Yesterday I posted that I saw a glimmer of hope in my golf game and I’m happy to report that the glimmer is shining more brightly today. I know I know. The golf gods will give players this hope so they can be crushed, and I expect that to happen but I also expect to rebound quickly from it next time.
Year’s First Eagle
Today’s round was 18 holes, the front 9 being my Wednesday league. After a very good drive on the par-5 first, I hit an 8-iron onto the green for my second shot and had a slick downhill 12-foot putt for eagle. Nailed it.
Re-Learning Things I Already Knew
I had a decent front nine but two bad holes (doubles) and shot +4 on the front. One of the doubles was a total and complete tactical error. I know on the short par-4 7th that I can’t hit driver because I’ll leave myself with a 1/2 a lob wedge into a green which requires spin. I flubbed the half lob wedge and left myself and even more difficult 3rd, then 3-putted. Had I hit a hybrid off the tee I would have had a full shot into the green and a much better chance at par or better. Sometimes in golf we have to re-learn by making mistakes we should not make. I re-learned I hope.
On the back nine I shot a decent +1 for a total of 77. 77 isn’t where I want to be (low 70’s or even the upper 60’s is my happy place), but it’s the first round under 80 this early season. This season I’m trying to shake off a lot of rust having not even swung a golf club from October to probably March, about half a year.
Another thing I accomplished today is walking the whole 18 holes. This course is very hilly and walking up to many shots the heart rate is high and breathing heavy. That feeling is a lot like the nerves I feel in big tournaments.
One of my aims this year is to walk far more. First I can save money. But most importantly I’m trying to get some kind of exercise. The only exercise I get is clicking a mouse button all day. I don’t think that’s strengthening my core.
The reason for this focus on walking is two-fold. First I could stand to get in better shape, so why not hit a golf ball around while I’m working out? Second, I have a trip to Scotland coming up in July. That’s 36 holes per day minimum, for 8-9 days. Over 100 miles of walking. I need to be ready for that.
I’m on my way to being ready for Scotland, and well on my way to playing some better golf. I can feel it.
Cue the Robin Williams “hope” discussion involving golf… The temperatures warmed up today and so did my game, mainly the quality of shots I was hitting. In my 9-hole Tuesday league I started out with three solid pars and then a birdie. Then managed to get to the 9th hole at +1 until I made one bad swing. On this course, one of my three home courses, one bad swing means big numbers. I tripled the last hole. Buggah, but I see positive in being +1 through eight holes.
Trying to stay positive. Trying to stay positive. Trying to enjoy the walk. Trying to enjoy the walk.
Yesterday I had my first in-water therapy session for my back. I’m a little stiff today. Following a recent MRI I was diagnosed with arthritis, narrowing of the gaps between the vertebrae and a couple of discs slightly bulging. Somewhere in there a nerve pinches once in awhile and puts me down with massive back spasms and insane stabbing pain.
My latest back doc recommended aquatic therapy for the back, to strengthen my core and help relieve some pressure on the lower vertebrae. It was an interesting session. I was in a small pool with a moving floor. The doc had me do core exercises like walking in the water, forward, backward, sideways. He even turned on jets to provide more resistance. I also did some kind of water weightlifting and resistance training.
At the end I did a relaxation session where I floated vertically to let gravity help the back loosen. It was not a difficult session and I had to remind the doc that when my back isn’t tweaked, I’m pretty much 95% and no pain. That said I can have some stiffness in the morning or after sitting for a while. The doc told me I did great and can “take a lot more” than most people, so he will be working me harder in the next session. Bring it on.
He also said if I tweak the back to call or text him and get in the water right away. He says some water therapy can get rid of the spasms quickly. I have my doubts on that, but the next time I tweak it I’ll be giving that a shot.
It’s a darn good thing I’m a web developer by trade and not a golf professional. Otherwise my family and I would have starved to death long ago…
I nearly quit golf several times last year. I actually dreamed of quitting. Fantasized really. I struggled last year, and didn’t find I was really enjoying my time on the course. I felt more like I was wasting time.
So this year I have one main goal: Enjoy the walk.
Today was possibly the worst nine holes I’ve shot in the last decade. Highlights included four 3-putts, drives sliced into the next county, and a shank into a hazard on the 9th hole. I’m chalking this one up to spring rust, a brutal schedule, no sleep, negative energy, lack of transgender bathrooms at the golf course…. anything but lack of talent and lack of practice.
During today’s round I didn’t get mad. In fact, I laughed a bit and did my best to stay positive. I did for a split second have that feeling of wanting to bail on golf. I reminded myself about 2016 and what it is supposed to be for me, enjoying the walk.
I actually feel pretty good about my game, despite the fact that I’m not scoring well or scoring close to my handicap. Most shots feel solid and I’m driving it very well. If I was not hitting it solid I’d feel pretty lost. I know it will take some time to shake off the spring rust and be able to put together some better golf. Until then the handicap will be blowing up like it does every spring after six months of not swinging a club.
There are a few upcoming events by which I hope to have the game rounded into shape for. First is the Salt Lake Amateur tournament, one of the few tournaments I play in each year (great anti-sandbagging setup). Then it will be my club championship, and finally a trip to Scotland.
Today was an aberration. I didn’t have “it” and “it” was nowhere to be found, even in my whole group.
I signed up for a tournament this Saturday. I’m looking forward to feeling that feel of real competition.
1.5 weeks ago I had an unexpected quick trip to Singapore and back. Family emergency. It was a good thing I went and things are all good now. Mission accomplished. Thanks to all who sent best wishes.
I was only in the country for about 20 hours and only had the opportunity to spend about three of those hours checking out the sights. boy are there some amazing sights to see, like the cityscape at night. Wowsies.
Singapore at Night – Tremendous
I spent some time at the incredible Marina Bay Sands Resort. The main hotel has three 50-story buildings with a boat-like top connecting them all (photo below). Incredible. There’s a mall there that’s so high-end there were TWO Giorio Armani stores. You know, for those who didn’t want to walk all the way to the other end of the mall.
I think this resort and supporting retail and casino were built for billionaires to give them a chance to rid themselves of the low-life riff raff millionaires.
Marina Bay Sands Resort – Singapore
While walking around the bay at 9:10PM I happened across a bunch of people sitting on the boardwalk. There were whole families and many tourists with cameras and tripods setup. I found the cutest female tourists I could find (turned out to be German), and asked what was going on. There’s a water and light show every night there called Wonder Full. This show makes the one at the Bellagio in Vegas look like my 3-year-old playing in the bathtub. I sat down and captured some video with my smartphone. It’s not the best, and I was too close so you only see 1/3 of the viewable program. Here’s a portion of the show:
I’d love to get back to this incredible country, and spend more than 20 hours there. It’s a very clean and vibrant city. Cleaner than any big city I’ve been to. I swear you could eat off the ground in the subway stations.