Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Falling Behind...Again!

Another failed promise from yours truly. What a surprise!

I gave my word that I'd have my Bandon Dunes trip report up before I left for New York yet here I am making excuses once again for being behind! It's coming...I promise!

The NY trip was absolutely incredible and you can look forward to hearing about it sometime in 2013 when I catch up...kidding...kind of!

My game has come around a bit lately, especially with my ball striking but as you might expect, just when I start hitting it better, my putter starts getting testy.

Still, I was able to prevail in my first round Langley Cup match, giving five strokes to Darryl B and coming through with a tight 2&1 win. I now face good friend Andy in the second round. I got a first round bye in the Scratch Cup match play event and will have to play my second round matches in both events in June.

I know I've already written a couple blog posts about Jim Colton and his 108+ hole golf marathon coming up at Ballyneal in June to benefit local caddy Ben Cox but I want to once again post an update, as many generous people have donated items that will be auctioned off to those who contribute.

Check out Jim's blog post here. Just look at the places that have graciously donated items:

1. One foursome at Ballyneal, going to the person who most accurately guesses the amount of strokes over par it will take me to complete 108 holes (only one guess per number, so if your first guess is taken, you will be assigned the next closest number).
2. Another foursome at Ballyneal
3. A foursome of golf at Dismal River in Mullen, NE
4. A foursome of golf at The Kingsley Club in Kingsley, MI
5 & 6. Two pairs of golf shoes from TRUE Linkswear - one pair of TRUE Tours and one pair of their new TRUE Stealths, to be raffled off individually
7. A threesome of golf and lunch with a member host at Hudson National Golf Club in New York
8. Two nights accomodation at Fairmont St Andrews, full Scottish breakfast each morning and 18 holes of golf on The Torrance or The Kittocks
9. A threesome of golf and lunch at the Olympic Club (Lake Course), site of the 1955, 1966, 1987, 1998 and 2012 U.S. Opens. Also includes round at par-3 Cliffs Course, time and schedule permitting.
10. A threesome of golf and caddies at Skokie Country Club
11. A twosome of golf at Merion Golf Club's East Course, site of the 2013 U.S. Open. Includes tour of the club archives and lunch or dinner.
12. A foursome of golf at East Lake Golf Club, site of The Tour Championship.
13. A threesome of golf at Riviera Country Club, site of the 1948 U.S. Open, 1983 and 1995 PGA Championships and home of the PGA Tour's Northern Trust Open.
14. A twosome of golf at Erin Hills Golf Club, site of the 2011 U.S. Amateur and the 2017 U.S. Open

Incredibly, new items are being added almost on a daily basis! The golf community, especially those at Golf Club Atlas, have really come through for Jim and ultimately for Ben Cox and his family.

Godspeed, my friend.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Slowly but Surely...

Just a quick follow up from last week's post on the state of my golf game.

I indicated that my ball position was too far forward and hoped that my ball striking would improve if I moved the ball back a couple inches.

The move seemed to work this past weekend, as I put up two identical scores of 76 (+4) from the back tees at my home club (73.1/131), easily my best rounds of the year in Canada. I made six birdies over the two rounds and won my first two skins of the year to top it all off.

An extra bonus was a great putting tip I read in the most recent issue of Golf Digest. I was having some issues flipping my right hand on right-to-left putts, not quite a "yip" action but too close for comfort. The tip couldn't have come at a better time - it said that the key to making sure you don't break down is in the angle of the right hand, not the left (or leading) hand. If you maintain the angle in the back of that hand, you'll have a consistent stroke.

The results came quickly - I must have made five putts over ten feet on Sunday alone and really gained a lot of confidence with the flatstick. So I'm hitting better iron shots and putting better, which hopefully means some better scoring ahead!

I'm less than two weeks away from my next golf trip, which will be taking me into New York state and specifically into Long Island. It will be a road trip so I hope to play some golf on the way down and on the way back and I'm still trying to finalize my itinerary. Hopefully I get things set soon.

That said, I still have my long-awaited Bandon trip report to write, along with individual reviews of each course at the resort. My pledge is to get the trip report up within the next two days and have the course reviews up soon afterward. Pretty ambitious stuff from a guy who has only been writing three posts a month but I really want to get everything up on this site before I return from New York.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Putting the Pieces Back Together

Every year, I find it very difficult to put good rounds together early in the season. For whatever reason, I have trouble shaking the five months of rust off my swing.

This year is no different and in fact, it might be even worse, especially when you consider that I played eight rounds of golf in Oregon in mid-March.

I'm having great trouble with my iron play and my short game, especially on the front nine of my rounds. I'm able to figure some things out by the time I get to the back and salvage respectable scores but I repeat the process the next round.

Case in point: two rounds of golf this weekend, two front nine scores of 43 and two back nine scores of 37.

Well, at least I'm consistent!

The shocking thing is that I now own a 'sandbagger' handicap - my index has risen from 2.7 to 4.4 based on my 2011 rounds, however, my ACTUAL handicap now reads "2.3R". This means my actual index has been reduced due to the large discrepancy between my last 20 scores and my tournament scores from the past 12 months. I had two sub-par tournament rounds last year so they get incorporated into a formula to reduce my handicap, even though I'm having trouble breaking 80 so far this year.

It's actually kind of embarrassing but thankfully, I don't have any tournaments scheduled until mid-June, when I take part in the member/guest event. That is because I decided to step down from my duties on the Niagara Men's Tour for 2011 and won't even be playing the Tour for the first time since 2004. I have two more golf trips planned for this year so I decided to skip the Tour this year as a compromise to my wife and young son.

That said, I *think* I finally figured out my ball-striking issues yesterday on the back nine, simply moving the ball back in my stance. I went from hitting one green on the front to hitting 7 of 9 on the back and made crisp contact throughout the incoming nine.

I'm already looking forward to next week to see if I can finally put a full round together for the first time at St. Catharines.