Winter rules?

I’ve played very little golf this year. Not through any choices I have made, but on medical grounds. It’s been a strange year as a result. I went to Wentworth and saw Luke Donald putt for victory on the 18th. And, I, like many of us watched from the edge of our sofa as Europe held on to the Ryder Cup. But, I didn’t play. I had a couple of hospital procedures and lots of physio.

It’s now dark at 4:30pm. It’s cold. It’s windy and it has been raining a lot. That means Winter rules. At our local 9-hole pay-to-play, that also means Winter tees. (A raised platform with fake grass and a fixed place for your tee). Even so, I want to play. I want to get my clubs out of the garage, along with the Go Kart that has seen little action this year and play 9-holes.

I suspect I will be awful. My shoulder is still very ‘tight’. I won’t have much success. But that won’t matter. I’ll be playing again.

Only, I know I have work to do before I can get on the course again. I need to be fitter than I am. I need to increase the mobility in my shoulders. I have to work on increasing my overall flexibility. And, I have to go visit the Pro at the local course as I suspect I have been compensating for a dodgy shoulder for too long… How does one learn a new golf swing and ‘unlearn’ bad habits?

Answers on a postcard, please?

I can’t believe

It’s been almost a month since my last blog…hmmm, why does that feel like it should be a confession?

It’s been an interesting month, to say the least.

My sister got a new job and now lives in Bermuda. Yes. Bermuda. She’s working and partying hard. It’s great news. I really miss her…really.

My job is going well. I’m enjoying it, but it’s not without issues.

I was at a lunch with the CEO recently who commented on “there are no politics in my company. anyone playing the politics game, I will find out and they will be out”. Less than two weeks later and I’m stuck in the biggest political game I’ve ever known. I’m dealing with several seriously negative people, who squeal to the people above them that will listen and then bleat they are not being heard at all. Oh, and did I mention negative? It’s all been very enlightening.

I’m not a political player, I’m just me. I want to do my job and I want to do it well. I don’t want to massage anyone’s ego. I don’t have time to carry anyone. I don’t have energy to waste on people who think they deserve my time, my trust, or my loyalty. You have to earn all of those things.

Stress Fracture?

What are the common stress fractures for golfers? And why do they happen…? We all know that TW has had stress fractures…but why?
Apparently low fitness, and being a female golf are two of the common reasons…!! Hmmm. Very strange. Not sure TW would agree with either of those as reasons.

Well, golf is off for me at the moment. The pain became a little too much…and I was blocking right with every hit. I’ve had 10-days away from swinging a club at all, let alone hitting a ball until last night. At the range I hit 20-25 balls and then the pain returned.

So, the question is: stress fracture or tendonitis? Not sure.

It’s my right hand. So that’s unusual in itself. But, pain there is.

Addiction

I’m addicted. To playing golf. The most frustrating, fun, annoying, and enjoyable game I’ve ever played. I played two rounds of 18 over the weekend, and was really pleased with a 109 at Pine Ridge and with a 112 at Blue Mountain.

Pine Ridge is my local course and is really lovely – lots of trees on the back nine, some on the front nine. The front nine is more open, and is longer – more for the big hitters… The back nine is hilly in comparison. Hit a wayward shot on the back nine and you’re likely to lose the ball. Favourite holes? The 9th – a long par 5 – very open, but great to just hit. The 12th because it’s an interesting par 3…

If the light is still good, book an early tee time (i.e. 6:30am) to play the back nine before work, and then work from home. The course will be very wet, but it’s spectacular to play with no other people around, just the local wildlife. If you can get out of work early, and the light is good, play the front nine at around 4:30pm. It’s a little busier at that time, but still worth it.

Blue Mountain is close to where I work. It’s run by Crown golf, same as Pine Ridge. I’ve played here twice and have enjoyed both times. The greens are huge…and they were in very good condition – like velvet. Quite a bit of water on this one, ditches act like magnets to your ball… Watch out for the 10th – you have to wait for the bell to ring, before you drive off. The 11th is a par 3 over water, as is the 16th… The 13th is an interesting hole – I managed the green in two last time!

If you play Blue Mountain, be sure to check you’re not stuck with a tee time behind a society. The first time we played, there were 4 x 4 balls from a society…It took over five hours to get around. A little slow, but still enjoyable – just waiting for them to rescue their wayward tee shots became a little frustrating…

My scores are definitely coming down. I’m now contemplating joining the local ladies club together with AJ – to get an official handicap, and so that AJ and I have a bigger network of ladies to play.

I did go to the gym last night too. In my first 20 minutes I worked hard enough to burn 350 calories. Phew. I carried on working out for 30 mins after and came home shaking…

Golfage

I’ve played a number of times recently, and I think I’m finally getting used to the new clubs. My short game is improving well – which I’m really pleased about, as I was worried about the weight of the new PW.

Last night I finished a round at our local 9-hole course with a cracking shot off the tee with my 3-wood, followed by another cracking shot with my new utility to within 5 meters of the green. I then chipped onto the green for what looked like an easy putt into the hole. Ahem. Wrong. I missed the putt. What should have been a par on the last was a bogey, but I’ll take that. 😉

This weekend we’re heading out to another new course. Hopefully, I’ll not find it as tough as Pitlochry!

I haven’t been that gym much recently, but I did play golf Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Does that count? I’m just dreading the next few weeks, as there won’t be an opportunity to play during the week anymore. Already the light is fading by the time you get to the 9th tee…so, back to the gym then?

Boo hoo!

Pitlochry Golf Course

From the second tee...

From the second tee...

Played and survived.

What a different experience of playing a “short course”. Hmmm. The first three holes are not only a test of your golf skills but of your fitness levels. As you stand on the first tee, little do you  realise as you look up the hill that you’re actually heading up…up…and up again.

The 5th is a challenge…at first it looks like a straightfoward hole until you realise that the pin is about 30ft above you on a raised platform… The elevated 6th tee has amazing views of the valley below, the Atholl Palace hotel and the rest of the hole. And it’s pretty much the same as your round progresses – stunning views, uncompromising golf, and immaculate grounds. Advice from the locals – push on through the first three holes to settle into an easier pace on the way around and always take a club longer than you think you need…

Golf buggies are not allowed on the course as it’s too steep! But, if you have a Powakaddy or something similar, it’s definitely worth the effort to take it! If not, speak to Mark (the Pro) in the shop and hire one of those on offer.

Stop for a bite to eat at the restaurant and enjoy the views of the first tee and the 18th hole as you do. Spectacular golf course! Challenging golf!

http://www.pitlochrygolf.co.uk/home.php

Golf again :-)

I did it. Friday, Am Golf was doing a special on a set of ladies intermediate irons…so I took the plunge and ditched my starter set of irons. Down at the range after the purchase, I worked up through the new set comparing them to my old irons – net result – longer & straighter! Yay. If only it were that easy on the golf course…? However, I only bought a set of irons, so trying my old woods (from the starter package) left me out in the cold. Slice after slice after slice. Yuck. What would become of my much-loved 3-wood??? Answer: special promotion at Am Golf on a Taylormade Ladies Hybrid… Ouch, expensive weekend behind me, just one golf game (9-holes) and I’m itching to get out and play 18-holes!

So, how did I do?

Not so good. The PW is much heavier than my old PW and I need to practice the ‘bump and run’ and ‘punch’ shots that I favour around the greens. My short game was pretty good – on Saturday, unfamiliarity led to a rubbish short game. Putting being my only consistent.

With a gap in traffic on the course, I did take my new Taylormade off the tee at the ninth and hit a cracking shot down the right hand side. Happy I’d hit it well, my BF suggested hitting my new 4-iron – well, what a shot that was…straight down the fairway. I followed that with a 5-iron which, unfortunately, hit the branches of the trees…(rather lucky as it was heading for the clubhouse at that point).

Am I happy? I will be if I can achieve my course best tomorrow.

Next? Join the ladies club so that I can get myself a handicap…eeek!

Lots of golf

Played three times over the weekend – same course, different days.

Consistency…NONE

Improvements…hmmm…SOME

Frustrations…LOTS!

But, we’ll still go back for more.

Saturday was a pretty good round for me – but lacked any consistency in my play. I managed par on two holes, and did ok on a couple of others, but was let down by a couple of bad tee shots. My 3-wood is clearly the the club of the day…though closely followed by my 7-iron.

Yesterday was an ok round for me until the 9th where I completely lost it. Was it standing on the tee thinking “all you have to do is bogey this hole”…and that was it…kiss of death?

The big improvement for me seems to be in my short game. I am playing more consistent around the greens. I’m one and two putting – a huge improvement! And, my pitching is better than ever, though it seems I’ve developed a bad habit of knocking the ball out of the back of the green on the longer shots…

My tee shots have improved, but not on every tee 😦

At what point do I start thinking about an “improver” set of clubs rather than the beginners package I currently have?

On golf…

and why it’s the most frustating game on earth!

First tee yesterday after work…picture the scene…audience of about six people watching from the clubhouse – I hit the ball cleanly and straight. Wow. Second shot and I’m on the edge of the bunker…it was all downhill from there.

Second tee – an iron shot and I’m just at side of the green…finish with a bogey.

Third tee – eek – rubbish all the way!

Fourth tee – bad, bad, bad

Fifth – repeat of fourth

Sixth – cracking tee shot with the trusty 5-wood straight down the fairway

Seventh – repeat of sixth but instead of straight down the fairway – I hit it out the back of the green

Eighth – really awful to the point where I take an “f-it” shot with a seven iron from the fairway and find the green…

Ninth – awful…I talked myself into hitting the same shot that one of my fellow players had just hit…

Will I give up? No, not a chance. I’ll be out there again as soon as possible.

Golf in the bog

There’s been so much rain recently that when we played golf on Monday it was like walking through a bog. The weather was stunning, but the days of rain and the overnight downpour meant we were covered in mud very quckly.

The round was not the best I’ve ever had – all the old habits are back (why?), but I’ve found a bit of form in my chipping and putting! My iron shots were pretty damn good…getting height when it’s needed and not hitting too many (iron shots) in the wrong direction. Hopefully, with a bit more sunshine we can get out again and try to correct those bad habits that have crept in again.