No longer do I have any excuse now not to become a much better putter. If I practice enough I can easily shave off 3-5 strokes a round.
Late afternoon at The Dutch.
Finished the round just in time, and managed to pull off a 36 + 41 = 77. A nice birdie on hole two and an unfortunate double-bogie on hole 16. Not a record but still within my handicap buffer. Proof that an aging man can still perform well and enjoy life.
Thanks Mr. Kordic for inviting me again to play on this fantastic golf course.
Getting the luck of the draw and being able to start with number one out of the fifty contenders, is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Although you have to leave home at the crack of dawn in order to make it in time for the first early morning starting time, being the first off the tee is a symbolic gesture.
I also felt pretty good about may game and thought that who knows maybe I could get a lucky streak and win the tournament. In the past I've entertained similar illusions of fame, only to go into mental meltdown mode and shooting terrible scores. Just to play one shot at a time and enjoy the round as much as possible at this beautiful golf course, "Misschien Wel de Mooiste Golfbaan van Nederland."
As it turned out, although I made the turn with a so-so 39, the back nine went quite well and I birdied three of the last four holes. Boy was I hitting the ball really great. For awhile there, I was leader in the golf club but after the long wait I came in fourth place which is also nice.
I'm not the greatest fan of his, but I have to admit that he pulled off an impressive victory.
For the first time in seven years, my handicap has increased over the year. This time I started at a record low of 4.1, and after a full season of golf it has unfortunately gone up to a 4.7 (despite playing on the golf team and practicing regularly). Thea keeps reminding me that I should just accept my fate. I am getting older: meaning that my athleticism and thus also my golfing skills will inevitably get worse and worse. Until who knows how bad. I still refuse to give in and will not accept such a disappointing fate. If I just practice enough and get my mind in the right flow, while I might not become a professional, I should still be playing at a much better level. No excuses and no questions asked. Oh well, better luck next year.
My old golf shoes have been falling apart for some time now. There's even a huge open gash on the side of the left shoe which was splitting wider each day.
If it rains my foot will get soaked completely, maybe even wrecking a great round with only a couple holes to go because of sopping wet socks and squeaking shoe, causing me to lose an important tournament.
Don't want that to happen now, do we? So it's high time that I hopped into my car, went to the local golf store and purchased some new shoes. These days you can easily fall victim to greediness and spend an arm and a leg on stupid golf shoes, but I was set on not spending too much money.
But there was a slight dilemma when I went to the store and looked around. I narrowed down the choice to two styles (both Footjoy of course), but I could not decide between them. You had the much less expensive, nicer looking pair but less comfortable. And you had the more expensive but super comfortable pair which fit me perfectly and made me feel like a pro.
Given the two possibilities, which one would you choose?
Footjoy Contour for €169
Footjoy Hydrolite for €125
Answer: Okay so I succumbed to extreme greediness and decided that I preferred feeling like a pro even if it meant forking out an additional forty four euros.
You never would have expected that this grueling contest of wills would go down to the final hole, but it did. It was one of those wonderful days out with the guys hacking around in nature and laughing out loud, making great shots and bad ones too, once in awhile a slight curse here and there.
On Friday afternoon at exactly 16:17 the battle of Michael and Kiffin (Merikans) versus Thomas and Dion (no team name) began. The weather was perfect, sunny and dry, the fairways extra hard meaning that our amazing drives would roll and roll forever making us feel like real joe blows.
As is inherent to our golf course these days, the greens were irregular and bouncy, meaning that you had about a fifty-fifty chance of making putts just outside the gimme range. Frustrating yes, but adding an extra sense of excitement and unpredictability fitting for the true spirit of golf where nothing is certain.
The first hole was a good start for the Merikans as they turned on the gas and won the first hole with a par (thanks to a nice chip by Michael).
On the second hole the Merikans messed up knocking both their balls into the trees on the left, playing give-away golf with a triple bogey, and it was back to all square. What a waste.
After that it was just another day on the links with a long streak of five ties nothing special just pars and bogies.
Starting on the eighth hole and thereafter for three disappointing holes, Thomas and Dion pulled together a string of great drives, super approaches, chips next to the hole, that kind of thing. Michael: what happened to us we're three down can you believe that?!
I turned to my fellow Merikan and reminded him that we had not won a single bleeping hole since the first one, we need to get our act together. Remember the Alamo!
It worked and we pushed forward winning the next three holes in a row, this time around it was Dion and Thomas playing give-away golf, and coming to the fourteenth tee box we were all square again. Wow, how'd that happen so quickly?!
Tied fourteen to remain all even. On the fifteenth both Thomas and Dion nailed their shots on the dancing floor for a likely par possible birdie. Michael made a great sand shot from the left bunker rolling the ball up close, but yours truly missed yet another short putt, one down with three to go.
Merikans won the sixteenth after another great chip by Michael to within a couple inches of the hole for a gimme. Lost the seventeenth and there we were one down with only one hole to go.
Thomas and Dion were hot but not quite hot enough. They drilled their drives in excellent position, but Kiffin punched his drive even further even to the bunker in the middle of the fairway.
Dion's approach looked really good (ended up over the green but we didn't know it at the time), so Michael was under alot of pressure. When I turned to him and said it was his moment to achieve the Warhol's fifteen minutes of fame, he duly addressed the ball and made it happen.
The Merikans had to win, and when we finally made it to the top of the hill and discovered our ball pin high five feet to the right and the opponents' ball over the green with a nasty downhill chip, we knew we had a chance. I was convinced that I'd finally make my first normal putt of the day and tally that birdie.
Thomas and Dion pulled off a respectable bogey (after the stupid ball kept rolling and rolling past the pin) and of course I missed the birdie putt curling it left and downhill from the hole. It was definitely what you'd call a semi-easy putt but a good knee-knocker just the same.
With confidence Michael rammed it into the back of the hole for the par. The grueling contest of wills was over, and we tied 1-1.
The summer season for senior golfers kicked off yesterday and I was in good spirits. Although I didn't play that great, shooting an 82 and being tied for twentieth place out of 93 players is a respectable round. Three easy putts under two meters should have been made combined with a mere three pars on the front nine made things a bit frustrating. I managed to shoot a double-bogie free round with the same ball which in itself is a nice accomplishment.
Ready to tee off on the first hole at Golfclub Anderstein
So here is how it started: par, birdie and eagle. Already three under par after only three holes. Hard to believe, but it's true ...
I flubbed the next easy par four with a careless bogie, but after that I held on with a string of pars to make the turn at two under par. 4-4-2-5-3-4-5-3-4=34.
If I could just keep playing half-decently, nothing miraculous just an ordinary nine more holes, then I'd have a pretty good score.
There's this mental thing that rears its ugly head in my mind when I'm playing great golf and it always tries to ruin me. I'm thinking that there's only so many holes left and I need to hold on, getting more and more nervous.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so let's get serious and make the best of it. Or so I thought. The second nine was a disaster and I went into mental meltdown mode. Two double-bogies and only three pars: 6-3-6-4-5-7-4-4-5=44. That's TEN strokes more than the first nine, you must be kidding.
Afterward when the good life was all done and gone, I sat at the table moping, shaking my head and wondering out loud how it is possible to play so well for the first nine holes and then blow it so badly during the second nine holes.
My playing partner Jim (who comes from Ireland) hit the nail right on the head when he said, "You know the more often I see this happening the more convinced I am that it is one hundred percent just a mental thing.
How is it possible that such disasters strike when you least expect it? And why if it's just a mental thing can't I control it better.
(No I did not break a single club, although I was tempted to a couple of times)
Last Saturday I played a practice round with the team. Just another normal day on the links with the goold old colleagues. Until we reached the eleventh hole that is. Jose started things off by chipping his ball in the hole from off of the green. Then from the fringe at the front of the green, Paul sank a winding twenty-footer uphill. Finally, Maurits rammed in his six-foot putt making it three birdies in a row. Could I do it as well? As the last remaining hero under tremendous pressure and all eyes watching me anxiously, I curled in my putt from three feet away. We all had birdies: 2-2-2-2 on the same hole. That was a pretty amazing golf moment! Don't think I've been so excited and screamed so loud and long in quite some time.
Although some people may not consider golf a "real" sport, it nonetheless requires that your body is in good condition and that certain muscles are well developed.
Since I started a more intensive workout program at the SportCity three months ago, I can really feel the difference.
My training focuses on the golf muscles as shown in the diagram above. Not that I need to develop giant muscles for extra distance, but rather well-toned upper legs, abdomen core, torso and arms to be able to hit the ball with a more stable and predictable swing, and above all with more confidence.
And yes, I can now also hit my drives straighter and about ten to twenty meters further. I am not sure whether or not this is all just psychological, but one thing is for sure and that's how good and healthy my body feels.
I make my own sandwiches for lunch and like to slice my bread into nice uniform segments of equal thickness. Over time my cutting actions had acclimated well to the continuously dulling knife. It meant that gradually I had to cut imperceptibly just a little bit harder each day. I had become fond of that dull utensil and had developed a close relationship with that grip and sliding motion. There was balance between the forces of nature and my bodily movements.
So when I picked up the brand new knife that Thea had bought in some sale, I failed to register her comments. Or should I say warnings? She told me that it was a really great bargain for such a high quality knife which was as sharp as a razor blade. Then I watched the corrugated edge glisten in the light as I positioned it atop the bread ready to slice.
One slight push was more than enough, no need to press very hard nor initiate any cutting motion whatever. The super sharp knife went through that bread in an instant. The saying is like a hot knife through butter and that I the exact same sensation I felt. If it hadn't been for the top half of my forefinger blocking the way, it would have put a nice deep gash in the wooden cutting board.
I screamed although I felt nothing. In the same instant my hand shot up in the air. Blood started spurting out, and at first I thought that I had cut off my poor finger. The gouge was deep and clean, but my finger was still attached thank God. Thea came to the rescue and put her nursing skills to work by wrapping some gauze and bandages tightly around the wound. My life was saved and I would more likely survive.
The first thing that came to my mind was that I would never be able to play golf again. Not that I might bleed to death, but that having half of a finger would become an insurmountable obstacle for me at winning any future golf tournaments again. My days as a future famous golf pro were over.
One week later and it still hasn't healed completely, but things are improving nicely. In a couple more days I hope to be back on the golf course. I will use that little scar as a touch point from now on so that I can focus and play better golf.
The funny thing is that around the time that I cut myself, a number of articles appeared in the local newspapers about people complaining that these knives were way too sharp for normal folks. One woman even threatens to sue the store for neglecting to give sufficient warnings about the danger.
- Albert Heijn-messen te scherp
- Albert Heijn-messen voor sommigen te scherp
- AH-messen veel te scherp' (of kunnen we er gewoon niet mee omgaan?)
Once a week every Wednesday evening, we have our golf training at the golf club. I always look forward to this activity very much, getting a chance to socialize with the team, hit buckets of balls, and most importantly get psyched up for next year's competition season.
You can imagine the disappointment I felt when I opened the trunk of my car and discovered that it was empty, except for a couple of spare "lucky" golfing caps which I always keep there just in case.
As it turns out, I had left my golfing equipment in the garage at home and forgotten to put them back in the car. I'll have to go again tomorrow afternoon and make up for the lost time.
Looking around me, I can see millions of leaves all over the place. Not only heaped up in the rough and behind the greens, but also scattered thickly across the fairways. Where did all these leaves come from?! While part of nature and beautiful to see, they ruin my golf game. Even my best drives down the middle of the fairway risk getting lost and never found again. All it takes is a single willing leaf and the proper circumstances like wind and angle of entry, and the ball will roll underneath the yellowness and never be seen again. A good reason not to use your best balls, but I cannot play well with second-hand ugly balls (they have to be nearly brand-new). When I miss the fairway there's an even bigger chance that the ball disappears right in the middle of a heap of leaves. Kicking around endlessly with your feet is like looking for a needle in a haystack. In this case, a golf ball in a pile of leaves. Can't wait until next year Spring, but in the meantime I will just have to deal with it like a mature and accepting person.
The great thing about golf is that no matter how well you are playing, there is always some new personal record to be made. After hitting a couple of buckets on the driving range, and then chipping a bit, I head on up to the putting green. A bit drizzly and cold, but good climate for honing my short game. The goal is to complete one round of nine holes without a single three putt before being able to go home. Sometimes I make it through two rounds or two rounds and a bit before that disastrous three putt ends my dream of perfection. This afternoon was different, totally unexpected. Not two but three rounds without a single three putt, and a new world record to boot. When you think about it, that's quite a worthy accomplishment to feel proud about. Three times nine is twenty-seven holes times three balls per hole equals eighty-one attempts with only two putts and more often than not one putts. I didn't keep track of all of the one putts so not sure how many under I was but it was alot.
My handicap has reached a new low of 4.1 despite a terrible score of 86 on Sunday after shooting an 81 and 77 on Saturday during the sixth Rijnmond Open.
I chose my 52-degree wedge, took the usual practice swings, and then I hit the ball crisply right on the sweet spot. The ball flew straight as an arrow with a nice high arc falling down wind directly at the flag. Right down the smoke stack as we used to say. Not sure how it missed the hole. Looking at the direct line between the ball mark at the front of the green and the ending position of the ball right behind the flag, it doesn't seem possible. Oh well, better luck next time.
The 14th hole at Liemeer
Hurrah, I've qualified to play in the 3e NGF Maandbeker this Sunday at the Golfclub Cromstrijen. My lousy handicap has been slowly increasing so it's high time that I shoot another low score in order to bring my current handicap (4.6) down a couple of notches where it belongs.
Startlijst - 3e NGF Maandbeker op Cromstrijen
Aantal deelnemers - 55
Sunday, July 19
As it turns out, I had a stellar round with three birdies and no double-bogies and finished with a 75 which was 10th place. Not bad against all those youthful whippersnappers who can hit the ball a mile. I was by far the oldest one there, at least twice as old as the average player, and one of the players in my flight was nineteen years old believe it or not. Still a golfer who is young at heart.
Uitslag voor Heren - 3e NGF Maandbeker
Somehow managed to make it past the cut and qualified to play in the final round of the International Dutch Senior Open.
Not that I played that great, made many stupid mistakes but managed to hang in there and at the end pulling though with a streak of pars on the final four grueling holes.
My scores were just good enough to squeeze through, I shot a 43+42=85 and 41+42=83 (2 birdies, 5 double-bogies and 1 triple-bogie).
Saturday, July 11th :
Turns out that my excitement was short lived. Had a terrible third day. 45+43=88 with only 4 lousy pars, two double-bogies and a whole slew of bogies, very frustrating. Better luck next year.
Last week Friday afternoon it was an honor and a pleasure being able to play on De Pan which is one of the most prestigious golf courses in Holland.
Since I will be playing next week in the International Dutch Senior Open, I qualify for one free practice round. Normally the green fee is one hundred euros and you can only play if you are invited by one of the members.
Hopefully next week I will play better than I have recently (pull my iron shots badly to the left or drive duck hooks off of the tee), but most importantly I will take the next few days to relax and prepare myself mentally.
This is how it all started, little did I realize the consequences of my carelessness.
Last week Thursday, I was late for the train home and ran as quickly as I could to try and catch it. Normally a brisk fifteen minute walk, I dashed at full speed and covered the same distance in half that time. This turned out not to be a very great idea. Carrying my heavy leather bag dangling from the right shoulder didn't help things out either. At the last possible moment when the train doors started to slide shut I hurled myself through the opening. My back was jerked out of place in a split-second forceful thud of gravity as my left foot landed inside. Oops and ouch.
Not being able to get out of bed is a bizarre and slightly frightful experience. Fortunately, I have a fantastic nurse for a wife who knows all the ins and outs of patient care, including the helping hands pulling me out of bed as well as the administration of the proper types and doses of pain killers.
Of course I was in complete denial. I'm alright just a little stiff is all. You see, all year long I had been looking forward so much to playing in this famous Rotterdam Open Golf Tournament. I was even entertaining exotic fantasies that I could very well win this thing, and was not about to let some stupid back problem get in my way.
Didn't play that great, but considering the situation (could only swing with my arms with severely limited back rotation) I managed to make the cut by shooting a conservative 39+37=76 (one double bogie but no birdies).
That evening proved to be fairly unbearable, and even my macho brain had to give in to the pain. After all, you need to listen to your body's warning system and accept things once in awhile. Or not?
In the end, it was very hard for me to give in but I was forced to cancel the round with tears in my eyes. Let another happy and healthier soul from the reserve list take my place and appreciate it.
Next weekend is the second most important golf tournament of my golf club, and I do not want to risk missing that because of my being too hard-headed and stubborn.
Hopefully I can get out of bed tomorrow morning and make it to work.