Tag Archives: fun

Drinking and Golfing

It used to be the keys to good putting were judging line and speed.  Some characterized it as 90% mental, 10% stroke.  Others say it’s guts and feel.  Whatever your previous understanding, throw it out because the real key is SOBRIETY.

Photo courtesy of Alliancewake.com

I made this discovery on a recent trip to South Carolina.  Our friends who invited us to spend a week on the Grand Strand threw in an invite to play a couple of rounds which I excitedly agreed to.  The evening before round 1, we were getting to know each other, and swapping lies about our overstated golfing abilities.  I learned from one playing partner that he was a good ball striker but was “three-putting every time he hit a green.”  This piqued my interest and I looked forward to watching him in action. 

The next day, it didn’t take long to diagnose the putting problems.  Now, I enjoyed the heck out of my round and my playing partner’s company, but these guys were part of the new “Bro Culture”.  I was first clued in by my riding partner’s request to play music during the round, and the crack of the first beer can on the #1 tee.  I accepted the tunes but declined a cold one.  Our starting time was 7:50 a.m. and I have no problem with folks drinking while they play, but I’ve always stuck to water and Gatorade because the first hint of a beer buzz kills my sense of judgement on and around the greens.  Doing some back of the napkin math, our round took about four hours and they finished a beer every two or three holes, which divides out to about seven beers per round.  Obviously, my tolerance is much less, but if I drank that much during a round, bad putting would be the least of my problems.

Overconsumption was clearly the source of his bad putting but the driving cultural shift is more interesting and appears to be caused by three underlying factors.  Beer companies who glamorize and associate golf with drinking.  Check out the Bros in this video that I’m sure you’ve seen watching any of your favorite sports. 

Second is Top Golf where drinking, loud music, and golf are all normalizing the behavior.  Third is the new LIV golf series where constant sensory bombardment replaces the traditional serenity and courtesy of the game.  Can we solve?  The putting fix is easy.  The cultural shift; not so.

Just interested, but what do you drink while you play?  Play well.

When The Average Feels Like Luxury

One of the small prices to pay when you play Covid-19 golf in Montgomery County, MD is that golf courses removed rakes from their bunkers.  The expectation was that you smooth the footprints with your foot or a club.  We now know that the virus is not transmitted on inanimate objects like rakes, golf holes, and flag sticks, but the regulations were implemented out of an abundance of caution.  Well, I chuckled last weekend as I sat in my cart next to the 5th tee, removed my left shoe, and dumped a small load of sand that I picked up from smoothing bunkers on holes 2, 3, and 4.

Fast forward to yesterday where I played nine holes at my local muni after work.  Bam!  No masks in the clubhouse.  No pool noodles in the holes.  Rakes in the bunkers.  Imagine being confronted with all this luxury.  We pulled flag sticks, smoothed our footprints, and shook hands with our playing partners.  It was like watching the pros on TV and was just awesome.

I realize the pandemic is not over, especially in countries outside the United States.  The status of the Olympics in Japan is in doubt and many of the colleagues I work with in India, on a daily basis, have been severely affected.  Thanks to the vaccines, we are starting to reopen and my little sojourn into golf course normalcy was a pleasant surprise.

When the average feels like luxury.  Hope you are getting back to normal wherever you are.

Play well!

Good Practice Makes Great Play

Great news!  In most years, as soon as the pigskin starts to fly, my interest in golf wanes, but not this season. Maybe it’s because my college and pro football teams are supposed to suck, but I am super psyched for 2017 fall golf.  It probably has nothing to do with football and is mostly due to the success I’m experiencing during practice, and how it’s translating into better play.

Starting in April, I took four lessons with my instructor. We focused entirely on full swing for the first three and a playing lesson on the fourth. My goals were simple, average 10 greens per round for the year, try to lower my handicap which had crept up from a 5 to 6.3 over the last couple of seasons, and just have more fun.

Here are some keys; maybe you can grab a few.   The way I’ve been practicing has made a huge difference. I have re-dedicated myself to a mid-week session, and focus on ball striking and short game every Wednesday after work. Sure it’s inconvenient to get from downtown Washington to my home course in Rockville, MD, but I’ve found the following is true: You get out of this game what you put into it. I’ll do an additional practice on Saturday and play on Sunday. The three days per week provide enough reps that make the game more second nature than when I was only engaging on the weekends. Second, I’ve been able to focus on the same improvements over and over rather than searching for a swing key every time out. When you know your miss tendencies, and you understand why you miss, and you have the tools to make the fix, it’s so much easier to concentrate. Practice does not feel like a chore.  Pounding range balls and changing swing thoughts on every shot is exhausting and is like walking through the desert.

With any quest for improvement, to keep yourself honest, you should measure. The data look pretty good. After a very rough start to the year and many growing pains during the lessons, my GIR average has pulled up to 9. I’ve hit double digit GIR in my last four rounds and have been under par for a good portion of three of those. I’ve also noticed that I’ve picked up considerable distance with the driver and am more accurate with the wedges. In the past, I never put much stock in driving distance simply because I couldn’t hit it that long. But I’m finding the added distance makes a huge difference provided you are accurate with your wedges. For instance, last time out I only hit three fairways and two of them were with irons on layups, yet I still managed 13 GIR and a round of even-par because my drives were long enough to get a wedge in my hands.

Lastly, my index has dropped to 4.1 which is super encouraging, and of course, lots of fun because of the lower scores.  It’s cool to feel like you’re not trying as hard, but are playing closer to your ability.

Hope your game is coming around too.  Play well!