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The challenge continues!

It is some time since I posted – and my golf has continued to progress (and periodically regress) over the last few years.

Gawler 4thOver the last few years  my golf has improved, and I AM hitting the ball better and am capable of better scores. For a brief period of one week a handicap of 1.0 was achieved – and then back to a playing handicap of 2.While manageable on my home course the challenge of playing on other a new track, and playing close to my handicap, is still great.

With the opportunity to play in the South Australian Senior Amateur came a chance to test the “new and improved” game in a different setting. After three competition rounds it became clear that home ground advantage is great, and playing on a  variety of courses under competition conditions is important to raise the standard of your game.

Gawler Golf Club, at Sandy Creek in the Barossa Valley, South Australia, is a sandbelt  country course,with kikuyu fairways and well maintained greens.

Gawler 2013Unusually each nine starts with a par 5  (parallel holes). And there is one quirky hole – the 8th. A blind tee shot over a rise to a narrowing fairway is the  most unusual, and perhaps the worst aspect of the course design. Despite this it is an interesting hole.

The 8th was difficult but manageable. Three rounds – bogey, par, birdie.  Any drive over 200 metres needs to hug the right of the narrowing fairway or it will run into the rough down the hill on the left. The approach, from a downhill lie, needs to be right of the flag to avoid bunkers on the left, and  stay on the left sloping green. Once on the green the problems are not over. Any putt over about three feet is easily miss-able.  My par was the result of a missed four foot putt, the birdie a 12 metre putt, left breaking about 8 feet and running down the hill! Go figure!

Gawler 10thThe ‘easy’ par 5’s (at less that 450 metres) proved difficult. No bunkers, but a well placed second shot is needed to be in a position to see down the hill to see the small greens that seem to slope away toward the back.  Despite being capable of reaching these greens easily in three my score against par for the 6 times I played these holes was 7 over!

While scoring better on the shortest hole on the course (4th Par 3 97 metres downhill) three putts on two occasions on this vast green did not help my overall result.

At the end of the competition I walked away in 19th place, and ranked 219 on the Australian Seniors Order of Merit from my one Seniors event for 2013.

 

What did I learn from the experience?

  1. Good driving and high Fairways in Regulation % does not guarantee good scores.
  2. The short game is king…. too many three putts doesn’t help your score or confidence
  3. A few good holes is not enough to have a good score. Day 2 included a 7 over nine, with two triple bogeys!
  4. Confidence is vital.
  5. A home club handicap is not a true reflection of a golfers capability.
  6. In the end it is only a game.

 

 

 

Par just doesn’t cut it!

Aaron Baddeley burst on the Australian golf scene with back to back wins in the Australian Open in 1999 as an amateur and 2000 as a professional.  He seemed destined for big things, and progressed up the ranking to number 18 at the end of 2007.  Today Badds ranks 143 and seems poised to head further south after missing the cut at the Farmers Open with an even par 144 after two rounds. Par just doesn’t cut it!

What has gone wrong?

In 2007 his scoring average was 70.96  In 2009 it had ‘blow out’ to 71.31. Hardly world shattering stuff, yet it meant 5 fewer cuts made and only a quarter of the prize money.

Some other comparisons:

2007: FIR  60%  (Stat leader 75.47%)  GIR 60.35%   ( 70%) PPR 28.26 (27.88)

2009: FIR  56.48%   (74.09%) GIR 59.57% (70.89%)  PPR 28.09 (26.6)  * Only in putting was he better than the tour average.

Badds made the news with the “stack and tilt” method before reportedly abandoning it in the first half of 2009. Was it tinkering with his swing that made the difference? Possibly, but I suspect it is not all the answer.   He was married in 2005 and their first child was born in the last months of 2008.

While 2007 was stellar year for Badds it seems that other aspects of life became more important. While he can still make a good living from playing the game, and from various sponsorships, until he can regain his hunger to win  maintaining his golf ranking will become increasingly difficult.

Par doesn’t cut it where the top professionals are concerned – but then again some things are more important than golf.

Allenby wins PGA – again!

Well done  Robert Allenby.

After a trip back from South Africa, Allenby made a mockery of jet lag and switching continents to win at Coollum.  A bogey free final round allowed him to be a clear winner. His game plan was simple – fairways, greens and make a few putts if possible. It worked. But isn’t that what we all try to do? Just that some of us have trouble with hitting the fairway, which makes it harder to hit the greens and sometimes leaves us with too many long putts.

Adam Scott finished his round more like the average golfer, and must have been disappointed with a triple bogey finish. Like the others he wasn’t really in the hunt coming down the 18th, but blew a few thousands bucks because he couldn’t keep out of the water.