Weather has put an end to a streak of golf that has seen 3 rounds of scramble, 2 competitions, lots of fun and sun and torrential rain in the space of 11 days.
Audi Senior Open
I played a senior competition at the start of the streak which was probably the most disappointing. I had been playing reasonably throughout the month, nothing special, but okay. However during the Audi Open I managed to kill my hopes very early on from the middle of the fairway. A few wild drives happened, for sure, but I lost probably six shots from the short grass.
Lesson: I need to try to start better in these types of competitions. I really don’t think this was nerves this time around.
Suomen Suurin Scramble
There was a scramble a week later, so amongst the normal rounds I played three practice scramble rounds. Every round was scratch under par, with the best being a 5 under on quite a windy day. Tournament day was really tough. Lots of water and a very slow round. Having started with 2 birdies I thought we were on for a good one. Unfortunately we cooled down and ended up top 10 in the scratch and way down in the handicap.
Lesson: patience is the key here and I think we were. We didn’t really give ourselves chances as the round progressed.
The rest of games were comprised of single rounds from various tees across Park and Forest courses. Scoring was very consistent and would almost go as far as saying I was playing well.
However, stupid blemishes or the complete loss in confidence with the putter over a couple of rounds stopped the reasonable rounds being great.
Lesson: decent golf is actually pretty boring.
Physically I feel quite tired. I have been on holiday so I’ve not been doing much else. I was looking at the weather for tomorrow to see if I could take the streak to 12, but it is going to be bad as expected. And I think that I should let my body recover.
Lesson: golf is tiring.
During the stretch I did very little range work pre-round, only hit a few putts most days and most of the time my warm-up was to swing the tempo trainer a few times.
I have seen many articles on playing versus practicing and I feel that I have come to a point where I should not be rebuild my swing, it is what it is, but I can refine it.
The frequency of play obviously benefitted me: having a rough idea where the ball was going to go off the tee was advantageous. Prior to the stretch I genuinely had no idea where the ball would go. Even at the start for this period I was hitting it off the planet frequently.
Lesson: if I want to become a better player I need to not only practice more, but play more often.
Perhaps the last point is really obvious, but this is the first time I have really put it to the test. I’ve done 4 or 5 day stretches but in this one golf become quite, dare I say, comfortable. I know the Golf Gods will come back and bite me in the ass: next up 90+ on Seaside this Saturday? – watch this space.
This week was another special week for me on the golf course. As my friends and I assessed our bookings for the week we realised that we were top heavy on Park golf course so we decided to make a small tournament on that track.
The aim was to make golf fun, as it always is, and to mix it up we decided to make a four round tournament on the course from different tees each round.
We started from the front and worked our way back, starting on the 5000 meter red tees, back to the blues at 5400, yellow at 6000 meters on the penultimate day and the Sunday round would be on the LET course. The ladies played here only a couple of weeks ago, read more about the LET Golf experience here.
As our rounds coincided with the Scottish Open, our our Golf GameBook rounds were named accordingly. What would our mini tournament bring, how would we/I play? The games followed on from a round the previous day (it would be 5 days in a row) were I said that I may well “retire” or at least stop playing for a while. I had been playing really badly.
Round 1 – Red tees (5000 meters / 5400 yards)
Day 1, perhaps unsurprisingly, was the best round of the four. Playing from forward tees brings new challenges and it is not always driver all the way if you want to eliminate some of the dangers.
Of course, it means that you are playing short irons into most of the holes and par 5s are easily reachable in two – but you still need to score.
And your handicap is adjusted accordingly. For me this meant that I had to give a shot back to the course. Probably the first time ever.
I still managed to have a double bogey and threw in a couple of three putts, but I shot the best round of my life.
After starting with 2 three putts it was pretty steady after the 2nd hole – I didn’t really hit into too much trouble. An inward 31 sealed the round that was probably better than a scratch 70 I had a few weeks prior from the yellow tees.
Score: 67 gross / 68 nett / 40 points
Round 2 – Blue tees (5400 meters / 5900 yards)
Comparing to the obvious advantages of the red tees the blues have about 4 holes where there is a big advantage over the yellow tees. So the expectations compared to the previous day pretty low I was still hoping to get close to par from the blue tees.
The advantage again is with the par 5s and perhaps shorter par 3s as three of them are normally mid to long irons.
I feel I played a lot better in this round. Although, as with the whole week, I was unsure of where my driver was going, I kept the ball, mostly, in play and was very steady. No doubles is always a bonus.
Score: 73 gross / 72 nett / 36 points
Round 3 – Yellow tees (6000 meters / 6600 yards)
Onto the yellow tees, my normal tee, and the winds have been getting progressively stronger and my handicap was been getting progressively lower (albeit by points).
In previous rounds, there was a bit of tactical thinking behind the tee shots. These tactics were not so much in place during the yellow tee round.
Obviously approach shots were from a greater distance, but from the tee it is possible to hit more freely.
I started with a double bogey on the short par5 and I didn’t really recover, I didn’t play as well (to be expected) but I still feel that I gave too many shots away..
So a few over par, but within a buffer that makes it a decent round. Albeit there was another disappointing end to the round with a bogey on the last, as it was the previous day and it was to be on the final day.
Score: 77 gross / 74 nett / 34 points
Round 4 – LET tees (6000 meters / 6600 yards)
The final day took place from the LET tees, there was a tournament here a wee while ago if you didn’t realise, read more here. The differences between LET and the normal yellow tee course are highlighted in LET Experience – PARK.
As described, the back tees open up the course a bit, and although you are approaching from further back, the white tees that were selected actually only mean to a couple of clubs distance.
There were quite a few f*ck ups in this round, as there were with other rounds, but it was fairly steady. I hit a couple of really bad drives that cost me shots. I didn’t putt particularly well either, but another 34 points in the bag.
Score: 77 gross / 74 nett / 34 points
It was great to emulate a proper tournament, albeit there was no real “competition” and certainly no prize money at stake.
I managed to keep the stableford score to level par over four rounds that I was pleased with. Given what a handicap index is and the actual expected number of rounds that you play to it I was happy to keep it together over the week.
With the exception of several hiccups it was quite boring golf. Lots of pars, some fireworks on the first day and a limited number of total disasters.
The tournament comprised of several players but only two of us completed all four rounds. Did I win? It depends whether you allow mulligans or not. I took none – I never do unless I have been having a shit-show and am not enjoying the round.
Is it comparable to the Ladies? I wrote about Is Ladies Professional Golf Relatable from experiences caddying in the LET tour event held at my golf club recently. My views have not changed.
I would not have made the cut on the final day, the only real comparison (same tees) I would have been plum last. What I did realise though was that we did hit the same yardage from the tee, if not further, than the ladies I witnessed in person and probably even one club less for the irons. It, of course, was in different conditions.
Overall, I was steady and didn’t get into too much trouble. I had quite a few bad misses and hit plenty of duff shots over the four days. However I managed to hold it together pretty well and managed to bring my rolling averages for ten and twenty rounds under 80 which was a goal of mine for the season. I had been there before but a series of really bad rounds pushed the averages back up again.
Maybe my J6 – a version of the Tiger 5 performance measurements are too strict. I started tracking these stats this year when I was a five handicap index. My index dropped by a whole shot after a 70 from the yellows on Park last month – are my expectations too high? I would like to thank Jon Sherman, Lou Stagner, Mark Crossfield and Kent Osborne for keeping me somewhat in check.
It was a fun week and it hopefully gave me enough practice on the course from the Senior Open that takes place this week.
Pickala Golf Club had a LET event here last week, you might have read about it on the road to Pickala. Today we go over the modifications in layout to the Park course. How does the set up compare against the regular course?
According to the LET tour pages the course was playing a smidge under 6000 meters. The yellow tees measure at 6000m so it would appear to be the same.
However on the first day of practice it was noticeable that some of the tees had been moved. From the white tees (tips) the course measures 6700m so it is long. For example one of the par 3s requires a driver for me. See the course layout here.
The split of tees was:
- 2 x blues (5400m)
- 10 x yellow (6000m)
- 6 x white (6700m)
The course itself was in pristine condition, with fairways like carpets, cut-down rough and smooth, fast greens. The bunkers were bare, but that has been the case for a few years now. While other courses have seen new sand Park has remained unchanged – partially due to a planned renovation.
Despite the great conditions, a few of the fairways were still affected in patches by a terrible winter the previous year. To this end the players were getting preferred lies – perhaps not surprising as the local club rules are preferred lies also.
To put this summary into context, I would normally play yellow tees, sometimes the blues. The following covers the holes that are outwith the day-to-day norms of Pickala yellow tee life.
Injury (blister) prevented me from playing the course in tournament condition unfortunately but I am sure we will play in this set up at some point this year.
A par 5 that is now 25 meters longer. The affect of this is bunkers really come into play more off the tee. Hitting the centre of the fairway to the left of these makes the second shot considerably longer and more perilous. Most of the players I saw played this as a three shot-er.
Again, this whole is considerably longer leading to a longer second shot in. The difference between tees means almost 5 clubs difference and trees on the right come into play even more.
The ladies got a break here, moving forward some 40 meters. Many of the players actually took 3 wood off the tee as the fairway really tightens up at driver distance.
Back again, some 30 meters. This is a straight away hole and basically just meant mid-iron second shots versus wedges.
Moving back about 25 meters actually removes some of the risk from the right hand side, however it again leads to a mid-iron into the green opposed to a short iron.
The shortest hole on the course, the ladies were hitting pitching wedges instead of gap wedges.
Almost 30 meters back, again possibly removing some of the risk on the right hand side, once again leading to mid irons approaches.
A tricky hole at the best of times. This was moved forward to the red (5000m) tee on the final day. This made this hole a whole lot easier. The ladies were hitting 7 irons down the hill to leave a high numbered club into the elevated green.
Pushed back as far as possible, this lead to a tricky drive and mid-iron into the green. Being 30 meters back meant that there were no “send it” opportunities over the trees down the right hand side.
To give some context to this post a little background about me and the reasoning about the story that I wish to highlight.
I am a 54 year old man who restarted golf about 5 years ago. I am 173cm tall and of a non-sporting physique. My swing speed is around 100/105mph and my handicap index is now 3,5.
I have seen many a rant on Twitter by women getting upset at people like myself for calling the ladies game “relatable”. In this post, I examine from close experience whether it really is or not.
What is relatable anyway?
For me this would mean something that is closer to me that something else. I could never hit the bombs that the #USPGA pros hit. Their average drives are colossal in comparison to mine and their swing and ball speeds are off the planet in my eyes.
In the women’s game the players don’t, for the most part, swing out of their shoes, have swing speeds that are near to 105/110mph opposed to 125/130mph and appear to hit similar sort of distances with their clubs.
Clubs and distances
During my first few days as a “caddy” I was really able to measure against my player, Tvesa Malik. As mentioned here whilst caddying I was able to laser distances and figure out what clubs I would be hitting compared to her. For me there are 2 categories of interest: driving and iron play.
As I walked along side seven other players in total over the week, I would say Tvesa was one of the longest hitter off the tee. Linda Osala did stripe a few drives that were really long, but on the whole I would say that she was probably averaging about 240 meters from the tee. In other words I would be playing first every time if we were playing together.
For iron shots, I would suggest about half a club difference between her and I.
Comparison ends here
Now that the distances are out of the way, the “relatability” is kind of over. Tvesa‘s driving was exquisite. She missed perhaps 3 fairways over 2 days, she was really consistent with her ball striking: it was a joy to watch. She is young, so flexible, but didn’t seem to over exert herself so there could be a few more yards in the tank if required.
Mid irons were also a treat to watch. Again very pure striking for the most part and, as with all good players, a lovely high trajectory.
Other game parts
Again, I am not sure how relatable this is and may be specific to the player but I feel Tvesa‘s short game (100 yards and in) struggled a bit – perhaps a lack of confidence.
Her stats from this range were probably around something that I would be happy with (maybe not) but, as previously mentioned, she didn’t get into any trouble, had no double bogeys and really just a couple of up and downs could have seen her make the cut.
What was relatable was making a mess of the par 5 sixteenth hole, twice, making bogey both days from under 100 yards to go after two shots.
But I am not here to critique Tvesa‘s game. As said, I was watching her and five other players. As the two other players from Thursday and Friday also failed to make the cut, perhaps I can relate to that. They shot 80 & 81 respectively on their final day.
The course was set up differently to the normal members course, there were 6 tees from the whites (or tips) making the course longer than normal and the greens should have been faster than I’d normally experience.
There was a chance to play the course in tournament condition today but unfortunately my feet (blister) can not handle any more for this week. I’d have been interested to see how I faired. I did have the round of my life on this course a few weeks back, hence the 3,5 HCP index.
Most of the players did not get upset at anything. Meghan Maclaren was a great example of cool. You could not tell if she hit a good or bad shot.
Both the players I caddied for were very accurate from the tee box. I would love to be able to have that accuracy and distance – speed training this winter then? Meghan hit 85% fairways, Tvesa 75% 😀
None of the players I saw swung out of their boots. They all had super smooth tempo swings and never chased after anything.
Consistency of strike
Tvesa went back to a set of older irons, so she has had them for a while. They have wear marks that I hope you can see in the image below. (the club that made the hole in one).
Couple strike with the trajectory and you can see some great looking golf shots. The height these ladies hit the ball has incredible. As someone who started playing golf in Scotland in the wind I have always had a low ball flight. I would love to hit it like them.
Both players I caddied from had no double bogeys. Of course, you cannot play well all the time but the players I caddied for hit greens regularly also, Meghan hit 76% greens, Tvesa 61%
It has been said before, but good golf is boring.
So is it relatable?
I would say in as far as swing speeds, and potentially clubbing: yes.
However that it really were the potential comparison stops. These ladies are a different level (LPGA even more so) and while I would to play matches with them week-in week-out I would like to playing with them and not against them.
As the dust settled on Friday’s round I prepared to take Tvesa‘s clubs back to the shuttle for one last time. A message and a quick chat and my Saturday schedule was back on track. Read more about the LET weekday experience here if you haven’t done so already.
I knew that there was a ruling that players in the top 18 spots needed to have a caddy on the final day and I was lucky enough to have been selected to push a trolley for a compatriot.
I was privileged to get selected for Meghan Maclaren. She was in 5th spot overnight and shot two rounds of 68. I was looking forward to this, despite the blister 😀
Through the chat over the first few days, and experiencing the way the players carried out their business, I was aware that there were many players that don’t have caddies and I would assume that when they do they would be very much on their own.
Meghan was very warm also and she was very easy to be around. We chatted a fair bit but with regards to anything close to advice, I gave none – nor would I really expect to. In fact I didn’t even laser her distances to have any clues as to how far away she really was. Having played the course successfully a couple of times the need for “Local knowledge” had diminished somewhat also.
I really was just doing the basics. Unlike the previous days the player took the clubs and hit. Tvesa did talk out what she was going to do most of the time. I assume that is just part of her process.
Weather got in the way of this round too. There was a multiple hour delay after the thunder clapped as players were about to putt on the first hole. After that break though we continued until round completion with a few spits of rain and a few gusts of wind. It was quite tricky out there.
What made this day even more interesting was the grouping. Obviously being so close to the top of the leaderboard there was going to be a bit of an interest. Sophie Witt was accompanied by her mother on the bag and then there was local favourite Linda Osala – who was caddied by former NHL player and husband Oskar.
The latter meant that there were crowds following the match. As we were the penultimate grouping there was a hope that the Finn could do some magic. I think at the beginning of the round there were a few hundred people following the match. However, Linda started off really slowly and struggled quite a bit – going out in 39.
This did not stop the crowds though as there were no “ropes” so players and caddies were often marshalled through to the next tees.
The attention was not just on the course though. After the round I had a few messages saying that they saw me on the TV. I was also interview by the club’s social media channels, which is somewhat embarrassing, but all part of the experience.
Watching these ladies play was interesting and different from the previous days. Obviously the pressures were a bit different but they, again, did not get into too much trouble.
Meghan did hit a few bad shots, but you would not be able to tell from her demeanour. She was super calm throughout and took her chances when she had them. A couple of misplaced shots towards the end of the round led to bunkers and bogeys and a, probably disappointing, 73 in the end.
It was a top 10 finish though on a day where many struggled.
After saying our goodbyes I hung around to watch the final group finish. It turned out to be quite a gripping ending to the tournament which apparently was missed by Finnish TV. Carmen Alonso capping a great week with those Spanish Hands.
Golf always seems to conjure up some fantastic storylines – this week was not different. And for me, it was like a dream!
To be around such talented people, the organisation, the competition, the friendships. It was truly fascinating to observe and even more amazing to actually have some part in it.
Thank you to the local organisers, especially Sirpa, and the players for making me feel welcome.
This boy has checked one thing off the bucket list!
Following on from Road to Pickala Golf the Finnish Ladies Open has been completed and I sit back, nursing my blister and reflect on a tremendously exciting time for me. It was a truly magical experience.
First things first though, huge congratulations to Carmen Alonso who, in her 19th season on the LET, won her first event.
Also to the organisers and greens keeping staff – the course was in great condition and everything (organisers and course) handled the temperamental weather exceptionally well. And not forgetting the local organisers who made sure the volunteers knew where they were supposed to be and what they should be doing.
I intend to write a follow up post on the skills of the players that I saw over the week. I am certainly not going to critique them but you often hear, certainly on Twitter, that their games are relatable to a lot of “guys” out there. I will let the bra-burners rage on that in the next couple of days. This post is all about the experience.
As mentioned previously I got a message that I could “caddy” for the full week. As it turned out Monday was not in play after all, but my week started on Tuesday with a 9 hole round & continued the following day with the 2nd 9 hole practice round.
My player for the week was Tvesa Malik. She was so, so kind to me. We met maybe half an hour before her round was due to start. I had been watching her balls in the range, but my old legs did not manage to catch up with her until the clubhouse.
Over the next couple of days I could “club” her but I did not offer any advice in this area, nor did not read any putts. I did the basic caddy duties of pushing the trolley, tending the pin, raking bunkers and fixing divots.
It was very relaxed and we chatted a lot about golf, life of tour and general bits and bobs. Tvesa played with her compatriot Seher Atwal who also had a local caddy 😀
In the competition rounds on the Thursday and Friday it did not really change. Teamed up with Billy-Jo Smith and Tia Teiniketo Thursday would end up being a long day. Thunder, and more importantly lightning was circling the area which meant there were couple of quite lengthy delays.
The first stop was on the 9th green, the second was on the 12th green – almost the furthest point on Park golf course. Interestingly we were told by the marshals to go to the nearest evacuation point, but the players insisted on going back to the clubhouse. This was a really good call as the first suspension was quite long.
Play continued until 10PM on Thursday but thankfully we were finished in plenty of time. There were many players that had to completed their rounds on the Friday.
Friday itself was smoother weather wise. The atmosphere and my general feeling of euphoria continued throughout the day. The golf by Tvesa through both days was super solid. No doubles and no great escapes required. The highlight? A hole-in-one on the par 3 third hole.
After the hole out for the next few holes she really started to stripe her iron shots, adding a birdie on the 5th hole. She got her score down to +1 for the tournament and I really thought she was in with a chance of making the cut.
An unfortunate flyer from the rough on the 7th would scupper things though. A bogey from the bunker over the green, then another bunker on the 8th to make a par left Tvesa in reality needing to eagle the final hole (the 9th on the day).
It was not to be and it was a missed cut. It was the end of an incredible four days for me that I will never forget.
The general excitement of a tournament being held on my home course and being able to get so close to the players was fantastic but I think that Tvesa added an extra dimension to the whole experience. What an incredible person – wishing her every success, health and happiness for the future. I hope we get to meet again some day.
The news that a Ladies European Tour (LET) Golf event would be taking place at my local golf course, Pickala Golf Club (PGC), was kind of exciting to me. It was a chance to see top women players play on a course that I am obviously very familiar with – how relatable would their games be?
Organisation from club members became more visible to members of PGC in April when the first real call for volunteers went out. As soon as possible I volunteered to be a caddy (or trolley puller as they are officially known) so I could get to see up close what these players were really like.
I had a wild dream that I would be “caddying” for an aspiring young player and inspire her to her first career victory. I’d have done such a good job that she asked me to caddy in her next event. The rest would be history as she conquered the world.
However, the introduction information did state not to talk to the players. I guess each player is different and I certainly would not admonish advice with clearly being asked. At the time of writing I am have not yet met the player.
But there is still a twist in the story.
Having offered my services as a caddy, it was decided that I could be an on-course scorer instead. This was OK as I thought the pressure I would be putting on the poor young girl to have to support me in travelling around the world would be too great a burden to bear.
Over the next couple of weeks I attended the info sessions and learnt about the responsibilities of the role. With one week to go until the tournament week start I got a call.
There had been many requests for local caddies for the whole week, not just the tournament, Thursday to Saturday. I was back on the caddying gig. I was like a kid in a candy store.
From that day onwards (and several weeks before), around the golf course you could see the infrastructures being constructed for the event. Day by day there were more tented areas and buildings as the club prepared for arrival of 128 players, their caddies, management, tournament officials, media and whomever else is included the LET entourage.
A couple of weeks prior there was a guy laser-ing and measuring all the holes on the course, there were signs appearing on all the tee boxes: their positioning made you wonder how the course would actually play. There is a chance to play the course, Park, in tournament conditions on the Sunday.
Yesterday, the range, which is now closed to the public, had rows of range balls stacked up in pyramids awaiting the players. We could see a few on the course already by the afternoon.
It’s almost show time!
Tiger Woods is famed for many things. One of his “methodologies” was the Tiger 5 rules of golf. I think that there are some great measurements in this but I thought I’d add another really relevant stat and modify the whole system based on my playing abilities.
Tiger’s 5 Rules of Golf
- No three putts
- No bogeys on par 5s
- No blown easy up and downs
- No doubles
- No bogeys within 150 yards
J6 – amended version of the Tiger 5
Here’s my modified list, I’ll explain these in detail since I need help in modifying the criteria – I believe it is too harsh for my ability.
- 3 putts
- Bogeys on Par 5s
- Bogeys from 9 iron or less to the green
- Doubles (or worse)
- Penalty shots
- “Anyway” shots
This metric is fairly obvious. 3 putts are bad. However, if the proximity to the hole is bad is it really bad putting?
- Metric: number
- Perfect score: 0
Bogeys on Par 5s
This is a confusing metric for me. I am a 5 handicap (at time of writing) and I still get shots on Par 5s. Maybe this would be better suited to me nett scores or total score to par for the par 5s.
- Metric: Number of bogeys as percentage of par 5 holes
- Perfect score: 0
Bogeys from 9 iron or less to the green
Every hole where the approach shot is a full club of 9 iron or less (120 meters) I count whether I take more than 3 shots to get down.
- Metric: number of holes with 9i or less bogeyed from total holes with 9i or less approaches
- Perfect score: 0 < 34% – 1 in 3 up and down in regulation
Doubles (or worse)
Another straight forward metric. Double bogeys are bad. Triples and more are a disaster. Steady golf should mean that you avoid doubles or worse. Reading Jon Sherman’s book, Four Foundations of Golf, is helping me to fight for bogeys instead of fighting for pars if things go t*ts up.
- Perfect score: 0
I include, in this metric, shots that are from recovery positions, mostly from the tee, but I would include drives that mean that I have to play sideways or have no chance to get the green under normal circumstances. My goal, according to Golf Gamecock should be about 1,5 penalties per round on average over the season. Obviously, the less penalties that better my strokes gained will be and scores in general over time.
- Perfect score: 0
This is an interesting metric and I don’t know really what a good score would be. This measures all the shots where I am uncommitted, or distracted and just hit is anyway. This can be indecision over club selected or a player partner ripping their glove open mid swing.
- Perfect score: 0 but realistically as low as possible
J6 – what my “reports” look like
Above is a summary of an 85, 28 points on stableford: not a good round. Below is a 78, net par. It’s never going to be perfect.
And finally, below is a 79 where I actually knocked 0,1 off my handicap. I did play really well but lost 4 balls to the water, so maybe I didn’t play that well?:
I need your help
The image above shows May data, with 1 pint for each category based on the criteria listed above. There’s obviously been a couple of good round but should I tweak it to get better scores?
I think I have managed to gauge my expectations reasonably well. I don’t expect to get up and down in regulation with a 9 iron or less all the time. Is it unrealistic not to 3 putt or have a penalising shot every round?
The main flaws I see in this analysis is that a) is it too negative?, and b) how do you gauge par 5s correctly? Scores to par overall? Nett or gross?
I’m very open to suggestions, even in its current form I can track my progress or constancy but I would like to make it better. Can you help?
Any input or feedback greatly appreciated!
If you would like customised reports/output like the images in this post, please ping me – I can generate these reports with your input for free!!!
Unlike the previous, what seems like a million, years Vappu (or May Day) was on a Monday so we actually had a day off from work. And what better way to spend it than on the golf course with your buddies?
54 holes with no cuts, invitation only and no OWGR ranking points – sound familiar? That’s where the similarities end. There was no prize money at stake, no butchered journalist’s remains (at least visible) and Sihwan Kim . may have stood a chance.
Today’s journal is not going to be a blow by blow account, instead it covers some of the highlights, what made it fun, what made it challenging and any lessons learned.
As is probably the same in every Northern European country the weather at the start of May can be unpredictable. It was not snowing, only rained a little bit, which was positive, but there was a reasonable wind all days and it was f**king cold for the most part.
Being a long weekend, with traditionally a lot of drinking, there was a lot of alcohol consumed over the first couple of days – though thankfully not on the golf course.
On Saturday we played on the Forest course, on Sunday and Monday we played on the newly opened for the season Park.
On all days we played individual stableford. On Saturday were in a group of 12 people so we played a little tournament. What made that particularly interesting was we were given a ball to play with. I was the only one that made it through the round with it.
I played OK for the first couple of days, and I would say well on Monday. Although I have been trying to accommodate the ideas in the “Hack it Out” podcast series to shoot constantly under 80 I failed over the weekend. However my scores were just over 80, the season has only just started and the weather, well, was what it was.
On Monday I shot a 2 over par 74, earning 37 points on stableford. This was with 2 doubles on the card, including the final hole. I did however hole out a bunker shot for an eagle in the round so I am not complaining.
Much like the opening weekend summary I was calm and did not get too emotional. I fought for bogies but still made quite a few doubles. Life goes on – it is not the end of the world.
Readers of this blog will have seen a few images of my J6 tracking. I will write more on this in the coming weeks but I feel that I need to tweak the system a bit. It is based on the Tiger 5 tracking but although it definitely measures the weak parts of the game it doesn’t really highlight the positives. Point in hand being Monday’s round. I had penalties, 3 putts and doubles on the card yet I was 4 under par for the par 5s. The verdict was the same as when I shot an 82/81 the previous days.
Overall a really fun weekend and I look forward to the next round: 4 man scramble at the official season opener at Pickala.
PS: Sihwan has a pretty decent record on the Asian Tour, it does seem a bit harsh to criticise his performances: however he has been performing like a mini-tour player (or worse) on LIV. Just saying! Any thoughts on that?
I was lucky enough to win an online golf ball fitting through Twitter from the people at Ballnamic. I managed to get a few options from my session and did a short video on it too. This post adds a bit more context to the fitting, the results and the overall experience.
I first heard of Ballnamic (which keeps getting auto-corrected to balsamic) on the Sweet Spot Podcast earlier this year. It was published on 16th January, 2023 (podcast link) and I really liked their idea.
Having previously experience TaylorMade and Titleist online fittings it was very obvious that you are there for the brand so you have partially made your mind up already.
So the idea of an impartial ball selector appealed to me. There is a connection with PING but they don’t make balls anymore so the selection process should be neutral.
My 2 disclaimers before I proceed: 1) this service is available in the USA only at the moment, presumably because this is 2) paid service.
After, or probably during that podcast I went to the site and noted the disclaimers above and my interest stopped at that point. I was somewhat disappointed.
Jump forward 3 months and out of the blue I responded to a tweet and won a free fitting.
The results were pretty interesting. You get a lot of options to set up the analysis. One of the many differentiating factors were the ability to select where you play. Because the effects of humidity and altitude are a factor in ball flight this is a nice feature.
One of the other great factors is their social media. They are tweeting fascinating insights into the effect of wind for example.
These influences are highlighted in the results you receive. My results can up with a bit of a shock. My ball of choice faired reasonably well but the suggested ball for me was a Bridgestone B X. Whilst the brand is not a surprise, Titleist was always in the mix, it was the fact that it is quite a hard ball, compared to TaylorMade Tour Response that I normally use, and more surprisingly having done some prior research into compression and best fit, the Bridgestone is supposedly aimed at players with a swing speed of 105mph or higher. That is not me.
Overall, it was a good experience. Will I change my ball based on these results? Maybe: if I can find the ball in yellow 😀
I made a short video covering the experience. Check it out and tell me what you think of the process. I have you tried Ballnamic out already? What was your experience? Did you change your ball based on the results or did it already match your current ball?
36 holes over the weekend for the first time this year and it was a mixed bag of results. Some good, some bad and some truly awful. This is a quick summary of the rounds.
Forest course at Pickala was the location for both rounds. It’s the only one fully open right now, but it is in pretty good condition considering we are only a few weeks since the snow left. We played the blue tees, so 5400 meters – these tees give a significant advantage to about 4 holes.
Despite having played a combination of about 36 holes prior, and a winter of once-a-week simulator golf, expectations were pretty low. I have been reading over the winter, The Four Foundations of Golf, and listening to several podcasts including the author, Jon Sherman‘s. The goal was to try to balance my mental attitude and enjoy the game more. I feel I am getting there, picking better targets, accepting the results but I hit some absolute shockers over the weekend.
I am not going to go into a shot by shot account of the rounds, but day one I couldn’t drive, on the second it improved quite a bit. Putting and approach, especially from 130 meters and in sucked quite a lot.
The highlights, the bad ones, were 3 skulled shots: 2 from the same distance with the same club. I don’t recall every doing that before so being the same distance away as when you started, but on the other side of the green, was a bit hard to swallow.
What did I learn?
Persevere: It’s only the start of the season. Damage limitation has been the goal for the past couple of years. I really struggle with this though as my bad shots are just so bad – almost difficult to account for (topping or skulling). I guess I really should practice a bit.
Mental: not angry or upset past a couple of steps away from the ball. Golf is fun (supposedly) I pay to play so enjoy the moments.
Remember the good shots: The was good over the weekend. Despite erratic driving and abysmal approach I did hit a reasonable rate of greens in regulation. I did hit a couple of par 5s in two and I did drive the par 4 18th both days.
I probably wrote at the beginning of last year, or at least I felt it, that I started the year exactly the way I didn’t want: no practice; no warm-ups; making stupid mistakes. I feel the same this year however I think I can reduce stupid. One of the great takeaways from The Four Foundations of Golf for me was when you hit a poor tee shot, for example, don’t go all out to try to make par – try to save bogey!!
How was your weekend? Has the season started as expected?
What a great result for Lilia Vu. She is a great example of perseverance and never giving up. After losing her card in her first year as a LPGA pro she came back really strongly this year and continued her impressive streak by capturing her first major title.
I’ve watched a fair bit of the LPGA this year so far. I try to see as much as I can but timezones can be challenging. To this end I didn’t see the climax of this event live but was fascinated by her performance in this event.
The podcasts that I regularly listen to, when talking about the women’s game, are very positive about her. Prior to the Chevron Championship she has had 1 win and never finished out of the top 14. Now she adds a major to her achievements.
I was delighted for her. And I was even more delighted to her, and her caddy, taking the plunge into the green-side pond in the tradition of the championship. I was worried that this tradition would die when the Championship moved to a new course this year.
Well done again. This could be the start of something really special.
Do you know how far you hit every club in your bag? This post covers the reasons why you should know, if possible, carry and total distance of your golf clubs.
If you listen to any golf podcasts, here are my top 5, or watch any instructional videos on YouTube (my favourites), almost all will, at some point, talk about the importance of knowing how far you hit the ball. This would cover not only the distance in a straight line (North & South), but also your dispersion or shot patterns – left and right (East & West).
One of the challenges with distance is ego. Golf clubs have got progressively lower lofted over the years with, say, a modern 7 iron having the same loft as 6 iron from a few years ago. So let go of ego and just concentrate on yourself.
I mentioned ego first because for many, if they do have rough idea of how far they hit it they would often equate that wonder shot, or the skulled iron, or the massive drive with a massive tailwind and downhill as the norm. This will get you into a lot of trouble. Granted, for lower handicaps, there will be less deviation between North & South but should try to gauge what your average shots are, what your top end is. I would consider worse case scenario also, but try to keep on the positive side.
Worse case also helps you when you assess carry. You should know your carry distance and total distance if possible so you can make sure that you get over any trouble that might be in the way.
What are the benefits?
Knowing your distances allows you to gauge:
- how far is the maximum distance you can hit towards the target
- what is the minimum distance required to get over any trouble
- where to target based on your dispersion
How do a measure myself?
The simple way is to pick targets in the range that you have measured out and calculate you average distances. This requires little/no additional equipment: although a range finder could help.
A launch monitor can give you these insights. There is obvious cost involved here, but if you are getting a club fitting you could incorporate a monitor session or simply book a simulator session: there seem to be 100s of these facilities springing up all over the place.
Portable launch monitors are also coming down in price so you may be able to get a good deal. I have a Swing Caddie SC100 that was not too expensive and is accurate enough for my needs.
With all those methods you could be predominantly hitting from mats, where WELD doesn’t come into play so much, and therefore may not equate to your average golf. This is why rangefinder/scoring app is a great solution. Arccoss and ShotScope are probably the two most popular brands out there, I use Golf Pad Tags which have a cheaper initial cost and subscription model.
The tags just screw into the club and you can either tap your phone (with an app installed) or enter shots on your watch (with software). This then records all the shots you play and will give you nice average distances of each club. While it doesn’t show carry distance as a launch monitor can it will give you a very good indication of where your shots are going.
These tools give you a lot more information than just distances and will benefit your game when you assess other data areas too. Knowing your distances will help a great deal.
What are you using to measure you distances?
Normally on a Monday I am writing short reviews of the tournament winners on the PGA, LPGA, DP World tour & LIV. However this week, the two main events were so out of my timezone that I only watched brief coverage of both.
Congratulations to Matt Fitzpatrick and Grace Kim for winning, both through playoffs, Grace winning for the first time.
Due to these timezone challenges, and the announcement by my golf club on Thursday, the golf season has officially kicked off. Fine cool weather greeted us, accompanied by howling gales. It was going to be great to get out on the course again, but how would the winters’ thoughts play out.
All the best laid plans
Over the winter I have been playing simulator golf almost every week. Partly for social reasons, partly to keep the swing in shape, this winter took on a “Need for speed” approach.
I had planned to get some sort of fitness plan together and incorporate. speed training. However, this did not happen, but I did manage to get my swing speed up by about 5MPH on average I think. Will this be seen on the golf course?
Warm-up: I spent some time on the range aiming at targets to improve my striking. I took breaks between shots.
Putting: I focused on lag putting and also practiced some green-side chipping to remember what it’s like to play from grass.
Exercise: I did some light stretches and swings, but I could do better.
Expectations: I had set a goal to break 100 due to the windy conditions, but I ended up shooting in the mid-80s with four penalties. On the second day, I broke 40 with a comfortable 39, but I missed a short putt on the last hole with penalties.
Driving: My driving was fairly solid until the end, but fatigue and stamina may have been to blame.
Approach: My approach shots were generally poor, but I was positive about the distance. Shots that fell short were due to miss-hits instead of under-clubbing. However, my accuracy was still off.
Short game: My short game was very poor, but I managed my expectations since I knew it would be rough at the start.
Putting: My putting was pretty good on the first day, but not so much on the second day. I made a careless miss on the final hole, which goes back to my mental process and routine. I should concentrate on each shot the same way, regardless of the outcome. Even though I missed, it was just a fun game anyway.
Anyway shots: There were a few shots that didn’t go as planned, where I wasn’t set up right or was non-committed and I just hit the shot anyway, but I attribute it to fatigue towards the end of the rounds.
Body & Mind
Mental: I remained positive and did not get upset, even though I hit consecutive bad shots and a lot of chunks. However, the winter mats may have played a role.
I got ahead of myself on the second day, even though it was only a 9-hole game. I was playing steadily and was actually -1 after 5 holes, having just birdied a par 5 and made an easy par on what I think is one of the hardest par 4s on the course. I tried to birdie the next hole and ended up in trouble, needing a miracle shot to reach the green in two. I ended up with a solid par, but my game deteriorated after that.
Physical: I forgot to eat and hydrate, which affected my performance. I need to remember to take care of my body while playing.
Filming: I tried to film my shots, but it’s hard to do it by myself on a busy course. I missed my best shot of the day, which was a nine iron to about 2 meters that I holed.
It was very windy, but I managed to account for it quite well. I had too many penalties, including one chunk and two potentially due to the wind. The final one was an anti-slice shot that came over the top to pull hook. I didn’t feel comfortable, so it was one of the “anyway” shots.
Overall, my golf game wasn’t great, but it was great to be out again with friends, in nature, and exercising.
They told me “golf is fun” – do you agree?
Not to be mistaken for the sign of the devil, 666 is a simple method to add a bit of structure to your strategy on the golf course. It can work for anyone with a handicap although I am guessing that scratch or lower handicappers would have a slightly different approach.
I will use a playing/course handicap of 6 for this example but your can modify this proportionally based on your own handicap. Before the round evaluate the course and decide which holes fall into which category.
6 conventional pars
Set your sights on 6 holes where you should make a orthodox par where you hit onto the green in regulation and two putt.
If you don’t make this on a targeted hole, don’t worry: there is room for movement between the categories.
6 up and down pars
Allow yourself 6 holes where you get close to the green in regulation and get up and down to save par. Given my statistics this is actually quite a difficult ratio to attained but this is an area I am working on.
6 bogey holes
Permit 6 holes where a par is not unachievable but your would be happy to make a bogey. This would usually relate to the harder holes on the course, or the longest ones, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make par. This category also allows recovery holes, so if you drive into the trees: accept it. Take your medicine and try to save bogey. You have the wriggle room.
If you play, well, and actually achieve the requisite scores within each category you will have played to 6 – while potentially only hitting 6 greens in regulation. That doesn’t sound too hard does it? A 15 handicap hits about 5,5 greens on average per round.
As with all the “tips” I post on this site this one should allow you to have a strategy that is not too strict and hopefully remove the some of the emotion that may build up if you are not playing so well. With this method you have scope to f*ck up a bit but you don’t need to panic as you can make the scores in other ways and have a chance to catch up.
For more information on this, or thoughts, check out Golf Sidekick. Matt has lots of ideas on this, and his YouTube channel has lots of videos on the subject.
Jon Rahm cruised to a magnificent Masters victory yesterday with an efficient display of great driving, sensible approach shots and nice putting. He won comfortably by four shots in the end.
Going into the final round there were only really two players in contention, Rahm and Brooks Koepka. Koepka had been fantastic in the first two rounds but was struggling on the weather interrupted third round. Given how far back the rest of the field was it would take poor final rounds to get caught.
Unfortunately for Brooks that is what happened. A final round 75 left him in tied second with Phil Mickelson. Phil, along with Jordan Speith were the group to watch in the afternoon. Vintage Phil, out of nowhere, and Jordan just being Jordan. 65 and 66 respectively pushed these guys way up the leaderboard.
Rahm was not flawless, he did have a bogey on the final round, but it was so controlled, tee shot on 18 excluded. Even then he still managed to leave himself a putt from a couple of meters to win the green jacket for the first time.
This was his second Major, and the stories of the day we not lost to him:
- Seve‘s birthday
- The caddie’s bib number was 49 (4/9 US date format)
- Sergio won the last time the Masters finished on Easter Sunday
- JM Olazábal won his masters title aged 28
- Rahm was the fourth Spanish winner
For Rahm, as well as a Masters invite for life, this moves him back up to number one in the world. It also negates some of the rather lacklustre performances in the past couple of tournaments (by his rather high standards).
Although Brooks faded over the final two rounds I think that he is back. It is great to see him healthy and competing again at the highest level. Look out for him in the coming Majors – I feel that he will be in contention again.
The final paring of these two was intense. Two of the most focused and intimidating golfers on the greatest stage. It was a shame Brooks couldn’t keep up but the signs are good. I hope that the slow play in front of them didn’t affect them too much.
All the #livBots will be going crazy with the success of their players. To me, and probably the players themselves, it was just about the golf. It was great to see such a strong field of players from a pool of the greatest players in the world.
I don’t hate LIV, I don’t find it particularly exciting and do question how good the competition really is, but what I don’t like aside from the “how great we are” BS is the fact that #LIV has diluted the #USPGA and to some extent the DP World Tour.
Of course, the benefitting parties are the Majors themselves. I really hope there is some way to allow or keep qualification to these tournaments for the players that don’t get OWGR points for their normal competition play.
I asked just how good are professional golfers recently and if this tournament is a benchmark to see how they are performing then they are still pretty good.
Five LIV players qualified for the tournament through OWGR rankings and will drop out for sure. There are many past Masters champions on the tour, which they don’t hold back from bragging about, and a total of 18 LIV players were in the field.
|Rank||Player||Score to Par|
|T29||Harold Varner III||+1|
No doubt LIV will be rejoicing, but as I said it is not about LIV v PGA. It is about the golf but it is great was great to see Phil back, smiling and “thumbs upping” – he obviously knew the significance of the putt on the 72nd hole.
The weather played a factor, both with the physical affect on the players and on the course – there were some bizarre spins to greens that were probably more responsive than normal. But Augusta was beautiful as always. There were some fine shots that will go down in the video vaults, for example Rahm’s 2nd shot on the 14th on the final round, lots of traditions and memories, past champions (Mize and Lyle said farewell this year) and new records that will be part of The Masters folklore.
It is funny not to be taking a lot about Rory after a major but another missed cut at The Masters means that he slinks into the background for the time being. Will he ever win a green jacket? Time will tell, but unfortunately I think not.
Had Rahm not four putted the first hole, this could have been a procession from start to finish. He was in control for the most part and, although Brooks held the lead for a long time, he was always lurking.
My favourite major is over for another year. I’m already counting down the days until the next one.
It wasn’t just weather storms that were brewing during the first couple of days at The Masters this year. While strong winds felled some trees at Augusta on Friday a #twitterGolf storm was raging.
Writing this article makes me feel like a real journalist: sourcing Twitter instead of doing real investigative work but the drama unfolded with a semi-serious tweet based on a comment by one of The Masters commentators on the 3rd hole.
The comment, by former professional and announcer Colt Knost was about his perception that players were better to leave themselves a full wedge shot into the short par 4 rather than getting as close to the hole.
It’s an opinion! Some guys are better from 100 than 50https://twitter.com/ColtKnost/status/1644005521488240642?s=20
The conversation continued, sometimes aggressively, sometime amiably, but the argument boils down to statistics. Scott‘s system encourages smart targets and higher percentage play through controlled aggression.
For this particular scenario, the layup areas is around 25 yards wide, with bunkers close by and therefore a very small target. Given the risk in that shot you would benefit from being closer to the green where the risks are less and the up and down chances greater – even with the hole location.
The stat hole, Lou Stagner, chimed in with more data. Surely this would put the argument to rest. But no.
I think that the data proves the point and at some stage during the round Colt was asked about laying up strategy on the third again, maybe by colleague Shane Bacon. His response:
I’ve been told not to talk about it any more.Colt Knost
The maths won with the shorter distances gaining around 0,3 shots. Over the course of a tournament this is a full shot and given competition is about small margins – this would appear to be a no brainer.
This was a great storm in a teacup but it does make you question the integrity of some of the words coming from commentators mouths.
As well as this particular incident you have the “putt for birdie” scenario regularly when the actual make rate percentages are tiny. I know commentary is there to inform and colour the event but still. For example is a great look at birdie from 15 feet really that great. Pros have a just over 1 in 5 chance of holing from this distance.
This post is in no way supposed to pick out Colt, it was more about the conversation it created and the scene of all these virtual calculators being thrown all over the inter web.
And also, perhaps, a call to action to broadcasters to acknowledge that there are a lot of people out there that know the numbers – bring commentary into the real world.
With the creation of LIV Golf and the dilution of the professional golf game the LIV fanboys are always shouting about how the golf rankings are not correct and how their players are amongst the best in the world. But how do you gauge their performance in “competitions” with no qualification?
The Masters in 2023 fields 18 LIV golfers with many past champions and major winners – how will they get on? Time will tell but here are a rankings now compared to when they joined.
The image above, from https://www.nationalclubgolfer.com/news/liv-golf-official-world-rankings-drop/, represents the top 10 ranked players at the beginning of their LIV career. With the exception of Cam Smith, Joaquin Niemann, and Abraham Ancer, these players were on a slide.
Dustin Johnson dominated the first season, and as I watch LIV Orlando this week, I see Chase Koepka performing very well. Charles Howell III has won and competed in the first two events and Danny Lee was a winner last time out. But how can you tell if these guys are still any good? (Relative to the USPGA or DP World Tour).
As you can probably tell I watch a lot of golf, on a lot of different channels with YouTube my favourite for non-professional games. There is, however, a crossover where the pros do appear on channels I watch. I already highlighted my top 3 videos with golf pros – is this a good way to measure a players ability?
I’ve linked this video before but after watching this I realised just what a great player Max Homa is.He took it seriously enough and his ability and shot making was incredible to watch: you just knew he was a baller!
Also linked on the Top 3 Golf YouTube Videos plus a bonus post is Keegan Bradley. Again he looked like a baller. Without knowing too much about him prior he looks as if he could play a bit 😀
Similarly, Beef Johnston, in his recent video with Good Good looks to have a magnificent swing and can play. Unfortunately he’s out injured again but hopefully he will be back again soon.
3 younger players that I noted were Taylor Montgomery, Austin Smotherman and Akshay Bhatia – look out for these guys in the very near future.
On the other end of the spectrum there are few very questionable professionals. I mean, they are still a different level compared to even the greatest amateurs but their game is not really elite. I am not going to name names, but I have listed one of them earlier in this page.
So is it fair to judge a player by their performance on YouTube? YouTube videos can provide highlights of a golfer’s best shots or moments, but they may not show the full range of their skills or consistency over a full round or tournament.
Additionally, golf is a sport where small details can make a big difference, such as course management, shot selection, and mental toughness, which may not be visible in a YouTube video.
However, much like playing at your local course with a random playing partner you can get some idea of whether they are decent or not – even without knowing their handicap prior.
I guess ultimately these players will be judged on how they perform in The Majors while they are still allowed to compete (or qualify for).
Interesting times ahead with 1/3 of the LIV roster playing in the masters – 20% of the field for the Masters. The odds on LIV players start at about 16 to 1 for Cam, but with one in five players coming from LIV (albeit that maybe 5 of them are competitive right now) there must a fair chance for a LIV winner. What do you think?
I’ve been following golf on YouTube golf for quite a few years now and have a string of favorite channels that I wish I could emulate in some way. This year I am going to chase this dream and pursue a career in a field I am truly passionate about.
For the past few years I have been dabbling in YouTube and last year I even started the season with a few videos, read more about the Golfisfun18 YouTube channel, but I soon realised that it is hard work and really needs the buy-in of your playing partners to help with speed of play, add value to the content and generally make fun videos.
I have been checking out as much alternative golf content, assessing what works and what does not. Not all content will work for all golf consumers but I truly believe that there are a few niches that can still be filled.
To this end, I am asking for help. My location is not conducive to year-round golf but now would be a great time to start discussions and planning for the new season. So what do I want?
I am calling on any/all women golfers in Uusimaa, Southern Finland, to get in touch about golf collaboration. I have a few ideas for content and filling a few gaps in the market. As a middle-aged (?), lowish handicap player at Pickala Golf Club, near Helsinki, I obviously would have a potential niche but I would really like to create something different.
No restrictions on age or playing ability apply but a passion for golf and an interest in social media are a must. A good command of English is required but I am also open to making content in Finnish (although I don’t speak it myself).
Gents can contact me too, but I would say that a similar age or life circumstances would probably fit best.
So, if you are a golfer based in the Helsinki area and are interested in kick-starting a YouTube career ping me on Mastodon or Twitter, and let’s talk. Alternatively you can find me on Golf GameBook or NexGolf: I.m not hard to find 😀
This weekend climaxed with the WGC World Matchplay final – the winner of this weekend was matchplay. This is the final ever playing of this event and it highlighted what a different and fascinating format this version of golf really is.
WGC World Matchplay
As the debate about the roll-back of the golf ball rages on Rory hits to under 5 feet from a 375 yard par four. It was a thing of beauty.
Personally I believe that the potential roll-back is OK. We cannot keep on expanding golf courses, if it is needed. One of the great things about golf is that you can play the same courses and equipment as the pros. If I am not able to use the same ball as them: who cares?
Back to the tournament itself and the excitement of matchplay is hard to match. “Legacy” places a part too: the past champions; the course. It appears “easy” as some of the players were absolutely tearing it up: Rory had 17 birdies on Saturday.
Sunday’s semi-final matches were incredible with both matches going to extra holes. The final itself was not as close with Sam Burns (no relation) victorious. Rory won the consolation match which was the final everyone wanted to see. He beat Scottie 2 & 1.
Sam really came into form this week, with practically no form coming into the event – winning for the 5th time on the PGA tour.
Corales Puntacana Championship
The PGA had a second tournament running, and while I didn’t see any of the coverage I was following along with the scores of along of my favourites. A mixed bag.
The eventual winner was Matt Wallace, taking his first PGA victory with a 19 under par total. He has won several times on the DP World Tour but wins and form fried up a bit since joining the PGA in 2020. Nice to see him back in the winning circle. And shout out to Nicolai Højgaard finishing in the top 10 comfortably.
Jonsson Workwear Open
Yet another DP World tour event that was not covered by ViaPlay – what’s going on there people: that’s 2 tournaments in a row. I still followed scores and watched some of the highlights – my fantasy team was poor again. If you are playing and what to join some of the leagues check out this link, my code is KX5QU0HD.
Nick Bachem stormed to a four shot victory. A final round 64 was more than good enough to hold off the field. The German was had a decent run of results recently and this capped off a fine week. His first DP World Tour event. Another first time winner on the DP World Tour – there’s been of few of them so far this season.
LPGA Drive On Championship
A fascinating competition with 25 players within 4 shots going into the final round. My viewing was limited due to the time zone challenge but there was some terrific golf played.
The eventual winner was overnight leader Celine Boutier who was taken to a playoff by Georgia Hall. Her 3rd LPGA tour win almost 3 years from her previous victory.
Good weekend for golf and only a couple of weeks now until The Masters. Who is your pick?
In the meantime we can all look forward to the next LIV Golf filler event. I know there is one, but I don’t want to Google the location.
I’ve already listed Hack It Out podcast as one of my top 5 golf podcasts and they have now introduced a new series of episodes on the subject of shooting consistently in the 70s. Their first episode was last week and I thought I would deep dive into the show and try to compare their averages to my game (without the ropes).
The insights provided on the show, not just this series, are fascinating. They highlight how good the pros really are, and because Lou sits on top of the Arccos database they are able to discuss some really interesting numbers about the regular golfer. These real life snippets are really good to see how you compare against golfers of similar abilities. The key talking points:
Shooting in the 70s is something that I should do quite regularly but how do I compare? How do you?
My handicap fluctuated quite a bit during the season and although the scores above are not all handicap rounds it does show the consistency, or lack thereof, of my game. From that graphic I broke eighty 46% of the time. My average score was 80.
Greens in regulation
Most of the media in golf acknowledge that the traditional stats collected in the game don’t add much value as they don’t really tell the story behind the number. Fairways hit, for example, is misleading. You can be a meter off the fairway, in light rough, with a good lie and clear path to the green. A missed fairway, but does it really penalise you?
My average from 2023 was 9.9. This highlights one of the main flaws in game: putting & short game in general.
Proximity to the hole
The next segment covered approach shots and how they contrast between handicap ranges. For me this is harder to measure but I do have strokes gained for this part of the game. I lost again.
So for percentage of shots that end up outside of 20% of the target distance a 5 handicap will do this around 4% of the time from between 125-150 yards and 6% from 150-175 yards.
What does that mean? Well to explain using simple maths, if a player has a shot of 100x then they hit less that 80x a certain percentage.
The root cause of this depends on the player, but strike is a key component. Consistency of contact should improve as your level improves so this could be something to measure. I am now trying to analyse approaches to include strike, anyways and general short/long attempts.
Hitting short is a common trait in the amateur game. This can be caused by ego, general misunderstanding of how far you hit the ball or poor strike.
There were quite a few suggestions on how to improve in this area. Practice is always on the list, but trying hitting distances with different clubs or shot types is good addition too. Practicing from a mat is not the same as real golf, so knowing how to hit different shots can be a real differentiator.
Based on this episode I should be quite comparable to the average 5 handicap, and, of course, it highlighted some areas that I should improve in my game in general, namely:
- keep the ball in play
- hit more greens
- get better at short game
- fight for bogeys
I will make some excuses for last year, especially the short game. I felt that my putting actually improved. Technically it did, by 1,1, but the greens for most of the year were horrendous. I do need to get nearer to 30 putts per round but feel confident that I can do it this year. If I do, and I keep the ball, and limit the amount of doubles or worse, then I can become a respectable golfer.
Hack it out
The podcast gave 5 handicap examples and compared them to a 15 highlighting areas that the higher handicap can catch up to lower their handicap.
More details of the podcast can be found below, check out this episode and subscribe to the channel. You will learn a load and may laugh a bit along the way 😀
At the time of publishing, at least the second episode in the series has been published. Check it out.
This weekend was a somewhat weird viewing experience for me with regards to the golf. Being a total golf junkie I was limited to highlights in YouTube and watching the #livBroadcast live to get my weekly fix. Here are some of the highlights.
LET – Aramco Team Series
The ladies were in Singapore for the team series and an individual tournament which saw Pauline Bouchard singles winner to follow on from her second place in the team event – won by team Wolf.
I first came across Pauline on a YouTube video with the Bryan Brothers some time back. She seemed like a bit of a baller back then so it was good to see her close out the competition with a stunning 64 on the par 72 course for a four shot victory ahead of one of my favourites, Danielle Kang with my real favourite Lydia Ko one stroke further back.
The DP World tour event from South Africa was not covered this weekend by my streaming service. I’ve no idea why but there always seems to be a gap in their scheduling around this time of year.
Matthew Baldwin won his second professional event and first on the DP World tour in his 200th start with a very comfortable 7 shot victory on the St. Francis Links course.
With a solitary bogey on the final day he had an almost flawless weekend and was just too strong for the rest of the field with Adri Arnaus finishing a distant second.
After quite an up and down career this should make his touring life a bit more stable for the next few years. Well done.
In the USA, a very tight tournament was played at Innisbrook. Missing some of the bigger names on the tour this was a chance for the “lesser” names to shine and perhaps for Tommy Fleetwood to get his first PGA title.
While there were “names” in the field and challenging Taylor Moore posted a 4 under par 67 for a 10 under par total score to hold off overnight leader, Adam Schenk, for his first PGA win.
He has made the cut now 29 times in his 46 event career on the PGA and was obviously delighted. Tommy will have to wait for his chance.
LIV Golf Tuscon
I don’t know what this tournament was actually called, but LIV were in the desert this week in what turned out to be the same banal event as previous “competitions”.
I have no doubt there is some top quality in the field that is undoubtedly diluting and fragmenting the elite professional golf game but there is some serious lack of talent too. I am not sure whether it is the field size, the fact they are all payed just to turn up or the over enthusiastic commentary and Twitter bots trying to hype the “competition” but this does not float my boat. As I said at the start of this piece “I am a golf junkie and I needed a fix”.
As is always the case, despite the quality, Friday and Saturday just do not provide much of a thrill. There is no storyline to it. There is no cut to make it into the weekend. The players can just hack away knowing that provided 3 others in their team score well, they can play without a care in the world.
I don’t hate LIV. I quite like the team format but I have doubts over the competitiveness of the “tour”. Not to diss any of the players as they are all great players, but is the overall quality of the events on the same level as the PGA? The last LIV event winner, Charles Howell III, was in in contention right until the final couple of holes again. His OWGR ranking is 324.
That said, he did not make the 4 man playoff. Neither did I. I gave up and went to bed with Louis Oosthuizen needing a putt from a few meters to join the others. He was the only player towards to the top of the “pylon” that I have any empathy for.
Danny Lee, Carlos Ortiz, and Brendan Steele made up the foursome with the team competition already wrapped up for the fireballs. To be fair Ortiz played some excellent golf on the final day in tough conditions.
How did the playoff go? Danny Lee won. You can read more about it here.
I am sure I’m not alone in my sense of apathy towards LIV. I’m not clear why: perhaps it is the arrogance; the quality level; David Feherty? A Nielsens Rating of .14 doesn’t paint a rosey picture.
What’s your favourite tour to watch? I set a poll below.
Golf is a fickle game. You can emulate the top professionals by playing on some of the same courses, score comparatively with the handicap system and everyone can hit that wonder shot.
Watching golf tournament broadcasts, though, give you a false reality. Aside from feature group coverage, where you see the warts and all golf that is the norm, other players that make it on to the coverage are performing wonder shots that out lie the normal statistics, be it a crushing 330+ yard drive, hitting a 200 yard approach shot to a couple of feet or holing a 30 foot putt.
The average #weekendWarrior often has expectations to be as good as the pros, without the commitment, practice, or skill levels of the stars and yet the reality of the professional game are not as good as most people think.
Don’t get me wrong, the pros are great. They are on another level. If you add the pressure and course set up their accomplishments are even greater but why does the average Joe beat themselves up when they don’t pepper the pin from 115 yards? Did you know that even pros miss the green completely from this distance 1 out of 5 times?
Putting is another key part of the game that is misrepresented on the TV. Based on Trackman data, I made a make rate calculator that shows the make rates of pros from whatever distance you input. Did you know that the pros are only 50% make rate from 8 feet?
To this end it is very important to keep your feet on the ground and not expect the world, especially if you compare to the stars of the game. #ManageYourExpectations
There is some great data available now through the likes of Arccoss or ShotScope that enables you to compare your stats to similar ability players. Data collection is a great way to see where you need to practice also. I use GolfPad tags to record my details.
If you look at these details, compare against yourself you are going to realise that it is not reasonable to expect to
- Play like Tiger
- Hit a great shot every time *
- Hit every fairway
- Hit every approach to with 20 feet
- Hole every putt
Manage those expectations, don’t beat yourself up. Avoid the sh*t (big scores) and think about why you play golf: whatever your reasons I am sure having fun is one of the main objectives. And remember:
Golf is not a game of good shots. It’s a game of bad shots.* Ben Hogan
There were some interesting results this weekend on the major tours this week. One tournament that I didn’t see, other than highlights was the South African Open on the #LET. Aside from the margin of victory, 4 shots, there were two stand out performances.
South African Ladies Open
Ashleigh Buhai fired a four under par final round to maintain the four shot advantage she’s held since the midway point. The South African now boasts national championships in South Africa, Australia, Scottish and the UK (The Open). Incredible work.
16 year old Chiara Noja was a very creditable third place after a pair of 69s over the weekend. I have known about Chiara for a couple of years when I think she featured on a Peter Finch video. She turned pro aged 14 or 15. One to watch for the future!
Magical Kenya Open
The DP World Tour moved to Kenya this week after a week long hiatus. All eyes were on Marcel Siem, winner of the Indian Open. The signs were ominous as I saw him fist-pumping holing a 15 foot par putt on only the second hole of the tournament. Unfortunately, he would only play 34 more holes after that.
The tournament was won by Jorge Campillo. This was his 3rd win on the tour, exactly 3 years and 3 days since his last victory. He shot an almost flawless round and maintained his two shot advantage from the start of the day.
He shot 5 under on the day, with one bogey. After a few great up and downs early in the round, and a couple of wobbles in the middle, he cruised to the win in the end. He even played the final hole, a par 5, as a traditional par 5 (almost) taking 3 irons to get to the green.
The Spaniard gets his name on the trophy along with other names, and of course, it had to be pointed out that Seve was amongst them.
Other highlights of the tournament were the crowd. The competition was very well followed and the noise when local hero, Mutahi Kibugu, was playing was intense: especially on the final hole on the Friday when he sunk a putt to make the cut as the only Kenyan.
Also, try to check out the shot by Masahiro Kawamura on the fourth hole on the final day. It’s on the DP World Tour Website, it is well worth the watch.
The Players is one of the flagship events on the US PGA tour. It’s one of the tournaments that I would almost be glad to add to my growing list of streaming services subscriptions. Coverage for me was YouTube highlights and podcast summaries by The First Cut and No Laying Up. Check out more recommended podcasts here.
The top three players in the world were grouped together on the opening rounds. Only Scottie Scheffler made it to the weekend with Jon Rahm withdrawing, due to illness, and Rory McIlroy missing the cut by some distance.
After a bit of an anomaly on the first day the once again stacked field began to settle into the top players rising to the top with Scottie holding a two shot lead going into the final day.
Scottie Scheffler goes on to comfortably win the championship with most players around him going backwards. Congratulations to Tyrell Hatton for coming a distant second. He shot a 29 coming home to secure second spot.
I’m not a betting man but I called Scottie before the tournament. He’s missed out on this “Scottie Slam” but is on a fine run of form and it must make the favourite to retain The Masters in less than a month.
Overall this weekend’s winners won by some margin. In theory Kawamura had a chance on the final hole if he made his putt Campillo three putted but it was all fairly comfortable in the end.
Congratulations too to LIV reject Wade Ormsby who won the International Series Thailand in a playoff.
As a write this article Finland is still blanketed in snow. There are no obvious signs of the winter ending but I still hope that we can start playing golf outside in April.
Through the bleak winter months I have kept my golf swing in reasonable shape (within the confines of my own ability) by playing Trackman golf at least once a week.
I have been playing with the same group of friends over the winter and we don’t really take advantage of the training opportunities that Trackman provides. We mostly just play rounds. It’s like normal golf but without the walking.
We have a few courses that we play more regularly, Marco Simone being one of them, along with The Old Course, but we do mix it up a bit. However the game format is usually the same and I can fall into the same bad habits as I do when playing real golf. Here are some the findings and what I intend to do about them.
Last year I had various goals for my golf, including practice and being prepared. I failed on both counts but have aspirations to actually practice a bit this season. The preparation part is falling short this winter already.
Apart from a few stretches and 4 or 5 shots pre round there is no real effort to be properly prepared. It is very noticeable, of course with shots in general, but my driver swing speed can be almost 8mph down on my gaming speed.
Keep it in play
I hit a lot of wild shots. Nothing has changed. However during the winter sessions I have been a bit more gung-ho taking driver when I can end up in trouble with an errant shot opposed to taking the danger out of play completely. I will assess this on a hole by hole basis.
Of course you are always physically playing off a flat lie so it is difficult to equate trackman to real golf. However trackman does provide some useful evaluations of the lies that will surely be applicable on the course.
We play auto putt so under 3 meters is one putt. This, of course, is totally unrealistic given a professionals make rate is around 50% from that distance. If you want a make rate calculator, check out this post. I have actually made an Apple shortcut for this too that works with Siri or on your Apple Watch.
Nevertheless it does, perhaps, give you a larger bucket to aim at that should fall a bit more into the realms of reality for at least giving yourself a chance to get up and down in two.
Pitching is interesting with the distance label around the hole. Again this may be something that I try to visualise on the golf course – it appears to make pitching a bit easier than real life.
Because of the nuances of the game, the putting and the perfect lies, scoring is a bit unrealistic. I would love to know what the expected difference in handicaps should be. Mine is about 3,5 and can play quite close to my handicap most of the time (80+ only twice in the past 20 games).
As I have seen a marked increase in swing speed from the previous year my main takeaways are:
- Do a proper warm up
- Get to gaming swing speed on the first hole, not the tenth
- Keep the ball in play
- Evaluate gung-ho versus safe on each hole
- Visualise the game graphics on the course to emulate the simulator
- Have larger targets to fall within credible expectations
- Think about the lie along with the other components of WELD
- Don’t expect to make every putt from 3 meters and in
- Smart targets for approach
- Try not leave approaches short (unless there’s rubbish long)
- Aim for the middle of the green in most cases
- Remember the 40 second rule and try to eliminate the anyway shot
Simulator golf is fun. Real golf is more fun. I can’t wait for the snow to go.
Do you play simulator golf? Do you play games for fun or are you actually practicing?
There was no DP World Tour action this weekend but there were a couple of other noticeable happenings elsewhere. Former world number one Jin Young Ko returned to the winners circle in Singapore.
In a tournament that was delayed several times due to almost monsoon like weather, the South Korean took her 14th LPGA win and successfully defended her HSBC World Championships.
Wracked with injury challenges last year Jin Young held her nerve and shot a final round 69 to win by a couple of shots from Nelly Korda.
On the USPGA, “Journey Man” Kurt Kitayama won his first PGA event, holding out to win against a stacked field.
Kurt rose to the top of the leaderboard on Friday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and put on the red cardigan on Sunday after two incredible par rounds over the weekend.
There were quite a few blips, but he just would not go away and held off the likes of Rory, Cantlay, Speith and Scheffler to move up to 6th in Fedex points and into the top 20 in the OWGR.
As a bonus to the win, and the huge purse, $3,6M, Kurt secured a spot, along with Harris English and Davis Riley, for the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
Quite a weekend.
YouTube golf can be a minefield when it comes to instructional videos. There are 1000s of videos ranging from absolute nonsense and non-truths to exceptional ones that can really help your game.
However it should be noted that
- not all tips work for every golfer
- you should be very selective in what you absorb
- be very careful not to flood your mind with too many swing thoughts
- a change in one part of your swing can affect another part adversely
So use caution when watching instructional videos. There are pluses but if you really want to get advice on your golf game in a safer and more personal way, go seek out your local golf professional. Here is a really good podcast on taking golf advice. You can find the Sweet Spot on all major podcasting channels, I highly recommend it. It was one of my top 5 golf podcasts.
Danny has 100s of short video tips and ideas to improve your game. I like this channel because the tips are quite simple to understand and are mostly aimed at the recreational golfer – of all abilities.
He often updates the same drills or thoughts with better descriptions or ways to understand things. Like choosing a real life coach, the pros may be of similar coaching standards but one may be able to explain things better in a way that is easier for you to comprehend.
Alex is a top rated coach in the UK and his videos are short and to the point. There are lots of nice nuggets of information and he visualises things very well.
The next three channels are very swing specific. The first two, especially, focus on Ben Hogan-esq swing technique and single plane golf swings.
This guy is a bit of an enigma. I’m not sure if he is for real or not, but I do like his videos where he encourages you to hit it crispy.
Kirk is very focused on the single plane golf swing, his videos are perhaps not the most dynamic but they are easy to follow and this technique is supposed to be one of the easiest to implement allow a quicker route to better golf.
I like Steve for a number of reasons: he’s a pro in Peebles (a place I hold dear to my heart), he’s funny and he provides some very useful snippets of information that have really helped me.
He’s ginger and he support Hearts so there are a couple of downsides to him but his content makes up for it.
This section highlights some of the other great instructors out there. They didn’t make the top list for me because they provide other content types away from instruction that can perhaps dilute what superb teaching videos they do have.
So who are your favourites? Do you watch instructional videos or do you only take advice from a select few?
You can find my top rated subscriptions on my YouTube channel, @golfisfun18 – why not give me a subscribe while you are there?
This was a non-elevated event for the USPGA but that didn’t mean there was no excitement. A water ball on the 72nd hole led to a playoff. The LPGA went to the 72nd hole. The DP World tour effectively had 3 players with a chance of winning on the final hole. Oh, and there was LIV.
My exposure to USPGA golf is mostly through podcasts and YouTube so I did not watch the live or really follow it other than a daily check of the leaderboard.
The winner was Chris Kirk, winning his first tournament in almost 8 years by stiffing a wedge shot on the first playoff hole.
The talking points?
Aside from the obvious drama of the 72nd hole, Kirk has been very candid about his battle with alcoholism and his subsequent sobriety. Very human. Very strong. Well done, we’re all routing for you.
Honda LPGA Classic
The second Honda tournament was in Thailand. The weekend threw up it’s fair share of drama on the final day with Lilia Vu holding her nerve to be victorious over local “youngster” Natthakritta Vongtaveelap.
The American won her first event on the LPGA after finishing first on Race for the Card official money list in 2021 to earn her status for last year.
The talking points?
Lilia, who was ranked first on the all-time UCLA career victory list with eight individual titles, really held her nerve against the Thai rookie and another rather “useful Thai player, Atthaya Thitikul 😀
The first of many victories, I am sure, her success was called by the NLU podcast the week before.
Hero Indian Open
The DP World Tour rolled into India this week for the Hero Open and it was another win for someone who hasn’t won for 8 years. Marcel Siem took a tour victory for the fifth time in his long career.
It was an incredible climax to a tournament. Even the 3rd player in the final group had an outside chance of getting into a playoff but ultimately it was a two horse race.
Both Marcel, and fellow German Yannik Paul, drove down the centre of the fairway on the par 5 72nd hole. However Paul had an upslope lie, Marcel on the downslope. Both players tried to lay up to a number – unfortunately Marcel laid up into the rough making his wedge into the green quite treacherous.
Paul hit a great approach shot over the water to about 10 feet giving himself a look at a birdie and a chance of gaining the shot needed to take the event into extra holes.
While Siem‘s approach had a lot of green to work with, water was still a threat as the ball was lying badly. After a great-stopping millisecond the ball landed on the green but it was a long, long way from the hole.
Siem lagged to about 3 feet, which wasn’t bad but it’s a tricky length under pressure and perhaps opened the door for the others. The 3rd player in the group, Joose Luiten, had a 10 foot eagle putt that, if Siem missed his, could have tied. He missed but he have a read to Paul who was a couple of feet inside of Luiten‘s ball. Paul subsequently missed his putt leaving a three footer to win for the fifth time.
The talking points?
Never give up. This win was 8 years since his last one. In between times he has lost his card, been back to Q school and was really questioning whether he was good enough for professional golf.
A couple of weeks ago, he was hacking his away around the course on this 500th DP World Tour start and looking to miss the cut. He turned in around and over the next few weeks he would reach the winners circle again.
LIV Golf – Mayakoba
LIV Golf’s 2023 season kicked off in Mexico.
The talking points?
The top players in the world gathered for the first tournament of the year on what looked like a beautiful golf course. There were 10s of fans in attendance and there were record TV numbers. Charles Howell III, with an Official World Golf Ranking of 312 won the tournament and 10% of his 20+ year PGA career earnings for 3 days work.
To be fair, he did play rather well, especially on the final round where he carded an 8 under par 63.
Did you watch this or any of the other tour events over the weekend?
YouTube golf has exploded in popularity over the past couple of years. Due in part to Covid and the lack of live golf, the number of channels with huge viewership and very high quality content has been taken to another level recently.
The buzz around these channels has been increasingly noticeable with major club manufacturers becoming more involved with the high profile ones. Said manufacturers, such as Taylor Made, Titleist, and Callaway have made large investments in the top channels and, presumably, see this as a way to get in front of more eyeballs and a younger audience.
Many of these deals have only taken place this year so the impact of astroturfing will be interesting but you would like to think that the viewer will be the winner here – better content with access to more golfing superstars and collaborations with other YouTubers.
I will cover the top instructor YouTubers in another post, I’ll update the link when it is published, but this post is about channels that provide great content. This, of course, is subjective, but of you like to watch golf being played I would highly recommend the following.
I’ve been watching Good Good since the beginning. It was essentially made up of a collaboration of friends that had their own channels, of varying degrees of success. They have become a golfing empire and have really changed perhaps the whole golf media industry.
They have a lot of fun content and are so enthusiastic. They play many different games within the game and are usually very entertaining. Check out their channel here.
Bob Does Sports
Another channel that has grown tremendously over the past year is Bob Does Sports. These guys are very funny and do many ridiculous things on course such as eating challenges, speed golf or drinking games.
Not for the faint hearted they also have Fat Perez: legend!
Not A Scratch Golfer
Adam has a super interesting and has had quite harrowing past few years. His approach is to showcase how a non-scratch golfer actually plays. I believe he’s a similar handicap to me and I think everyone having a handicap above scratch can pick something up from him.
Matt is very philosophical about his golf. To be fair he may rub you up the wrong way, however, his mantra is very simple and effective. Golf Sidekick talks about the “way of the playa”: keeping it play; avoiding big mistakes; avoiding the “hero” shots and generally being calm on course. He has a number of “how to break XX” videos, and, again I think everyone can learn something from them.
I’ll be discussing one of his concepts, 666, in a future post.
Picking a fifth channel for this list was actually quite hard. I ended up with Bad Golf. These guys are allegedly of celebrity status in the UK and they are really not that good at golf.
John is a lefty and improving so I am not sure whether he should still be allowed on the channel. However it is really him that makes the videos worth watching. His responses to some of his bad shots are priceless.
If you are from the UK, you are probably very aware of Rick Shiels or Peter Finch. I feel they put out a lot of content that won’t appeal to all but they do have some excellent videos – especially when playing with others.
Bryan Brothers have some good stuff too: one of them, Wesley, is a tour pro, and they often play against other professionals which is fascinating to watch their performances in non-competition mode.
You can find my top rated subscriptions on my YouTube channel, @golfisfun18 – why not give me a subscribe while you are there? I intend to push more content, that is hopefully fun this year: waiting for the snow to go away. And here is a list of my favourite videos.
I hope you enjoyed my favourite YouTube Golf Channels, what would you add or remove from the list?
Three of the major golf tours had events this weekend and some familiar names were on top of the podiums. A big shout out to Jon Rahm, Lydia Ko and Thorbjørn Olesen. Here are some of the talking points.
Genesis Invitational Open
An elevated or designated event on the PGA Tour, Jon Rahm sensationally won his 5th event in 9 starts. I was only able to take in the victory through PGA Tour radio and the YouTube highlights but Rahm has rightly ascended back to world number one.
The talking points?
Rahm‘s run has been described as Tiger-esq. And with Tiger‘s participation in this event it was quite poignant that he regained the top spot in the OWGR based on such a terrific run of form.
After Dan Gavin’s spectacular victory the other week where he was lauded for taking under 100 putts over the tournament, 4 players did this at the Genesis. Quite remarkable.
Saudi Ladies International
Speaking of number ones, the ladies number one, Lydia Ko won the Saudi Ladies for the second time.
The talking points?
Again I was not able to catch on the live coverage of this event, was there any – there are no Getty Images from the event, but I was following along as much as could and was pleased to see the continued form of of India’s Aditi Ashok and an impressive performance by 16 year-old Chiara Noja.
Dane Thorbjørn Olesen won for the seventh time on the DP World tour just outside of Bangkok. This course looked as impressive as he was as he ended up winning by a comfortable 4 shot margin.
The talking points?
Compared to his last victory in the British Masters last year this was a stroll in the park. He was very controlled and the result was never really in doubt. Even when Nicolai Hoejgaard got close he holed a few putts and carried on.
There are 11 Danes on the DP World tour right now. Olesen, I think, will be on the Ryder Cup team this year with the Hoejgaard twins. And with Rahm (& McIlroy to some extent) in great form things are looking quite bright for the Europeans at the Marco Simone.
Do you have any takes from the weekends golfing events?
Golfers often struggle with reality on the golf course. One area that most get it wrong is on the green.
Golf can be leveled significantly with the handicap system and, of course, EVERYONE is capable of hitting a worldy every so often. The closer to the green you get the disparity between the pros and different handicap categories reduces.
If you happen to watch golf on the TV the broadcasts often end up becoming a highlight reel – if a non-featured player appears on screen you can almost guarantee that they are about to hole a monster putt.
Pro golfer stats have been available for quite some time now and, yes, they are great short putters but did you know that the average make rate for a USPGA professional from 8 feet (2,44m) is only 50%?
Aside from the quality of the greens, these guys play on they also practice and are very, very good. How many weekend warriors have you seen expecting to hole everything from that distance?
Thankfully, companies like Shotscope & Arccos have been making some of their huge datasets available to the public also. This allows you, in-app, to check your putting stats and make comparisons against other golfers in your handicap bracket,
I thought it would a nice idea to create a page/form that is accessible by phone so that you can check what your chances of holing a putt are or the likelihood of three-putting.
So I made 2 pages based on the data I found.
Pro Make Rates
This data is available from the USPGA. It contains one, two, and three-putt percentages and the expected score from every “feet” of distance to 99 feet. Select your distance and the unit of measurement and you will see what your chances of holing out are.
Amateur Make Rates
Getting usable data for amateur golfers was a lot harder. I managed to find this article by Shotscope which has some general categorizations. I made a similar sort of form.
Bear in mind that all amateur tracking stats are subject to GPS and potentially user input so the accuracy will not compare to that of the professionals’ data.
I would love feedback on this, you can comment below or tweet me. The goal of the pages would be to convert them to apps and the input for distance could be tracked by the device’s GPS. But one step at a time.
What do you think? Is this useful?
Tiger Woods, considered by many as the greatest golfer all time, announced his return to competitive golf for the Genesis Invitational that takes place at the Riviera Club this week. But what makes Tiger so good? Here are 5 reasons why Tiger is the GOAT.
Tiger Woods has won 82 PGA Tour titles, which is tied for the most all-time, and has won 15 major championships, second only to Jack Nicklaus. He has also held the world number one ranking for a record total of 683 weeks.
Tiger Woods was known for his dominance during his prime, which saw him win major tournaments by record margins, and winning five tournaments in a row on two separate occasions.
Tiger Woods has had a significant impact on the sport of golf, both in terms of his popularity and his ability to bring new fans to the game. He has also inspired a generation of young golfers and helped to grow the game in countries around the world.
Tiger Woods is widely regarded as one of the most skilled golfers to ever play the game, with a swing that is admired for its precision and power, and his ability to consistently hit incredible shots, particularly under pressure.
Despite facing several setbacks in his career, including injuries and personal issues, Tiger Woods has demonstrated remarkable resilience and determination, coming back from major injuries and other challenges to continue playing at the highest level.
How will Tiger get on? It is conjecture at this time, but for me if he makes the cut that will be positive progress. It’s difficult to know what Tiger’s ambitions are: I’m sure that he doesn’t just want to turn up – he’s in it to win it, but is there any chance?
I’ll just be glad to see him back on the golf course again. What are your thoughts?
For the second week in a row the DP World Tour produced a great tournament that, again, went to the final hole and resulted on a second tour win for the respective winners: Ockie Strydom in Singapore and Daniel Gavins the previous week in the UAE.
In the RAK championship Gavins was cruising to victory then had, what can only be described as, a meltdown.
As Daniel was playing the final hole, one of the players in front, Alexander Björk, played the hole conservatively but 3 putted to finish out on 16 under. Daniel’s double bogey was enough to secure 17 under but it brought a player in the final group of the day into play.
Zander Lombard managed to hit the par 5 in two shots and he had a look at eagle. He proceeded to two putt and end up on 16 under in a tie for second
It was a truly enthralling end to a great tournament and such a contrast to Daniel’s first victory where he was hanging around for hours as others fell apart.
Ockie won in Singapore with a birdie blitz. He and Sami Valimäki stretched away from the field with the winner again not decided until the 72nd hole. Although they were not playing together the way they played the hole was similar. Both missed the par 5 in two, both were close to the green but you would say that Sami had the best opportunity.
Ockie was in a horrendous position but managed to pull off the shot of the week and chip to tap in range. Valimäki’s chip from the rough bounded past the hole and he was left with a look to make a birdie and get into a playoff.
The cameras focused on Sami’s face. You could see him make the putt and his head rise to track the ball. Then the groan from the crowd and the acceptance that this was not to be. He was chasing his second win also.
Ockie had shot a 9 under par final round for a 19 under total to win by one. It’s hard to believe that the tour can produce two such great endings back to back.
Congratulations to all. It was thrilling. Did you watch it? What did you think?
As a side note, there was a minor disappointment with my fantasy captain of the week missing the cut. You can’t have everything I guess. On to Bangkok – what lies in store there I wonder?
Practice your short game
Spend time practicing your chipping, putting, and bunker play, as these shots can often make a big difference in your score.
Know your yardages
Keep track of the distance you hit each club so you can accurately choose the right club for each shot.
Play to your strengths
Identify what you do well on the course and make a strategy to take advantage of those strengths.
Study the course
Before you play, look at the layout of the course, including the holes, fairways, rough, bunkers, and greens.
Stay focused and positive
Stay focused on your game and keep a positive attitude even when you face difficult shots or challenging holes. This will help you maintain your mental toughness and make better decisions on the course.
This post was partially generated using ChatGPT. What would you add to this list?
All images on this page are from Unsplash.
This tool allows you to calculate your playing handicap, or course handicap, for the day. You will need to know the course and slope rating, what the par of the course is, and naturally your own current handicap index.
Please ensure you use a point for the decimal, not a comma. The result will appear below the form.
If you find this tool useful, please share it with your friends 😉
Enter your last 20, or more, scores to calculate your handicap index has been affected by your latest round.
Input at least 8 rounds into the text area below separated by a comma. Please ensure you use a point for the decimal, not a comma. The result will appear below the form.
Results are saved in a cookie so make sure to bookmark this page and enter new scores as and when you need to. Calculate your differential here.
If you find this tool useful, please share it with your friends 😉
This tool allows you quickly check your differential for your golf score. It does not take into account playing conditions, but based on your course score and slope ratings, it should give you a good idea of how your round may affect your handicap index. Please ensure you use a point for the decimal, not a comma. The result will appear below the form. Enjoy!
Sometimes when you play a round of golf you cannot wait to see how it affects your Handicap Index. This tool shows your score differential.
And if you would like to see the impact on your handicap index why not check out the Handicap Index Calculator.
If you find this tool useful, please share it with your friends 😉
Congratulations Max Homa. What a pleasant surprise to open the PGA app to see Max on top of the leaderboard. When I closed the app on Saturday night Sam Ryder seemed to be cruising to victory: especially when John Rahm appeared to be struggling a bit.
This victory, at the Farmers at Torrey Pines, was Max’s 6th on the PGA tour. As someone that didn’t actually see the tournament, I only caught up through the app, podcasts, and YouTube, it was great to see he had won. He is one of the nice guys on tour.
I’ve listened to countless podcasts that he’s on, I love the YouTube videos he’s involved in, and this week there was a new departure for the PGA: Max was mic’d up on a hole. He was asked about what he was thinking about throughout the hole and it gave a great insight into a golfer’s mind.
I believe Max is quite in-tune with what the fans want. And he has quite a sharp sense of humor as #twitterGolf would testify.
So what’s next? I think Max will carry on being Max. He is the epitome of the PGA tour, having lost his card and being right on the edge. But he came back stronger, and given his performance in the President’s Cup I can see him in the Ryder Cup this year – perhaps as a Major winner. If not this year, it will come. I am sure.
Keep going Max, we love you.
There are some great YouTube videos. Here is a selection of the best golf videos out there, many of them featuring pros. All will take a bit of time to watch, but they are worth it.
Fore Play & Max Homa
Whether you like or regularly watch, the Fore Play guys’ podcasts or videos I would highly recommend watching this match.
At almost 2 hours in length, this is a great production with drones, multiple mics, and cameras. This video cemented my man crush on Max: he came across as really nice, humble, funny, and ultimately very determined.
NLU with Jordan Spieth & Justin Thomas
Rick Shiels & Rickie Fowler
All of the videos highlighted above give an insight into a good player’s thoughts on the course, and perhaps a glimpse into the person behind the pro athlete you see weekly on the tour
Into the honorable mentions goes Good Good Golf. Their recent collaborations have been incredible. I created a playlist here so check it out.
If you enjoyed the Rick Shiels video, there are a few more with top golfers such as Tommy Fleetwood and Adam Scott. I’ve created a playlist of these >> check it out here <<
As “bonus” bonus video I am currently watching a great match between Bob Does Sports playing against Keegan Bradley: this promises to be a cracker.
What are your favorite golf vlogs?
I listen to podcasts a lot. Every day when I am walking the dog, or just walking (my most common form of exercise), I have my AirPods on and drift back into the world of golf.
I do listen to other topics, I find Andrew Cannon’s The Art of Science and Joy particularly inspirational, but it is mostly golf. Here are my top 5 golf pods, and what they generally cover.
The Sweet Spot Podcast
Their podcasts don’t, normally, run in order and they should remain relevant and timeless for years to come. Their philosophy towards the game is more about the fundamentals and geared towards expectation management and enjoyment no matter the listener’s skill level. Find the pod from these search results.
As a bonus, Mr. Sherman has written a book that will guide you to better golf without having to change your golf swing. Check out The Four Foundations of Golf, I highly recommend it.
Hack it Out Podcast
The pod covers many aspects of the game and is light-hearted for the most part but can get quite heated if you say anything against Tiger Woods. The insights of one of the greatest putters on the planet and the data from the main tracking systems that Lou has access to make this super interesting.
And along the lines of Lou’s tweets, this pod should help you improve your game if you #manageYourExpectations.
Beef’s Golf Club
This is a new, started in 2022, podcast that is hosted by the DP World Tour player Andrew “Beef” Johnson and John Robbins, from Bad Golf infamy. This is just a fun chat show with loads of golf banter and their dream to build the perfect golf club. Find out more here.
Rick Shiels Golf Show
I do watch Rick Sheil’s main channel – the matches with the pros are excellent and I only fairly recently started listening to the podcast.
They talk golf, have a general chit-chat, and can have great guests. A lot of the chat is around Rick’s YouTube channel and it compliments it quite well.
It should be noted that I don’t follow the YT channel, I am a listener to podcasts, not a watcher.
The First Cut
Very US-centric pod, this is a great pod if you want to know about what’s happening on the PGA Tour. From betting guides, previews, and daily recaps of the events of the day this is a great insight into tour life.
You can find out more on the CBS podcast page.
Other golf podcasts that I recommend you check out are listed below:
Is there anything missing from the list? What is your favorite podcast?
When I started this blog, almost a year ago, I wrote down a list of blog post topics and today is where I go over the first topic on that list: the 40-second rule.
Unfortunately, WordPress did not save any of the notes I had associated with the subject so I did a quick “google” to see what I could find. I didn’t go very far into the results to find the following video on a variance of the concept related to the speed of play.
While the video presents a good idea, the presenter could incorporate WELD into her setup. The wind, elevation, and distance can be gauged as you approach the ball.
The purpose of this document was not to criticize someone else’s content, it was merely to highlight that the 40-second rule can mean different things to different people in golf.
For me, golf takes a long time to play, as highlighted in the video, and it is a long time to concentrate. You must focus on each shot, every shot is as important as the other. However, you cannot focus for the whole round.
This is where the 40-second rule comes into play for me: 40 seconds of concentration around each shot.
As already stated, you can start preparing for your shot as you approach your ball. When you arrive you can assess the lie and confirm the distance. Start your timer – this is where you focus and envisage your shot, the pre-shot routine has started.
Step into your “thinking box”, and imagine the ball flight, see the target, and where you want the ball to end up.
Cross that “decision line” and do your final routines and strike the ball. Watch the ball flight, where it ends, and assess the outcome. Stop all the clocks – you can relax a bit and enjoy the situation.
As you approach your ball for the next shot, go through the process again. Concentration blocks of 40 seconds at a time are a lot more manageable than trying to maintain focus for 4+ hours.
Consistent pre-shot routines are very important in the game and if you can be fully focused for each shot then you will benefit in the long term.
.* you’ll probably have a shorter pre-shot routine for putting but focus is still essential.
I don’t have a physical timer but I do try to incorporate this routine. Is this something that you do?
Finland has been buried in snow since November already. As we bring in the new year it is an excellent time to reflect and prepare for the coming season – this could be your most incredible year in golf. Here are a few things that can help you prepare equipment-wise.
Clean your bag
Aside from probably being quite dirty, your golf bag can accumulate a lot of unwanted or unnecessary items which you can remove or quite simply throw away. This could include an accumulation of tee pegs, found golf balls, and (plastic) bags.
As part of this cleaning process make sure you put your towel in for a wash and tip your bag upside down (when empty) – you’d be surprised what you may find.
This is also a good opportunity to reorganize your bag so items you use more frequently can be more accessible.
Mark your golf balls
This tip is especially useful if you bulk buy golf balls and you mark your golf balls more elaborately than scribbling your initials on the side of the ball.
Whether you are adding symbols or even simple lines to your golf ball this will speed up your game on course if you are prepared. As part of this process, you could also box the balls in different number groupings so you don’t need to add any additional markings because you pull a number 3 out of your bag when your previous ball was also a 3.
As I took all my found balls from my bag out I prepared them for practicing by adding a simple marking to them too – now I can go to the practice area with balls that I know I can identify.
Sort your gloves
Having a dry glove in the wet can be a critical component in coping with bad weather. I have a bag (to keep things dry) within my golf bag containing old golf gloves so I can rotate them when they get wet. However, some of the gloves were quite worn so I threw them out. They simply would not get used and I replaced one, at least, with the final glove of the last season.
Check your grips
I take pretty good care of my clubs throughout my rounds but one thing I often neglect is the grips. Depending on frequency grips should last at least a few years but you can rejuvenate your grips by giving them a good scrub with a brush and warm soapy water. This will bring back some of the tackiness.
Ideally, you would be doing this at least once a month but why not start the season off well? If your grips are really worn then get them changed through the close season.
Check your accessories
Very much related to your bag clean up make sure that you have batteries for your rangefinder, speakers, or cameras. Is there anything worse than getting out on course and you go to zap a yardage on a whole and your rangefinder doesn’t get a distance?
Do you have sunblock, hats, mosquito repellent, plasters, spare laces, a bottle opener, enough tees, pencils, pitch mark repairers, or golf balls? Make sure you are stocked up on all the little things that you made need to assist you through a round.
So there you have it, 5 quick tips to prepare yourself for the new golf season from the equipment side, is there anything you would add to this list?
Look out for the second part of this series, how to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the new golf season.
Have fun out there.
Does it ever get boring playing the same format all the time or are you taking it too seriously? This post covers some ways to bring the fun back to golf.
The reason people play golf differs from person to person: it may be for exercise; to be outdoors; to spend time with friends or even for the competitive element. For me, the first three are my main goal: and ultimately having fun. But how do you have fun aside from the social aspect?
I predominately play with the same group of friends. The skill range of the guys varies and their ambitions differ. Most of the time we don’t play too competitively and there are usually some mulligans and feel-good shots that make a “serious” game impossible. We never play for money.
Within this group, we do have an annual tournament where there is a bit more seriousness. And this is fine: I love the competition.
Over the past couple of years, I have been averaging about 80 rounds per year but for me, straight-up going for a score is never too much fun. It adds unnecessary pressure to something that is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. I am, after all, paying for the experience so it should be gratifying.
The table above shows my recorded rounds in 2022. I still think that 32 handicap rounds are possibly too much although I did start the year wanting to play more competitively: this did not happen. The 50 data recorded rounds are games where I could use my GolfPad GPS (can include fourball/better ball). The other 32 would be most likely scrambles or rounds I was playing so badly that I didn’t record anything.
To be fair Stableford does reduce some of the pressure so my inevitable blow-ups don’t matter quite so much but how do you make the game more fun overall?
Scrambles, whatever the format, are not for everyone but I really enjoy them. I even participate in club-hosted events of this format. I never win but I enjoy the format very much. Why?
Normally there are no consequences with your shots. It doesn’t matter what you do as there are others who have the same responsibility are you over the piece. Of course, there is some pressure if you are the lowest handicap but you still have to manage your expectations.
Depending on how we are feeling we normally play one of two formats: pair versus pair or us against the course. While both games have a competitive edge it’s really interesting the strategy involved in both games is. Giving everyone a chance to feel as if they contribute can be difficult but I think that we have played enough together and know the game well enough to again manage expectations.
Tee it forward
There has been a campaign for many years, Tee It Forward, that encourages players to play from tees that suit their game better. There are numerous benefits to choosing a more strategic tee with probably my favorite: you can almost feel like a pro having shorter irons into the greens and are comfortably able to reach many par 5s.
Shorter approach shots should mean more greens hit which should ultimately mean lower scores. I shot my lowest score as an adult from the forward tees – breaking par for the first time.
Many contest that it is too easy from the front tees, but everything is relative: your handicap for the day is adjusted accordingly and you level out against the pros in terms of clubs. A pitching wedge will probably go the same as an 8 or 9 iron for me so, say, 130 meters is not the same for my standard as a player as a pro. I feel this is sometimes forgotten by amateurs.
Randomize the tees
If you consistently play the same course, this is a great way to make things a bit more interesting. At each tee we select a random tee to play from – this adds an edge as you normally don’t what to play from the tips and the strategy from each tee position can be very different.
Change tee based on score
I saw this on YouTube a short while ago and how yet to play it yet, but I am sure that we will try this at least once.
This game can be relative to your own game, but it is probably best played with a handicap in place. You would start from your normal tees, in my case yellow, and give yourself the handicap from those tees.
If you were to make a net birdie on the hole, you would move forward a tee. If you were to make a net bogey the hole you would move back a tee. The finer points of this game need to be agreed upon but if you can maximum move up or down one tee at a time I would imagine that you can spend more of your time not playing from the back tees all the time.
This is a fun one but a little weird because this is basically agreed cheating. Of course, the scores don’t count for anything other than within your group.
How often have you seen a pro overshoot a green by 10 meters and been saved because there is a grandstand? Or they fire a tee shot way off to the right and it hits a spectator and bounces back into play? Or the player is way off line, in deep rough, and a TV camera tower is blocking their line of site?
This game replicates the lucky breaks professional golfers can get during tournament play. The foot wedge is the 15th club in the bag and you are not penalized for carrying too many clubs.
Not much can really be taken from this format, other than it can show you what your scoring potential is when you eliminate bad shots.
The final point in this list may not be for everyone. But here is a little background into part of the reason I included it.
I am an old-school golfer. I played in an age where golf etiquette was pretty strictly adhered to and you were often an outcast if you didn’t behave in a certain way.
I don’t move when others are about to play their shots (when they are nearby) and I certainly do not talk while others are playing – I think this is just plain rude.
I know this can be accidental but if someone is new to the game, or maybe even not so new, they may not know to shut the fuck up when others are playing.
I have really tried to block the noises out but sudden noise, especially, is still pretty difficult to ignore. Over a winter of simulator golf I have gotten a whole lot better at this and to add to this we have music blaring in the background.
I remember the first time I experienced music on the course – I really wasn’t sure if I would be able to concentrate on shots. But to my surprise, I was fine with it. Although you often don’t hear the music unless you are close to the speakers it can be very relaxing or allows you to not think about things too much when you have a wait until your next shot.
I liked it so much that I even bought a clip-on speaker for my bag and listen during my rounds quite frequently. Try it: you’d be surprised.
So there you have it, 4 ways to make golf a bit more fun. What do you think? What would add?
As I watch the final days play of the Mauritius Open on the DP World tour my thoughts drift back to the Dunhill Championship in South Africa and Ockie Strydom’s first victory on the DP World Tour.
I really enjoy the coverage of the tour. I get a stream through ViaPlay (I’m in Finland for those who don’t know) and the tour provides the commentary, I assume. It is fantastic background viewing during the week. Early coverage, i.e. Thursday and Friday, is especially interesting for me as you get to see good and bad: the focus is not just on the leaders and you are not watching putting highlights only – unlike other tours that shall remain nameless.
Watching golf is incredible. Instead of jumping to advertising breaks when there is not much happening, in my stream at least, the cameras jump to the wildlife. Last weekend especially, when the course was right next to the Kruger national park was quite stunning.
But onto the main subject of this piece, Ockie Strydom, and the key takeaways for me.
Weekends are what matter
At the time of writing this has never been so true. Sami Välimäki shot a 10 under par round on the first day of the Mauritius Open this week. However, he has toiled around par for subsequent rounds and has been passed by at least 10 players.
In the Alfred Dunhill, Saturday, aka Moving Day, was dominated by Ockie. He shot a majestic 63 that pushed him to the top of the leaderboard.
You can shoot a good score after a worldie
Going into Sunday I was very suspicious of Ockie being able to hold on to the lead. It is quite unusual for a player to shoot a good round after such a phenomenal round.
I expected the South African to perhaps shoot around par – which would probably be good enough to hold on for the win. However, the player did not just hold on – he dominated. A final round 69, 3 under, gave the 37-year-old a comfortable, in-the-end, victory by two shots.
What was perhaps even more surprising was that his lead was cut dramatically by the time he reached the tenth tee after his double bogey.
You should never give up
One of the main stories about this victory was the history of Ockie Strydom. The member of the Sunshine tour had never won on the DP World tour. In 13 years as a professional, he had a couple of wins on that tour but had recorded a staggering 19 second-place finishes.
It goes to prove that you should never give up. The win will be life-changing for him. He now has a full card for the DP World Tour for the seasons. And who knows, if he finishes in the top 10 in 2023 a place on the US PGA Tour is possible.
A very solid performance that ignited over the weekend, with a fantastic and great (under the circumstances) couple of rounds proving that there is always hope if you keep on practicing and believe in yourself.
My golfing history. A checkered past? I played as a junior and like most young kids had quite an awful temperament. I soon realized that I wouldn’t make the grade,
I played at Dunkeld & Birnam Golf Club in Perthshire, Scotland during my teenage years (in the 1980s). A short, hillside 9-hole course (at the time). We had quite a vibrant junior community with 10-plus boys, including my younger brother.
We didn’t have direct access to a golf pro, but we had occasional visits from Craigie Hill GC, Frank Smith, and a few very invested members: a special shout-out to John Cunningham who helped with coaching and transportation.
I cannot remember exactly when I started playing, but my mother was the influence – we played together in mixed tournaments with no success but it was fun.
I got down to a 6 handicap towards the end of my teenage years, and played a couple of times for my county but realized that I would never make it as a golfer so when college came around my priorities changed.
Cue a hiatus of about 30 years until I took up the game again properly. I got a membership at my local golf club, Pickala, for my 50th birthday (2019) – I had the aim of playing 50 rounds. Little did I know that I would become completely obsessed with the game again. Now I cannot get on the golf course enough.
Golf now is so much more about having fun: being out in the countryside; at one with nature; with friends; maybe hitting the odd good shot. I am also trying to #manageExpections (thanks @loustagner) with the knowledge that I am not a pro, do not practice and the pros actually do quite as well as you would think.
I am currently trying to shift a bit from managing my expectations to having #noExpectations at all: check out @scratchattitude on Twitter for more on that philosophy.
I do look at stats and use this information on the areas of my game that need improving (if I were to practice) but the scores and the handicap are coming down – which adds to the enjoyment of the game.
In the off-season, which is long here, I’ve even signed up for weekly trackman sessions to keep my eye in and swing flowing. Roll on the new season.
I started my YouTube channel earlier this year and realized just how hard it is to film without the buy-in of your playing partners.
I did the inevitable “what’s in the bag” for a warm-up but the first real golf videos were filmed on the par 3 course, Garden, at Pickala Golf Club in Siuntio, Finland. Editing is quite shoddy and there is a lot of work to try and live up to the title of FUN.
To that end, I decided to put filming on hold and try to focus on the golf. As you can My Golf Year 2022: summary it was quite okay – and it was FUN!!!
However, I thought at this point I would share my favorite channels, not a top 5, which is coming soon, but a general list of great content providers.
The inspiration for my media company – these guys and gals highlight some great courses. The players’ abilities can vary but I feel there is something for every golfer.
There are instructors on there too. As recommended by many great golfers and podcasters, be careful not to think about this stuff too much: these instructions don’t fit all players and it can be overwhelming.
The link is below, enjoy the content and please let me know what you think. I am now on Mastodon by the way. Why not start a nice conversation there?
2022 promised to be a tremendous golfing year. I had spent one evening a week in a golf simulator over winter keeping my swing intact. I had high hopes of improving my game in terms of consistency, bringing my handicap down, and perhaps getting a decent score in the senior championships but how did it pan out?
I had set myself some, attainable, goals not only with regards to handicap but also my approach to the game.
Goals for 2022
- ✅ Have fun
- ❎ Practice
- ❎ Prepare properly for each round
- ✅ Play 75+ rounds
- ❎ Get my handicap down to 4
- ❎ Play well in the senior championship
- ❓ Manage my expectations
As you can see, I failed many of my targets. I think I am getting better at expectation management. With the unofficial help of Kent Osborne, Lou Stagner, and Jon Sherman I have managed to get more control of the mental game with regard to expectations – especially when I take into account my failure in goals 2 & 3.
I did play a lot of golf this year and for the most part, it was great fun. I so much prefer no-pressure games when playing with my buddies so I think I played too many individual rounds – but we did mix it up with scrambles and random tee challenges.
I played the worst rounds of the season during the seniors’ championship. I can’t quite work out whether this was pressure or just that I was in a rut at the time. I DID start off terribly with an 8, I think, and I did hit 3 tee shots on that first hole. I cannot remember now whether I played the 2nd or 3rd ball – that is a positive that I am able to forget, right? Be a goldfish!!!
Handicap wise I managed to get my index down to 5 over the final few rounds of the year. This was mostly due to the fact that we have been playing from the forward tees. Playing golf where you have scoring clubs in your hands more is great fun though. I managed to break par for the first time as an adult recently.
What are my goals for 2023? Exactly the same. Hopefully, we will have a longer season and the golf courses won’t get so beaten up over winter.
What are your goals for next year?
At the time of writing, the final round of the final LIV tournament is about to tee off. There have been quite a few things that I feel have not worked this weekend but there have been many positives too. Here are my 3 reasons why LIV golf worked this weekend.
Matchplay is an exciting format
There is no doubt that matchplay is one of the more exciting golf formats. The standard of play does not need to be great but the ups and downs within a game cannot be matched – assuming that the games are close.
Players do not need to play their top golf, they can still make the play interesting as errant shots are usually only damaging on that hole – there is always a chance of getting it back.
The team aspect is fun
Throughout the season players have been banging on about the teams but for the most part, this aspect was playing second fiddle to the individual competition.
This weekend the focus is entirely on team play. Whilst the teams themselves mean nothing, at this stage: may be different when teams are more stable and possibly franchised, you can get drawn towards specific teams and once they have proper identities there will be more partisanship.
The match has to be won
I really liked the fact that there were no halves. I am not sure how motivated a match would be to continue if the team result was already decided but yesterday was a great example of a game playing on past 18 holes and being decided in quite a thrilling fashion.
How to improve?
LIV has been agile when it comes to changing things up quickly and I think there are a couple of things that could make this event especially better for the future. You can read about that in my next post: coming soon.
What did you think of the LIV golf invitational so far?
The final event of the inaugural LIV Golf season started yesterday in Miami with the first day of team matchplay. After jigging around with the game formats, they decided on 2 * singles and a fourball match so each team had 3 games with 4 players. All set for a great day? Here are 5 reasons why today did not work.
No one cares about the money
The fact that Dustin Johnson has won $35 000 000 this season, on top of his signing-on fee, is neither here nor there for most people. It is an obscene amount of money. It takes the sport to a whole new reality but ultimately it is about the competition and, dare I say, legacy.
From the on-field commentary to the “pressers” LIV is a hype machine. Even Donald Trump tries to get in on the act. Boring. Too much.
I know they are trying and are not helped by their top players sliding down the OWR rankings but there are a lot of players who are severely past their prime and many who are totally unproven on the highest stage.
To me, who is quite an avid follower of World golf, I don’t know about a third of the field: which is about the same as a USPGA event.
Quality of golf
Tricky to call this as most of the challenges come below, but while Cam v Phil was an epic matchplay match was the scoring that good? Especially in the others, with the exception of HV3 who was outstanding but wasn’t featured too much in the coverage. Does it matter in matchplay anyway?
The biggest faux pas for me was the TV coverage. I do not even go near the condescending and brown-nosing commentary: it was what was shown. I am not sure if this is due to a lack of cameras, editors that don’t understand golf, the format, or the fact that only a few matches generated any interest… but it was awful.
The main feature was Cam v Phil, and rightly so – it was 2 of their biggest “stars” in what turned out to be a very good match. Then LIV flitted between other “star” matches to get the ones with the most excitement. However, that meant that they didn’t really feature any of the other matches in any detail.
As the fluff content, they tried to show the climax of every hole but it turned out to be a putting roll. USPGA YouTube channel gets slammed for producing highlight reels that are 90% putting: this was LIV today.
Add the out-of-context nature of the presentation: who was that? what team does he play for? what hole are they on? how many holes do they have left? was this earlier or live and has the score been updated already or not? It was even more confusing than the normal presentation.
A lot of ranting yet I watched all of day 2 too. I will follow up shortly about what was right about this weekend’s LIV tournament. What did you think?
2 man scramble matchplay was the format for the Sunday game. My partner and I played quite (read very) poorly on the front nine. We were 2 over par and 4 down at the turn.
We did manage to get it together but the opposition was too good for us on the day and we lost 2 and 1. We did come home in a rather nice 5 under par though.
I have no images/shot tracking to show today but the shot highlights were probably not as interesting as our combined scoring. We had 4 birdies in a row and for 2 of the birdies we had coming home we didn’t even win the holes.
The shot highlights though are mostly the norm: great drive up onto the plateau, excellent approach by my partner to about 2 meters, and putt for birdie on one of the hardest holes (not by stroke index).
To narrow it down to one shot: the 15th hole; the second shot from about 160 meters to a saucer-type green. A really nice 6 iron to the heart of the green that took the slope and ended up about 2,5 meters from the pin.
Holing the putt made it a sweet birdie and gave us some hope at that point. We lasted 2 more holes.
It was a great game though. So much more fun, for me at least, than playing your own shots all the time and losing interest early on. I still enjoy the scenery, ambiance, and company on these own-scoring days but today and similar certainly add an edge.
The weekend started with a traditional own score, lose interest after 3 holes type of round. Forest was the course, and whilst there was some sort of optimism I lost the round very early on.
|Date||9th July 2022|
|Course||Forest, Pickala Golf Club|
|Tees||Yellow: 5 400 meters|
I start out really badly although I can take the positives of the home 9 holes where I hit a few really good shots. The first, or best, was a 7 iron from 134 meters to about 2 meters on the 17th hole.
While I did not make the putt, the approach was sweet – just aiming for the center of the green, and luckily the ball went where I was aiming.
The 13th is always a fun hole and depending on the wind you can get quite close from the tee. On Saturday we had a slight tailwind and I was able to carry the water to leave an approach shot of about 30 meters. I managed to know that in close and get a rare birdie on the day.
Hole 12 provided the final highlight. From the yellow tees, it takes a really good shot to get up onto a plateau allowing you to at least see the green. If you take the shortest route from the tee you can get blocked out by a tree. This happened to me so I had to work a shot.
A 5 iron up the hill, aimed right with a big draw around the tree. I ended up going through the green but it was good to know that I can shape shots when I need to.
Some positives in an otherwise shit round 😀
Another midweek round. On Park again. This time we moved it forward to the blue tees for a bit of fun. Yesterday’s round was perhaps a bit of a fluke and my expectations were pretty low.
And rightly so. This round turned out to be a bit of a shocker. Yet again it was quite hard thinking back on the round and trying to pick out highlights.
|Date||7th July 2022|
|Course||Park, Pickala Golf Club|
|Tees||Blue: 5 400 meters|
Trying to pick out the good shots, the best strike of the day was on the 16th hole.
I finally hit a drive of the centre of the club face and with a tail wind and most likely a very friendly bounce I left myself an iron to the par 5 after a 273 meter smash. I duffed the iron shot onto the green and two putted for my only birdie of the day.
Another highlight was 3 hybrid driving iron. I used this club quite a bit today and high point was probably on the second hole. I managed to cut the corner and carry the trees to leave around 140 meters into the pin.
The final highlight was the driver again, overall the driver was perhaps the best club in the bag today.
Again I managed to fluff a shot in on the way to a bogey, but 246 meter drive over the trees was a nice way to finish from the tee. As you can see from the image I ended up with a bogey, to come back in 37 (1 over) so things were improving.
However, overall the iron play especially was very poor. I hope this improves over the weekend.
After a weekend away from the golf course, I was back to Park on a midweek round with some random dudes (all around the same handicap). It was windy and sunny so after a break in play I had no real idea what to expect.
|Date||6th July 2022|
|Course||Park, Pickala Golf Club|
|Tees||Yellow: 6 000 meters|
This turned out to be a very strange round. I started with my usual pull shot on the par 5 first. I followed up with a reasonable hybrid up the fairway to leave around 70 meters to the pin. I nice gap wedge to about 4 meters was missed but I thought: “Solid par – more please!”.
The wheels came off immediately and I shot a quadruple bogey on the next and almost all my shots went almost straight away. It was like I had never hit a golf ball again.
Over the next few holes, with a few exceptions, I managed to steady the ship. This phase was capped my highlight #1. An 119 meter bunker shot to about 10cms.
The sand was firm and although I was quite close to the lip I was able to get a great contact on the ball.
Another collapse ensued on the next hole – mostly caused by a drive in the water but again I hit a few bad shots in a row. I was 6 over par after 8 holes – 6 strokes over on 2 holes. I’d effectively par in from there.
I had a number of looks for birdie after that. One that got away was on the 11th hole. A short par 3 playing about 110 meters directly into the wind. Having seen one of my playing partners hit to about 2 meters, I almost hit his ball from my tee-shot and rolled out to about 2,5 meters.
My final banked shot was again on the par 4 17th hole. Like a valley of death I smashed my hybrid 3 iron right down the centre of the fairway. I gave myself another look for birdie but again had to settle for a par.
As I said, it was a bit of weird round. I had a lot of chances today, played absolute crap in parts but was overall quite steady. Driving was not great and cost my most of my shots.
But tomorrow is another day. And another round on Park. Stay tuned.
I’ve been playing quite a lot of golf recently but most of it has been pretty poor and I’d seemed to have lost interest in trying to document the good from the bad.
Today I played for the fourth time this week in a practice for a better ball competition that takes place next week. We overall scored quite OK and personally took a few strokes over my handicap that were mostly down to poor execution: especially around the greens – perhaps unsurprisingly.
After a scramble in the rain yesterday in the rain from the “ladies” tees we were back on yellows on Forest.
|Date||19th June 2022|
|Course||Forest, Pickala Golf Club|
|Tees||Yellow: 5 900 meters|
The highlights overall were better driving and reasonable iron play but if you pick three then the putt on the 9th for a birdie was the first memory. I hit pin high about 5 meters to the right and drained the putt. This was even sweeter as I double-bogeyed the previous hole.
Although this was not the longest shot ever with my 3-iron hybrid it does cement the case that it was a good investment and I hit it pretty consistently.
The final highlight kind of summed up my round. Not a great drive, but on the fairway, I good lay-up (it was blowing a gale at this point) and then a really good 7-iron to under the hole to around 3 meters. I narrowly missed the putt.
Overall, this yet again could have been a round to my handicap but my short game is absolutely killing me.
Practice and lessons beckoning.
I’ve been playing over the past 3 days and thought I would summarize them all in one go. This is partly because the first round was mostly un-memorable. I’ve really been struggling of late and shot memories are the only thing I can really take from the game – not a great score.
Friday was Seaside. An evening round with Hannu I shot in the mid-80s. Highlights were parring the first hole — a hybrid into the middle of the fairway and a solid 9 iron t about 4 meters. I hit quite a few iron hybrids also they seem to be quite consistent.
It was a very enjoyable round nonetheless – summer is here.
Saturday was at Lakisto. Only the 2nd course I have played in Finland outside of Pickala. I played really well on the first nine but fell to pieces on the back nine – although I did finish with my only birdie of the day.
The highlights were that there was grass on the greens. I still managed to 3-putt a few greens but I did putt a lot better – 31 for the day.
Strategically I played very solid on the front nine. I was placing my drives well with hybrids and 3 wood. I was very prepared for the new course challenge. Unfortunately, I tired so I was unable to maintain the scoring.
If I were to take only one shot into the memory bank it would be the 160-meter 6-iron uphill to the third hole. It ended up about 2,5 meters from the hole on the correct plateau. I gave the putt a chance but it wasn’t to be.
Another great day out with great company though – even though the actual golf didn’t match.
Sunday was at home on Park. There was a noticeable improvement in the greens but they are still not up to standard yet – maybe next month.
The highlights were the scambles on the front nine. The only hole that I didn’t up and down led to the first bogey of the round. To be fair my chipping was saved by the putter.
Overall I putted very well, with one three-putt with a short miss that was a misread as opposed to a bad putt.
I drove pretty well today too – with a 255-meter mini-bomb on the last. My iron play was not so good though so the putting really keep the score down despite 2 double bogeys. They sandwiched my sole birdie/highlight with a long swinging put on the short part 3 11th.
Great company and weather again so a really nice few days. There may be a few signs of life in the game. Roll on Wednesday.
The second round of the week, and we are on Seaside again. Did I manage to keep the demons away?
Short answer: yes. Sort of. I introduced new bad outcomes that were hopefully one-time but I continued my poor run of form.
|Date||5th June 2022|
|Course||Seaside, Pickala Golf CLub|
|Tees||Yellow: 5 700 meters|
I won’t go into the trauma of the first hole but I did manage to find the fairway. That is where the good stuff stopped. My first real highlight came on the 5th hole. I smashed my 18,5-degree hybrid iron right down the center of the fairway about 215 meters from the tee.
After crashing from that shot, the rest of the round was about trying to make some memories. I was getting desperate.
Roll on the 17th hole following one from another hybrid tee shot this time 150 meters to the pin. I was a bit between clubs but ended up hitting a really sweet 7-iron pin high. I was 2-4 meters away and of course, missed the putt but this was probably the strike of the day.
Final highlight: the final hole. 120 meters with a pitching wedge to about the same distance as the previous hole. Obviously, this was not really close to the hole but it was a great hit, right on the line of the flag, and the outcome was really determined by a mound at the front of the green. I think if I had carried about a meter more this would have been really close.
So I managed to snatch a few nice memories from a round otherwise memorable for my ripped heels from the new golf shoes I was wearing.
I managed to sneak away for a midweek game on Seaside today. Playing from the yellows Seaside is not my favorite course but I feel I have a few demons to crush.
I didn’t crush them today unfortunately but there were a few highlights that I have picked out today.
|Date||1st June 2022|
|Course||Seaside, Pickala Golf CLub|
|Tees||Yellow: 5 700 meters|
Today I had a serious case of the “lefts”. This is not good as I have a significant issue with the water on the first hole: on the left. I managed to take a club that didn’t reach the water but I still gave myself an impossible shot.
So the first highlight was my 150-meter second shot that I hit low and hooky round a tree to end up about 25 meters left of the green. Most importantly it avoided the water in front of the green.
I left so many putts in the jaws from short-range today my putting highlight was holing a 3-meter putt on the 7th for a birdie. It just dropped but it capped a well-played hole for me.
The final highlight of the round has a chip-in from the fringe on the 11th. I hit a great approach that was just too much club, I got a bit of a flier. This left me with about 10 meters and I rolled a 4-hybrid into the cup.
Overall it was a sloppy round. The lessons learned were that I struggle with fatigue after a day of work and that I really need to warm up / hit the range before my game. Hitting a few balls before the round is a very noticeable improvement, unfortunately there sometimes just isn’t time.
Do you find range first helps you? Comment below.
Weekend game number two was a nice morning stroll around Park from the Blue tees (5400). I am more than happy to play from the more forward tees as you have less club for second shots and it makes some of the par 5s makeable.
The round started really badly: bogey; double bogey. Mostly due to really poor irons shots and a large distance from the flag, putting was especially testing today. I ended up with 37 putts.
|Date||29th May 2022|
|Course||Park, Pickala Golf CLub|
|Tees||Blue: 5 400 meters|
As a general highlight, I was pretty solid for the 16 holes that followed the disastrous start but for actual shots, the first entry to the highlight reel was an 80-meter gap wedge shot to about 2 meters on the fourth hole. This was an entry because I have struggled a bit with the new wedges but today I managed to get to grips with the clubs.
A 3 hybrid of about 190 meters on the 8th hole ended up just short of the par 5 in the bunker. It was a really good strike and about 1 meter from being an excellent shot.
The final highlight was a 150-meter knockdown 6 iron on the par 3 15th. The hole was in-between clubs due to quite a strong wind. It was a beauty and ended up about 2,5 meters from the pin. My birdie attempt went sideways unfortunately so an easy par. But it was really satisfying to be able to “work” a shot.
Saturday round was a scramble on Forest from the yellow tees (5700 meters). There was very light rain throughout the round but it wasn’t too unbearable.
The highlights of the day are complicated today. We didn’t really sink any putts so we only made 3 birdies.
I suppose the highlights were the first tee. This is two rounds in a row where I have smacked the ball right down the middle albeit not as far as the previous round. I hope now that I have got over my bogey hole.
Other highlights we hitting all the greens on the par 3s. Nothing super close but it should have given 4 players a chance of getting a birdie.
The final highlights would be the drivers. I hit a few duds but in general, the drives were fairly straight and of a reasonable distance.
An early round on a day off work with my buddies. It was mostly fine despite the risk of rain. The golf was awful but the company was good as always. The golf in fact was so poor that we switched to scramble format for the second nine. I lost 5 balls today 🙁
Positive highlights were difficult to think of today but a couple of drives and one approach shot make it into the highlight reel.
A 221 meter 3 wood down to the end of the fourth fairway was the first positive. It put me into a prime position on the hole but I managed to self-destruct from there.
The next hole contained a 228-meter 3 hybrid iron tee shot. Again right to the end of the fairway. I managed to par out that hole.
The final highlight was on the eleventh hole. A 140 meter 7 iron to a tight pin position to about 4 meters. We were in scramble mode by this point and we did not manage to convert this into a birdie.
All in all the golf was not memorable or good, but at least I have a few shots to cherish.
The first of four rounds scheduled for the week, an late afternoon start in a twosome, as the other couple dropped out perhaps because of the threat of rain, we had an enjoyable round on Park at Pickala Golf Club.
The pace of play was around four hours since the 2 groups in front were held up by a foursome – but that didn’t matter. That allowed for more thought about the shots we played and to chat.
The rain stayed off, there was only a little rain (for about 1 hole) and there was some decent golf.
|Date||25th May 2022|
|Course||Park, Pickala Golf CLub|
|Tees||Blue: 5 400 meters|
The course is really raw right now as it’s only been open a few weeks so I am not going to take too much from my putting stats but it is very difficult to score when you take 22 putts on the front nine. I won’t dwell on this though and my first good highlight to remember was my attitude.
I jokingly said after 9 holes that I would try to shoot 35 in to score 80 but my main thoughts were to make some memories. I did even between and hit a 2 under par 34 to actually break 80.
After struggling with putting on the front nine I managed to pull myself together so a couple of par saves and two birdie putts will be banked today.
The final highlight was a driver off the desk on the par 5 12th. I was behind a tree and needed to work the ball left to right with a little over 220 meters to the hole. I actually put too much bend on the ball but ended up pin-high in a greenside bunker.
As a side note, I was able to play with a friend today by seeing his reservation and free slots within the flight using Red Lenses Golf. If you are a NexGolf user you should really check it out. Read more on how to add NexGolf bookings to your calendar.
This weekend’s Sunday game was on Forest from the yellow tees. It was still quite windy so we tried to relieve the scoring pressure a bit by having a better ball matchplay game on the side.
The result of the game was semi-irrelevant but it was still fun – especially as the winning side both played to their handicap or better. I was on the winning team.
|Date||22nd May 2022|
|Course||Forest, Pickala Golf CLub|
|Tees||Yellow: 5 900 meters|
The highlights for me today were 2 drives and one hole. The first drive was on the first. If you’ve read the disaster that was the 20220518 Summary you will know that I have a problem on the very first hole. The same goes for Seaside come to think of it.
Anyway, today I decided to aim further right and really took care with my alignment and cracked a great drive down the center of the fairway. Hopefully, the demons are gone now.
Next up was a drive on the par 5 seventh hole. Slightly downwind from an elevated tee, I hit an absolute knuckleball. It caught a downslope and ended up at 280 meters. It left a 4 hybrid to the green. The ball just went through the green but I managed to get it up and down for a birdie.
The final memory bank shot was from deep rough after a horrible duck hook, I had about 140 meters into the par 5 for my 3 shot and caught a really crisp 7 iron that went under a tree, landed just short of the green, and ended up about 3 meters from the flag. It was the third birdie of the day.
There were a lot of positives today. Hopefully, this does not go to my head and make me think I will play like a pro next week.
A windy but sunny and moderately warm early Saturday round on Park was the start to the weekend. The usual foursome playing individual Stableford I played OK in parts but had 2 disaster holes in a row that ultimately caused the lousy score.
|Date||21st May 2022|
|Course||Park, Pickala Golf CLub|
|Tees||Blue: 5 400 meters|
Again playing from the blue tees it all went to pot on the 7th hole visiting 3 bunkers on the way to a treble bogey to be followed by a double-bogey on the 8th. But on to the good.
My memory bank entries cover 2 holes. Not only were they both birdie holes every shot on that hole was good in its own way.
On the 10th I hit a 235-meter blind drive to leave about 80 meters to the flag. I hit a 52 degree to about 4 meters and holed the put aiming about 2 meters to the left of the cup.
The 17th hole of Park is a hard hole and you need to hit the fairway. I hit a hybrid about 170 meters into the center of the fairway. The highlight here was that I was actually on green grass and I said to my colleague that I should make the most of the good lie. I hit an 8 iron to about 3 meters and holed out for a rare birdie on the hole.
Given that my two 7s included taking 5 to get the ball into the hole from 110 meters or less this could have been one of the rounds where I played to my handicap. But it was not today.
There is always tomorrow though. It’s Forest on Sunday.
Today’s round was fairly impromptu. I only decided the night before to play. The weather was set to be nice, and it was: 18 degrees, and sunshine though the wind was quite strong.
Normally I play quite well with strangers. Today was an exception as I carded the worst round of the season by a long shot. The round started badly and it continued, becoming apparent that I was just looking for shots to put in my memory bank and not to shoot a good score.
|Date||18th May 2022|
|Course||Forest, Pickala Golf CLub|
|Tees||Yellow: 5 900 meters|
A straight to course round – I have no real excuses. 3 off the tee at the first incurring the first of 7 penalty shots for the day. My tee shots got better as the round progressed but I was fatting so many shots and never gave myself a chance. I ended up hitting 4 greens in regulation.
So the highlights, what makes it into the memory banks?
Despite the overall poor performance on the tee, tee shots were the main highlight, piping drives down 17 and 18, and the best of the lot, though not the longest, was on the 12th where I comfortably made it up the slope to the plateau.
I also holed a few putts today from over 2 meters. I had my usual anomalies mid-round but overall I putted quite well and perhaps covered the cracks of the short game.
Overall a game to forget but the memory bank has good drives and putts saved for another day.
I have to say that I really enjoy watching the LPGA. Not that I would come even close to beating any of the ladies in a match there is a certain air of realism to their games. They are methodical, lacking real egos and they hit the ball around the same distance as me.
This weekend’s tournament was at the Founders Cup. Minjee Lee managed to up a gear to win by a couple of shots. She perhaps struggled a bit throughout the round, not really getting the ball within good birdie range but she was quite comfortable in the end.
This was Minjee’s 7th win on the LPGA tour and she is currently ranked 4 in the world. It is no surprise as she has been playing very well this year. The only surprise is that it took here so long to win this year. Thie has the number one ranking score average: 68,89.
Minjee has been great for quite some time, coming from a very strong amateur background. And as a junior, both she and her younger brother, Min Woo, have won the USGA junior championships respectively.
She is one of my favorite players on the tour so I was very happy to see her perform so well this week. Her form must put her amongst the favorites for the next Major, the US Women’s Open, in June.
Well done and good luck Minjee.
Part 2 of the pre-NATO golf weekend concluded with a windy round on Park from the senior tees.
It was quite a weather contrast from the previous day. There was plenty of sunshine, I think it hit a whopping 15 degrees at some point, but it was windy. Very windy.
|Date||15th May 2022|
|Course||Park, Pickala Golf CLub|
|Tees||Blue: 5 400 meters|
Compared to yesterday’s summary I think there are more specific highlights this time around. This journal is supposed to be a collection of positives so I will steer clear of the stretch today where I completely forgot how to putt.
The first highlight was a 86M pitching wedge straight into the wind. Drilled the 75% swing to about 2 meters. I missed the putt and really putting was the highlight of the day.
The second highlight was 2 shots on one hole that make the 3 things to remember from the round. On the par 5 16th hole I really caught a driver and it went straight down the middle leaving just over 200 meters to the green.
I took out my 3 wood and promptly pull-hooked the shot into the forest. But by some fantastic stroke of luck, the ball kicked out and into the rough leaving about 100 meters to the pin.
With the ball below my feet and an adequate lie, I smashed a pitching wedge high over the impeding trees. The ball pitched on the front of the green and rolled about to about 1,5 meters – narrowly missing the pin. I holed out for my second birdie of the round.
The final good though was my bunker shot on the last. Flat lie in the bunker but downhill shot from heavy sand I targeted a hard hit but the real measure was how far behind the ball I hit.
To avoid decelerating on my shots in the bunker I need to commit to hitting the ball (or more correctly sand) hard. I almost holed out from about 10 meters and secured a nice par to finish off quite a decent round of golf.
This was quite a positive weekend overall, and again the weaknesses in my game are glaringly obvious. Lessons and practice should help.
The first round of the weekend included quite a heavy and unexpected shower after around five holes. But the rain did not dampen the spirits and the whole group managed to play within an acceptable buffer.
|Date||14th May 2022|
|Course||Forest, Pickala Golf CLub|
|Tees||Blue: 5 400 meters|
This was a game of 2 halves. Fairly solid in the first nine, all over the place in the second. We were playing from the “senior” tees, so there was a bit of an advantage on about 4 of the holes otherwise the tees are similar to the standard yellow tees.
The main highlight was the number of legitimate birdie opportunities I had. I would say that I had about 7 chances from 3 meters and under. Unfortunately, the greens are pretty raw and sandy since the course has only been open for a couple of weeks. I am not using that as an excuse but I am also not that worried about missing 5 of the 7 chances I had. It will come.
Driving was pretty decent. I didn’t hit the ball very far today, but I also didn’t hit it into too much trouble either. I striped a lot of irons today, thus the birdie chances. Putting was mostly poor and my chipping was crap.
Around the greens is an area that I really need to practice. If I want to get my handicap down to 4 then this part of the game must improve.
I have a voucher for one lesson with one of our club professionals and vouchers for several more. I should really get a booking.
Golf teachers often mention one thing to try to remember the positives from your round to help influence future shots and decisions by how you reacted in certain situations.
There are various suggestions about how to do this with writing the top highlights being frequently suggested. To this end, I have decided to document my highlights and put them online for easy access and perhaps act as a reference & guide for others – especially if I actually learn from my writings.
I hope that these findings are interesting to people and that they can coexist with course vlogs as and when they are released.
Both the DP World Tour & the USPGA had quite remarkable winners this weekend. Both are worthy of a mention.
Max Homa was a great winner in the Wells Fargo tournament over the weekend. I did not watch any of the coverage live but managed to catch up on YouTube. I think the main reason I wanted to take about this is because of my experience of the golfer.
I have never met him or interacted with him. He is hugely popular on Twitter and I do follow his antics on that social media channel. Follow him here if you don’t already. You will be entertained.
My main touchpoint though was a video blog he did recently with Barstool Sports on their YouTube channel playing them as a four-man scramble against Max.
I won’t spoil it if you haven’t seen it, watch here, but he came across as such a nice guy. Very determined on the golf course and hugely talented.
In the DP World Tour Thorbjorn Olesen won the British Masters in what was an incredible event. I missed the first day and then followed him on the TV on Friday. He was all over the place but he was getting up and down almost all the time.
I missed Saturday and then picked up on Sunday again and he was having a mare. He again was all over the place. He had a severe case of the lefts. He looked so dejected on the 16th but managed to scramble a par. Then the 17th and 18th happened. Quite unbelievable.
I missed all his previous wins on the tour as I had several years away from the game but this must give the average golfer some hope: you can play crap but as long as you chip and putt you have a chance.
Congratulations to both!
Did you watch these tournaments, what did you think?
This is probably one of the most common golf videos out there, but now it is my turn. This is the what’s in the bag video for 2022.
- Driver: Mizuno 220 ST-X
- 3 Wood: Cobra King F9
- Utility: Cobra Black Utility 18,5
- Hybrids: Cobra King 3 & 4
- Irons: Mizuno JPX-919 Hot Metal Pro 5-PW
- Wedges: Wilson Staff 52, 56, 60
- Putter: Cobra King AGERA ArmLock
As you will realize if you watch the video and perhaps if you pay close attention to the clubs listed I have too many clubs for a regulation round. What club I leave in the locker depends on the course that I am playing but I am basically trying the get the utility club into the bag when needed. This means that either a hybrid or a wedge is usually omitted.
Given my recent practice sessions, I may also consider leaving the 5 iron behind – it all depends on the gapping needs of the day. But a 60-degree is quite a new thing for me so I don’t really miss this too much when it’s not in the bag.
Nothing too outlandish in this Cobra bag – what do you think?
Finally. Pickala Golf Club has opened its par 3 course, Garden, and there is a semblance of real golf away from the simulator.
At this time last year, we have already been on one of the main courses after a few weeks of pitch and putt. This time around there is still quite a bit of snow and there is still a frost at night.
This was an opportunity to get the camera out again and this time tweak the video with a bit of commentary. I normally use a Crosstour CT9900 action camera attached to my golf bag but as I was only carrying a few clubs I tried with iPhone and gimble (which is broken). As you can see, the results were quite varied so this is really just a practice to build up skills in a few areas before hopefully much nicer videos.
The video cuts are a bit raw and there are obviously few frills right now but give it time. Check out the video above, give it a like if you want, and subscribe so you get all the latest videos.
And please, please, please leave a comment and tell me what you would like to see and what I can improve.
PS: I said in the video that I was well and truly thrashed in the game. It wasn’t 15 shots though: it was 16. 😀
I eagerly await Golf Sidekick’s latest and greatest video posts on YouTube. He has been a great source of inspiration to me since I returned to golf a few years ago. He has many wise sayings and thoughts and truly “get” where he is coming from.
Some of his thoughts are about keeping the ball in play and the 6/6/6 approach to the game that I think can be used by golfers of any handicap – it works really well if I can implement it as I play off around 6 so it is easy to calculate.
In recent weeks he has talked about CENTURY – an acronym so complicated I cannot remember and I think Matt just made up and thought that he had to run with it. Whilst the points in the word do work I think it complicates things a bit and I like to use WELD as a method to plan my golf shots.
The great thing about this system aside from the fact that is super simple is that it is super simple: you can start the process as you walk to the ball to take the next shot.
Before I go into detail about WELD I would like to make the disclaimer that I did not create this process. I heard it on one of the many golf podcasts that I listen to regularly and thought it was so simple that I would give it a go. If you take these 4 steps into consideration in setup then you are on your way to execution.
Wind. A factor that directly influences your ball flight. You can gauge the wind as you approach your ball. Check out the clouds, trees & bushes, and water, and get ready to take this into account as you evaluate the next factor. The general rule of thumb is for every 1mph (0,5 mps) of headwind you would add 1% of the distance. Conversely, for each 1mph of tailwind, you deduct 0,5%.
Elevation. Whether you are shooting uphill, downhill, or on the level influences your distance. The general rule for this is the 15 feet formula. (@4,5m) – so for each 15ft difference in elevation add or subtract one club. Again this can mostly be worked out before you get to the ball.
Lie. Whether you are in the rough, in a bunker, in fescue, or on the fairway all have an influence on the distance you shot. Shots lying in the fairway should go the distance you except unless you’re in a divot but shots from elsewhere then have other factors influencing the outcome and results may have various fluctuations in spin, loft, and subsequently distance.
Distance. The final piece of the jigsaw before you execute your shot. You have all the other factors assessed already, you now measure the distance and select a club based on this and the previous 3 factors.
What swing thoughts* you may have at this point is up to you but by going through the WELD setup process you should be in no doubt where to hit and what club to hit is with.
* I will probably post a few ideas about swing thoughts in the coming months, but needless to say, you should try to keep them simple and remove any doubts in your mind when you are about to swing.
That was some week wasn’t it? From late Friday afternoon, it looked as if newly crowned number one Scottie Scheffler would run away with The Masters. To be fair he made it a lot closer than it needed to be but it all added to the final day drama.
Scottie seems like a really sound bloke from the podcasts and interviews I have heard him in. But he is determined and has been a multiple winner in all stages of his career to date. So it came as no real surprise when he won his first USPGA tournament – the surprise was that it took so long.
From that elusive first win, he has become a champion 3 more times including the latest and greatest so far: The Masters Champion.
My favorites for the week were the in-form players: Scottie and Cam Smith. Between them, they had four wins this year coming into the tournament. Cam put up a great fight but disaster struck on the 12th and he never really recovered.
An honorable mention goes to Rory McIlroy. Once again Rory managed to get a backdoor into the top 10 and in fact achieve his highest ever placing in The Masters with a final round 64. Thank you Rory for at least making the final hour interesting. It was great to see his enthusiasm and joy after the round and the scenes on 18 when both he and then Collin Morikawa managed to hole out from the bunker were quite unbelievable.
But the week belonged to Scottie – once the Tiger frenzy died down. Great to see the legend back on the golf course but you can’t help feeling that all the media attention (and most of the pressure) was taken away from Scottie, Rory, and Cam because of the hype surrounding arguably the greatest golfer of all time.
He is on a heater right now (to steal a phrase). How long will it last? Who knows but to hit a hot streak around a time there is a major is great and it couldn’t happen to a seemingly nicer, or human, person.
Are you a user of the NexGolf booking system for your golf games? Red Lenses golf allows you to add your tee times directly to your calendar.
As an avid golfer located in Finland and playing at Pickala Golf Club all out tee reservations are done using NexGolf course management software.
One thing that I felt was missing was the ability to see upcoming golf rounds in a calendar so I built a simple web application that does just that.
Here are 5 reasons that you should be using the Red Lenses golf application:
See your schedule
If you have a combined calendar you can see if you have conflicting events at a glance so it’s easy to say “sorry, I am playing golf!”.
Share your bookings
Adding tee times to your calendar allows you to share these times with others. So if you don’t mind that your partner knows exactly where you are there is no need to explain all the time
Trigger phone events
Depending on your phone type, and whether you want triggers based on geofencing you can silence your phone, for example, based on your calendar schedule.
Playing partner status
Check who you are playing with and what handicap they play off straight from the calendar event.
Works with most calendars
There are multiple formats available but the ICS version has been tested on multiple calendar software and works on Apple, Google calendar, and Microsoft Outlook. Please note that the service is dependent on the NexGolf application service.
Bonus tip: It’s free
I would really love your feedback. Why not reply to this the tweet below?
I’ve been playing quite a bit of simulator golf over the close season and had a equipment malfunction. To be fair these balls did last about 10 full rounds but it did make me think a bit.
I noticed that Gilly, a regular guest on the Dan Hendrickson YouTube channel had similar sort of issues (different manufacturer). He joked that it was because he had played so many rounds with the same ball.
For me, my best is about 4.5 rounds before losing them, these were about 10 and then a serious few thrashings whilst trying to up my swing speed but what about you?
The DP World Tour is back and this time they were playing in Kenya. After a hiatus of a few weeks, it was great to see golf back on TV and there were some quality shots played.
Ashun Wu secured his 4th DP World Tour victory with what turned out to be quite an emphatic 4 shots. His 6 under 65 was pretty comfortable but I think the turning point was the birdie on the 8th I think where he hit a poor approach that went past the hole on a plateau leaving a tricky downhill putt. The commentators were suggesting getting away with a 2 putt would be a good result. He dropped the putt that swung back and forth and back again.
The tournament would not have been so magical to Ewen Ferguson. The Scot, in his first full season on the main tour, led overnight by 4 shots. A final round of 75 ensured that he would enter the history books for all the wrong reasons. Keep your chin up Ewen – your time will come.
Congratulations also to Daniel Gavins who ended up with a top 6 finish.
With all the talk of the breakaway tour in the US and the fact that the Arnold Palmer Invitational was played at the same time, it’s interesting to see the amount of coverage of this event in the press. BBC at least has a leaderboard only and more interest in Scottie Scheffler. Thank goodness the internet is a big place and there are more sources of golf information.
Did you watch this tournament, what did you think?
After what seems like a lifetime the DP world tour is back. My routine is back and the golf is in the background as I work. But I’m delighted to see our Daniel son has started very well.
Dan Gavins, known in Golf Mates circles as Daniel son, has made a blistering start to lead the Magical Kenya Open after the first round. As is the norm he mostly managed to elude the cameras but we did managed to see another monster putt holed on his final hole of the day.
With all the PGA chat surrounding Phil, Greg and the Saudi Golf League, let alone the atrocities that are happening in Ukraine, it is nice to get some light relief.
Watching live golf, albeit on TV, is a great getaway for me and I cannot wait for the winter to end so I can get near a golf course again.
Of course, the situation in Ukraine is awful and wish for peace and an end to the fighting as soon as possible. I can only imagine the emotions right now.
At last, I have finally pushed a golf video to YouTube. After years of threatening to do so, I uploaded a short clip of this week’s simulator golf highlight.
Of course, it is winter here in Finland so there is no on-course action just yet, but I thought that it would be good at least to test the software that I currently have, see how YouTube actually works and give the views a sneak peek of what is to come.
This is the 17th hole at Taiheiyo Club Minori Course. A slightly pulled drive, a peach of a second – why am I telling you this? Give the video a view … and a “like”. Please 🙂
There will be more sim videos to come hopefully giving you an insight into our purchasing decision going forward. A couple of friends and I are looking to buy a simulator for fun and business and we are trying out the current options. In Finland, the Helsinki area, there has been an explosion in the golf sim market and we are seeking a way to differentiate.
Stay túned for more. In the meantime, please comment below on what you look for when choosing to play indoor golf: for fun; for practice?
There is no DP World Tour golf this week so there has been a little void in my life. However, there is a lot of chatter about Phil Mickelson and the Saudi golf league.
I am sitting on the fence for this one – mostly because the argument against Saudi’s human rights is, whilst undeniably bad *, little better or worse than many other nations that golfers appear quite happy to make money from.
* I do not condone or support Saudi Arabia one bit.
On the subject of competition – I believe that this is a good thing though it was very interesting to hear the punditry on or around the Farmers Insurance Open. Most commentators were saying that the field was weak, winning was demeaning etc.
Legacy is an interesting area of conversation. New events of course don’t have anything but they have to start somewhere. Counter that with firsts? WHo knows? It may be great for a few players. But will it ever be the same as winning The Masters with its pure and fine history (sarcasm).
Ultimately it comes down to money. Phil appears to be aggrieved that he as only made around $100 million from professional golf. I do get your gripes about image rights but you signed the contract Phil – about 30 years ago.
For the most part though I think his comments have been out of line and the obnoxious greed quote is a mirror of himself.
It’s your choice Phil, no one is stopping you but don’t forget your green jacket on the way out. #golfTweet
What do think? Comment below or join the conversation on Twitter.
Welcome to Golf is fun. I’ve decided to start blogging again to hopefully drum up some interest in the web site and back up my belief that I have some knowledge in the game.
Of course I am no pro – and I realize (known for many years) that I never will be. However everyone is entitled to an opinion. Feel free to have start a conversation . I would love to hear your opinions around the game.
To kick things off though, I thought I would congratulate Ryan Fox on his second DP World tour victory.
He was quite majestic all week and was never really challenged in the end at the Ras al Khaimah Classic. Rounds of 63, 69, 65 & 69 gave him a total of 22 under par and a comfortable 5 shot victory.
What did you think? A worthy winner for sure, but does the ease of victory make viewing less interesting?