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Ask a Golfer

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Berzerker, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. Berzerker

    Berzerker Deity

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    I've spent over 4 decades playing the best game ever invented and sadly golf is losing ground in the USA - not as many people play it here. But the sport is growing in other countries, especially in Asia. Even our local competitive tournaments have roughly half the entrees they had just a few years ago. :(

    Anyway, I'd like to promote the game I love so ask away... I've played many sports in my time but the team sports are harder to continue playing and they tend to be more physical and of course require a team. ;)

    But the variability offered by golf is unsurpassed, the 'stadiums' are both beautiful and ever changing. Its a more expensive activity unfortunately and God only knows how much money I've spent in 40+ years, but I need the exercise and golf provides fun in the sun.

    I'm a fairly good golfer with a 3-5 handicap on my home course which rises to 6-8 on tougher courses I dont play much. As is true for most golfers lost strokes are primarily the result of a poor short game, chipping and putting dont require athleticism and muscles so even grandma can play - but you wont play well on a regular basis without a good short game.

    Handicaps help "equalize" the game for people of different abilities. A golf course has a par, for example my home course is par 70, which allows golfers to compete against themselves and the course rather than other golfers. Par is a standard number of strokes to be used to complete the course.

    The handicap is a number of median strokes over (or under) par a golfer needs to finish the course. An 18 handicap is bogey golf, bogeys are +1 over par for any given hole. A birdie is -1 under par, eagles are rare and -2 under par. Double bogeys are +2 and triple bogeys are +3. Par is, well, par... ;)

    There are 3 kinds of holes wrt par, par 3s, par 4s and par 5s - 3s are shorter holes (100-240 yards) generally requiring 1 shot to reach the green (in regulation) followed by 2 putts to sink the ball in the hole. Par 4s are longer (300-450 yards) and usually need 2 shots to reach the green or its vicinity. The par 5s are even longer allowing for 3 shots to reach the green - 2 putts per green is standard so good putters can make up ground on par by using less than 36 putts per round.

    I've had 2 hole in ones, my first was at Harding Park in San Francisco as a kid. I didn't even get to see the ball go into the hole since it was slightly uphill and the base of the flag was hidden. I had to wait 40 years for my 2nd hole in one but this time I got to see the ball go in and it was during a major tournament :)

    Picking up the game is tough, swinging a club is very awkward at first much less actually hitting a ball. I suggest getting a used club and a few balls and venturing out into the yard. Just keep hitting short shots with an iron until your "muscle memory" takes over.

    Learning how to put spin on the ball is key to a good golf game. The physics of the game allow for almost unlimited experimentation from grip to swing parameters. I played a good 30 years before truly understanding the concept of imparting spin to a ball and I still have trouble producing enough backspin.

    Golf is the best game I ever played, I highly recommend it
     
  2. GoodEnoughForMe

    GoodEnoughForMe n.m.s.s.

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    Is there any truth to a 3 wood being easier, particularly for beginners, to tee-off with compared to a driver?
     
  3. luiz

    luiz Trendy Revolutionary

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    How come golf is losing ground in the US? I always had the impression it's huge there, much bigger than anywhere else.
     
  4. schlaufuchs

    schlaufuchs La Femme Moderne

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    Because Tiger Woods sucks now, and it was always a bit of a prohibitively expensive sport to begin with.
     
  5. Dreadnought

    Dreadnought Deity

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    How long does it take to get to a 15 handicap? 10? 5?
     
  6. luiz

    luiz Trendy Revolutionary

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    The Tiger Woods bit makes sense, since he was indeed the only charismatic golfer I can think of.

    As for being expensive, is it getting more expensive lately?
     
  7. Berzerker

    Berzerker Deity

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    yes, 3 woods are a bit more lofted and shorter than drivers... I suggest starting out with the short irons (8, 9, pitching wedge etc) to develop the proper swing. Once that swing becomes part of your muscle memory you can try longer, less lofted clubs.

    Many people prefer hybrid clubs - an even shorter more lofted version of the fairway woods like the 3 wood. They're about the easiest club to hit depending of course on how much grass you're hitting from. The older a golfer gets the more they'll benefit from hybrids because they require less power to cut into and thru the grass. The hardest clubs to hit are the long irons (2-5 irons) and the hybrids replace them.

    The problem I have with drivers is they're a bit too long and I have trouble getting my hips to twist and drive thru the ball. Instead I have a tendency to "arm swing" with my lower body remaining somewhat inactive. The lower body is crucial to distance and I'm inclined to swing more with just my arms the longer the club. So I use drivers that are cut down a bit, rather than the standard 45" shaft I use 43-44". Its kinda like swinging a baseball bat that is 36" compared to one that is 33-34".

    I dont know, its an expensive past time and youngsters typically only become more interested once their team sport days are gone. Thats how I evolved into a golfer from other sports like football and baseball.
     
  8. Berzerker

    Berzerker Deity

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    I should probably describe the clubs:

    driver or 1 wood is the longest of the clubs (excluding long putters) and has the least loft (generally 5-12 degrees) and is used to hit the ball off a tee allowed only from the tee box.

    3 wood is the least lofted of the fairway woods, usually 13-15 degrees and is typically used for long shots from the fairway, or rough when possible. Of course you can tee off with any club and many golfers will leave the driver in the bag if they dont need much distance off the tee or the fairway is narrow.

    4 and 5 woods have more loft and are easier to hit

    the long irons are 2 thru 4 and have maybe 15-22 degrees of loft

    the long irons are more accurate than fairway woods and hybrids but they're also tougher to hit

    many golf sets now come with pw/aw (pitching and approach wedges) up thru the 5 iron and the long irons are replaced with hybrids. A hybrid is basically a smaller version of the fairway wood with lofts roughly equal to the long irons they replace. For example, my 4 hybrid has about the same loft as my 4 iron.

    my favorite clubs are the 8, 9 pw and aw - these are my scoring irons... Now I dont play really long courses much and I'm considered a senior so I generally play from the white tees so I usually dont have to hit the ball more than 160 yards on my 2nd or 3rd shots on par 4s and 5s. So my strength are the short irons, I'd be a scratch golfer or better if I could putt :( Its nice to consistently hit greens and have birdie putts but not if I cant make them.
     
  9. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    How good do you have to be to make money golfing around?
     
  10. Berzerker

    Berzerker Deity

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    My first round I shot 128 :lol:

    it didn't take me long (maybe 6 months) to get my score under 100 but instead of getting a lesson or three I struggled with a big slice (for right handers, a slice curves off to the right). So I aimed further and further left so I could hit my fairway instead of the fairway right of the hole I was on.

    the concept of backspin is easy to grasp albeit harder to produce, but side spin had me stumped. Then after playing my slice for maybe 10-12 years almost over night I developed a draw and hook (for RH the ball curves left). I was so happy but I still didn't really understand what was going on. With a slice the ball loses yardage and when it lands it tends to squirt even further right, but a draw /hook produces a topspin so when the ball lands it takes off running, more distance and more trouble ;)

    I was probably 15-18 handicap with my slice but the draw started getting me down to 10-12 handicap. It took me ~30 years to get down to a 5-7 handicap. I really wish I spent a few bucks on lessons when I started and I recommend getting lessons. Learn the physics of the game too, there's so much room for improvement but it does require thought and practice.
     
  11. Berzerker

    Berzerker Deity

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    Scratch (par) will get you money in local tournaments. I make some money but I'm not good enough to compete with the local pros and college players, albeit I have my days ;)

    For example, our local TGA city stroke play tournament was won recently by Andrew Beckler (Washburn Rural HS and Kansas State) with -3 in 4 rounds. He was the only player under par. But that was on relatively easy courses.

    The bigger money is available on the Adams and Nationwide tours (basically the minor leagues for the PGA) and they have some events in the area. One of my friends will be playing the Adams tour within a couple weeks at Colbert Hills. He's easily better than scratch but on tougher courses he's struggling to shoot par. There was a month long stretch last year he was consistently shooting 63-65 on a par 70 course.
     
  12. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    [offtopic]

    Two doctors are talking. One asks the other, "What do you do with your stress patients? I'm getting all kinds of people coming in with stress, and I don't know what to do with them."

    "I have a fool-proof system," his friend replies. "I ask them if they play golf. If they say 'no', I tell the to take it up for the relaxation. If they say 'yes', I tell them to knock it off."
     
  13. Berzerker

    Berzerker Deity

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    :lol:

    golf is a good walk spoiled
     
  14. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    ^^^ Exactly!!!

    I played golf in my youth and mostly hated it, so I stopped playing and have never regretted it.

    Golf is fading in America because young people aren't playing.
    It is too expensive
    It is seen as an old people's game
    The game is too hard to play well
    There are better things to do with one's time
    A round takes too long
    Clothing rules piss people off
    Tiger Woods has left the game
    Courses are closing (they are losing money)
    You cannot play it with your iPhone

    Courses are trying both frisbee and soccer golf to attract new players to the course
     
  15. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    How do I track the ball after driving it? So often when I tee off I lose sight of the ball against the sun. Any tips? For this season I am switching to yellow balls, I hope that will help.
     
  16. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    I think it might also be a case of socioeconomic inequality getting worse here in North America. Golf courses are expensive to maintain and the number of people who can afford to play is probably going down, since it's a relatively pricy game to get into.

    Most people who can afford to play probably live in dense urban centres, far away from goldf courses. There's got to be not much incentive for new golf courses to be built, far away from urban centres, where there's land for new developments.
     
  17. Dreadnought

    Dreadnought Deity

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    What is the best course/location you have ever golfed at?
     
  18. Berzerker

    Berzerker Deity

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    One of the local 9 hole courses faced with cut backs and possible closure added an 18 hole foot golf course. Basically people follow the golf course with a soccer ball and kick it into holes. I thought that was a waste until I actually saw people playing foot golf. Maybe 8-10 people in a group were out there on the course after work hours and they played pretty fast too, we were just a twosome and slowing them down a bit... I hope it works out.

    Have someone stand behind you if possible. If not, hit the ball lower and shorter. ;) The toughest part of golf other than developing consistency and playing well is finding a regular group of people. Back in California I had friends who played but when I moved out here I didn't know anyone. I was lucky to make some friends and now we have a regular crew of 5 people and a few more who occasionally join us when there's room.

    Rah and Ming treated a couple of us civ players to a round at the old Kemper/Western Open course in Chicago. I cant remember the name of the course but I'd recognize it if I heard it again. When I was in California my HS coach got us San Francisco CC as our home course.

    I mentioned Harding Park across lake Merced from Olympic but that was before they re-did the course for PGA events. If you ever have the chance to see the course on TV, take a look. The course is famous for its Cypress trees, they're wicked looking things right out of a nightmare and I spent many a day/evening wandering thru them.

    We play nice courses in the Kansas City area like Tiffany Springs but Colbert Hills (in Manhattan) and Firekeeper (the Indian casino north of Topeka) are about the best ones close by. Topeka CC is private but they host some of our local city tournaments, like the recent TGA city stroke play.
     
  19. Whomp

    Whomp Keep Calm and Carry On Retired Moderator

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    The Western Open was at Cog Hill (Dubs Dread) which is a public course.
     
  20. Snerk

    Snerk Smeghead

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    Do you think offside should be introduced to golf?
     

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