I’ve played some form of golf for the last three days here in Salt Lake City, Utah. Golf on December 12, 13 & 14 (9, 18, 18). Those may be the last rounds of the year though. Yesterday the course was green and today it is covered in snow.
Left: Yesterday - Right: Today
Last year the final round was 12/6. The next time I played a round of golf was the day after the 2010 PGA Merchandise show in Orlando, two months later.
It is nice to play golf this time of year, barring freezing to death. Those few rounds will help come spring, when the swing has gone “x” weeks in hibernation. I’m fairly satisfied with the scores from the three rounds, 37, 77, 77. When I have 40 layers of clothing which restrict swing flexibility, and my hands are freezing, shooting any score in the 70’s is good in my book.
Next tournament, 2010 Christmas Classic
Last year I won my first Christmas Classic tournament championship. I’ve been happily carrying around the trophy for a year and I’m looking forward to becoming the first ever player to successfully defend this championship.
In calendar year 2009 the last round I played was December 6. The next time I’d tee it up after that would be the Sunday after the PGA Show at the end of January.
After returning from my media trip to Los Cabos, I was pleasantly surprised to see that about 75% of the snow had melted, and that 80% of my home course was green.
Today I took out some gear to review, and managed to team up with my regular group at River Oaks to play 18 holes. The course was in surprisingly good condition and I made some long putts with two white putters I was evaluating. One putt was 60 feet (and worth several skins).
The temps this coming week will be above freezing, and even one day is supposed to hit 49. In December around here 49 is a heat wave. I hope to get a few more rounds in before Christmas. Good thing too, because I have a lot of gear in my review queue to get to.
Between going to Paris last month, and throwing my back out badly, I didn’t play as much golf in the last few weeks as I would have wanted. In fact, I played 19 holes in 4.5 weeks. When I finally started playing regularly again, I’d lost a ton of my game and my swing was terrible. I was playing like a dog.
I practiced last Sunday quite hard. Worked on ball striking and short game. Hit one of those gigantic buckets, which I hardly ever do because it beats up my golfer’s elbow so bad. But I needed the work. Apparently that paid off because I played some great golf this week. Yesterday I played an Arthur Hills course here called Wingpointe. “Wingy” is a tough course, but for some reason I can play it well. My ball striking was solid, except for three shots and my putting was outstanding. I had 26 putts and even missed two three footers.
Despite there being a 2-3 club wind, I dropped a little 70 (-2). That is my lowest round to par this year, though I have a 69 on a par-70 track here.
Gear in play
Since getting a ball fitting by my pals at Bridgestone Golf, I’m now using a B330-RXS.
During the round yesterday I actually turned to my buddies a few times and told them one of two things:
1. How great the ball feels off of my driver, compressing nicely. I had one drive over 320 and had a 6-iron to the green on a 550 yard par-5.
2. How well the ball sat down on the greens when approaching, even though Wingy’s greens are very hard.
After 18 holes with that new RXS, it hardly had any wear. The thing is durable.
My B330-RXS review is coming soon.
I tried some very high end shoes out for the first time yesterday as well. These are handmade leather shoes from Italy called Royal Albatross.
Based on my round yesterday, I may never wear another shoe. In fact, I may never wear another pair of underwear either. Whatever it takes.
Yesterday one of my buddies lost a ball in an area of grass which had a bunch of clippings. We were trying to find his ball by dragging our clubs through the clippings to see if the missing ball was underneath them when his wedge hit my new Dornoch Putter. It put a big ding in the face. Boy am I a sad camper right now.
Just before that happened my other pal was telling the guy who hit my putter with his wedge that my putter was the most beautiful putter he’d ever seen. Boo hoo. I’m on suicide watch now…
I’m very excited about the PGA Championship. I can’t wait to see who flames out, who shines and also to check out Whistling Straights. Will Tiger Woods find any sort of swing? Will he be able to hit a fairway or make a putt? Will Phil Mickelson lock up player of the year by winning his 2nd major, as well as becoming the #1 player in the world? Will Ernie Els open up a huge FedEx Cup lead, and prove that he’s “back?” Will some new, up and coming young gun announce his arrival? The next four days will be great.
The problem with the PGA Championship, is that it is the last and final major. “Glory’s last shot” as it is called. Aside from the Ryder Cup every other year, it marks the beginning of the end of the professional golf season. Yes I know there are many professional events coming. No need to remind me. But really, we’ll be on the downside of the season. To that I say BOO HOO.
Not only does the PGA mark the beginning of the end of the pro golf season, it marks the beginning of the end of my yearly hack festival. I’ll be begrudgingly counting the days until the snow flies here in Salt Lake, and awaiting the arrival of winter and the subsequent hermit like behavior the evil cold white stuff elicits.
Will I be satisfied with the season? Is a golfer ever satisfied? Will I get an ace, or win a big match or win my club championship? Will something happen to make this season one to remember? Time is running out.
If you think golf is only about hitting a ball into a hole in the least amount of strokes possible, you don’t get it
But is it all about the scores and the results? No. In fact, the scores are secondary. My golf year has been a roller coaster of scores and emotions ranging from 69 to 86. But the one solid thing, the best part of golf for me, is my friends. My golf buddies are where it is at. There are many, all who have very unique and endearing personality traits.
There’s the wounded Iraq veteran Bryant, who gives me perspective on a daily basis. Watching him struggle with golf and the physical limitations being blown up in a war makes me realize that I really don’t have things too bad. There’s Guy, the director of golf at my home course. He’s battling such terrible pain in his neck that he can hardly swing, but he goes out all the time and still manages to enjoy the game and take my money. Dave is very intelligent and loves to debate about anything. I love to choose the opposite side of his daily debate topics, even if I agree with Dave. This just fires him up. Dan is the most positive guy ever. If his house burned to the ground (heaven forbid), he’d laugh and find something positive to say. There’s Marius, one of my newer pals. A Norwegian entrepreneur and gear head with a great swing and a love for competition. He also has a hell of a product line which I liked so much, “I joined the company.”
The last few are huge.
Arnie is the best. My (tears building) good friend who I’ve played thousands of rounds of golf with. He’s one of the most fierce competitors ever and can beat anyone with his short game. He has also been a bit of a role model and a crafty source of great advice in life.
My Dad turned me on to golf. I’ll never forgive him for doing me such a great and infuriating favor. We play every week and I really enjoy the time he and I spend on his wonderful home course. I’ve shot three of the best five rounds of my season up there while playing with my Dad. And he and I WON the father/son tourney this year. I think we hold the victory record in that event.
Unfortunately my best pal Al is too far away to play regular golf with. But we play together in spirit. I was once a mentor and role model for him, but the roles have cycled around the other way lately. He’s one of the best people on this planet. We played one round together this year, at my wedding golf tournament. Al and I are already booked for our next round and boy will it be a good one, at ST. ANDREWS next year.
I just wrote the word conclusion so I could stop myself. I’m doing the blogging equivalent of rambling, but it felt good. The season isn’t over yet but time is ticking. I’ll be definitely enjoying and cherishing the rest of the rounds I play this year with all of my great golf buddies. In fact, I’ll get right on that tomorrow morning at 8:58.