It’s 6:43am Sunday the 4th of June. I tee off in about 2.5 hours for round two of the RCK Salt Lake City Amateur tournament. This is the tournament that’s most important to me each year. It’s an extremely well run tournament which is gross-only, and the format eliminates sandbaggers. The golf course, Bonneville, is always setup and manicured extremely well.
This season I’ve pretty much lost my iron game. I’ve been hitting sometimes as little as two greens in regulation for 18 holes, which is not where a supposed 3 handicap should be. Combine that with my short game struggles and it’s hard to score, though my putting is excellent. If I couldn’t putt I’d be shooting 95 instead of 85. I should be scoring 75, according to my handicap. I haven’t sniffed a mid-70’s round since last year.
So I came into yesterday with a small bit of hope and mostly low expectations. I started out less nervous than normal because of the low expectations. I kept it together on the front for eight holes with a couple of birdie chances that barely missed. Through eight holes I was +1 and began to think that I actually had it together. Then came the nerves.
The golf gods are funny like that. They allow you to have hope so they can crush it. My hope was crushed on the par-3 9th, rated as one of the toughest par-3’s in Utah. I pulled my 7-iron left and it hit the cart path, bouncing way up into deep fescue. I found 12 balls in that fescue, none of which were mine. My provisional tee shot missed the green and I ended up making a 6.
The back nine was a case of my typical round this year. Miss greens in regulation (missed 7 of 9), then struggle to get up and down to save par. The two holes I managed to hit in regulation were pars. My putting for the day was 1.78 per hole with no 3-putts. That’s a feat when they have the greens setup so bloody fast. But great putting can only go so far when you miss 12 of 18 greens in regulation and don’t chip well. I did make a couple of good chips like on 17, where my ball literally had a piece of sod stuck to it. I guess I chip better when my ball has gunk stuck to it.
On the back nine I started to have those thoughts like I did last year. The frustration and realization that playing to the level I desire may not happen again. It certainly won’t happen with my schedule of late, 27 holes of golf per week. When I was down to scratch I was playing 5x/week. That frustration and realization made me think that 2017 might be the last year I play golf.
Fist round score: 82.
Today I will give it my best once again. In A-Flight, handicaps 2-6, I can perhaps break into the prize money with a round in the low-mid 70’s. Haven’t done it in eight months, but that’s the goal.
A shortened version of the typical 9-hole game has recently been introduced over in England as a means of apparently marketing the sport to a broader audience.
According to BBC Sport, Golf Sixes made its debut at St. Albans’ Centurions Club in early May, taking its inspiration -and many of its ideas- from the likes of Twenty20 cricket and Rugby Sevens, the latter of which was introduced as an Olympic Sport for the first time at last year’s Rio Games.
A Chance to Win new Fans
The idea, so says the BBC’s golf correspondent Iain Carter, is win back old fans and introduce many more new ones who were originally put off by the fact that the standard game takes a long time to play, and seemingly even longer to watch.
The article concludes that this is exactly what the sport needs right now, but is it really?
It’s a question that is certainly up for debate among some purists.
On the one hand, yes, anything that introduces more people to the sport can only be a good thing, especially with the potential to use Golf Sixes as something of a gateway to longer-form games.
That said, there are those who would argue that the suggestion that golf is currently suffering from some sort of image crisis is more than a little misguided.
Look no further than the world of sports betting.
Odds on Success
In an age where everything is online, today’s online sports betting sites are using a wealth of tactics to attract new customers. This is particularly true back in England, where Golf Sixes has been introduced.
There exists a wealth of free bets offers UK fans can use to wager on just about any sport imaginable, but increasing numbers of them are doing so to bet on the Masters and the ongoing European Tour.
Elsewhere, for those interesting in enjoying the game without much of a vested financial interest, events at St. Andrews, Muirfield, and Hoylake remain popular.
Then again, maybe the sport is in dire need of an image make-over.
Falling TV Audience Numbers
Last summer, it was reported that viewing figures for The Open plummeted by as much as 75%.
In Europe, this can at least be partially attributed to the event’s move from the free-to-view, license fee funded BBC, to the premium subscription service, Sky Sports. This is evidenced by the fact that BBc’s highlight show of the same event drew higher viewing figures than Sky’s actual live coverage.
Still, if a reduction in viewing figures is likely to be the norm from now on, then there’s undoubtedly a case to be made for Golf Sixes.
The game works by using a shot clock that gave each player forty seconds to take their shots. The time was then cut to 30 seconds for the second day knockout rounds.
The idea, according to Iain Carter, is that by doing so, fans and players alike can skip right to the engrossing shots “down the stretch,” eliminating all the long, drawn out early shots and getting right down into the exhilarating parts of the game.
With only one Golf Sixes competition in the record books, it is too early to tell whether this fast-paced form of the game is exactly what golf needs to revitalise itself, if indeed it needs to revitalise itself at all.
Yesterday I had my regular Wednesday league, 9-holes. I played fairly solid up until I got in a bunker on the 6th and ended up turning that into a double-bogey 5. Score wrecker. The sand at Bonneville is very strange. It’s very light but also very large grains.
The front nine of 2:50 (lame yes) ended at 7:20pm. I headed to the back nine with my push cart knowing sunset is 8:30. I thought I’d play a few holes until sunset and bail. On the 13th tee the thought of finishing the whole 18 started to make sense, so I decided to jog some holes. Admittedly, I’m not in the best of shape. I could stand to dump a few extra LB’s and the most exercise I’ve gotten in the last 10 months is clicking a mouse button. I jogged three holes.
Par-3 15th at Bonneville – 230 yards
I actually played very solid golf on the back at a hurried pace, all by myself. My first bogey on the back was the 460 yard par-4 18th. But before I got there I did some practice bunker shots on the par-3 17th which has a bunker I’ve yet to get out of his year. Same weird large-grained poofy sand. I tried numerous clubs and techniques from blasting an open 56 or 60 to squaring up a 52 and chopping down. Either I would blade the shots because the club bounces so easily, or I’d poof completely under the ball and advance it two feet into the bunker face, where it would bury. After about 20 different attempts I tried a completely unorthodox theory.
I took my pitching wedge and squared up the blade. I put my feet close together like I was going to hit a simple pitch or chip. I did a small chip swing and voila, ball goes out of bunker onto green. I tried it again and got out again. Tried it a 3rd time and put it close to the flag. On the 4th time I made a video (very poor quality, sorry about that). By this time it was past sunset and quite dark.
I was very sore and dehydrated today after walking 18 on a very hilly course, and deciding to jog three holes in a row. But playing that back nine alone with the whole course to myself was quite a zen moment; the best time I’ve had playing this year.
Even with a stop to practice bunker shots I played the back nine in 1:20. That kind of golf I can get into. 5-6 hour rounds not so much.
Last fall and this spring here in northern Utah has been the perfect environment for testing out top-of-the-line wind/rain apparel. I’ve been using my Galvin Green Bart Jacket and absolutely loving it. This jacket is tremendous. Let’s take a look.
Galvin Green is one of the world’s best in terms of outerwear and weather resistant fabrics. The Bart jacket is a prime example. This stretchable, breathable Gore-Tex jacket is completely wind proof. Windchill is eliminated. Do you hear that my friends in Scotland? The key is the “windstopper membrane” which is a protective layer laminated to another light textile layer. The membrane is made of the versatile polymer polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE). The PTFE is expanded to create a “microporous structure.” This sounds like Klingon, but in English it means a breathable material which protects against wind and moisture but allows the wearer’s body to breathe and stay comfortable.
The user benefits from the jacket’s “thermoregulatory function,” which keeps regulates the body temperature for optimal performance.
The fit is tapered in the sleeves and aided by flexible material, as well as a draw string in the waist area to keep the wind and weather out.
I’ve been enjoying how great this jacket feels and performs (not to mention the fantastic looks), not knowing how incredible the technology that makes it happen really is. Researching this jacket has matched the high expectations from Galvin Greena; confirmation in what I already knew, Galvin Green rules.
Here I am enjoying my jacket’s thermoregulatory function, provided by the expanded microporous structure of the polymer polytetrafluorethylene…
Colors include: steel white/gray/borolo red, navy/blue/white, black/deep ocean(blue)/white, iron grey/black/white (pictured in this article), black/iron grey/apple (light green).
Sizes: sizes run from small to XXXL.
I dislike high maintenance golf apparel. I need to be able to throw a garment in the washer and dryer and expect no wrinkles, shrinkage, or fading. No problem here. The Windstopper is cleaned with washer and dryer, and can even be ironed! I’m curious about their recommendation to keep the piece away from fire. Those who like to burn their golf apparel may want to stay away from this one.
The Windstopper ($275) is my current go-to jacket for wind and rain. On the course the Windstopper lets me swing free with no restrictions. It’s also the go-to at the office, where I sit right below an air conditioning vent. I wish I’d hat this beauty for that last trip to Scotland. It’s looking like Ireland and Scotland are coming up and the Bart Windstopper will be definitely making the trips.
This project is one of love and learning. The challenge for me was to learn some programming techniques and libraries. During that process it became apparent that I could use those techniques to port my Utah Golf Guru site and it’s data to an app.
Utah Golf Courses App
The Utah Golf Courses app is simply a listing of every course in the state of Utah. Each course features a photo, most taken by me and some via drone. There is some great, detailed information about each course such as yardage, par, slope, rating, range ball quality, amenities, and even what types of grass the fairways and greens are. I even include some playing tips and opinions on courses. Some make the grade and some don’t.
Utah Golf Courses mobile app
To find courses one can use a standard search, or use the search filters to fine tune the type of course (public, private, military, resort), and geographic location.
It’s not perfect and I’m sure to make some improvements and tweaks. But I wanted to have all the Utah courses and phone numbers in one place on my phone. Now I have it.
Because of the skills I’ve learned through the process of making Utah Golf Courses, I now know I have the ability to make a HOG app for iOS and Android. I’ve begun work on that. I’m stoked to be able to deliver this blog and the massive amount of content here directly to mobile platforms.