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Official Golf Thread - Page 129

post #1921 of 1933
Man. Just shot an 80 with 5 three putts. Couldn't make a putt for the life of me. Hit great tee shots and iron shots pretty much all day.

And yeah te handicap system is a little confusing for me. I just track my scores with that app and was kind of wondering how on earth they came up with any of that.
post #1922 of 1933
Handicap is designed to get the average of your 'good' rounds. For each round it calculates a 'differential' from the adjusted course rating. So you take your score minus the course rating and then adjust it for the slope by taking the differential and dividing it by the course slope and then multiplying it by 113 (average slope supposedly).

Once you have your differentials you take the best 10 out of your last 20 rounds and average those differentials. You then multiply the result by 95% (don't ask me why) and that gives you the handicap index, which can be used to calculate a course handicap based on the rating/slope of the course you're going to play.

Since it's an average of your best scores, in general you should only beat your handicap about 25% of the time.

The rules of golf have a table that shows how to implement the system if you have fewer than 20 scores. I don't recall what it is right now, but I think you use a higher percentage of your scores early on and then decrease it to 50% over time.



I found a little swing fix this week that has really been paying off. Added a slight pause at the top of my backswing. I went from hitting 6-7 greens a round to hitting 12 on Saturday and 14 on Sunday. Shot my 2 best rounds of the year Saturday and Sunday despite not making anything on the greens. Sunday I shot 78 with 38 putts and no birdies. Mucho room for improvement there.
post #1923 of 1933
Played yesterday at Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, TX (near DFW airport). In case you're wondering: yes, those Cowboys. This is a Jerry Jones venture that's been in place since 2001 and markets itself as the world's only NFL themed golf venue. Although it's been around for a while this was my first chance to visit. Thought I'd pass along some impressions

Overall Experience:
They are trying to deliver an ultra-premium experience at an ultra-premium price. Normal prime time (no pun intended) rates are $185, but this includes unlimited golf, cart fees (walking isn't really an option here), unlimited range balls and all food and non-alcoholic beverages. The only additional costs are for alcohol, merchandise in the pro shop or tips. When you pay, they give you a lapel pin that serves as your "ticket" for the day. I was able to get on use a promotional rate of $99, which I thought was great.

Other than at select times, they don't necessarily club you over the head with the whole Dallas Cowboys thing. As you drive up to the bag drop, they are playing replays of old Cowboys game broadcasts over the sound system (but only in that outside area). Also all of the golf carts have the name of a famous Cowboys player on the side. I got a hall-of-famer from the '70s era.



I had an early lunch (club sandwich) and then a hot dog at the turn. The jalapeño sausage dogs are legendary, but sadly they were out. Overall I thought the food was really great for what it was.

The Golf:
The course itself is amazing and in really fantastic shape. I was shocked at the amount of elevation change on the property. Generally courses in this area tend toward flattish. Not this one. Very scenic with lots of trees and hazards. I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but the drop from the 4th tee to the fairway has to be at least 80 feet. And yes, they do have the Cowboys star painted in the middle of that fairway.



The greens are Bermuda with some grain attendant to that strain. But they were in fantastic shape and were the fastest Bermuda greens I've ever played. Additionally, the greens are by and large very difficult. Very undulated. Several are comprised of multiple mini-greens. My main complaint with the course yesterday was the greens. I won't completely judge it on one round but, when you combined the difficulty of the greens, some questionable pin placements, about 14 stimp speeds and toss in a 25+ mph wind, things got a bit cartoonish. I had a downhill 35 footer that I knew would be impossible to stop. I literally just started the ball rolling. When it stopped rolling I had a 20 footer coming back. One guy in my group had a 20 footer up a hill that he died just short of the cup. A gust of wind came up and blew the ball 6 feet back down toward him. Yes, the putt came backwards. But again, conditions were tough and the guys in my group who play there regularly seemed just as vexed as I was, so I probably caught them on a bad day.

Other than that one issue, I thought that the course and the whole experience were really first rate. All the extras you'd expect...club service at the end with iced eucalyptus face towels, hot cart girls, etc. At $185 a round, I won't be a regular but it was a really nice day and if I can get the $99 rate again I'll certainly do it.
post #1924 of 1933
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark from Plano View Post

Played yesterday at Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, TX (near DFW airport).

My main complaint with the course yesterday was the greens. I won't completely judge it on one round but, when you combined the difficulty of the greens, some questionable pin placements, about 14 stimp speeds and toss in a 25+ mph wind, things got a bit cartoonish.

Stupid pin placements really piss me off. I'm OK with wild undulations or super speedy greens, but don't place the pin on the side of a hill. Putting doesn't need to be gimmicky.
post #1925 of 1933
One bright spot of yesterday, I was digging around in the garage and found one of my old golf bags. Had my old Hogan Edge irons (2 sets ago) with a 2 iron. My current set of Mizunos came with 4 through gap wedge and I added a 19 degree Mizuno hybrid which I have a tendency to hook. My prior set were Hogans, but started at 3 iron. Frankly, I'd forgotten I even still owned one. I pulled it out of the bag and threw it in the trunk thinking I'd see if I could still hit it next time I went to the range (probably haven't tried to hit a 2 iron in 8-10 years now).

When I got to the course yesterday and the wind was just howling I saw it in the trunk and it occurred to me that low boring shots with a 2 iron might be more useful than high, soft shots with a hybrid, so I switched them out. Pulled it out during warmups and came up with a good swing thought (slow backswing, full release).

Wound up being a great decision. Pulled it out 4 different times (once off the tee and three times in the fairway). Nailed it every time. It will definitely be in the bag for Scotland in 3 weeks.
post #1926 of 1933
2-irons are fun when they work. Still carry one. I remember when I carried a 1-iron. Reminds me I should work out more.
post #1927 of 1933
Scotland Trip Report, Volume 1

Having a great week in Scotland so far. People are unbelievably nice.

Sunday: Arrived in St. Andrews late afternoon after flying all night. Connected through London to Edinburgh, then rented a car from there. Met my friend from Aberdeen at his flat here that he's letting us use for the week. Very comfortable 2 bedroom apartment. He'd made dinner reservations in town. We were able to get out and do a bit of walking around before dark. Went to dinner and then a pub after for a drink. Goal was to stay up until at least 10 pm to put ourselves onto local time as much as possible. Successful. I'd been worried about jet lag. I shouldn't have been. It was really a non-issue.

Monday: Had an early tee time at Kingsbarns, a links course of recent vintage that tends to be very high on everyone's list of best courses in Scotland. It did not disappoint. It's on the 3-course rotation for next week's Dunhill Links Championship along with The Old Course and Carnoustie. Really a must-play if you come over, although the greens fees are quite expensive at £215. My friend and I both got caddies. I played solidly for me (83) and my friend shot 78. Despite the fee of £50 plus tip it turned out to be a great deal. We hit it off with the guys, one of whom is a young, aspiring pro currently battling neck issues. He asked where we were scheduled to play and then asked if we'd be interested in playing Carnoustie ("uh...yeah!!!"). He seemed confident that he could make a few calls and get us on with some members at the member rate of £25. He took my friend's email address and promised to get back with us.

After golf we said goodbye to my Scottish buddy who returned home to Aberdeen and my friend and I got in the car for an overnight trip to East Lothian where a business acquaintance of his had arranged lodging for us at his club and two rounds for us on Tuesday. We drove back through Edinburgh down past Gullane to the Renaissance Club which was our lodging for the evening. He'd reserved us two rooms which turned out to be in the main clubhouse there. The fellow met us at the club and drove us to his home in the town of North Berwick (as it turns out, directly across the street from the 1st tee at the North Berwick West Course...another high on the Best of Scotland lists). We walked into town from there to a wonderful Italian place that had no business being in such a small village. After dinner and a couple of bottles of wine we wandered back to this fellow's house where I found out that he'd previously been executive chairman of a whiskey company. Suddenly the night became a whiskey tasting. During our visit, his wife mentioned that Michael Jordan was to be staying at the Club and would be arriving the next day (!!!). Several whiskies later he called a driver from the club to pick our drunk asses up and take us back. Apparently, the club accommodations were booked full all week, but most people weren't arriving until Tuesday, so Monday night we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We went back and put our now very drunk asses to bed as we had to be up, dressed and back to North Berwick West for an 8:20am tee time.

Our first full day had been quite an adventure...
post #1928 of 1933
Damn Mark! That sounds awesome. Post pics when you et a chance. Enjoy!
post #1929 of 1933
From the first two days:

St. Andrews Cathedral:


Kingsbarns:
In this first one you can see a scoreboard for next week's Dunhill Cup.





The view from my room at the Renaissance Club out onto the 6th hole (a par 3):
post #1930 of 1933
^^^ Very nice.


Productivity today will be about as low as when the first round of the NCAA playoffs airs. Steaming the Cup live on my phone.
post #1931 of 1933
Holy hell, that sounds and looks like a dream golf trip. Enjoy every second of it Mark!

I was playing a round of golf with my friends while down in the OBX last week at the Seascape course and missed an albatross by less than 2 inches. It was surreal. Bombed a drive down the middle of the fairway of a 520 yard par 5 and then hit a 5 iron onto the green. Ball mark was 1.5 feet past the pin and it spun back just one inch in front and one inch over from the hole. Easiest eagle ever... ffffuuuu.gif
post #1932 of 1933
Scotland Trip Report, Volume 2

Tuesday: Awoke at the Renaissance Club incredibly hung over from our foolishness the night before. Tuesday was to be our marathon day...the only day we had 36 holes pre-booked. I am of an age and ability where I require some measure of warmup before I hit the first tee. Our host had informed us the night before that the practice facility for North Berwick was some two miles away and that our best bet would be to hit balls at Renaissance before driving over. That morning though we were doing good to simply get dressed and grab a quick bowl of cereal before heading over. Once there we knew we were in for something special. North Berwick is what I'd always been told links golf was supposed to be. We parked in our host's driveway and carried our clubs across the street to the starter shack. We saw this sign and knew we weren't in Kansas anymore:



Our host was very excited for us to see the course. He described it as 'quirky'. And it was certainly that. We did the best we could warming up. We putted. We chipped. We swung to loosen up. But any feedback from hitting shots on the range would have to be done on the course instead. Fortunately, the first hole, much like The Old Course shares a fairway with the 18th to the left, so there was plenty of room for error. So naturally I hit my first tee shot onto the beach on the right (which is in play I found out). Things only got worse from there. I didn't manage to find the center of any clubface until about the 7th hole. By then any semblance of a score was gone, and my only solace was to try and play well on the back nine.

In the meantime though the entire setting was spectacular. North Berwick has been essentially the same golf course since 1832 and lists it's course architect as 'God'. There is quirkiness, but it isn't manufactured quirkiness, which is the charm. Like The Old, the course goes out and back, but unlike The Old does so in a figure-8. About the 8th hole I began to settle down and decide to focus my attention on really playing the back nine, since I hadn't broken 50 on the front (I'm guessing...after taking 8 and 7 on the first two I stopped keeping score). I made my first par of the day on 8 and then a respectable bogie on 9 and felt like I was beginning to play.

After 3 holes on the back side I only had one bogie and felt I was more in control. Beginning on 13 is where the true quirkiness of North Berwick begins to kick in. The hole is a modest par 4 with two bunkers down the left and an ancient stone wall that bisects the fairway at a steep angle from left to right. The green sits immediately behind the wall and is long and narrow such that the best tee shot is one that hugs the left side (near, but not in the bunkers) to give the best angle into the green. A shot on the right side of the fairway has to be extremely precise. Here's a picture of the hole we took from behind the green:



And from the fairway side




My tee shot was to the right. My second shot was heavy and imprecise but somehow hit short of the wall and bounced over (don't ask me how) and settled on the back of the green from which I was able to make par. A par on 14 and a birdie on 15 left me at even on the back.

Sixteen is equally quirky with a 100 yard deep green made up of two huge, raised putting surfaces with large run offs and separated by a huge 'valley of sin' in between. Our pin was on the back surface and my second shot wound up on the back fringe 15 feet away. I drained the putt for a second birdie in a row. I bogied 17, but still came to 18 tee at even on the back. 18 is a drivable par 4 (290) with a parking lot on the right and the first fairway on the left. I managed to make a par giving me a score of 50+ on the front and 35 on the back.

The course was a pure delight to play. You couldn't build this course today. If you did it would be called 'tricked up' and 'gimmicky'. As it is, it's a classic. It's a consensus top-10 in Scotland pick and is used as a qualifying venue for Open Championships held at Muirfield just up the road. Playing it was a highlight of the trip.

Our host had business in Edinburgh and had to leave us, but made arrangements for us to play Renaissance in the afternoon. We made a few purchases in the North Berwick pro shop and then headed over for our second round of the day. As we walked in, an American named Jerry walked up to me and introduced himself and started talking to me. The place was so exclusive that I began to get an "I'm not supposed to be here" vibe, even though I was. Turns out that Jerry is the owner of the club and, for whatever reason (maybe our host...who is a minority owner as well...had told him we were coming) Jerry joined us for lunch. He was amiable and we got to hear lots of stories about the founding of the club. Eventually we needed to go, although Jerry assured us that there were no such things as tee times at the club ("Just go whenever you're ready").

We met our forecaddy that had been reserved for us and went to the range to re-loosen our tired muscles. I won't go into a lot of details about the round because neither my play nor the course will be a standout of the trip. Don't get me wrong, the course is nice...great, even. It is a Tom Doak design that sits on a piece of property that shares a fence with Muirfield. It is a modern interpretation of a links course and was immaculately conditioned. But of the courses we played this week, it had the least true memorable character (IMHO).

The most memorable thing for us was that as we were coming up the 4th fairway, Michael Jordan's group was coming up the 18th next to us. The 18th at Renaissance also has an ancient stone wall that bisects the fairway. While cool, it doesn't have (or didn't for me anyway) the same character of the 13th at North Berwick.

We ate dinner that night at the Old Clubhouse Restaurant in Gullane on the way back to St. Andrews (recommended) and then drove back to St. Andrews.

36 holes (hungover), a Michael Jordan sighting and 1 1/2 hours of navigating the highways and byways of East Lothian and the Kingdom of Fife had made for a very full day.
Edited by Mark from Plano - 9/26/14 at 4:14pm
post #1933 of 1933
Scotland Trip Report, Volume 3 (condensed version)

These have been too long, let's see if I can cut it down.

Wednesday Had an open day. Played the New Course at St. Andrews (built in 1895). Great. No tee times. Signed up and got off within 30 minutes. Great course. Some say better than The Old (not me, but some).

Thursday. Got to play Carnoustie with a couple of the members. Lots of stories that mainly end up reflecting badly on me. Great people. Course absolutely kicked my ass. Hard. In a 25+ wind, very hard. Caddie keeps overclubbing you, damned near impossible.

Friday. Went out to the first day of the Ryder Cup Matches. Froze my butt off. Atmosphere was good.

Saturday. Day was all about getting onto The Old Course. We'd been unable to get times for this week ahead of time so we put in for the daily ballot for four days in a row. Failed every time. Last resort, showed up today at 6am. Was #23 in line for walk up times (#1 was there at 2:30am). Spent all day in the starter area waiting and watching the Ryder Cup. Did take a break for 45 minutes or so to walk up to the Cathedral cemetery to visit the graves of Tom Morris Old and Young. I left a small offering (a golf tee) to aid my chances at the Old Course (can't hurt, right?) Finally got to go out at 1:40pm (nearly an 8 hour wait). Was amazing. As we came up 18 a large group (not playing) was on the Swilcarn Bridge taking pictures and it took forever to clear them back so we could hit. Once we hit they rushed back over to resume picture taking. We couldn't get through to get to our shots. Then someone says, "hey, you guys want your picture made with Dr. J?" Sure enough Dr. J was one of the guys in the group. Took pics with him and then finished up our round.

Going to the Ryder Cup early tomorrow then a sleeper train to London for a couple of days of sightseeing before flying home on Wednesday.
Edited by Mark from Plano - 9/27/14 at 2:55pm
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