Senior Golf Preparation

First, then, the toenails in old age grow almost as fast as the ears and the nose.  There is nothing you can do about them but you can spend a minute or two trimming the toenails.

Next, swallow a couple of Bufferin against the old back injury.  Next, a swift application of some mild anaesthetic for the bothersome scar tissue from that old haemorrhoidectomy.

Don’t forget the Tums, Bisodol or simply a packet of sodium bicarbonate as precaution against indigestion.

Clean the spectacles. Rub a little resin on the last three fingers of the left hand.

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Stand up straight-think of Raquel Welch (on second thoughts, don’t think of Raquel Welch).

Comb the hair smoothly and think of the swing of Dave Marr. Walk very slowly, masterfully, to the first tee. Put on the cap bought in Edinburgh and think of Hogan.

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Stand up straight.

Alistair Cooke

Golf-The Marvelous Mania (2007)

Dormy Done?

The rules of golf are full of nuance but it is still a rare moment when the tour players and even the officials are not fully aware of the impact of a ruling. Leave it to Lefty to unearth one of the most obscure rules and it’s odd impact at a high profile event as he and his partner Zach Johnson actually managed effectively lose two holes at one time in their four ball match in the President’s Cup.

Two guys you would expect to know the rules

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The “One Ball” rule is a common one that is present at most Tour competitions-it dictates that a player cannot change the make or model of his ball between holes in a competition. Since it was not in effect for the foursomes matches Phil incorrectly assumed it was not in play for the best ball matches as well.

Wrong!

He changed to a longer distance Callaway ball on the Par 5 7th only to find out down the fairway he was in violation of the One Ball and would be assessed a one hole “match adjustment penalty” when the hole was done. The bigger mess was that neither Phil nor the tournament official on hand realized that Phil was not required to pick up his ball and drop out of the hole. He could still play out the hole in an attempt to support his pard possibly win the hole and offset the match adjustment penalty.

By the time they realized their mistake in advising him to pick up his ball the tournament officials could not let him replay the shots and Zach lost the hole so they effectively went from even to two-down on one hole in the match.

If you think about it a “match adjustment penalty” like this could effectively make a dormy go away. Imagine if they had been dormy and two up with two to play on the 17th tee and made this bone head mistake. Losing the hole with the match adjustment would have rendered the dormy moot and they could have lost the match on the last hole.

Just another immutable circumstance that can be subject to override by a lurking phrase in the rules of golf.

(Click here for a Golf Digest explanation of their conudrum)

October, 2015

Junior Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup LogoWoodmont Country Club sponsored a very kool event this past weekend-a Junior Ryder Cup Competition with 14 of our best young players aged 12 to 16 competing in a team event with Ryder Cup flavor.  The squads were the Red Hot Chili Peppers vs The Blues playing four nine hole matches over two days including Best Ball Fourball, Alternate Shot Foursomes, and Singles in match play.  Each match had 9 points at stake with a total of 198 team points available over the four sessions-it would take 100 points to win the whole shebang.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers

Jon, Jack, Noah, Adam, Spencer, Sophie, Brendan, and Capt. Moe

Jon, Adam, Spencer, Jack, Noah, Sophie, Brendan, and Captain Moe

The Blues

Jordan, Blake, Dylan, Amanda, Ellie, Kyle, Will, and Capt Ron

Jordan, Blake, Dylan, Amanda, Ellie, Kyle, Will, and Captain Ron

These were seasoned players who have competed in club events, scholastic golf teams, and regional competitions, honing their competitive talents.  The display of golf aptitude, rules recognition, competitive poise, golf etiquette, and personal accountablity belied their youthful ages.  Their enthusiasm for the team game and the collective outcome of the event was downright contagious.

The first day’s matches were Two-Person best ball followed by Alternate Shot-a format none of them had played before.  The Chili Peppers got out to a hot start in the first nine but the afternoon Alternate Shot seemed to temper their advantage.  They led by 13 points after the first day.  Points were doubled for the third session Alternate Shot nine on Day Two and it was basically a push with the Blues closing the gap by one point.  It came down to 7 Singles Matches in the final stanza and the Peppers closed strongly getting 34 of the final 63 points available to win Woodmont’s first Junior Ryder Cup 110 to 88.

The Final Tally does not reflect all the accomplishments of this event

Junior Ryder Cup ScoreboardThe talent of these kids speaks to the benefit of access to appropriate equipment, proper instruction, and cultivation of a drive to succeed that must start from within.  Sound fundamentals, an intellectual understanding of how the game needs to be played, and a respect for the traditions of the sport were all evident as we watched them compete.

Adam sets his weight to create the power of an MVP move

Adam MVP

The modern swing…a bit of Adam Scott in Dylan’s follow through

DylanDon’t we all wish we had Jordan’s extension through the hitting area

JordanFlexibility like this leads to Sophie’s club head speed and high arching shots

SophieThey teach how to use the ground to create leverage…Will has it figured out

WillBendan reaches for a little extra…..and gets it

Brendan

It was just a piece of cake for Noah sand saving par on #7

Noah Sandball 7Amanda’s putting technique has balance and control

Amanda Putting 4Ellie was dropping putts all day when they mattered the most

Ellie Putting 4Walking the walk and talking the talk as well

Boys Descending 12 2A long distance lag to push the 12th in the final Singles session

Dylan Putting 12Alternate Shot means having the patience to watch someone else finish your result

Jordan and Kyle 4Often the hardest putt is the one for the halve

Noah and Gang 4On the last green it was as it should be,  hats off, shaking hands, and back slapping all around…followed by a little ice cream and some scoreboard watching.  This event was a display of the true Ryder Cup spirit by a talented group of young players who just get it.

August, 2015

These Girls Are Good

US Open Logo 2015I had the double-interlocking grip on the remote this weekend following the golf on TV with Ricky Fowler outlasting the elements and outplaying the field to win the Scottish Open at Gullane and Jordan Spieth continuing his roman candle season with a come-from-behind playoff win at the John Deere Classic.

But for my money, the most compelling golf drama took place in the Women’s U.S. Open at Lancaster Country Club as 20-year old In Gee Chun from South Korea came charging past Stacy Lewis, Amy Yang, and Inbee Park on the inward nine with a 66 and a record setting 8-under par to claim her first major.

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Classic William Flynn Golden Age design challenged the women to be at their best
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This all took place with the stunning backdrop of Lancaster Country Club course as a canvas. Record crowds totaling 134,000 witnessed unbelievably clutch performances over the weekend from stars like Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, Amy Yang,  So Yeon Ryu, Morgan Pressel, and young Brooke Henderson. Throw in an intestinal fortitude performance by Michelle Wie- who looked like The Tin Man in spandex hobbling on a bad hip and ankle- and it was a full monty of the best that global women’s golf has to offer.

Michelle Wie in her original signature heron stoop putting posture

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For most of Saturday and Sunday it looked like a gladiator duel between the world #3 Stacy Lewis trying to claim her first U.S. Open Championship and Amy Yang who has simply owned this event with two runner ups and five top tens in the last six years. They traded blows all day Saturday surviving with a pair of entertaining 69’s on a steeply rolling William Flynn course that was set up for train wrecks.

Yang and Lewis spent lots of quality time together over the weekend

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Sunday would have been the same but Stacy flinched twice with a pair of double bogies that dashed her chances. Amy Yang looked like Cool Hand Luke using the metronome timing of her swing to pound out pars and lead the way comfortably through the first 13 holes. But clearly the pressure took it’s toll as she bogied 14 and 15 to relinquish the lead. With In Gee Chun on a birdie skein of her own from 15 on, including a clutch birdie bunker save on 16 and a no pulse lawn dart approach to the tight pin on 17, it looked like Yang hopes in this championship were going down the proverbial tubes.

Then something rather peculiar happened-Amy gave herself a talking to and regained her gunslinger composure hitting a tight draw three wood to 12 feet to make eagle on 16 and followed with a laser like approach and 7-foot birdie putt on 17 to pull within one. Coupled with the leader’s bogie on the finishing hole a par on the last would set up a riveting three-hole playoff between the two South Korean’s for the whole bulgogi.

Turning her drive on the par 4 18th over just a skotch too much Amy was left with an unworkable lie in the left rough with no choice but to lay up. From there she flagged her 62-yard third shot only to see the steepness of Flynn’s green shuttle it back to 10 feet below the hole. The par putt that would send them to a playoff for the Harton S. Semple Trophy drifted left of the hole leaving Amy Yang with that all too familiar empty feeling that a Women’s U.S. Open got away……again.

Smiles and a ream of birdies down the stretch made Chun the one this afternoon…

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July, 2015

Amen Corner

The name for the pivotal three holes that begin the drama each final Sunday at The Masters was coined by golf writer laureate Herbert Warren Wind in an article for Sports Illustrated in 1958. You can the read the context of the anointment of this phrase in Wind’s lyrical style from the original article in the attached link.

Annual Intersection of Major Success and Failure

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It came in his description of Arnold Palmer’s first triumph at The Masters on an afternoon when he overtook amateur sensation Ken Venturi beginning in the center of Amen Corner.

(Click to read Herbert Warren Wind’s SI Vault article from April 21, 1958)

For a more in depth understanding of Herbert Warren Wind check out this wonderful biographical sketch from the New York Times by Karen Crouse. From this article you will appreciate Wind’s significant imprint on the golf world from his writings on and association with many generations of the games greats.

(Click to read Karen Crouse’s N.Y. Times article on Herbert Warren Wind)

April, 2015

Up To The Challenge

Northwestern Mutual Challenge LogoThe Northwestern Mutual World Challenge is Tiger’s annual invitational event, he has won it five times.  But twice in the last four years it has come down to a playoff with Tiger and twice he has come up on the short side without the answer.

In 2010 Graeme McDowell took Tiger in a heart stopping playoff that seemed to galvanize McDowell’s ascendency in the game.  This time it was Zach Johnson “ex-Zach-ting” some revenge for Tiger’s come from behind victory here in 2011 where Tiger overtook Zach down the stretch.

This year it was kind of a two-horse race right out of the gate as Zach shot a smooth 67 with tough pin positions to take the lead on day one.  Tiger scorched the course and the field with a 10-under 62 on day two to grab the lead by himself.  It seemed a fait accompli that Tiger would etch his name on this feline trophy for the sixth time, the last time the event would be played in this part of southern California where he developed his game as a young cub.

Saturday was a push with them both shooting par 72 so they began the final day playing in the final group, Tiger, the world’s greatest front runner, holding a two-shot lead.

You had to like Tiger’s chances since Sherwood Country Club has five par fives which makes par for the big hitter about 67.  Zach is a man who has yet to see a par five that he considers reachable but his wedge game is so superb that he was still 9-under on the five pars over the first three rounds.  Don’t forget this was the man who won a green jacket with this same lay-up-on-the-par-five strategy at Augusta in 2007.

Front nine Tiger made two birdies to up his lead to three but shooting even par on the inward half on Sunday is very un-Tigerlike and this would provide a very small opening which Johnson would have to manage to squeeze through.  A bogey on ten put Zach four back but back-to-back birdies on eleven and twelve put him within shouting distance again.  Game on.

What happened down the stretch, the last three holes, just proves the old adage that truth is way stranger than fiction.  On sixteen and seventeen Zach nearly holed his approach shots for eagle,  landing them past the hole before spinning back for a drive-by look.  Both left him short uphill putts for birdie.  The second birdie pulled him to even with Eldrick going into the eighteenth.

After Tiger pulled his tee ball to a hanging lie on the left side of the fairway and skidded his approach right of the green into the front bunker it looked like advantage Zach.  From the center of the fairway with a stock 8-iron in hand the ultimate grinder looked like an eighteen handicapper doing a hosel job into the hazard short right of the green.  This was the ultimate you-got-to-be-kidding moment for a guy with his name etched on the side of his bag.

Now the improbable….or maybe the unthinkable….Zach proved that the third time is the charm as he skipped his sand wedge from the drop zone just past the hole before taking the back door into the hole for a most unlikely par.  The incredulous cheshire grin on Tiger’s face said it all.

Tiger upped and down to send it to extra holes but that was just delaying the inevitable….the golf gods had intervened again and Tiger would be denied a swan song victory in this year’s Challenge.

The playoff lasted one hole with Tiger returning his approach shot within a foot of the previous one in the front left bunker on eighteen.  This time he failed to escape with a short side save and Zach’s 25-foot two-putt on the same line that Graeme had dashed Tiger’s hopes in 2010 was enough to secure the victory.

Next year Tiger’s Challenge moves to another one of his home venue’s Isleworth Golf and Country Club in Orlando.  They will be hard pressed to match the kind of heart stopping drama that this southern California venue has provided almost every year.

December, 2013

50 in 50…..Well Done!

50 in 50 logoIf you have been following this blog you know of the ambitious and crazy goal of Tyler Dunmyer, a high school junior at Quince Orchard High School, of playing 50 Courses in 50 Days as part of a fund raising project for Junior Achievement.  When he told me of this idea in early April I just shook my head thinking he will either run out of golf balls, good weather, or patience because playing 50 top line courses in the Washington, D.C. area in about six weeks is a drive and a three iron beyond rational.

Tyler and Moe under the Woodmont Timex..rounds 34 and 35

Tyler and Moe under the Woodmont Timex..rounds 35 and 36

As you can see in the photo below of Tyler made it all the way to the finish line, still standing up, for his 50th round with Miguel Angel Carballo at the Web.com  Mid-Atlantic Championships Pro-Am at Avenel Farm just after Memorial Day.

The End.. #50 with Miguel Angel Carballo at Avenel Farm

The End.. #50 with Miguel Angel Carballo at Avenel Farm

You can read Tyler’s description of his exploits, all 50 rounds, at his blog site below. He played em all from the tips, he is a glutton for punishment, taking in public courses, fee courses, and some of the best private courses in the Washington-Metro area along the way.  As you can see from his writings this was way more than just about golf, it was about meeting people, enjoying the special surroundings only golf can provide, and raising money for a good cause.

(Click here to read Tyler’s full accounting of 50 in 50 in his Blog postings)

The main beneficiary of Tyler’s gargantuan effort was his charity of choice Junior Achievement.  If you would like to contribute a little something in support of his effort click the link below for the Mid-Atlantic/Junior Achievement donation page for Tyler.

(Click to donate any amount through the “Donation” button at the bottom of the screen)

This goes to prove that we should not doubt youth.  When youthful exuberance is coupled with some mature ambition it can result in unprecedented achievement.

June, 2013

Feherty Flies The Friendly Skies

We all know of David Feherty’s love for America and the men and women of the military who protect the freedoms of the country that has so graciously taken in his huddled mass.

Folds Of Honor LogoLesser known to some of us is the good work of Major Dan Rooney and the Folds of Honor Foundation who have raised serious money to support the families of brave service men and women who have died serving our country through providing post secondary scholarships for their spouses and children.

Putting the two of these guys together, in the cockpit of a F-16 at 20,000 feet and mach-who-knows-what is a marriage made in heaven. The attached article by Feherty from the Folds of Honor Foundation’s Patriot Magazine recounts this experience in rib rattling detail.

In true Feherty form he describes the take-off as “Just like a rocket, the F-16’s violent vertical acceleration is impossible to describe, especially when you’re squealing like a Girl Scout in a pillow fight and wondering if your ass….is ever going to rejoin your lower intestines”.

Two great patriots, one new, one old, out for a joy ride in the friendly skies.

(Click to read Feherty’s “Reaching Great Heights” from Patriot Magazine)

Patriot Magazine

Folds of Honor Foundation

May, 2013

Uplifting Experience

This will make all the traditionalists cringe but with this prototype Hovercraft Golf Cart  I have to hand it to Bubba he is thinking outside of the box.  Or is it that he is just out of his mind.

The disclaimer form you are going to have to sign to drive this thing will be seven pages long.  Have to think he has gotten the attention of Club Car and other cart makers at this point.

Some Arab Sheik will be driving one of these things on his personal links in the very near future.

Bubba Watson

April, 2013