Sunday, October 31, 2010

Not a Fall Classic at Juniata

Juniata Golf Club
Philadelphia, Pa
Yards: 2805/2185 - 4990
Par: 34/31 - 65
Rating: 63.2, Slope: 106
Score: 49/44 = 93
Date: October 24, 2010

My computer has been acting up recently, so I'm a bit late in this post. I teed it up for the second week in row at Juniata Golf Club, and like the previous week, shot an almost identical score.   Because of two outings at Juniata on this particular Sunday, my round started on the Eleventh Hole; not exactly the ideal hole for starting a round of golf. While I didn't drive the ball that badly, my ball striking left a good bit to be desired and my putting wasn't as consistent as it has been recently.

The Seventh Hole

I was really done it by two holes in particular: the 280-yard Par 4 Seventh Hole and the 185-yard Par 3 Twelfth Hole. I made a 9 at the Seventh after driving my tee shot down the right side, leaving me a perfect shot into the green. However, I chunked two shots into the waste area, duffed a pitch and two-putted.  At the Twelfth, I shanked my tee shot well right, missed another tee shot left, made it on the green in five and three-putted for an 8.

The Twelfth Hole

I continued to drive the ball well with the Wilson Staff Smooth Driver I put in the bags a few weeks ago. I also added a Momentus Power Hitter Lob Wedge into my bag this week and hit it a few more times on chips and pitches than I should have. The second new addition to my bag this week was a Tour version of the Odyssey White Hot #9 putter that I had been using. This model has a weight in the heel and toe of the putter and a slightly harder inset. Getting the right speed was a bit most difficult than I thought it would be, but I was getting better later in the round.

Odyssey White Hot Tour Putter

I took this weekend off, but look to return to the links next week to continue with the fall swing of my season. With any luck, the weather will continue to hold and provide with the gorgeous weather with been enjoying so we can extend the golf season a little later than we were able to do last year.
Photos by The Muni Golfer

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Blown Away at Juniata

Juniata Golf Club
Philadelphia, Pa
Yards: 2805/2185 - 4990
Par: 34/31 - 65
Rating: 63.2, Slope: 106
Score: 50/44 = 94
Date: October 16, 2010

On Saturday I took my friend and occasional golfing partner MS to Juniata Golf Club for a real taste on muni golf. We have previously teed up this year at The Fairways and Horsham Valley, so he was experiencing a true "public" golf course. The rains from a few days prior had softened up parts of the course, but the greens were running fast and the wind was howling.  This made club selection extremely difficult and keeping the ball below the wind on many holes paramount.

 Juniata Golf Club Scorecard

After a decent start, with a bogey and a par at the first two holes, I struggled in teh blustery conditions through the rest of the front nine and shot a respectable, though somewhat disappointing 50.  The Third Hole was a prime example of my misery. Hitting a new Wilson Staff Smooth Driver, I crushed teh ball off the tee, only to be left with over 200 yards for my second shot. A 5-Wood into the wind only emphasized my draw and left me well left and still about 15 yards short of the green. A short pitch, a chip and two putts meant a double bogey 6.

 Windy conditions like this made scoring difficult

The back nine was just as treacherous, although I was able to take advantage of some of the Par 3s to shoot a much better 44. Bogeys and double bogeys were the scores of the day, although I did mange to par the Eighteenth Hole after a nice up-and-down from the right bunker. This left me with a 94, not bad considering the very windy conditions.

 The Wilson Staff Smooth Driver

As I mentioned earlier, I put a new Wilson Staff Smooth Driver into play for the first time during this round. I have been having trouble with several TaylorMade Drivers, most notably the R7, with was causing me to hit short duck hooks off the tee. I had not such problems with the Smooth. The ball flight was high, straight and long considering the windy conditions. I hit five out of eight fairways with the Driver, which felt solid and very controlable, despite its 45.5-in length. I'm hoping this might be the solution to some of my problems off the tee this year, which has generally been hit-or-miss. If I can hit the Driver consistantly, this will take pressure off the other parts of my game, as well as some much needed strokes off my score.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back on Track at John Byrne

John F. Byrne Golf Club
Philadelphia, Pa
Yards: 2273/2610 - 4883
Par: 33/34 - 67
Rating: 63.9, Slope: 105
Score: 44/47 = 91
Date: October 10, 2010

After drying out from last Tuesday's wet and soggy round at Cobbs Creek, I was back on the First Tee at John F. Byrne Golf Club in Northeast Philadelphia. I had played 18 holes there about a month before when I shot an 89 and was looking to shoot something south of the triple digits I put on the scorecard at Cobbs Creek.

My Scorecard from John F. Byrne

Topping my opening tee shot and hitting a wrong ball for a two-stroke penalty and a 9 on the First Hole was not exactly the way I wanted to start, especially after I double bogeyed the Second Hole, but I then got in a bit of a groove and parred the next two holes, including the dreaded Fourth Hole, which has been my nemisis on many occasions. A shanked tee shot at the Fifth Hole led to a 7, but I parred the next three holes, with a nice up and down from behind the green at the treacherous Par 3 Sixth Hole. I finished off the front nine with a bogey to go out in 44, only one stroke worse than I shot back in September.

The First Hole from the tee

 The back nine started much like the front, with a topped tee shot and a ball in the creek, for a 7 at the Tenth Hole, but I responded with a par at the Eleventh. I hacked it up the 516-yard Par 5 Twelfth Hole for a double bogey, but responded again with a birdie at the very short Par 3 Thirteenth Hole; my fourth birdie of the year. The next three holes went double bogey, bogey, double bogey, although the bogey at the 155-yard Par Fifteenth Hole was pretty good after I missed to the left above the green. The 371-yard Par 4 Seventeenth Hole is quickly beginning to match the Fourth as a hole that just drives me nuts...and my scores up.  The creek which runs down the right side angles in shortly off the tee, calling for a cut or fade shot which is just not in my arsensal since I hit a pronounced draw. The hole features a green that is narrow in the front, with bunkers on either side. The left bunker, which I seem to have difficulty playing from, has become a magnet for approach shots. This round was no different. I barley got out of the bunker, then chipped past the hole and two-putted for a 6. At the Eighteenth, I found the creek yet again off the tee, but managed to finish with a 6 for a back nine 47--again, one stroke higher than last month. This gave me a round of 91.

The view from the Tenth Tee

Although I am still ahving problems hitting Driver off the tee, I did put my TaylorMade Burner 3- and 5-woods back in the bag, as well as replacing my 4-hybrid with a TaylorMade GCB 4-iron. As I continue to search for a Driver I can put in the fairway, I will try to stay with the rest of the current set-up for a few rounds and see how my scores go.
Photos by The Muni Golfer

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rain Doesn't Dampen This Bad Round

Cobbs Creek Golf Club
Olde Course
Philadelphia, Pa
Yards: 2498/3258 - 5736
Par: 35/36 - 71
Rating: 67.6, Slope: 116
Score: 53/57 = 110
Date: October 5, 2010

It was rainy, wet and chilly yesterday as I teed off for a rare mid-week round of  golf on the Olde Course at Cobbs Creek, the gem of Philadelphia's public courses. The course was designed by Hugh Wilson, who also designed the famed East Course at Merion. My partners and I were scheduled to play at Paxon Hollow Country Club in Marple Township, but the course was closed due the continuing inclement weather. So we headed over to Cobbs Creek, where we had no difficulty teeing it up.

My Scorecard from Cobbs Creek

Wearing my wet weather gear, including a FootJoy bucket rain hat that I picked up at Dicks Sporting Goods on my way to the course, we set out against the elements and the course. The greens at Cobbs Creek were in excellent condition, but the tee boxes and fairways showed signs of the extreme heat that has plaqued the Delaware Valley this summer. Due to the rain, conditions were sloppy at best and I hit a lot of fat shots. I also played poorly off the tee, often putting myself into punch out or hit it back into the fairway mode. Not the best way to post a good score. The only thing that really saved me on the front nine was that I played the three Par 3s in only two over par.  On the back nine, I parred the short Tenth Hole, but did little from there, including a 9 at the very long 589-yard Par 5 Fourteenth followed by an 8 at the uphill Par 4 Fiftheenth Hole.

On a very wet tee

Bunkers were also water hazards

The rain gear made it difficult to swing comfortably and the bucket hat made me sweat so bad my eyes were stinging several times from the perspiration running down my forehead. But, still, I was playing golf. I laugh when people won't play in a steady drizzle. A lot of golfers spend thousands of dollars for golf trips to Scotland and Ireland. Well, yesterday's conditions would be called a sunny day across the pond. I'll just chalk the score up to the weather and concentrate on getting my next round back to where my game was a few weeks ago.

Rain clouds hung over the wet course
Photos by The Muni Golfer