Tag Archives: Golf

Weekend of Leaves and Golf

I find it funny how my plans for a Saturday never play out as I write them down. This Saturday, I was going to sort some paper, play nine holes of golf, rake, and do some work. Instead, I ended up raking for three hours, going on a hike at Misty Acres down near Frankfort, MI with dad and Katy, and then raking some more.

After we cleaned the leaves off of the entire driveway, Lindsey and I went to the Old Mission Tavern for a nice meal. We tried to use a 50% off your second dinner coupon, but the (excellent) waitress informed us it wasn’t good until November. Woops! The bread and salads were excellent, regardless. Lindsey wasn’t crazy about her prime rib, but I liked my parmesan-crusted whitefish. What made the evening, however, was running in to my golf coach from the University of Michigan, Jim Carras. I had not seen him since 2002 or 2003, when I was a Junior in college. He was up with friends visiting the area.

Sunday morning was spent eating pancakes and trimming some pine trees on the south side of the driveway. I am bushwacking all throughout the developed areas of our property in an effort to recover some of what I perceive to be areas and views lost to overgrowth permitted by prior owners.

I played in the Big Hole Golf Event at the Grand Traverse Resort on Sunday afternoon with Ben Orr and Chris Day. This is an event where they cut 10 inch (instead of 4.25 inch) holes in all of the greens. It was fun, but we still couldn’t make a putt!

The Tigers completed getting swept for the second time in the World Series. Not sure what the problem is there. Would have been fun to see them win, but I’m not a huge baseball fan. Lions won. Woop-de-do. Until next weekend, have a good week.

Woodworking Projects #1 and #2

I have started building simple woodworking projects in our garage. Here are photographs of woodworking projects #1 and #2. Future projects will include yet another golf club stand, a stand-up desk, side or entryway tables using saplings I have cut, and various Christmas presents. Let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas!

101st Michigan Amateur

It was a great opportunity to play in the 101st Michigan Amateur, which took place at Oakland Hills Country Club – North Course. Oakland Hills C.C. was a beautiful venue and a tough test of golf.

I arrived early on Sunday for a practice round, which was interrupted by rain on two occasions. The greens were slick and the rough along the edges of the fairways was dense and long. These were the course’s main defenses against the 168 top Michigan amateur golfers.

While hitting pitch shots on the short-game practice area, a gentleman came over from a nearby house and introduced himself and offered me a Rolling Rock. I went over and chatted with him about the tournament. He and his wife graciously extended an invitation to me to use their guest room for the remainder of the week in lieu of my staying at the Hampton Inn. I accepted the offer the following morning before teeing off in the first round. After my round, which I’ll get to, I caught up with them and was able to settle in and visit.

I teed off in the first round on Monday morning at 9:36 a.m. and fought my way through the day, ultimately finishing with a 74. I was pleased with this opening score because it didn’t shoot me out of the tournament and put me in decent position to make the cut the next day.

Lindsey, Peg, and Dan flew down to watch the second round. It was extremely hot, and Dan offered to caddie for me. I gladly accepted! It took us a few holes to figure out the player-caddie routine as far what to put where, but having him on the bag was a big help. He kept me positive and thinking birdies even when I was making bogies. It was nice to have some familiar faces in the tiny crowd following our group.

My ability with the “flatstick” let me down in round two, and ultimately caused me to miss the cut by a single shot. I drove the ball beautifully, only missing a single fairway all day. My approach shots were sub-standard, which tested by putting even more. But mostly it was an inability to adapt to the slower day-two green speeds. I routinely left lag putts six feet short.

It’s always difficult not to look back and only reflect on the shoulda, woulda, and coulda’s, but the experience was too good to do that.

2012 Michigan Amateur Qualifier

I qualified for the 2012 Michigan Amateur at Oakland Hills Country Club’s North Course today by shooting a 75 at Boyne’s The Heather, a Robert Trent Jones design. I had to win a three-man playoff for the final spot, and did so by paring the long 18th hole par 4 over water, which I had double-bogeyed earlier in the day. I’m happy to have been able to set out to qualify, and get the job done and am excited to play in the Amateur. Having not playing in any events like this since 2001, when I last qualified for the Michigan Amateur (played that year at the Flint Golf Club), my goal is to make the cut and get into the matchplay portion of the event.

Nadal on Golf

Rafeal Nadal quoted in a Miami Herald article:

Most important is you can spend three, four, four-and-a-half hours with good company, with friends, with family. Spending time with friends, family, that’s great. That makes the round good.

He makes a great point that is opposite the standard complaint that “golf takes too long.” We are only here on this earth for so long, and we might as well enjoy our time, surroundings, and friends while we can. Let’s just hope I’m playing well!

Fall Golf & Website Update

Lindsey and I trekked over to Gaylord to use a couple of free-round coupons for The Tribute golf course at the Otsego Club. I think the rest of Northern Michigan had the same idea. It was one of the slowest rounds of golf ever. The course was nice (I holed out for eagle on one of the par 5’s on the front nine!!!). However, we called it quits after it took four hours to play 12 holes.

We had a good “old” dinner at the Suger Bowl in downtown Gaylord where we were the youngest couple in the restaurant by a good 30 years!

There was lots of wedding talk – and we’re trying to nail down the rehearsal dinner location. When it comes down to it, it’s tough to find a place to host a large group the week before the Fourth of July! One of the many “joys” of fudgie season in Traverse City.

As you can see, the engagement/wedding website is slowly taking shape. I added a countdown timer today, and we’re hoping to post profiles of the bride-elect and groom-elect this week… and then follow with the rest of the wedding party and families.

Have a great week and feel free to comment or contact us if you have any tips or just want to say hello!

Spring Semster: Masters Week

School is as busy as ever, but the end is in sight. I am preparing for a team negotiation in Copyright Licensing. My team is representing a website developer who has been contracted by a small toy company. The essence of the project is to negotiate and come to an agreement on the controlling contract.

My final Judicial Opinion Drafting order is due one week from yesterday. I am writing as the Supreme Court of New Hampshire deciding whether the Superior Court erred in affirming a Department of Labor decision to award wages and liquidated damages to a peeved former employee who was denied her previous-year’s bonus when she left her job as an insurance agent with a small family insurance company for a larger insurance company. I’ll spend the weekend doing this, but at least I’ll be mostly done with one of my five classes.

Nothing much else notable regarding school work. Four of five of my classes have take-home finals. Most of my exam weeks will be spent writing documents from home, which should be less stressful than the typical “cram-dump” exam routine.

Barrister’s Ball is this weekend. I didn’t get tickets, and the only ones available are going for 100 to 200% above face value. It would be fun to go, but partaking in law-prom ranks quite low for me.

Putting all of the work in perspective is my anticipation of The Masters broadcast this weekend. This is by far my favorite golf tournament of the year to watch on TV. I’m hoping Tiger Woods makes a run for the green jacket, but that the contest is close. Who do you think will win?

Catching On

In looking at the PGA Tour website and familiarizing myself with the field, tee times and television broadcast times of the tournament that started yesterday it occurred to me that golf is boring to a non-golf fan because they haven’t caught on yet. They don’t have a favorite player. They don’t know whether the tournament is stroke play or match play. They may not even know if the tournament is a Major, one of the four most important tournaments to occur each year.

Almost anything can be interesting if you know the subtext and are aware of the details. You’re enthusiasm can lack, but an intriguing side-story about golfers can be as exciting as one about basketball players, space, or whatever you are interested in. Further, taking the time to become aware of such a side-story is the critical thing I’m driving at. It’s only then, when you become aware enough of the universe surrounding the thing on which you are currently focusing, that you have a chance at overcoming your bias / lack of interest.

You can write off golf as being boring or say that you can’t learn how to do math, but it’s not your interest or ability that is lacking. It’s your willingness to catch on.

High Pointe Is Closing

Geoff Shackelford alerted me to this Traverse City Record-Eagle story about one of my favorite Traverse City-area golf courses, High Pointe Golf Club, is closing due to the poor economy. I grew up on that course playing tournaments while participating in the Traverse City Junior Golf Association. I had high school tryouts and tournaments there, and I played my first round of 2008 there with my dad.

Big bummer to hear about.

Tiger Returns

Tiger Woods returns to the PGA Tour today and tees off at 2:02p. I have been looking forward to his return for months. The PGA Tour is just not the same without him – either because he draws interest or people just want to be interested in him.

From what I’ve seen and heard on the Golf Chanel and ESPN, it looks like he’s ready. The commentators are professing that they’ll be surprised if Woods doesn’t win. I feel the same way. Last time he took a break to fix the knee, he won… The 2008 U.S. Open! A couple years before that, when he took time to drain the knee, he returned and won at Torrey Pines.

The choice to return in a match play tournament was a wise one. Match play is a different beast than stroke play. Unlike stroke play, match play allows you to have a bad hole and not have to dig your way out of it stroke by stroke. If Tiger is at all inconsistent, he’ll appreciate the chance to throw away a few holes. Further, unlike stroke play, match play is more emotional. Tiger can better scrap out a win against a feisty opponent. Finally, if Woods is ousted early he’ll be disappointed, but no to the degree of a missed cut.

There’s a lot to watch for today at the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship. And when it’s done we’ll still get to look forward to Tiger’s stroke play debut. Bam. Bam. Boom!

My bracket for this tournament.

Lions and Tiger(s) and Wolverines, Oh My!

Forgive the title, I couldn’t resist.

The Lions won. The Tigers won. U of M won (finally). Tiger Woods won (easily), which meant the most exciting thing about the final tournament of the FedEx cup was finding out about the hidden arrow in the FedEx logo. Go ahead, look and see.

The Sylvania 300 was raced (Is that the lingo racing fans?) at the New Hampshire Int’l Speedway, which is fifteen minutes from where I live. The fans that didn’t (couldn’t? Do these things sell out?) get to see the race set up folding chairs on highway overpasses and watched the traffic driving south on I-93. They were watching me drive! I tried to give them a good show – a good clean lane switch. I overtook a Ford Focus in masterly fashion.

O.J. Simpson was arrested on a self-directed “sting-operation.”

The guy who bought Barry Bonds’ 756th home run baseball is asking the public what to do with it at vote756.com. There are three options: (1) send the ball to the hall of fame, (2) iron an asterisk onto the ball and send it to the hall of fame, or (3) banish the ball to outer space.

I don’t care about anything else that happened.

The U.S. Open

Tiger Woods decided, with one short stroke of his putter on the 72nd hole, that today’s round was not the final round of the 2008 U.S. Open.

Today was evidence of why I love watching Tiger Woods play golf. If he doesn’t dominate the field, which he hasn’t lately, and certainly didn’t do over the past few days, he puts on the greatest show on earth. Thirty on his back nine on Friday. Two eagles and a birdie yesterday. The putt to tie Rocco Mediate and force a playoff today.

What will we see tomorrow? I can’t wait.

Round 1 of 2008: High Pointe Golf Club

I played my first round of the year at High Pointe Golf Club in Williamsburg, Michigan last Thursday. If you’re not familiar with High Pointe, it is one of Northern Lower Michigan’s best courses. As its homepage reads, “Two unique nines, one great course.” The greens are spectacular, too. Huge undulations and contours that reward precise approach shots and penalize poor ones.

Having not hit a golf ball on real grass since last October, I had no idea what to expect of my game. The relaxed expectations resulted in a decent score of 78, which could have been lower. The fairways on the front nine were forgiving enough to allow me to spray a few drives and still have an approach shot. We played through a slow group and as a result I rushed my tee shot on the par four twelfth hole and ended up with a triple bogey. In an otherwise error-free round, that was my lone mistake.

What needs work?

  • Short game — misjudged pitches and chips cost me a few strokes.
  • Irons — distance control with mid and short irons.

THE PLAYERS Playoff Was Lacking

The 17th hole at the TPC of Sawgrass is the worst golf hole in the world on which to start a sudden death playoff.

It’s not just that there is no room for error. It’s that there is no room for uncontrollable externalities such as wind, rub of the green, or timing.

Paul Goydos hit his ball in the water because a gust of wind caused it to upshoot. On almost any other golf hole in the world, he would have had a chip. Or, if the hole had an area to bail-out, then he could have planned the miss. But, he had no control over this shot.

What if either players ball had ricocheted off pin at 17 and into the water? That’s rub of the green, and there would be nothing they could do about it.

What if some unruly fan – a tipsy man or tired young boy – had screamed during that one critical second of Sergio or Paul’s backswings and ultimately caused via ball-in-water the loss of $600,000 in winnings and a prestigious title?

The 17th at the TPC of Sawgrass offers no solution to these unpredictable and more importantly uncontrollable outcomes. The “sudden” in sudden death playoff means it ends abruptly when one player scores lower than another on a hole. The “death” should come at the hands of the other player’s superior play, not a gust of wind or one of many other externalities.

The 17th hole is too extreme for a sudden death playoff. Imagine if the sudden death playoff were to start on the 18th hole, which was basically playing as a par five late Sunday afternoon. There would be a premium on driving it in the fairway, but should one of the players hook the ball into the water, they would still have a chance to make a five with the slight expectation that the other player would have to do well, even from the center for the fairway, to make a par four.

Better yet would be a multiple-hole playoff like we see at the British Open or the PGA Championship. Although this would be a burden for the Tour to adopt on a weekly basis, it would not be asking too much of THE PLAYERS, an almost-major. Three of the four majors have multiple-hole playoffs. Only the Masters is sudden death.

But, really. Even if THE PLAYERS sticks with the sudden death playoff, they need to start on any hole but 17. It’s just not fair to the players, the fans who have to trek back out there, and the television broadcast that has the air of excitement sucked out of it the second player one dunks his ball in the water.

Will there be a change for next year?