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If only...

>> March 30, 2008

If only I played on the course as well as I practice on the range. Why is that?

It's frustrating to say the least. I need to practice more for sure (that muscle memory is coming along nicely), but why doesn't it transfer better?

That said, I simply can't chip consistently. I need a chipping primer - anyone out there have the basics for me? Ball position, hand position etc? Every 3rd of 4th chip squirts off 90 degrees to my right. Nice eh? I felt like a real duffer today at the range - sticking 3 chips to 5 feet, then squirting the 4th or 5th ball 15 yards directly right. Yikes.


Season Opener

>> March 29, 2008

Let's be upfront about things here, OK?

I stink. I love golf, but I'm just not very good. I played my first round of 2008 today in less than ideal conditions - it was darn cold out! So cold we had a freeze delay and my tee time was pushed back 45 minutes. Luckily for me, I'm a glutton so I hit a bucket of balls and froze my butt off. I should note, that I have never hit a better bucket of balls in my entire life. Absolutely crushed the ball and with accuracy.

We tee'd off with these two guys who I could tell were trouble from the get go... one guy was such a talker that at the turn we actually separated from them and replayed the front 9. Yea, that bad.

In any case, armed with my new 3 hybrid and Odyssey White Hot putter, I stunk up the joint with a +21. Yea, you read that right. Oddly, I drove well - but played my wedges horribly. I actually hit a shot that when at a 90 degree angle from me. Sideways! That hurts.

The 2nd time around, I played much, much better and finally found my swing again. I even hit 2 drivers in the fairway! The +17 wasn't great, but I took a few things away.

  1. Relax, it's early. Lots of golf to be played.
  2. Relax, it's a game dummy.
  3. I need more time on the range to work on building up muscle memory, especially with the pitching wedge.

Best shot of the day however, was a PW from 100 yards out that landed less than 5 ft. from the cup.

I'm also using a new site to keep stats this season - oobgolf - check it out. When you have a moment - very slick features. I should also note that oobgolf is my official sponsor this season! More on that later...


Drop that 'cap

>> March 27, 2008

I call my handicap a "cap" because I want to be cool like the kids. I found an absolutely incredible article on Golf.com from Dave Pelz that you have to check out. I hope it really will help me drop my 'cap.

I especially love the graphics showing where pros hit their balls vs amateurs.

My favorite tidbits from the article:

Driving: Hit for accuracy
Do whatever it takes to hit the fairway, even if that means hitting 3-wood or a hybrid off the tee. If you give up 10 percent of distance for 10 percent more accuracy, you'll shoot lower scores.

Yep... I started this trick at the end of last year by simply forgetting to pack my driver!

Par 3-Irons
Go long
Select the club that will get you to the back edge of the green. The ball will end up past the flagstick if you catch it pure, but no harm done since your shots are rarely straight enough for you to make the next putt anyway. Choosing a stronger club will carry your average shots closer to the hole, leave shorter putts and keep you out of hazards

Sand Shots
Play the ball forward
Try this: Hit a normal wedge shot from grass. Notice how your divot is forward (toward the target) of the center of your stance. This exact same swing which contacts the ball before it hits the ground on fairway shots can also serve as your sand swing. It will correctly hit two inches behind the ball in sand if you simply position the ball forward.

Pelz asks for favors this season: (1) Focus on rolling putts beyond the hole on average; (2) Allow for a little more break on every breaking putt you see; (3) Recognize that for every putt you leave short you've thrown away a chance of holing it; and (4) Realize that until you miss as many putts above the hole as below, you're STILL not reading enough break on average. Do these things for me and you just may start putting like a professional.

Interesting... for me - I either leave putts way short - or they go a mile. Drats.

Read it, it's good stuff!



Been working really hard on hitting better chip shots with my wedges. I'm so inconsistent!

I found a good note on Golf.com and thought I'd share. I'm going to try the one-handed drill Pelz recommends immediately (well, maybe this weekend).

Practice hitting wedge shots with your lead-arm only. When you first try one-armed swings, your shots may turn out badly. Don't worry and don't stop trying. Stay with it for a few sessions, making sure you move your body as normal. As your strength and timing improve, you'll start hitting some reasonable shots.


Home on the Range...

>> March 24, 2008

and in the basement.

I managed to sneak away for 30 minutes and hit a quick bucket of balls tonight. I grabbed my PW, 5 and 7 irons and wanted very specifically to work on a 2-piece takeaway that I read about in a golf magazine. According to the article (I'm too lazy to go find the link right now), you take the club head back with your wrists first, then turn the shoulder.

I had great results with this move - I think it acts a bit like a timing mechanism for my body. The thing is, I really think I have figured out one of my major issues. When I take the club back, I sway quite a bit like I'm going to hit a baseball. I did in fact play baseball. After all these years I do believe I still have a tiny bit of muscle memory!

When I'm very conscious of the turn I feel like I'm on a pivot I hit the ball very, very well. I hit a 5 iron the furthest I've ever hit one today - it must have gone close to 170 yards. I was shocked because I didn't even feel the ball on the club - just like in baseball when I hit a homerun. It felt great.

Then, tonight, I not only cleaned all my clubs with some soap and hot water, but I practiced putting a bit on the carpet in the basement. Totally loving my new hand on thigh, left hand low routine I'm developing.

I'm addicted, I know.

I'd blog a bit about this weekend's golf action, but what's to say other than I'd be very scared to play Doral. To me, it looks like a nightmare!


2 Hour Practice Session

>> March 22, 2008

The weather was perfect today in CT and I knew I'd find myself at the range. I ended up with 3 buckets of balls and really started to work on my swing. I'm focused on the turn and trying to avoid the sway. I tend to chunk the ball when I've swayed so at worst, I've got myself a warning system in place and ready to go.

I spent about an hour hitting balls. picking out targets and rotating through my clubs. I think I must have gotten tired towards the middle and started really hitting the ball poorly after a great start. After 5 solid drives, my driver went back into hibernation. After 3 or 4 pop ups and mishits, I put it away for safe keeping back in the bag where it will remain for most of this season.

I also think I've found that I'm rotating my hands too much at impact, unlike last year at this time, I'm hooking the ball consistently which is the opposite of my normal slice. I know my faithful slice will return at some point though - it's lurking around. In the meantime, I've got to find a way to get the club head square at impact again.

Distances are a bit hard to gauge at this point but I did manage to hit bunch of balls cleanly with my PW, GW and LW.

PW is 100-110 yards at 90-100%. I just can't seem to hit it much further than that.
GW is 80 yards at 90%.
LW is 50 yards at 90%

After the range, I hit the putting green and took about 100 strokes, setting balls up at various distances and lies. My left hand low grip feels great on the course, but I do think I need a new putter. Because of how thick and solid it is, it seems as if there is very little room for error in speed. A tiny bit extra sends te ball flying, and a tiny bit less lands me a ridiculous distance from the hole. That said, my new grip, along with a slightly new routine seems to have me on target and closer to the pin than I can remember from last season.

Finally, 30 minutes chipping - my least favorite practice drill. Happily, I did well using my PW as my primary chipping club. I'm confused if that's the right club to use, but I did fairly well with it.

After a 2 hour practice, I feel like I should be getting ready to try out for my high school golf team - too bad I'm 38 and not in high school. Or good enough to make any sort of team.

Now it's time to watch some golf on TV and relax before dinner!


Flat Wrist Action

>> March 21, 2008

Hit the range today for a bit and really focused on trying to keep my wrist flat at the top of my swing. It took a half a bucket but I finally was feeling it. It was subtle but when my wrist stayed flat at the top, I felt like my swing was much more on plane and was actually swinging around the arc better.

The other thing I noticed was how smooth my swing felt when I was able to keep my wrist flat. Super interesting to see how such a subtle movement can affect my swing.

Can't wait to hit another bucket this weekend and work on it some more.

What I did well:

  • flat wrist action
  • hit solid pw, gw
  • felt I hit the driver well
  • solid contact on hybrids
What I still need to work on:
  • Slow down!
  • Stay focused
  • turn and don't sway - when I make a full turn with my shoulder and don't sway, I make clean contact with the ball. I sway way too much and too often


New Strategies

>> March 20, 2008

Tashua Knolls 16th strategy
Originally uploaded by msirkin

Ok, here's an example of how I'm going to score better this season...

Shot 1: Lay off the driver. On this example hole, the 16th at Tashua Knolls (495 yards from the whites, par 5) I can regularly hit the ball about 200 yards with my 3 hybrid. The tee is high up above the fairway, so I get a good extra 10-20 yards.

Shot 2: Use my 5 or 6 iron to punch the ball up about 150 more yards in the middle of the fairway. From here, I'd normally try to use my 3 iron or hybrid and try to get it up close the green. If I was lucky, I'd have a 30-40 yard chip to the green (a shot I'm not so great with). If I was unlucky, I'd be way right and OB.

An alternative if I was really playing well would be to use my hybrid 5 here and try to skip shot 3.

Shot 3: Use my pitching wedge to get the ball as close to 100 yards out as possible. I'd actually prefer to under hit this shot to make sure I was 100-120 yards out.

Shot 4: Pitching wedge from 100 yards is about my best shot. Worst case here, I chunk it and try again from 80 yards. Best case, I'm putting for par and happy with a bogey.

I can't wait to get back out there!


Putting Grip

Been thinking more and more about putting since it's the only thing I'm able to practice regularly during the winter. I read a recent article about grips and have decided to try a left hand low grip this season. While I eventually to buy a new putter with a bit more feel (the thing I have now is a fricken brick), a new grip might just be the ticket.

Left hand low feels really awkward, my hand muscles don't seem to want to adjust to the feeling, but I've been putting about 50 balls a day in my basement from different distances and it's feeling pretty good.

My guess however, is that new putting grips more than anything encourage you to think good thoughts as your brain tries to adjust to the new grip. We'll see how it plays this season!


Oh yeaaaaa!

>> March 17, 2008




Thought I Was Joking Did You?

>> March 7, 2008

The sponsorship offers are rolling in... just working out the details before I make an official announcement...


That's Just Wrong

I'm planning to spend all day with the wife and when she asked me what we should do, I suggested hitting the range to hit a few balls.

I forgot that she doesn't play golf.



TaylorMade's Neat Custom Fitting Web Site

>> March 3, 2008

TaylorMade.com has a very slick (but who knows how good) custom fitting application on their web site. They let you plug in tons of stuff like typical distance, shaft type and accuracy (you drop balls on a fairway, err, in the rough). Once you finish, you click the recommendation button and voila.. time to buy a new driver!

The site is suggesting that I get the r7 CGB Max, 9.5 loft. Yea, not this year (unless TaylorMade wants to be my first sponsor and sends me one)...

r7 CGB MAX players who generate average distance with their driver typically achieve the best results in terms of distance with a medium-to-high degree of loft, which delivers the optimum combination of high launch angle and low spin-rate.

The shaft and its specific performance characteristics are recommended based on your swing style and skill level; on your current shaft's flex and weight; and on your current driver distance, trajectory and shot-shape.

Shaft Flex
Based on your current shaft's flex and on the trajectory, shot-shape and distance delivered by your current driver; this recommended flex will offer you the optimum combination of clubhead speed, control and feel.

Shaft Weight
Based on your current shaft's flex and on the trajectory, shot-shape and distance delivered by your current driver; this recommended flex will offer you the optimum combination of clubhead speed, control and feel.

This club is $299 at Golfsmith... maybe next year.


I Want A Sponsor

As I was reading this post on The Grouchy Blog about Tilghman and Faldo being corporate shills, I decided that I'd like an official golf sponsor.

I offer several key sponsor benefits:

  1. Complete coverage on my blog that includes gear review, ads and more
  2. I'll wear or play with whatever you send me (and blog and twitter about it). I play about 25 rounds a year on various CT and Myrtle Beach courses.
  3. You get great PR for sponsoring perhaps the worst golfer possible.

Here are, then in top 10 form, who I'd like be be sponsored by... (but I'm not picky)

10. EA Sports (how much more can I blog about golf video games?)
9. Adams Golf
8. Microsoft, Google and/or Yahoo! (how fun would that be)
7. Adidas
6. Oakley
5. People's Bank (that's my bank)
4. Titleist (c'mon, I've already blogged about how I mark my ball!)
3. Callaway
2. TaylorMade (I already have TaylorMade irons!)
1. Nike


Which is Harder?

Golf is Hard (the blog) is wondering and opining (is that a word?) which version of golf is actually the hardest.

1. Real golf.
2. Tiger Woods 08 on the Wii
3. Fantasy Golf

Which is harder?

Real Golf
Real golf is pretty darn hard. I've been playing for about 10 years and have yet to break 90. Umm, 95. It takes dedication, talent and tons of time to get better at real golf. I'd say out of 10 stars (10 is Tiger Woods), It's a 7.

Tiger Woods 08 on Wii
Not that hard at first - but I tried my game on Doral and shot +15. In real life, I'd probably shoot +35. Real golf is harder for sure. I'd give Tiger 08 on the Wii 4 hard stars out of 10.

Fantasy Golf
So here's the deal with fantasy golf. It's super easy when Tiger is playing, otherwise it's hard. Really hard. Not harder than real golf, but I'm giving it a solid 5 hard stars out of 10. Take this past week for instance... I had to change my lineup on Sunday because just about everyone else I had picked either "MC" (missed the cut) or was playing horribly. I stuck Allenby in just before the deadline and nabbed 14 quick points. Thanks to the weekly preview, I managed to give Luke Donald the start.

So there you have it.. real golf it turns out is quite a bit harder than Tiger 08 on the Wii and Fantasy Golf.


About Marc and Coach Dave

Marc's a hacker and Dave knows what he's doing after teaching for 7 years. We're both passionate golfers and committed to having fun with Golf is Hard TV.

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