Yesterday, Christmas day, was a blast. Once again a few buddies and I continued on the annual “Christmas Classic” golf tournament, where we hit the 12 Balls of Christmas. The winner is the player whose ball is closest to the pin. Usually we pick a par-3 hole, or as was the case yesterday, we make one up.
The competitors left to right: Robert, Kevin, Dan, Tony (me) – Click to see more photos…
Yesterday’s hole for the championship featured the teeing area of the par-3 3rd hole. From there we hit back over the bridge to the par-4 2nd hole green. The shot was about 147 yards, with a light snow flurry blowing from left to right (a north wind of course).
The competition was fun and when we arrived at the green to see who the champion golfer of the year would be, my friend and really good guy Dan was the winner. He knocked a shot to about two feet!
2014 Christmas Classic Champion Dan! Well Played! Click to see more photos…
Congratulations to Dan, the champion golfer of the year. That’s a fine shot, old chap.
Stay tuned for the video highlights soon.
You’ve procrastinated just about long enough, now you’re not sure what to do for the golfer on your Christmas list! Here are a few quick ideas for you, most of which you should be able to pick up just about anywhere golf equipment and accessories are sold, or at your local golf course.
Fill your golfer’s stocking up with golf tees. Seriously. We golfers can never have too many.
I suggest checking out the Tornado Tee, Champ Zarma Fly Tee, or Frogger Green Monsters.
I love having a wet/dry towel in my pocket. It is great to have when I get to the green and realize my ball needs some cleaning and my large towel is far away from me off the green.
I suggest a Frogger Amphibian Ball Towel, which should be available in big box golf stores.
If your golfer wears a glove, pick up one or two. Golf glove wearers can never have enough. If you’re not sure what size or brand to get, sneak a peek inside your golfer’s bag and check out one of his/her gloves in there.
I’m quite fond of Asher Golf Gloves.
Just like golf tees, we golfers can NEVER have enough golf balls! Not sure what brand your golfer likes? Just like the glove gig above, take a peek in his/her bag and see what balls are in there. If it’s a mixture or you’re still not sure, I’d go with a Bridgestone Golf ball.
If your golfer is a low handicap go for the B330 or B330-S, and for a mid-handicap go for the B330-RX or B330-RXS. Higher handicaps perhaps the Bridgestone E-Series balls would be good.
Lessons from a PGA Pro
A gift that will keep on giving for a long time would be some lessons. Any golfer, no matter the ability level, could greatly benefit with lessons from a PGA Pro.
Head to your golfer’s home course or a nearby course and pick up a gift certificate or buy them a set of lessons.
While you’re at your local course, pick up the golfer on your list some GOLF. Most courses sell gift certificates, or even multi-round punch cards.
Pick up the golfer on your list a five or 10 golf round punch card, or perhaps some buckets of balls on the practice range.
If all else fails above, pick up some bacon for the golfer on your Christmas list.
Why? Because: BACON!
I built up quite a large amount of prize money at my city course, a large chunk due to my best finish in the Salt Lake Amateur (2nd).
My first world problem was having to spend about $1,400 in the pro shop before the season ends. That may seem like an easy task for an average golfer. I’m not an average golfer. Because of my golf websites and connections, I have every golf club, golf apparel item, golf accessory, and golf product known to man. I can’t go to the bathroom at 3 a.m. without tripping over some kind of swing training device. That last thing in the world I want to do is spend $1,400 on golf stuff.
So the task was to find a way of spending $1,400 without buying anything golf related. Tough to do when the only place you can shop is the pro shop at the local city course. Once I realized the course was an Ecco dealer, I asked the pro if the shop could get Ecco street shoes, not golf shoes. He had never ordered them before, but checked with the rep and sure enough he could order any Ecco shoe which was available.
I ordered SEVEN pairs of Eccos. Some are standard street shoes. Some skate shoes. I even got some unbelievable hiking boots. The lovely lady even benefited by receiving a pair of lady lightweight shoes and a set of amazing hiking boots.
If the 7 pairs of shoes fit, wear them
I’m going to be set in the street shoe department for a while.
The good news? I don’t have the exact number, but I think I’ll still have $300-$400 left to spend. I wonder if they deal in Kentwool socks…
Most golfers like to have “friendly” wagers against their playing partners on the course. There are hundreds of different golf betting games for said friendly wagers, and perhaps someday I’ll post them here as a fun resource for golfers. It would take quite a while.
I’ve been involved in many “money” games over the years and had some crazy situations arise when emotions and tempers flare up. Golf can do that, and in the heat of the moment we can make dumb choices. For me a typical friendly bet is a $2 nassau, $1-$5 skins, and maybe a $5-10 overall low (net or gross) score wager. With those numbers one might win a few bucks when playing well, or lose just a few when not playing well.
There is a point at which a friendly bet becomes not-so-friendly. That’s the point where the money becomes the focus, rather than a friendly golf game with your buddies. Putts which would normally be in the “friendship zone” and called good in match play are suddenly not good and must be putted out. That’s a point in time where players can become irritated that their putts were not called good, and tempers can flare.
A friendly game is not one in which the losers go home pissed off at their friends because their round cost them too much money. If that’s the case, the bets are too high or there have been too many presses. When my friends play well to beat me, I have no problem shaking their hand, patting them on the back, and giving them their $4.00. But if I have to hand over $50, along with green fees, I’m looking at $100 day. That isn’t exaclty fun.
I’ve had some crazy bets and scenarios happen in my day, below are a couple of the most memorable.
Winning $150 with my pants down
A guy I used to play regularly loved to double the bet when he was down. It would start at a $1 per hole, then $2, then $5… $10 etc. On the 17th hole I was beating the guy so bad he threw his putter about 40 feet up into a pine tree and had to climb up and get it. He owed me $50 at that point. By the 18th tee he was so mad after climbing the tree that he wanted to bet me $100. I agreed to the bet figuring at the worst I’d lose $50 and as mad as he was, I’d probably win the hole.
I duffed my tee shot on the short par-4 though, and it didn’t make it past the ladies’ tee. Back then we strictly enforced the pants down rule if one’s tee shot didn’t make it past the ladies’ tee. With my pants down I crushed a 3-wood and though the finishing hole was uphill, I reached the green. Naturally (pun intended), with my pants down, I drained the birdie putt to win the hole.
Total take $150 and one pissed off former friend.
The bet too big to collect
Years ago on the driving range with a buddy we started a contest. A quarter to each player on the range who could hit the targets out there. This range had 50 gallon drums, old cars, and all sorts of targets. We went back and forth hitting targets and betting. Soon we started to do double-or-nothing bets.
The game moved to the practice putting green where it started at $1 per hole. I started to win holes and my opponent doubled up the bet each time, figuring he would eventually win. He didn’t. The bets started to get out of hand. $25, $50 etc… It got to the point where the guy owed me $250.
“Double or nothing,” he said when down $250. I told him that the game got out of control and I was not going to let it go any farther. I was done. He begged for one more bet, so I begrudgingly agreed and picked a hole some 100 feet away to insure we would both 2-putt and be done.
I made the putt.
I never collected the $500 from that day’s crazy practice bets. I told the guy to forget it. I can only hope he would have done the same for me, but I suspect he would have insisted on collecting.
This year I’ve paid close attention to where the ball is impacting the club face, especially on my driver. Despite lining up the ball on the center, when I actually hit the ball the mark is about a half inch toward the toe, and sometimes even farther. This kills distance big and decreases accuracy as well. Consistency? Forget it.
I told my good buddy and playing partner of many years that I keep hitting my driver on the toe. His comment was so dead-on and made so much sense that I can’t believe I didn’t think of it first. He simply said, “move closer.” So sensible! Since then I’ve been lining up the ball about half way between the driver’s center and the shaft. I’ve found the sweet spot more times this year than in many, many years. One big difference between really good golfers and higher handicaps is proximity to the center of the club face.
My distance is increasing more and more with the same clubs and same balls. This isn’t the technology people. It is simply making sure the ball is hitting the club at the perfect place. Yesterday I had several drives over 300 yards in my round, with an 86% fairway percentage.
In short? Don’t over-analyze. If you hit the toe of the club, move closer. If you consistently miss right, aim left!