The Tee Box

Been getting colder but I’m still playing
November 4, 2011, 5:49 pm
Filed under: golf, miscellaneous

In the last month I’ve been trying to get out once a week. I haven’t always made it. A couple of weeks ago I got out to Piedmont and shot 83. Not every shot was great but I really felt I had some measure of control over the ball. The next week I played in a four-person scramble at Shenandoah Valley Golf Club. I played with my brother and his wife and a friend of his. My brother and his wife don’t play very often but they still contributed some quality shots now and then. I’m probably a little better than his friend, but it worked out that when I would hit a bad shot he hit a good one, and the reverse was true too. We ended up taking 2nd in the B flight. That’s where my brother and his wife really helped, as their handicaps lowered our expected performance. Today I got out to Piedmont before heading off to play some ice hockey. It was chilly and windy but I decided to play the tips. Don’t ask me why. I hit the ball fairly well but the wind really affected me. I ended with an 88, which isn’t horrible, but not exactly what I was trying to shoot. That’s ok. With the weather changing I’m going to have these days. At least I was playing.


Out of the habit
September 23, 2011, 3:17 pm
Filed under: golf, miscellaneous

I’ve gotten out of the habit of posting after each round. I’ll try to do better.

Since the last post on August 7th, I’ve played several rounds and a few tournaments. My scores have ranged from 85-93, which is higher than I like. I’ve hit a rough patch where I don’t trust my swing. For awhile I couldn’t hit a driver into the fairway for anything. I fixed that but then I lost my irons. Lately I still have a bad case of the shanks. I know it’s mental and I’m trying to work through it. I did play very well in a scramble last Friday. We used my drives, irons and putts several times. I felt great and I thought I’d gotten past the trouble, but on Monday I was as bad as ever. Today I got in nine in the rain and I think I worked through some of it. Only time will tell.

My eyes have been doing great. I received my new lenses for the Oakleys that I bought. I swapped them and used them back in August for the first time. It was cloudy that day at first but it started to brighten during the round. I put them on at the beginning of the fifth hole but propped them on my hat since the clouds were alternating between thick and thin. On the sixth hole I was driving to the green when I took off my hat to cool off a little but I forgot that the sunglasses were on it. I dropped them onto the cart path and put a nice scratch in the center of the right lens. Perfect. I got 1.5 holes with them before damaging them. I was pissed at myself but by the back nine I’d already planned to purchase another set. Unfortunately that afternoon when trying to do just that I saw that the lenses were no longer in stock. A quick search of Amazon found me another pair of frames with those lenses for only $30 more than the lenses alone direct from Oakley. So now I have my original dark lenses in the original frames and the new frames with the new lenses. Those I keep in my bag and I’m very careful with them now. Live and learn.

Some days I don’t understand
August 7, 2011, 6:41 pm
Filed under: golf, miscellaneous

I played today with a group of golfers that I’ve never played with before. I was included in a regular group so I was somewhat nervous because I wanted to play well. We were sent off the back which was a good thing because we never waited on a single shot and were never pushed by anyone. The round was over in a little under 4 hours.

I started with a lucky bounce. I pulled my drive left but the tree it hit sent it back to the middle. It was short of the fairway but playable. After laying up on my second, I put my third about 15 feet from the hole and made the putt for a par. Great start. Unfortunately that was as good as it was going to get for awhile. I then proceeded to bogey the 11th and it got worse from there. I had five double-bogeys on the back nine alone. Worse than that I acquired the shanks. I know you’re not supposed to say the word but it couldn’t get any worse.

After making the turn with a score of 48 I began to relax a little. I knew I was playing as bad as I could so it could only get better from there. While I had two more double on the front, I also had five pars. My score for the front was a more typical 43. That gave me 91 for the round but it felt like 101.

I really enjoyed playing with the guys and hanging around for a couple of drinks afterwards. If they keep me on the email list I’ll play with them again. At the very least I was good for the donation to their wallets. That alone could bring me back. Hopefully next time my real game will return.

First Round with 20/20 vision
August 6, 2011, 7:26 am
Filed under: golf, miscellaneous

I had my one week followup with my eye doctor yesterday. My vision is currently 20/20. It might still get a little better or a little worse as my eye heal, but I’m happy. To celebrate I bought a new pair of sunglasses with golf in mind. I already have a pair of Ray Ban’s which I love. But sometimes on the golf course I don’t want the sunglasses on. I like to put them on my hat but these will fall off. They’re great for seeing and driving but they’re not really sporting sunglasses. I decided on a pair of Oakley Half Jackets. While the standard lens is too dark for golf, these sunglasses allow you to swap the lenses. I ordered a set of their G30 lenses, which are specifically designed for golfing. I saw they shipped today so hopefully by next weekend I can try them out.

I spent the first few holes wearing the Oakleys but I switched to the Ray Bans when I realized that the Oakleys were just too dark at this point. The Ray Bans have an amber lens so they were better. I didn’t play too bad and had some really great shots. But I was very inconsistent and my score showed it. I ended with an 87 with three double bogeys and two three putts. I also had a 300 yard drive and several pars. It had been a week and a half since I played and this was the first with new vision so I’m not too unhappy. As I get used to it I hope to improve.

Just got back from Canada
July 17, 2011, 6:13 pm
Filed under: golf, miscellaneous, travel

The family and I went to Niagara Falls and Toronto last week on vacation. We did all the normal tourist things on Saturday and Sunday, but Monday I played a course called Thundering Waters, which is a John Daly designed course on the Canadian side of the border. The course was in nice shape although there was construction going on all around the club house. My game wasn’t in great condition since I’d been nursing back pain the week prior. I was a bit surprised that on many holes you couldn’t hit a driver from the tee. I figured that since John is the “grip it and rip it” guy that’s what we’d get to do. I liked the layout and he definitely give you options and let’s you hit all the clubs in your bag. I’d play it again because it was a lot of fun.

On Tuesday we headed up to Toronto for the second half of the trip. The primary attraction for me was the Hockey Hall of Fame. It does not disappoint and I recommend it for anyone with an interest in the game. There’s even a golf club in one of the displays. On Thursday I played the Legends course at Lionhead in Brampton, Ontario. The price was a little steep but this too was a nice place. This course is a true test but it’s also very fair. There were many elevated greens and it required some thinking and adjustments. I shot 85 but I felt I could have played better. I’d play this one again as well.

We came home on Friday and spent yesterday catching up. But since I’m still technically on vacation I played Piedmont today. I was supposed to play with a twosome but they disappeared so I went off alone. I was behind a foursome who were, shall I say, deliberate. I went off the back nine and made the turn in 2.5 hours. On the front I joined up with two brand new members with the hope that it would slow me down and I wouldn’t have to wait on every shot like i had been. It helped a little but we still took another 2.5 hours on the front. It’s easily the longest round I’ve played at Piedmont. I ended with an 84, so it was pretty average.

Been too busy playing to blog
July 4, 2011, 8:29 am
Filed under: golf, miscellaneous

In the last week I got out and played what equaled four full rounds of golf. On Monday I went to Raspberry Falls to use a silent auction certificate that I’d won last winter. The days was muggy and the gnats were terrible. The course is a nice one but honestly the gnats really detracted from the round. I didn’t play well at all. My tee shots were all left, which puts you into a tough position to score. I ended with an 89 but it felt like 109.

On the drive back home I decided I needed to hit the range to figure out what I was doing wrong. When I got to Piedmont Club I noticed that the course was fairly open so I decided to play nine more. They sent me off the back and I my misses all went right, just the opposite of the morning. Go figure. I did play better and I shot a 42 for that nine.

On Wednesday a friend asked if I wanted to play over at Stonewall Golf Club. I like this course so I agreed. The drive from my office shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes however VDOT decided to shut down some lanes and the commute took longer than expected. I arrived when I was supposed to be teeing off. I dropped the clubs at the cart and ran in to pay. Then it was straight to the first tee without even a swing. I went on the shoot my best score ever, a 76. We played the white tees but you still have to hit the shots. I had two birdies and one eagle.

On Friday afternoon I hit Piedmont again for nine. This time it was the front and I felt as good as I did over at Stonewall. I shot 38 for those nine. Combined with the earlier back nine score the total was 80 for the eighteen.

Finally, yesterday I made it out to Piedmont again. I was early so I hit some on the range and then went over to the practice area for some chips. I did something bad to my lower back while chipping and I was in some pain as we started the round. At first it didn’t bother me during my swing so I played. As the round progressed however walking became much more difficult. Eventually swing was a problem as well. Somehow I shot 83 but I have to say it seemed like the longest round of golf ever.

I think it might be time to take a break until my back feels better. Hopefully that’s before my trip to Canada next week. I plan to play while I’m there so I better rest my back.

Golf is a funny game
June 25, 2011, 7:54 pm
Filed under: golf, miscellaneous

Sometimes it’s hard to figure out golf. I can go out and feel like I’m hitting everything well and shoot 87 and then I can play like I did today. I headed out after my wife told me I should play golf. I never turn that offer down. I walked on but was told that the tee sheet was fairly full but that I might be able to join up with a threesome that was scheduled to go off at 2:39. I went down to the first tee and waited until 2:39. No one else showed up so I went ahead and hit my first ball. I crushed it down the middle. Perhaps I should always skip warming up on the range. I gave the missing group another minute and then figured I’d start walking and if they came up behind we could join up.

After four holes I was still even par. I caught up to the group ahead but I also noticed that there was a single riding behind me so I waited for him to catch up so we could play as a twosome. It turns out that there was another single behind him so we all played together as a threesome. Our first hole together is a tough par 3. I hit a little over the green which left a delicate chip. Wouldn’t you know that I holed it for birdie.

The rest of the round was more of the same. I’d hit bad shots and somehow save par. The one exception was the 14th hole where I actually hit the fairway off the tee (a rarity today). I hit my approach to less than a foot. Tap in birdie. Another example of the way the round went was the par 5 18th. I pulled my drive way left and then hit my second shot and kept it to the left. Then I hit my third to about 15 feet and made the putt.

As I said, golf is a funny game.