Monday, June 23, 2008

I won! - Fairway Golf Open Tournament

I played at June monthly tournament hosted by Fairway Golf Club. It was held at Monarch Bay GC (71.8/122, 6567 yards). Luckily, and thanks to many people's advice & support, I WON THE TOURNAMENT believe it or not.

Thank you, everyone!!! I couldn't have done it without everybody's support. Thank you~~.

I played from the back tees for the first time at Monarch Bay though, I shoot 81. My back-9 was 39. Moreover, as my driver was totally out of control, I decided to use 3-metal and 2-hybrid off the tee after 2nd hole, which literally worked for me. In fact, 39 without a driver is just excellent. I got 29 putts in total although I did 3-putts twice.

But, I hit only 4 greens, which indicates my weakness in long game. So, I guess I should search for more distance off the tee rather than investing my time on putting greens. I must overcome the fears of hitting my driver and missing it. It's also something to do with mental side.

I don't need a 280-yard drive. Say, 220 yards (in average) is just fine for put me in the next level (e.g. single-digit handicap & breaking 80). I'm now 200-yard off the tee in average.

By the way, 94 players in total played the tournament and there were more than 20 single-digit handicappers in the field (some of them are scratch). My 81 was 3rd best gross score among men.... maybe 4th or 5th including girls. My net score was 66. 3-shot lead from the runner-ups.

Now I have good reasons to look for more distances off the tee....?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How to hit more greens (1)

(This entry is based on

In order to break 80, you have to put yourself into "the position". Meaning, breaking 40 in 9 holes. Period.

What exactly takes to break 40 and 80? I guess you need to hit more greens in regulations (GIRs). In order to break 90, it is all about hitting fairways. Now hit more greens! Besides GIRs, you may want to eliminate those nagging doubles from your score card. I personally don't want to except to steal birdies because my handicap isn't better than 0. Not even better than single-digit handicap. So, how could I make birdies intentionally?

Anyways, if I'm 150-yard away from the center of the green, I always want to put the ball on the green regardless the situations, which is my ego. Missing 150-yard shot is as frustrating as missing 3-foot putts. I used to take 6 or 7 irons under the nominal conditions and did full swing all the time. Yes, all the time.

What typically happened was "MISSING THE GREEN" so easily.

To me, doing full swing leads to all kinds of errors. It's hard. I wanted to make this thing easy because golf is already difficult. Why would you make the difficult thing more difficult?

What popped up in mind while watching a bunch of PGA tour pros swing on YouTube was most of them are not doing full swing, but usually nice and easy three-quarter swing. Which literally gives more control and confidence in shots.

Although you may have to take one or two more clubs, you can swing much easily. Less chance to do top/fat shots. For example, if you say you use 7-iron from 150-yard away from the pin, you may have to take 6 or 5 iron.

Take 5 iron for 150 yards!?

Yes. It may be really embarrassing for you because your buddies are taking 8- or even 9-irons. You got a 5-iron in your hands. Though, golf isn't a game for "how far you can hit" but "how closely you can put the ball to the target". In fact it doesn't matter whether you hit 5-iron or 9-iron for 150 yards. You don't get a penalty stroke because you had to take a long iron. Or, you never get a bonus stroke off from your score card because you were able to reach 150 yards with 9-iron. They make very little difference in your score.

So, my point is that why don't we take more clubs and do nice and easy three-quarter swing. It really works to hit greens more particularly under pressures.

I found some great movies of Ben Hogan and Sam Snead of them hitting approach shots. I wanna be able to do just like them!

Hogan Pitch Wedge shot

Hogan 4 iron 155 Yards

Hogan 6 Iron

Snead 6 iron 145 yards

Snead 9 iron

Ben Hogan Swing

Finally here is a clip of Jack Nicklaus of hitting PW, 7-iron, 3-iron, 3-wood, and driver.

Jack Nicklaus golf swing

YouTube surely makes our world the better place.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I was a MONKEY and still need more work on my plans to become a PLAYER @ Coyote Creek

I played Coyote Creek Tournament Course last Sunday (Sep. 30th). I must say THAT I WAS HITTING THE BALL WELL ENOUGH TO SHOOT MID-80s OR EVEN BETTER. Although shanked a couple of shots (4-iron on the 14th, & sand wedge on the 16th), I knew it takes time to adjust my setup and swing path. I'm currently working on it with my instructor. Time will solve my "shank-syndrome". Just need patience. No big deal.

The poor plan pulled my legs

Anyways, I finished with 95, 32 putts, 3 greens in regulations, 1 excellent sandy (6th) and drove only 180 yards off the tee... 180 is the average distance on 13 holes (I used 2-iron hybrid on 11th hole). Can't take 95 and my drive. What's wrong with me?

The one of the greatest achievements of this year is that I've learned a lesson that a player has to work on his plans to shoot good score. Hitting the ball well will not take you to the next level. Well, suppose I could hit as good as Tiger does, I might be able to break 80 occasionally. So improving my ball striking ability will help me to break the barrier. But, it takes a lot of time and cost. In short, what's wrong with me was my PLANS. Since I did two practice rounds last month, I got a pretty nice plan on my yardage book. But the plan of back-9 was too naive. I was just HOPING to come out with good score on the back-9 without CORRECT evaluation of my skills, particularly for 10th-16th holes. Although, as mentioned earlier my drive was too short compared to my usual rounds, it was still OK to break 90. But I must admit that I was very very very frustrated at my distances off the tee... I could kept my balls in play though, my driver shots were slicing almost 40-50 yards consistently. And no shot to the greens. That's why I shot the greens only 3 times out of 18.

17th, 18th and front-9

It was a shot-gun play. So my group started from Par-5, 17th hole. It was A-ok start for me because I sank 60-foot boggy put, though I hit the water on the 3rd shot. I simply had a too much club for 130 yards, which is usually my 8-iron range, and should have come out a little bit short to the target. But, I still don't know exactly why I could hit nearly 140 yards with 8-iron. Perhaps, due to recent work-out program and nice & smooth tempo. Thanks to Sir. Billy Blanks! Based on the previous practice rounds, 6 at 17th hole is a good score for me. I also boggyed 18th, which is all I need.

Then, I got 41 on the front-9. It's 3-UNDER PAR for me and improved roughly 10 strokes compared to the average stroke of previous rounds. On this particular tough course, a boggy is my par. This makes my personal par of the front-9 is 44 (Par-35 for "scratch players", not for everyday golfers!!!) and 46 for the back-9.

By the way, my sandy at 6th was the greatest shot in my 3-year career. From the previous round, I realized that I need a 3-shot strategy to reach the green. I was 215 yards off the tee (believe it or not, this was my longest drive on that day...) and still had about 190 yard up-hill shot. I only needed to hit 145 yards to clear the creek on the fairway. So, I decided to rip my 2-iron hybrid knowing that my OK-or-better shot could end up at the sand trap. Well, on that day, because the pin was placed way back on the upper tier of green, that particular sand trap was NOT A TRAP FOR ME. I felt like it was very easy to come out and 2 putts for bogey, which is my personal par. In reality, I took the exactly correct amount of sand with my 56-deg. wedge, and made 7-foot putt for 4!

4 on the 6th is an accomplishment! Couldn't believe it..

Also, I made 2 on the 7th. My plan just worked. Based on my analysis, 7-iron brings me to the front portion (front left portion) of the green. The pin was exactly at the front left. It was a blind shot though, my ball was sitting 6 foot from the hole. Thankfully, I could make the 6-foot putt slightly breaking from left to right.

I must remember for the future round. Never ever hit the right side of green on 8th. I runs quickly and no chance for up-and-down. I'll try to hit the left side. Or lay up the 2nd shot in front of the tiny creek and try to pitch and roll with my PW or 50-deg wedge. This way may have better chance to end up with boggy or better.

The rest of back-9 holes (10th-16th)

On the back-9 (seven more holes), I was still hitting the ball very well. BUT, came out with 54. EIGHT OVER PAR. I was expecting and ready to accepting a few blowup holes. Although I want to eliminate doubles from my score card, I know I still get some 7s or 8s in 18 holes.

One thing I've learned this year is that if you plan well, you won't get a triple boggy. You might end up with double, but I feel very embarrassed after if I get triple or worse.

Anyways, I got 7 on the 10th after traveling a sand trap to the other traps. After the round, my buddy told me that I totally lost my rhythm, which I was not aware of myself.

Before the round, I made a plan and wrote on my yardage book and found my plans for front-9, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 17th, and 18th holes are fine. I mean, my plan was solid and perfect for my skill sets.

But, for 14th, 15th, and 16th, I was a monkey and those holes killed my score. I didn't know what I needed to do and didn't know what I was really doing...

Let's take a look at my poor plan on the 15th hole. All I wanted was 5, i.e. 3 into the green and 2-putt for boggy. I was 200 yards off the tee, which was frustrating. The pin was way back in the green and I had to hit 180 to the pin. Considering my technical skill sets, I had no chance to hit the pin or safely land on the green. From the measurement of GPS, it was 168 to the left front banker. I thought, "if I want to leave it short of the green, or get to the front portion of the green." So, the correct choice was 6-iron (or even 7-iron) and still had a good chance to steal par because I was doing great up-and-downs on the front-9.

HOWEVER, I pulled 5-iron. Although I understood my okay-shot with 5-iron took me to the front left banker, which I should have AVOID AT ANY COST. Because there was not much area to work with between the fringe and the pin, it was not an easy sand shot from there. I still don't get it though, I just ripped my 5-iron and stacked in the banker. It was a totally WHAT THOSE MONKEYS DO ALL THE TIME. I should have been a player. Being a monkey doesn't take you to anywhere. I need and want to be a player.

But good news is that now I could iterate and debug my plan for this particular course. I believe I could much better at the next round. Besides, I should be proud of 41 in the front-9.

I shall return...