Archive for June, 2013

On Tuesday I went to putt and chip for about 2 hours in preparation for my round on Wednesday.  My chipping and putting are really improving and where that used to be a weak area of my game, I have really been gaining confidence quickly in both.  If you want to shoot consistent low scores, you will gain the most strokes by being solid on and around the green.

On Wednesday I played my first round since starting this blog.  Maybe the blog motivated me more to shoot a real good open score and I did just that, carding a +4 round of 74 on the par 70 Vineyard Golf Course. From the back tee Vineyard plays at a rating of 73.1, my score of 74 gave me a handicap index of 0.9, which I believe is my lowest I have ever shot.  My other 74 I have shot was a +2 in Palm Springs (Which was the round that sparked this whole golf obsession again for me) but that was from the middle tees and it ended up being an index of 1.7 or something.  So overall I’m very pleased with my round today, showing a lot of improvement in my iron play and up and down ability.  The black eye of the round however, was the fact that I drove the ball from the tee absolutely horrid.  The positions that my coach wants me to get into with my woods are just not translating yet; I could not even hit a 3-wood in the fairway let alone my driver.  Hit only 3 of 14 fairways in the round, but like I said before, my iron, chipping and putting was great and despite only hitting 21% of fairways I was able to shoot only 4 over par.  I’m going to be going over my round hole by hole, so you can kind of picture how my round went.  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do this for every round I play, when I start playing 3-4 times a week, but at least for the first I must do it.

The Vineyard Golf Course 6,531 Yards Par 70


Front 9

Hole 1: 420 Par 4

A straight away par 4, played into the wind today.  Hit one of my only good drives of the day with my driver in the fairway.  Pushed a sand wedge for 2nd shot, hit the green, but had about 35-40ft birdie putt.  2 putted. Par

Round (Even)   

Hole 2: 351 Par 4

Short dogleg left with water surrounding the left side and green.  Put a nice draw on a 5 iron off the tee, starting it on corner of water and drew it back into the fairway.  Had about 118 left into the wind, hit a 3quarter gap wedge to about 8 feet for birdie.  Missed putt and 2 putted. Par

Round (Even)

Hole 3: 125 Par3

Short par 3, was only playing about 110 today, as pin was in the very front.  Water is in front of green and out of bounds long.  Hit a solid sand wedge to center of green, 2 putted for par.  Pars a very good score on this tricky little hole. Par

Round (Even)

Hole 4: 404 Par 4

Decided to hit a 3 wood off tee just to try and hit fairway, ended up pushing it to the left into a fairway bunker.  Was blocked out by a tree, so I just punched a club up, hoping to maybe run it onto the green. Hit a great shot and ran it up to the front of the green just in the fringe with plenty of green to work with.  Used a 9 iron to run it up to the hole which was positioned on the top of a slope.  Ran it about 7 ft by and lipped out the putt for par. Bogey

Round (+1)

Hole 5: 401 Par 4

This is where my driving started to take a turn for the worse.  Hit a 3 wood off the tee here, but pushed it so far left that it went through our fairway and through the 4th hole fairway and out!  Absolutely horrid shot luckily though it was a lateral hazard and not out of bounds, so I was able to drop for my 3rd instead of having to re-tee.  Hit my 3rd onto the green, but had a long sloping 40ft putt for par.  Left it 4ft short, but made the bogey putt. Bogey

Round (+2)

Hole 6: 152 Par 3

Pin was tucked on the far left side of the green, but I hit a 9 iron with lots of draw and it ended up on the far right side of the green.  Probably had about an 80ft putt for birdie, insane distance.  Left it a good 5 ft short and lipped out the par putt for a 3 putt bogey

Round (+3)

Hole 7: 295 Par 4

A sharp dog leg right hole, but gives you an angle to drive the green in 1.  Usually about 250-260 to carry the hazard and drive the green.  I aimed a 3 wood to the left half of the green, hoping that if I drew it, it would end up right center of green or if I blocked it, have only about 40-50 yards in.  Blocked it onto a hill in the rough, but only had about 45yards in.  Hit a lob wedge, landed it exactly where I wanted on the green, but had no spin from rough, ran about 18ft by.  2 putted for par. Par

Round (+3)

Hole 8: 419 Par 4

Hit a driver, knowing that I could push it left and be ok in the other fairway….exactly what I did.  Only had about 125 in, into the wind, tried to muscle a pitching wedge in, but it plugged into the sand.  Was not looking good, plugged lie with no green to work with, flag about 7 paces on.  Hit a great sand shot to about 6 ft and made a difficult right to left breaker.  Great sand save for me.  Par

Round (+3)

Hole 9: 503 Par 5

Very reachable par 5, but I pushed my drive again to the left and into the #8 fairway.  Only had about 210 in, but had trees in front of me.  Decided to hit a 6 iron, draw it around the trees and it ended up about 40 yards in front of green in the fairway.  Pin location in front only about 4 paces on, so a very awkward 40 yard pitch that I had to land in the fringe and let it feed on.  Hit a perfect shot to about 6inches and tapped it in for birdie.  Birdie

Round (+2)


A very solid 37 (+2) on the par 35 front 9.  Fairways Hit (FW): 2/7 28.5% Greens in Regulation (GIR): 6/9 66.6% Up/Downs: 0/2 0% Sand Saves: 1/1 100%

Back 9

Hole 10: 389 Par 4

Pushed a 3-wood down the left side of the fairway, kicked hard left off a hill, but luckily stayed in bounds down the left side.  Punched a gap wedge onto the green about 15ft for birdie.  2 putted for par. Par

Round (+2)

Hole 11: 457 Par 4

This is a very difficult driving hole that you can’t go left on.  Knowing that I didn’t want to go left, I hooked a 3-wood that landed in the adjacent fairway, caught a ridge and ended up in a great spot only 130 yards out.  Hit a wedge into the center of the green, but it hit hard and bounced right and onto the fringe.  2 putted from there for a solid par on this difficult hole. Par

Round (+2)

Hole 12: 154 Par 3

Another par 3 over water into the wind.  Hit it over the flag stick and had a tricky downhill putt of about 20ft.  Actually left the putt about 5ft short, but knocked in the par putt.  Par

Round (+2)

Hole 13: 477 Par 4

Pushed another driver left into the opposite fairway, but had a real good angle and knocked it on about 12 ft for birdie.  Sloping putt that just missed and made a par. Par

Round (+2)

Hole 14: 412 Par 4

Water on the left and out of bounds on the right, hit a 4 iron and drew it off the water again just into the fringe of the fairway.  Hit a wedge right at the flag, but it hit a down slope in the center of the green and rolled off into the rough.  A tricky little downhill chip, with little green to work with.  Used a PW to chip it onto the fringe and trickle down to the hole about 3ft away.  Made the par save. Par

(Round +2)

Hole 15: 551 Par 5

Hit a solid drive, but it kicked into the right side fairway bunker.  Ripped a 7 iron out to about 85yards.  Hit a solid lob wedge to about 12 ft.  Had the right line, but left it about a foot short, tapped in for par. Par

(Round +2)

Hole 16: 453 Par 4

The most difficult hole on the course according to the handicap on the scorecard.  Hit a 3 wood into the fairway, but still had about 180 into the green.  You don’t want to go over the green here; I decided to hit a 5iron as it was into the wind.  I decelerated in my downswing worried about going over, hit a horrible shank to the left and it went out of bounds.  Really really bad swing after I had a great opportunity in the middle of the fairway.  Wasn’t able to get up and down from my drop and 2 putted for a double bogey 6.  Double bogey

Round (+4)

Hole 17: 157 Par 3

Had to refocus after the disaster on the previous hole and hit it just over the green to the back pin location.  Made a nice pitching wedge chip again landing it just onto the green and running it out the rest of the way to about 2 ft.  Made a nice up and down par

Round (+4)

Hole 18: 411 Par 4


Our View from the 18th tee

Very scenic 18th hole heading back down the hill to the clubhouse.  Hit a 3 wood into the right side fairway bunker.  Hit a nice punch sand wedge out onto the green about 15ft away.  Downhill sloping right to left putt that just missed and I made another par.  Par

(Round +4)


So another solid 37 +2 on the par 35 back 9.  All pars and 1 double bogey.  Fairways Hit (FW) 1/7 14% Green in Regulation (GIR) 5/9 55.5% Up/Downs 3/3 100%.

Final Score: 74 (+4)

Overall a very solid short game round for me….that area of my game is really improving nicely as I was 3/5 on up and downs and 1/1 in sand saves.  Had 31 putts total in the round, under 30 would be ideal, but 31 isn’t bad for me.  If I can maintain these numbers and improve on them, it will help my scoring tremendously.  The only negative for my round today was my driving, hit only 3 of 14 fairways and really only 1 of my last 13.  I MUST improve that part of my game, normally it has been pretty solid, but the new changes that I have made to my swing this week have really affected my driver and woods.  Want to try to get a lesson maybe on Friday to try and figure that out.  Might be playing on Saturday again with a buddy, so hopefully I can drive it a little better and build on my great scoring round today.  Making more birdies would be nice too, only 1 today, but I’ll take pars all day.  Except for that horrible double bogey on 16, I’m very pleased with this round.  I hope you enjoyed this post, I know it was extremely long, but I wanted to at least give a detailed recap of my first round on the blog.  Will probably do this for tournament rounds and definitely my under par round when it happens.  Most will be shorter recaps though.  On a side note this round lowered my handicap from 5.7 to 5.1, the lowest of my life!  A handicap in golf for those who may not know the terminology, is calculated with a specific formula that approximates how many strokes above or below par a player might be able to play, based on his ten best scores in a given period and the difficulty of the courses.

Saturday I decided to take the day off, I really felt myself getting frustrated after my dissapointing range session on Friday and I wanted to just take a day and regain focus and confidence. “Frustration, although quite painful at times, is a very positive and essential part of success.”- Bo Bennett

Sunday I went over to see my coach again to get another lesson.  I asked him for reassurance that I was applying my grip correctly.  I want to have a solid understanding for what is exactly right, so in upcoming range session I don’t go trying to tinker with it again like I did on Friday.  Overall he thought that my set up, grip and takeaway were starting to improve nicely, but he wanted to work on my balance.  I tend to get my weight more on my toes at address and that causes me to bring my left leg up and in at impact, rather than straight and toward my right knee. It changes my spine angle and causes inconsistent strikes. (You must remember by the way that I’m a lefty, so for many of you picturing the right and left knee in your mind might be thinking that previous sentence didn’t make much sense)  By the end of the lesson my balance was a lot better and after hitting the rest of my golf balls after the lesson, I started to get more consistent strikes.  Just focused on my long irons Sunday, no woods and tonight I’ll be heading to the range again like usual on Monday night and test my whole bag with the new balance point.  Really need to get my driver and woods back to where they were before the changes if I’m going to continue to break 80.  I’m playing golf on Wednesday this week, not sure where at the moment, but am locked in with a friend to play on Wednesday, so this will be my first round since starting the blog and we will see how my new swing transfers to the course.  I’ll be posting a picture of my scorecard, where I keep track of varies stats. Fairways and greens hit, up and downs, sand saves, putts and penalty strokes.  My goals right now are to continue to break 80 with an improving short game saves %.

My lesson video wouldn’t process on here last night so I had to wait till today to post this after uploading the video to YouTube.  My range session last night was really good, started to implement the changes in my balance you’ll see in this upcoming video and it really seemed to work.  Kept my focus the entire session, visualizing playing golf holes and playing at flags.  Swing is still a work in progress, but feeling more confident with my swing going into my round on Wednesday than I was last week.  Here is the video recap of my lesson on Sunday, you can see how my balance has changed and looks to be in a much better position for more consistency strikes.



Hit the ball fairly well on Wednesday night, am starting to get more comfortable with the new swing path and grip.  On Thursday, I decided to just work on chipping for the day, went over to Carmel Mountain Ranch Golf Club and chipped for 2 hours.  My chipping has been steadily improving over the past few months, really utilizing multiple clubs for certain situation and not solely relying on my 60 degree lob wedge for every chip and pitch.  I’ve known that the ideal way to chip is to just land the ball on the first 1/3rd of the green as quickly as possible and have it run out like a putt the rest of the way.  The chipping swing should almost be exactly the same every time, in terms of set up, length of swing and speed, the only difference should be the clubs for different distances.  It takes many hours of practice to really hone in on your chipping distances with every club, from lob wedge  all the way up to 5 or 6 irons.  The lowest lofted club I chip with right now has been a 7 iron.  I’m really going to try to practice chipping hard and learn the distance each club travels.  That is really going to help you lower your scores when you are on the course.  It gives you not only more options for shot types, but confidence to know that this certain club will go this certain distance and you can have a clear picture in your mind before performing the shot.  Short game is the most important aspect of scoring well, you must get up and down at least 70—80% of the time to shoot consistent low scores and right now according to my golf stats over the past year and a half am only at 22% successful saves.  Recently however over my last 4 rounds, I’m saving at a 42% clip so definitely improving as I get more comfortable with my distances and shot selection.


Did some more chipping today over at Carmel mountain for about 2 and a half hours.  Chipped amazing today, only was chipping 3 balls at a time and no exaggeration, I counted 8 times I chipped in and several more would be tap in putts.  8 chip-ins in 2 and half hours just hitting 3 balls at a time is a pretty awesome feat.  At a proper range they give you a sleeve of about 20-25 balls to hit and I have chipped those for 3 hours straight before and chipped in maybe once.  So to do it 8 times while hitting probably 80% fewer balls than I would normally in 2 and a half hours feels really good and means that my chipping is seriously improving.  I’m giving my chips chances of going in and that feels good, now I only wish I could take this over to the course!  After work on Friday night I went to the range for 2 hours to work on my long game.  I was hitting my wedges really crisp and nice, new grip and swing plane felt good, but once I got to the longer irons and driver I couldn’t seem hit it how I wanted.  Admittedly I got frustrated with myself after I hit the ball fairly well on Wednesday night with these clubs.  After getting frustrated, I started to lose focus and just started hitting balls and not really analyzing each swing and feel or thinking about what I was doing right or wrong.  I was just pounding balls for the last 40 minutes and that is not the way to improve in golf.  I’m not too concerned, but I do want to try to get a lesson either Sunday or Monday so that I can make sure that I’m implementing the correct changes to my swing that my teacher wants me to.  I need to remember that these changes are going to take some time and I’m not just going to hit the ball amazing over night, it’s going to take a lot of work, time and patience.  One of my biggest faults, like many in this day and age, is that I always want that instant gratification.  Golf is not the game for that type of thinking and I need to keep reminding myself that with time and constant practice, I can get to where I want in this game.  “Change is not a process for the impatient.” – Barbara Reinhold