get serious about golf and work on my swing.  I begun looking for someone to help.  I saw some people on Instagram and Youtube.  I checked out potential golf schools here in Florida.  I wasn’t sure who to go with.  Then 2 weeks ago, my friend asked me if I wanted to share a lesson wiht him.  Seems that guy teaching will divide the hour and we can split the $150 fee.  I said great lets do it.  The guy actually gave us a lesson that lasted 1 hour and 45 minutes.  He would tell my friend something and then he would work on it while I received some instruction.  The teacher is Dan Carraher and he is pretty good, at least that is my first impression.

So what did Dan do that makes me feel good about what he has to say.  Well he pointed out the flaws that I knew existed.  He was able to tell me after a  few swings and some video what my strengths are.  As it turns out, I am a loose and flexible person and my friend is the exact opposite.   He is stiff and tight and I am loosey goosey.  That is so funny, since I always thought of myself as a technical swinger of the golf club.  Since this post is of my improvements lets take a look.  Here in the stills below you can see the difference.  What you see on the left leads to pulls to the left and probably a little lower.  On the right side is the winning combination – coming from the inside and hitting high draws and shallower divots.

img_6368

Dan gave me a drill to do indoors and I am working on it most days.  Here is video showing the driver in action.  I hit the ball far and it does lead to more consistent contact. The key thing that Dan says will happen is that I will hit the ball flush more often.  In the past I would be creating opposing angles sometimes and that lead to loss of distance.  I am working on this and I hope to make it back to single digit.

Tomorrow I will be playing with some friends visiting from Toronto.  We will be playing at LPGA International Course – The Hills.  It will be my first time playing this course.  It is down in Daytona Beach so I have to drive about 90 minutes in the morning – my friends are driving over from Orlando.

Golfers will find challenges at every turn on our companion 1997 signature Arthur Hills Course. The par-72 layout is a classic at 6,984 yards. Hills used a superb natural setting to create a masterpiece in playability and variety. It features natural wetlands, narrow pine corridors, small greens and strategically placed water hazards.

The Hills Course calls for the player to use mind over muscles. Good strategic planning rewards the player with good results and an enjoyable round. Each hole is unique and memorable. The Hills Course, played from the proper tees, poses an appropriate challenge to more accomplished players and fairness to high handicappers, seniors, women and junior golfers.

Par 72

Yards Ratings Slope
Men Black 6,954 74.1 143
Blue 6,536 72.4 138
White  6,255 70.7 130
Gold 5,802 69.2 119
Red 5,036 65.8 111
Women White 6,255 77.1 144
Gold 5,802 74.6 138
Red 5,036 70.6 121

 

 

Posted by: linleygolf | November 20, 2016

Sublime

I had 3 rounds in a row that were absolutely horrible! It was embarrassing to say the least. My ball striking was so poor. My impact position – wait, let’s say I had NO impact position. The key to a solid strike is to square up the clubface at impact and ensure that maximum speed takes place at that point in time. In many cases that is the difference between a 170 yd. 7 iron versus a 135 yd. 7 iron. I have been leaning more towards the 135 side of things (actually 160 yd.) The reason for me stems from a major flaw – the lateral move through the left side rather than a post up on the left side. This has plagued me since I had some meniscus removed back in 2000. After the surgery I was told by the doctor that there would be nothing to worry about, the orthoscopic surgery was successful. Sometimes I think that I subconsciously slide through at impact in order to take some of the pressure on the left knee. Some days I don’t slide too much and other days I slide more. I have worked hard to strengthen my legs, hips and glutes to ensure successful post up on the left side. Along with that comes the need to not slide towards the right side on the takeaway. I have been guilty of that as well. In addition to my working out, I have been working on my footwork, hip turn, shoulder turn, takeaway, wrist set, club set at the top, transition back to the ball and a solid plant on the left side.

            The last 3 rounds have been relative success. The scores have come down into the low 80s and it will be a matter of time before I am into the single digits for my handicap and my scores are regularly in the 70s J Let me illustrate. I am back to playing courses at 6800 + yds because the driver is back. It feels so good. On the par 5 playing 502 yds I stuck two beautiful shots. After a 300 yd drive I was left with about 200 yds in. The drive was to a generous part of the fairway. Being 200 out meant it was go territory. But there was one catch – it required a 195 yd carry. There is no way to run up the ball because there is a large marsh area fronting the green. I have seen a few friends go for it and nobody has made it. I pulled a 5 iron and struck a sublime shot that landed pin high and 10 feet from the hole.   When the ball landed a loud clap went up. It was not for me, as there was a wedding being held at the clubhouse patio. We all laughed after I bowed to the crowd 200 yds away. We drove up to the green and I gauged my putt. I burned the edge on the eagle putt and tapped in for birdie. These were not 2 lucky shots. These were 2 well struck shots indicative how well I have been striking the ball as of late.

            There are 2 things I am working on which are working well. 1 – I am keeping my right foot planted and rotating around my spine. 2 – I am finishing my takeaway and making a smooth transition back to the ball. When I combine these two things with my previous skills, I feel pretty good about my game. I won’t go into more descriptions of shots, I will save those for my next entry.

Posted by: linleygolf | October 27, 2016

1 Step forward, then fall apart !

You would think my latest round is a disaster with a score of 99, and yes it is a disaster. After shooting comfortably in the mid 80s for the last few rounds I was excited for the round at Amelia National. A private course that is a Tom Fazio design and always-in great shape. I had gone to range the day before and I was striping the ball. I was so pumped on the drive to the course, that I said out loud, I think I should be able to shoot in the 70s today and I don’t mean the temperature. Oh BTW – it was in the mid 70s temperature wise 🙂

We had about 30 minutes before we teed off so off to the range. I was hitting it so pure – wedges, mid irons, long irons and woods/metals. I quickly ran over to the practice putting surface to work out the speed of the greens. They were quick relatively speaking. That was fine by me, I like quick greens. We chose to play from a little over 6800 yds. No worries, my driver was working and I comfortable from that yardage. First hole was a 401 yd par 4.   There was a decent breeze  into our faces and I hit a 3wood out to middle of the fairway which left me about 168 yds according to the laser finder. Playing into the wind, I figured it was playing about 175 or so. A large cavernous bunker was blocking access to the flag on a direct line. So the wise shot was little to the left of flag and that meant a longer putt. A 6 iron would be perfect and it was. I landed softly and had 25 feet up towards the flag. 3 putts and I was in the hole with a bogey !!!! These greens were slower than the practice area and I was a bit miffed. Mistake #1. A sinking feeling was starting to happen… OK off to the par 3 which is playing 176 and requires at least a 160 yd carry over water. Again a 6 iron should fare well. The club slipped in my hand and I ever so slightly blocked the shot and it carried flag high into the water along the  side of the green – NO !!! I re-teed and hit it to left side of the green  and rolled into the collar, a chip to 1 foot and the tap in was a double bogey.  Not surprising that the first tee shot was right that the second tee shot would be left.  That sinking feeling got worse. Two holes, two mistakes and now I am 3 over. Hole 3 was a 411 yd par 4. For whatever reason, I rushed my tee shot, probably trying to get a little extra from it and I smothered the ball into the ground and it landed in a pond to the right about 50 yds away. I could not believe it.  I was flabbergasted.  I stood there for a bit just looking at what happened.  After gathering myself, I took the same club and re-teed and smacked a lovely 3 wood, leaving myself with 157 yds. Here I was in the middle of the fairway and I was siting 3.  It was downwind and I didn’t need to try and kill the ball, WHY do I make these mistakes?   I decided to go with an 8 iron to the pin and I pulled it a little. I was flag high but in the rough 😦  Now this rough is brutal. The Bermuda rough is gnarly and difficult to navigate – oh how I long for the Bent grass. I chipped to 4 feet and missed the putt. Yep it was a 7. 3 holes, 3 mistakes and +6 already.  On the next hole a straightaway  par 4 playing 395 back into breeze, I hit 3 wood again and I had 170 to the flag. I struck a pure 6 iron and was 5 feet short of the pin – dead on line. I missed a very easy putt. They don’t get any easier that that. 4 holes, 4 mistakes, though I didn’t lose a stroke.  Hole 5 was a 211 yd par 3. I took a 4 iron out to the right and was unable to get that tiny little draw I needed.  There was water all along the green on the left side so a pulled ball was not ideal.  I was flag high but I needed to chip it from the tightly mown area to the flag which was at the back of the green. I chipped it and it landed on the little down slope and didn’t check. It was 4 feet from the hole, but it had rolled off into collar, 2 putts and I was in for a bogey. 5 holes, 5 mistakes. You see where this is going.

It was like this every hole. For 18 holes of golf there was not a hole that I didn’t make a mistake, no matter how slight, I paid dearly for it. I actually 4 putt one hole. I was on the par 5 in regulation and I 3 putt.  On another par 5, I was 145 yds out and a simple 9 iron would have put me on the green, but no such skill, I pulled the pulled into the hazard on the left.  Amazing anything other than a pull left would have been fine.  It was strange since I had a fade lie out of the rough – the ball was below my feet. Penalty drop, one chip, and 2 putts is a 7.  No matter what I did, I managed to make a mistake. How could this be? I had done so much preparation. I was hitting the ball so well. Even in this horrific round, I hit a ton of good shots. But I also hit some very bad ones and it was punishing.

3 days after the debacle, I went out to the range. I went through my regular routine and I hit 98% of the balls solidly.  The adjustment to my grip is working out nicely. Even when I made an off-centre hit, I hit the ball where I wanted it. So now what? I don’t intend to give up after this horrible round. But that was a disheartening round no doubt. I do know where the mistakes come from. When I revert back to elements of my older swing, it leads to a very very bad situation. I am then stuck between patterns” – LOL   Those of you who follow Tiger’s cacophony of prepared answers know what I mean by “between patterns.” Per a blog entry I read lately by my friend Jim, I won’t give up. I plan on keeping up the workouts in the gym and time on the range. I expect to be a single digit handicap soon. The weather in Florida is perfect and I will be getting out to practice and hopefully play more often than I have been. I should be able to own my swing and do whatever I want in the very near future. I am sure of that. I just need to bring the consistency of the range game to the course.

Whatever ugly monster this round turned into, I don’t think it was indicative of what I have accomplished as of late. I am putting much better as of late, I am driving the ball well again and my iron play is much more consistent these days and I am getting better pitching/chipping from this darn Bermuda. This is a round to throw away score-wise, but it is a round to remind myself that I need more work on my game.

 

Posted by: linleygolf | October 15, 2016

Golf golf golf

I’ve continued to work on my game and improvement is showing up  – regularly! Golf is fun again – yes, there are some frustrations, but my game is making an appearance.  Handicap is 12.9 and last  few rounds were in mid 80s.  My Driving is markedly improved.  Today on the par 5 526 yds, I hit a beautiful drive 302 yds.  I was left with 224 to the middle of the green 🙂  Last week we were playing in a scramble and the hole we started on (#14) is a drivable par 4.  The laser told us it was 295 to the flag, but I was convinced that it was more like 275 – 280.  It required a carry over water all the way.  There were bunkers surrounding the front of the green form that angle.  The normal play is 3 iron or 3 wood to the middle and a wedge in – playing about 355.  The beauty of the Scramble is that you get to go for it.  The first guy hit a driver to the middle of the fairway.  Then I was up and I hit the green on the fly and it rolled just off into the fringe.  Not bad huh??? Then when we were done our round we had finished at #15.  That meant we were at #14 again and the guys wanted to take a crack at it again…  Again I drove the green and I was the only one to hit the green.  A few balls in the water and one guy was in the bunker.  What I have noticed is that I now have the right club/shaft combination and I am confident.  Now I have made a few slices and a few mistakes.   But generally speaking driving is back !!! A critical component is to have a firm grip – in the past you may recall I went through a stage where I was almost letting go of the club at the top and then re-grasping it on the downswing – specifically with my right hand.  When I was taking lessons, the teacher saw it on video and pointed it out.  It is strange that I do that. But when I keep that firm grip I can deliver all the power of the golf swing at impact.  This is applied to my irons as well.

We survived the Hurricane Matthew.  Out condo at the beach here had no damage and we are thankful to the Lord for that.  As the hurricane came up the coast of Florida, we packed up and left for Orlando.  While there got in a round of golf and my wife got some shopping in as well – heck I got some shopping in as well 🙂

While there, my friend Kevin who also evacuated the beach to Orlando, we played Champions Gate.  There are 2 well known courses at Champions Gate – David Leadbetter Golf academy is there.  They just finished building a new course on the property which is open to the public  for now but will become private once they finish the homes they are placing all around the course.  It was recommended to play since you won’t be able to play it in 6 months.  It was a good course but the wind was up that day – remnants of the hurricane.  If you are nearby at Disney, then get out to this course. 

The last month has been tough to get out with a lot of things going on, but I do need to get back to the range and I have plenty of confidence these days.  Like I said golf is fun again.  I know that rounds in the 70s are on their way.  SO – finish the backswing, don’t let go the club, fire the hips !  BTW – my putting has been solid.  The Nike driver, 3 wood and putter are working these days.  I just have to improve that short game.  In regards to the chipping in the Bermuda, I have begun using a 56 wedge with more bounce and it is working.  I tended to use less bounce and the leading edge was important.  I have noticed that in Bent grass areas of the country, that method is very effective. It is coming together. I will keep working at the gym and I will keep practicing.  It is such a great game !

 

 

 

Posted by: linleygolf | September 27, 2016

The Roundup

Well it’s about time for another write-up about my “chasing the score of par”.   What seems like many moons ago, I shot even par.  Since then it has been a long road back to that score.  Many life changes, too much golf channel, and growing older have all lead to higher scores – LOL.   I determined to move it back towards the par and even lower.  I have made equipment changes, taken lessons, and hit the gym – all in search of better scores.  So with that in mind, here are the updates.

My handicap is now down to 12.2, not that great but it takes some time to lower the handicap at the rate I play which is on average once per week.  I will keep working it. 

This last weekend I had a true Jekyll and Hyde round.  I had 8 pars and 8 double bogeys.  It was strange in that my half my double bogeys were due to hitting the ball short, poor chipping and good putting.  Then the other half of my double bogeys were due to flying the green, poor chipping and good putting.  Here are two illustrative examples.  Par 4, after a great 3wood to start the hole, I was left with 155 yds.  I struck and 8 iron that came up woefully short – 7 yds or so… I then proceeded to chip it twice, and then 2 putt from 15 feet. Yuck !  By contrast on a long par 4 I hit a perfect drive about 280 yds and then had 148 (based on laser) to the hole with the flag in the front of the green and I hit the ball over the green on the fly and into a hazard.  Take a drop, 1 chip, 2 putts and bingo – double bogey. The crazy thing is not that I knifed the ball or that I caught it thin ro something like that.  There was a huge bunker in front of the green form my angle and I hit the ball really high hoping for a carry over the bunker and a soft landing near the pin.  I didn’t want any roll out.  Yuck again.  I don’t get it… Well I do kind of. It’s called golf.  What a day.  And I still continue to struggle with the Bermuda rough.  I guess I will have to divvy up my time between full swing, putting and chipping from the Bermuda rough.  I can figure out whether to go with more loft and more bounce or less bounce and less loft.  Argh !!! When I played on Bent grass courses, I had NO problem.  I was able to control the ball quite adeptly.  I could chip and then get the ball to check up with spin or take out the lob wedge and “Phil Mickelson” it and land softly.  But I am really struggling with the Bermuda.  I will have to get out there and create some practice time. 

Good news – this new driver is just solid.  The stiffer shaft, Diamana 70g Whiteboard is really better suited to my swing characteristics.  I am back to getting the ball out there and there is more to come.  I have pumped a few out around 300 yds with very little roll.  It’s a good feeling no doubt that I can re-establish that kind on length.  I am sure with my workout routine and confidence that I can still play the longer courses.  As for putting I have this new Nike Origin working like a charm.  Now I used to use the Scotty Cameron putter and I loved it, but this new putter has given me great confidence.  At a recent Scramble tournament, I made 10 putts from 10 – 15 feet.  A remarkable feat considering that I was shaky at 2 foot putts for a while.  I just seem to let the putter swing freely.  Now I realize that putting at events like this are much easier, because you playing partners can pick you up, but I was nailing them.

So given that I am happy with the driver, 3 wood and putter, you would think I would be shooting in the middle 70s !  But alas the iron game and subsequent chipping is killing my scores.  My distance control has gone and I seem to be pulling the ball with an over the top move – a sort of pull hook.  This is mechanics no doubt.  What I am doing with my driver and 3 wood is not what I am doing with my irons.  I have to square it up.  A couple of examples, last weekend I was 210 yds out and hit a lovely 4 iron to 8 feet.  Perfect right !!! I burned the edge for eagle.  Now this weekend I was 230 out and I had room to run up a 3 iron.  I hit the iron think and kerplunk – into the junk 40 yds short of the green.  How is that possible.  Well I know the mechanics on the 2 swings were completely different.  When I start to unwind from the lower body and get onto the left side, it is a thing of beauty.  When I start with the upper body and don’t unwind, the lower body, I end up sliding to the left and the power is way less and the strike is weak at best.  It seems I have to keep practicing. 

And practice it will be.   This weekend the Web.com event will be played at Atlantic Beach Country Club.  I will be there and of course I play there regularly.  It will be interesting to see how the Pros play the course.

Below is some friends – we played Marsh Landing Country Club – a nice track !

 

img_6173

Posted by: linleygolf | August 16, 2016

Long Hard Road

When I first moved to Florida, I had a 6.1 index. I was erroneously under the impression that I was doing well and that I needed a few minor tweaks. My last few rounds before I left I was starting to see some negative things in my swing – I have video proof !!! So When I settled in here in FLA, I decided to revamp the whole thing. Tear down the old and begin with a whole new swing. Now let me be clear, I have a pretty decent looking swing; it wasn’t ugly by any stretch of the imagination, in fact I have been told I have a nice looking swing. And the good looking swing garnered me good results.

I started the new process with Mary Hafeman (former LPGA pro) and things started out ugly. I had a hard time getting used to the mechanics of the new swing. I had to alter my grip, ball position, and a few more minor adjustments – which means a whole new swing.   It has take a long time to put it all together. Sometimes you think you are doing it correctly and then you realize you aren’t. Of course, you want to improve, but you need time to practice. So you go out and play and “hope” to get better, but that really isn’t a real possibility.

As of late I started to get it all together and I was still having some severely bad shots and many good ones. I noticed that my hip turn was the culprit. I just wasn’t turning, I was sliding back and forth through the hitting zone. That meant I need to perfectly time every shot and that also meant I was losing a lot of power at impact. Well I am happy to report that I have figured it out – well so to speak. But it is coming together. I have been focused on working on my hip turn and posting up nicely onto my left side. I am getting more distance, more accuracy, and a much better ball flight. Let’s illustrate.

My last 2 rounds are good examples.

The first round was at the Conservatory at Hammock Beach – that is the location that I was fortunate enough to be part of the Titleist commercial. The day was very windy and on windy days it requires solid ball striking. On hole 3 the par 5, I hit a great drive with the new driver from Nike and it carried a total of 226 yds !!! Then on hole 7 downwind I flew a 3 wood 274 yds. I managed to play well and score decently despite the conditions. The biggest issue was putting. I feel I am putting well, but sometimes I get a little quick and roll my right hand over and pull the putts. It is so annoying. I need to work on my putter. The short game needs some work and I believe I will be in good stead.   We played the course at 6800 yds in the wind and I walked away with an 89. A few made putts and I could be back to normal numbers on the score card.
The second round of note was last Sat at Atlantic Beach and Country Club. We played this course at around 6400 and this time I scored 85. I putted decently but missed 6 putts inside of 6 feet. In fact 2 were from 6 feet and 4 were from 3 feet or less. I know that isn’t a good thing and I did say I was putting pretty good as of late. What I mean is that my strikes on the ball are excellent. I just have to stop rolling over the right hand at impact. But I will get this sorted out soon. Now to be fair to myself, the courses have all been aerated and sanded in the last couple of weeks. So the balls aren’t rolling perfectly despite that these are great courses. The Atlantic Beach CC will be hosting a Web.com Tour event this fall, which indicates the quality of the course.   This day was also windy, and as you may or may not know, the winds pick up near the ocean where I live. The best part of my golf game the last few days has been the ability to compress the ball which means you carry the ball further and it goes higher. This higher ball flight means your ball lands softer and you can control the distance better. I am loving how I am hitting the ball with my irons. Now let’s jump to the new driver – Nike Fly Pro with Diamana White Stiff 70g. I am loving the shaft and clubhead combination. On hole 10 the long par 5 playing 575 I hit driver and had 270 left, when I then hit 5 iron and had 75 left and then flipped a wedge to 15 feet. I three put – I left my first putt 3 feet short due to aeration and sand and then I did that slight little pull to the left – LOL   The great thing with this driver – is that the dispersion is quite narrow. I did not block one driver to the right, I did NOT race ahead of the ball, but one time I did lose my grip on the club due to moisture, and I lost it right. The driver is great – it’s the best $149 I ever spent. Funny thing about this driver was that 2 days before I bought it, I was about to pull the trigger and acquire it from golfdiscount.com selling it for $349 where everyone else was selling it for $399. I delayed and then I got an email from EdwinWatts.com and they were selling the Nike drivers for $149. I decided to acquire it from golfdiscount.com because there was free shipping and no tax. More importantly I was able to get the Diamana white 70g shaft with no extra charge. By contrast, EdwinWatts was only offering the Tensei stock shaft. All in all, things are getting better and I can’t wait to play this Wednesday at the TPC Valley course. I hope the humidity is lower and the temperature drops. Its hot and humid here in FLA.

I hope to report great success next time.

Posted by: linleygolf | August 5, 2016

Continuous Improvement

It’s time for an update and its not bad news.  I missed 3 weeks of golf due to a foot ailment. It’s tough to sit out.  But I am glad to be back in the pink.  ON my first weekend back I was able to play twice.  The first course was the Slammer and Squire over at World Golf Village. We arrived only to find out that the range was closed because the Regional Drive, Chip and Putt was being held there.  So we practiced a few putts and stretched.  With this being my first round in 3 weeks, I new things would be a bit shaky.  As it turned out, i started double, bogey and double bogey.  I struggled on a few holes throughout but I did make a birdie on the par 5 – playing 565 yds – I hit driver, 3 wood to the front edge and chip and one putt for birdie.  That was a good feeling.  But the hole of day was 18, where on a 421 yd par 4 we added a small incentive – $1 each for winner take all.  I hit the purest 3 wood of the day 260 and I had 171 from my angle and flushed a nice 7 iron to 12 feet and 2 putt for all the money !!! It was a great way to walk away from the course.  I ended up shooting a tidy 85 – not bad for first round in a while. SO what i need to do is continue to make good contact and I still have good distance.  In addition the clubs I play are weaker lofts than most clubs – so I am in good shape.  

On Sunday I received a text from my friend to play at TPC Sawgrass, the Valley Course for an incredibly low price of $36 !  What a price !  It would be a twilight round and I loved it.  We teed off at 3:15 but just like the day before, we were unable to practice on the range.  Sadly, TPC Sawgrass is undergoing major renovations.  Next year the TPC will be different as you come up to the clubhouse.  The first hole will be different and the practice range will be totally different.  SO once again we hit a few putts and off we went.  This time I stated triple, bogey, triple.  And I ended bogey, bogey bogey, triple.  A weak start and a weak finish.  Not ideal, but I still managed to shoot 89.  I know that this is not where I want to be but practice and the deployment of new equipment is going to help.  This weekend if I play I have a new Nike Fly Pro Driver with a Diamana White Stiff.  I got this brand new for an incredible $149 including tax and shipping from discountgolf.com .  As you may have heard, Nike is going out of the golf equipment business.  This acquisition came before the announcement. I hope I can get the new Nike balls at a discount since they are awesome golf balls.  

So this may be the era of improved driving for me.  It is a well documented fact, that I have been living on the strength of 3 wood and the driver has been less than optimal.   I did manage to hit some good shots while at TPC.  I am ready to play again.  I probably wont get out this weekend, but hopefully I can get to driving range.  If only I could get out more often.   A few more pics below.  The first TPC Sawgrass clubhouse and the second is the actual trophy in the Pro Shop.

 

IMG_6073

IMG_6074

Posted by: linleygolf | July 4, 2016

Good and then BANG !

Happy 4th of July to all my American friends and family.  July the 1st was Canada’s Independence Day – so happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends and family.

Golf is an amazing game.  Just when you think you are on a path to getting somewhere you are knocked off your horse and stomped on. 

In the past few weeks, I have travelled to Cali, golfed twice while there, NYC – golfed once there at Bonnie Briar, Toronto (last weekend) – played twice and while here in JAX – golfed 3 other times.  In each case I shot mid 80s with great consistency. During that spell I drove the ball OK with driver, but a solid 3 wood carried the load and I hit my irons quite well.  I putted below average on most occasions – but ball striking was quite satisfactory.  I had new irons this year and I was very happy with the overall trajectory of my game.  Single digits was not too far away.  I still had to work on putting and chipping. So YES ! things were looking very very good.

This this weekend I played the TPC Dye Valley course.  Most of you have seen the TPC Stadium course – its the home of the TPC Players Championship. On the same property is the Dye Valley course – another 18 hole course designed by Pete Dye – who did the Stadium course.  In some ways the Valley Course is more difficult than the Stadium course.  The Web.com tour plays on the Valley course.  As a side note, this year they will will playing at the Atlantic Beach Country Club.   

The PGA tour is tearing up the range facilities and putting in new grass and redesigning he range.  Because they are doing all this maintenance they had some nets set up to hit into for practice. Well given the number of nets and people playing, there was a queue to hit a few.  In addition because I had a new putter I got to practice putting on the practice greens. 

894101455Main Origin

This sweet putter is now in my possession – a fabulous putter.  Sadly, the price is Scotty Cameron-like.  But hey Charl Schwartzel, Rory, Koepka and other Nike staff are using it.  I love it.  And I do have a Scotty Cameron.

I had problems sleeping the night before and I woke up feeling ill.  But I managed to eat and get to the course.  I was excited to play this course and put the new putter into play.  The lack of a range was annoying.  But as the moments passed I felt weaker and weaker.  This was not a good thing. I was going to be playing a challenging course and  I had mapped it out in my mind and I was planning on shooting a 79 ( a reference to Vinny for those who know him).  I was so confident of what was to transpire on this day. 

I hit a decent tee shot on the starting par 5 – but was on the right on a little mound I punched a 6 iron back into play perfectly and then I hit a 7 from 170 into the greenside bunker. I took 3 shots to get out of the bunker.  The sand was thick and wet and I was not prepared for that sand.  A nice 1 putt made me feel a little better, though nothing makes a double bogey feel good.  I proceeded to hit a 9 iron from the par 3 playing about 152.  The shot was OK in terms of distance, but I knew immediately that the motion I swung the club was incorrect.  I mean it was really incorrect.  I did not finish my backswing, I pivoted on my left side and I was out front of the ball and only quick hands saved me.  I didn’t say anything.  Then i happened on the next tee shot.  Then again and again. It was happening on every shot.  I focused real hard and piped a 310 yd drive on the 6th hole par 5.  I was left with 205 to a back pin.  No problem right ???? A 5 or 4 depending on the flight of the ball.  I took out 4 and hit it and it clipped a tree that should NOT have been in play. 

Forget the rest of the round – what had happened?  I was not feeling well and I did not have the physical abilities on this morning to sustain what is an athletic swing.  I was just not able to maintain posture, I struggled withe impact position and timing was off.  Can anything else go wrong?  Well the results were terrible.  I was literally throwing my body towards the ball and sliding through at impact.  My hands were unable to catch up and I had no leverage while trying to impart a strong force onto the ball.  It was horrible.  I lost balls on tee shots into water.  I lost balls into water on left – when I flipped too quickly my hands.  I did manage s few pars, but they were far and few between.  And of course this leaked into my putting.  It was bad – on one hole after a so-so 4 iron off the tee on the short par 4 (362 yds), I struck a perfect 8 iron from 157 to an elevated green to 6 feet.  I 3 putt from 6 feet. what should have been a birdie was a bogey !!!!

Needless to say this is not a great day – feeling ill and weak is not a good combination, especially when it was 32 degrees and super humid.  Combine those physical inabilities with mental weakness, i.e. no confidence – and the result is 101.  A lesson to those who think it is an easy game – beware !!!  I haven’t scored so poorly in years and in those cases it was because I gave up and lost interest in the actual game for some reason.

I am sure I will recover and get back to where I was and I plan on even surpassing that former level.  I have enough length and I have the desire to compete.  i continue to work out on  strength and conditioning.  I have added yoga once a week to increase flexibility.  But I am determined to play better.  I will not give up.  

My next plan of attack is to work on full swing, spend time putting and chipping.  This fall I plan on a 2 or 3 day golf school.  Concentrated boost to the game.  One to develop my confidence.  Confidence is so important, but that is a blog post to come 🙂

 A few pics inside the clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass.  

Posted by: linleygolf | June 6, 2016

Two Amazing Golf Courses – Part 2

It’s part 2 of the great golf courses.  When I resigned from Queens Harbour CC, I wanted to play other places.  In part one of this series I played Pablo Creek.  This week it is Timuquana Country Club.  I was invited to play at this Donald Ross design course.  For the golf course architect aficionado this is a must play.  Whereas Pablo Creek is a To Fazio design, this is an old style golf course.  You need to be able to control your ball. Not overly long by modern design, but the course can be punishing if you are NOT able to hit great shots.  I arrived at the course only to see the following sign posted:

IMG_5842

Yes the course was set up for the US Open Sectional Qualifying.  The greens were going to be quick but the course was immaculately manicured.  I was playing on Sunday and on Monday the qualifying was going to happen.  There were many people there to play practice rounds.  The range was full of great ball striking players. 

The course was in great shape.  The first hole was about 395 and I decide to go with 3 wood.  I didn’t flush the ball and I hit it about 210.  I was fortunate it went that far.  I was left with a good distance and nice breeze in the face.  I played a 5 iron and got to the front of the green.  I two putted and I was feeling good.  We were playing the course at 6400 yds so not too long.  There were some short par 4s but they were very difficult.  The par 3s were all long.  On one par 4 playing 329 yds, I hit 3 iron and was left with 125.  This is such a dangerous shot.  The green is kidney shaped and its about 5 yds deep, short and the ball rolls back into the water.  over the green is a bunker and chipping area.  The drawback of hitting it short is obvious.  The penalty for going long is a dangerous bunker shot which if not landing softly will roll forward into the water.   The only advantage we had on this shot was that the wind was directly in our face.  I hit a very high PW which landed softly 10 feet from the hole.  I missed the putt but a two putt is a good thing.  The story is told that Ben Hogan when playing the same hole took a 9.  

As we got to the green of hole 9, we saw a few players practicing on the green which is directly behind the 9th green.  I noticed the sometimes PGAtour/Web.com player who lived in my condo – Aron Price.  He recently moved out to a house south of us in Ponte Vedra.  He was there to play a practice round and participate in the US Open sectional qualifying beginning on Monday.  He was only playing 9 holes and we happened to meet in the parking lot.  We chatted for a bit and I wished him luck.

But back to hole 9 – putting on the green with Aron is the fellow in the white shirt and dark shorts below:

IMG_5843

It is Vijay Singh.  He too was planning to play in the sectional qualifying. As we teed off on 10 he was teeing off on 1.  These old school courses mean that hole 1 and 10 are very close together.  We saw Vijay again later as we finished 18, he was teeing off on 10.  It is so cool to see these professionals.  Another great day.  

As for the golf, I played much closer to the way I wanted.  I shot a pair of 42s for a total of 84.  I had 4 doubles some bogeys and pars.  I made no birdies but this score was a result of very good ball striking and poor putting.  I made ONE 1 putt.  I recall chipping the ball to within 4 feet 3 times and I missed the putts.  It is now apparent that I need help putting.  It is so funny to be writing this.  A while back I wrote that I was complimented for being the best putter in our group.  I guess our group doesn’t have the best putters.  In reality, its such a fine line.  Too may lipouts, too many with too much speed and not taking the full break till 6 inches after the hole.  I need a new putter.  I also had THREE 3 putts.  You just can’t do that.  I find that lately I am not striking the putts squarely.

IMG_5848

Update – Aron Price qualified for the US Open at the local qualifier shooting 69/66 for -9 total.

Older Posts »

Categories