Sunday, September 26, 2010

What's with my irons?

Played it before and wanted to shoot myself. Played it this week and it was like the real me showed up and I posted a 93. Okay except for some iron shots; well a lot of iron shots. Not bad considering I've played seven times this season.

I always try to get to the course and hit the range before I go out to play. I go to the range and I am hitting picture perfect nine iron shots one after another. I nail the imaginary range green every single time. Transfer that same distance shot to the track and out comes a shank, a pull, a dribble, and any other form of miss-hit you can muster. ARGGHGHGH! Why does this happen? It has to all be in my head.

This mostly happens on the par three holes where I truly want to score - or at least get the ball near the green for a chip and putt opportunity. But most of the time, I psych myself out and it's not to be.

The reality is, I am a long ball hitter. Give me a par four or a par five and a big fairway and I can plunk one out there at least 200 yards with my driver. Hell, I was 30 yards off the green on a 265 yard par four, and thank Zod, I made par. But give me a short hole and lately I collapse. If there is water, sometimes I don't think there's a club big enough, because I'm in it.

I know it's all in my head; okay maybe some of it is in the execution, but this has got to stop.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What to Wear on the Course - Dressing Well and Cool

When it's hot what do you wear to keep cool? Less is better, of course, but don't forget the sunscreen and hat. Wick, wick, wick! Remember when we all thought 100% cotton was the only thing to wear and polyester and spandex were evil? Not anymore. Wearing high tech breathable fabrics on the course is the way to go. How did I live without spandex in pretty much every piece of clothing I own?

Women's golf apparel offers women so many choices when it comes to dressing well and comfortably on the course. No matter what your preference you can find something interesting or flattering to wear on the course. Personally I like skorts or shorts, especially those with deep pockets so when I sit down in the cart, the balls don't pop out and roll out of the cart as we drive off.


If I'm walking, I like a back pocket, too, for my score card. While they are very stylish, I'm not a fan of cute little flaps on those pockets with buttons. First, they make it impossible to use the pockets for anything practical. For example, if you want to stick your score card or your glove in there while you putt, you don't want to have to mess with a flap and button. Besides that, flaps and buttons just make your derriere stick out more. Who needs that?

I love the idea of a golf dress, but I keep wondering what people wear underneath these adorable little things. Do they come with matching undies so when you squat down to read a putt, people don't see your leopard print bikini or your polka dot thong. Not that I wear a thong mind you - not even off the course; I'm just sayin. I'll have to ask fellow golfing blogger Heather Jones what she does about this, since she is a big fan of the golf dress.

My favorite things to wear are either long straight Bermuda shorts or a tailored golf skirt. I love brands that offer European styling like Lija. Their style and their color palettes are so appealing to me. If I'm being honest, I'll also tell you they are a little bit above my budget, but having at least one Lija outfit in my closet makes me feel like I'll play better on the course. I can save it for a great golf date!

Even the names are appealing. I was instantly attracted to their catchy design names like, "Dare to Dream" with its sporty plaid skort, bermudas, tops, and more all in shades of sky blue, toffee beige, black and white. Just my colors.  I own a pair of the toffee knee length shorts that are super comfortable on the course (they stretch!).

And how about "Daring Damsel"! It is so smart, with its aqua, grey and yellow styling (yes, I know they gave the colors fancy Pantone names, but for us girls - I'm giving you the basics). LOVE that plaid. The best part is that everything is coordinated so you can mix and match. Will set you back a few? Oh yeah, but you will love how you look. And your golfing gal pals will all be asking where you got the adorable duds.

Check out all the lines on their website and see how great the colors and the lines look. Super feminine without being frilly and very sporty.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Open in Retrospect

Yes I know I'm a little late getting here with my thoughts and you've all moved on to other tourneys but I've been busy. It was fantastic golf to watch - so much so that at the end of the work day - and yes I work weekends, I'd come home at 5 and sit in front of the tube until it was over, rooting on my guys from the couch. Of course, my guys didn't win, but that's okay. How 'bout it - Europeans take spots 1 and 2 in the US Open - not in 40 years has a European taken this crown. Pretty awesome golf, too.

I admit I'm a Phil-fan, but he just couldn't get it done. I was thrilled to watch Tiger's return to some semblance of his former self on the course. There were so many ups and downs during the the last two days it was a roller coaster and so exciting. I couldn't even imagine having to putt those greens. I take that back - it would be fun to try, but I cringe at the thought of having to do so in competition. Those greens broke the day for many a player - hole number 14 in particular. You probably keeled over on your own couch just like me and died a thousand deaths for all those players whose ball rolled back off the green just when they thought they stuck it.

Graeme was simply amazing. He held on with steely reserve throughout the tournament. It took a lot of focus and concentration to make his dream a reality. He came into Sunday 3 shots behind Johnson and held on tight while Johnson faltered. Despite four bogeys - three on the second nine - Graeme; didn't make any round-killer mistakes, sliding into the finish with a 3 over par 74 to win. His win was made even more perfect as his father dance across the dance floor to congratulate him on the final green. Nice Father's Day gift, eh? I'm not sure who was more "gifted" here. By the way, Graeme, you've got one killer smile.

The big surprise was Gregory Havret, who ranks 391st in the world. Harvet, who was quoted as saying in one interview, "I just do my job, because first of all it's a job. And I want to do it fine. Whatever ‑‑ it's good or bad, I just want to focus shot after shot and do the best I can." And he surely did one heck of a job - rounding out the tourney with scores of 73-71-69-72. Paired with Woods and having to listen to the Woods "throng" for four days, Havret was reportedly a bit taken aback, but he held his cool. Used to quiet, respectful British golf, he bucked up and turned in a spectacular performance. That said, he'll also probably replay that missed putt on 18 for the next ten years of his life. Get 'em next time.

I was thoroughly amazed by the coolness with which Dustin Johnson approached his game through Saturday. Sorry dude, but I also kept saying, Dustin who? With three near perfect founds over three days of 71-70-66, Dustin woke up Sunday morning with a three-shot lead and a spectacular 6-under score going into the championship round. I have to admit I was waiting for what became the fall on Sunday. To hang on to his focus under that mounting pressure on Sunday would have been a spectacular feat. Beginning on the second hole, he fell apart then proceeded to lose six strokes over three holes. He never got his mojo back on that hard and fast playing track. I was impressed that he did as well as he did through Saturday so kudos for three amazing rounds in those difficult conditions. Keep up the good work, but lose the soul patch. It looks ridiculous.

Whether you like Tiger or not, he's one hell of a golfer and I think for the first time in his five starts since returning to golf, we got to see some of that during the Open. Was he his old self, heck no, but he's getting there. Woods nailed only eight fairways and nine greens during the final round on Sunday, bogeying five of his first 10 holes and taking himself out of contention with a 75. The ol' boy was in there somewhere on Saturday when he carded a 66 on the day. Hang in there Tiger. You'll find it.

Phil tied Tiger for fourth. Phil, couldn't get it done. With a slew of missed putts and mental mistakes he went down trying hard. It just wasn't his day. There were moments when I thought he could pull it off, but it wasn't round one, when he didn't card a single birdie. On Friday, he turned back into the Phil we know, birdieing six of his first 11 holes, ultimately caring a best-in-the-tournament 66 that left him tied with others in position just two back of McDowell. But that was it, really. With Saturday and Sunday's rounds of 73 and 73, it wasn't enough. By the way, the US Open site, says Phil is a stately 6'3" and weighs 200 pounds. I know 200 pounds when I see it, and well, Phil isn't. Phil is still my favorite golfer, though, because of his fantastic short game. Although where that was during the Open is beyond me, and I suspect beyond Phil, too.

Sorry to be so late with the article for those of you reading my stuff. I had fun watching and tweeting from the couch.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Redeemed Playing With The Girls

Phew. I thought I had lost it completely. My game that is. I found it golfing with the girls. At least it was back temporarily. Last Thursday Vicky, Mary, Kelly and I drove up to Copake Country Club in beautiful Copake Lake, New York to play their public course. It was spectacular.

The views were gorgeous, the track was in great shape, although I have to say I think the fairways were cut a little long. The greens were fast. We all played pretty well. We played skins. Vicky and Mary against Kelly and me. Kelly and I finished the day with 6 skins.

Shots of the day included Kelly driving the green on a 218 yard hole, never thinking she was going to get there. Prior to her stepping up to tee, I said, "You can drive this green, it's 218." Either she didn't hear me, or didn't believe me. She stood up and knocked one down there, hitting the cart parked to the left of the green (and pin high) of the stunned foursome of men in front of us.  Mortified, when we got down there she raced off in the cart to apologize, only to have them congratulate her on "one helluva shot."

Vicky chipped in a beautiful shot off the green on the back nine to exclaim, "I always could putt best from that distance."

All in all we had a great time and everyone played good golf. I shot a 92 for the day and was thrilled. My drive worked, I putted well. My short shots could have been better but hey, it was my third time out so I'm really thrilled with my score. Not only that we beat the torrential downpour by about 10 minutes.

I look forward to playing with the girls more often. We're trying new places. We're targeting Casperkill and Centennial for our next outing at a different club. 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Beautiful Day for Golf, Had Only I Actually Played

What a gorgeous day it was on the course. The sky was blue, the course was a lovely, albeit tight track. Tight, was not a word I would use to describe my game. Actually "game" was not a word that should even come into play to discuss what I had going on yesterday. But I had fun with a very patient (awfully cute and very good golfing) partner on the course who smiled, cajoled and looked for my frequently lost miss hits. The man was a saint.

I learned three valuable lessons yesterday: First, all work and no play makes me a very bad golfer. Second, just because I can hit great shots on the range does not guarantee I will be able to hit anything on the course. Last, I should never tell anyone my handicap setting expectations that are going to crush me. The only thing working yesterday was my putter. Thank goodness for small favors.

Somers Pointe, aka Heritage Hills Golf Club, is a beautiful course with ups and downs and challenging lies. From the blue tees it tops out at 6,050 yards with a slope of 129. The women's red tees cut it down to 4,923 with a slope of 123. I played from the front and needed every yard of that gift. My driver worked all of twice. I had one decent fairway shot. It was those shots that reminded me my game was still there somewhere hiding under no practice and golf date nerves.

I will make time to find my game again. When I do play I remember how much I love it and why. The physical and mental challenge, the camaraderie, the sheer beauty of being out in a lush environment on a spectacular day. Heck for that matter, I've never even minded being out there on a crappy day. I've played some of my best golf in a misting rain.

Perhaps Cameron Diaz can give me club throwing lessons? I think I might have been able to throw the club further than I could hit the ball yesterday.

All work and no golf makes for a cranky girl with a bad swing.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Making Time for Golf

So far this golf season, work is overtaking my game. Okay how about obliterating it. I promised myself that even though I was taking a golf hiatus from my regular club that I would make the time and effort to play at all the other public courses in the area that I had neglected to play due to my membership in a private club. Just to name a few: The Links at Union Vale, Centennial, Richter Park, Baird State Park, Ridgefield Golf Club, and many others are calling my name! I can even practice my short game at Dutcher in Pawling - one of the oldest golf courses in the country, dating back to the late 1800's.

For a girl who played four times a week in my competitive years, my number of rounds tallied and scores posted this year is pretty pathetic - as in one. But my real estate business at Houlihan Lawrence is starting to pop, so investing in other areas of my life right now like making my clients happy is worthwhile. Perhaps some golfing clients will find me and will want to tour all the local courses before making a home purchase decision! That will help me improve my game and help me bond with my clients!

My goal of playing all the other local courses should also help my game. I really believe that playing the same course over and over is a disadvantage when you do finally go play somewhere else. I always score much higher at other courses because I can't accurately predict the distance to the green or how much club I'll need to get there. I know every inch of my own golf course, even how most putts will run. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm shooting in the 70's there, but I do know what I'm supposed to do, all skills and execution aside.

I've played one round at my own course and gone to the range twice. Pathetic really. I am playing tomorrow at a new course and hope to play well but am not expecting much except to have fun. That's the point, right?

I left the office at 6:00 pm last night and spent two careful hours on the range. I've still got most of my swing, although it's rusty. It took me a few swings to find it for each club - and I went through my entire bag. Driver needs work. Mid-irons need a few balls hit to get the swing going. On a positive note, I lived up to my blog's moniker and was putting lights out, sinking three 25 footers across the green and nailing multiple short putts with ease. There was no way to practice chipping and it's the short shots make or break the game. Those careful shots from off the green require so much precision and practice. These are the ones that leave me when I don't play. Good thing I can putt.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Day at Sybase Match Play-My First LPGA Event

They were this close. Probably accessible too if you approached them at the end of their match, but I wouldn’t have dared disturb anyone’s focus during play. I could have reached and touched Julie Inkster as she walked past me off the 12th green at the Sybase Match Play Championship yesterday. Morgan Pressel was talking with folks in front of the club house after round. She was ten feet away from me. Standing in line to get a five dollar hot dog, one of the volunteers proudly exclaimed that Ms. Pressel had signed his hat.

One thing that immediately struck me was that the women were allowed to lift, clean and place their balls on the fairway. One of the volunteers exclaimed (with some trepidation) that the fairways were still wet from the prior day’s rain. Didn’t look that bad to me, but hey, I wasn’t out there. Rules are rules and why not take whatever advantage comes your way.

I followed Morgan Pressel for a few holes when we first arrived as she hit the 10th hole. She was down 3 and steely faced, focused on her task at hand. She rallied got the job done in extra holes over Jimin Kang.

We stayed put on the 10th hole to wait for Juli Inkster. Juli is one of my all time favorite golfers. She is a fierce competitor and I love watching her play. She was pitted against Suzann Petterson. Petterson has had 4 top 3 finishes in 2010, so clearly she stands out as a golfer, but from what I witnessed on the golf course yesterday, she has a long way to go as a true competitor. After missing a putt on the 11th hole, she stormed off the green, walking up the hill towards the cart path while Juli was still putting out. In an “oops” moment – probably realizing the giant camera was watching - she paused half way up to turn around and see if Juli made the putt (she did not). Petterson’s prima donna persona didn’t win her a fan base yesterday. Would that it were the only incident – but she did the same thing a couple of holes later. Maybe a long conversation with Butch Harmon is in order before clubs start flying. In the end, Inkster made a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th to force extra holes, then finished off Pettersen with a 4-foot par putt on the par-3 third. I was rooting for Inkster before seeing Petterson’s antics, but that just sent my Inkster fandom into overdrive for the day.

I really wanted to see Christina Kim, since I follow her on Twitter, but by the time I caught up to her she arrived at the 16th green down 3 to Jee Young Lee. A missed putt sent her packing for the day.

I next caught up with Christie Kerr on the 10th tee. She was exciting to watch. Interestingly, she was followed by a police officer her entire round. She has a beautiful swing and can really hit a long ball. Putts well, very focused and takes her time over every shot. I followed her through the 14th hole, where she maintained her lead over Meaghan Francella. despite Meaghan’s spectacular chip in on 14. Kerr topped Meaghan Francella 4 and 3 to win the match.

While I was off following Christie Kerr, my friend, who had had enough walking, was parked at the 10th green and thrilled at seeing Michelle Wie sink a birdie putt to win the hole. Wie birdied 11th hole to birdie to regain her lead against Prammanasudh. Wie pulled off another birdie at 16, sinking a 30 foot putt on the par-3 hole, and went on to win the match with another birdie at 18. Tough stuff.

The spectators were mostly spectacular. Extremely polite, although there were a few talkers who needed extra shushing during putting. One thing about golfers is that when you’re with others who enjoy the sport, you can strike up a conversation with them even if you don’t know them. Love of the game, the players and the magic associated with success on that big green field is a common bond. Everyone was so friendly.

Standing at the 18th green, my friend and I chatted with a man who attended with his 12 year old daughter, who proudly boasted her 25 handicap. She got to take advantage of Michelob’s Front Row Experience – which offered 10 Minute Lessons with the Pros. She was beaming over the experience.

Walking up to the 16th green, I watched Nicole Castrale sink a putt that kept her alive for another hole (she lost on the next to Song-Hee Kim). It was there that I met a 14 handicapper fellow up from Virginia who had played the day before in the ProAm with Ms. Castrale. He regaled at the experience, the accessibility, and the warm heartedness of the LPGA players during the round.

It was a great day. My first day ever seeing the professionals play. I overheard one of the men commenting that if this were the PGA, you’d never get this close to the players. I feel lucky to have been there and to be that up close and personal to some of golf’s greats. Thanks Sybase Match Play folks for the ticket gift (Twitter win!). It was superb. I’d do it again if I didn’t have to work today.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Trump Trumps Hudson Valley

About fifteen minutes West of me is a gorgeous 18-hole course that used to be a public course called Branton Woods.  Then it became a private course called Branton Woods.  Several of my fellow golf buddies joined the club in addition to Quaker Hill CC for an 18-hole alternative to our little 9-hole gem (see previous blog post http://sheputts.blogspot.com/2010/02/quaker-hill-country-club.html).

I played BW a couple summers ago with one of my friends.  It's a tough course and absolutely beautiful.  It is now known as Trump National Golf Club-Hudson Valley.  Donald Trump knows a beautiful course when he sees one.  As early as the beginning of November last year, unconfirmed rumors in the press were swirling that The Donald was sniffing around.  As prospective purchasers were required to sign confidentiality agreements to acquire any information about the property, the word was mum.

By December 21, 2009, The Poughkeepsie Journal quoted Dan Scavino, executive vice president and general manager of Trump National Golf Club Westchester, as saying The Donald had "extreme interest" in purchasing the course.  A mere two days later, on December 23rd, Scavino informed the Journal that Trump finalized the deal to purchase Branton Woods as well as Pine Hill Golf Club in New Jersey.  Trump promptly renamed the Stormville Road, Hopewell Junction course and is said to have plans to  upgrade to the 14,000-square-foot clubhouse and possibly add a swimming pool and tennis courts to its amenities.  Trump is now the proud owner of 11 golf properties.

How do the members feel?  Most of the people I know who belong to golf clubs belong to them to play golf.  Period. They don't much care about tennis courts and swimming pools.  They want a golf course that challenges them, delights them and sometimes shows them a little love, and is in amazing condition.  They want easy access to and availability of tee times, great service, a good lunch after they play, cart food and drink, and not to have to put up with slow play, lack of golf etiquette on the course and to have to put up with playing behind hackers who hit the ball 150 times a round and who don't belong on a "real" 18 hole course. I'm just sayin'.

The first thing Trump did when he took over the course was to raise everyone's dues by $900 a year and the food minimums by $400 per year.  He did this right smack in the middle of winter when people aren't able to take advantage of the golf.  It would appear to me that the timing wasn't so great on that increase - he might have been smarter to wait until they were lulled into a sense of idyllic serenity in the midst of golf season.  I know it's standard to send out the bills in January, but who thinks up these ideas to increase golf dues when the the course is ensconced in snow and no one can remember that last great shot that keeps them yearning for more while rolling over to the increase because they simply can't wait to get out there and hit the links again? 

On the brighter side, Trump National Hudson Valley members get to play at all of Trump's other courses in Westchester, NY; Bedminster, NJ; Colts Neck, NJ; Washington DC; Los Angeles, CA; Palm Beach, FL; Coco Beach, Puerto Rico; Canouan Island, the Grenadines; Pine Hill, New Jersey and, ultimately, Scotland. 

So, in all, it's a pretty good deal.  Maybe you'll even get to rub elbows with The Donald if you're lucky or not, depending on your preference.  At least when he's wearing a golf hat, it eliminates the need to gaze upon Donny boy's ridiculous hair! But holy waddle Batman - what happened to his chin?

Here's hoping for a repeat invitation to play this track 2010's Spring and Summer!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Golf Jewelry Contest Winner Yay Me - Thanks Heather

I'm excited to announce that I am one of the lucky winners of Heather Jones' http://realwomengolf.blogspot.com/2010/02/fore-winners.html FORE! jewelry contest Valentine's giveaway.  Woohoo and thanks Heather.  Heather has a great blog and always writes fun and interesting things about golf, golf fashion, and her on course fun - including her quest to get her handicap below ten this year; which she did (okay well almost) and it was inspiring.

I am looking forward to getting the golf inspired pony tail holders in the mail and encourage everyone to check out the rest of FORE!'s golf inspired jewelry collection at http://www.fore.com and don't forget to read Heather's blog for fun.

Cheers to all!

QHCC Among 25 Best Nine Hole Courses in America

Word has it that in this month's issue of GolfWorld magazine, my little oasis on the top of the hill, Quaker Hill Country Club, was recognized as one of the "25 Best Nine-Hole Courses in America." Now, as a player, I have long known it to be a stellar track, with spectacular views and a rich history that sets it apart from others.

The course was founded by the late Lowell Thomas, a world-renowned traveler, adventurer, collector, broadcaster writer and editor.  Oh yes, he also founded Capital Cities - later formed Capital Cities/ABC. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lowell_Thomas) In the early 1940's, Mr. Thomas asked his friend Robert Trent Jones to design a course because he wanted to learn to play.  The clubhouse, known as The Barn, has now been redesigned, but it is the location where the famous broadcaster, Mr. Thomas, once performed his weekly broadcasts from a little control room that now houses Thomas memorabilia.

Not only that, it's one tough little course, with a slope of 131 from the men's tees and 127 from the women's.  I've taken many a very strong, low handicap golfer there as a guest to hear them scoff at the nine holes expecting to crush the course.  A few holes later, without a flat lie in sight, as they try to stick our tiny greens, they start begging me for tips, shot strategies and club suggestions.  The course is much the same as it was designed by Mr. Jones (except for a lot of tree removal to improve the condition of the greens) and our golf superintendent, Gary Lattrell is a master at keeping the course in superb condition.

With nine holes, but two very different sets of tees so you can play 18 and change it up on the turn, the course plays out at 6,110 yards with a par of 70 for the men and 74 for the women. Although let me tell you, on most holes the women don't get much of a distance break.  The greens are most golfer's nemesis on the course and if don't have local knowledge, you can really get in trouble. [Photo left: Club Champ Cindy Rosa tees it up at the women's 6th tee box (138 yard, par 3) during the last Sunday supper scramble event of the season.

The par (men/women) par 4/5 403/394 yard 5th hole boasts an elevated green that must be reached over a pond after a long fairway that slopes right the entire way.  A strong woman can reach it in 3.  In the spring, you can stick your shot to the green pretty well.  By mid summer, everything rolls off. If you are putting from the top left trying to hit the hole in the middle of the green, it will roll off like a rocket if you barely tap it.

The par 4 372/356 yard par 4 7th hole is the toughest hole on the course for me.  I think I've sunk par on this goldarn hole maybe 5 times in 12 years.  It's a long driving hole, and I just can't seem to get on in regulation - usually short by 10-20 yards.  Putting a chip close on this green can be next to impossible.  It's got a bowl in front with a double break in the back that slopes off to the left. Every putt breaks. Period. It's the hole I am determined to conquer. This shot is a sideways view of the 7th green.  Looks tame from here, but trust me, it's a killer.

This is a view of the 9th green from the women's tee box (118 yard par 3 over the water - and where I had my singular hole in one!) with the club house in the distance. The men's tee on this hole is a spectacular elevated tee with a narrow 170 yard shot to the green.


So when the magazine comes your way, check it out.  It's a great course, in a fabulous location.  We're seeking new members and the cost is ridiculously low for the ability to play on this amazing gem one hour north of New York - with no tee times.  (Full golf dues per family are $4250/year plus tax, plus low initiation which can be spread over several years)  It's never crowded - you can almost always walk on. You can literally drive up on a Saturday morning at 8 am and find 10 people on the course.  I kid you not.

What's not to love? Come on and join the fun.