Over the Lake in Two

The 7th hole at my home course is a short Par 5, about 388 yards.  It is a Par 5 because of the existence of a lake close to the green that requires many players to lay up on their second shot if they aren’t feeling confident they can carry over the water.  The hole is also uphill, narrow and flanked by trees on both sides, which adds challenges.

One of my longstanding goals has been to drive the ball far enough to be able to hit over the lake on two so as to leave myself with a short pitch onto the green.  I have tried for two years to do this.  My drive has just never been long enough for me to feel confident about carrying the water on my second shot.

Until today.

I hit one of the best drives of my career, pulled out a fairway wood and went for it.  I carried the water easily and landed behind a greenside bunker.  My third shot was tough because the pin placement was literally right behind the bunker so I went a little past and had to settle for a two-putt for par but hey, I am over the moon about this accomplishment.

I pray daily to the golf gods and today, they answered.

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I Won Again

I won the club championship at my main club again this year.  Last year I won by 17 strokes.  This year it was only ten and was much closer than it should have been.

In the first round I ended up in a foursome with a lady who was out of her league in this tournament.  It was not flighted and I don’t even know why she did it.  She is in the D flight at the club!  She was so discombobulated that she couldn’t keep up with all her strokes and I had to count them!  So instead of concentrating on my next shot I was making sure this woman knew how many strokes she had taken.  It was a slap in the face to me – the reigning club champion.  But I honestly think it was an attempt by one member in particular, the tournament chair and a former club champion herself,  to take me off my game.

It almost worked!  I came in from round one just one stroke ahead of the next best golfer in the club.

But luckily, round two was comprised of foursomes according to score.  So I was with the top scoring four ladies, all fully capable of accurately counting their own strokes.  This is where I pulled away.  Very early on, my closest competition took herself out of contention.   She made it easy on me.  She double bogeyed two, then went OB on three.  Done.  I sank some putts and was suddenly up five strokes.  I kept sinking putts after that.  It was never close.

I ended up shooting 77.  She shot 86.

Two years running I am club champion at Club #1.

But I belong to another club and the level of golf there is much higher.  I am in the A flight but by no means the best golfer.

I want to win the championship there as well!  That is my goal.

 

 

She, Her & Hers

I read a lot of golf books.  Almost 100% of the time, I as a reader am assumed to be a man. Magazine articles are no different.  They use headlines like, “hey fellas, rip your drives to impress your boss” and such.  In general, the older the publication, the more completely male oriented it is.  In all fairness, writers today do try to be inclusive, but sometimes they don’t realize that the way they refer to women is condescending.

In most of the golf media I read, watch, hear – the pronouns used are he, his, him.  With few exceptions, the only time I run into she, her or hers is in some side reference to getting your wife out on the course and watching her struggle to get a 7-iron shot airborne or some other nonsense.

It may sound like a small, petty thing but to me it is not.  I already feel outnumbered on the golf course.  As much as I love the game, devote time to the game, practice the game – I don’t feel the regulars of the game respect my effort.   It is just assumed that I either only golf because my husband/boyfriend dragged me into it, or that I just want to participate in a walking coffee klatch holding sticks, or that I suck.

Granted, some of the common stereotypes do exist.  I will not deny it.  There truly is nothing worse than getting behind a foursome of little old ladies, except maybe, getting behind a foursome of shuffling old farts.  While the ladies yack before they shoot their four or five shots onto the green, the men take five minutes to set up their shot only to shank it off into the trees.  We’ve seen it all out there.  But my pace as a golfer is quite fast.  If I see someone coming up behind, I move it along.

I just want to make the point that I am a serious golfer and I want to be included!  I’m retired and at 57 years of age, I finally have the time to practice enough and play enough to actually lower my handicap.  My handicap has dropped 14 shots from its highest to lowest point since I retired and joined a club two-and-a-half years ago.  I won my club championship last year.

There aren’t as many of us by far, but we serious women golfers do exist.  We study the game.  We watch endless golf swing videos on youtube.  We know the lingo.  We know what we’re doing.  We know what a fundamentally good golf swing is supposed to look like.

So writers, maybe use she, her and hers a bit more often?

I’m Still Here

It’s been so long since I’ve written – I don’t know where to start!

My lack of attention to this blog has nothing to do with my love for golf.

First let me say, I won the esteemed title of ‘club champion’ at my home course.  It’s a goal I had set, worked for, and achieved.

I won BIG.  I won by 17 strokes, actually.  I just kicked ass.

Why?  I practiced my butt off.  That is why.

My reason for returning to this blog has more to do with women in golf then it does with me being a serious, competitive golfer.

I just found the article below and while it is satisfying to know  that LPGA players are impressive to a few fellas, I have to add that the end of the article mentions the abject misogyny going on in Japan, the site of the 2020 Olympics.

http://www.golfdigest.com/story/geoff-ogilvy-on-watching-lpga-top-womenhit-closer-to-where-theyre-aiming-than-top-guys

When will this end?

I work as hard as any man, and more than MOST men in golf.  I practice and make sure I’m ready to go when I show up at any golf course.  Yet still, it is assumed that I suck at golf only because I am female.  This attitude has to stop.

I’m Back

I haven’t been here in awhile.  The reason is embarrassing.  I had such an ancient operating system on my desktop that WordPress wouldn’t let me post.  Yeesh.

The good news is I have finally updated and will now begin posting again.  Yes the golf season is winding down but I have a lot of news.

It was a wonderful, productive year for my sticks and me!  More will be revealed.

~Jillian

It’s winter – time to work on my swing!

That’s what winter golf means for me – taking an aspect of my swing, maybe more than one, and working on it.

This year I am working on creating more lag and keeping that pesky left wrist in a neutral position throughout the entire swing.  I was collapsing it way too much last season and it’s the kind of bad habit that just gets worse if you don’t put a stop to it.  My instructor, Pete Black, caught it and reminded me of it.  I knew it while I was doing it but didn’t want to get deeply into trying to fix it while I was still posting scores and competing.

So I go out almost daily and no matter what, I keep that wrist neutral.  My neutral wrist trumps everything – distance, trajectory, even a good shot.  Fortunately, if my wrist stays flat like it’s supposed to, direction is pretty good no matter what the rest of the shot looks like, although with my long clubs I go right sometimes because I somtimes don’t get the club face round far enough yet, but that will come as I get more used to what this feels like.

If I have to collapse my wrist to fix a shot, it’s just not worth it anymore!

I did find a simple drill that helped me immensely to start to feel what I’m going for.  It is John Dunnigan’s video titled The Flat Left Wrist.  Just excellent.  It also is a great left arm “golf muscle” drill.  It has taken me a solid year to even begin to feel my left forearm and wrist getting stronger.

I also like this split hand release drill from golfdashblog to help me understand that my hands need to keep quiet!  Let the forearms do the rotating.

Happy winter golf!

~Jillian

I’ll Just Drop A Ball…

Today I begin a series about the rules of golf.  Now that I have a full season of truly passable golf under my belt I am able to look at the game with a more seasoned eye. Golf’s little details like etiquette, rules, things of that nature, swim around in my mind constantly.

In so doing, there are things that bug me – like how people don’t follow the rules and still post their scores.  I don’t think the infractions are intentional, I just think in many cases rules are fuzzy.  And to read the USGA official rules of golf booklet makes the rules about as clear as mud.  That publication has the overall readability of a legal brief or summary of hard science data.

Lost Ball

Today I’d like to look at the oft-occurring and very unfortunate lost ball scenario.  I examine this situation first because a few days ago I golfed with a couple of guys in the men’s club at my home course.  Though I don’t know for certain, I can only assume that on that day they played to post scores.  I joined them on their back nine.

On at least two of the holes, balls were hit and not found by one or both of these fellas.  In neither case was out of bounds an issue.  The balls just vanished within bounds.  So in every case, they dropped a ball in the area where the ball was lost and added one stroke.  What would be a par without a lost ball became bogey.  Is this correct?

Yes and no.

Yes, the penalty is one stroke but neither of those players put their replacement balls back into play properly.  A lost ball works the same way as out of bounds.  You are penalized a stroke plus the distance you gained by the ball that disappeared.  The new ball must be hit from back where you originally hit the shot that got lost – or as close to it as possible.

In other words, you don’t just drop a ball and take a stroke.

In the case of a tee shot lost, you count the first tee shot that got lost, add the penalty stroke, go back and tee it up all over again – in which case you are hitting three*.  Best advice:  if you even slightly suspect your ball may be lost, hit a provisional, whether it is your tee shot or second shot from the fairway.

So those nice little bogeys on the card were really double bogeys if the hole played two to get on with a two putt on a par four.  I kept my mouth shut but it was difficult to do so.  In the ladies club I would have been all over it.

~Jillian

  • Here is the rule from the USGA book:

c. Ball Not Found Within Five Minutes
If a ball is lost as a result of not being found or identified as his by the player within five minutes after the player’s side or his or their caddies have begun to search for it, the player must play a ball, under penalty of one stroke, as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5).

Six Greens In A Row!

The golf gods are continuing to shower me with golf’s most wonderful blessings.

I am enjoying this fortune while it lasts!  I am hitting the ball better than ever, farther AND more accurate.  My woods are steadfast and reliable.  My irons have come back – at least mid to short irons.  Long irons only come out of the bag when I get under trees or land in nasty divots and for all else in that distance range I use my Taylormade 4 Hybrid burner.  Oh my that is one bad ass club.  I love it so much.

I played nine with Cindy again today.  The stat that has me beaming the most is that I hit six greens in regulation IN A ROW.  I couldn’t miss.  All my tee shots were at least decent and I was nailing the approaches – just nailing them.  Irons, hybrid, didn’t matter.  I’ve never repaired so many ball marks in a row.

I ended up shooting 39, a very good score for me.  Sadly I didn’t convert any of the six birdie opportunities I had but I did manage to par five of nine holes.  I made an unfortunate double on the first hole and bogeys on the three remaining because of putts that didn’t fall.  They were good putts – just didn’t drop.

This was a second very good day in a row.  I am sad to see the season coming to an end.  Will I be able to maintain this good place over the winter?  Well if I have anything to say about it, yes.  None of this is by chance.  I’ve worked my butt off at this game.

In a year’s time I have come a long, long, L O N G way.

No Double Bogeys!

Today I played a mellow nine hole round with Cindy, a gal from the club.  She is fun to golf with because she loves to talk course strategy and we compare notes.  She has a great mind for the game and is one of those rare golfers who expects all her shots to be good and when they aren’t she is surprised.  She claims to never have hit the ball in the lake on the seventh hole – a lake that has claimed many a ball from the likes of me.  She also is one of the best putters I’ve seen and claims she never practices putting.  On club play days when we count our putts she has more one-putts than anyone.  Incredible.

But these days I beat her nine of ten times.  Mostly because I hit way longer than she does and my approach game is more diversified.  I have a solid short-iron and wedge pitch and she does not.  She bumps and runs everything – long and short – and it doesn’t always work for her, although I must admit that sometimes her results are spectacular.   For the most part though, she is a one-trick pony with her bump and run from as far out as a hundred yards!

My post today is to report that my scores have been pretty solidly lower again lately.  Lower than ever.  Sure I still have a bad round now and then, yesterday in fact, but for the most part, I’m in a new place. My putter is my friend again (fourth putter I’ve used in the last two months!).  I bought a Taylormade White Smoke and I love it!

You know there has never been a Taylormade club I didn’t just love.  I use a 4-Hybrid Burner as my go-to club.  I watched a Lydia Ko video in which she explains three different shots she regularly makes with the same hybrid club – only by choking way up or way down on the club.  I took the advice to heart and am killing it with this club.  It rarely fails me.  It has replaced my four iron – though I still carry my four iron in the bag for under tree shots.

Anyway, today on this nine with Cindy I shot 41.  What I am really happy about is that I didn’t get even one double bogey!  My home course front nine is a par 34 because it only has one par five and three par threes.  Making all bogeys throughout the nine holes will earn you a 43, and that plays to my handicap and is totally respectable for me.  Today I made two pars and the rest bogeys for a 41.  I putted 15 strokes – with no three-putts.  Generally a fine outing for me!

Cindy mentioned that it is highly likely that our state golf association will recognize me as the most improved golfer of the club because my handicap has dropped so significantly since the beginning of the season.  That would be great but even if I don’t win that honor, I know that I have made huge strides this year as a golfer.

I am very proud of how far I’ve come this year.  This experience has taught me that if I put my mind to something, I can still achieve what I want to achieve!  Just yesterday I turned 56 so I know the time is now – for all the stuff I still want to do!

-Jillian

Best 9 Holes Of My Life

Today was marvelous.

I went to my home course to practice.  Pete Black, the pro was there with his girlfriend, Laura Cole and his recognizable bright orange alignment rods.  They were working on her chipping.  I had just golfed 18 away with Laura the day before and she had lamented that her chipping was killing her so it was nice to see her getting an always free lesson from her PGA pro boyfriend.  (Must be nice).

In all honesty, I am quite fond of both Laura Cole and Pete Black and we have begun to get together in a social fashion.  I actually played bunco the other night at Laura’s house.  Pete was there rolling dice with the best of them.

Anyway, they shared the green with me and eventually, Pete had to go because his shift as starter was beginning.  I told him I was going to golf seven through nine, as the practice area is off the sixth hole.

I went to tee off on seven and had to wait for a single golfer wandering about the fairway doing I have no idea what because he wasn’t hitting any balls.  Meanwhile, one of the marshals and two other men’s club members showed up ready to tee off.  Lee, the marshal asked me if I wanted to play out with them.  Sure I did, thanks.

This is where it gets sweet, folks.  The seventh hole is a difficult par 5 with a lake and well-placed obstacles.  These fellas were pulling out their big sticks and hitting the ball to China.  I hit a nice drive, a perfect 4-hybrid second shot, and then a six-iron approach shot that landed seven feet from the pin.  While they were over-shooting the green and knocking putts twelve feet by, I went about my business making birdie.

Okay they said, she’s a player.

We played out eight and nine and I made bogey on both, which is fine because they are both long holes.  My car was parked on a road just off six and Lee kindly offered me a ride in his cart but I wanted to play from the first hole out to the sixth to get nine holes in.  As luck would have it, three ladies from our club were teeing off on one so Pete Black sent me out to join up with them.

I knew I felt it today.  I knew I was playing well.  I went on to birdie the second hole.  Long story short, I shot the lowest nine-hole score I’ve ever shot at my home course:  38!  Many pars, a few birdies and a few bogeys.  Best of all, only 14 putts!

I tried to call my husband to come down to play the back nine with me but he was out in the front yard doing yard work so I came home.

BEST NINE EVER

-Jillian