Saturday, October 3, 2015

One down, one to go...[update!]

My partner Kelly and I made it through the first round of the MetNet MGA Women's Fourball Championship, playing at the Milbrook Club in lovely Greenwich, CT. We came in -5 under par with a 67 and were the first place finishers on the day among 16 teams.  I have to tell you we were shocked. There were women playing in another qualifying round in New a jersey who shot -15 under par net 55. We were worried our score wouldn't qualify when we saw that!

Our next round, and the finals is to be played on October 14 (postponed from October1) at Hampshire Country Club in Mamaroneck, NY. We are praying that the golf Gods shine down upon us that day with good scores. My plan is to play a little smarter, and anticipate that, especially with all the recent rain, that shots won't travel as far. We will for sure have a lot of fun. [Update - we unfortunately had to back out of the finals due to Kelly's mom having a heart attack and her departing to Florida to provide moral support and be a caregiver. We will try again next year!]

Wildlife and golf on a Friday

One beautiful Friday after work I had just enough light and time to play the first two holes on the course before heading back to the clubhouse for dinner with friends. The second green is only a short walk to the parking lot so it makes a great quick stop to keep your swing loose. Between the 2nd tee box and the dense woods are a few trees after which there is about 125 yards' width of open fairway and rough. As I stood on the 2nd tee box The squeals and yips of what sounded like a very large pack of coyotes erupted out of the woods behind me. I know that sound. Really loud and eerie. Clearly they had something and it was dinner time for the pack. It was a little unnerving to hit a golf ball with all that going on only at most 250 yards behind me in the woods. I was praying I didn't look like a tasty dessert. I hit my drive and high-tailed it down the fairway (yes walking) with lots of speed. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Quaker Cup

This year I was asked to captain the women's New York's Quaker Cup team in the annual tournament pitting NY and CT women's and men's teams in a Ryder Cup format tournament for annual honors in the quest for the cup.

My co-captain and I had a tight roster of 8 women who fought hard against CT in three rounds of 6 hole matches in Best Ball, Alternate Shot and Singles competitions. For the third year in a row, New York held fast and retained the cup, 5 points to 3, with the singles matches determining the fate of the teams, as the scores were all square going into the individual competitions. 

Pitted against the dual club champion in singles, I held on until the last two holes, as were were dormie. I had to win them or go home. I lost on the next hole when my opponent birdied the par 3 and my drive went into the bunker. Despite my gorgeous bunker shot out to within 5 feet of the pin, (my sand shot lessons are so paying off!) my friend and opponent sank her 10 footer for birdie.

All was fun and the New York girls performed extremely well and everyone had a great time.  

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Competition vs. Regular Play

Years ago, I used to compete in our women's club tournaments and play reasonably well. Then as my handicap index declined and the number of strokes I had to give to the other players increased, my ability to keep my head when I had to give up 17 strokes per round made it very difficult to win. Now mind you, winning is not everything; but it sure feels like you are so far behind the eight ball in match play when on almost every hole, you are giving away a stroke and in some cases, maybe 2.

I played an incredible round of golf this past week - probably one of my best in the last few years. I went into Sunday's match with this experience in my head. Fully prepared to play well and knowing I could. My first two shots were extraordinary; then when I was chipping onto the green for the third shot, I skulled my chip, landing in the bunker. It unnerved me enough that I lost my head. I lost the hole, too.

My match partner and I went back and forth and back and forth up and down for many holes until I got ahead of her by a couple of strokes from which she couldn't recover and my game finally saved me. I won three and two; but it wasn't pretty. My actual strokes on the day were among the worst rounds I have played all year so far.

If you are like me, you tend to play up to your playing partner or if you are playing with a lesser player, know. I like to play my own game in competition, not chit-chat; and generally walk alone to my ball, not focus on driving hither and there to the other person's shots, especially when the longest shot is 120-130 yards. I firmly believe that's what really affected my concentration and score. Even though it is more tiring, it's better to walk and be focused just on what I'm doing.

Next time...

Monday, June 22, 2015

Chambers Bay: What Was That?

I've never seen golf terrain like that in person, nor in fact, even on television. After having seen the pros struggle left and right and everywhere in between I can say for sure that you couldn't give me a free round of golf there  to play. It didn't look remotely fun.

I know the Open is supposed to be a true test of talent, but this looked like torture. Course management was more like bumper pool, especially close to the greens, than giving the players the ability to hit an effective shot for the pin. And speaking of the pin - once it was removed, where the hell did the hole go? On camera, ie from the TV viewers eye, until they added those green concentric circles to the TV viewer's perspective, it was almost impossible to tell where the hole was that the players were shooting for.

All in all, it made for a mind boggling test of golf; and the day ended with a winner deservedly victorious; but it sure did create a lot of back and forth trying to get to the last bits of the match to find out who would win.

My guess would be that we won't see the US Open back at Chambers Bay again for a very long time. Just my opinion.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Missed my calling

Every once in a while it's like a giant elephant in my room. I missed my calling. I grew up on the first fairway of a golf course. Our family were members of this beautiful suburban, private country club. My parents continually encouraged me to learn the game. My father was a 6 handicap. My mother started to play after we kids got older. After dinner, we would go out and play the first and ninth hole together, just goofing around. Not my father, of course.

It never interested me. As a child and teenager - it did not hold my interest. My younger brother once reigned as junior club champion. I could whack the ball a country mile back then - further than my mother. Still no interest. One of the other young ladies from the country club families went on to the LPGA tour. I didn't decide that golf was my sport until I was in my late twenties; my father had unfortunately passed away and the family home sold.

I took up the game sporadically over the next ten years until about 16 years ago when I joined a private country club and began playing in earnest. A lot. I started competing. I won a few times. It became a personal challenge for me.

If only hindsight were reality. I would go back and play every day as a child and teen. I would have gone to college for sports management and possibly gotten involved with the golf industry professionally. I saw a post for a position on the Ping website today that sounded like so much fun - a Ping Tour Representative - traveling the country, representing Ping to players at various tournaments, helping them with their clubs, fixing their clubs; and generally representing the brand. It's a job for someone passionate about the game - and someone with a maximum 4 handicap!

They say, do what you love and you will love what you do. While it's too late for me to build up enough game to even join the senior LPGA some day, it would be so much fun to incorporate golf into my work life somehow, someday. At this point, it looks like in retirement I'll be looking for senior cart girl opportunities!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New Irons

I finally took the plunge and bought new irons....after nine years. I had bought Callaway irons in 2006. At the time, they felt okay but I never had a good iron game with these clubs; never felt I could count on them for a critical shot to the pin, especially for anything beyond my short irons. It was time.

I tested three brands - #Callaway, #Ping, and #Cobra with  my pro. I felt like Goldilocks testing the three beds. #Callaway felt like lead in my hands. I couldn't get a good launch from these irons. Despite my success with my #Cobra driver and woods, the #Cobra irons were too light and whippy for me. They didn't feel good in my hands either. I didn't get consistent ball strike with them. #Ping on the other hand, was pretty much perfect.

I bought the #Ping Rhapsody women's irons - sand wedge through 6 iron and the 4 and 5 hybrids. I'm in love. It gets better every week. I'm getting more distance, consistent ball strike and an iron I can count on. I am very excited about playing with my irons now. So much so that I want to scrap my woods now too and move to a complete Ping bag. Maybe after I recover from this expense!

Thanks, Ping!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Oh my what a Friday so far!

The day isn't even over but I am so excited. First it is thrilling to see Tiger Woods playing so well - so well in fact, that he is a few shots ahead of this year's golden boy, #RoryMcIlroy, in my favorite tournament of the year, The Masters. Who would have predicted that? I suspect no one. I couldn't be happier for him. For all he has been through, he still is to me a delight to watch. He has the sweetest swing and is by far the most talented golfer we are likely to ever see in our lifetime. (Well, unless Bubba's son keeps going with that little pink driver he just got). Go #TigerWoods. There are two days left for us to watch your magic. Keep it going.

Jordan Spieth has played nothing short of amazing so far. To be -14 after 36 holes; having set a new Masters record is just phenomenal. He looks so calm on the surface that I wonder if he is like a duck, with his emotions paddling like a madman beneath the flat calm. I can only imagine - because he is making it all look so easy. Jordan is one special young man this week. I wish him well. No one would have predicted this either. I can't imagine anyone catching him at this point, but stranger things have happened, and amazingly talented players before him have crashed and burned on the weekend. This will be some weekend of television to watch.

I can't wait.

The Par 3 Contest – A Day of Fun, Sweet Moments and 5 Hole Outs!

Of course the talk was all about Tiger Woods returning to play in the Masters; but not just that, he came with his kids and Lindsay Vohn and participated in the Par 3 Contest for the first time since 2004. He was joyful in every press event about what it meant to be at the tournament. He was a different Tiger than the man with whom we are familiar. His happiness was infectious.  But that’s not all that happened.

Trevor Immelman nailed the first ace of the day on the 5th. Camilo Villegas scored two aces on the 4th hole. Latin American Amateur, Matias Dominguez also aced the 4th hole.  Jack Nicholas recorded a very special ace on the 4th hole – at age 75 – even spinning it back into the cup. Spectacular moment; with his grandson by his side.

Little Bubba wouldn’t have been any cuter with that big pink driver. A chip off the ol’ block in the making for sure. Patrick Reed giving a shoulder ride to his daughter; sporting his hat tan lines and giant smile was great to see.

And of course Kevin Steelman took honors with a win in the sudden death playoff with Camilo Villegas. The win was made even more special for Kevin, and especially his caddy, 13 year old Ethan Couch. Ethan Couch is debilitated by a benign, but unfortunately inoperable, brain tumor. This child’s one wish was to go to the Masters. Through Make-A-Wish, Streelman not only made that happen for him, but chose him to be his caddy. What a gift for both of them.