May 9, 2018 -- BACK AT IT!

Well, hello!  I know it's been awhile...

I've been disgusted with my golf and had lots of other stuff going on in life, so that's my excuse.

BUT it's springtime (beautiful golf weather), school is almost out (more time to play and practice), and all that "other stuff" can be put on the back burner for awhile, so here we go!

I have a new toy that I'll tell you about later.

Tournament Time!

Team Fireball: Gail, Jayne, me, Myra

We have a tournament Monday -- two best balls -- and this is our team! We recently won Low Net Flight A twice, both Turkey Shoot and the Holiday Scramble.  Myra is our coach; she keeps us on our game and reminds us to play smart.  Jayne bombs her drives a mile, sometimes straight.  Gail and I do our part too.  Wish us luck and good putts!

January 8, 2018... 2017 year in review  :-)

2017 was a pretty great year, golf-wise.  Also life-wise! 

A year ago, I was a very frustrated golfer, so much so that I thought about giving it up! I had just started with a new women's club, but I didn't fit in and I missed my friends. I couldn't even make decent contact with the effing golf ball, let alone know where it was going to go! My wonky strong grip messed with my mind, and I remember I'd look at my hands at set-up and it was like I was looking at some strange thing from the Twilight Zone; I had absolutely NO idea what to do. 

ANYhow, I read a pretty cool book called Dream On, written by a guy maybe named Jon Richardson, and it motivated me to improve my game. So I did.

I had four golf goals in 2017, and I fully accomplished two of them.  Here's the run-down:

1. break 90, then do it again and again and again.  YES. The breaking 90 part of this didn't happen until August, but the main idea of this goal, to improve my game drastically, happened throughout the spring and summer.  First I fixed some fatal flaws and learned some basic skills, then I put in the time and the effort, and better golf was the result.  I focused on process rather than results, but the results were good because the process was the focus.

2. 150 rounds of golf, including 12 new courses.  YES.  It was a slow start last January, because of the weather and because my poor golf made me not that interested in playing, but it ended up a grand golf adventure! At least 16 new courses, from Borrego Springs stay and play, to Sidewinder and Papago in Arizona, to The Golf Club at Fallbrook where I had my hole in one, to Mile Square close to home, to Sunnyvale Muni last month! I love that my husband (and best friend) is a golfer and likes to try new courses, too!

3.  sand shots. SO-SO.  100% better than a year ago, but last week I was stuck in a bunker and it took me five shots to get out.  Yep, a work in progress.

4.  backyard practice area.  NOT REALLY.  The bunker got finished... I dug it out and my honey filled it with sand, but we never really settled on the right kind of sand.  The practice green was nice for awhile, but now we are building a guest cottage, so the entire footprint needs to be adjusted.  My son got us a very cool ball washer for Christmas, so that will go on the tee box once we get going again.

next up... 2018 goals!!

My good ol' golf log is inadequate...

July 20, 2017 - my log book

For the past couple years, I've been using this graph book to log statistics on my golf rounds, but it needs to be revamped. Some things I will keep, like my total score, GIRs, how many birdies/pars/etc., but some of the numbers are irrelevant. For example, I keep track of "fairways hit," and whether the shot was left, right, in the rough or sand, or whatnot. But, while being in the fairway is generally a good thing, and almost always better than being in the trees, the bottom-line number of fairways doesn't tell much about the quality of my tee shots; I can have a pop-up that manages to barely reach the short grass and leaves me 300 yards to the green, or I may have a cowabunga drive that rolls a few feet into the rough and gives me a potential GIR. Also, a tee shot to a fairway bunker is usually a long drive for me. SO... I need to find a way to track the quality of tee shots rather than just the result.

Another misleading stat is counting putts. Sometimes a low number of putts just means your chipping is horrible so you've been putting from the fringe a lot, for one thing. Again, the quality of the putts, and why I miss the ones I miss, (i.e. Was it a misread or a mis-stroke? How long was the attempt with what kind of break and slope?) would seem to be more helpful for improvement.

Here's an idea I've considered during several rounds lately... When I fail to bogey (or better, but bogey is my par at this point), why did I fail? Was it a poor tee shot, a thinking error, bad chip?

July Heat Wave

A page from my "Golf Chick" journal...

Tee time yesterday was 5:37, and by 6:30 we were already sweaty, gulping water, and purposely hitting into the trees just to get in the shade!

I have been playing consistently well, for me! My handicap index is coming down, from 28 at the beginning of April to now trending 19.1 for next revision update. So that's exciting! Last week I played a really solid round with my husband and a couple of his friends, and even he was  impressed! He said, "You should start a golf blog, Barbara's Tip of the Day." 🙄

Well obviously I don't have the skill or experience to give a new tip every day, but I can share what I have been doing that I think is working for me. Remember this is a work in progress, and I am constantly tweaking the details; in any case, this is what I do and it seems to keep me on the right track towards lower scores:

1) focus on making the right decision for this next shot,

2) focus on visualizing the shot,

3) focus on being precise with your routine,

4) focus on turn back/turn through, and

5) observe, but don't dwell on, the result.

In the coming days, I will try to go into more detail on each of these, and also explain my golf journal and how I track my stats.

Hit 'em straight!

There's also a coyote family on the course, so we'll see how many ducklings are left next week. They're SO cute, though!

May 15, 2017

So, I've been playing pretty well lately, and it is showing in my scores and my handicap index. My update from GHIN this morning says 23.0! 

Here's what I've been doing right:  

1)  focus on precise set-up and fundamentals... I finally have corrected my grip from super strong to neutral, though I intentionally strengthen it a little with my driver so I can get a bit of a draw and a few more yards

2)  one simple swing thought... "turn back, turn through"

3)  smarter course management... thinking about shots I can usually make instead of trying to be the hero

4)  practice (what a concept!)... my range practice has been focused on one main thing, such as hitting the driver straight or experimenting with ball position

5)  having so much fun!

April 17, 2017 --- my own bunker!

It's pretty hard to see proportions in the photo, and obviously there's lots of finish work still to be done, and the green!

Its diameter is about 12' x 15' and it is about three feet at its deepest. The highest part of the green will be at the bunker, so a total of about 5-6 feet.

We are still experimenting with sand.

April 1, 2017 -- Hole in One!!

You're thinking, "April Fools," right? But NO, it really happened! A little 88-yard shot over water with a bunker right behind the narrow (shallow?) green. Piece of cake, except the only club I'd had any success with all day was my driver. My husband and stepson were already at the green (I'd gotten lost on the way from the hole before; yeah, it had been that kind of a day), one putting for birdie and the other in the sand. 

I've been working on staying focused throughout a round, and also trying to have a rock solid set-up, using the same routine for each shot. So, I selected my club (7-iron. It's too much club for that distance, but I trust it and besides, Grandpappy always said, "Never up, never in."), aimed my club face to the target and set my grip & my feet & my posture, checked my aim, and fired!

it was a crappy shot. It was low, and barely made it over the water, but it was straight! Straight is good for golf, and that little bugger kept right on rolling straight into the hole! I thought it was in and couldn't believe it, but K. & J. went nuts and then we all screamed for about ten seconds.

So, that's over with. Now I can get on with learning to be a good golfer.

February 19, 2017 -- "It's all about the turn"

I hesitate to mention swing mechanics, for a couple reasons. One is that someone may comment and say, "no, here's what you need to do," and then I will listen to them and screw up my progress. The other is far less likely, but it's that someone may read this and think, "oh, that's what I need to do," and it will screw up their progress.

That said, it has been helping me a bit to focus on turning my spine/shoulders directly opposite the target on my takeaway. Maybe it takes my focus off my wonky grip...

So, I'm trying to keep it all in one piece, if you know what I mean -- the straight but not rigid left arm, the T of my shoulders and spine, and the more flexed right arm. I'll keep you posted.

We played only seven holes yesterday, because the pace was so slow it was driving us nuts. But, I was playing okay, considering the conditions. After 4 1/2 inches of rain in the past week, it was crazy wet and muddy! Fairways were swamps and bunkers were ponds, and zero roll, of course. So even though many of my drives were straight, they didn't go more than 130 yards, probably.

Oh well, it was fun! Today I get to play with some fun ladies at my home course, unless it rains again.

SO CLOSE!  This is as near as I've been to a hole-in-one, about eight inches. Yes, I made the putt. I measured it at 114 yds, so I used my 5-iron, which I usually think of as 110. It was purely struck and went high (for me) and straight. We watched in stunned silence as it got closer and kept rolling towards the flag. A fivesome of young guys finishing on an adjacent green were watching also, and said, "wow, great shot!" Jayne and I looked at each other and went "EEEEE!!!," and then went to find her ball. You know how it always looks a lot closer from the tee, then you get to the green and you still have a long putt for birdie? Yeah, but not this time!  2/13/17

Ettiquette and Rules, February 4, 2017

I think I'm finally crawling out of my slump, and feeling like I might really golf again! I still am hanging onto my wonky grip, but at least not regripping in my backswing...

Last time I played with my women's club, I had a problem with a fellow competitor (not sure if that's the correct term, but she was in my foursome) giving advice.  After I had a horrible first hole (duck hook off the tee, three times to get over the water, sand, and a beautiful 20' putt for a 10!), she began to instruct me. This woman is a very good golfer, single-digit handicap, so she probably has some good advice to give. Now, I know there's a rule against asking for or giving advice, but it's not usually a problem in the situations I play in. But shouldn't she wait until I ask for her help? After a few holes of me being nice and trying to pretend to try to do what she suggested, I said I knew I needed lots of improvement and maybe we could talk about it later over a beer. The next time she commented, I wasn't quite as nice, and said it was fucking up my game so please shut up.

Maybe this new club isn't a good fit for me; I can't get relaxed with any of the people I've played with so far.

On a brighter note, the sun is out and I get to play one of my favorite courses with some of my favorite people tomorrow!




January 23, 2017 - "Rain, rain, go away already!"

It's been a frustrating start for golf this year... lots and lots of rain (wait, this is Southern California, it's not supposed to rain!), and the one nice weekend weather-wise, I was out of town not-golfing. Sigh.


Today is supposed to be the last wet day, but courses will be closed tomorrow because they are sodden...


Wednesday! Forecast cold and sunny.... hooray!



January 11, 2017 - "To love, honor, and golf"

Least fussy wedding ever... perfect!

A couple weeks ago, my honey and I played a very special round. As usual, I was confident I'd play the best round of my life, but that didn't happen, not even close! But, here's what DID happen... we played the front nine, then grabbed a hot dog and got married at the turn, then played the back nine! Yes, really! We are both golf junkies, can you tell? My girlfriend and K's good buddy joined us for golf, then the preacher and a few friends met us at the turn to witness the 2-minute ceremony and share the champagne. It was absolutely perfect, except I got all blubbery over my vows.

Enjoy the day!


December 15, 2016

 I played a local course today with three girlfriends. My drives were decent, 11 of them in the fairway, and my putting was okay, too. Everything in between, though, wow... SO inconsistent. A smooth 100 total. 

I don't give myself a rough time about it, though. I go into every single round assuming it will be my best ever, and occasionally I'm right!

Hit 'em straight,