Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hacker Lowers His Handicap By 9 Strokes

I had the pleasure of meeting up with Ron on a cool morning at the Frisco Lakes Golf Club in Frisco, Texas.
Ron carries a Cleveland Hibore 9.5d driver, Cleveland 1-3-4 Hybrids, Calloway irons, a 56 degree Cleveland wedge and an Odessey mallet putter.

I noticed one unusual club that Ron pulled out of his golf bag while we were on the driving range, it was a broken piece of PVC pipe with a very jagged end. It was from a residential water sprinkler system. I had visions of Ron using that specialty club for numerous things like impaling his playing partners should they say something he did not like or using it to, well I only have other unpleasant thoughts and my vivid imagination to consider what Ron uses that CLUB for! I have to admit I have never seen that club in another golf bag in my life.
Ron's explanation for the specialty club was that he used it to help practice a proper alignment! Yea, everyone rips up their neighbors sprinkler system, brakes off a piece of pipe, puts it in his golf bag and tells everyone it is to help practice their alignment! I mean the pipe still had mud on it! IF any of you readers have ever seen this type of specialty club in another golf bag PLEASE tell us where in the comment section.

Ron plays with a regular group of golfers on Friday morning and some times gets in another round on Tuesday mornings. He shot an 85 last Tuesday. He had the normal grimaces and discussed how that 85 could have been an 80 with just a few more putts or a better chip and so on. I think all hackers have similar thoughts after a round of golf.

Ron said the toughest course he ever played was The Trails in Frisco but a little later he changed his mind and said it was the Oneida Golf and Riding Club in Green Bay Wisconsin. He said he shot a 110 that day. He must have kept hitting the ball over into the riding trails!
All of us hackers have had days where if I hit it right, it's a slice. If I hit it left, it's a hook. If I hit it straight, it's a miracle!

Ron has enjoyed great rounds of golf at the El Conquistador in Arizona, Pine Forest in Houston, Texas and The Tribute Golf Club in The Colony.

Ron and the other regular members of his group like to play a game called the Quota Game when they play. The game allows for some gambling based upon your golf skills and a players handicap.
Some hackers, but I am sure not Ron's regular group, can have a tendency to be somewhat generous while playing with friends. They can give mulligans to their friends after an errant shot lands in a water hazard after a really ugly shot or a four foot putt with a big break in it can become a gimme. However, if you have a wager for a cold beer or some money and that friendly neighbor you play with can change from Mr. Nice Guy to Freddie Kruger who is ready to slice you up in a New York minute if you want to bet on a game. Just play nice fellas!

Ron was very pleased with how his game has improved over the last year by lowering his handicap from a 20 to an 11 handicap. I asked him what he had done to improve his game so much and he responded:
He now plays twice a week compared to once a week last year. He has really worked on improving his swing tempo while at the driving range. Then there was his purchase of the Cleveland Hybrid 1-3-4 clubs. Ron said the Hybrid clubs were much easier to hit than his old long irons.

I thought Ron might have said that he improved his game due to better practice habits by using his neighbors sprinkler system to improve his alignment!

I think Jimmy DeMaret said it best:
Golf and sex are the only things you can enjoy without being good at either of them.

Well I just realized that I have used two key words, Sex and PVC Pipe. Man, if someone comes on the Internet searching for sex or PVC pipe and they get a golf blog, that just might really confuse some poor sole!

If you have comment about how to improve your game that you want to share or if you just want to comment on the blog, please do so. And remember:
Golf is a game invented by the same people who think music comes out of a bagpipe. So try to enjoy!
Lee Trevino

Sunday, November 16, 2008

92 Year Old Hangs Up His Golf Spikes

I have had the pleasure of knowing and playing golf with Father Wright for the last seven years. I call him Father Wright as he was an ordained Baptist preacher for over 60 years. He has been married to his wife, who he calls The Mrs. for 70 years.

Father Wright has been using the same Wilson Staff driver, three wood, five wood and Wilson irons for as long as he could remember. The woods are actually the old woods and not the metal woods that nearly all of us use now. He says he putter is like new since it is only 15 years old!
He always said it was the golfer and not the clubs that made the shots run true.

The first round of golf that I played with Father Wright was seven years ago on his 85th birthday. We were on the first tee and he dropped to one knee and said a quick prayer. I asked if he had asked God to help him shoot a low score. He said, owe no, he had asked God to help me with a low score. I thanked him and I would find out later that God had not answered this prayer.

He asked that for his birthday present that he be allowed to use a tee as long as his ball was in the fairway. I agreed and then I got the golf lesson of my life. This 85 year old did not miss a fairway during the entire round. He never hit the ball over 175 yards all day but it was always straight as an arrow.
He used his three wood on a 140 yard par three and rolled the ball up to within four feet of the pin and made his only birdie of the day.

Once Father Wright was within 50 yards of the pin his skills at using the pitch and run shot were extraordinary. He never used his pitching wedge but he was deadly at running the ball up to the pin with his six through nine irons.
Once on the green he would pull out his 15 year old titlist blade putter, step behind the ball to take a look at his line and then step up to putt with the confidence of a professional player. H would then make one practice swing and then sink his putt. He never had more than two putts on any green all day.

I was in awe of his ability to focus and concentrate over each shot and then talk about anything you wanted to between shots and then he would refocus when it was his turn to play the next shot. It was like he had a light switch in his head and he could turn his concentration on and off at will.

When the round was over and I was adding up the score he said it felt like he had shot an 81 today. He was right on with the 81. I had just been embarrassed by a man 30 years my senior. I figured that he was a man of God and would have something prolific to say after defeating me so badly. Instead he gave me the following advise:
Don't worry about your score while playing, just worry about the next shot, that is the only thing you have any control over. Just one shot at a time. You can add them all up when you are done.

Four months ago at the age of 92 Father Wright had a stroke. I had gone over to his apartment after he was released from the hospital. I asked how he was and he said he was afraid that he could not play golf any more, his strength was about gone. The Mrs. chimed in that she had listened to him talk about his golf game for the last 50 years so maybe she could now get some rest. She chuckled and then reached over and held Father Wright's hand with the kind of love and affection that only comes with being married to the same person for 71 years. Yes, there is more to life than playing golf!

If you have any great hacker stories or tips for your fellow hackers, please use the comment section. I look forward to sharing your tips or stories with as many of my fellow "Hackers" as possible.

Friday, November 14, 2008

First Hacker Story

Welcome to my brand new blog site. I searched the Internet to find information, tips and golf stories about the everyday golfer I like to call the "Hackers". I classified Hackers as anyone with a handicap of 10 or more. I like to meet golfers and discuss their scores, clubs and latest stories. I have learned that golfers and fisherman share one thing in common, the longer the period of time that has passed since the event, the bigger the story gets. It is amazing how a 20 foot putt with a two foot break in it becomes a thirty-five foot putt with a three foot break in it over time. I think we are all guilty of that kind of embellishment.

The one thing in common that all of us hackers have is it that one, two or maybe three shots or a putt during the round that meet our definition of the great shot or putt. These are the shots that keep us coming back every weekend hoping for more of the great shots.

My first golfer that I met with was a young man called CJ. CJ is a 12 handicap but after watching the young man play a round of golf I new if he played more often he could be a 2 or 3 handicapper. You can see CJ pictured at the driving range at Torry Pines in the pictures.
The following was our conversation:

He carries the following clubs. A 9.5 degree Taylor Made driver, a 13 degree titlest 3 wood, and titlist irons that range from 2 thru pitching wedge. Also a 56 degree Cleveland sand wedge along with a 60 degree Cleveland lob wedge for the tricky situations. (meaning its tricky to hit right consistently).

If I had a favorite club it would be my sand wedge. I always loved being able to hit the ball sky high and watch it land on the green with a little backspin. That is the closest shot I have to making me feel like a pro.

The toughest golf course I have ever played would have to be Torrey Pines. It was the longest, had the deepest rough, narrowest fairways and the fastest greens. Simply put, it was an ass kicker.

My favorite golf course I have ever played would also have to be Torrey Pines. I know I mentioned that it was an ass kicker, but my competitive nature loves a good challenge. Not to mention its a beautiful golf course and if you are gonna get your butt kicked by the course, you might as well have an awesome view of the ocean!

My best shot on my last round of golf would have been a 2 iron I hit from over 220 yards. I was just so happy that I hit it straight and high enough to land it on the green and stay on the green!
I am not sure that anyone who can hit a 2 iron 220 yards and hit a green can be called a "Hacker"

The worst shot I had on my last round would have to be a shanked sand wedge. There is nothing worse than hitting a decent drive in the short grass and getting all wound up because you are only a decent shot away from a birdie chance and then you shank it straight right into the bunker, deep rough, or various houses. Talk about blowing up! Now that is a "Hacker" shot!

If I could play any golf course that I have never played before it would be St. Andrews. Simply enough, there is so much history and culture there. It is much more than just a golf course, it is where it all began.

CJ offered the following comment:
The best change I made in the short 8 years I have been playing golf would be learning to appreciate this game for what it is and not lose my temper while on the golf course! We are weekend warriors, we do this not to submit our scorecards to the USGA, but because it is FUN! I noticed an immediate improvement in my ability to recover after a bad shot or a bad hole once I learned to forget about it. Sounds like very good advise.

CJ is a bartender at the T.G.I Friday's restuarant in the new Aliante Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. He said if you tell him that you read this blog about him the first beer was on him!

If you have any great hacker stories or tips for your fellow hackers, please use the comment section or my e-mail address at the top of my blog. I look forward to sharing your tips or stories with as many of my fellow "Hackers" as possible.