Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

I Won Something!


A couple months ago I saw an ad for the Golf Channel Amateur Tour. I did some research and thought it would be something fun to try. Beating my regular playing partners gets old, you know? The price isn’t too bad considering all the work that goes into these events, and I will definitely sign up for more in the future. I’ve had fun in all three events so far.

I started with a T6 at the Corta Bella Invitational, where I lost to, among others, former Malcolm in the Middle star Frankie Muniz. That was interesting, but he’s a cool guy and it’ll be fun to get another round in with him. The I finished third at the Trilogy Power Ranch tournament, despite playing in a wrist brace. It wasn’t even my wrist’s fault. One four-putt and one bad chip were all that kept me out of first. Golf gets a lot tougher, but so much more rewarding, in a tournament setting where every shot must be holed out (so long, gimmies) and the rules followed to the letter. Out of bounds gets a lot scarier knowing you could be hitting 3, or even 5, off the tee.

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The first tee at the Raptor Course

Then last week, May 31, was the Grayhawk Open, on the Raptor Course. I had never played either course there. Luckily, the tour secured discount rates for the week to anyone who wanted a practice round beforehand. I took them up on the offer and headed up the day before at 3pm. It was a disaster. The temperature when I teed off was 107 degrees. This was the first extreme heat of the year, and that mild May that Arizona was blessed with did not have me ready for triple digits. I couldn’t keep a ball in play, hooking, slicing and topping drives. I don’t think I’ve topped a drive in like 5 years. I started the day with 10 golf balls in the bag and was flying around the empty course until the 8th hole. I skipped some foursomes until I found another opening, but kept losing balls and ran out after the par-3 16th. Continue reading


Donald Trump’s $450 Golf Course

trump national doral

The Blue Monster (image courtesy One Sotheby’s Realty)

I watched the WGC Cadillac Championship this weekend, taking place at the famed Blue Monster at the Trump National Miami. After pumping in $200 million to renovate the course and put some teeth back into it, The Donald got his money’s worth as Patrick Reed’s winning score was a US Open-like 4-under-par. Only three players of the 69-man field finished in the red. Friday was especially brutal in the gusting winds. The average score was a 76 as no-one posted in the 60s while four golfers finished in the 80s. The winning score is currently the highest of any event in the 2013-14 season. I know some people get a kick out of this. To them, the scores still aren’t high enough. They want greens so slick you can putt into a water hazard, rough so deep the only way out is with a string trimmer and snowmen populating the scorecard. Some men just want to watch the world burn. I’m not that way. I love watching a second baseman turn a double play, a running back hit the hole at the perfect moment and a well-oiled San Jose Sharks power play score on crisp passing. I love watching the world’s top athletes displaying their talent, not suffering through some guy’s idea of protecting par: three-putts, evil bounces and general unfairness.

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2014 in Preview

Ahh New Year's fireworks

Ahh New Year’s fireworks

I know, sorry. Usually these preview editions and posts pop up before the new year actually starts. Well, I forgot. At least I’m beating Chinese New Year by a couple of weeks. So where do I want to play this year? And are there any goals I might have? Last year, which, in case you missed it, is detailed here, I made it to 6 new states. Meaning I’m ahead of my pace. Instead of July 2021 I think my new scheduled ETA is May 2021. Who knows, those two months could make all the difference. But now, 16 states in, things get dicey. There are 34 to go, and it seems daunting. Like when taking a long run (which my dog enjoys much more than I do) and you finish the first mile feeling fresh and think, “that wasn’t so bad” before realizing you’ve got 4 long, shin-splinting miles to go. I’ve still got to reach the four corners of the country: Alaska, Hawaii, Maine and Florida. It’s over 2,000 miles from Phoenix to each of those states’ capitals. At least if I ever end up moving to Denver, Juneau, Augusta and somehow Tallahassee become closer.  I still have yet to make a dent in the Midwest. I’ve gotten to second base with that region, skirting the edges in Colorado and Missouri. But soon I’m gonna have to dive headfirst into the Great Lakes, which is currently swimming in ice balls. Could get a little chilly.

At least Mojo can handle any frigid golf we may encounter

At least Mojo can handle any frigid golf we may encounter

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2013 in Review

Last year, my USGA index skyrocketed to embarrassing heights and I scrambled for excuses in this year end post of 2012. And then I played the same type of schedule in 2013 and dropped down to my pre-season goal of a handicap in the 8’s, finishing at an 8.8. So I guess all my logic from last year didn’t hold water. Out of about 35 rounds, at least 20 were on courses new to me and I shaved 4 strokes off anyway. Only five rounds crept into the 90’s, and two of those were in February when I only had one working wrist. But only two rounds snuck into the 70’s, one of which won me $200. So now I’ve settled into a low 80’s threat in the midst of what are supposedly my prime physical years (though at the moment I look more like the “before” pic). So then what changed?

graig mantle kierland

This awesome swing was never the problem

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Is an equipment upgrade worth it?

Walking into the PGA Superstore these days must be like what a woman experiences at a department store sale. So many options. Where can you even start? Like cameras, computers and dogs, there’s literally something out there for everyone. The golf ball selection guide on the Bridgestone Golf website gets more personal than a profile. Just like the computer market, golf clubs have gotten to the point where as soon as you place a brand new one in your bag, it’s already out of date. You’d need to add a new wing to your house just to store all the now out-of-date drivers that TaylorMade has sold this millennium.

taylormade golf drivers r7 r5 r1 r9 r11 sldr burner rbz rocketballz

This is not even 10 years of golf clubs

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boston skyline charles river

The Boston skyline from a kayak on the Charles River

So I’m trying to get a round of golf played in all 50 states of the United States of America. But it’s not exactly like I’m just touching down, hitting the first tee and then it’s wheels up again. The coolest part, and probably the real reason I’m even attempting this, is to get to see all the different flavors each state has to offer. I got a small taste of the nation when some friends and I somehow survived a 43-day, 10,000 mile road trip to every baseball stadium in 2006 (Mario Kart got us through some long drives). I’m 12 states in these first 24 months and have done plenty of awesome things away from the course. There’s been a night out on 6th Street in Austin after I, along with over 100,000 other fans decked out in burnt orange, took in a University of Texas home game. I’ve ventured into Tootsie’s in downtown Nashville, walked along the Seattle waterfront and seen all the crazies during a Halloween weekend in Las Vegas. I’ve gotten to tour the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY and catch up with people I rarely see like my grandparents in California or childhood best friend in Atlanta. With all that, I figure it might be a little different and maybe interesting to show some of these other things off. Continue reading

How to Regrip a Golf Club in 11 Photos

Since I’m still waiting impatiently for my strained wrist tendon to heal, I’ve had extra time to do some golf maintenance while sidelined. Not saying I didn’t try to get a couple rounds in, even through cold weather and frigid winds. But since my average score this year is about a 96, I figure it’s best to rest a bit before continuing on to the next five states. Clearly I’ve gotten a little antsy to get back into golfing, as I’ve strayed from reviewing courses and written other golf related posts lately. But they’re fun and I’m still riding the pine here, so I’ll make another one.

Unsolicited golf advice is about as desirable as someone pooping in the cup. There are other annoying fouls golfers commit, such as not raking sand traps, leaving sunflower seeds on the green and unhooking golf bags from the golf cart causing them to crash to the pavement when someone steps on the gas. But getting swing tips you didn’t ask for, especially after a particularly bad shot that may or may not have ricocheted off a bar-b-que and through a pane of glass, is pretty irritating. “Came way over the top there.” “Try closing your stance.” “Your grip looks a little weak.” “Have a beer, you’ll play better drunk.” Well, that last one actually is a good idea some days. I don’t know enough about the golf swing to make an on-the-spot diagnosis from seeing your swing for a split second. But I do know a trick that, depending on how badly it’s needed, can shave one to several strokes off your score. Regrip your clubs. Continue reading