August 26, 2012

85 Konquered, and Timberview Review

Salman, Jason, and I played Timberview in Ft. Worth yesterday. Shot my lowest score to date despite the course sucking.  

The staff was worse than Lake Arlington. My biggest gripe about the staff at Lake Arlington was that they weren't engaging or friendly; Timberview employees couldn't be distinguished from patrons because they were standing around talking about personal affairs and swearing without acknowledging nearby customers. An older, heavyset guy was the first person I dealt with. He was extremely polite to the eight white golfers ahead of me but as soon as I said hello to him his demeanor changed. He barely looked at me and was irritatingly curt. Also, for the first time since I started using my voucher wasn't accepted and he explained my "commitment to pay the agreed price" about four times; making sure to say it slow enough for the foreigner to understand. Funny that he mentioned commitment because I booked for 4, but we paid for 3 and I wasn't charged for the 4th person.  If those are the rules then those are the rules. What really irked me was the condescending tone and being treated like I was stupid.  One of the clubhouse staff was actually pretty friendly, but one of the girls working that day acted like Salman and I weren't there and only spoke to the two guys standing about fifty feet behind us on the practice green.  The website claims that Timberview is the "friendliest golf course in the metroplex."  I think they need to add a disclaimer because that statement clearly doesn't apply to non-white folk.
The course itself was pretty dumb too. The Greens were tiny and were just about fairway grass length. Super slow and grainy. Didn't matter what kinda slope you were looking at because the ball would roll straight and slow, often stopping in the middle of a steep down slope. The layout was similar to Meadowbrook in Arlington. Wide open with trees spread far apart, no bunkers, and only a hand-full of water hazards. The fairways were wide and landing in the rough hardly affected your chances of getting on the green. The holes were very short but there were some par 4s that I feel should've been par 5s which is funny because there wasn't a single par 5 that couldn't be reached in two.

Salman played solid as usual. He had a rough start on the first three holes and decided to not keep score for the rest of the round. Not sure if tearing up the scorecard affected his mindset but he played holes 4-18 like a beast, driving straight as an arrow and hitting some solid approaches. No eagles from 100 yards this time, but had two close calls. Jason struggled early on because he didn't get a chance to warm up, but after a few holes he was striking it well and putting solid (as usual). And despite my complaints about the course and the staff, I still somehow managed to break 85 for the first time. Shot a 43 on the front nine after an ugly triple bogey on the fourth or fifth hole, and a 40 on the back nine. Practiced with mostly driver at TopGolf on Friday. Worked out pretty well and the shortness of the course definitely helped me with getting my approaches close to the pin.

All in all it was still a fun round with lots of laughs, but I am never playing Timberview again. I still have a voucher so if anyone wants to play there just let me know and you can have it.  It expires on the 31st and after that you can use it as credit at the golf course (if they let you).

Don't forget to putt,

August 24, 2012

Year One: Complete

It's late August 2012 and that means I've reached the one year mark since I first took up this game.  I'm looking forward to playing this weekend.  Looks like Salman, Soks, Naumann, and I will be playing Saturday morning (and hopefully we don't get rained out again).  Been an awesome year with way more highs than lows.  There were several walls that I hit where I thought about putting the clubs away but I kept at it and worked my way here.  My goal for next year is single digit handicap.  Let's get it!  But first!  Gotta fix the driver.

I've been struggling off the tee my last three rounds and I couldn't figure out why until my conversation with Salman about what's been going through my head lately with driving.  Ignoring my last three, the last 10 rounds have actually been really good.  After breaking 90 I shot mid to high 80s every time I stepped foot on a course and felt like I was getting closer and closer to shooting in the low-80s/high-70s, but three rounds ago my driver just fell apart and hasn't recovered.  Out of 64 holes played, I remember only one good drive.  
At first I thought it was just a mental thing; maybe I was trying too hard.  I realize now that the problem was after shooting in the 80s consistently I somehow convinced myself that I needed 300+ yard draws to bring my game to the next level.  I started working out more, started trying to swing in-to-out more, moved my ball position farther back in my stance, stood a little farther away from the ball, started swinging at 90-100% off the tee, and kept thinking draw, draw, draw, when everyone knows my natural shot with the driver has always been a fade.  
Less Like This Guy
Being seduced by the feeling of blasting a drive into outer space has been my Achilles heel this whole year.  I wanted the long ball so badly because I felt like it would earn me more street cred than a beastly short game.  My practice sessions turned into mostly driving exhibitions and sure enough my scores would stall out and ultimately start climbing.  Thinking back to the walls I hit this past year, I made the biggest progress when I toned the driver down and focused on putting, pitching, and chipping.  Improving my short game boosted my confidence and I started driving the ball better and better which then shifted my attention from the short game to those sick drives that split the fairway in half.  Then thoughts like "What if I hit it even farther?" started clouding my judgment.  Before you know it, my drives are ending up 60+ yards shorter than usual and pulled far right into the trees or duck-hooked over onto adjacent fairway and I'm calling friends complaining about the newest wall I've run into.  On the upside, my saves out of the jungle have improved but going low under branches on my way to the green isn't how I want to play the game.  
More Like This Guy
I really want to start shooting in the low 80s consistently.  Long ball isn't gonna get me there.  This weekend I'm going to go back to worrying about my accuracy from 150 yards & in, and hit my driver the way I feel most comfortable hitting it with my ball position back to where it was when I was shooting my lowest scores. 

70% Power, Middle of the Fairway.  
Grip It, and Rip It, Relax the Grip, Relax the Mind, and Swing Smoothly Through the Ball

Practice Your Putting,

August 19, 2012

The Eagle Has Landed!

Salman, Soks, Mr. Browne, & I played Prairie Lakes yesterday.  The rain really picked up around the 7th hole.  We had to stop after playing the 10th because the rain was coming down sideways and we were freezing (in the middle of summer!).
It was truly unfortunate that we couldn't finish the round.  Salman was on pace to shoot a great score.  He shot a six over forty-two on the front nine after a birdie and his first eagle!  The shot was right out of a PGA highlight reel.  It was roughly a one hundred yard approach shot, his ball hits a hill off the green and trickles down towards the flag and finds the bottom of the cup.  Great shot Salman!
Soks was playing playing like a beast.  He was on pace to shaving over 15 strokes from his first round score.  His ball striking never looked better and his play only suffered after the rain started picking up. 
I lucked out, because I couldn't hit a single drive onto the fairway.  I've been struggling with my driver far right the last three rounds.  It's gotten to the point where I'm very confident hitting the ball around, above, and under trees on my second shots.  But having to maneuver my way out of the woods on every hole is not how I want to spend my weekends.  Need take the driver back to the driving range and figure out what changed in the last month.  Pretty sure I'm releasing the club head way too early and focusing too much on hitting the ball instead of swinging through it.  Glad I didn't have to finish that around after being nine over after the front nine.

Congrats again Salman!  Be sure to give him props when you see him. 
Salman is now the second player in the gang to hole an approach shot at 100 yards.  Phong did the same a few months ago at the Winstar course in Oklahoma.

Practice your putting,

August 7, 2012

Props to Soks!

D. Flowered
Soks played his first 18 hole course yesterday!  Congratulations buddy!  We played Prairie Lakes in Grand Prairie.  Salman and I were there to watch him deal with the frustrations we've all fallen madly in love with.  It was a fun, albeit extremely hot, round of golf.  The sun was draining us of energy and the heat was by far the most significant force we had to contend with.  The forecast predicted 106 degrees, but I'm pretty sure we reached temperatures above that.  With a 3pm tee time, the temperatures didn't let off till the last two or three holes.  I consumed roughly 3 gallons of water throughout the day and still ended up dehydrated with a pounding headache.

It's time to go home, ball
I always tell myself that courses are for playing and sessions at the range, putting at home, chipping in the yard, etc. are for practice. That way I try not to think too much about the shots I struggled with or where I could've shaved a stroke or two until after I've left the course.  During yesterday's round the biggest gripe for me were my second shots.  My driving was fairly consistent except for the first few holes, and my short game was pretty sharp (Thirteen putts on the back nine!), but my approaches and first shots on par3s were consistently bad yesterday.
I also had the pleasure of witnessing some pretty amazing plays from the guys.  Soks found the fairway on some pretty solid drives and drained some MONSTROUS putts.  I've seen him sink some insanely far putts at Meadowbrook and yesterday was more of the same.  No matter where his ball ends up on the green there always seems to be a chance for him to hole it, which is definitely not the case with me!  Salman's ball striking continues to improve from round to round.  He's still trying to dial in his driver but definitely isn't suffering from a lack of distance.  The guy's still a surgeon with the sand wedge from anywhere inside 80 yards; hits the flag stick at least once per round with his 56.  Super jealous.

Can't wait to play again, I'm thinkin' a trip to Country View in Lancaster is in order!  Twilight this time.  I had a lot of fun yesterday and was glad to be a part of Soks' first round on a full course but that was the absolute last time we will ever book a tee time before 4pm during a Texas summer.