Month: December 2009

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Today I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much "just knowing" that you are gripping the club correctly can improve your confidence. Without changing a thing, I was striking the ball consistently, and except for an occasional draw, I was hitting the ball high and pretty straight.

Worrying that my grip was one of my weaknesses, I've been playing around with variations for about a year without much success. In fact, each new change made things worse and worse. The more I practiced the worse I got. Each new grip made my arms feel like they were bending and extending in an unnatural way.

I've always had a "strong" grip, meaning that my left hand is turned inwards (clockwise) so that the V between my forefinger and thumb points to somewhere between my nose and right eye. The left thumb presses slightly on the side of the grip opposite to the target, and the right hand barely does anything but follow.

During my younger days, the fashion was to adhere to a "neutral" grip where both hands are clapped together at right angles to the target line and grip the club at that position. The left thumb is aligned along the length of the club shaft with the right hand folding right on top with the right thumb also lying along the top of the grip.

(Even in Ben Hogan's book "Five Lessons" the "neutral" grip is taught and the V of the right hand should point to the chin.)

I'm now reading the book "Swing Like a Pro" by Dr. Mann, which is based on years of scientific analyses of the best professional golfers. It presents a bio-mechanical approach to golf, where a model swing is individualized and applied.

In the second chapter of this book, I was pleasantly surprised to read that my natural grip, the one I was born with and used as a kid until I took official lessons, matches closely to the ideal grip as explained in this chapter. The V of the right hand points to the right shoulder.

So I do not have to change anything about my grip (actually, that V of my left hand should be pointing slightly more in the direction of my right ear). Just grab the club naturally with my hands and that's it. Not only does this grip feel the best, just knowing that it is a good grip makes me confident. I am more mentally prepared when I take my stance and address the ball. My arms swing freely and are not obstructed by a grip which feels foreign to me.

Next fundamental is my stance which will be covered in the next chapter.

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Nature is pretty skilled at paralyzing modern civilization in more ways than one. She has changed the course of human history using her powers to unleash snowstorms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. Many wars have been won or lost because nature felt the need to meddle in our affairs right then and there.

For the second day in a row, I will have to work from home because of the tons and tons of snow which have been falling everywhere. The trains have been rendered useless and trying to drive a car will get you no further than the end of the block. Even bicycling, the traditional Dutch means of transportation, is not highly recommended. Go out there and slip and slide and break your arm, wrist or ankle, that's alright.

Not that she expects us to worship her like some all powerful goddess, that is the least of her worries right now. Rather, she wants us just to stop and think, look in awe at her beautiful presence, realize that just a simple whim of hers can blow us over with a snap of her fingers.

From my work room in the attic I spy pure whiteness as far as the eye can see and it is a good feeling.

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winter-2009.jpg

The weatherman predicts that the chances are pretty good that we will be having the first white Christmas in more than ten years. I sure hope so.

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A couple weeks ago, a blog reader by the name of Harry Gish sent me the following message:

A rather odd one loaded both with heroism (in the Revolutionary War where the three oldest sons of Matthias and their sons fought with Washington, the middle one being killed in Battle, despite being Dunkard ministers who were supposed to be pacifists), strange Civil war action where my great grandfather had to alter his name and age AFTERWARDS, not before (Matthias was my 6th great grandfather) to the "fee tail male" (oldest surviving son of the oldest surviving son ...) line in Paducah, KY who had a broad spectrum of WWII service, including my father who was the ACTUAL Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy ... all those accounts of "I was in the company when it happened" need to be aware the song was written for an Abbott & Costello movie in 1938-39 whereas Harry Lucien Gish was the star trumpet player in the Will Bradley All-Star Band. The songwriters of the movie wrote most of the Bradley band's boogie woogie hits ...

BTW, Christian Gish I and Christian Gish II served in captain Peebles' Company in the revolutionary war. Next brother was John who was killed in battle in 1783. Next brother Abraham was the great-grandfather of the actresses Lillian and Dorothy. By the war of 1812 both they had settled in the Roanoke, VA area but Christian II had moved on to Muhlenberg County in western Kentucky a decade prior though undoubtedly there were plenty left to have been in the war. I am not aware of any, however.

As the One Great Family Network Christian Gish I family administrator I usually only follow/investigate that line (which numbers possibly as large as 10,000). In addition to James Christopher's unusual participation in the civil war he had a first cousin named Benjamin Franklin Gish who served in the Louisiana Infantry.

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Traversed the planet when heaven sent me. I saw the kings who rule them all
Still by the firelight and purple moonlight. I hear the rested rivers call
And the wind is crying, from a love that won't grow cold
My lover, she is lying, on the dark side of the globe.

- Led Zeppelin ( Radioparadise song page )

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I just finished the book "Dream On" by John Richardson. It's about this golfing hacker pursuing his goal of shooting an even par score within a year. It was so good, so inspiring, that I read the whole thing in only two sittings.

Impossible challenges are good for us. We acquire more confidence in ourselves, not so much in that the impossible goal is actually achieved, but simply in the fact that we can mobilize ourselves mentally and physically in difficult situations we never before realized we were capable of doing.

The book also includes many interesting tips on how to improve your golf game. It's not only alot of practice, but also assuming a new 100% way of life centered around golf. A sense of mental acumen is the frosting on the cake, and nothing can beat the feeling of exhilaration when it all comes together. That's what makes golf so very interesting to me, the intricate balance between the physical and the mental, trying to make sense of the many obstacles nature puts in our way.

One of the most interesting parts of the book involves feeling confident but not overly so. The moments he is feeling really great and imagines he's finally going to pull it off, those are the moments he messes up badly. With only a few holes to go and then knocking two balls into the trees. At the other extreme, feeling nervous and unsure about yourself is also not good. By the end of the book, the author has attained a higher level of awareness where it "just happens" without him even thinking about it. A fairy tale come true, but only after a year of total immersion, dedication and hard work.

Self-improvement is human nature and we need the challenge in one way or the other in order to survive.

The weatherman tells us that it's going to be below freezing, but I will be getting up early anyway to hit the links. Now that I've got my golf winter gloves, four layers of clothing, a woolen cap and a wind breaker for good measure, nothing's going to stop me now.

Scratch to Scratch - John Richardson
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For the first time in my life, I went into the pro shop and bought a pair of golf winter gloves. Now that the daily temperatures have dropped down to freezing, my normal golf glove doesn't quite do the trick. I must be totally addicted to golf to want to force myself to swat the ball in such an unforgiving climate.

Being the golf enthusiast that I am, I challenged myself to a late afternoon nine holes in this freezing cold weather. A good pair of warm gloves is absolutely required, otherwise one loses complete feeling in the hands which is disastrous for the old golf game.

Playing in colder weather has some additional disadvantages that need to be taken into account, namely that the golf ball will not travel as far. Takes about two clubs extra to reach the target, assuming that the ball is hit squarely and true.

However, hitting the ball well is more difficult because it is lying on soft, muddy ground and the icy wind is trying to blow you off balance. So make it three clubs extra, but swing easier so that the chances of hitting the ball cleanly are increased. Poor concentration will result in your face being splattered with mud particles or painfully vibrating hands from hitting the ball way too thin.

Considering the circumstances, the early coming of darkness and the dropping temperature, I played alright I guess. My left big toe is still pretty frozen and hasn't yet thawed out.

Next Wednesday morning early I'll be out there again daring the winter weather in its face with an amazing shot here and there. Undaunted and persevering, I believe that practicing under such unattractive conditions will in the long run improve my game by strengthening my confidence. Knowing that I've braved new and unexpected mishaps and survived the round, becoming wiser and more appreciative of nature's many whims.

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There are very few accomplishments more thrilling than having the best three shots of the round on the final par four eighteenth hole.

First you nail a drive down the middle of the fairway. Second you strike a nine iron high into the sky letting the ball fall nicely on the elevated green and right down the smokestack. Third you tap the two foot putt confidently in the middle of the hole for a birdie.

Enjoy the feeling today while it lasts and remain confident that no matter how old you are the magic of youth is still inside of you, ready to be unlocked at any moment by the right thoughts at the right time.

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Smashing evening golf balls at the driving range when it is dark is a strange experience which takes some time to get used to.

Although the first one hundred yards or so is illuminating alright, the distance to the targets is hard if not impossible to calculate. A simple pitching wedge flies the nearest flag and makes you feel like you've acquired supernatural abilities.

Aiming for the 250 meter marker is another interesting challenge. The ball disappears, and then there is a pause. Either you hear nothing, or if you are lucky there is a delayed bang which resonates through the night and makes you feel good.

The golfing range I hit balls at has two levels. I'm usually on the lower tier because I prefer practicing at the same level that is more natural for golfing.

An interesting effect is the hitting of golf balls by others who are standing above you on the second tier. You cannot hear the balls being hit, but watching all them little specks looks like this blasting of little white snowflakes into the distant night.

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Beware of inadvertent spaces in directory names when using rm -rf, it can kill you without asking first.

I figured I would cleanup some junk piling up in several directories of my laptop: /tmp, /var, etc.

I accidentally hit the space-bar, causing this to appear at the prompt:

$ rm -rf /var /spool/...

And just when that little teenie space caught my attention, it was already too late. There was nothing else I could do but cry. Just for fun (and also hoping for a miracle) I rebooted my laptop, but it choked anyway.

Better be more careful next time.

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Tiger is not perfect because he is also human, what a surprise. Nor should he be blamed for the fantasy world, the goddess of a wife and the sham of a marriage society has forced upon him. If we insist that he is failing, then it is we who are all to blame, not him.

Fifty percent of the marriages nowadays fail anyway, so there is nothing new. If you are a celebrity then that percentage is much higher. Why is that so? Yet another forced marriage bites the dust, but life continue nonetheless.

We gawk and we gossip and we feel better about ourselves when we don't have to look at our own lives and can worship heroes instead. We soak up the vicarious thrills of their challenges and successes. We are hypocrites when that large chunk of our own missing selves is put on the shoulders of those so-called perfect heroes.

Failure is part of the game and happens once in awhile. Leave Tiger alone and get on with your own lives.

Tiger, Elin, And A Five Iron: Yawn

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Information

This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2291 entries and as many as 1876 comments.

Important events

Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

Believe it or not but I am 10-11-1957 young.

Began well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.