Every Christmas, if our home course River Oaks is closed due to snow, we contest the Christmas Classic Golf Tournament. This tournament has been going for probably longer than a decade (I’ll have to look at the record books for the exact year). It’s a festive and fun event featuring good friends, the 12 balls of Christmas, snow shovels, and good spirits.
The format is simple. We pick a par-3 hole, or create one. Each golfer hits 12 balls. The golfers hit them in groups of 3. When all shots are complete, we go to the green and find the closest ball to the pin. The player who hit that closest ball is the champion golfer of the year and gets to keep the legendary (and missing) ugly green hat. I lost the damn hat. I think it’s in my basement somewhere.
Below is the video highlighting the 2015 event.
Over the years we’ve gotten very artistic at marking the 12 balls, so that when we venture to the green to find them they are easy to identify. Buddy Dan has taken the artwork to a whole new level. See his balls below, so to speak.
And I must post a picture of the first-time champion, Robert Lund. Robert is also the voice and music behind the Christmas Classic theme songs from last year and this year.
Congrats to Robert for joining one of the most exclusive groups of champions in the world.
The courses have been closed for months here in northern Utah. I’ve enjoyed the break from golf, mainly the break from my short game. So during the winter layoff while working in my office I’m watching Tom Watson’s Lessons of a Lifetime II, a multi-DVD golf instructional program with over 3.5 hours of instruction. Who better to teach me chipping and pitching than one of the best ever?
Watching some short game lessons during the big snowstorm
Every aspect of the golf game is covered by Mr. Watson, from full swing to short game to putting. There are even lessons targeted specifically to kids, and seniors. Here are most of the topics:
Basics of the grip
The swing (takeaway, backswing, downswing, finish)
Shotmaking (high, low, draw, fade, hook, slice)
Playing in varying weather conditions
Bottom of the arc (perhaps the most important factor in many swings)
What I like about Tom’s style is how clearly and easily he describes the situations, the objectives, and how to execute the shots. I’ve been trying to absorb as much as I can from Tom, especially that pesky short game.
Most Valuable Lessons For Me
I’ve found there are several things I’m not doing in my short game which Tom says are crucial: Find the bottom of the arc and put the ball slightly behind it. Set up square to the target, then open up the body, but close the left hip/side. Pick a landing spot, and see how long the roll is with varying clubs while still hitting the same landing spot.
I’ve watched Tom’s tips for handling pressure a few times now. Since I only compete in high pressure situations a few times per year, I seem to get pretty jumpy and nervous. I find it hard to slow my heart rate down and calm down. When the snow melts and I’m in one of those first pressure situations this next season, I’m looking forward to employing Tom’s advice.
This multi-DVD set is full of great golf lessons and I should be better at playing it more often to help my own game. It’s nice to pick a point of focus, like short game, putting, bunker play and try to absorb the concepts.
For a price less than a single golf lesson, this DVD set from Tom Watson has hundreds of great golf teachings which can be viewed over and over again. What a value.
Here’s the latest driver from Taylormade, the M5. The M in the name stands for “Mixer.” This driver’s inspiration comes from the audio mixing console, like you see at big concerts and stuff.
Golfers will be able to adjust the usual driver properties like loft, face angle, lie, and so on. New adjustments will include parametric filters on several different bands, balanced and unbalanced inputs, high and low pass filtering, inline compression with hard and soft knee adjustments, effects inserts (adding a plugin type architecture for 3rd parties to develop their own “driver APPS”), noise gating, tube pre amplification, dynamic range expanders, and a bypass button for when the adjustments get so crazy you need to turn them all off.
Perhaps this is the the peak of the adjustable driver era? I’m not sure there are many more ways we can adjust these things. Statistically all these club adjustments over the years have had NO effect on amateur golf scores, which have not improved in decades.
Ironically, via the internet I stumbled upon a great article which gives a different perspective and reason for the shrinking game of golf, the internet. The net actually grew golf for me, exposing me to much more information about golf, playing the game, golf travel, golf equipment and so on. But I get what writer Rory Hughes is saying. It’s much more easy for people to surf the web and update their Facebook status or watch funny cat videos than it is to play a difficult long, expensive game in nature for five-plus hours without an internet connection.
Nice job Mr. Hughes. It’s a great angle and certainly a contributing factor to golf’s struggles.
If the web is the primary reason for golf’s shrinkage, I wish it would hurry and get as shrunk as it can. My home course is too crowded and the rounds take too long. It’s too expensive, plus the greens take too much of a beating. If we could get more people staying at home watching funny cat videos I could get a full 18 hole round completed in less than five hours, on better greens.
I missed the gym yesterday. That makes three years in a row. But now that I have some of the new Dunning Golf “Technical Sportswear” I may finally have the motivation to get back at it.
Dunning’s new sportswear line is so luxurious and comfortable it’s impossible for me to put into words. Here’s what they say:
“Dunning combines luxury fabrics with clean athletic designs to create a collection of technical sportswear for men. Today’s active lifestyles demand clothing that performs; Dunning delivers unsurpassed quality, year-round versatility and timeless styling, making it ideal for athletics, travel and leisure.”
I’ve got a pair of sweatpants, shirt, and a 1/4 zip sweatshirt to test.