Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Golf and NBA Seasons Over.

This past weekend golf made it's unofficial exit from it's so-called season with the final event at the Disney-plex. Luke Donald captured it with a stirring Sunday 64. One would have thought that the win had locked up Player of the Year honors for Donald, but not so freakin' fast. The PGA Tour has decided to postpone POY balloting until after the WGC-HSBC Champions tourney, Nov. 3-6, in Shanghai, China. The prize money won't count as official money, but a win will count as a win. Makes Mr. Donald wonder what a guy has to do to win an award. FedUp Cup, Fall Finish, China this or that, let's just keep playing until the guy we want wins. We're not crying for Luke. He's done rather well for himself. It's the governing bodies that are blowing the legitimacy of their "organizations" out their tailpipes. Regardless, with the World Series and NFL action only wives, girlfriends and families were tuning in.

The golf nuts probably caught what they thought was a faux pas in the title pronouncing golf season over. The PGA Tour website lists the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia, the aforementioned WGC-HSBC, and the President's Cup as left on the schedule. What, no Shark Shootout, or Tiger's Limited Field Event That Nobody  Wants To Play Anymore? With the exception of some minor rooting interest in the Prez Cup I'll see you in January in Maui. Pro golf never really ends anymore if you like to fly.

One death notice that's not premature is the NBA season. At least I hope that's the case. I can't think of a more inane professional sport that's lost it's appeal with the public. I used to be an avid NBA fan. Never on top of my list, but always in contention. A meaningless regular season where all but Scooter Store devotees make the playoffs did it for me. Basketball in June doesn't settle well with this Average Golfer. The trashing of the traveling rule to accommodate His Airness didn't help, nor did the doing away of what used to be called "palming the ball". Yeah, sure, I'm dating myself, but those fundamental changes altered the game into a contest of run and dunk. If you're a 6'10' Usain Bolt you've mastered the sport. I favor keeping 10' rims, but making the court larger. Kinda like Canadian football.  On the money issue I side with the players. If some moron owner is willing to pay a player ten times what they're worth, should they be expected take less? The owners are grabbing back control and the only recourse the players have is to withhold their services. Y'all come back in 2012 or 13 with a new found appreciation for each other and a bigger court. I still won't watch.

Swing hard, they'll make more.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

10 Average Golfer MUSTS.

I reckon I'm the definition of an average golfer. I'm as capable of shooting 102 as 80. I've never broken 80, although I have a number of 81s to my credit. The average player shoots around 100. Whether they'd admit to that or not is a subject for another article. I will submit to you though, scores notwithstanding, that I've played enough rounds to have at least figured out what the necessary ingredients are to banish those 100s forever and find your way on the fast track to a single digit handicap. I subscribe to the theory that "Those who can, do. Those who can't, educate." Here's ten good ones that I've gleaned...

1. Develop a better short game. - Fact, most strokes in any golfer's scores occur within 100 yards of the flag. Most of those are around the green. Become a better chipper, pitcher, and putter and watch your score melt. This is the fastest way to better scoring and requires little physical effort, which is why it's my #1.

2. Fix your posture, set-up, and grip. - These are the only things you can do as well as Tiger Woods, or Rory McIlroy, or whoever your golf idol may be. Quit thinking about 'em and start doing them better. At least then you'll look like a golfer until you start the club moving.

3. Get a pre-shot routine. - Why think when you don't have to? Develop and use use a routine until it's 2nd nature. That's one less thing to think about and you'll start your shot the same way every time. Drop your shorts, twirl three times, and cluck like a chicken. I don't care. It's better than what you're not doing now. Just don't make yours too slow and you won't find my Titleist between your legs when you're finally ready to pull the trigger.

4. Relax, relax, then relax some more. - Tension is the killer of 100-shooters' golf swings. The hinging and release necessary to smash a golf ball doesn't occur with stiff arms, wrists, and hands. A certain amount of tension is needed for consistency though. Think somewhere between 2 beers and a full Valium.

5. Get your clubs fit for you. - If you play once every other month, skip to #6 and don't be in the foursome in front of mine. Otherwise, if you really want to get better, you need clubs that fit you and you only. Doubt me? Try a day in 32 underwear Mr. 38.

6. Hit down on the golf ball. - Yes, hitting down makes the ball go up. Counter-intuitive? Of course, so is getting married. I've seen too many 100-shooters scoop, lift, and skull golf balls all over the property. What I haven't seen see is any of them shoot 74.

7. Square the clubface at impact. - Crooked face at the moment of truth makes the ball go in any one of 359 other directions. Take mini practice swings and focus on having the face of the club pass through the ball at 90 degrees. That would be at a right angle, or toward your target, assuming you're aimed correctly, which may be a huge assumption. See #2 and add "Aim properly".

8. Finish your swing. - Hey, you started it, might as well finish it. Belt buckle or beer gut, or belly ring for the ladies, facing target. Weight on left foot, right on toe. Reverse for lefties Einstein. Keep in mind that if you can't finish properly you seriously messed up something that came before. If so, see #2 again.

9. Balance. - If you're not balanced you'll know it. Strive to maintain your balance from the time you get out of your car until you're safely back at home. Then you can revert back to your usual unbalanced self.

10. Manage the course. - This sounds complicated, but all it means is don't try to hit shots you know you ain't got. The 200 yard forced water carry isn't happening Cupcake, so get out the 9 iron. Buy a lotto ticket. Better odds.

If you noticed, I didn't attempt to instruct you on any of the golden precepts. That's because I'm not an instructor and these pearls are as much for my benefit as yours.  There's a crapload of golf instruction everywhere and plenty of qualified instructors just dying for your call. Find one.

Relax, they'll make more.