Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wishing everyone a Happy and Safe St. Patrick's Day!

Hopefully the weather will soon be such that we'll not only be wearing the green, but putting on it as well! In the meantime, I raise a glass of Guinness to the Irish. Sláinte!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

For The Record...

Since 1996, I have kept a yearly spreadsheet of my rounds played, tracking such statistics as score, total strokes, scoring average, birdies, eagles and holes of par or better. Recently, I decided to create a list of my all time achievements on the golf course. So below is the Muni Golfer's own personal record book. These records are through the 2017 season.

Most Rounds in a Season: 33.5 – 2001

Lowest Round (Par 69 or Lower): 77
   * Juniata, 10/28/01

Lowest Round (Par 70 or Higher): 87
   * Neshaminy Valley, 8/13/11
   * The Rookery South, 7/20/14

The 6th Hole at Neshaminy Valley

Career Birdies: 127

Most Birdies in a Season: 14 – 2001

Most Birdies in a Round: 2
   * 1998 – Juniata (6/7, 8/23), Walnut Lane (7/19), Pocono Palace (11/12)
   * 2001 – The Rookery South (9/4), Old Landing (9/7), Juniata (10/28)
   * 2002 – Cedar Ridge (10/5)
   * 2004 – FDR (5/15)
   * 2005 – The Rookery South (9/7)
   * 2007 – Baywood Greens (8/31)
   * 2011 – Fox Hollow (5/22)
   * 2012 – The Fairways (7/22)
   * 2016 – The Fairways (8/28), American Classic (9/9)

Most Consecutive Holes with a Birdie: 2
   * 2007 – Baywood Greens (#16-17, 8/31)
   * 2016 – The Fairways (#1-2, 8/28), American Classic (#7-8, 9/9)

The 16th Hole at Baywood Greens

Career Eagles: 3

Most Eagles in a Season: 1
   * 2000 – Marsh Island (7/28, #18)
   * 2006 – Juniata (7/30, #14)
   * 2007 – FDR (10/14, #18)

Most Pars in a Season: 93 – 2001

Most Pars in a Round: 8
   * 2010 – Horsham Valley (8/29)

The Par 3 4th Hole at Horsham Valley

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Peeble Beach By Way of the Amazon

One of my Christmas gifts this past holiday was a $25 gift card for Although I do order a lot of things online, particularly golf equipment, I have never ordered anything from Amazon. So this was a great opportunity to experience what the online retailer was all about.
Since Pebble Beach is my favorite golf apparel, I decided to explore what Amazon offered. As luck would have it, I found a nice Pebble Beach 1/4-zip pullover, with a chest pocket. While Peeble Beach describes the color of the pullover as Iron and Heater, it is really black with a grayish trim. It's price fell just within the gift card's amount, so I ordered it.
In placing my order, Amazon offered me free shipping if my order totaled $30 or more. This enticement led me to add a faux alligator scorecard holder from Fairway4 to my cart. Both arrived last week.
The pullover looks good, fits nicely and has a very soft feel. It will be perfect both on the course and practice range during the cool weather in the early spring  and late fall. I can't wait to wear it over one of my Pebble Beach golf shirts in the very near future.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Go Gym Dandy

Eight weeks after last March's cardiac bypass surgery, I began 12 weeks of cardiac rehab at Temple University Health System's Jeanes Hospital. Three times a week I would go and work out for an hour, as I recaptured my strength and stamina. Once I completed the supervised rehab, I was on my own, although they did give me a plan to follow.

While I relied on walking throughout the fall to keep myself in shape, my cardiologist felt that with winter weather approaching, it wouldn't hurt to join a gym. So at the end of December, I joined the Planet Fitness in Trevose, Pa. Since the week of Jan. 8, I have regularly been going to this gym three times a week, where I work out for approximately an hour following a modified version of the routine given to me at cardiac rehab. My workouts are as follows:
  • 30 minutes on the treadmill
  • 15 minutes on the stationary bike
  • 5 minutes on the elliptical machine (occasionally)
  • 3 sets of free weights (5-7.5 lbs)
  • 2-3 laps around the gym to cool down.

These exercises have helped to keep my weight steady, my cholesterol low and my heart strong. There have been nights when I haven't felt up to going to the gym, but it is interesting how something like heart surgery can serve as a motivator! I even plan to try and add some abdominal strengthening in the near future. It is my hope that come the spring, this regular exercise routine will benefit my golf game too.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Adding Flexibility to My Arsenal

Today in the mail I received a  Wilson Staff FG Tour F5 20-degree hybrid that I ordered last week during a 2018 "Clean-out Sale" from I wanted to add this hybrid to my arsenal of golf clubs to provide flexibility on a variety of courses. On shorter courses that don't feature long Par 4s or Par 5s, like The Fairways or Juniata Golf Club, I can swap this hybrid in for my Wilson Staff D200 7-Wood.

The F5 hybrid, which debuted in 2016, comes with a Mitsubishi Fubuki Z 80 shaft in regular flex. The clubhead feels a bit heavier than most hybrids and the club received good very good reviews, particularly for those of us that have slower swing speeds. And although the club plays normally at 20-degrees loft, the head can be adjusted up or down to either 19- or 21-degrees. Since my 7-Wood is 21-degrees, I will play the hybrid at 20.

In the very near future, I will do a post on the full arsenal of clubs I will use in 2018, plus the other equipment and accessories I carry in my golf bag. In the meantime, my newest addition to the bag, along with the Wilson Staff PMP wedges I picked up at the Philly Golf Show, just adds to the anticipation of getting on the practice range sometime within the next few weeks--weather permitting--to begin the 2018 season!

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Golf Show: Unofficial Start to the Season

The Super Bowl has been played, which means the calendar has officially turned to February. The focus of us that are golfers now turns to first early signs of spring. Nothing gets us more focused on that fact than the Philadelphia Golf Show, held this past weekend at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa.
To me, the Golf Show represents the unofficial start to our golf season. It provides us with the opportunity to dream about warm summer days, manicured golf courses, and the camaraderie of our golf buddies. The Golf Show gives us golfers a chance to shake off winter's rust and experience a cornucopia of golf equipment, courses and travel possibilities.
This year's Golf Show featured much of the usual: retailers such as, Dallas Golf, and Greater Golf Express; golf getaways to locales both far and near, such as Lancaster, Pa., Atlantic City, N.J., the Poconos, Ocean City, MD, Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Florida; free lessons from local PGA professionals and a chance to demo the latest equipment from TaylorMade, Callaway, Cobra and others.
For me personally, the Golf Show is a chance to seek out that elusive bargain on a new club or clubs that is going make my golf season one to remember. Or maybe just stock up of essentials like golf gloves.

This year, I was able to find a really good deal on Wilson Staff wedges from Greater Golf Express. Most of the clubs in my golf bag are Wilson Staff and even though they make top equipment that is used on the professional golf tours, it is difficult to find at golf retailers. Fortunately, I was able to purchase a Wilson Staff 52- and 58-degree FG Tour PMP wedge. They have already replaced the wedges I had in my golf bag.
The calendar may still read February and the weather may still be cold, but thanks to the Golf Show, my mind is ready to hit that first bucket of practice balls of the season.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

2017 In the Rearview Mirror

My 2017 golf season was the shortest since I began seriously playing in 1993: a mere three rounds in the early fall. In hindsight, I feel very fortunate that I had a golf season at all. The reason: open heart surgery.

The year began with a routine visit to the doctor in early January. After telling him that I felt something wasn't quite right in my chest--interestingly, there was no pain or pressure--he had an EKG
Temple University Hospital
done in his office. The results: everything looked good. But all credit to my doctor, who suggested I be checked by cardiology at Temple University Hospital, just to be sure.

That's when the fun began and the golf season almost didn't.

I met with cardiology in early February, and after examination, they too thought there was little to be concerned about. They did, however, schedule me for an echocardiogram (a heart ultrasound) and a stress test, which I had late in the month. While the echo was negative, the stress test showed doctors that perhaps somethings was indeed, not as it should be. Two days later, I had a cardiac catheterization, which revealed four blockages in the arteries of my heart, one at 95 percent. I met with the cardiothoracic surgeon two days later and quintuple bypass surgery followed shortly thereafter. To do the bypass, the surgeons used an artery from my left forearm. After six days in the hospital, I was sent home to recover. My home rehabilitation, however, was short lived.

Ten after after going home, I passed out on the steps between the first and second floors. Fortunately, as the stairs began to spin, I had the wherewithal to sit down before I lost consciousness. I had developed pneumonia and a pericardial effusion--a buildup of fluid around my heart and left lung. Back to the hospital for another 11 days and a second operation to drain over a liter of fluid from my chest.

After eight weeks, doctors gave me the okay to begin driving and I started cardiac rehabilitation at Jeanes Hospital to build up my strength and stamina. But because the surgeons had to crack open my sternum to get to my heart, golf remained a distant hope.

Bensalem CC Practice Range
The cardiac rehab lasted three months, ending in early August. Two weeks later, the cardiologists felt that I was physically ready to attempt a golf swing. Physically, yes; mentally, I wasn't so sure. While the doctors assured me the sternum was fully healed, my mind repeatedly questioned whether it would stay that way once I made a swing.

Finally, on August 23rd, I took a few wedges to Bensalem Township Country Club's practice range, purchased a small bucket of 40 golf balls, warmed up, then faced that moment of truth. With club in hand, I took my address, eased the golf club back, then swung at that little white dimpled golf ball. I hit the ball, but where it went was unimportant. How I felt was the important question of that moment...and the answer was that it felt awkward, but it also felt okay. My sternum didn't snap into two, it held up just fine. It did the same on the next swing, and the swing after that, and the swing after that, and through 40 swings in all. Maybe, just maybe, there would be some golf played in 2017 after all!

It was nearly a month later when I finally started to get serious about playing golf in 2017. On September 16 and 23rd, I went to The Mad Golfer Practice Range in preparation of finally getting onto a golf course before the season ended. I purchased a large bucket--about 100 golf balls--and over the next few hours, hit nearly every club in my bag except the putter. My rationale was a large bucket equated to approximately the number of shots I might hit on the golf course. If I could get through them without incident on back-to-back Saturdays, I was ready for a real golf course. Thankfully, those practice sessions went off without a hitch.
The Mad Golfer Practice Range
On September 30th, I joined my cousin at The Fairways Golf Club for my first round of the season. Better late than never. Standing on the first tee, I felt more satisfaction than the nerves a typical golfer feels. It didn't matter what kind of drive I hit, just being in that moment, overcoming the open heart surgery, the complications, the rehabilitation, made it feel all the more special than just another round of golf. I somehow managed to shoot 90 that day, with two pars. Sure, my game had rust, but that was to be expected since I hadn't actually played a round of golf in over a year. All-in-all I was very satisfied with my score and just plain happy to be playing golf again. The post-round Arnold Palmer I celebrated with in the 1863 Tavern at The Fairways never tasted better!
The Fairways Golf Club
A week later, on October 7th, I shot an even better 88 at The Fairways. This time I made six pars! It felt like I had won a championship or something. It gave me the confidence to know that through everything, my game was still there. My heart was okay and so was my golf game.

Eight days later, I played my third and final round of 2017 at The Buck Club in Jamison, Pa. I played the course for the first time through the Athletes Helping Athletes golf outing. I started out strong, but my swing faded during the later holes. I think the fatigue of playing three weeks in a row began to catch up with me. But again, I was just happy to be playing.
The Bucks Club Scorecard
Three rounds of golf at the end of 2017 is not much of season. But I am ever so thankful that I was able to have a golf season of any kind! I look at the end of the 2017 golf season as the prelude to 2018. I am more pumped for this upcoming season than I have for any season in recent memory. The heart issues are behind me and so is 2017. I can hardly wait for the 2018 golf season to begin!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

I Hereby Resolve...

With the calendar switching from December to January, a new year is upon us. This means a time for reflection, taking stock of ourselves, and setting forth our goals for the new year. Or, as we like to say this time of year, making our New Year's Resolutions.

While many of us make resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more and give up certain vices, these are not an option for me after last year's open heart surgery. So I will be sticking to my healthier diet and going to the gym (I joined Planet Fitness at the end of December) as a result of the bypass surgery. But I have also made up a short list of golf resolutions for 2018 that I want to share with you now.

Golf Resolutions for 2018:

* Play a minimum of 20 rounds in 2018. Twenty years ago, I would play 30-plus rounds during a golf season, but that number has slowly decreased over the past two decades to where I have barely make the low teens in a given season. The last year I reached 20 rounds was in 2008. Last year,
because the surgery and rehab, I managed only three rounds. In 2018, I am aiming to once again play 20-plus rounds of golf.

* Have a minimum of 10 practice sessions during the 2018 season. These practice sessions will be focused on preparing for the season and improving during the season. I am will structure these practices for maximum benefit. Included in these practice sessions will be working on my short game and putting.

* Play at least two new courses in 2018. Last October, I played a new course, The Bucks Club, for the first time since 2015. This year, I aim to play two courses that I have never before played.

* Start my golf season no later than April. The past several years, my lack of rounds can be attributed to the fact that I don't start playing until mid to late May. This year, I aim to be prepared and on the course before the end of April.

* Maintain a focus on course management and playing all of my rounds under 100 throughout the season. By concentrating on course management, I aim to avoid the one or two holes per round that inflate scores and keep my scoring below 100 for all rounds played in 2018.

Here's to keeping my golf resolutions and having a very enjoyable 2018 on the links!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy 2018!

Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy and
Safe New Year from The Muni Golfer!