Tag Archives: Father’s Day

Celebrating Golf’s Human Element

My Dad is 93 and he and I were watching the US Open yesterday.  The announcers were describing a par-3 playing 173 yards and Dad asked me what they were hitting in.   “That’s about a five iron, right?”  I told him that the pros were using eight and nine-irons and that some guys like DeChambeau were hitting pitching wedges.  He was incredulous, “A pitching wedge at 170 yards?”

My parents and my wife celebrating an early Father’s Day

The current crop of pros bomb it compared to their counterparts in the late 20th century, but the beauty of golf is that is still all about the carpenter, not the tools.  In this week’s major, the USGA set the track at 7,700 yards, grew in the rough, dried out the greens, and presto, even-par for 72 holes is a great score – just like 20 or 30 years ago.  No angle of attack, TopTracer Apex, or ball spin rates are going to save the competitors.  The players with the best vision, technique, and mental toughness are going to be successful, and I am loving it!

In today’s world, most occupations and many sports are being taken over by automation and data analytics.  How accurate is your data?  Can you automate that?  I suppose that’s the price of progress, but is removing the human element from life progress?  My job is to manage resources (people) for my company.  Whether I like it or not, we use automation to increase productivity, and it replaces humans with machines and I have to live with that.  I read a very interesting piece by Kevin Kernan at BallNine about how data analytics is ruining professional baseball and making it almost unwatchable.  It’s true, check it out.

The PGA Tour tracks gobs of player stats.  You can get analytics on every aspect of every player’s game and today’s swing gurus and equipment manufacturers are all in.  But the game is effectively the same as it has been for the last half century.  Why?  Only one stat matters; greens in regulation.  Hit more of them and you win – how refreshing.

The human element is being removed from sports and that’s sad.  Humans play and officiate the games, not machines, but thankfully, golf is holding the line.  If I want to see machines in action, I can go to work.

Enjoy the final round of the US Open today and don’t pay too much attention to the TopTracer Apex.  Play well.

My Almost Perfect Father’s Day

With my kids on Father's Day at Bethany Beach, DE
With my kids on Father’s Day at Bethany Beach, DE

I drifted off to sleep Saturday night thinking about Father’s Day and wondering what would constitute the perfect day?  How about a great beach day with my family, a perfect round of golf, and a thrilling storybook ending to the U.S. Open?

I was going to spend the afternoon at the beach with my wife and kids and the weather was going to be perfect – part one, check.  I also had a tee time at the Salt Pond in Bethany Beach at 7:00 a.m.

#3 Tee at the Salt Pond
#3 Tee at the Salt Pond

The Salt Pond is a lovely little par-61 executive course where I annually go to sharpen my iron game when visiting the beach.  If your swing is on, you can score because the greens are always soft and in excellent condition.  I’ve gone as low as 3-under here, but was thinking about “the perfect round”.  How about bogey free?  Ever played a bogey free round?  On a couple of occasions, I’ve gotten close, and when the round got late into the back-nine, the pressure buildup was significant, and I always cracked.  So I figured, why not on the perfect day?

Third, I looked forward to watching Phil Mickelson enjoying his birthday, Father’s Day, first U.S. Open title, yada, yada yada.  Well, we know how that ended, but Justin Rose seemed like a very worthy champion, and truly a class act with his gracious post-round comments about Phil.  No complaints.

There’s just a driving net with a couple of stations at the Salt Pond, but I’m becoming very adept at playing golf sans hitting warm-up balls since I’ve been working on this new warm-up routine, and elected to tee off after stretching and taking a couple of passes with a swing doughnut.  I wonder if any tour pros have played bogey free golf in an official round without warming up?  But I digress.  I opened with a lovely 7-iron right over the flag and just missed the birdie putt.  A couple of solid pitching wedges on #2 and #3 yielded a birdie and a par, but the dream ended on #4 with a pulled 5-iron and a missed 10-footer for par.  At least I wasn’t hallucinating for too long.  The day ended with a few more birdies, a few bogeys, and two doubles.  I finished three-over and sort of reminiscent of the round Lefty would play later in the day.  But I was out playing the game I love and really had no expectations other than to have fun.

I loved Father’s Day this year; it was truly perfect for me.  How was yours?

9 Tee at The Salt Pond
9 Tee at The Salt Pond