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Golf Update 2006

7/08/2006

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated the blog. I had planned to provide updates on the state of my golf game, but in all honesty, my golf game hasn’t been much to write home about. Too few rounds (18 logged in to date), too few highlights, although things are starting to turn the corner. I did have an eagle (the 14th of my life, three behind my arch-nemesis Jefe who made two in one week recently) and my scores have finally migrated down to the 76-78 range after a lackluster start of the summer. Still haven’t had that breakthrough round that seems to be right around the corner.

Very disappointing start of the season considering I feel like I’m hitting the ball much better than last year...the new 905T driver is great, my ballstriking on the irons has improved dramatically, and I already have more sandsaves this season (5) than I did all last season in 80 rounds. But it hasn’t resulted in improved scoring...primarily for the following reasons: 1) not avoiding the big numbers and 2) horrendous lag putting and chipping. It seems like I’m making fewer mistakes per round this season, but those mistakes have been more deadly. Probably a function of poor play, bad luck and the fact that playing once a week or once every other week is not the most conducive to honing a quality golf game.

But like I said, things are starting to come around. I played 54 holes at my home course, Prairie Landing, a few weeks ago and went 76-76 the first two rounds in a four-club wind. The second round was a 76 that literally felt like a 71. Here’s hoping things will come together for the big Bandon trip...just three weeks away (more on this later).

TOP 10 SIGNS YOU MARRIED A GOOD WOMAN

Somewhere in the top three of this list would have to be, ‘happily and willingly would get up at the crack of dawn (or earlier) to play 36.’ My golf partner for a recent trip to University Ridge in Madison was none other than my beautiful wife Sue. We got up at 4:30 am to get that coveted first tee time. UniRidge is one of the top courses in Wisconsin and an absolute blast to play (it’s #17 on my list of 258 courses played)...they’ve been offering these unreal Customer Appreciation Days: $69 all-you-can play including cart, range balls, and lunch. (Once Jefe & I finally make it up there for one of these, we’ll probably single-handedly bring this deal to an end by abusing the system. 90 holes for $69? Is it possible?)

My wife is no Michelle Wie, but she is the best female golfer that I’ve ever played with and she absolutely loves to play. Unfortunately she never gets to play more than once or twice per year, but still manages to shoot in the low-to-mid 90’s (despite never reading a green for more than .2 seconds) She has the best mental approach to the game...she never takes the game or herself too seriously and just enjoys the opportunity to get out on the course. A lot of guys could benefit from her approach to the game as well as her swing...a slow, simple straightforward swing that’s amazingly consistent. She’s like the female Fred Funk...a more more attractive and slightly less quirky Fred Funk. And for all of the guys who’ve rolled their eyes about getting paired up with us, playing behind us, or to the starters who assumed she didn’t know a 5-wood from a 5-iron...the fact is my wife probably has a more impressive course list than yours, definitely plays a lot faster and is far less likely to send a 9-iron whizzing by your head like a helicopter. Plus count all of your strokes, and she might even give you a run for your money. For all of these reasons (and more), there’s nobody else I rather play golf with.


[Note: If Sue had a top 20 golf courses played list, it might look something like this:
St. Andrews (Old)
Blackwolf Run (River)
Whistling Straits (Straits)
Carnoustie (Championship)
Kingsbarns
World Woods (Pine Barrens)
TPC at Sawgrass (Stadium)
Whistling Straits (Irish)
Blackwolf Run (Meadow Valleys)
World Woods (Rolling Oaks)
Eagle Ridge (The General)
University Ridge
TPC at Deere Run
Disney (Osprey Ridge)
Kemper Lakes
WeaverRidge
SentryWorld
White Columns
Cantigny
Las Sendas ]

Remember how I lamented in my last blog about how I can barely break 100 in my first round of the year? Well, my wife is the exact opposite of this. Her simple and consistent swing ensures that she’s pretty much good to go right out of the truck. Need proof? Check this out...

Exhibit A: Last week we took Jordan and Madelyn out to chip around the giant practice center at Prairie Landing. They also have two practice holes out there and one starts near the chipping area and heads back to the clubhouse, so Sue & I decided to play it in before heading home. So my wife, who has up to this point played a grand total of one round of golf in the previous 20 months and hasn’t touch a club much less had a spare thought about the game since October, proceeds to hole out of the greenside bunker for birdie. One hole, one birdie. Unbelievable. I’ve probably played at least 1,000 rounds of golf in my life and have holed out of the bunker maybe three times in my life. And she holes out like it’s nothing. (By the way, I proceeded to make a 30-footer to get the halve for a Colton-birdie-birdie combo. Our kids must think we’re either really, really good or that golf is really, really easy.)

Exhibit B: So Sue’s first official round of the year was two days ago at UniRidge and she was, dare I say, en fuego. She double-bogeyed the first four holes before going on a rampage. She had seven legit birdie putts over the next 11 holes (made one, three-putted two others) and finished with a 45-43 88 that could’ve easily been a few strokes lower. It wasn’t her lowest round ever (83), but given the difficulty of the course and the fact that she hadn’t played in nine months, it was the most impressive round that I’ve seen her play. Could a sub-80 round be in her future? Stay tuned until September when we head down to Hilton Head.

TALE OF TWO ROUNDS

Check out the stats from my two rounds at University Ridge and try to guess what I shot.


Round One: 10/13 fairways, 10 GIR, 3 birdies, 2 penalty strokes
Round Two: 5/13 fairways, 4 GIR, 1 birdie, 4 penalty strokes

In round one, I had 33 putts and shot 78. In round two, I had TWENTY-THREE putts and shot 76. by far the best putting performance I’ve ever had. Even had two long putts spin out or it could’ve been even better. Let’s hope it’s a trend leading up to...

BANDON

The itinerary is set for our July 29-Aug 4 trip to Oregon. 11 rounds in 6 days, including (at least) 6 rounds in three days at Bandon Dunes. Check out this agenda:

Sat July 29: Fly to Portland, play Oregon Golfer Association Golf Course in Woodburn, OR
Sun July 30: Play 36 at Sandpines in Florence, OR
Mon July 31: Play Bandon Dunes / Bandon Trails
Tue Aug 1: Play Pacfic Dunes / Bandon Dunes
Wed Aug 2: Play Bandon Trails / Pacific Dunes
Thu Aug 3: Play 36 at Myrtle Creek in Myrtle Creek, OR. Fly home

We’ll be out at Bandon immediately after they are hosting the Curtis Cup, so the courses should be in great shape. We’ve got the first tee times each day, followed by the second round each day around noon. Third rounds are free if you are fit enough or crazy enough to give it a whirl. We’ll probably get caddies in the morning and hoof it on our own after that.

We’ve assembled quite a motley crew for the trip. Jefe and wife are expecting their baby girl right around our departure date so he painfully had to bow out (although he has at least entertained thoughts of going out there for the tail end). In his place, we have my buddy Charles from California, in addition to Jefe’s brother Jimbo and my father-in-law Ken. A number of interesting sub-plots remain:

- Will Ken, age 62, survive three days of walking 36 holes per day? Actually, the same question applies to the rest of us.
- Will Charles get lost over a dune or a cliff going after one of his wayward drives? Will he come back with the same 14 clubs that he started with (he loses about a wedge per round), or will one find its way to the bottom of the Pacific?
- Will Jimbo get a week to concentrate solely on golf? Will he be able to improve than his less-than-stellar performance from his 2003 trip to Bandon with Jefe? Will he wake up to reality from his ongoing love affair with Sandpines?
- Will yours truly finally put all of the components of his golf game together for three magical days? Will I attempt to walk 54 holes in one day? Where will the courses at Bandon rank on my course listing?

The goal is to blog or even podcast video highlights from Bandon daily. As always, stay tuned.

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