Monday, August 24, 2015

And the Streak Goes On...

The Fairways Golf Club
Warrington, Pa.
Yards: 2255/2248 - 4503
Par: 32/33 - 65
Rating: 62.1, Slope: 104
Score: 43/38 = 81
Date: August 23, 2015

Taking last weekend off after two consecutive rounds in the 80s the previous two weeks, I was anxious to see if I could keep the momentum going on Sunday. Playing my third consecutive round at The Fairways Golf Club, I teed off at 1 p.m.; teamed by the starter with a retired couple, John and Rosemary.

The Fairways Scorecard

After splitting the fairway with my opening drive, I hit a fat 7-iron that came up just short of the pond fronting the first green. I pitched over the pond into the right rough and chipped on, then made my putt for a 5. I had parred the First Hole the previous two rounds, but I was happy with the bogey as I headed to the Second Hole. After pulling my tee shot left behind a tree, I shanked a chip across the fairway, then ditched my next shot into the bunker which led to a 7. I was not hitting my irons particularly well, but I was putting well and managing to get the ball into the hole without too much damage. I made par 4s at the short Sixth Hole and the difficult Eighth, and a it was only a four-putt at the Ninth Hole that prevented me from shooting lower than a 43. Not as good as the 40 I posted the previous round, but a good score for the way I was hitting my irons. I could feel my game improving and my confidence building.

A par at the Sixth Hole got my round started

I opened the back nine by hitting my Wilson Staff Fybrid RS straight down the middle and had just a short sand wedge into the green. I two-putted for my third par of the day. At the Eleventh Hole, I again found the middle of the dogleg right and then hit an 8-iron to right side of green, where I sank the downhill putt for birdie! An 8-iron at the Twelfth Hole found the left bunker, but I blasted out to a foot for a tap-in par. I pulled my 4-wood left off the Thirteenth tee and then came up woefully short with my 53-degree wedge. I chipped on and two-putted for a bogey. Another 8-iron off the tee at the Par 3 Fourteenth found the left rough, but I chipped on a two-putted for another bogey. Through five holes on teh back nine, I was a mere one over par. At the Par 3 Fifteenth, I again found the green, and my 15-foot birdie putt just lipped out. My only real hiccup on the back came at the 323-yard Sixteenth Hole, where I pushed my tee shot right and out-of-bounds. My second tee shot found the left side of the fairway, but I went long to the back of the green with my gap wedge and three-putted for a triple-bogey 7. That put me at 4-over through seven holes. I hit a long drive at the Seventeenth, and my approach from the right side of the fairway found the rough left of the green. I chipped on and made my seventh par of the round. I again pulled my drive left at the home hole, then found the right bunker with my 7-iron approach. I blasted out and two-putted to finish the closing nine with a 5-over-par 38 and a total of 81 for the round.

A bad tee shot at the 16th led to a triple-bogey

The back nine was some of the best golf I had played this year, and had it not been for the errant tee shot at the Sixteenth and the four-putt at the Ninth, I believe I might have shot in the 70s. I am feeling very confident with my game right now. The move back to the Wilson Staff clubs has really given me a significant boost. While I did hit my irons somewhat poorly to start the round, my iron game got better and better as the round progressed. I look forward to continuing this streak of good golf as the summer starts to fade and the fall slowly inches forward.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Welcome Back Mr. Wilson!

I have made some changes to the arsenal of clubs in my golf bag over the past few weeks. These changes have coincided with two of the better rounds I've played this year. After making a switch to TaylorMade/Adams Golf equipment earlier this season, I have decided to go back to the Wilson Staff clubs I have used with success the past few years. These clubs are mainly the driver and irons, and I've added in a Fybrid--a cross between a fairway wood and a hybrid--as well.
Although Wilson Staff doesn't get the love and respect it deserves, mainly because it only has five players on its PGA Tour staff, the company makes golf clubs as good or better than the major equipment manufacturers that over-populate the Tours. But Wilson Staff does have a rich history in the game. Their irons have won more majors that any other brand. Wilson Staff clubs have been used by some of the game's all-time greats, including Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Cary Middlecoff, Billy Casper, Johnny Miller, Hale Irwin, Ben Crenshaw, Payne Stewart, Bernhard Langer, John Daly and Vijay Singh.

So here is what I currently carry in my golf bag:

Driver: Wilson Staff Smooth. 10.5 degrees. This driver was introduced in 2007/8. While it is one of the oldest club's in my bag, it remains one of the best drivers I have ever hit.
Wilson Staff Smooth Driver
4-Wood: Callaway X2 Hot. 17 degrees. I have carried a 4-wood for several years now. Research has shown that most amateurs get more distance from hitting a higher lofted 4-wood that a traditional 15 degree 3-wood. It is also easier to hit off the fairway.
Callaway X2 Hot 4-wood
Hybrid: Wilson Staff Fybrid. 19.5 degrees. A cross between a fairway wood and hybrid, Wilson's research has shown that the Fybrid's loft and length (41-in.) makes it easier to hit from the fairway that a traditional 2-iron, 3-iron, or 7-wood.
Wilson Staff Fybrid
Irons: Wilson Staff Ci7s, 4-iron through Gap Wedge. These irons were also introduced in 2008 and have mostly been in bag since 2010. A cavity-back iron, they give me better control, but also the distance I need. I may swap out the 4-iron for a Wilson Staff 4-hybrid.
Wilson Staff Ci7s
Wedges: Solus 4.1, 53 degrees and Solus 420, 56 degrees. These wedges have a cavity-back design, allowing for better forgiveness and helping to get the ball in the air. The crescent cut on the sole of the club allows you to open the clubface to hit from a variety of conditions. These are the best wedges I have ever played.
Solus 4.1 Wedge
Putter: Odyssey XG #9, 34-in., with a WinnPro X 1.32 over-sized grip. The putter is a toe-weighted, heel-shafted, flanged blade with a soft white insert.
Odyssey XG #9 Putter
I hope this arsenal, which includes 10 Wilson Staff clubs, will continue to produce the consistent golf I've played over the past few weeks. In any case, I plan to stick with Wilson Staff for the forseeable future.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Give It A Rest

After teeing it up for seven consecutive weekends, I decided to give my
body a rest. Despite consecutive good rounds the previous two weeks, the forecasts called for soaring temperatures and humidity, so I figured it was a good time for a physical and mental break.

Although I didn't play any golf this past weekend, I did add a new Wilson Staff Fybrid RS to my bag. The Fybrid--which is 41-in. in length, has a loft of 19.5 degrees and comes with a UST Mamiya VTS Proforce shaft--is meant to be a bridge between fairway woods and hybrids that replace longer irons, replacing the 2-hybrid, 2-iron and 7-wood in the bag. In my
Wilson Staff Fybrid
case, it will be the bridge between my Callaway X2 Hot 4-wood and my Wilson Staff Ci7 4-iron. Wilson claims that their studies have indicated that the Fybrids' loft and length are optimal for hitting long shots from the fairway.

I purchased the Fybrid new online from for $9.97. At that price, I couldn't afford not to take a flyer on the club. It cost nearly as much for shipping as it did for the club. I already have a Wilson Staff Fybrid RS 4-hybrid, which was in my bag the two previous seasons. Depending on how well the 19.5-degree Fybrid performs, I may replace my 4-iron with the 4-hybrid. I hope to test the club out at the practice range later this week before taking it to the course next weekend.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Beginning of a Streak?

The Fairways Golf Club
Warrington, Pa.
Yards: 2255/2248 - 4503
Par: 32/33 - 65
Rating: 62.1, Slope: 104
Score: 40/44 = 84
Date: August 8, 2015

After finally snapping my run of awful golf the previous Saturday at The Fairways Golf Club, I decided I should return there this past Saturday to see if I juts had a lucky round or if my golf game was beginning to show signs of life. I only made one slight change to the clubs I had carried the previous round, swapping out my Adams Tight Lies fairway wood for a Callaway X2 Hot 4-wood. The weather was absolutely gorgeous--upper 80s with a slight breeze--as I prepared to tee off late in the afternoon.

The Fairways Scorecard

Hitting my Wilson Staff Smooth Driver off the first tee, I found the right side of the fairway and had only an 8-iron into the hole. Although I just missed the green to the left, I was able to two-putt for an opening par, just like I had the previous round! Because I had been hooking a lot of my shots with the driver, I had decided to put some lead tape on the toe of the club to see if that might help the problem and seemed to be effective at the First Hole. At the Second Hole, I over-hit my driver and hit a low fade that missed the fairway badly to the right. However I managed to recover, but a miss-hit chip led to a double-bogey. Another par at the short Par 3 Third Hole was followed by a bogey at the Par 3 Fourth Hole. Standing on the tee at the long, 372-yard Par 4 Fifth Hole, I was tempted to hit the 4-wood after the driver produced the slice at the Second. But I told myself to have confidence, so I pulled the driver and striped a beautiful shot right down the fairway. Even though I made a 6 on teh hole, I was proud at how I had performed off the tee. A three-putt bogey followed a poor tee shot at the Sixth Hole, and another three-putt led to a double-bogey at the Seventh. But I redeemed myself at the 355-yard Eighth Hole. Seeing the tees had been moved up 10 yards, I hit 4-wood off the tee and found the center of the fairway. I had an 8-iron into the green, which you cannot see from the fairway. I hit it to eight feet and sunk the putt for a birdie! Another three-putt bogey at the Ninth Hole gave me a 40 for the opening nine holes, one stroke lower than the previous week.

Some lead tape on the toe has helped my driving

Although I was playing well from tee-to-green, my putting was not as consistent as it had been recently. I was missing too many short putts. I could easily have shot a 38 or 39 on the front nine if I could had made a couple of short putts. This would continue on the back nine. In addition, I took two shots to escape bunkers on three different holes. But I was hitting it much better off the tee, especially with my driver. For the round, I hit 9 of 11 fairways off the tee; probably my best effort of the year. I basically played bogey golf on the back nine, except for two holes--Fifteen and Seventeen--where my bunker play did me in. I shot 44 on the back--four strokes better than the previous week--and 84 for the round. That was five shots lower than the 89 I had shot previously.

A Wilson Staff Fybrid will soon audition in my golf bag

Based on my last two rounds at The Fairways, it feels like my game is rebounding from the horrible six-weeks stretch I had earlier in June and July. I hit the driver much better and my iron shots much crisper. It is easier to play this game from the short grass of the fairway than the long rough off it. Although I will not get a chance to practice this week, my confidence level is up and I am looking forward to teeing it up this coming weekend.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Finally! At The Fairways

The Fairways Golf Club
Warrington, Pa.
Yards: 2255/2248 - 4503
Par: 32/33 - 65
Rating: 62.1, Slope: 104
Score: 41/48 = 89
Date: August 1, 2015

It has been six long weeks of frustration. Poor tee shots, fat iron shots, chunked or skulled chips and inconsistent putting. Six weeks in which I manged only 11 pars in 90 holes played. In which I lost nearly two dozen golfs. But that all ended Saturday at The Fairways Golf Club. In shooting an 89, I played my best round since shooting an 86 at The Fairways on June 19. It was only the fourth time I managed to break 100 in the 10 rounds I've played year.

The Fairways Scorecard

The turnaround began earlier in the week, when I decided to go back to the Wilson Staff Smooth Driver that I had played most of last year. I also returned to my Wilson Staff Ci7 irons. I kept the Adams Tight Lies 4-wood that I been carrying, as well as the Solus wedges and Odyssey XG9 putter. I rounded out my bag by adding my 20-degree Elevon Tour 3 hybrid back in the bag, along the Ci7 4-iron in place of the Alpha Rx 4 hybrid.

Wilson Staff Smooth Driver is back in the back

Armed with the new configuration of 14 clubs in my bag, I hit the first tee at The Fairways. My opening drive naturally went a bit left, but from the rough, I managed to hit a low short iron shot that rolled to the back of the green. I two-putted and had a par at the First Hole! Was this just an aberration or a sign of things to some? I quickly found out at the Second Hole. I again hot my tee shot into the left rough, but my 7-iron approach shot found the green. Although I three-putted for a bogey, I had played well two holes in a row. Even though I went bogey and double-bogey over the next two holes, I was playing more consistently. At the Fifth Hole, 372-yard par 4, I hit the fairway off the tee, found the green with my approach, and two-putted for another par! My tee shot at the Sixth Hole was pushed to the right and came up just short of the creek that crosses the course. That shot would have found water in the past few weeks, but it stayed dry, although I did make a double-bogey 6 when I three-putted. I made three consecutive bogeys from there, but finished the front nine in 41. It is one of the lowest nine hole scores I've shot this year.

The Fifth Hole where I made par

The back nine was not quite as clean as the opening nine holes, but I still played better golf. I made a par at the 139-yard Twelfth Hole after just missing a 15-foot putt for birdie. I also made three straight double bogeys at holes 14-16, and an 8 at the 374-yard par 4 Seventeenth Hole when I took three shots to get out of the right bunker. But I recovered at the Eighteenth to make a nice 5 after hooking my tee shot left. The back nine 48 wasn't great, but it was much better than the way I had been playing.

I just missed a birdie at the Twelfth Hole

Overall, I hit it better off the tee on Saturday, and on those occasions when I didn't, I didn't compound my error by making three or four bad shots in row afterwards. Except for a few instances, I hit my irons much better, as well as my chips and pitches around the green. And my putting was consistent. I will take a lot of confidence from this round and I look forward to continuing the improvement during my next round this coming weekend.
Photos by The Muni Golfer