If you can't get the golf ball in the hole, you can't score. And putting it a big reason for that. My putting this season has been very inconsistent; some rounds it's good and some rounds it leaves a lot to be desired.
Winn Jumbo Lite Grip
I have used two types of putters this year--a Snake Eyes blade putter that I have used for most of the past four seasons and Odyssey Rossie mallet. The one thing that both have in common is a Winn Jumbo Lite grip that I have used for the past couple of years. If you watch professional golf on TV, you will notice that many of the pros have switched to over-sized putter grips, including Phil Mickelson and Jason Dufner. These overs-sized grips are designed to stabilize your putting stroke by minimizing your wrist movement. I know my stroke seems a lot smoother and more comfortable since I switched.
New WinnProX Grip
But lately, I feel like I haven't been putting all that well, so it is time for another adjustment. Last week, I went to Golf Galaxy and had an even larger putter grip installed on an Odyssey White Hot #9 putter, which is a cross between a blade- and a mallet-style putter. The new grip is a WinnProX 1.60, an extreme overs-sized putter that has a 1.60-in diameter. It makes me feel like I can make a better pendulum-like stroke on my putts, which will hopefully result in being better at getting the ball in the hole.
My golfing season for 2013 had its share of ups and downs. It began in mid-May with a round at The Fairways and ended in early November with a round at Bensalem Country Club. Overall, I played 18.5 regular and practice rounds and managed to make it to the practice range only twice.
My best score of the year was an 82, shot at The Fairways on August 25. I also shot a 92 at The Rookery on Sept. 21, which is pretty remarkable since I was using clubs borrowed from my cousin and didn't even have golf shoes to wear during the round. The best score I have ever recorded at The Rookery with my own clubs is a 91. I also shot two rounds of 86 at The Fairways, and a 96 three times: at Tumblebrook, Old Landing and Bensalem.
My worst score of the year was a 115 at Mountain View on June 21. This was pretty disappointing since I shot a 109 at Mountain View on May 24 playing in what seemed like non-stop rain. I also failed to break 100 at Twining Valley (100), The Rookery (102), and Middletown (103).
4th Hole at The Rookery
Overall, I took 1438 strokes playing 332 holes during my 16 regulation rounds for an average score of 95.8. I shot par or better on 56 of those holes. I made five birdies and had no eagles.
8th Green at Bensalem
It was the fourth straight year I failed to golf a minimum of 20 rounds, something I plan to remedy in 2014.
Last weekend was the annual Greater Philadelphia Golf Show. Despite all the snow, ice and freezing temperatures we've had, the Golf Show is a time to let our minds, bodies and souls begin to focus on the fact that in another 4-6 weeks, we will be able to again roam the fairways and greens of our favorite courses.
I have not been to the Golf Show in a few years for various reasons, but I was determined to make it this year. I usually attend on Sunday, which is a time when vendors begin discounting what is already significantly discounted deals on clubs and equipment. But this year, Saturday was the only free time available, so off I went. Admission is only $10 and with that you get a year's subscription to Golf magazine. So even if you don't buy anything, you still come ahead.
Shoppers at RockBottomGolf.com's booth
The Golf Show attracts a wide variety of vendors offering everything from discounted clubs, apparel and accessories, to golf vacations, to golf courses, to golf memorabilia, to financial services, to even home improvement services. Some of this year's vendors included Golfsmith; RockBottomGolf.com; Golf Galaxy; Tee Time Golf Pass; Ocean City, Md.; Myrtle Beach; Mad Golfer; and the Greater Atlantic City Golf Association. The show also features a Demo Range, which offers the opportunity to try some of the latest clubs from TaylorMade, Callaway, Cleveland and Ping. Plus there are always golfing celebrities that make appearance, and this show was no different with the likes of golfing legend Chi Chi Rodriguez, The Golf Channel's Michael Breed, "The Putting Doctor" Joe Bermel, Jr., and PGA Nathional Teacher of the Year Lou Guzzi.
Golfing legend Chi Chi Rodriguez delighted with stories
My strategy for the Golf Show is to pick up information about interesting courses that I might be able to play and potential travel destinations, while also shopping for a specific thing, whether it be a golf club or accessory. This year, I had my eye open for anything from Wilson Staff. To that end, I picked up information about golfing trips in Ocean City, the Lehigh Valley, and Atlantic City, and yardage books for Fox Hollow Golf Club and Skippack Golf Club.
As for golfing equipment, my favorite online golfing retailer RockBottomGolf had Wilson Staff Fybrib RS's on sale, so I picked a 24-degree hybrid to replace my Wilson Staff Ci-7 4-iron. I also wanted to get a 21-degree, but all they had were models with a stiff shaft, which would not suit my particular swing.
Golfers could try the newest clubs at the Demo Range
My other purchase was an Orange Whip Trainer, a golf swing trainer designed to create rhythm, tempo and balance in your swing, as well as you with flexibility. The Orange Whip consists of a weighed orange ball on the end of a very flexible golf shaft, with a counter weight that looks similar to a golf ball attached to the shaft. The Orange Whip comes in three sizes and I chose the 44-in model, which is the equivalent to the long iron. The Orange Whip's inventor Jim Hackenberg a PGA Teaching Professional was at the show selling the trainers. Here is a video which demonstrates how the Orange Whip works:
Numerous PGA Tour golfers use the Orange Whip and if you ever see pictures of their bags on the driving range at various tournaments, you will see the distinctive orange ball protruding from their golf bags. One of the main reasons I picked up an Orange Whip was so few courses have driving ranges anymore, I thought this would be an ideal device to use to warm up and establish a a swing tempo prior to teeing off. I think will also complement any practice session on the driving range.
So now I have my new golf toys, my course information...c'mon Mother Nature, lighten up, get rid of this snow and give us that golf playing weather.
After a year-and-half break, the Muni Golfer is returning to the virtual links of cyberspace. As I prepare for the upcoming 2014 golf season, over the next several weeks I will recap my golfing in 2013, review some equipment changes, relive my attending the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion and my visit to the recent Greater Philadelphia Golf Show. So get ready world, the Muni Golfer is back!