Pop quiz: Is it possible to lose $21 playing golf with a $2.00 bet?
Answer: Yes, when you’re me and playing against the guy with the best short game in the world.
Yesterday was round 3 of the 2017 season for me. I have low expectations since I have now logged 3 rounds in 3 weeks and 3 rounds since November. It doesn’t even bother me that my rounds are getting worse. I know through many years of experience that it takes me a while to get my game back in the spring. That’s a great reason to move somewhere I can golf all year, but that’s a blog post for another day.
Yesterday’s round featured a match between the team of me and my buddy Arnie, and Dalton and Al. Al is a senior player closing in on 70 years old who I’ve played 100’s of times with. He has the best short game of any amateur golfer I’ve ever seen, and better than most pros. Man was that short game on display yesterday.
Al is not a long player, so he often misses greens he’s unable to reach in regulation. If he misses any green in regulation by 70 yards or less, I’d put his lifetime up and down percentage at around 75%. It was so amazing yesterday that I was hoping my putt from the fringe would be closer than his shot from 60 yards. By my calculations yesterday he failed to get up and down once out of around 14 times. That was on the 18th hole when the match was already closed out and it didn’t matter. Hehe.
At the end of the day Al had taken all the cash I had on me, $21. Nothing more fun than leaving the course with an empty wallet. But it was the cheapest short game lesson I’ve ever had and I learned a lot from him. He hit almost every shot low. Low runners. And unlike what a lot of short game experts tell you (to land the ball just on the green and have it release) he would land the ball short of the green and the ball would roll to the hole like a putt… to 1-2 feet. His release on those shots is pretty low and short too.
Inspired by Al’s short game I was able to get up and down three consecutive times on the back nine, probably a world record for me.
I must resist the lob wedge and go low and run my short games unless the situation forces a high shot. That’s a goal for this season.
Fresh off the slow boat from China (seriously) is a set of sharp looking head covers from Craftsman Golf. Craftsman Golf is a Chinese maker of golf accessories, everything from head covers to bags, to ball markers.
Craftsman Golf Head Covers
I’ll begin testing these covers this weekend and post a full review in a month or two when I’ve had ample rounds to fully evaluate their quality, ease of use, and durability. Stay tuned.
I now have two rounds in the books for 2017 after a four-plus month break from playing. I did not hit a shot. After finishing last year’s handicap rounds with several scores in a row in the 70’s, and a final even-par 72, my handicap stopped at a 3. Here in northern Utah they turn the handicapping off from November to April. So my handicap has been a steady 3 since November!
My long time buddy/partner and I teamed up today in a match against two higher handicap players. We agreed to give them eight shots on the round, and promptly got our asses kicked. They haven’t played much golf either and that’s when it dawned on me. Net matches this early in the year favor higher handicap players. Hear me out.
As a rusty 3, this early in the season I’d consider breaking 80 an achievement. Shooting 75 this early in the year is not likely. I won’t be shooting mid or low 70’s for a while, until I get my my game back. So my handicap may be a 3, but I certainly will not be playing to a 3 for months. In fact, each spring my handicap usually blows up from low single digits to around a 6. Then as I card some lower rounds in the summer it goes back down.
As I witnessed today, at least in the case of the guys I played with, a higher handicap doesn’t seem to have the problem of shooting their handicap. They’re going to shoot high anyway. Odds are much higher IMO that an 18 will shoot 90 after not playing for months, than a 3 shooting 75.
So the “net” result is losing net matches early in the season until I can shoot my handicap. I don’t suppose I’ll be able to talk them into gross matches? LOL.
Struggled today. Then I realized I ate this on the 1st tee.
I’m looking forward to being out in the warm sunshine today. Forecast is 74 degrees. Just a few weeks ago I was neck deep in powder skiing. Welcome to Utah. I have my season golf pass and I’m now 37 rounds away from breaking even on it, hehe.
First round a week ago was an 80 after a plugged lie in the 17th bunker. I was playing a new ball and with winter rust and muscle atrophy from not swinging a club in months, I’d lost some distance. Today I don’t expect to light it up, except perhaps making more putts.
I’ll be going through the giant pile of stuff in my office before I take off for the course to see if there’s anything I can start testing for upcoming reviews.
Mostly, I hope to look as good as the golfer stud pictured in the stock photo to the right. He’s got carrying a stand bag full of 4 clubs nailed.