Thursday, May 31, 2012

Range of Confusion

Driving Range
Bensalem Township Country Club
200 Brown Ave.
Bensalem, Pa

After my mediocre first round to start the season, I headed back to the practice range at Bensalem Country Club late yesterday afternoon. I ordered a large bucket of balls and set about working on the one part of my game that gave me the most trouble during the opening round--driving off the tee on Par 4s.

After some stretching and swinging my Sklz Gold Flex swinger trainer, I warmed up by hitting 10 sand wedges. After another 10 swings with the Gold Flex, I hit 10 4-hybrids off the tee. These shots were slight draws with decent yardage. After a few more swings with the GF, I hit 10 5-woods off the tee. These were some of the worst shots I've hit this year--low slices. They were so bad, I didn't even try to hit my 3-wood, but moved instead to the driver, another club that gave me problems in my opening round. Yesterday was no better. I hit some duck hooks, but mostly fades to the right. It got so bad that I began trying to hit a fade off the tee instead of my normal draw. No matter what I tried--changing my stance, grip, etc.--I couldn't hit the ball right-to-left. After hitting confusing and frustrating shots with my driver, I put it back in the bag.

I finished up by hitting 10 chips and pitches with my pitching and gap wedges, followed by six 7-irons to finish off a very disappointing practice session. Because of the time, I skipped going to the putting green. I may go back to a shorter TaylorMade Burner instead of my Wilson Staff Smooth Driver for my next round this weekend in the hopes that it will get my swing back on track. I think that playing on a course, no matter how bad I play, may be the only thing that will get me back into the groove I had through most of last season.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

First Round is Far From Par

The Fairways Golf & Country Club
Warrington, Pa
Yards: 2255/2248 - 4503
Par: 32/33 - 65
Rating: 62.1, Slope: 104
Score: 51/39 = 90
Date: May 19, 2012

I finally teed it up for the first round of the season last Saturday at The Fairways Golf & Country Club in Warrington, Pa. I like this course because, at just over 4500 yards, it is an easy course to walk. The course has seven Par 3s and 11 Par 4s. It was in excellent shape and the weather was beautiful; a sunny day that wasn't too warm with a light breeze.

 The Fairways Front 9

My round got off to an ominous start when I topped my opening drive short of the ladies' tees. I recovered to hit my hybrid to just over 100 yards, then skulled my pitch shot over the green, duffed my chip then four-putted for a 9. The second hole hole was an almost duplicate of the first, except I hooked my tee shot out-of-bounds and skulled a bunker shot into a marshy area. Back-to-back 9s to open my round. The next two holes are Par 3s and I managed a par and a bogey, before again hooking my tee shot to the left for another double bogey. I hit my tee shot at the 284-yard Par 4 5th Hole into the creek, but recovered to walk away with bogey. I missed a short par putt at the 168-yard 7th Hole, but blew my tee shot at the 8th Hole way right and three-putted for an 8. A par at the 133-yard 9th Hole left me with a 51 on the scorecard for the first 9 of the season.

 The Fairways Back 9

The second nine started like the first, with a semi-pulled tee shot and a duffed chip for another double bogey. But then my game seemed to settle down a bit, although I still had problems finding the fairway on the Par 4s. After another bogey at the 11th Hole, I made my first birdie of the year at the 150-yard Par 3 12th hole, rolling my tee shot up to three feet. I missed par putts at the next two holes, then parred the Par 3 15th and Par 4 16th. I closed out my round with bogeys at 17 and 18 for an inward 39, only 6 over par. That left with a total of 90 for the round.

 My birdie hole--Par 3 12th Hole

I was extremely disappointed with how I hit the ball off the tee with my driver and 3-wood. It alost like I never went to the driving range the previous two weeks. I was either hitting duck hooks or hitting it thin off the heel of the club. My chipping and pitching were also very suspect as I left several shots short of the green. I did, however, play the Par 3s extremely well, making a birdie, 3 pars and 3 bogeys. And my putting was better than I thought it would be, although I did miss a few short putts. It is still early and the only I am going to bring my game around is practice and play rounds.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Phil's Blue Hat

If you watch the PGA Tour on a regular basis, you may have noticed that Phil Mickelson is occasionally wearing a blue hat with the name of his sponsor, KPMG, across the front. Now you too can wear the same hat as Phil and help a very worthy cause at the same time. The hats are being sold for $29.95, plus shipping and handling, with the proceeds going to benefit KPMG's Family for Literacy. With each hat sold KFFL will donate three books to children in need. I already ordered mine. The hat (pictured above) is tour quality and looks great. So help children with their literacy by buying out of Phil's Blue Hats. You can learn more about Phil's Blue Hat and even order them online here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Practice, I'm Still Talkin' Practice

Driving Range
Bensalem Township Country Club
200 Brown Ave.
Bensalem, Pa

Sunday afternoon I returned to the Bensalem Country Club practice range to get my swing in shape for my first round of golf this season. I bought another large bucket of balls for $7, and after some stretching, I warmed up by hitting 10 balls with my 53-degree wedge. I then worked my way up through the bag, hitting 10 balls each with my pitching wedge, 8-iron, 6-iron and 4-hybrid. As I hit the balls, I made sure to aim at different targets across the range.

When I got to my woods, I then hit 10 balls off the tee and 5 balls off the turf with both my 3- and 5-woods. I was particularly pleased with the crisp contact I made with my woods off the turf. This might make Par 5s potentially reachable and increase my chances at making birdie or par  this season.

Overall, I hit much better shots this week. Out of the 80 balls I hit, I probably hit only 5 or 6 really bad shots, a big improve over my first practice session a wee ago. Based on how I practiced, I feel like I am ready to head to the first tee for my first round of the season, hopefully as early as this coming weekend.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The 2011 Season in Review

As my 2012 is finally on the verge of beginning, I feel it is beneficial to take look back at my 2011 season. Last season I played 13 rounds on nine different golf courses, including one scramble--the Temple University School of Medicine Dean's Invitational. This was the second year in a row that I only played 13 rounds.

Cricket Hill Golf Club, Hawley, Pa.

During my 12 rounds (I am not including the scramble), I took 1124 strokes on 216 holes for an 18-hole stroke average of 93.6. I made par or better on 50 on of the holes. I made five birdies during the season: #5 (Par 4) and #16 (Par 3) at Fox Hollow Golf Club, #16 (Par 5) at John F. Byrne Golf Club, #10 (Par 4) at The Fairways Golf & Country Club and #9 (Par 5) at Neshaminy Valley Golf Club.

 Buck Hill Falls (Pa.) Golf Club

My low score of the year was an 87 at Neshaminy Valley on Aug. 13; the lowest score I have ever shot on a Par 70 or better course. My high score was a 110 at Buck Hill Falls Golf Club on June 30. Overall, I broke 100 in 10 of the 12 rounds I played, not including the scramble.

 Mad Golfer Driving Range, Southampton, Pa.

I did play three new courses in 2011: Cricket Hill Golf Club in Hawley, Pa; Buck Hill Falls Golf Club in Buck Hill Falls, Pa.; and Rolling Green Golf Club in Springfield, Pa. I also went to the practice range six times last year, mostly at Bensalem Township Country Club. I also visited Burholme Driving Range in Northeast Philadelphia and the Mad Golfer Driving Range in Southampton, Pa.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Better Later Than Never

Driving Range
Bensalem Township Country Club
200 Brown Ave.
Bensalem, Pa

After a long layoff from golf, and an even longer layoff from this blog, it is time to dust off The Muni Golfer. I feel like one of those PGA Tour pros who lost his card and has to wait for sponsors exemptions or lesser tournaments to get into the field. While I haven't been playing, I have been watching golf on TV and it has slowly gotten my juices flowing once again.

Late Sunday afternoon, I dusted off my clubs and made my first foray of the year to the practice range. Looking to knock off some of the rust and re-discover the golf swing that served me so well in 2011, I went to the practice range at Bensalem Township Country Club. I ordered a large bucket for $7, which is approximately 80 golf balls. Probably a bit too much for the first time out, but I am looking to make up for some lost time.

After some stretching, I proceeded to hit 10 shots each, working my way up through the bag. I started off with my sand wedge, followed in order by my gap wedge, 9-iron, 7-iron, 5-iron, 4-hybrid and 3-wood. I hit 10 3-woods off the tee and my last 7 balls off the turf for a total of 77 balls. I tried not to focus too much on results, but as any golfer knows, that is easier said than done. Overall, I was pretty pleased with how I hit the ball. I few early shanks gave me some briefs moments of concern, but then I quickly corrected that problem. My draw is still working, although I did tend to over-hook the ball on occasion. That will straighten itself out with more practice and eventual playing.

Following the range session, I went to the putting green where I spent about 20 minutes just hitting putts. Here I really just wanted to get the feel off hitting putts, so I really didn't worry about results, but just getting the feel of having the Texas wedge in my hands again. I have to say it felt really, really good.

One nice feature this year at Bensalem's practice range was the V.I.C.T.O.R (Very Important Customer To Our Range) card that I was given. Each time you buy a bucket of balls, they stamp the card and once you've accumulated 10 stamps, you can redeem the card for a free large bucket. This is a great incentive to entice golfers to the range for practice.

Well, that's about it for now. What for an update on equipment a few other tidbits in the next few days.