Fourth tourney season about to begin

My internet has been down this week which has been somewhat annoying and also kind of quietly nice.  It’s amazing how much revolves around such a system.  One thing in particular: it’s a lot harder to write a blog post on a phone than a laptop.  That said, here is this week’s update via the marvel of modern cell phone technology.

Riverside had its golf season kick-off tourney two weekends ago.  It’s called the iceberg and is a hit-and-giggle type event although we all take it serious enough as everyone still wants to win.  The format was a 2-day 3-man scramble and my team was pretty solid with a 1-ish and 6-ish handicap player and me.  These things all come down to who is putting best that day and my team only made one putt on the entire first 9 holes turning at 1 under.  On the back we started to heat up and were 5 under to come in at 6 under for the day.  Solidly putting out team at 66, or 4 over the leading team.

The weather turned drastically for the worse over night and we all showed up for the 8am shotgun but the tourney was cancelled due to lakes forming in the fairways.  It was a shame as my team was looking forward to making a push and trying to catch the leaders.

Despite the weather, 8 of us went out and ended up playing 36 holes in some crazy conditions.  The first 18 were not too bad with just some rain, but the winds picked up in the afternoon to 30-40mph and it made for one of the most fun rounds I have had out there.  On one hole, for example, it was a par 4 into the wind playing 410 yards.  To get to the green I hit a good low driver a driver off the deck nice and low and well struck 5 iron from 120 yards the landed pin high.  It was a blast and helped remind me of why I love this game.  8 guys out there despite the weather putting a little money on the line and enjoying a stormy competitive game together.  Truly fun.

There’s another two-day tourney this coming weekend also called the Iceberg.  It’s an individual event and essentially the start of the season here in Oregon.  I’m planning on playing it for the second time and am curious to see how my game holds up after a winter of tweaks and changes.  There’s really no better way to see where your game is than playing a tourney, especially one that is longer than a day as anything can happen on any given day, so it’s important to play two or three day events to get a concrete view of where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

Speaking of that, I have been reading Lowest Score Wins lately and appreciate the knowledge in the book as well as how they break down the game into where you can gain the most strokes.  They call it separation value (SV) and have the game broken down into 4 categories of where the most SV occurs. They use some of the data from Mark Brodie’s Every Shot Counts book and then apply ways in which to improve those areas.

They break down these SVs in four categories.  Catagory 4 is where you can gain the most strokes and catagory 1 is where the least amount, on average during a round, of strokes can be gained. So they suggest focussing mostly on the cat 4 and 3 and then getting down to the 2 and 1.  There’s much more to this, but here are the catagories:

Catagory 4:

Driving; Approach shots; GamePlanning

Catagory 3:

Green Reading; Greenside shots (from about 20 yards and in)

Catagory 2:

3-15 foot putts; 25+ foot putts; Greenside bunker shots; 20-60 yard shots; 220+ yard shots; Trouble shots

Catagory 1:

Under 3-foot putts; 15-25 foot putts; long bunker shots; fairway bunker shots

They have it all mapped out as to why these things have different value both to a tour pro and to a 30 handicapper and it makes sense.  For me, I yet again am seeing the importance of driving the ball from an instructional source.  It’s definitely a weakness in my game and something I am constantly working on.

Just today I got FlightScope out and was working on hitting up on the ball as well as squaring up my path and face.  I found some things in the swing both with tee shots and irons and after a couple of hours on the range I took it out to the course.  Also, I worked on a new chipping and pitching technique for about an hour.

The good news:  I was finally hitting a nice little draw again with the irons and realized why I had been struggling with a held-off fade.  Also, the new chips and pitches were money and I almost holed out a few of them.

Bad news:  I hit 2 fairways and my misses were huge pushes or big hooks, neither of which will play.

It’s a work in progress and I will keep at it.  I know a little bit more about exactly why drives are so important and plan on continuing the push.

Will dance with the one that brought me this weekend and keep stats on the round to help visualize where I am losing and gaining strokes.  Looking forward to some competition.

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