I hear a lot about the future of golf and how bleak things are in the golf world. They obviously don’t know about my new buddy Sean, a 9-year-old golfer I met this week.
On the 13th tee at Bonneville I looked back at the par-5 12th to see a very young solo golfer hitting to the green from about 160-170 yards. He reached the green, a feat I wasn’t sure was even possible for a player of that age and size. When his ball reached the green I saw him jump for joy and do some fist pumps. He was stoked.
Then I watched him hit the very difficult par-4 13th green from roughly 150 yards, while I was teeing off on the 14th. A lady walked by from the nearby houses telling us “I can’t keep him off the course.” When mom walked up to him he proudly told her of his current birdie putt of about three feet.
Sean caught up to me and my partner on the 18th tee. He confidently walked up and said hello. Then very politely asked if he could join us and play the final hole with us. “Of course,” I said. After talking to him for a minute I could instantly tell this was a special young golfer and couldn’t resist rolling some video, which I hope you enjoyed.
When golfers play by themselves it’s interesting to watch them. Some players play a couple of balls or play mulligans, or pick up short putts and don’t finish the hole. Sean hit one ball on every hole and putted-out. He played honest golf, by himself.
My 3-year-old Seve and I have had a blast with the new BIG MAX Autofold FF 3-wheel push cart (UK: trolley). I set it up in my office and have been carting him around the hallway, living room, and kitchen. Finally after about 14 hours that fun finally wore off I got a chance to take the trolley out into the back yard and get some pictures of it.
BIG MAX Autofold FF Push Cart/Trolley
I will begin testing this cart on my next walking round, Monday. Then I’ll keep it in play the rest of the week until I take off for Scotland. I’d really love to bring this trolley with me to Scotland to use it there instead of carrying my bag or renting trolleys there. Oh well. Life is rough.
BIG MAX Autofold FF Push Cart/Trolley
Stay tuned for my full review of this push cart soon. Initial impressions are that this is a well engineered, substantial piece of golf equipment. Let’s see if it holds up to some real abuse use.
Earlier this week I enjoyed playing a casual round of golf with my good friend and Iraq War vet Bryant. As you can see from the photo below Bryant was injured and now has a prosthetic leg. He has been featured in many local papers and articles for his willingness to test out new amazing leg technology. Unfortunately during our round he didn’t have his newest leg as it was broken. He was sporting the old one.
I have the game of golf to thank for meeting Bryant. We met at River Oaks in the men’s association. We’ve become good friends and played many rounds of golf together.
With the 4th of July coming up I can’t help thinking about Bryant and his family, as well as other vets who have sacrificed so much so I can have the freedom to play the game of golf. I’m thankful and I have great respect for guys like Bryant for putting themselves and their lives second to our country’s safety and security.
Hats off to Bryant and all other veterans this 4th of July weekend. Thank you for your service and your sacrifice. You have my gratitude.
The best thing about running one of the world’s best golf blogs isn’t the gear, the travel, the hot groupies in yoga pants… It’s meeting cool people in the golf industry and often times playing golf with them! Case in point is a very fun canadian chap I’ve played golf with several times now, Claudio DeMarchi from TravelingGolfer.net. Claudio is one of the funnest people I’ve met on the HOG World Tour.
Above is a fun video I put together of Claudio doing some golf trick shots on the Pete Dye course at French Lick. The course is one of the most difficult courses in the world, but Claudio can easily stripe drives down the fairway on tees nearly as tall as he is! What’s that all aboot, aye?
At the time my handicap was the absolute best I was playing with a group of eight guys, none of whom was higher than a 5-handicap. In the group there was a zero and a bunch of 1’s and 2’s. It was a tough group. If you didn’t bring your A-game, you had to make sure you brought your A-TM game. I really loved the competition level and intensity of those years, and I think playing in that group helped me improve and play at a high level, for an amateur. I was playing 4-5 times per week as well, which I’m sure helped. My handicap got as low as a 0.9.
Unfortunately that group dissolved. I still play with some of those guys, a time or two a year.
Fast forward 10-15 years to now. Because of where I am in life (translation: day job, wife, 3-year old, limited time), I can’t play 4-5 times per week. I’m only able to play two times, and perhaps a 3rd time if I’m lucky. Yes it sounds crazy that I say “only,” because many amateurs play once a week, once a month, or maybe a few times a year. I realize despite a 50% drop in rounds, I play more than probably 90% of amateur golfers. Playing less does not help my game. Winter around here in northern Utah hurts the game as well. Nothing hurts your feel and crispness as much as a six month frost delay.
But now that summer is here I’m past the spring rust phase. I’m also playing quite a bit right now. It’s not cold either. Many of the reasons or excuses I could use for not playing well are not useable. Up until about 1.5 weeks ago, I’ve struggled to break 80 with many rounds around 85. Why? If I knew that, I would fix it.
The last week and a half though, I’ve finally seemed to turn a corner. Rather than mid 80’s, I’ve got a 74, 76, and two nine hole rounds that come in at -2 and even. What happened? Did I suddenly become a better golfer? Did I change swings? Did I put a new driver into play? What?
So what is contributing to the better scores? I don’t feel like I’m hitting the ball much better, but I’m scoring better. I don’t feel like my abilities have suddenly changed. What has changed is my “playing environment.” I’ve changed from the casual buddy group to the more intense competitive match play and tournament rounds. Also played 18 with a different group a couple of days ago, all who hit the ball as far or farther than me and could clean my clock on any given day if I don’t bring the A-game. It seems that perhaps for a while I’ve been in a playing rut due to the group I’ve been in. All good chaps for sure, but I’ve gotten too comfortable in the group. I’m not focused. There are higher handicap players in the group as well. Perhaps there’s a bit of “playing to the level of the other players” going on. Perhaps being around a higher handicapper for round after round has caused me to lose focus in my own game. Try not to interpret that as an arrogant comment. Think of another individual sport like tennis. A high level tennis player may not improve or keep his skills in top shape playing an opponent who is not at the same level. Yes one could argue that another player’s game should not affect one’s own golf game and there could be some truth to that. But I’m generally the kind of player who plays better if I’m around better players.
So where does that put me if the above analysis is true? Part of what makes golf enjoyable is the camaraderie of playing with friends. Perhaps the approach should be to keep the serious golf on the schedule, and play the casual and less intense rounds with the buddies now and then too.
Or maybe all that is a bunch of nonsense and I’m just playing better now. It could just be the phase of the moon or because I put my left sock on first instead of the right one this past week. Wait, I think maybe the better play is because of better underwear scripting…