Author: currin29 (page 1 of 3)

Leaked- the PGA Tour Suspension protocol

Very few people know this, but recently I was inducted into the secret society of bloggers.  It was a difficult application process (I had to list my blog and promise to uphold the Bloggers Oath…I could tell you about it but then I’d have to kill you), but I was approved and they had a really nice ceremony for me this past week (the Starbucks was booked up so we went to table 14 at Panera Bread) where I got my very own Bloggers Society bathrobe, slippers, and “Yes I live in my mom’s basement” ironic trucker hat.  So now I’m official.

That’s right- bloggers are dangerous, Mr. Finchem.

While I was there I met some other bloggers and we shared trade secrets.  I’ll admit, telling people I blog about golf got some real odd looks, but eventually some of them came around.  The other sports bloggers were the most welcoming.  One of them was my favourite hockey blogger, Sean McIndoe of www.downgoesbrown.com and ESPN’s www.grantland.com which are both fantastic sites.  For years, his secret spies have broken into the NHL’s offices and gotten him Top Secret files and documents.

Sean’s welcome gift to me (other than a bag full of losing Roll Up The Rim cups…thanks?) was to have his spies break into the PGA Tour’s offices in Ponte Vedra (let’s face it- with the winter we’re having any excuse to go to Florida works at this point).  His spies explained that normally, they have a couple dozen Konica Minolta Bizhub Swingvision SuperSloMo Gary McCords MoustacheWax cameras that act as security, but apparently they needed them (something about a “tournament” that was being “broadcast”) that day.  They found a big box marked “Super Secret Files-Shhhh!!!!” and grabbed it.  They might have gotten caught, but luckily the security (who may or may not have been Gary McCord) was asleep.

As you may or may not know, the PGA Tour does not publicly announce any fines or suspensions because…well…you know…it’s complicated (the European Tour announces them) and Tim Finchem is busy explaining the FedEx Cup to random people.  I’ll point out that the NHL not only announces fines and suspensions, but they put out videos explaining the action and the suspension.  If only there was a website that housed videos…oh, that’ll never happen.  Even the ATP and WTA (that’s tennis) announce suspensions.  The PGA Tour has somehow managed this despite John Daly’s litany of actions, the Deer Antler Spray episode with Vijay Singh, Fuzzy Zoeller’s comments about Tiger Woods in 1997, and Tiger Woods’ own litany of profanity, club throwing, and the like.

However, the PGA Tour does suspend players and fine them.  They just do it “secretly” because if you were to find out that someone got suspended because they did donuts on the 14th fairway in their courtesy car…you might not tune in to watch or buy tickets when the Tour comes to your town?  Sure.

However, my Spies on Tour found out that the Tour does, in fact, have a process for dealing with potential fines and suspensions, and I’ve managed to get a copy.

Q: When did
the incident occur?

1: Tuesday during the official welcome reception

2: Wednesday during the pro-am

3: During Thursday-Friday play

4: During Saturday (3rd round) play

5: During Sunday’s round, on television, and in Woods or Mickelson’s group

6: On Twitter

Q: What type of incident?

1: On-course profanity

2: Club throwing

3: Rules violation phoned in by the one guy who always calls these in

4: Etiquette violation phoned in by the one guy who always calls these in

5: Player/fan/member of media make Ian Poulter send out 50 tweets last night

6: Positive drug test for something other than Viagra, Scotch, or Horse Tranquilizers

7: A player tweeted about why he can’t use racial slurs anymore

8: Someone finally snapped at the guys who yell random shit during tee shots

9: Was it the “mashed potatoes” guy?

10: Yes

11: No suspension

Q: What type of player was involved?

1: Tiger

2: Was it really Tiger?

3: Yes

4: Oh Shit

5: Is it on video

6: Yes

7: Oh Shit

Q: Was it someone other than Tiger?

1: No- I already said it was Tiger…do you not get these running memes?

2: Yes

Q: Okay, so if not Tiger then who?

1: Mickelson

2: Oh fuck…are you kidding?

3: Yes

4: Then who else?

5: Guy nobody has ever heard of (even the guys on The Golf Channel don’t know)

Q: Who is talking about the incident (circle all that apply)?

1: The Morning Drive crew from The Golf Channel

2: The guy who does the Perfect Club infomercial

3: Golf bloggers (both of them)

4: Sports Talk Radio

5: BET News Tonight

6: The President

7: Home Shopping Network

Q: Does this player have any history of bad behavior?

1: Nope…squeaky clean

2: Was once warned about forgetting to shake hands with one of the other caddies, standard bearer, Feherty, the guys in the scoring tent, the guy in the ugly jacket who gives out the trophy, the guy in the ugly jacket’s wife, and all four members of the military who are required to hold the flagstick because we started this thing and now it’s like a death cycle of Nickelback.

3: Fined for swearing once

4: Fined for forgetting to thank Jesus and not having his adorable wife and children run on the 18th green after a win

5: Fined multiple times for profanity

6: Destroyed the locker room while wearing women’s underpants and a Jim Nantz mask

7: Tried to arm-bar Roger Maltbie

Q: Were there any extenuating circumstances?

1: It was during the final round of a major and he had a 30 foot putt to tie lip out on 18

2: Ball was in a sand-filled divot

3: Johnny Miller bent over in front of him wearing a thong

4: Lost “next time you’re having sex with your wife speak to her in your Jack Nicklaus accent” bet

5: Rookie player who actually thought “be on the 9th green at 9:00 p.m.” was a thing

6: Brawl between Bubba Watson and his caddie spilled into next group

7: Player on 18th hole and had not heard a reference from “Caddyshack”

Final Verdict:

1: Player fined (fill in amount)

2: Player suspended (fill in length of suspension)
3: Player suspended for (fill in number) majors

4: Player suspended for Ryder Cup

5: Player now required to go to Presidents Cup as Fred Couples’ personal ball washer

How hard can this really be?

So with today being quite nice, and Monday and Tuesday of this week expected to be nice as well, it’s not unreasonable to ponder sneaking out of work early to go play golf (I mean, the clocks go forward Saturday night- it’s like they’re doing this on purpose or something).

And yet, here in Howard County, you’d think that our courses would want to let folks know what’s going on.  You would think that.

My goal was to send out a blog on what courses are and aren’t open, and hopefully see signs of excitement after this really cold and snowy winter we’ve had.  Well, it didn’t quite turn out that way.

Timbers at Troy and Waverly Woods “should” be open.  I say should, because their attempt at communication is poor at best.  Timbers at Troy has a Twitter account, which is nice (except that it hasn’t been updated in 2 years).  Waverly Woods is worse- no tweets since 2011!  Their websites have nothing on them that say “we’re open” or “we’re opening on ‘X’ date.”  So they might be.  Maybe.  Or not.  Unless they are.

Waverly Woods does, however, have a Tumblr page from their Superintendent that was updated on 2/24/14 but makes no proclamation of “hey everyone we’re open!”

Timbers at Troy?  No clue.  Their website has great photography, but nothing about being open (it does have a calendar with all of their outings and league dates).

I hate to keep hitting them with this stick, but compare that to Montgomery County Golf.  They sent out tweets TODAY for every course (most of them along the lines of “open and cart path only” or “open and walking only”), and not only that, but they have a PUBLISHED aeration schedule!  You can see when they’re going to aerate what courses.

Columbia Association?  Nothing about golf in the last month.

Turf Valley?  Nothing about golf this year.

At January’s PGA Merchandise Show, there was no amount of bleating about trying to grow the game.  It’s not easy, it’s not cheap, and it takes several hours to play an 18-hole round.  One good thing to do is to reach young people, and that would be via social media (seriously- it takes about 30 seconds to send out a tweet).  Updating your website might be good, but I can understand that this can take time.  Twitter is easy.  Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram are also easy.  This is where young people (and Gen-X’ers like myself) go for info.  Yes, your website is important, but sending out a Tweet is cheap, easy, and is a great way to reach people.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go ask my magic 8-ball if our local courses are open.

 

The clubfitting experience

I hate going shopping- to me, it’s a torturous exercise that I will avoid at all costs.  Be it clothes, household items, or much of anything, I’ve always taken a “go in and get done as quickly as possible” approach.

Shopping for retail items is equally loathsome.  I’ve no desire to have a relationship with a salesperson- while I respect that they have a job to do, hectoring me when I’ve indicated I’m in no need or desires of their attention is a great way to keep me from spending money.  The opposite I also find to be true- having to wait at a cash register, goods in hand, in wait for someone to take my money in exchange for said items.  I find online shopping to be a fairly reasonable option- by nature I enjoy doing research and being of reasonable intellect, I can work at my own pace before making a purchase.

However, in some instances, it’s required that one go to a store, and engage in the belly of the beast.  Buying new golf clubs is one of those instances.  Having done exhaustive research about my needs as a golfer (and unfortunately “scotch” won’t help here but not for trying), my game, my swing, and having read both Golf Magazine and Golf Digest’s issues on new clubs (porn for equipment nerds), I was off and running.

Golf Magazine continues to do a piecemeal approach that I hate, but if you need a new driver, their reviews on new drivers can be found here: http://www.golf.com/equipment/golf-magazine-clubtest-2014-drivers-best-golf-drivers-driver-reviews-golf-equipment

Golf Digest’s Hot List can be viewed here: http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-equipment/hot-list

Unfortunately my options for clubfitting were, at best, highly limited.  While Golf Galaxy has received several positive reviews from the likes of Golf Digest’s Stina Sternberg (and yes- if more golf stores would be more accessible to women it would surely be a good thing), their relationship (with Golf Galaxy having sent out a circular highlighting the Golf Digest “Gold” products I was a bit leery- I can be somewhat of a cynical, skeptical prick at the best of times) with the Hot List seemed odd, but off I went.

Being marginally old fashioned I thought I could call and make an appointment for a clubfitting.  I had done this with my previous set of irons with the now-defunct Mammoth Golf, and it worked out pretty well.  Unfortunately Golf Galaxy doesn’t take appointments; I was advised to “just show up” and they’d fit me in.  Being a hyper-organized type that’s more than a bit OCD, I wasn’t exactly fond of the idea of “just showing up” on a Saturday morning (because of work and other commitments my weekdays are all but shot) as it tends to put me into a cold sweat.

So off I went, hoping that I could find a suitable match and be done without wasting my entire Saturday inside a store.

I was greeted by a polite salesperson who asked a few basic questions and I explained what I was looking for and listed a couple models I was interested in trying.  He got me sorted out straightaway and had me hit some warm-up shots in one of their hitting bays while another gentleman was getting fitted for a driver.  After warming up and the launch monitor station emptying it was my turn.

Pretty early on I found the set I really liked, and it wasn’t the one I was expecting.  Having honed in, we then got down to the fitting.  I had my old specs from my previous set (one thing about Ping that I like is their irons are all colour-coded by measurements, so telling him that I was a “green dot” helped him dial in the set).

After hitting 30 shots on the launch monitor (I only know this because it kept count)- I hit about a dozen or so off of a board to determine if I was flat or upright- I found a fit that I liked.  Oddly enough, the stock lie/upright was what I needed, which I wasn’t expecting.  Even better, they had them in stock which meant I’d save a return trip!

One area that he was very helpful was in explaining what a graphite shaft does for you as opposed to a steel shaft (steel is cheaper, but graphite can help you gain distance but can be harder to control in terms of distance/accuracy).  He ended up steering me toward the cheaper steel shafts.

Overall, it was a positive experience but if I can impart any wisdom to anyone reading this who’s drooling over the idea of new sticks and wants to get a club fitting, it would be the following (note-I don’t work at or have a stake in any golf shop, so I don’t have a skin in the game):

1) Do your research before you go.  Read reviews (TGW.com has reader reviews that require you to have bought the item through them).

2) Do an honest assessment of your game.  What is your current handicap index, or what is your average score for 18 holes?  What do you currently have in your bag, and what would a new set ideally hope to accomplish?

3) Be honest about your budget.  No sense going into a store with a $500 budget and looking to buy a $1000 set.  Note the MSRP when you’re doing research.

4) Be honest about the makeup of your set.  The 3-iron has become a dinosaur and many of the so-called “super game improvement” sets are ditching the 4-iron as well. Do you want hybrids to replace 4 and 5 irons?  Think about shafts- your swing speed may not lend itself to a stiff shaft.  Ask about graphite, and consider the answer.  It’s not for me or anyone else to tell you what you should or shouldn’t play with.  Ultimately, it’s your call.

5) Wear shoes that you can hit shots with.  You “may” want to wear sneakers/trainers or at least a shot with some kind of tread.  Or you “may” want to bring your golf shoes with you.

6) Give yourself plenty of time.  Golf clubs aren’t cheap.  Rushing through the process could mean you end up with clubs that don’t fit.  If you go on a weekend give yourself more time as the store may be busy.

7) Ask to warm up before you do your fitting.

8) This is a club fitting, it is NOT a lesson.  Swing your regular swing.  Changing your swing during the fitting process will leave you with clubs that don’t fit.

9) Expect to pay a small fee for a club fitting (many stores will refund some or all of the cost if you buy a set of clubs).

10) If you’re confused about something, speak up and say something!  If something feels odd, say something.  I spoke to three different folks (off the record)- they all said that they want people to love their purchase (you hating it after the fact means you’re less likely to return).  It’s good for them, their store, and you.

Best of luck, and happy shopping.

New sticks

After much deliberation, debate, procrastination and “maybe” one or two glasses of Glenlivet (my current tipple of choice), I went to Golf Galaxy over the weekend and got fitted for a new set of irons (which I highly recommend).  After much debate I went with a set of Titleist 714 AP1 irons.

A review of my experience is forthcoming, but now, enjoy the majesty of them.

The pre-round food and drink experiment (Part 1)

Nutritionists like to say that what we put in our bodies is important.  While eating healthy food can help us be more productive, unhealthy eating can lead to a loss of productivity.  For golfers, this can mean the difference between a good round and a mediocre or poor one.  If you look at the professionals on the PGA, European, LPGA and Web.com tours you certainly see a lot of fit athletes engaging in healthy eating habits.  Many have nutritionists and fitness experts they work with to help them maintain peak performance.

I am not one of those people.

The reality is that most of us on the public courses have full time jobs and are trying to balance this wonderful game of golf with…well, these people I live with…do they have names or something?  I should write this stuff down.

Heck, you’re probably busy right now.  In fact, you might be reading this before you go hit the links (if you do, can I take a moment to compliment you on your world-class taste in golf blog reading?) and worse, you might be hungry and/or thirsty and you’re not sure about what to do, and the idea of taking a $10 Nassau off of that asshole coworker of yours is the only thing keeping you from committing homicide so any advantage would be more than welcome.

Or, you’re reading this on the can on your mobile at work.  Again, you have great taste reading material in bathroom category (and really, this is much better than Cousin Sally’s latest post on Facebook on LOLCats).

So in the interest of helping you, my fellow public course golfer, I did an experiment of all the popular pre-round food and drink options.  If this was on Bleacher Report I’d make a slideshow, but even a blogger like me has some standards.  So on this post I’ll go over drink options, and in Part 2 I will cover food.

Item: Airplane Bottle of Whiskey

 IMG_20140208_105558_468

Size: Smaller than a sleeve of balls.  You “could” throw more than one in your golf bag and not be overly taxed.

Cost: A few dollars depending on how rich your taste runs

Taste: Scotchy scotch scotch…in my belly.  At 6:00 a.m. this isn’t for everyone, but greatness comes in many forms.  To the uninitiated, a bit like room temperature gasoline, but I like Scotch.  I’m having my (none of your damn business) ‘nth one now if you must know.

Performance: Initial reaction was “oh fuck yeah!!!” which a few holes later turned into me thinking that I need another.  Luckily they’re small so you “could” (I should note that I don’t encourage drinking to excess nor underage drinking) have another.  And another.  And…well, who’s counting?  Have another.  I can’t say that I played as well as I could have (doesn’t help when the course puts 3 goddamn flags on every hole…like I’m supposed to know which one to aim at), and maybe, just maybe, removing my pants on the 18th hole may “not” have been what you might call a good idea.

Best for:  People who think “hair of the dog” is a good hangover cure, people who are functioning alcoholics, bachelor/stag events, late day rounds when there’s nobody behind you.

Worst for: People who don’t drink.

Item: Diet Cola/Diet Coke

IMG_20140208_105652_666

Size: 12 ounces of cola goodness…fatter but a bit shorter than a sleeve of balls so easily fits in any golf bag.

Cost: varies…one can bought from a grocery store can be less than 50 cents.

Taste: Tastes like…well, cola.  A cold can of pop on a warm morning…not a bad way to go.  And, if things go sideways, I’ve been told that you “could” throw a few fingers of Jack Daniels, Crown Royal, or similar beverage in your cola and that this “might”, in some circles, be pretty good.

Performance: Most cola has caffeine so you get the stimulant of caffeine.  Always good to help you get going.  If you’re sensitive to caffeine (and I’m not) then maybe not a good idea.  Might make you jittery.  One of John Daly’s food groups.  May or may not lead to a desire to buy LoudMouth golf pants.

Best for: Warm weather rounds if coffee and golf don’t mix.

Worst for: People who don’t drink cola/soda or caffeine.

Item: Electrolyte/Isotonic drink

IMG_20140208_105810_629

Size: Varies from 12-32 ounces. Pictured is a 20-ounce bottle of PowerAde Zero.  Bigger and taller than a sleeve of balls.

Cost: Most courses I play at charge $2.50-$4.00 for a 20 ounce bottle.  I bought an 8-pack of PowerAde at Target for $4.00.  Just saying.

Taste: Opinions vary.  Ask 20 golfers about this and you could end up with 30 opinions.  I happen to like them in certain flavours.  Other people think they taste like crap.  I think other people are wrong. They come in a litany of flavours. Experiment.

Performance: Mixing with booze could induce vomiting so best not to.  For those that like them you get electrolytes and flavour and you get rehydrated.  On a warm summer day when I’m not half in the bag, it’s a great way to get energy.  For those concerned about sugar, PowerAde makes a zero-calorie version that has no sugar or calories.  Gatorade makes a version with half the calories.  You can dilute by pouring over ice in the heat.

Best for: Warm weather rounds when you need something more than water and aren’t looking to make a mixed cocktail mid-round.

Worst for: People who don’t like sports drinks. They can be spotted wearing wool slacks in July.

Item: Water

IMG_20140208_105810_629

Cost: Free out of the tap but who does that?  Anywhere from $1.00 to $5.00 depending on how badly you’re getting gouged.

Size: A 16 ounce bottle is similar in size to a sleeve of balls.  A bigger bottle is bigger.

Taste: Bottled water tastes like water.  If you can honestly tell the difference between a bottle of Deer Park and some other brand…then start a blog devoted to water and never speak of this again.  An icy cold bottle of water on a hot humid day…yeah, that doesn’t suck.

Performance: If you’re not thinking about how good a warm bucket of your saliva would taste come July, you’re probably less likely to get the nervous twitches on that 6-foot putt for par.  If you’re hydrated maybe you’ll perform better.  Probably.

Best for: People who want to appear in a commercial for one of those “I have trouble urinating” commercials (without sharing too much…I’m like a fire hydrant). Or people who want water and don’t want a soda, alcohol, or a sports drink.

Worst for: Everyone else.

Item: Beer

IMG_20140208_105725_968

Cost: All over the board, but anywhere from $4.00 and up depending on brand, course, and how much of a pervert you are to the beverage cart girl.  Seriously, egregious hitting on the beverage cart driver should be a fine.

Size: A 12-ounce can is similar in size to a sleeve of balls. Fits perfectly in your hand.  Has restorative powers.

Taste: Ideally it’ll taste like beer and not one of these fruit-infused “micro-brews” that the beer snobs trot out. Give me a Molson Canadian if at all humanly possible, but among the American macro-brews, on a hot summer day I find it hard to say not to a Miller Lite.  Even a Coors Light (known in my parts as “sex in a canoe” (because it’s fucking close to water)) on a hot day can be refreshing.  Cold beer can rescue a round going off the rails.  Experiment- after your next birdie, crack open a cold one that’s icy cold.  That first sip?  Yeah, you’re welcome.

Performance: Mixed would be a nice way to put it.  There’s alcohol which, according to “science” can dehydrate you (which by my reckoning means…that’s right- time to have another beer and ward off that dehydration!).  And alcohol “does” impair judgment (see “goggles, beer”), but is there a such thing as “beer putting”?  Methinks not.  When in down, aim at the middle flag/hole/fairway.  If you’re going to decide to hit the barley shakes like it’s going out of style, just keep moving it along.  It is possible to play fast and drunk- I’m living proof.   However, a beer can relax the nerves, so if you’re going off the rails a cold one might do the trick.  Or it might be putting gasoline on a fire.

Best for: People who like to have fun and like the taste of beer. My people.

Worst for: People who go from 0 to raging asshole after they have a few pops, recovering alcoholics, people who bet completely blotto on one beer.

Item: Energy Shot

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Cost: $2.00-$6.00 depending on brand and where you buy it.

Size: Smaller than an airplane bottle of scotch.

Taste: Red Bull is nectar of the gods by comparison.  Fruit punch?  Worst damn tasting fruit punch I’ve ever had.  I imagine this is what “Thunder Muscle” from IFC’s The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret would taste like but legal in more countries.

Performance: Sort of like drinking a few espressos, it’s a hit of instant energy and will certainly get you going.  And by going, I mean your heart rate will be up there with marathon runners and 15-year old boys driving there dad’s Porsche trying to buy beer with a fake ID.

Best for: Feeling completely sans energy and not having any other options.  Best not used if Nicotrol gum or patches are a part of your daily diet.  Seriously.  Use in small doses.  Or shit, just drink a few of them.  I’m sure your playing partners will enjoy a newly-energized you.

Worst for: Anyone who’s already hopped up.

Private Clubs RIP?

I don’t always read Geoff Schackelford but when I do it’s usually pretty good.  This is no exception, from yesterday:

http://www.geoffshackelford.com/homepage/2014/1/17/mccord-on-baby-boomers-we-supported-all-these-clubs-and-now.html

Gary McCord is usually good copy and usually makes pretty good sense.  In his interview with Golf Magazine, he talks about how a lot of private clubs are dying out- his quote, excerpted from Geoff Schackelford’s website:

Golf is in a tenuous situation with the current socioeconomic climate. I’m at the end of the baby boomers. We supported all these clubs, and now there’s nobody to tap us on the shoulder and take over our memberships because the game is too expensive, takes too long, and is too hard. People can’t invest so much energy into something that’s not giving them much in return. So how do you fill these clubs that are being depleted? That’s a problem.

I’m not a boomer…I’m solidly a so-called Gen X in my early 40’s (I’m taking lessons on how to yell “get off my lawn!” and “you damn kids!” though…all part of the process).  I don’t have kids, and my family can be counted without needing to remove footwear.  I love to play golf (I did the Golfstyles “Solstice Survival” on two occasions…so I know what it’s like to play 54 holes in one day).  Joining a private club sounds intriguing, but honestly the options are, at best, limited.  Howard County options are laughable and trucking down to your country club havens like Bethesda or up to Baltimore is the very opposite of my idea of a relaxing weekend.

Plus, I don’t want to pony up a massive joining fee and be relegated to the dregs of preferable tee times.  I’ve already seen the “old boys club” in action over at Hobbits Glen (and my two visits were, to put it politely, very underwhelming).  What I want, more than anything, is pure golf.  I already pay for a gym membership that has a slew of locations, pools, and classes.  I’d like a standing tee time of sorts, and I’d like to be able to get around fairly quickly and play with golfers who share these views.

I’ve visited private clubs on several occasions.  I’m not a rube or a hayseed.  If you met me you’d probably (I hope) find me to be a fairly well-mannered, polite, decent guy.  Maybe a mensch of sorts.  I’m middle-aged, and yet- my experience in these private clubs has been more than a bit underwhelming.  Maybe because I don’t roll in like Judge Smails and make references to dreary old Manhattan I don’t have people waiting on me hand and foot (although that would creep me out to no end).  Part of it is that I’ve come of age in a “DIY” “self serve” world.

What would I want from a private club?  A minimal initiation fee, less focus on dining and social activities and more focus/emphasis on golf.  A course that challenges but one that makes for fast play (the 7500 yard tracks aren’t helping).  Good reciprocal play (I don’t expect to get into Augusta National but to quote Dr. Evil “throw me a frickin’ bone here people).

They reference the Palm Springs area (been there several times).  Not sure and myself and my Lovely Suitress would want to retire there if that’s ever an option (pretty sure a bit further west and more tropical would top the list) but we’ve enjoyed our visits and would go back quite happily.  Again, it’s all about value and what you get for your money.

What do you think?  Are private clubs dinosaurs in waiting?  Do they need reinvention?  What would you want from a private golf club?

Ryder Cup Idea you didn’t ask for

So having just watched the NHL Winter Classic (and yes- the humour of being a diehard fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and a diehard golfer isn’t lost on me), there’s one thing that they did today that could translate to golf- the announcement of Ryder Cup teams.

During the 2nd intermission the US Women’s Olympic team was announced and the men’s team was announced after the game.

The women’s team were at the game; the men’s team were announced using kids wearing each player’s sweater (except for the three players who played in the game who made the US team who came out of the dressing room to be announced).  Great stuff.

So rather than have a press conference during midweek to announce the team (which ends up getting lost in the shuffle), why not announce the team after the US PGA Championship (on the broadcast)?  Since the PGA of America runs the tournament (and the Ryder Cup) you’d have perfect synergy.  I know- NBC has the Ryder Cup rights and CBS has the US PGA Championship…but CBS can give up 10 minutes after the tournament trophy presentation (during August when 60 minutes is in reruns) to announce the Ryder Cup team.

Have the US Ryder Cup captain announce the roster.  If a player can’t make it, have one of the kids from the local First Tee program “stand in” for said player (have each player with their Ryder Cup staff bag with their name on it).  You’re announcing a US team in front of an American audience.  You’re telling me people won’t watch on TV?  You already have a captive audience, and the people at the tournament get a little extra.

You’re telling me the players would object to having to hang around a couple hours (those that are on the team and finished earlier) to get a round of applause (at most)?  If that’s the case then that says a lot about how they really feel about it.

Oh, and for the love of 30 foot birdies can we stop with the number of captain’s picks changing every match?  Pick a number.  3 seems good.  Or 2.  Or 4.  Just pick a number and leave it the hell alone.

New Years Resolutions nobody asked for

Hawaii golf 2008 030

Based on the last update from the MSGA, I started the year at a 10.2 index, and with a few very strong rounds at the end of the year, I finished at an 8.6 index. I should resolve to practice more, but frankly with time an issue, weekends are, for me, when I tee it up.

I’ve largely resigned myself to the point that I’ll always be in that 7-12 index. It’s who I am, and being of a certain age, it’s probably where I’ll always be. I could practice more, but that just cuts in on my drinking, and life without scotch isn’t worth living.

So on that note, a mission statement/rant of sorts-

I started this blog a year ago with no real idea of where it would go- I suppose I wanted to blog about golf in the mid-Atlantic, and I still do. I’ll continue to do so, and write honest course reviews geared toward average golfers (one issue I’ve had in the past with other blogs and course reviews is that they tend to write toward golfers in the top echelon of earnings who lean toward belonging to a private club). I’m not a member of a country club (insert the quote about not wanting to be a member of any club who’d have me as one)- I pay my own way and play public courses (so if you’re waiting on that review of your uber-private tracks you won’t find it here). If you change your shoes in the parking lot, have heard one too many bad golf jokes, or own at least one instructional video and/or tool you saw on a Golf Channel introvert, then you’re in the right place.

If you have a lucky golf shirt/hat/glove that works (or you’re convinced it has worked/will work), then keep on reading.

If you’ve ever found yourself making air swings while waiting somewhere…we’re kindred spirits.

If you’ve ever taken bets on who’d win a Johnny Miller/Nick Faldo cage match…you’re out there a bit but it’s all good.

If you have ever sounded like Judge Smails in talking to your private club’s dressing room attendant then this may not be the blog for you (but please read about us commoners).

If you have wondered about and/or have searched for a Peter Kessler sex tape involving The Perfect Club…then please seek professional help immediately. Please. Let us never speak of this again.

If none of this makes sense, have I mentioned my theory about scotch being one of the four food groups?

In other news, at some point in early 2014 I’ll be getting rid of the WordPress account and switching to a vanity URL.

Where Santa is a fat dude with a 9.0 index

Yes, it’s that time of year again…looks outside. Actually it isn’t. It’s 68 degrees. ON THE FIRST DAY OF WINTER. SERIOUSLY WTF IS GOING ON? Where the f*** was this weather in April when I was freezing my raisins off being an idiot in shorts? While I thought long and hard about teeing it up this morning, I compromised and went to the driving range to bid adieu to the 2013 golf year (unless it warms up again next weekend in which case I’ll be there again).

While the weather would not indicate such, it will be Christmas on Wednesday. Supposedly. I think. In the spirit of Christmas, I went shopping for my golf-related friends. Since some of these folks won’t open their gifts (and look at me being all generous), I’m going to spoil the surprise and tell you what I got them.

Columbia Association run-courses…now you haven’t always been that good this year (in fact you’ve been a bit naughty at times and that new clubhouse is all good and well but a well-maintained golf course would be nice to see), but I got you a new, online tee time system! No more having to go through the hell of having pick up the phone and try to call in to make a tee time, talk to five different people (none of whom can actually help you), and lose 25 minutes of your life you’ll never get back. Now, people can book online, and you’ll make more money! How great is that?

Timbers at Troy and Waverly Woods…you’re trying to be good so we’re going to give you improved drainage and larger, fully stocked pro shops. You’re also getting indoor simulators, so people have reasons to come visit you all year! How awesome is that? Now don’t go leaving cookies and milk for Santa…just leave a sleeve of ProV1X’s and three fingers of Glenlivet 18-year.

Northwest Park Golf Course…you’ve been really good this year to Santa. Really, really good. So Santa is going to give you a new all grass practice area on top of your existing range with mats. Just make sure that Santa keeps holing those 8-foot putts.

Redgate Golf Course…you get a lease extension to continue to operate as a course. And, since you asked and were nice to Santa (that 75 Santa shot there was very, very nice of you), Santa’s going to have them go in and give you a new 11th green. And Santa’s going to put up a net along the 14th hole to avoid left-fading drives to go onto the street.

University of Maryland golf course…you’re getting a lease extension as well to continue to operate. The University golf teams, students, and the golfing public all need you, and your funky yet challenging layout should continue to give area golfers a true hidden treat. You weren’t that nice to Santa when he played there, but that’s okay, because you’re a great course.

Golf Channel’s Michael Breed…it’s called decaf. Santa’s hooking you up. Take the hint. You’re a smart guy…but seriously…decaf.

Glen Nager of the USGA. You’re a naughty, naughty boy. You thought you could just take over the USGA and run it like your own little kingdom. Didn’t work out. You don’t really understand or get public golfers. So Santa is giving you the proverbial lump of coal, and a case of the yips, AND every time you turn a TV on you’re going to see Glenn Kessler naked while talking about The Perfect Club while Gary McCord dances around only wearing a cowboy hat and chaps. You’re welcome.

Tim Finchem of the PGA Tour. Santa already gave you your present. It’s a new format for the FedEx Cup Playoffs! It’s on this blog! Don’t make me go Full Kessler on you.

Phil Mickelson…you’ve been a good lad all year. So Santa is going to get you that one thing he knows you really, really want. You can pick it up in June at Pinehurst. But I won’t tell anyone. It’ll be our secret.

Tiger Woods…you’re a bit tough to buy for. I mean, you’ve got more money than anyone can count. But, Santa is getting you your own USGA rules seminar. I could make Brandel Chamblee your instructor, but that seems petty. We’ll do it somewhere local so you don’t have to spend time away from your new girlfriend and your kids. But let’s take notes- there will be a test.

Ian Poulter…your comments on Twitter are, if nothing else, entertaining. And judging by your tweets, you seem to have quite a bit of very nice things. But you finally called out the rubes that scream random crap at tournaments during the USPGA Championship. Which was good. So you’re going to get a Ryder Cup spot on the team (the event is better when you’re in it), and maybe, just maybe, a major championship. But let’s take it down half a notch on the “look at my toys” tweets. Nobody is asking you to give up your well-earned trappings. Half a notch.

To anyone who yells “mashed potatoes” or anything similar at a tournament…you’re getting a couple thousand fire ants in your undershorts. Just stop it. It stopped being funny a long time ago. Just stop. Please.

Sergio Garcia…where do I even start? Here’s a pair of shoes that Santa has grilled for you. Insert in mouth.

Miguel-Angel Jiminez…Santa would send you a case of rioja and cigars but it seems you’re all set. So Santa is going to give you another win, and some starts in the US. Because watching you play…makes Santa very happy and hopeful.

The LPGA Tour…Santa is going to give you perfect weather for all your events next year. It seems the least Santa can do. You deserve it after two years of rain, hail, lightning and seemingly plagues of locusts. Maybe then people will tune in and realize just how good you all are, and that you all have some serious game.

Christina Kim…a year ago you missed out at the LPGA Tour Q-School and were battling the kinds of demons that no one would ever wish on their worst enemy. And yet, you went out there and did what touring professionals do- you got into tournaments
and gave it everything you could. So Santa is giving you at least one win this upcoming season.

Nick Faldo…you’re getting a time machine where you go back to 2004! Back when you were really point-on with your analysis and weren’t spewing empty superlatives. You’re not dumb. In fact, you’re pretty sharp and you know what you’re talking about. No histrionics, but you’re a former pro who’s won several majors. Put us in the head of players. Tell me something I don’t know.

David Feherty…you’re hilarious, insightful, and possibly a savant. You’ve been good and you’re a dog person. So Santa will give you exactly what you want. You deserve it.

And on that note, I hope you get what you’re looking for this season.

Small Business Saturday in the HoCo

This past Saturday November 30th was “Small Business Saturday” which encourages folks to shop at local stores. It’s a great idea after the orgy of stupidity and mayhem that often accompanies the so-called “Black” Friday after Thanksgiving. Since golf stuffs are always in good taste and honestly- why not buy for yourself (my arguement is that I know I’ll like it, and I’ll be happy to have it…and other than maybe a bottle of good scotch there’s not much else I’d want)?

So armed with money and my sanity, I set out to find out how I could do that.

The trouble started when I did some online searching- Howard County is a lot of things, but clearly, we’re not larded up with golf retailers. And by “not larded up” I mean “none exist”…which is okay, I thought- I can go to courses and they’ll have stuff- surely they’ll want to get in on the fun, right?

Not so much. The Columbia Association courses were shuttered. Empty parking lots and dark pro shops mean no revenue (and if we’re being honest, the pro shops at Hobbit’s Glen and Fairway Hills are, at best, poorly stocked afterthoughts). Calls to Waverly Woods and Timbers at Troy found no success either. Yes- we had a horrible cold snap and we had heavy rain in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and I’m sure that this impacted things. Nonetheless, it’s frustrating when, as a consumer, you have money to spend and a desire to spend it, and you have zero luck trying to support a local business.

Having lived here, I supported the now-defunct Mammoth Golf from its infancy to its death (I was deeply saddened to see it close up) and still try, whenever possible, to support local businesses. With that being said, as a golf consumer, I had two options in Howard County- go to the dueling big-box retailers on Rt. 175 (that would be Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy). Of the two I’ve always preferred Golf Galaxy even though they’re the same parent company- the people at Golf Galaxy are more in the know about golf.

Never mind that they don’t sell big and tall sized golf apparel (nor do they even offer it online- for golf apparel I have to shop online (I’ve had my best success buying shoes through TGW and buying apparel through Cutter and Buck’s online store)- even shoes (I have a wide foot and wear a wide width) has become an online-only episode (although at Golf Galaxy they did have a few wide sizes in a few models) as well.

I don’t want to be made to feel as though my only option for buying clothes and shoes is online. While it’s convenient, I like to try before I buy.

As much as it pains me to point this out, the Montgomery County courses had specials and did a much better job marketing Small Business Saturday (they sent out emails with specials and have indoor simulator packages).

Hopefully next year we’ll see a Small Business Saturday that golfers can participate in. I hope.

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