Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Motol Imbroglio

I mangled the first hole, settling for double bogey after leaving the bogey kneeknocker short on the lip . . . Undesirable, but bearable . . . Then on #2 my drive drifted right to the edge of the trees with normal distance . . . still no worries, but then I couldn’t find it . . . looked for a full 5 minutes, then just took an x . . . I couldn’t imagine what happened to it, I’ve been overthere many times, and always found it . . . so I was upset . . . 6-x is not the way to start . . . even after parring the 3rd, I was still boiling . . . double-bogeyed 4 with some sinful putting, but the greens were very bumpy, tough for a feel putter when they’re so rough . . .then bogeyed #5, missing the green . . . parred 6 with a miracle punch from the base of a tree; then 7 from the edge of the trees again. Then on #8, hit a good shot that bounced off the hill all the way across the green – ordinarily it should settle on the dance floor, but this rolled all the way down into the bunker . . . unless you have a sterling sand game, an instant double bogey. Then on #9, from the short tees, drove into the trees there – I wasn’t really driving poorly, I felt, just having really bad luck.

After some good frankfurter soup, I felt refreshed and re-optimistic, my relaxed drive was wind-blown over into the 2nd fairway. . . no problem . . . rather not be over there, but you can get a good look at the green from there . . . so I found my ball in the middle of the fairway, and hit the 5iron of my life right where I aimed, at the right edge of the green . . . it landed short on the hill, kicked over onto the green towards the pin, wound up 6 ft past . . . I was already tallying birdie on my resurgent back 9. . . and promptly 3jacked . . . From Six Feet. . . 8^0 . . . so I’m right back to boiling again . . . even so, it was better than 1st time around.

On the 2nd second time around, I hit my drive almost on the same line as my 1st time around, but I watched it like an eagle, could tell it was still in play . . . walking up to the ball, one of my playing companions hollered, “Hey is THIS your ball?” I walked back to the rough before the fairway, and sure enough it was – my ball from the recent tee shot on 1. . . I had accidentally played my ball from the 1st time on #2 . . .125 meters closer to the tee than it should have been. The mystery is how it got from where I had last seen it from the tee, to where I played it 8 holes later... Both balls were Callaways with nearly identical markings (a thick green line from the balance machine), so I didn’t notice when I played 1/10: the lost ball was in the middle of the fairway, looked like the other, and the other was sitting down in the rough. So I x-ed #1, after the fact. 

I couldn’t decide which was worse: ex-post-x-ing a 3putt bogey, or a birdie . . .

That dang lost ball cost me 2 x-outs on my scorecard.

Well, this old bulldog didn’t quit, but I was done. . . no reserves of equanimity for tactical exigencies . . .

The Bohemian Duffer Rough Stableford Calculator came up with 27 points, so I left directly, without lunch. . . too upset . . .

Monday, July 23, 2012

Liberice / Ypsilon Golf Club


6132 M; Par 72; Slope 139, by Keith Preston, the British golf-course architect.


They say:

Name of club Ypsilon Golf Resort Liberecsymbolizes its geographic location at the intersection of three states Republic, Germany and Poland. Looking at the map we see the letter "Y" .

Club history dates back to March 2004, when he was accepted as a full member of the Czech Golf Federation. The club is fully underway on the 12th May 2006, when the whole golf resort opened to the public. not only offers all fans of the game on a professional field, but also a modern clubhouse, conceived design studio design Miro Pistek Bayreuth. The clubhouse has a restaurant with superb cuisine, breathtaking views from the terraces onto the pitch and the Pro-Shop offering world-brand clothes, shoes and golf equipment. All in beautiful unspoilt countryside.

I don’t know what it is about Czech Golf Courses, but they seem to hide them . . . as much as you can hide 300 acres . . . 8^D . . . It was a very convoluted route to get there . . . Liberice does have a reputation of being a confusing town . . .


But it has a lovely, new clubhouse . . . with a large, fine restaurant . . .


This is a view of #1, from the clubhouse, with the practice green in between. I have a new precept: #1 should be a Par 5, and it should have a very small dogleg, if any at all . . . Ypsilon’s #1, OTOH, has a nearly 90 degree dogleg . . . I only had an 8 iron to the green, but I foozled it . . . The trash in front of the green is intimidating . . . The second shot was pin high, but a very tough putt, 12 ft with a bend of 2 feet. Bogey.

#2 is another par 4, not so long, but uphill, and a blind t-shot . . . you don’t want to be too close to the woods on the right or you can get blocked out, but you gotta challenge, I decided in retrospect, or else you have 200m to the green. No Bueno. Aggh. I was outta my routine. . . didn’t get a proper shot of the approach . . . just this one on the way to the 3rd tee.

#3, another moderate par 4 with a blind Tshot . . . 8^D . . . .see the trend? I finally got over my first tee jitters and striped one down the middle . . . it rolled off a little left, but still in the fairway. I hit a bold 9iron into the teeth of the wind to the pin on the front quarter of the green. .. 3 putt bogey, after two 2putt bogeys. . . ahhhhh. I forgot to take a picture again and ran back over from the 4th tee while we waited.

#4 is a mid length par 3, down hill, shouldn’t be so much of a challenge, as it was for me . . . but I wasn’t hitting midirons worth a dang . . . linedrive into the creek .. . if it gets over, its fine but it plunked right in. Double bogey.

#5 is the #2 handicap hole, and it’s a fearsome uphill monster, even if its only moderate length par 4 . . . concentrating on “just a good shot” and fanned it and sliced in the deep rough short of those trees on the right . . . horrible ankle deep stuff, like all over the course . . . really almost unfair without spotters, if you see how I mean . . . scuttled the first try just 40 meters, still in the rough . . . so muscled up on the 3rd try and pushed it (counting on the grass to turn the club over, alas), up to in between the traps on the right . . .

Another bladed chip to the back of the green and a 3 putt for a 7. yech.

#6 is a short par 3 . . . a breather hole one feels . . . just put me down for another double bogey and please don’t ask questions. . . 8^D . . .

#7 is a short par 4, downhill, that the regulars were looking forward to . . . they said, you *might* be able to drive the green but they were basically laying back . . . to avoid trouble . . . this hole was a prize hole, for the “closest in 2” . . . I just hammered it straight towards the left side of the green and let the contour bring it down in front of the green, 10 meters short. . . say 285 m . . . my companions were already congratulating me on winning the prize, for it would be only a simple chip to get inside 15m, the current holder . . . so natcherly, I chunked the pitch (actually a Scottish style bump and run) only to the front of the green . . . they were so embarrassed for me they could hardly offer commiseration . . . but then I chipped in for a birdie – never fails does it? . . . 8^D . . .

Oh, I apparently was so enthralled with my rare-in-the-czech-republic-birdie that I took no picture of the tee for the par5 #8 . . . I don’t remember well, but that’s my ball in 3 . . .so write down 3putt bogey . . . my very favorite thing . . .

#9 was the Longest Drive hole . . . I just hit it straight at the edge of the bunkers on the right . . . absolutely crushed it, but it landed into the slope in one of the ripples in the fairway, that all but killed any roll . . . it was still the longest of the day, so far . . .  I’ve never won a longest drive honor, tho’ I would claim sneaky-longitude, so that was good enough for me . . . I finally hit a good shortiron, too, took a decent divot and wound up 10 ft right of the pin . . . dangit I was thinking 2 birdies on the front and then let’s see what happens! But missed on the high side. Par . . .

so only 1 birdie and 1 par on the front, but was around in even 5s for a 45, if you see how I mean . . . just a little better and I could make my handicap . . .

#10 looks a lot like #1, in the way that architects have of doing that, but that big tree there on the right militates against cutting-the-corner, and the dogleg is shorter and sharper . . . so I hit a 5wood to keep it in play, but the guys that hit 5iron were just as close as I was . . .  to the green . . . I foozled a 7wood, then flounder, flounder, flounder, triple bogey . . . so much for pressing  . . .

#11 is another moderate par 4, not-quite a blind shot, but the boys scared me so much about the trash on the right that I put a hook around the trees there in the fairway . . . ok, on the left edge of the fairway. Totally pureed my 8iron to the back of the green, leaving another 3putt bogey. @#@#$@

#12 is another *theoretically possible* drivable par 4, the boys who’d played Liberice were laying back again, but that’s a very tough layup, mentally, anyway . . . I just smoothed a driver up just short of the trap, and, again, I’m thinking birdie . . . but I chunked the pitch just over the bunker, then 3jacked from the front of the green. Not even a par . . . 8^/ . . .

OK. #13 is a long par 3 over a valley of trash . . . my only worry (I tho’t) was not going long, so . . . I hooked the holy batshit out of my choke-down half-7wood just into the tall grass & trees left of the hole . . . I couldn’t get a clean swipe at the ball, much less a clean hit, so it wound up on the front of the green, well away from the hole . . . standard 3putt from there

Now this is the heart of the course . . . a very tough two par 5s back-to-back. It would be worth considering this string of holes . . . the tough dogleg #10, the semi-blind shot uphill on #11, the drivable #12 par 4, the long par 3 #13, and then these two par 5s . . . whew! . . . I really should have taken mid fairway pix, too . . . but I think you can see from the green shot how the tee shot is downhill, then you cross a creek, then uphill to the green . . . now the boys were laying back again . . . it was 208 for us down to the creek . . . but I wanted to get all the way down there, so I tried to hit a half-driver, and pull hooked it behind those trees on the left side of the fairway, on the backside of a big mound . . . fairly good lie in that ankle deep rough, so I hit a 7wood from the hook lie, and tried to give it room – it might go straight from the rough, tho’ right? - - nope, good hit, big hook, I tho’t it was fine, but we couldn’t find it in the left rough around the trees . . . only a 100m from the green if I could find it, but no . . .x-hole.

Boys were worried by #15, the 2nd par 5, because the trash on the right hill is as bad as the trash on the left valley . . . I was happy, looked wide to me and I figgered to hit it straight up on that hump and let the slope bring it back down . . . instead, for the 3rd hole in a row, I pulled left . . .I mean, dannnnnng . . . it was short of the trash tho, down in the clumpy long rough leaning the wrong way, but I had clean look thru the trees to the fairway . . . I figger I’m not losing any money . . . I took a 5iron because I didn’t want to go thru the other side of the fairway, then . . . it turns out it’s a little further than I tho’t . . . some sort of optical illusion . . . I clopped into the creek bed just short of the fairway . . . shudda hit a 5wood . . . that’s another tough uphill approach to a huge green . . . I’m in my pocket . . . I don’t ever remember x-out 2 holes in a row before, even at Walden on Lake Conroe . . .

So with that in mind, to the #16 par 3 short downhill, where the closest to the pin was . . . OK, just smooth an 8iron and what can go wrong? It’s just like #3 or #8 at Motol . . . toed it right just off the green, where it bounced off the slope into the tree line . . . Hey! At least it wasn’t a jerk-left! . . . 8^) . . . popped the ball out of there onto the green easily enough, but way past the hole. . . 4putt . . . so I was 9 over just on the par3s.

This tee shot on the par4 #17 is a little intimidating  . . . and the boys were angling right in danger of a tree that intrudes out into the right side of the fairway . . . I pull-hooked this one too, despite my intent to go right down the middle. That ball was hit really well, just left . . . it caromed off a hump there on the left side, and rolled w-a-a-a-a-y down . . . 250m, I guess . . . Hit an 8 for what was left to the downhill green, as you can see, but it was a club too much .. . 3putt bogey.

Well, I had resolved to finish strong, and gone quad-bogey, 3putt bogey, but the bulldog wouldn’t give up . . . 8^) . . . Hit a good drive not too long, but not left, so that was sumthin’ . . . 8^D . . .then couldn’t see the green, and I just wanted to hit it as far left as I could . . . came low off the toe of my 5wood . . . a good result from a mediocre shot . . .  I just had a half wedge to the green, but that is one humongous green, and it had a extra tall flagstick that added to the optical illusion. . . that green goes away from you then falls off again into the rough, so I flew in short, with like 45 ft left . . . I made a good lag, then a good kneeknocker to finish with a par. Very satisfactory.


So a solid 2 on the Scottsdale scale  . . . a mature course carved out of the trees with great skill & vision. A tough course from the elevation changes, especially for a first-timer, even with a guide . . . it’s a lopsided course, in a way, 35-37, which reflects the difficulty of that back-9. A lot, a LOT of holes on here I wish I could play again, just cause I *know* I can do better. . . I mean, I oughtta do better on the par3s, 1 or 2 over par, anyway . . . and the par 5s. . . if you can suck it up and challenge those 5s eagle might be a possibility with two great shots . . .but easy birdies . . . hah . . . 8^D . . . and how many 3putt bogeys on par 4s . . . dangit, even tho’ its hard to get there, worth it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dry Hole

The seventh hole of a golf course in Lafayette, IN. Looking for their ball.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Open @ Royal Lytham & St. Annes

British Open courses have never been pretty, at least in the eyes of Americans watching on television. U.S. viewers are spoiled by the green, manicured fairways of Augusta National and the like, as environmentally troublesome as such courses can be.
Links courses, by contrast, tilt toward the brown and yellow hues of the spectrum. Royal Lytham & St. Annes, the site of this week's British Open, doesn't even have the ocean as a backdrop. It lies a mile inland, separated from the Irish Sea, if not from the wind.
Thanks to record rainfall this spring and summer, however, Royal Lytham is lush, but not in a good way as far as players are concerned. Its rough, usually wispy this time of year, is bursting with heather, bramble and high, tussocky fescues. Tiger Woods has called it "almost unplayable." "I've never seen rough this high or thick or dense," he said. You could lose a child in the thicker patches.
I spotted crews Sunday frantically pulling up handful after handful of the thickest stuff near the greens. Without such thinning, balls bounding barely over a green might never be found less than 30 feet from a hole, or if found rendered unplayable, forcing a drop and a penalty stroke.
Even under normal circumstances, Lytham is one of the toughest and tightest British Open courses. Tournaments here are basically chess matches between the players and the bunkers—206 of them, deep and steep-faced and cleverly scattered in all of the places balls most like to roll. Despite the rains, the sand-based fairways have not slowed down much at all.

Michelle Wie Wins Fans

Michelle Wie Wins Fans at U.S. Women's Open with Form-Fitting Purple Dress (Photo) by Jonathan Gault on Mon, Jul 9, 2012 at 3:08PM Comments () inShare Michelle Wie may only have finished in a tie for 35th at last weekend's U.S. Women's Open, but she still managed to make headlines for her clothing choice during Sunday's final round. Wie, 22, wore a tight purple dress for the final round at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wis., ensuring that she remained in the spotlight. Wie -- who is already one of the LPGA Tour's most visible figures despite never having won a major -- shot a final-round 80, which dropped her to 10-over par and left her 17 strokes behind champion Na Yeon Choi of South Korea. Check out the photo below to see what all the fuss was about.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012


As you can see, I finished 4th . . . tied 2nd & 3rd in Stableford points, lost on a scorecard playoff . . .


I believe it was my failure on the 18th that cost me 2nd . . . sort of a Jean Van de Veld moment . . . drive was on the edge of the trees, and instead of chipping a safety out, I tried to hit a miracle shot to avoid double-bogey –twice, totally @#$@%@% Whiffed TWICE – before I just chipped out safely, afterall . . . bottomline, I got a 9, instead of a 7 . . . . that 1 point would have put me in 2nd . . .


That hit me hard enough . . . I’d played brilliantly most of the day, several missed birdies (I view as a positive, not a negative . . . 8^) . . . ), up till that last hole . . . I didn’t realize the cost until they’d announced the winners . . . it was horribly windy, 3 club wind at times . . . but apparently my competitive colleagues have gotten better in the wind . . . the last tournament I won at GCP last year was like this. . .  


I had 38 stableford by my rough count 6 pars, 9 bogeys, 2 doubles, and the one Other, and that should ordinarily be good enough to place . . . but then the internal recriminations started, what-if, what-if, what-if . . .


Then I tho’t about the other holes . . .I’d parred the par 5s 3 out of 4 . . . but I was 8 over on the par 3s . . . including fat foozles on the short downhiller # 3 . . . I mean . . . even just being 4 over on those would have tied me for 1st . . . I putted well in streaks, still had 4 or 5 3putts . . . just dang, dang, dang . . . .

Monday, July 9, 2012

Golf in India,0,3345846.story


Among the 3 million or so charities operating in India, "golf for the destitute" wouldn't exactly top the list of pressing social needs.

The way pro golfer Indrajit Bhalotia sees it, however, offering hope of a life-changing career for a few has a place alongside meeting the temporary needs of multitudes.

Bhalotia, 40, confident and understated, born into a well-off family, started playing golf at 4. He became India's top-ranked player in 1990 and founded ProTouch Golf Academy, selling equipment, apparel and lessons to the well-heeled.

During a slump in 1998, hoping to get his winning form back, he pledged 10% of his future winnings to charity. Eventually he decided that wasn't enough, that anyone could give money but he needed to do more.

"Golf's been very good to me," he said recently at the Royal. "It's the least I could do. There was karma for me in this."

He started recruiting impoverished children through Ek Prayaas, a Kolkata charity, and among the club's caddies. A lifetime spent whacking small white balls allowed him to spot aptitude within minutes of their first swing.

"Sure, I might miss one Tiger Woods," he said. "But out of five, I can pick out four."