For the first time in my 18 months of Golfing at the Spring River Golf Course, the river actually had water in it, and two of my golf balls! I’ve hit golf balls in the river before, but given that there is no water there 99.9 percent of the time, it’s not a problem. After an inch of rain, it has water! Golfers beware, the water hazard is now… for the next few days, a true water hazard.
I went to play 18 holes this morning on my last day off, before I move into permanent-days-off status, starting next Monday. I wanted to play just to get out of the house and to play!
What I didn’t expect was my best 9-holes of golf in a while. I started out with a par on the hole number one, a 526-yard par 5. I typically double bogey the hole (a 7 instead of a 5), but not today. When my fourth shot landed a few feet from the hole, I knew it would be a good HALF round of golf! I drained the putt and the celebration began.
I followed up with a double-bogey on number 2, which was a beautiful thing as well, given that it is the hardest hole on the course. Then I hit for par on number three and didn’t have worse than a double bogey on the rest of the front 9. In other words: NO TRIPLE BOGEYS! For me, that is a good nine holes of golf.
My front-nine score as a 46! That is less than my goal of 50! So I am quite pleased with the outcome.
However, for the back nine, I went back to my old ways. I ended up with “grace filled” 63, and completely broke down on holes 15, 16 and 17.
I was talking to my dad about it and told him that I couldn’t do anything on those holes, wondering what the problem was. He said, “That’s easy Son, you’re not a professional athlete.” Then it became all so clear as to why my game fell apart. Clarity was given, a new revelation had been made and I realized that my father was right. I’m not a professional athlete. Whew! Glad that is settled.
I still plan on taking more lessons when I get the chance to do so. Maybe I there is enough athlete in me to one day, break 100. I just fear that the number of days which that remain a possibility are dwindling.
By the way, my final score was still a respectable 109, which is two strokes worse than my best game ever.
For those of you who do not know, there is controversy surrounding the Masters and Tiger Woods. Apparently the official assessed a two-stroke penalty for a bad drop Tiger took on hole number 15. That was the hole where he hit the ball well onto the green, it hit the flag, and rolled back into the water. He then took a drop, but did so two yards behind where it should have been. This was deemed to give him an advantage.
Next Saturday will be the six-year anniversary of my venture into the world of golf. I was reminded of this when Mark M., on Facebook, when he noted that his Wichita State Shockers had won another game in the NCAA Basketball Tournament and I reminded him that I was happy for him, just as long as Texas A&M hired away their coach the way they did with Mark Turgeon back in 2007. All of that got me to thinking about how all that came about, about taking up golf and about how my game is doing now, six years later.
I noted on my Facebook page the other day that golf is a great metaphor for the Christian life in that the more self-control you maintain during the game, the better it goes for you. In other words, playing golf well will not come about when you give yourself over to the flesh. The flesh screams at you every time you stand over the ball for the next shot. What does your flesh scream? “Hit the hell out of it!” But any golfer knows that hitting the hell out of it will lead to a hell of shot… out of bounds, into the woods, into the river, or even into the unknown. Very few good things ever come from hitting the hell out of the ball.
Best Golf Game EVER!
The golf season is coming to an end for me because of the winter months and the need to spend golf funds elsewhere, i.e., Christmas presents. So today was the last day to get out for a round of golf. I was hoping to do well, and I did!
On the front nine I shot a personal best of 51, with three pars. I parred holes 3, 4, and 7, which really made the difference. Not a single blowup hole and I managed the course much better than in the past.
The back nine is considered much more difficult than the front nine. I’ve been told to add about 10 strokes to figure out what your game will look like on the back nine if you are consistent. I only added 6 strokes and finished with a 57, for a 108 total. That is the best score ever. Here is the clincher. In those 108 strokes, I didn’t lose a ball, or have to use a mulligan, meaning that the score is an honest 108. If you figure in my 35 handicap, that would be a 73 for tournament play. But I rarely use my handicap.
Needless to say, I’m quite pleased with the game. There is only one shot I would like back from all of them, a muffed second shot on the 18th. But my recovery shots looked really good which made up for it.
The Libya Question – I was speaking with a man yesterday who’s son is a Naval officer in charge of providing security overseas for our diplomats and dignitaries when they go overseas. The man told me the Navy had a rescue team ready to go into Libya to rescue the ambassador before the ambassador’s death. The U.S. Navy was completely aware that the attack was imminent and were making preparations to intervene and provide aid to the ambassador. They were never given the green light to provide that aid. Seems like if the Navy knew it was a terrorist attack and was ready to provide aid, that the White House should have known as well. But that would have required Obama to leave the campaign trail and actually attend daily intelligence briefings.
Governor Susana Martinez – The county Republicans contacted our church last week to see if they could use our parking lot for get-out-the-vote rally. We gladly granted them permission.
Because of this, Governor Susana Martinez will be arriving here on Saturday and hanging out in the church before the rally. It looks like I will get an opportunity to meet her. I posted her speech from the Republican National Convention here.
Voting Democrat? Is there any justification ever for a Christian to vote Democrat? Democrats are on record as the party of death. They love to kill children in the womb, and now it appears that Obamacare has death panels. Whenever you ration healthcare, that is the end result as a study out of the United Kingdom is now showing. Hattip: Neil.
TaylorMade Golf Clubs — I Googled golf clubs about three weeks ago. Now every page I visit on the web, even with my computer at home, has a Taylormade Golf club ad. Don’t think for a moment that Google isn’t tracking our googles.
Binder-gate? Not sure I understand the left’s attempt to make a deal out of Romney’s binder comment. But alas, when you are desperate, you will grasp at anything.
It wasn’t much, but enough to get me excited all over again about the game of golf. I took the boys golfing yesterday (they just ride in the cart, mess up the sand bunkers and run alongside the cart as I head down the fairway.) Given that the boys were with me, I knew I wouldn’t golf well. Add 10 to 15 strokes when I take both boys. But I have to take them if I want to go. So…
Also, it was Monday. I’m always tired on Monday and wasn’t hitting the ball well. But on hole number 9… I had a minor break through. Three successive shots in a row to reach the green in three! I was pumped! It was so sweet to have a sweet drive and two perfect follow-up shots. When I say perfect, I mean perfect. My third shot was 135 yards off the green, and I planted the ball on the green 15 feet away from the hole and it rolled to within 5 feet.
YES, the birdie was within reach… and then the par… sadly, I ended up with a bogey. But it was still a great hole. To have a great hole, everything must come together, and it’s been a while since I have had this happen. Hopefully, the next time, I can bring the putting game back in line and actually get the birdie. What fun!
I recently finished reading The Big Miss by Hank Haney, who was Tiger’s coach from 2004 until 2010. Given that I have developed a recent fascination for the game of golf, I’ve also enjoyed reading about those who play it well. Since Tiger Woods has been lauded as the greatest player ever to play the game (a statement that will always be open for debate), I wanted to read more about him and his game.
This isn’t an official book review, just some of my thoughts about Woods and the game. If you want an official review, here is a bit from Geoff Shackelford of Golf Digest.com:
Tiger Woods should be grateful Hank Haney wrote The Big Miss.
Not that the book will ever elicit any emotion from Woods other than a Mt. St. Helens fury of bulging-eye bitterness upon mention of the book’s tantalizing title. Nor is it hard to see why such a private, obsessive-compulsive control freak finds the new book to be the ultimate betrayal, even as he has shown little loyalty to those who’ve worked for him at meager wages considering the pressures involved. Yet after flying through this 247-page, mostly breezy and fascinating look into the life of a champion, I suspect most readers will ultimately have a newfound respect for Woods. I know I do.
OK, you get the idea. The book really exposes the underbelly of an obsessive-compulsive personality who happens to be extremely talented.
What struck me about the book is that it really exposed what a lonely person Tiger must be. With every relationship that is seen, from Haney’s, to that of his caddie, to his relationship with Elin, his former wife, everyone has to walk on eggs shells around him. Even those who are hired to criticize him so that he gets better, have to be so careful about that criticism or they will anger the Tiger. It’s truly sad. No one can be really open and honest with the man for fear of bringing about the wrath of that Tiger. I guess you could say he is aptly named, but that is not as it should be.
No one should have that right to live in such a manner where apologies are never accepted, and forgiveness is never given. Those aspects of a relationship are vital if the relationship is ever going to get beyond the surface level. Tiger is shown to be a person that if you cross him once, you are done. I can only imagine the wrath that has been poured out in Haney’s direction since the publication of the book (as Shackelford pointed out above). Instead of learning from the mistakes he makes with people, and forgiving them for their mistakes with him, Tiger simply cuts them off. The door to Tiger closes and that will lead to more loneliness in the end. For that reason, I pity Tiger. He will never have any true and lasting friendships because everyone will always be beholden to the Tiger for acceptance. They will never know the man behind the mask.
The other aspect of the book that just blew me away was seeing how truly talented a man he is when it comes to golf, and how difficult the game really is. Some of the practice drills that Tiger would go through on the driving ranges are incredible. Haney describes one drill he goes through using his irons where he hits the ball low to the left, middle, then the right, then medium height to the left, middle and right, then high in same pattern. For anyone who plays golf as an amateur, such control is simply beyond our comprehension. Every time I go to the driving range, my goal is simple: hit is straight. I don’t care if it goes 15 feet, if it’s straight, I won’t beat myself up too badly.
Tiger’s talent and commitment are to be admired. He has been given a gift, yet he never rested on that gift. Whereas most golfers are happy to get their occasional championship win, Tiger never was. He wanted more than just the occasional win. He wanted to be the best there is and was in the game. The sad truth is that it was this goal that really has led to his mediocrity in recent years.
Tiger got to the point of thinking: “It will never be enough.” In other words, no matter how many wins he achieves, it would never be enough and that is what led to the distractions that are dooming his career. Haney goes into great length to let us know about those distractions, like the desire to be a Navy Seal, to the point that he would train with them on a regular basis. Haney said that is what truly injured Tiger’s knee, not his golf swing. More often than not, it is the distractions that keep many of us from reaching our goals.
I remember getting to know some of the swimmers at A&M while I was there. At that time in the late 1980s, we had one of best swimmers in the butterfly in the country. Everyone expected him to make the Olympic Swim team for that stroke, but he failed to qualify. How was it that the best butterfly swimmer in the nation failed to make the Olympic Swim Team? He got distracted by the desire to grow a beard. The summer before the trials he grew a full beard that made the girls swoon. But the beard did something that neither he, nor his coach thought about. It changed his stroke. Instead of coming cleanly out of the water, he had to come up higher than normal in order to get air. This went undiscovered until after the trials, in which he did shave. But the damage was done. His stroke had been altered just enough to keep him off the swim team.
That is what Tiger has been doing since about 2008. He has allowed himself to become distracted, whether it was training with the Navy Seals, to the affairs. That is what has kept him from winning and what eventually led Haney to resign as Tiger’s coach. The greatness of his talent is all that he is resting on at this point and the reason he doesn’t win as much.
I don’t pity him in this area. He has all the money he could ever need and all the championships he needs to go down in history as one of the greatest players of the game. But his relationships with people still suffer. It’s like many people who become famous or powerful. Those who criticize, rightly or wrongly, are cut off. Tiger has done what many do, surrounded himself with “yes” men (another reason Haney stepped down. Tiger wasn’t listening any longer). That is sad.