Friday, March 24, 2006
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Saturday, March 18, 2006
It may be just an optical illusion but the fairways are smaller and treelined to start with at Rio Hondo. Compared to Los Amigos, if you go off course you aren't going to have an open shot back in. Also the rough is really "rough" and has numerous collection areas on the sides of the fairways..I call them nasty ditches.
I wouldn't call it a long course, 6344 yds., par 71, but very narrow and you need to have an "accurate" game. There's absolutely no room for stray drives or approaches unless you like hitting from nasty ditches. An ideal player would be one who hits it straight and HIGH (see Tiger Woods). The greens are fast, not as fast as the greens when I played at Balboa Park GC, and true. Their greens are hard thus a need for a high shot that lands straight down.
Their #1 handicap hole is the the first hole. It's a par 4, slight dogleg right, and NARROW without any forgiveness. Basically if you're not long, hitting a good cut, down the middle forget about it. The fairway itself has undulations which also add to the difficulty. What kills me is the postage stamp green at the end. It's, honestly, like 20 feet by 60 feet and is the smallest green on the course..thinking about it..it's actually the smallest green I've ever hit into. All this combined would adequately make it the hardest hole. The desciption of this hole goes for about all the holes at Rio Hondo. My putting wasn't bad and I did manage to get 2 pars but ended up carding a 94.
It seems like my game is at the cusp of the high 80's but I manage to have a couple of blow-up holes that put me a few miles north of 90. I had two triple bogeys today which thinking back was so uneeded. This usually happens when I want to make the "big" shot and end up with a more precarious one.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
I thanked him for the wonderful gift and it has remained on top of my bookshelf since. It really is a beautifully handcrafted piece. I could see it now, back on a golf course in somewhere in Italy, that these maybe the rage with the upper class, nobility. In my case I just don't have the proper "attire" to don this piece de resistance to complement my accoutrement. He just started playing golf recently this year and I am tempted the next time I play with him to wear it for him.
I just started getting GOLF magazine today. Lord knows I don't need "another" golf magazine, but after I read an issue at LAX last month, dropping off my brother in law, I really enjoyed how "simple" and entertaining it was.
I never really paid attention to GOLF magazine until I read their last issue and noticed how different the two really were. Although it lacked the serious articles and interview I love Golf Digest for, GOLF magazine covers the rest of the golfing hodge podge. I like it's quirky articles and tid bits currently in the golf kingdom that Golf Digest doesn't really cover.
I'm not sure if the issue I received today, Februrary, is the current issue or last month's but take for example in "The Starter" section, page 23. There's a quick one page article called "My Favorite Thing" and it shows Shigeki Maruyama holding up a $20,000 watch of his (Audemars Piguet), one of 40, and grinning. They quoted him saying "Your watch? It's thin, not thick like mine. It looks cheap-like an old man's watch!"..I'm sure it sounds funnier in Japanese.
"I love to shop. I'll spend $150,000 a year on clothes. I never wear the same golf shirt twice. The most I've spent in one day is $30,000. My favorite brands are Boss, Dolce & Gabanna and French Connection. My son is 5. He wears Diesel and D&G Junior. We both like shoes-John Lobb, Hermes. I own more than 100 pairs. There's no place at my house to store them anymore! I don't wear a lot of what i buy. I'll practice, go shopping and forget I have it."
The overall layout seems less rigid than Golf Digest also..a little more hip. One part I don't agree with is their "comic book" look they have in their instructional section, "Private Lessons". I just like to see "real" photos of people, not renditions, in the act and this is where Golf Digest shines.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Unfortunately, he hasn't updated his site since my last visit but golfff, 19th hole comedy (tm), has a very funny golf blog. I read his profile and appears he's writing a book about his own perils and pleasures of golf. The last entry, Why Club Pros Don't Stay at a Job Too Long, is an absolute riot and so are his others. I, and I'm sure many of you, could relate to Home Decorating 101.
I also enjoyed reading Bad Golf. Rob's golf blog, from the Central Coast of California, was actually written up in the the Washington Post last year. One of the funnier stories is My Most Embarassing Shot which really hits home.
Come guys..winter is over..at least in California..get out of your cave..it's been long enough..
Sunday, March 12, 2006
I wasn't planning on playing yesterday since weather.com gave a 90% chance that there would be thunderstorms..NOT! But due to that bogus forecast it caused me to lollygag and eventually it got too late, for me, to even consider it. I started making a pot of coffee, Melitta coffee is absolutely great..bought it at Ralph's, and then everyone started getting up. My wife saw me and was surprised I was still in the house. I told her weather.com was to blame and then a few minutes later my friend Peter, usual golf bud, gave me a call to play..it was like 10:45 am at this point.
I told him the story about the bogus forecast and told him I couldn't play now since it's too late for me. Surprisingly, my wife told me to go play! I was surprised since it would put me getting back into the house probably past 3:00 pm. She said she knew how I eagerly wait the whole week to play Saturday mornings..but she said that once I get back we're ALL going to Chuck E. Cheese..yes, the kiddie pizza arcade place. She told my son that we were going this week and he loves that place. No prob! DEAL!
I brought my DV camcorder again and took some more footage which are up if you look on the sidebar of the page. I need to get a mount..it's getting to be a pain to retrieve the camera and put it back each time.
I'll save you guys and won't go into the details of every hole but I finished with an 83. My driving wasn't accurate and I only hit 5 out of 13 fairways, but the key to the day was that my iron game was strong..for me. I had five GIR's that day and was able to convert those into two birdies and three pars. What I focused on were three things with my iron shots:
One, I kept my stance at address just a hair, slighlty, open to the target line. Two, my backswing went only as far as I felt comfortable with and didn't force it to get to parallel. Three, on the downswing, I made a conscious effort to come down shallow, not steep (normally for me), and "push" through the contact with the hands staying low and following the ball..yes, it's like a punch shot..but wow, what a difference! This maybe a bad way to vision this but I was thinking of a my clubhead being a plane and how it's coming down for a landing. It's smooth and shallow..but also needs to dive into the turf at the end for that good contact and divot..scary huh.
I know that this is the proper way to play with windy conditions, and it was, but I've decided to play this type of swing from now on. The contact and trajectory was amazingly pure. It was lower but a boring shot and it had quite a bit of backspin when it hit the green. My golf bud was amazed on how I was spinning the ball back on a few holes..me too.
I actually wore shorts and a windbreaker yesterday and everyone thought I was nuts but I hate wearing pants and will only wear them if I really need to. I just got the windbreaker a few days ago (made by Sun Mountain..didn't even know they made clothes) and it worked like a charm. It did rain a little bit but was windy which made it cold. My legs were cold but the upper body was feeling good..and it was quite windy the whole day. It is a really well made jacket. When I inspected it it actually has taped seams on the inside, like those rugged North Face jackets, and it's got that waterproof/windproof coating througout the inside..bottom line..it works.
I bought one of those STX putter clips to keep my putter at bay, instead of constantly pulling it out and back in. It just clips to the side of my bag and I just slide my putter into it. I also bought a pack of these plastic tees called "Zero-Friction". It supposed give you longer and straighter drives. They are literally indestructable since they're made out of a plastic..how do they plan on making money on this stuff..? I liked them but I wish they were a half an inch longer, but looks like they're coming out with a longer version mid-March. I ended up going back to my longer "Texas" tees.
The funny thing is I've now played my best rounds of the year in miserable conditions, St. Andrews here I come.
Friday, March 10, 2006
According to weather.com there's a 90% chance it's going to rain tomorrow. I don't mind playing in the rain but according to the the site it's supposed to be a thunderstorm from 06:00 AM to 12:00 PM, my prime playing hours. I have played a few years ago where it rained so hard during the round the ball was literally floating out of the cup. That didn't stop us but the water level on the green started to rise where it the water start going into our shoes..not that we weren't drenched already.
Lately, I've been looking for a mount so I can attach my camcorder to my push cart. I was debating to just take pictures but I think if I capture video that would be much more entertaining to see. I got hooked after seeing my swing for the first time when I played last week in San Diego. Either way if I play tomorrow I'll be taking some more footage and put them up.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Monday, March 06, 2006
I was looking for an appropriate title in relation to my game in San Diego yesterday at Balboa Park Golf Course (slope 127/rating 71.1)
"A devilish little course. Its deceiving short yardage makes it look easier than it actually is (if easy at all). Perhaps it's the perfect example of when the USGA slope/rating system, seemingly based mostly on distance, fails to capture the true difficulty of a golf course. Some holes have no bail out, forcing the players to play very safe, short of greens, to avoid disaster. Agressive play will, sooner or later, lead to disastrous consequences. A good course for not-very-long and straight hitters, and patient players. A bad course for those who are wild off the tee and inaccurate iron players."I wish I had read the above statement before playing..the last sentence is rather funny. This has to be, unexpectedly, the worst I've played in months. I finally got to play with two of my closest friends and it was a gorgeous day to top it off. I showed up at BPGC at 5:01 AM to put my name on the waiting list. When I got to the parking lot I was surprised to see about 6 other people milling around the parking lot. A few minutes later they all started to march together toward the clubroom where the waiting list was and formed a line.
I asked the last guy if I was supposed to park my car in some special order in relation to the waiting list and he said that my spot on the waiting list goes by how many cars were here when I pulled into the parking lot. I started counting and it looked like with my car I would be 10th. He then told me I could sign in as #7. It was, I'm sure, a time-honored system that goes back for years and there was absolutely no room for any foul play here. Everyone knew everyone and I was the f.n.g., but real good guys. The #3 waiting spot was open and I asked why that was, he said that he could vouch that the guy was here waiting..true knights.
Anyway, to make a long story short, I hit a perfect tee shot on the first hole and hit my first (and only) GIR that day. I managed to 3-putt for a bogey though..more on this later. The wheels came off this train from hole #2 and onward. I feel after analyzing my round relentlessly, for possible scoring mistakes, most of the strokes taken were on the green with multiple 2 putts and 3 putts..ugh. I couldn't believe how fast the greens were. The whole day I couldn't find the pace of them. They had that pace where the ball rolled all the way out. Even like the last foot it kept rolling..and rolling..and rolling. It was just plain scary to putt that day. BPGC is also an undulating course which is nothing like the flat courses I'm use to playing..but enough with excuses.
It also didn't help that I lost three balls (OB), two on one hole, either. BPGC has absolutely no water hazards but it is played along on top of a ridge with numerous, vast canyons to the sides. Any errant shot means a loss ball going down into the vast steep canyons. I believe they're in play..if you don't mind hiking all the way down or the thorns and possible rattlesnakes in between. I actually didn't have a chance to hit many irons because it seemed like I was hitting my hybrid all the time..which actually probably helped me more than I thought. I ended finishing with a 101, my highest round this year.
I brought my video camera to catch all of us playing but actually didn't have much time to do that because the group behind us were playing fairly fast and was pushing up on us a few times. I thought we were playing slow but finished the round in 4 hours which to me is fairly fast for walking.
I did manage to take a video of our swings on the 13th hole. It's a par 3, 134 yards, downhill green. It's ranked as the 16th handicap hole, probably due to the short distance, but if you miss short to the front, you're done. It's an extreme drop off if you come up short and your ball, if lucky, will go all the way to the base and hopefully stop. Most of the time, though, your ball has so much speed rolling down that it ends up going into the canyon. Both of my friends hit their 9 iron, which seemed plenty of club, and fell victims to the consequences of coming short. They were well struck, nothing fat or thin..just good contact, but both ended up short and claimed unplayable lie and carded a triple and double respectively.
I went with an 8 iron, super-plenty of club, and put my normal swing on it (I'm the last one hitting in the blue shirt). I made really good contact and thought it was just going to be long, but it landed about 10 feet pin-high on the green. I assumed if these guys didn't get on with their 9 iron that it must be windy up there. I'd love to have one of those SkyCaddie GPS units to really measure the distance out. I still managed to 3-putt for a bogey..and how Sam Snead shot a 60 here (course record) in 1943 is truly amazing.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
I got an email today from Vince Neil, lead singer for Motley Crue, that he was inviting me to join him and several of his favorite Girls Girls Girls on May 5, 2006 for his 10th Year Anniversary Edition of The Skylar Neil Memorial Golf Tournament. Actually, the email wasn't just sent to me alone, but to all of his fans. I've been a Crue fan for many years and a closet headbanger and received this invitation since I registered on the Motley.com forum a few years ago.
The Skylar Neil Memorial Foundation has donated over a million dollars to the T.J. Martel Foundation, an organization dedicated to cancer, leukemia and AIDS research. It is being held this year at the Lost Canyons Golf Club in Simi Valley, CA. I believe Rich, Eat Golf blog, plays here often.
Vince lost his daughter, Skylar, to stomach cancer in 1995. As a parent I can only imagine the sorrow and loss of his child..God Bless.
If any of you are interested in playing in the tournament or becoming an event sponsor or would like to donate an item to their gift bag, auction or raffle, contact tournament coordinators Alan Koenig (615-255-9000, email@example.com) and Jon Scott (818-981-9876, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Let me preface and say this is not golf related but I wondered who falls for the famous Nigerian email scam.
The scam where the infamous "General of Nigeria" asks you to open up an account and pay transfer fees and in return the bearer would get a hefty return once the money is "freed" up. I still get these emails today..
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
I found this cool blog site, BlogFlux, where it offers all sorts of blogging goodies. Anyway, it's time for me to go home now, at work, and I know I'm going to be messing around with it at home too. You guys like it so far?
I think I'm getting brainwashed by Callaway marketing. It seems lately, since I replaced my irons to the Callaway X-14 Pro Series, I've been leaning toward using everything by Callaway. Besides their golf equipment, I also really like most of their other products.
I think they have the best looking golf shirts and clothing. I don't think TaylorMade (I believe Adidas is under the TaylorMade brand now though) or Titleist make their own shirts..and just putting your name on some generic golf shirt (i.e. Cutter and Buck or Ashworth) doesn't count. I don't buy stuff because it's trendy or it's the "must have" item of week, month, year. If that was the case I'd be playing with some version of the R7 or some Titleist driver. My trusty GBB 415 is just fine..anytime..anyplace.
Callaway seem to really do well with their clothing line and always seem very high quality. I own a couple Callaway shirts..they're not cheap..but very high quality. My wife actually bought me a cool blue Callaway golf shirt out of all places, Costco, for around $25. I'm going back there this weekend to pick up a few more colors. (Costco has been selling some really good clothing lately. I bought a pair of "dirty" Calvin Klein and Lucky Brand for $29 each.) I'm not a fashionista by any sense but it's my only day of the week where I get to look presentable.
My hybrids, wedge, putter, shoes are still OTC (Other Than Callaway), Wilson Hb5, Cleveland 588, Yes! Tracy, Foot Joys, respectively, but my socks, gloves, balls and bag are by Callaway. Actually I only own one pair of Callaway socks..the rest being Foot Joy socks. I also like Callaway golf shoes but their sole seems rather thick like the Oakley golf shoes. I actually like some of their watches too. One good thing now is I don't need to look all over for different manufacturers and styles the next time I'm looking for golf gear.
I honestly think Callaway denotes serious but fun golf..hey, maybe if they're, Callaway, reading this they can use that as their next marketing slogan. It could be something like "Callaway, seriously fun."