| Golf | 0 Comments

I was putting really great the previous two weeks. However, when I saw Sergio Garcia on television shoot a 27 for nine holes with his fancy new Super Stroke grip, I had to get one too.

This was done on a stupid whim. I saw it in the drawer when the pro opened it. Why take the risk of changing when my putting had been amazingly good? I was regularly sinking ten meter plus putts and within four feet I never missed. I agree that twenty-two euros is a bit much for a piece of rubbery plastic, but what the heck. It looked good too.

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My new putting grip.

So it turns out that although I was all excited to try it out the next day, my putting was abominable. Not even close, I felt handicapped and I had lost all of my confidence. It was like I was yielding a baseball bat wearing thick woolen winter gloves, that's how much touch I had lost.

By nature I persevere and kept trying no matter what. If Sergio could do it then I could do it also. Day after day but no luck. My putting sucked.

Then I remembered something I had done when I was a young golfer. Back then I also had a ping putter, one of the originals. Once during a dry spell I was desperate for anything no matter how superstitious. I took some black tape and right at the center of gravity I wrapped a single turn of black tape around the shaft. Right where I could see it during every putt. It gave me focus and when I started sinking putts again I regained confidence.

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Black tape at the center of gravity.

That's what I did again. And believe it or not it works. My putting is back and I can strike the ball pure, sending it dead straight right into the hole. Not quite at the level I was before I put on the new grip, but I am getting there.


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| World affairs | 0 Comments

Like everyone else I was also very shocked to hear the news of Robin William's untimely death. Later, I learned that the cause was suicide and that it was probably triggered by a lethal mix of depression and alcoholism. How is this possible? Such a genius comedian and actor who appeared to have everything under control. This is proof that the true measure of happiness is not defined by your surroundings and how popular you are, but rather it is measured from the inside self. Inner thoughts and feelings that rarely reflect the way the outside world really is. The inside world is all we have, and the thoughts about thoughts (about thoughts) are what can confuse and rattle the spirit, disturb the true balance with which God blessed us at birth. The good news is that he gave me so much enjoyment in life. In the end, he sacrificed himself for the betterment of those around him.

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Good-bye Robin Williams ...


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| Health and happiness | 0 Comments

Trust lies at the heart of a well-functioning and cohesive team. The members of the team should feel confident among each other that their peers' intentions are good. There is no reason to feel protective or careful around the group. Each and every teammate must feel comfortable being vulnerable and open to conflict.

The most important action the leader should take to encourage the building of trust within his team is to demonstrate first and foremost vulnerability himself through his own actions. This means that the leader will necessarily risk losing his own face in front of the team in order that the rest of the team will feel free to take similar risks themselves.

A true leader leads by example and creates an open and honest environment that fosters creativity and will never punish vulnerability.

See: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team


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| Golf | 0 Comments

The stakes are high when you really want to practice intensely and improve your golf game. You need to follow between honing your skills and not overdoing things. This year I've put almost every extra ounce of energy into bringing my game to a new level. Having achieved my lowest handicap ever, this tactic seems to have been fairly successful in helping me reach my potential.

However, there is a fine line between reaching your maximum and not over straining your physical well being. Golf means sacrifice in more ways than one. I really have the urge to play as much as possible, but at the same time I am starting to feel the effects on my body. I'm not as young as I used to be.

To be more precise, it has to do with my left knee which has been getting more and more painful in the last couple of weeks. It started about a month ago after running. So I took a break for a week before running again after it seemed to have disappeared. Then it got so bad that I couldn't stand up properly, walking upstairs was unbelievably painful, and I limp like an old man. I sleep restlessly and am awakened by the throbbing pain.

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ITBS - Iliotibial Band Syndrome

So here's the dilemma. If I take a break from golf the pain gets less, but at the same time since I am not practicing my golf game gets worse. If I do not take a break, I can practice more and keep my game sharp, but my knee starts hurting much worse. This seems to me as very ironic. Finally in my life I've reached a level of golf I could have only wished for, and then this stupid pain becomes a frustrating obstacle in my way. Maybe it's some kind of message or something.

There are still a number of important tournaments I want to play in, so I will just have to wing it out and bear with the pain. When winter comes I'll have all the time in the world to rest and recover. Just enough pauses balancing with minimal practice so that my game remains good enough, though perhaps not at the peak possible. Better golf means more pain which means worse golf a hopeless ad infinitum.

As is the best way to go with so many things in life, I will have to find the middle path out there: play good enough golf without wrecking my body.


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| Golf | 0 Comments

The chip in eagle on the par four third hole put me two under par, and I coasted along the front nine with a couple bogies making the turn at even par. The back nine was a bit of a struggle with seven pars and two bogies ending the day at two over par. Final score was 37+36=73 which is my second best from the regular tees. No double bogies but not a single birdie either. My putting was slightly off, otherwise it would have been a stellar round for me. My handicap has dropped to a snazzy 4.2 which happens to be my lowest handicap so far since I was a young buck. There is still hope for the aging golfers in this world.


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| World affairs | 0 Comments

Today was as a national day of mourning in The Netherlands for the first time in more than fifty years. The last time was way back in 1962 with the death of Queen Wilhelmina.

The whole country is stunned in disbelief that this inhumane crime could have been committed against such a peace-loving and innocent people who have nothing at all to do with this stupid war supported by Poetin's thugs in eastern Ukraine.

Nearly three hundred passengers and crew shot out the sky by a surface-to-air missile, falling and crashing to a terrible death. Of those, one hundred ninety three Dutch citizens. First happy and relaxed looking forward to a family vacation in Bali and then the next second a ball of fire. Whole families wiped out in a second. Since Holland is such a small country, most everyone knows someone who is related in one way or other to one of the victim's families or friends.

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Heart-rending view of the seventy-two hearses bringing the bodies back home.

It was surreal watching the line of forty hearses rolling through the beautiful green countryside on such a sunny and warm day. Droves of crying people standing along the road throwing flowers as the vehicles passed by slowly. The same scene to be repeating four days in a row before all of the bodies have been repatriated.

That last time I felt this sad was when Kennedy was shot. I was six years old and watched the funeral procession on the television.


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| Golf | 0 Comments

For the first time in my life I decided to go out and splurge by hiring a well-known club-fitter for professional advice. He measured various aspects of my swing (velocity, angle of descent, spin, alignment, etc) as well as my bodily dimensions (height, arm length, hand size, stance and angle I address the ball) to come up with clubs tailor-made and optimized to my abilities and constraints.

The shaft was shortened slightly, the resting position of the club head adjusted upwards so that the ball impacts a bit higher on the club face, and introduced a new shaft flex between stiff and regular/senior, among other things.

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With the same clubs I can swing at a slower velocity, gain more control at impact and on average hit the ball 10 meters farther. Sometimes if I hit the ball just right, the ball flies so purely that I can barely feel the impact it feels so soft. I can hit my 8-iron more than 150 meters, for example. After two days of warming up and practicing with my new weapons, not trying to kill the ball, inspiring certain subtle mental adjustments and increasing my confidence by being more positive about my abilities, I enjoy golf that much more.

Thanks to these new beauties, I managed to play a super weekend of golf. In fact, I went out and won the second major club tournament called "Clubkampioenschap Tegen Par" where per hole you score a zero(0) for par, a minus(-) for a bogie or better and a (+) for a birdie or better. I came in at the top by shooting -4, +2 and -6 for a grand total of -8.


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Winnaars van het Clubkampioenschap Tegen Par - 21-07-2014
Na een zeer warm en spannend weekend zijn de kampioenen bekend!
Annemiek de Langen heeft met -25 (19 parren en 5 birdies) de eerste prijs bij de dames in ontvangst mogen nemen.
Goede tweede is Lotte Hoekstra geworden en Conny de Wolff staat op de derde plaats.
Bij de heren is Kiffin Gish met -8 kampioen (30 parren en 8 birdies) geworden, gevolgd door Ed Schelkers en op de derde plaats Maurits van der Linden.
Winnaars proficiat!
In totaal zijn er 71 birdies en 1 eagle gemaakt in dit weekend, het birdieklassement kunt u terug vinden onder de downloads van de wedstrijdcommissie.

Translate


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| World affairs | 0 Comments

Netherlands win World Cup third-place playoff final after beating hosts Brazil 3-0 in Brasilia.

Sure it would have been better had we made it to the finals, but third-place is pretty good for such a small country on the world's sport stage.


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| Golf | 0 Comments

During the NK Strokeplay Heren Senioren golf championship, I was hitting the ball really well. Despite the disappointing results, I have to admit that in general I felt pretty good after the two day tournament. Twenty-fourth in a field of eight-eight of the best Dutch senior golfers is nice. These guys are pretty good, and being part of this interesting challenge keeps me sharp and competitive. I also got to meet many nice guys who are dedicated to the true spirit of golf.

Unfortunately I had three disaster holes: two triple bogies and one quadruple bogie. Two caused by mad slice drives into the thick forest and one caused by a flubbed five iron off of the tee which went into the water hazard. Despite these disasters, I am proud to say that I kept my cool and shook them off with a casual smile and chuckle. The course was in beautiful condition and perfect golf weather, so I could not complain.

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That's ten lousy strokes thrown out of the window. If I had only parred those easy holes, I calculate that I would have come in third place. What a shame. However, we all know that golf was never meant to be a game of "ifs" so be it. Better luck next time.


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| Zarafa | 0 Comments

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This is what I see every morning when I walk into the office in Delft.


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| Vacation | 2 Comments

We arrived back from Madeira late last night. The week was really great and we were able to relax and have fun at the same time. In addition to lounging around and doing nothing sometimes (reading and sleeping under the sun with an amazing ocean view) we also traveled around and explored the island.

Madeira.png

For a better impression of what we did and the places we visited, have a look at the Vacation to Madeira album.


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| Vacation | 0 Comments

Tomorrow Thea and I will be going to Madeira for a week, and I'm really looking forward to a fun and relaxing time there. Exciting times are ahead, so enjoy life to its fullest one day at a time.

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Madeira is located here.


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| Golf | 0 Comments

For the first time in my life I have been disqualified from a golf tournament, before I even hit the ball a single time. It all happened less than a couple hours ago and I'm still recovering from such an unexpected disappointment.

It's not like I did anything bad, or did I?

My official start time at the Dutch Senior Open was 14:20 but for some reason I had 14:40 engraved in my mind. Although I've been living here for a long time, I still have problems with the 24-hour clock they use in Europe.

I purposely arrived very early so that I could spend much time warming up for this important event I'd been looking forward to for many weeks. I registered myself an hour before and started practicing and getting loosened up.

At two thirty I went to the first tee. Some official lady came up to me and asked if I was "Keffin" Gish. When I said I was, she said that I had missed my starting time of 14:20. That's not possible I answered, my starting time is 14:40. She pointed to my scorecard and there it was perfectly clear: 14:20 indeed.

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Proof that I was indeed mistaken.

What bad luck. They were very strict and would not make any exceptions to the rule. When I gave her an emotional story of looking forward all year to the event that was my big highlight, taking off two days from work, their final cold judgement wouldn't budge an inch. I even got a little desperate and said that I suffered from a slight form of dyslexia, meaning I often can't help but mixing up the numbers. Too bad, those are the rules and we are very strict. No I would not be allowed to play in a later flight. They wouldn't even refund the fifty euros registration fee I paid less than an hour earlier, what a waste.

(I will write them a polite letter and appeal for a refund of the fifty euros which I believe is a reasonable request)

What's even stranger is that I had a bad dream last night. I dreamed that they wouldn't let me play because I was wearing my new white golfing shoes. For some reason these shoes didn't not adhere to the official rules, and no matter how I pleaded they would not listen to me. It was one of those frustrating dreams where you have almost reached someplace, but at the very last moment you get prevented from going any further because of some bizarre and nonsensical reason. Like running a race but right before you cross the finish line your legs freeze up or turn to rubber and you cannot move while everyone else passes you by in a flash.

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Scorecard which clearly shows my start time.

Perhaps it was my subconsciousness trying to warn me in a symbolic way: that the start time I had registered in my mind was incorrect. Too bad that I did not remember the dream until afterwards, when my disqualification and resulting ruminations brought back that faraway memory of a dream. So much for mysterious spiritual messages when you cannot heed to them as well.

I learned my lesson the hard way and know that I need to be extra careful next time. This has been yet another exciting day's journey in an unpredictable life.

Shake it off, adapt and go on. Life continues as usual.


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| Golf | 0 Comments

Tomorrow I will be playing my first round of the International Dutch Senior Open at the Golfclub Broekpolder. If I make the cut on Friday I get to play in the final round on Saturday. Wish me luck.


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| Golf | 0 Comments

All those days of grueling practice and mental preparation have finally resulted in the ultimate success. With satisfying rounds of 74+77+80 during the weekend, I played exceptionally well.

Best of all is that I won 1st place at the Club Championship. Life is good and I'm starting to love this sport called golf all over again.

My handicap dove down to my lowest of 4.3 and then got bumped up to a 4.4 handicap.

Next week Thursday I play in the International Dutch Senior Open and will do my best to keep up the momentum, my plan being to make the weekend cut.


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| Golf | 0 Comments

On average nearly half of your golf shots are on or around the green. The reason that practicing putting and short chip shots is essential to playing good golf.

That's why lately I've been spending much time on the practice putting green. Two or three times a week I drive by after work and spend an hour or two putting around.

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I've developed my own practice program. I make a loop putting around the perimeter of holes. Two is even and putt ins count for one under. Three balls per hole. I am not allowed to make a single three putt. Every single putt counts, even the very short so-called easy tap ins. This keeps one sharp for the important stroke play tournaments where every hole must be putted out to completion. If I do three putt I have to start all over again.

Sometimes I'm lucky the very first try and make it through all the way around without three putting. If that happens I have to keep on going until I three putt and then start all over again. I keep on going for an hour or two. A couple days ago I made it through the first round at eight under. Another time I kept three putting the first hole and had to restart three times, made it to the second hole and three putted that hole and on and on. Sometime I make it to the very last hole and miss the very last two foot putt.

When I've had enough putting for the day, I head on over to the chipping green. There I can practice short chips from the fringe and just outside of the fringe in the rough. This usually goes on for half an hour, but I cannot leave until the last ball is chipped into the hole.

I find this ritual very relaxing and peaceful. Often I'll look at the clock and see that two hours have gone by without realizing it. This is a mental game which sharpens my mind and allows me to escape from the stress and chaos of the real world. Funny how the human mind likes these kinds of games and gets re-energized by whacking around a little white ball into these round holes in the ground.


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| Zarafa | 0 Comments

I am very pleased to announce the latest release of ZCP which is a major improvement and offers some new and interesting features.


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| History | 0 Comments

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Thousands of brave soldiers sacrificed their lives seventy year ago today. Many more would die before Europe would be liberated from the oppressors.


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I've been playing golf for so many years now that I've pretty much experienced every crazy possibility you can imagine. During the monthly medal last Sunday, I did it again much to my amazement and entertainment of my fellow players. I will try to explain what happened.

I was playing pretty well that day except for my drive on the eight hole which I pulled to the left. Worried that it was a lost ball, I was relieved when someone else spotted it in the deep rough.

Rather than getting a double-bogie and possible triple with my provisional, I now had an easy chance at a bogie possible par. Since the rough was so thick I had no choice but to place it safe and chip it out into the middle of the fairway. All I needed to do was concentrate and get the ball out of there.

Because of the thick grass and perhaps some carelessness on my part as well, I had to hit the ball much harder than usual, and I caught the ball on the toe of the club causing it to fly out sideways and to the right. I saw it shoot out and fly directly at a low trajectory right at my bag, making a loud thump and disappearing in thin air. The ball had disappeared, where did it go?

Hitting your own bag is bad enough due to a penalty stroke, but what was the ruling if you could not find the ball afterwards? Would I have to take a two stroke penalty for a lost ball and play the ball again from the original spot buried in the high rough in addition to the one stroke penalty for hitting my own bag? This could be a disastrous hole, having to hit my ball again but this time lying five. Six out on the fairway (hopefully), a long iron onto the green (hopefully) and two putts for a nine or possible ten on a par four hole.

Upon closer inspection I examined where the ball had struck my bag which had been a direct hit on the side pocket zipper. The zipper was slightly open, and there inside together with all my other balls and tees was the original ball! What are the odds of that happening? Luckily, I had marked the ball with my unique pattern and was able to distinguish it from the rest of the balls in there. No one believed me at first, until I showed them the ball and explained what happened. It was a miracle mishap.

As it turned out I managed to save a double bogie by sinking a thirty foot putt. I wrecked my double bogie free round again, but it could have been worse, much worse.


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| Golf | 0 Comments

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It was a long two week wait but it was worth it. My fantastic new driver has finally arrived. I dropped by the driving range on my way home from work this afternoon to give it a try. The first couple drives were clunkers, then really low but far, and in between a big bad crush of a drive. The default factory setting is at 8.5 degree loft which might be a bit low, but there's some utensil I can use to adjust the loft a notch higher or two. This new club is going to take some time getting used to but I'm patient.


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| Golf | 0 Comments

Even par after twelve holes, and all of it from the back tees. It's a rare pleasure shooting a thirty-six on the front nine way back from the championship tees. I was going strong, but the further I got the more nervous and insecure I became.

Okay, so what if I shot a bogie on the thirteenth par three. Sure it was a lousy chip rolling past the hole and I missed the putt coming back by leaving it short. I should have just shaken it off and continued. Actually, that's what I thought I did, but I guess subconsciously this hiccup was eating me up inside.

After that I choked the rest of the way, starting even par after twelve holes it went like this: bogie, bogie (sliced into the trees and lucky it didn't go out of bounds), bogie (nice six iron ten feet from the flag but just off the back of the green, chip two feet from the hole, jabbed putt right for the miss), double-bogie (shanked a 4-iron of the tee), double-bogie (flubbed an easy chip from just off the green and three putted) and a bogie to end it all.

This has happened to me before a a couple of other occasions. Going along strong, worried to make a mistake, collapsing like a fool. It's all mental and I have no one else to blame but myself.

My final score was: 36 + 43 = 79 (at least I broke 80).

Golf is the cruelest of sports. It keeps taunting you to come back and to keep trying again and again until you somehow achieve that once in a lifetime perfect round.

I'm still hoping to achieve some day in the near future.


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| Golf | 0 Comments

So this is pretty embarrassing. Barely qualified for the NGF Monthly Cup and felt excited. Joined the last flight as the last person. Drove early in the morning all the way to the east of Holland to the Heelsum golf course so that I could play with the best golfers. Mostly young bucks less than half my age, so what was I trying to prove? I guess I needed a new challenge in life, so I gave it a go anyway.

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My swing felt pretty good and I was hitting some really long drives off of the tee. On the last hole I really let one fly, best drive of the year. However, two triple bogies, three double bogies and only six pars killed my game in the end.

Nice to be humbled, realize that I am not the best golfer in the world anymore, get back to basics and make me rethink my game.


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| Health and happiness | 0 Comments

In order to deal with stressful moments better so that you can remain focused on behaving effectively and doing what matters to you most, just follow these four simple steps:

  • Stop
  • Take a deep breath
  • Observe with an open and gentle attitude
  • Proceed positively

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| Meaning of life | 0 Comments

"The motivations of man, because he sacrifices his health
in order to make money, then he sacrifices money to
recuperate his health, and then he is so anxious about the
future that he does not enjoy the present the result being
that he does not live in the present nor the future, rather
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then eventually
he dies, having never really lived."

- Dalai Lama


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| Computers and stuff | 0 Comments

After I updated to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, url links in other applications stopped working. Well, when I clicked on the links my google chrome browser would fire up properly, but it would stay stuck at the homepage and not be redirected to the link that I clicked on.

This was irritating me for days and I just could not figure out what was going wrong. I uninstalled and re-installed google chrome a number of times, removed the hidden ~/.config/google-chrome directory, on and on.

Just about the moment I was ready to give up completely and go back to firefox, I had an unexpected insight. The simple solution is just to do the following:

rm ~/.local/share/applications/google-chrome.desktop

Probably something went wrong with the ubuntu upgrade whereby this file got leftover and wasn't deleted properly.


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Kiffin putting the ball in the hole

It sure would be nice if I could always putt the ball right in the middle of the hole like this more often.


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| Computers and stuff | 0 Comments

Suppose you try to upload a file and keep getting server errors thrown in your face. Have a look in the apache error log and see if you can find a line looking something like this:

mod_fcgid: HTTP request length 136872 (so far) exceeds MaxRequestLen 131072

If that is the case, then you are in luck. To fix it, look for the apache configuration file called /etc/httpd/conf.d/fcgid.conf and edit it. All you need to do is add the following line at the end of the file.

FcgidMaxRequestLen 2147483648

These are the details for Centos 6, but for other operating systems it should be something very similar.


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So far this year, my golf game has been steadily going downhill. I do not believe that there is any correlation at all between the amount of time I practice on the driving range and my actual performance out on the golf course.

The more I practice the more I get stuck, it just doesn't matter any more. I even wasted sixty euros on a one hour golf lesson to readjust my grip. Throughout the week, I hit lots of buckets of balls and putt for hours, but I keep asking myself what for?

Though I am very frustrated I do not let it show. I pretend to be relaxed about my lousy golf game and joke around. I appear so very cool, calm and collected. The truth of the matter is that I am boiling inside, raging at myself because I cannot understand why I am playing so poorly.

I am tempted to throw my bag of clubs into the lake and my golf shoes along with them. But I better not, because perhaps in a few days or weeks I may need them again.


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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 2102 entries and as many as 1862 comments.

Important events

I started working at Zarafa 1-15-2014 ago.

This blog came into existence 7-21-2001 ago.

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

Thea and I first met 6-14-1980 ago.

I graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

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

I began my well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.