Golfstat, Tracking Your Game – Part I

It’s unfortunate but here in southern Manitoba our golf season is nearing the end.

I’m thinking perhaps another ten games or so before the courses close.

There is however one thing I’m looking forward to.

As mentioned in a previous post it was my intention to record some basic stats relative to my game using the Golf Canada Game Tracker.

This past season I entered every game I played using the hole by hole input screen and enhanced the data input slightly by using the ‘stats’ feature.  I did not record all the statistical categories available, just some of the basics like putts and fairways hit.

Entering such basic information provides you with a wealth of data as calculated by the statistical program.  It provides your average putts per round, putts per hole, average putts on a given hole, average score on a given hole, fairways in regulation, greens in regulation, scrambling and bounce backs.

Once the season is officially over I intend to review the data and write one or more posts that provide a breakdown of how the year went, and hopefully how the data generated can be used to identify potential areas for improvement.

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An offer they could not refuse

At this time of the year, when all the competitions are concluded golfers at times need an incentive to spice up their games or just to keep their interest up.

In my case I’m now north of 110 games played for the season and unless there is something on the line my interest tends to wane and at times I suffer from lapses of concentration on the course.

Playing for something (money) no matter how small the amount can get everyone back in the game.

On the first tee this morning I made my three golf partners and offer the could not refuse.  I proposed that we play my ball against their best ball.  My handicap is 4 and they are all in the 10-12 range, and pretty solid players.  Needless to say they accepted the proposal.

Things did not start out well for me.  I bogied the first hole and lost the next two to birdies.  By the time we got to the 9th hole I was four down, so naturally I used my front nine press and was fortunate to win the 9th hole with a par to cut my front nine losses.

I played better on the back nine and managed several clutch putts to par holes for ties on the back nine.  The long and the short of it was that when we reached 18, I was two up on the back.  Now it was their opportunity to press and they did.  We tied 18 with pars so the press was a tie.

It ended up they won the front and the 18, I won the front nine press and the back nine so no money changed hands.  However, all of us were invested in the game and the outcome for all 18 holes and if was an enjoyable and challenging match.

I’m hoping we do this again.  I fully understand my odds of winning are not great but it was an enjoyable challenge.

You have got to play Quarry Oaks

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A couple of days ago a message popped up in my promotions tab with a great offer from Quarry Oaks.  The offer was the twilight rate ($42.50) with cart but starting at 1230 in the afternoon.

I sent out a message to some fellow golfers and was quickly able to get a foursome together.

We played yesterday (2016-08-24) with a tee off of 12:38.

I’ve played Quarry Oaks many times over the years and every time I do I lament that fact that it’s located east of Steinbach, and I live in Winnipeg.  It’s the type of course that were it closer to a major population center would attract a high volume of golfers.  It is the type of course (if it were closer to where I live) I would be a member of.

Why you ask, what so good about Quarry Oaks?  Here are but a few reasons:

  1.  Variety.  Three very distinctive 9’s that offer significantly different views and challenges.
  2. Well conditioned tee boxes, fairways and greens.
  3. Interesting carries over waste areas and water.
  4. Undulating greens that are challenging yet fair (if you put the ball in the right spots).
  5. Friendly staff and superb service.

There are many more reasons but you probably get the drift.

I’ve often said to golfing friends from Ontario:  if Quarry Oaks were located in Ontario people from Toronto would gladly drive 1 or two hours and pay well over $100.00 to play a round of golf on a course that provided the experience Quarry Oaks offers.

If you have never played the course, or have not played it recently you need to get out there.  It’s the type of layout you need to play several times a year even if you don’t live in the immediate area.  It’s that good!

The older golfer

As indicated in a previous post I recently participated in the Manitoba Senior Championship.

During the course of the event I played with a number of different golfers as the pairings were adjusted after every round based on scoring, so I was able to observe different players both on the course and in preparation for play.

What follows are some observations that struck me about seniors who play competitive golf:

 

  1.  The love of the game and the dedication to honing ones golf skills.  The vast majority of the participants arrived at the course well in advance of their tee times and spent significant time on the driving range, chipping area and on the putting green.
  2. How the competitive embers are fanned and come to life during a tournament.
  3. How advancements in technology have added to the enjoyment of the game for older golfers.  I overheard more than a few players talk about their new driver or new set of irons, hybrids etc. and how the new clubs have made them longer and more accurate.  Comments like “I’m hitting it longer now than when I was 40”  are common among seniors, and in many cases they are also true.
  4. Golfers willingness to use ‘aids’ to compensate for parts of the body that are simply wearing out.  I observed more than a few players adjusting their lower back supports, strap on knee braces, squeeze into elbow and wrist supports.  I observed several players (myself included) bolster their resolve by  popping  Advil and other anti inflammatory and pain killing drugs, jut to be able to compete.  As well as I walked down the line at the driving range I noticed I was not the only player emanating a strong odour of A535 and other assorted topical  treatments.

It would seem the old adage ‘golfers never die they only lose their balls’ is indeed true.

 

Manitoba Senior Golf Championship

I participated in the Manitoba Senior Golf Championship held at the Glendale Golf and Country Club from July 25-27th 2016.

I placed T9 in the overall Championship, and won the 65+ Super Seniors  category.

Included are some photos taken by Golf Manitoba photographer, Mike Lagace.

For full results click here.

 

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The Importance of Tracking Your Game

What do golfers do when they are not scoring well and their handicap starts to climb?   All too often they buy new equipment, a  new driver perhaps, or some wedges, or even a new set of irons.

I’m facing that dilemma right now.

I finished up last year with a handicap of 3.6.  It’s normal at the start of a new season for the handicap to rise a bit, and then stabilize once you’ve played ten or fifteen games.

I’m now between 30 and 40 games into the new season and my handicap has climbed to just below  7 with no sign of slowing its ascent.

For those of you who have read my previous posts you will know that I made some pretty dramatic changes this year, trialing  a set of single length irons.  As my cap kept going up my first thought was that it must be the irons.  I stuck with them for the first 30 rounds and then decided to switch back to my conventional length clubs.

That however did not cure the problem.  I had a few good rounds and then things reverted to normal (the normal for this season that is).

That’s when I decided to look at the stats.  When I enter my scores I use the stats option and track just some of the basics:  fairways hit, greens in regulation and putts, ah yes putts.

I’ve never been a great putter, however I’ve been a steady putter who normally has very few 3 putts.  I had been noticing that I was 3 putting more this year than in the past, and when I looked at the numbers I was taken aback.  My fairways hit and greens in regulation had not changed significantly.  However, my putts per hole changed from 1.8 to just under 2 putts per hole.  This translates into less pars and birdies (I no longer hit it long enough to get many eagles), and more bogies and doubles.

When worked out in terms of  putts per round, the increase in my putting stats corresponds very closely to the rise in my handicap.  So the culprit is not my new irons, or the new driver I’m using this year, it’s putting.

So what do you think happened to the new putter I put in play this year?  If you guessed ‘penalty box’ you are right.  I played a number of rounds with my  trusty putter from last year and a few more with older putters that had been languishing in the penalty box for several years.

The problem is I’m not able to putt well with any putter right now which means its not the putter that’s the problem , its the puttee.

Case in point, last Monday I played a match at the Selkirk Golf and Country Club and my partner and I managed to halve the front 9.  Neither of us were playing particularly well on the back nine but I managed to birdie holes 14 (538 yard par 5) and 15 (565 yard par 5) to go one up on the back.  I followed that up with a 2 putt from short range on 16, and 3 putts on 17 and 18 to lose the back nine.

So what did I do yesterday in the rain?  I went out and practiced.  With an array of putters I hit around 600 putts over a 4 and a half hour period, trying every grip and set-up known to man plus a few others.  The result, inconclusive at best.

And what am I doing today as soon as the rain lets up?

Pinhawk Single Length Irons – Performance Update

In a previous post I promised to provide an update on the performance of my Pinhawk single length irons once the grass was green and the birds were singing. Well the grass isn’t really green yet but like a true Manitoba golf nut, despite the cold and windy weather, I’ve already completed my first 10 rounds of golf.

All 10 rounds have been played using the Pinhawk single length irons.

By way of comparison, my scoring average for the first 10 rounds is 2.9 strokes lower than last year.  It is however not a true apples to apples comparison in terms of equipment as not only did I change my irons I also replaced my driver, a hybrid and my putter.

However all that being said my first impressions are very positive.  I am hitting the single length irons straighter than I did my conventional length irons.  The ball contact is solid, the flight trajectory is good and the distance control is excellent.

I have been tracking the distances on my clubs and as of right now (in cold weather conditions and using a low compression ball) these are the distances I’ve been hitting the irons:

LW           85

SW          95

GW          105

PW          115

9I            125

8I            135

7I            145

6I            155

5I            165

4H          180

 

These distances are not spot on accurate but are based on using a laser range finder where possible and pacing yardages.  The gaps between clubs is excellent and although the distances are somewhat less than with my conventional set of irons I think once the weather warms up and I start using better quality (higher compression) balls the distances will improve.  I am very optimistic in terms of matching my usual distances with my conventional length clubs.

When I first started writing about the single length iron concept I received an offer from one of the golf professionals at a local golf course to test the clubs on Flightscope.  Once I get more used to playing with the Pinhawks and the weather warms up I will be availing myself of that offer and reporting the results.

In the meantime, I’m off to Bridges to play my first round of golf on that course this season.