Speaker of Cliches … My Back to Basics Approach to Golf

I am guilty.  I do it all the time.  And I hate myself for doing it but I for one think it’s a necessary evil.  Sometimes even my salvation.

Ask me why and the only logical conclusion I can give is that a cliché is a parable.  It provides the best way to help another or yourself for that matter  understand your explanation.  Sometimes a cliché can best describe the action you want to mimic.  Other times you miss the point completely and hilarity ensues.

For example, I have been in the golf doldrums for a few weeks now.  I just cannot hit a golf shot.  To make matters worse I cannot string a few good shots per hole in order to string a few pars together.  And no amount of time on the range can fix it.  Believe me I have tried.  My tennis elbow and blisters prove it.  I just can’t explain it.  That’s when my “Back to Basics” mantra kicked in. I guess you could say, I was fed up with sucking.   It also made economic sense — stop throwing good money after bad prospects [The bad prospect(s) being me.]

I have tried to “hit down on the ball to go up.”  I have tried “swinging on plane.”  I have even tried “swinging easy.”  I felt like Tin Cup at the US Open.  We are talking “deer in the headlights,” “’cause nothing was going on between the space of five inches between my ears.”  Nothing seemed to work.

That is until I discovered “my religion.”  My first “conversion” started when a golf coach told me when asked how to score better, “Hit the ball closer to the hole.”  I was insulted.  Of course you have to hit the ball closer to the hole.  If we could all hit the ball closer to the hole, golf would be easy.  Closer to the hole meant you had fewer puts.  Then a lightbulb went off in my head.  I had to ask myself HOW to hit the ball closer to the hole.  And that meant chipping the ball closer to the hole.  That also meant short iron shots had to be dead on.  That meant I had to know what club would do what and make that outcome consistent.  So away I went to work on my short game.  And lo and behold it worked — for a time.

Now this latest bout of yips, I had to find that religion again.

This time I had to break down my swing to its basic parts to figure out what the devil I was/is/shall continue to do wrong.  Golf is a simple game.  It’s the golfer that gets in the way of making it a simple game.  You hit the ball.  You chase the ball into the hole; rinse, repeat eighteen more times.  That’s simple.  The one with the fewer strokes “wins.”  But golf isn’t about winning at least on the Weekend Warrior level.  Sure you can “win” if you wager against other golfers, but it’s more a personal victory if you can string together a few good holes, survive a few bad holes, and cobble together a round worth remembering.

My Religion was to break down my swing into its simplest parts.  My swing is simple to begin with so it was relatively easy.  First I checked my stance.  Everything looked square in the mirror.  Then I worked on my turn, and I figured out how to turn the core of my body without putting much stress on my back by coiling it.  (Yippee! no more back problems!)  It was really simple, I bend my left knee forward, not a lot just enough to allow my body to turn naturally and as a single unit.  But still that didn’t work.  So I went further checking my grip and club face.  This was my Eureka moment.  Apparently I wasn’t holding my club properly.  In fact I was holding the club with my fingers and not the palm of my left hand to anchor the club shaft.  A proper grip uses the fingers to cradle the club shaft but the pad of your left hand balances that club.  There should be no space or wiggle room when you hold the club properly.  Holding the club properly allows you to use the club as an extension of your hand.  That probably explains the latest body ailment — tennis elbow.

Took this rediscovered knowledge with me to the golf course yesterday.  And although I still suck as a golfer, I did manage to survive a few bad holes, cobble together a few pars, and string together a few gold holes to make this round at least for the recent past — worth remembering.  It provided positive results.

So when confronted with the “yips,” “yaps,” “heebeegeebees” do not despair, just go back to your basics.  Find your religion.  Who knows the light may just go off inside your head and you discover some part of your swing mechanics or course management that will help you play more consistently and that after all is a win of sorts isn’t it?

Your mileage may vary with this tidbit of sage advice.  Like I always say, I am not a professional.  I am not even a guru or teaching pro.  I can only tell you what worked for me.  It may work for you.  It may not, that is entirely up to you.

Golf Specials — Three Easy Steps

Where to find the deal on your next golf outing.

Everyone uses GolfNow.  It’s the big elephant in the room.  It’s national and has tee times for pretty much every golf course in the nation.  It’s a great website but sometimes there is just too much noise.  Too many choices handicap my decision making process.

Fleshing out deals in your local area can be difficult but not impossible.  Just for a point of reference, to me local is a 50-75 mile drive one way — Yes, I am a golf fanatic and will drive that far for a round of golf, sometimes even further.

  1. One of the things I do is first find out golf conditions of some golf courses that interest me on either GolfAdvisor or Greenskeeper.org.  For me I feel the golf course reviews on Greenskeeper are a little more accurate and a lot more informational compared to GolfAdvisor.  To illustrate, few sentences about an individual’s round of golf really doesn’t interest me.  However a few sentences of how the greens rolled, the fairway coverage and rough are exactly what the doctor ordered.  I tend to get later from Greenskeeper.org.
  2. Now if it’s not my birthday, I will check out the Golf Specials page on Greenskeeper.org and compare the prices shown compared to GolfNow and the rack rate.  If the golf conditions are favorable and the price is right I tend to use the Golf Specials page at Greenskeeper.org.
  3. To redeem the coupon on Greenskeeper.org just click through the link and print out the coupon.  Show up to the golf course and redeem it.

It’s that simple.  You can even sort these deals by region to help minimize the noise and focus on where you want to play golf next.

Good Luck.

Who I am and Why I am here.

2014-07-12 10.25.55Now that’s a very good question.  The best way to describe myself is not who I am but who I am not.

I am not a PGA tour professional, PGA affiliated, or even an apprentice.

I am not some golfing maven or prodigy.

I am not smart or very handsome.  In a word I am homely.  Well at least I have a face only a mother could love.

What I am though is a regular guy like any other who just happens to be passionate about golf.  Started playing at twelve and haven’t looked back since.  Fast forward 40 years, all I can say about my golfing “career” to date is that if I only knew what I know now, I could have been a force to reckon with in high school and even perhaps college.  If it matters I was your typical bogey golfer — a weekend warrior — doing battle with each golf course with hacker’s abandon.  That is until I found “religion.”  That religion was the simple phrase “hit the ball closer to the hole.”  Funny as it may seem obvious, a little light went on in my head and lo and behold my scores consistently started to drop.  My swing still hadn’t changed but suddenly I knew how to play smarter and instead of taking my lumps the course would indiscriminately throw at me, I started to dispense my form of course management and as a result my score from round to round began to drop.  Now I sport a single digit handicap (unofficially of course.)

I am here quite simply to share my perspective on the game of golf.  Why is that important?  I have been where a lot of you golfers have been.  I have ground out rounds that felt like work.  I have even played most of the golf courses in Southern California.  That is a huge body of knowledge and I want to share it with you.  On a side note, I also moderate a little website known as Greenskeeper.org.  It offers Golf course Maintenance Alerts — a one of a kind in the industry.  Blogging here at Golfing-guru.com helps keep my sanity as Greenskeeper.org make’s its transition to the national level and begins to compete with the big boys like GolfNow and GolfAdvisor.  I blog here to bring what I feel is important to the sport I love.

So now that you know a little about who I am and what I bring to the table, why not follow me on my journey through golf mediocrity here at Golfing-Guru.com!

A List of 3+ Golf Wagering Games

Golf is boring to watch.  To play golf though is a whole different matter.  I enjoy that.

Now let’s keep things interesting.  Combine playing golf with another fun filled activity almost guaranteed to help you elevate your game — Wagering.

Not gambling which implies chance but rather wagering; pitting your skills versus another golfer[s].  Thankfully golf offers a handicapping system that allows various skill levels of golfers to compete for fun, profit and bragging rights.

How to wager is another story and will be set aside for discussion later.  In the meantime here is a list with a description on some of my top 10+ favorite golf wagering games.

Skins.  Skins is very much a match play format, but it is usually played between three , four or more players. Each hole is played separately, and is won by the player with the lowest score on that hole. The golfer with the lowest score on that hole wins ‘the skin’.   Adding side wagers like carryovers in the event of a tie, par the next hole to validate the won hole and so on makes this game interesting.

Nassau.  The Nassau is one of the most popular golf tournament formats and golf bets. It’s essentially three tournaments/games (bets) in one: the front nine, back nine and 18-hole scores all count as separate tournaments or bets.

In a Nassau tournament, the player (or team) winning the front nine wins a prize, the player (or team) winning the back nine gets a prize, and the player (or team) with the low 18-hole total wins a prize.

Nassaus are more common as wagers among friends, however. As a bet, the most common form is the $2 Nassau. The front nine is worth $2, the back nine is worth $2 and the 18-hole total is worth $2. A player or team sweeping all three wins $6. (From About Sports)

Stroke.  This is for you sandbaggers.  Played with two or more players.  Each stroke is attached to a dollar amount.  Total amount due is determined at end of round.  Loser is the player with the most strokes.  Payment is made by determining the difference between each player and paying the difference.  Side bets really can get out of control.

Aside from these three very basic games you can mix and match various aspects of each to create your own convoluted game to the amazement and wonder of your fellow foursome.  My personal favorite is to play Nassau (3 games in one — front, back and 18-hole) and combine it with skins.  The reasoning  it can really mean a decent payday or at least minimize the loss if you’re playing exceptionally poorly.


Memory Overload for Iphone

Let’s face it, smart phones of today are habit forming.  You have a powerful computer, message center, social media hub, flashlight, appointment book, and camera with video capability all in the power of your palm.  And that is just for starters.

Having an iPhone you learn a few tricks from playing with the infernal machine.  Sometimes it’s a blessing.  Other times, I am not so fortunate.  I have noticed that memory is an important feature of the phone you can control using a few very intuitive measures.  One of them is controlling the number of programs or apps that are currently running on your phone either currently or in the background.

Something they don’t tell you is that your smart phone memory is used to help in processing as well as storage.  So it stands to reason the number of programs you have running in the background can adversely affect your phone’s performance as well.

To shut down these unneeded apps just do the following:

  1. Unlock your phone.
  2. Press your ‘Home’ button twice.  The ‘Home’ button on an iPhone is located on the faceplate just below the screen and looks like this.    Pressing the ‘Home’ button twice in rapid succession will pull up a list of all the contacts and programs currently operating in the background.

    iPhone Home Button
    iPhone Home Button
  3. To shut down the programs you don’t want running simply push the program screen up until it disappears.  Keep doing that until all the apps have been shut down.

That should free up enough memory on your phone to take a few more photos of the kids.

Rams Hill Golf Course — FANTASTIC!

www.golfing-guru.com I don’t normally rave about golf conditions but I have to say the revamped, Rams Hill, a Tom Fazio design, (previously Montesoro Golf & Social Club) in Borrego Springs, CA  is a treat to play.

Literally resurrected from the dead early last year, the rebranded Rams Hill Golf Club sports an updated clubhouse, restaurant, driving range, some of the best conditions anywhere,  and a great, attentive staff.  Branded as a stay-and-play destination golf venue.  Spend the night and get treated to two days of some spectacular golf.

For those of you unfamiliar with this golf course and it’s previous woes allow me to give you the Reader’s Digest version.  After several previous land developers/owners ransacked the property and sold off assets including the sprinkler timer boxes it came down to one thing — water.  Under the new management and careful, prudent business decisions water is no longer a problem at Rams Hill.  In other words, the golf course can survive and it’s ready for business, they just need you, Joe Golfer, to avail yourself of their unique amenities.  Just two hours south of Los Angeles, a 45 minute drive from San Diego and an hour drive from Palm Springs, you really have to want to come down here, and I think they have the right combination to make that decision worthwhile.



With Greenskeeper.org I was fortunate to visit the golf course in it’s current form last week.  In a word, wow!  Cutting to the quick, from tee to green Rams Hill is in prime shape.  I have never experienced or had the privilege to play a golf course in such fine condition.  Take a look at the photos.  Literally I could find no fault.  The course is easy on the eyes and quite honestly did not feel like ‘work’ when playing unlike some other courses I have played recently.  Enjoying the course conditions you’re also treated to some of the best desert views imaginable.  Don’t forget to bring your laser range finder.  There are no GPS onboard batmobile style golf carts here, but they do sport some laser ready flags to quickly and precisely get your distance.

For myself tee boxes were flat, lush, and well rotated.  There wasn’t a bare spot anywhere.  Fairways were lush, well groomed and maintained — once again not a bare spot ANYWHERE.  If there was supposed to be grass growing, it was certainly growing and with great coverage.  If there was sand or waste areas, it was all marked and fairly straight forward.  Bunkers were white sandy beaches — not fluffy but definitely playable.  The greens and green complexes are a definite treat.  Everything is what you see is what you get.  The course sits on a hillside so everything heads in that direction.  Subtle breaks sure but trust your line and you will be rewarded.  Greens rolled really quick when I played there. Pace of play a little under 4 1/2 hours playing as a fivesome.  The threesome that played behind us finally caught up to us after hole 15/16.

Sounds like I was falling all over myself regarding the golf conditions?  My only suggestion is to try this course out.  And to sweeten the pot, this course literally put it’s money where it’s mouth is.  If you were one of the few fortunate folks to find out about the FREE Golf Rams Hill offered interested golfers then by all means take advantage.  I found out about the deal on on Greenskeeper.org.

You will not be disappointed.  Don’t take my word for it.  Read the reviews on this course on Greenskeeper.org.  For those of you unable to get the free golf coupon, do not despair.  At the time of this review, the free golf offer has expired but prices are fairly competitive for single as well as stay-and-play packages.

Now would I play here again?  Of course, and in a heartbeat.

Birthday Golf = Free Golf and It’s Been Updated

Greenskeeper.orgFor those of you who know me, I moderate a website called www.Greenskeeper.org.  It’s a little site that specializes in providing golf course conditions throughout the US in particular California, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, Florida, and Arizona.

Some important news, Greenskeeper.org has updated their Birthday Blog!

Want to play golf for free?  Want to play golf for free on your Birthday well now you have the updated list of those golf courses participating in celebrating the second most important day of the year — your Birthday!

Check out the link:  http://www.greenskeeper.org/articles/article.cfm?id=22

Chasing a little white ball, one hole at a time.