The Return to Rahman

After a long layoff (so long in fact that I didn’t even realised that my club has issued new membership cards), I finally managed to get a very fast game into Rahman Putra, Championship (Lakes) course. The objective was really to get my chips/pitching more ready for actual play. I’ve been practicing in my garden but those are entirely different conditions. Rahman, with its cowgrass and tight lies around the green should indicate if any of my methods are actually working.

Hole 10: Teeing off at the harder back 9, I promptly hooked my drive into the water. Dropped, submarined my 3rd shot by 7 wood and with an approach shot of 110m, I hit my gap wedge much to short – and here comes the chip, and while I got good contact on it, I chipped it much too long and had to two-putt for double. (+2)

Hole 11: Hit a reasonable 5 wood which had a baby hook, but on the rough on the left, hit my 6 iron that flew the green bunker and trickled to around 8 feet of the hole. Sank the birdie! (+1)

Hole 12: 150+ meters up hill, I hit my 7-iron slightly short and had another chip to test. Hit a pretty good one with my gap, which landed just on the fringe but refused to move onto the green which would have been perfect. Two putt, bogey. (+2)

Hole 13: Easy par 4, just drive it, which I did. Landed around 70 meters from the green on the left with the ball sitting up in the rough. Now, for the testing pitch. 60 degree, inches away from being very good, but still an excellent contact which made me do a wardance of delight. Two putt for par (+2)

Hole 14: This is not an easy hole, but with my crooked drive, landed in the left bunker (I note that my drives are still hooking to the left a fair bit). With an 8-iron, I managed to hit a good bunker shot, which caught the trees on the right near the green and yes – another chip shot. And a good one at that, sank the par putt. (+2).

At this point I was feeling quite good about my chipping. There has been some pretty good contact and although these were not exceptional by any stretch of imagination, you need to understand where I was a few weeks earlier. I couldn’t even chip/pitch without feeling shaky all over, and skulling the damn ball all over the place.

Hole 15: Par 3, pretty easy one, I landed on the green but this time, three putted for bogey. Dang (+3)

Hole 16: The tough stretch begins. I boomed my best drive of the day  and had around 150m left to the green. My 8-iron fell woefully short and facing a chip I should be confident about, I duffed but contacted it, but it was poor – early indication I still suck. Two putted for bogey (+4)

Hole 17: Good, good drive to a tough tough hole. But skulled my 7-wood that just managed to cross the water, but  hung on the slope. I unfortunately shanked my 60 degree 3rd shot! It seems I am insisting to chip today. A chip that was poor (but still had contact), two putted for double (+6). Frustrating due to an excellent start position.

Hole 18: A poor topped drive but with 7-wood, managed to cross the water and left with 70 meters for my third. 60 degree was well hit to around 15 feet away from the hole. But, my first putt was too aggressive and the ball trickled down the green too fast…too far. Three-putted for bogey! (+7)

This 9 could have been much better, if I had putted properly. But then again, some of my chips were good as well, so it evened out.

Hole 1: The back 9 was bad because we ended up playing behind a MASSIVELY slow group. MASSIVELY. I hooked my drive into the woods on Hole 1, punched out, and half chipped/half pitched to the fringe, and two putted for bogey. (+8)

Hole 2: Tough par 3. I actually duffed my ball so badly it didn’t even reach the water! So for my second, my sand wedge dropped to around 15 feet, and two putted to escape with bogey! (+9)

Hole 3: Not a good drive, a bit of hooked left me slightly behind the small palm trees. But with a 5 wood hit well with natural hook, it left me on the fairway from around 120m to a downhill green. I should have hit this green with my eyes close but instead with my gap wedge I conjured a crap approach that drew too much and landed for a testing chip. A poor chip left me too much to do and managed a frustrating bogey. (+10). Seems like my chipping is going back to retardedness.

Hole 4: Another drive, another hook. But this time, with a lucky break as I have a window between the trees on the left. Pitching wedge on the green! And once more – 3 putted!! DANG (+11)

Hole 5: Hit my tee shot too short which left me with a somewhat difficult chip to a back pin. A mediocre chip which ran slightly too far to the back fringe and from there two putted for bogey. (+12). I have started my back 9 with 5 straight bogeys.

Hole 6: HOOK! Trickled down to the next hole’s rough, near the next hole’s bunker. Without any way out, I punched out and with a third shot from around 110m downhill, a sand wedge took me to around 10 feet from the hole and by some stroke of incredible luck, sank it for par (+12)

Hole 7: At least a straight drive this time. With around 150 to the hole, I hit my best 8-iron, perhaps of all time. You know you hit a perfect shot when the finishing is there, when the impact is there, when you feel a bit of buzz on the feedback from the shaft and the ball flight is perfect. On that shot itself, you feel – hell, this is a pro shot. The only difference is that the pros hit these shot 93% of the time. We hit these shots 7% of the time. Dropped to 8 feet and just missed my birdie and settled for par (+12)

Hole 8: The toughest hole. I topped my drive but still managed to find fairway, although an incredible distance away. A 7 wood took me to around 20 meters from green and pitching distance. Again, a very good pitch to a very difficult green. It left me on the fringe, and a slippery two putt for bogey (+13)

Hole 9: A good 5 wood  and 7 wood left me to around 110m to a very uphill green. Unfortunately I couldn’t close with a good approach shot, my pitching wedge leaving me to the right of the green. I want to end the day with a super chip, but instead skulled it and airmailed it to around 15 feet past the pin with an extremely fast, curvy downhill. Managed to negotiate the putt for a bogey finish. (+14)

Conclusion: It’s ok. I like where my chipping is heading. My driving is not heading in the same direction though but like I said, you can compensate for drives but not for short game. An 86 gross on the traditionally difficult Lakes of Rahman, after more than a year not playing the course is, to me, a fairly good score!

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Desa Dungun Golf Club

Introduction

After what seems like FOREVER, we finally managed to play in a course that we have never set foot on and after such a long period, we finally have a review! Our last review was years ago.

We were here at Tanjung Jara during a quick family vacation, which also means an escape from the hustle bustle of screaming kids for a few hours and running over to the nearest golf course to hack a few holes in the shortest time possible. So anywhere I am headed, I do a quick search of the nearest golf course in the vicinity. (Un)fortunately, the closest we had was a course called Desa Dungun Golf Club (or Kelab Golf Desa Dungun, as it might be known), around 15 minutes away from where we were staying. I mean, why not? How bad can it be? So away we went, merrily after breakfast over a Saturday early morning.

Price (2/5)

You will notice that we have given up giving marks for travel. I mean when I started this blog more than 10 years back, there was no such thing as google map, Waze or whatnot. All we had were very cryptic maps over the internet, and guidance from the stars and wind to get to the golf course we were trying to find. However, over the years, these free GPS had basically rendered obsolete the problem of getting lost.

So now, we jump right into pricing.

Desa Dungun gives an initially attractive green fee – RM40 per person for a weekend rate. I don’t know about the weekdays. However, the buggy is RM60, so if you split two people, it becomes RM70 per person. If you are playing alone, you are paying RM100. That’s not so cool, when you realise that with Visa Infinite you can play Mines, Kota Permai, Glenmarie, Sungai Long, Tropicana and Palm Garden all within RM100 range. So really, if you are playing alone, you might want to forget about the buggy. But we won’t recommend it. Because in fact, with the buggy, it is the fastest mode of travel you will wish you have after playing a few holes on this course – you simply cannot wait to get your butt out of the course. So no, I don’t think the price is great. The fact that you will wish you had a buggy sort of makes it imperative for you to have one.

First thoughts

Remember the infamous TUDM course? The review brought so much comments (mostly negative, some vitrolic, and mostly from their own members who can’t seem to take criticism) that I had to sign up for a witness protection program for a while. A lot of TUDM golfers were pissed with what they presumed to be very disrespectful remarks about their beloved course. Unfortunately, call it as we see it. If I see a pile of turd, I am not going to call it Bak Kut Teh. And TUDM is the biggest pile of turd we have in Malaysia. Until, maybe, maybe now.

Are you serious? You remark. What could possibly be worse than the TUDM course? Well, if this doesn’t do it, then I am pretty sure it comes close.

Look, honestly, we wanted it to be good. We woke up 6.45 am for a drive down here, during our holidays. After putting my screaming kid to bed at 2 am and having hardly 3 hours of sleep. I prayed that it would at least be a reasonably golf course to sacrifice our precious sleep for. And you know – this club is the oldest club in Terengganu. So that has to count for something. I mean, RSGC style, maybe?

Rolling into the single story club house, RSGC style was immediately off the table and TUDM firmly back in.

Service (3/5)

The gentleman behind the counter was very efficient. He collected our cash, rolled up with a buggy and seem to be doing everything. And for that, we appreciate it. Other form of services, such as course maintenance, course marshal etc are all non-existent. In fact, the club is now using photostated copies of their score card, so technically they are using score papers. I find the staff quite friendly – and I think its the culture in these parts, the laid back, take it easy sort of style. Obviously we did not try any F&B or whatsoever, but you know, their buggy was actually very new and function very well (unlike the piece of crap you drive around in TUDM). This is already a plus point!

Fairways (0/5)

And now, the real review begins.

It’s hard to review the fairways.

Because there is none. No fairways. All you see is a land of sand, with tufts of grass screaming out for water. It’s, I would venture to add, the worst fairway we have ever experienced in the history of our golf experiments. In fact, we came to a point after the 3rd hole that we played ‘preferred lies’. Meaning, we can pick up our ball and search for any grass available and place carefully on the patched of chosen grass to play. I mean, you need to see it to believe it. Mostly we want to hit the ball in the thick rough instead of the fairway, beause at least, we have grass. This is serious, not a joke. This is the first golf course where fairways are actually PUNISHMENT for you.

So why isn’t it rated -1, like that travesty of a golf course TUDM? Because we played this stupid preferred lies, and you know, we started driving like PGA tour distance. Because the ground was so hard, it was like the ball would hit cement and roll and roll and roll and …. In fact, at one hole, my drive almost drove the green at 340 meters. No joke. I was left with around 50 meters left. Another one, my partner topped the ball, it whizzed past the ladies and rolled and rolled and rolled forever. He was left with a 120m shot to the hole. So, yes, the fairway is HOPELESS, but that’s not to say we detested it so much because we all became Dustin Johnson overnight.

The ground is so hard, it is impossible for plastic tees to penetrate on some holes. Unless you have a Bosch drill with you, you need to do what we did. We gathered up sand and soil and made a Laura Davies kind of dirt tee…i.e just placing our ball on top of a small mound of sand we need to design. Like sand castles. What. The. Flaming. Heck.

Greens (1/5)

No. It’s horrible. It’s similar to TUDM style. No greens are the same. Some greens have six different type of grass growing. Your ball will spend more time in the air bouncing like a pinball than on the green. We in fact came to a point that if the ball was in flagstick length, we would pick up the ball. Now, its not to say there is no redemption. Two or three greens were actually playable, so this is better than TUDM, but still, it’s a suffering akin to pulling off all your nostril hair at once.

Rough ( 1/5)

Aside from the course doubling up as a junkyard, the rough is also not great. Rubbish everywhere, plastic bottles strewn across some fairways, tumbleweed tumbling by, with an Irish Leprecaun cackling with delight at your stupidity of playing this course. Now, the sand is playable, hence the 1. The bunkers are a lot better than TUDM…Sorry, we need to run comparisons of these two courses due to both being in the East Coast and both chasing for the absolutely crap , worse course in Malaysia title. Additionally, because the fairways were so horrendous, it made the rough looked like the beautiful grass of Augusta. It’s like you see an ugly painting, and you put another painting which is basically cow crap splattered all over it in random fashion, immediately, the first painting looks like Van Gogh, right? Same same.

Aesthetics ( 0/5)

I don’t really recall anything about any hole in this course. It’s very flat. Very. There is hardly any undulation and they might try to advertise this as a ‘links’ styled course, but no, it’s anything but a links styled course. The only link you will find is the chain link fence near one hole that is basically torn down so that the neighbourhood can basically throw all their garbage in It’s more like a field where cattle generally will graze and they suddenly decide to create a golf course to reclaim the land. The cattle is obviously still grazing since all the grass on the fairway is GONE. Absolutely nothing to recommend. If they were to choose a signature hole for this course, I would select one of the many iguana holes that are being burrowed all over the course by these cute little lizards.

Fun Factor (0/5)

In one fairway, as I was preparing to hit my second shot, I heard my partner yelling, “Wait Stop! Car coming!”

I looked up, shocked, thinking he meant “CAR-T” as in Buggy cart, from the maintenance coming. No, he meant CAR. As in AN ACTUAL CAR that’s supposed to be on the road, and not on the golf course. It rumbled through our fairway, over our line of sight of the green and happily chugged to the hut nearby. You have heard of buggies, but you will now experience the fairway where cars are actually allowed.

We also have one hole (I think the 10th hole) which is literally right next to the main beach road where all the cars are zooming back and forth. You’d expect some netting to catch balls slicing out. But no the only boundary you have is a dilapidated wall that is about 5 feet high, effective to catch balls if a colony of termites decide to play golf. We were so afraid we will kill someone on the road that we aimed so far left, we played the other fairway on purpose. I mean we are all out of towners. If we killed someone, I am not sure what’s going to happen to us here.

And speaking of which, the entire design of the course is senseless. We end up making huge u-turns to the next tee box, or crossing other people’s fairways to reach another tee box. In more than 3 occasions, we were searching for the next tee box like a bunch of treasure hunters. It’s as if they created a golf course and then remembered golf courses had 18 holes, and not 15, and the other three holes are basically randomly plastered all over the place.

And maybe it’s the laid back culture here, but we were stuck behind groups that were so slow, I could actually feel my stubble regrowing again on my chin. And I am Chinese. This means, my stubble grows at the speed of 1/20 of normal people growing a stubble.

Did we have fun?

Let’s put it this way, we were very happy that we had a new-ish buggy to haul ass as quickly as possible.

The only positive I have out of this is that my chipping continues to improve. The last hole, I almost chipped in. And many other occasions, I am actually chipping properly. Obviously this has nothing to do with the golf course, but it still made me a slightly less grumpier human. Can’t wait to play golf on an actual golf course again.

Conclusion

Oooh boy. Look, if you are in the resort where we were, you don’t have much of a choice unless you have the whole morning to spare. We teed off around 8 and played speed golf and finished 10.30 am. It could have been less if we weren’t stuck behind a few groups. Unless you are willing to drive far, you can probably experience better courses out there. But as it is, this is the only golf course that’s near enough and if you play speed golf, you can finish it quickly and get back in time before the breakfast buffet concludes. Do we recommend this? Oh God, no. You are better off spending your time on the beach, or in the pool, or sleeping, or just siting down, watching the grass grow.

The good: The history of the club – at least you can say you played the oldest course in Terengganu, survived and lived to tell the tale. I mean, look, compared to the TUDM we reviewed years ago, this is better. So, I suppose that’s saying something that its NOT the worst course in Malaysia.

The bad: Fairways feel like you are playing golf in a desert; greens are hopeless, they are actually fairways quality in other courses; aesthetics is as beautiful as staring at a gibbon’s ass, and fun factor? Look, we need to be fair. If you weren’t rushing like us, or you hadn’t played Kota Permai, Mines, Tropicana etc and be spoilt brats like us in golf, you can probably work out a bit of fun here. Because the walk is leisurely since the course is so flat. And you know, it’s still near the beach and you can get a fairly good exercise in.

The skinny: 5 of 30 divots (16.6%). So, while it escaped the wonderful honour of being the worst course in Malaysia, its still firmly set in the absolutely crap course you will want to visit only as a novelty, like how you would like to see a guillotine work, but probably do not want to put your head under it. Take a buggy, zoom as fast as you can, play as fast as you can, and get back to wherever you come from and have breakfast.

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Palm Garden and Chipping

So, for the first time this year we played at Palm Garden Golf at Putrajaya. It’s actually a reasonably easy course but for some strange reason, scores are never good over here.

But today, I had another mission: solve my chipping problems. It needs to be resolved. I’ve developed a really stupid, but maybe effective method. I address the ball in a narrow stance, with the ball in the centre. Then I shift my feet to 45 degrees of the ball, as in, in a really open position as if I am hitting the ball 45 degrees to the left of its intended target. Then I move my hands back to address the ball.

What this does is that I am chipping with an extremely exaggerated open stance. I’ve tried many times in my garden back home and I am hitting them perfectly. So it’s time to take Ranger Rick to the course.

Hole 10: We started at the Bismark course and immediately at the tough par 5. I haven’t resolved my drives yet, but again, my priority was to figure out my chipping so I didn’t really care much. I was still pulling my drive. My second shot was a good 5 wood, leaving me around 90 meters to the green. I hit my 3rd shot sandwedge fat and immediately now was left with a tricky chip over the rough onto the green. I took my sandwedge out, did all my standard setup and…..skull. I don’t get it. I can hit it perfectly from anywhere at home and when it comes to the course, it’s…completely fishes up. The skull left me with a long putt for par which I missed, settled for bogey (+1). DANG!

Hole 11: Tough par 4, but I didn’t hit it badly. I just pushed my drive straight right but for some weird reason, couldn’t find my ball. I am unlucky in many ways and usually if there is a ball missing, then it’s mine. I took a drop near the trees and stuffed a gap wedge to around 8 feet, and sank the bogey putt (+2).

Hole 12: Easy par 3. Aimed right with my gap wedge to around 110 meters and stuffed it to around 6 feet! I missed the easy birdie badly but hit the comeback for par. (+2)

Hole 13: This is the massive par 5 which as long as you don’t go right you are fine. I went left. WAAAY left. Surrounded by trees I actually hit a very lucky shot that skim every branches along the way and landed around 100 meters in the rough on the left. Now, it was an easy sandwedge to the green, with only one skinny palm tree in front of me. And amazingly, I hit the the palm tree smack in the middle of its trunk, rebounded into oblivion behind me to OB. Amazing luck. I could try to hit that tree a 1,000 times and never get it. Dropped for 5th, duffed the shot near the green. Chipping time! I used a gap wedge and I chipped it too hard over the green.  Seven on and one putted for a very unfortunate triple. (+5) However, the plus is that I actually contacted my chip.

Hole 14: It goes downhill fast. Tough par 3,with OB on the left, which I promptly hooked into. My second hung onto the green, but I three-putted stupidly for another triple. Two in a row and it looks like this game is shot to hell. (+8)

Hole 15: A very broad par 5. This is a welcome sight because the fairway is so accomodating. Yet another hook, another missed fairway but no harm. I hit my 5 wood left, which left me dead inside the trees and which I had to punch out to around 100 meters. Should be my bread and butter, but I hit it fat. Chipping time! This time with a sandwedge, but it was poorly hit and my next shot crept into the green, then two putted for double (+10). The chipping at least wasn’t bad.

Hole 16: This is one of our favourite holes because you can power this one onto the green if you hit a great shot. I hit a poor drive and hooked it left, but it still left me around 70 meters to the green. I didn’t hit a good shot which left me on the rough near the green. Ah, chipping! I used my gap to chip and duff it slightly, so it went too short. Two putted for a bogey. (+11)

Hole 17: Nice par 3, but I played too short with my pitching wedge and landed into the bunker. One out, missed par for bogey. (+12)

Hole 18: Very bad drive. It was just straight top, veer left and somehow survive. Left me around 150 to the green, my 8-iron was topped and into the water. Dropped and hit on the green for my 4th, two putted for six. (+14)

So, made the turn at a very poor number. But strangely, I was enjoying my golf more because at least my chipping was improving. Honest!

Hole 1: This is relatively easy hole, but I again skull-topped-hooked my drive and had around 140 to the green. My 9 iron found the bunker, hit my third out, missed par, and went in for bogey (+15)

Hole 2: 9-iron went into the bunker, out in my second, missed par and settled for bogey (+16)

Hole 3: Long, long par 4. I hit a reasonably hooked shot, which left me around 160 away, but my 7 iron was hooked terribly, leaving me with a very very long putt. 3 putted easily, and expectedly for bogey. (+17)

Hole 4: This is a funny par 5 with island green approach. I hit the same skull hooked shot but somehow found my ball. A punch out, and another sandwedge left me around 100 meters to a downhill green. Another committed SW took me to around 10 feet from the hole, but couldn’t save par and settled for bogey. (+18)

Hole 5: Another par 5. This time. This time, I hit the best drive ever. Ever. It flew for miles and the release was perfect. My second shot, I stubbed my 5 wood and hooked it to the left but no harm done. I was only around 60 meters. My 60 degree was very poor and I only managed to get onto the front. But finally, a two putt – par to take home. (+18)

Hole 6: Tough hole. Hit a hook to the left but still in a good spot. Hooked my 6 iron and it hit literally the only small tree in the vicinity of around 30 meters from the green. CHIP/PITCH! I took my sandwedge, implemented my extreme open stance and yes, hit a brilliant pitch to around 6 feet of the hole. I felt like doing a rain dance then and there. I celebrated too much I think as I powered my par putt like 4 feet past, and couldn’t hit the return! Double bogey – but very happy with my pitch (+20)

Hole 7: VERY tough par 3. Long and again, hooked my 7 wood into the adjacent fairway. Wow. I was faced with a very tough shot over trees onto an extremely sloping green. 60 degree wedge, implemented my open stance again and executed a very good flop over trees and softly to the edge of the green. Extremely quick putt was done nicely to around 2 feet and putted in for a very unlikely bogey. (+21)

Hole 8: This is a fine hole and I hit a very good drive. I was on the right rough and I must have misjudged my sandwedge so poorly that I duffed it. Now, I am about 40 meters with a daunting pitch. I hit a ‘meh’ pitch to the front of the green, but considering here I was weeks ago, this was a success. It actually flew over the bunker and got caught onto the fringe. I putted for par to around 2 feet and unfortunately, missed the bogey putt when my ball rattled around the hole. Bad double, but hey, chipping/pitching is fun again. (+23)

Hole 9: Hit a good drive that completely flew the bunkers on the left. Left with around 70 meters and hit my 60 degree pitch shot again with my open stance. Getting really used to it now. It crept to the front of the green, and two putted for a routine par to end the round (+23)

Conclusion: You would think when someone scores 95 it would be an unmitigated disaster, but I really enjoyed the game. This is because I am beginning to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel to my chipping woes. Sure, my irons and drivers still suck, but generally I am fine with those because I can compensate by aiming right to accommodate my hooks. I am not concerned. The chips however…you can’t escape this. There is no bail out, there are no compensating factor here.

Open stance, good tempo, and my chips will be fine. I just need to clock in a few more rounds to get this down to habit and I am ready for fine golfing again.

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Glenmarie Roasting

Ah. Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone says: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”

Out and in here would mean OUT of shitty golf playing.

They here would mean the golfing Gods, or whichever deity is involved in this hopeless drama of pain and suffering called GOLF.

After playing some good golf (relatively speaking) over the weeks, I was pretty confident going into Glenamarie Valley this week. Remember we like Glenmarie. We just don’t like the caddies. I was just recovering from a terrible fever and food poisoning around 48 hours prior, but it’s not an excuse , because I would say, aside from feeling somewhat weak, I thought I was feeling fine overall to play.

We teed up in Hole 10, and today, we were behind complete buffoons who were so slow, they make glaciers look like the Starship Enterprise doing hyperspace.

Hole 10: Straight forward hole and technically should be easy – pulled my drive into the rough on left, a nine iron left me my worst possible shot. The bump and run chip. I proceeded to duff and plop for my third to the front of green. Long lag put and dropped my bogey (+1)

Hole 11: I can score on this damn hole! But I duck hook my drive to around 160m only. An 8-iron left me once more the same stupid bump and run requirement which I proceeded to duff and plop into the bunker. My fourth out of the bunker flew to the back, and two putted for my double bogey. (+3)

Hole 12: So this is the very long par 3 which I usually do not find an issue. But once more, I pulled my 5 iron way left and almost OB the damn thing. I found my ball deep in the rough, tried to muscle it out like Tiger and it plopped 5 feet a way and my third only found the green. Two putted for double. (+5).

Hole 13: Even though I aimed way right on this hole, my ball still insisted on going left and hooked into the rough. I hit a really good 6 iron from the rough. Really, from where I was I thought it was a great shot. When I saw where it landed, it was $hit. It was the bump and run chip/ too long to putt/ not in bunker shot. At this point, I was like an idiot scared $hitless about this shot and I decided to just use a 9-iron and channel the calmness of Phil Mickleson. The result? Duff and plop. So from hole 10-13, every hole I have duffed my damn chip shot, which a chipmunk blindfolded, and being roasted alive over boiling lava would still be able to execute without an issue. 4-on then, two putt for double bogey. (+7)

Hole 14: This should be my favourite par 5. It should be but by now, I was more demoralised than Manchester United in Champions League this year. I pulled my 5 iron into the woods, punched out, hit my 8-iron to 100m and 4-on with a gap wedge. 2 putted for a bogey. Not bad (+8)

Hole 15: So we cross over to the water par 3. PULL AGAIN!!! But this time there was luck. Instead of the water, the ball miraculously landed right at the edge of the fringe and stayed there. Instead of thanking God and taking the break, I duffed my chip again to the fringe and then two putted for a bogey. Stupid stupid Stupid. (+9)

Hole 16: This is by far the worst. I hit a pulled drive. It wasn’t bad. Really it wasn’t. Everyone thought it was fine. It landed just light on the left of the buggy track. Caddy said fine. Went there and nearly dug up the entire course looking for the bloody ball and couldn’t find it. It’s so frustrating. I hit my 4th over the green, 5 on, two putted for TRIPLE. (+12) If I wasn’t fuming on my game, I was truly ready to throw my entire bag into the water.

Hole 17: Apparently the toughest hole on the course. At this point, I changed my grip to be a lot more open because I gave up on my swing. Amazingly, I hit my first good drive of the day. First – straight, but not very long, but straight. It feels strange because it feels I am hitting the ball with an OPEN clubface and I feel that the ball will spin right. But it didn’t. It’s strange! So from the fairway for the first time in my life, I flighted in a 9 iron to the downhill green to about 10 feet and amazingly hit a birdie out of NOWHERE. Even my playing partners were stunned. It was like suddenly a chihuahua bit the balls of a pitpull that was in the process of eating its intestines. (+11)

Hole 18: The Par 5. Tested this strange grip again. Same result, short, ballooned drive, but straight. Second shot 5 wood wasn’t good but still landed on the rough around 110m away. Gap wedge into the green, two putted for a simple par. (+11)

At this point, we were halfway through our second frame sixers game. My first frame partner played like a squid and blew almost all holes, and we lost pretty big (5 balls) in the first frame. Annoyingly once he partnered with another guy, he proceeded to par all 3 of his first 3 partnership holes. I was staring daggers at him already and threatened to puncture his tyres later.

Hole 1: At this point, I thought my game was turning around. Thought. But the guys in front of us were playing so slow, we were growing roots and turning into plants waiting for them to play. They are horrible! So, tee off Hole 1, I reverted to my strong grip because so much water on the right and my new grip felt too open. Immediately pulled nearly into OB. I duffed my recovery into the water, dropped for my 4th and landed that near the green. Putted on for 5th, two putt for 7. (+14) To Make matters worse, that ex-partner of mine, had gone on to par this hole as well, so after playing +10 on the first 6 holes with me, he is actually playing even on the last 4 holes with another partner and racking up the fringes in the game.

Hole 2: Par 5, very easy. Pulled my drive to left, but hit a good 5 iron to around 80 meters. Overshot my 60 degrees to the back, and really, its an awful recovery to end with a bogey from my position. It’s so stupid. (+15). At this point, my ex-partner had duffed his third shot and he was off the green for his fourth and I thought finally, this train wreck can stop. No, he hit a ridiculously stupidly good bump and run that ran all the way into the hole for a birdie. What can you say?

Hole 3: Another relatively easy hole historically, at least. I hit a pulled hook into the woods, but knocked it out and had about 80m to the uphill green. For some strange reason, my 60 degrees came up very short and I had to putt off the green. Couldn’t get near the hole and bogeyed. (+16). The good news is finally, my ex-partner ended his par/birdie run with a double bogey. The stats: +10 with me for first 6 holes, +1 with the next guy on next 6 holes. Huh.

Hole 4: Par 3, easy nine iron to the middle of the green, two putt for par. (+16)

Hole 5: Tough par 5, but hit finally a good drive that stayed slightly on the left of fairway. Six iron was bad and skittered away, left with 130m or so. Gap wedge was slightly short to the fringe and two putted for bogey. (+17)

Hole 6: This is not an easy par 4. Its the one with the power lines to the left. I hit a fairly straight drive, but woefully weak and short. From the fairway, I fluffed my 6 iron into the green bunker and barely got it out with my third. I skulled my chip fourth shot to the other side of the green and two putted for a double (+19)

Hole 7: Ah. The signature L-shape hole. My 5 iron was very short and badly hit. It left me an awkward stance for my second in the rough and predictably I managed to hit a magnificent second shot into the water. Dropped for 4, hit it on the green barely and two putted for double. (+21)

Hole 8: Par 3 and really NOT.FEELING.IT. Still opted for my 5-iron and like an idiot, blundered my shot into the left rough about 40 meters from the green. At this point, I think my mates were starting to feel a little pity for me, like watching a dog die a slow death being rolled over by motorbikes over and over again. My 60 degree was too strong, went over, my shot back was too strong and ended up the front and finally put my 4th on and putted for double. (+23). Sigh.

Hole 9: I am just glad my suffering is over. Glad. I felt like dying. And at this point of “Frankly My Dear I don’t give a damn” moment, I hit finally a great drive. Not a shitty, halfbaked straight drive with the open club face, but the way I always hit my drive. Closed clubface, swinging like a caveman, killing the ball like Jack the Ripper drive. What? I was now 90m from a very elevated green, which I used a sandwedge to get myself up there. 8 feet downhill swaying putt? Yeah, drained the sucker for birdie to finish the round. (+22). In your face, stupid golf game.

Conclusion: I was just dog tired. All shots went left. Legs dead. Strength gone. It was a strange feeling but two birdies? I’ll take it and play again another day.

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Mines Part Two

Its not coincidental that there is a sudden upsurge in article writing in golf lately. The interest is renewed. Thanks to Mr Tiger Woods, because he is back. Suddenly, the whole game becomes interesting again, and I am staying up to watch, and I am thinking I can once more play like him.

This week was Mines Part 2. Mines as you know has always been kind…with par 71, and with good conditions, we are absolutely spoilt beyond words in terms of golfing. We will never set foot again in Seri Selangor after going through these courses.

So, this time, we started in the back 9 and for some reason, Mines today was completely jammed up. Apparently there were some private competition. Also, behind us, apparently was a flight made up of money lenders, which obviously doesn’t bode too well for us.

Hole 10: This is the one I screwed up last round where I pulled into the left water, and then 3 on and one putted for par. This time, I hit the a semi good drive, which actually was a pull but it went nicely to the left, so taking the giant tree in the middle of the fairway out of play. My second shot was supposedly a simple sand wedge. I chunked it. My third chip skittered across the green and I two putted for bogey. So the moral of the story is: bad drives doesn’t mean bad score and good drives doesn’t mean good score. (+1)

Hole 11: The Par 3 where I lost my ball right the last round. Guess what. Deja vu. I shanked my six and once more went into the right jungle! What the H*ll! I chunked my pitch (again), four on and two putted for a triple bogey. Well done. (+4) At this point, we were forced to call on hole because the Ah Longs behind us wanted to play. So instead of facing the barrel of a gun, we took the smart way out and allowed them to play through. The problem was, our entire round then was a stop start wait sequence due to their not-so-fast play.

Hole 12: The par 5 where I hit the tree on the right the last round. Guess what. Deja Vu. I hit exactly the same shot as last round, hit exactly the same tree, but this time, instead of going through, dropped behind the ladies tee and a free jug spent, and became the butt of laughter. What the H*ll x 2!!! This time, I hit my 5-wood to almost exactly the same spot behind the bunker as previous time I played, though further back. I had about 190 to the uphill green, front pin. I opt for my seldom-used 7 wood and just hit the greatest 7 wood ever hit by me. It started right and drew in, flirted with the trees and then landed softly on the fringe, and rolled into the green, pin high around 8 feet away from the hole. Unfortunately I did not convert the birdie but it was once more, lousy drive – par combo on this hole. Who’s laughing now? (+4)

Hole 13: Pulled my drive left and luckily was around 10 feet away from water but awkward lie. A 7 iron got me to around the dreaded 10 meters distance from green. I chunked my chip again!! ARGH. Pounded my fourth on and amazingly one putted from around 10 feet for bogey. Putter is feelin’ it. (+5)

Hole 14: Pulled my drive to the left again (like last round) but instead of punching, I opted to flop a 60 over the trees back to the fairway around 100m. A gap wedge took me around 8 feet of the pin and once more, the putter went to work for a very unlikely par. (+5)

Hole 15:  Pulled my drive to the left again but this time, my luck ran out. This is the easy hole and I lost my ball. Taking an “illegal” OB drop for my fourth shot around the trees, I flopped it on to around 10 feet and once more, one putted for bogey. Amazing putting, horrendous driving. Why don’t ever these two suckers work together?? (+6)

Hole 16: Par 3. Tiger par 3 because of the giant tiger statue looking at us, as in the actual animal, not Tiger Woods. I shorted my nine iron in and hit a very very mediocre putt from the fringe to the back pin and — finally — missed out an easy par putt. Settle for bogey. (+7)

Hole 17: Tun’s hole. Favourite hole. I hit a straight drive (for once!!) but I was aiming right, thinking it would pull, so it landed in the rough between bunkers. Around 130m away from green, I opted for a pitching wedge instead of a 9-iron which I should have used. I landed 5 meters short of green and from there, an off the green putt left me too much work for my par and I bogeyed my favourite hole. Damn! (+8)

Hole 18: The Top Glove hole. Because there is the Top Glove building that I always aim for and hope it draws back to the fairway. It was a great straight hit but again, because I compensated for a draw/hook, it plopped into an impossible lie in the rough which I could just punch out. From there, I hit a poor approach short of the green. Putted into the green and two putted for a double. (+10)

At this point, the theme was clear: My drives were pulling and I was compensating. But the last two hole I compensated, I hit straight drives. What the fishcakes is happening?!

Hole 1: So to the front 9. Semi pulled my drive but not so bad since I compensated right. I was left with around 110 to the uphill green but I flew my gap wedge to the right fringe. I finally hit a good lag putt to tap in for a par. (+10)

Hole 2: The L-shape Par 5. Signature, at least to me. A good drive, but second shot I short sighted myself. I played an 8-iron thinking it would get me to 100 meters from the green. Instead it was poorly short and I was around the 150 meter marker instead. I pulled my 9-iron and it was going wet on the left, when suddenly, it ricochet off the face of a rock at the side of the lake and went up and landed softly on the fringe around 10 feet away from the pin!! If that wasn’t luck I don’t know what is. I two putted for the most unlikely par in my decorated history of unlikely and undeserved pars. (+10)

Hole 3: Index hole, long par 4. I pulled my tee shot in the huge left fairway bunker but managed to hit a good 7-wood from there to around 20 meters. This is the kryptonite distance and yes, once more I chunked my pitch to a few feet, and managed to regain some pride with a chip to around 15 feet. Putted in for a bogey. Putter is fine. Drives are not so and chips are completely retarded. (+11)

Hole 4: Finally, the course gives and takes away. Remembering the Hole 2 nonsense, Mines decide to swallow up my ball on the left after another PULLED drive (my seventh overall). I couldn’t find the ball, took an illegal OB drop, chunked my fourth shot, five on and two putted for triple bogey. CRAP. What more, an easy hole relatively which I birdied in my last round! (+14)

Hole 5: Hit a reasonable eight iron to the fringe but almost in the exact copy as the previous round, I putted off the green too quickly and skittered to around 6 feet past which I failed to sink, settled for a bogey. It’s like I am on a replay here. (+15)

Hole 6: The driving par 4. For once I hit a dead straight drive and landed to around 20 meters from the front of the green. I hit a dreadful pitch but at least it crept into the front of the green but far away from the back pin. Lag putted and hit the resulting 4 footer for a par. (+15)

Hole 7: The par 3 over water. This time, playing at the black tee, I flighted my 5-iron, pulled it somewhat but luckily hit the slope on the left and bounced onto the fringe to around 15 feet of the hole. Luck! Two putted for par. (+15)

Hole 8: The long par 5. I’ve  learnt a lot of lesson here from the last round. I pulled my drive just like the last round to the left rough. Hm. OK. I used my six iron just like the last round and hit the exact same pull that skittered over the ground. But this time I got lucky, instead of hanging up on the rough, it rolled to around 120 m from the green on the fairway. At this point, we each told each other: “Don’t go right” because there is a valley in there and a steep hill to the green. I hit EXACTLY the same chunk as I hit last round here. Exactly. And it landed at the same spot. Last round I managed to hit a super 60 degree to 5 feet and putted for par. So, I had every reason to be optimistic here since this is like Groundhog Day. CHUNK. It went into the hillside to the right. Where we told each other not to go. The best thing? ALL OF US ended up there. We are like a bunch to stupid lemmings playing golf. I managed to chip well (I think because I didn’t care anymore) and it landed inches from the hole and I settled for a bogey. (+16)

Hole 9: PULLED MY DRIVE AGAIN. I was like Goddammit, just bin this damn driver. In the rough under the tree, no hope for regulation on, so I hit a low 5-iron and then a 60 degree wedge to the fringe. Two putted for bogey to end the day. (+17).

It was a game that was strange. I felt my putting was once more amazing, but I really gave up more than half a dozen strokes on my lousy drives and chunky chips. Its a mental thing, I think, my chipping. Ah well. Now, I guess back to watching Tiger for the Bay Hill tournament. Go Tiger!

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I gave in to Astro

For many years, I’ve treated Astro as extortionist in providing so called sports package without golf channel. So I cut golf channel and told Astro I rather cut off my left arm than to subscribe to them again and give them all my hard earned money.

However.

After 3 years without Golf Channel, I finally could not resist the urge anymore and tapped in to subscribe to the channel for an extra RM10.60 per month. It’s not the money. Its the principal of paying this company.

Yes, I hear of so many alternatives like android TV etc. But am I brave enough to let go of Astro and go for these options? Sacrifice my football? Maybe, but let’s do it after World Cup. I can’t afford not to watch World Cup.

But yes, so I woke up on a Monday morning at 1.50 am to watch Mr Tiger Woods tee up in the second last group of the Valspar Championship. Honestly, without Tiger, nobody even knew what the hell this Valspar is about. I have no clue. Google Valspar and instead of the company information, everything is about Tiger Woods. You have one man instantly making a company nobody in this universe has heard of, suddenly famous.

To be honest, I had my misgivings of Tiger. Too many false dawns. Watching him chip and play in 2015 was like watching Michael Jordan missing a dunk in my 5 year old’s toy basketball game. It was painful and horrible. When he recovered a bit and wanted to play the 2017 season and then quit, I thought: The man is gone. How I wish I recorded all those games he played. You never know what you miss until it leaves you. And that was what Tiger was, not just to me, but to millions of golfers around the world.

But this time, he was sizzling. Like pre-car crash Thanksgiving day sizzling. You can see his drive. His iron shots. The swoosh sound of his irons and the thud of his impact. El Tigre was here and strangely, this time, the dawn isn’t so false.

So I watched, hole after hole. Birdie to start. Second hole, par save. Awesome. Par 3 4th hole, bogey couldn’t get up and down. It’s OK. Plenty of scoring opps.

However, he started missing his irons, he started missing his putts.

The most demoralising stats was for the final round 4 par 5s, he only birdie one. 14th was a heartbreaker. He was on with his second stroke, but three putted. If he had hit that, he would tie Casey. The next hole par 3 15th, he zoned in his iron to 6 feet but again missed his putt. He would have won the damn championship.

Instead he led in a 40 foot putt on the 17th to get everyone excited, but his last hole was poor. Too long a putt to tie, and he faded to second.

Disappointing?

Yes, for sure. Because I didn’t sleep and I went to meet a customer in the morning looking like a zombie.

But the great thing now is that I have Golf Channel back, and another Tiger Woods week in Bay Hill. Welcome back, TV golf!

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The Man is Back

For years, golf has gone through the sort of ice age that has caused an entire generation of potential golfers to pick up other sporting activities, like running, jogging, cycling and what most people will consider actual sport. Face it, golf ain’t a sport. As the great John Daly says (or what we think he said): Anything that you can do while having a beer and smoking a cigar, isn’t a sport.

So what happened over the last few years, as the man named Tiger Woods effaced himself away from this planet, away from golf and everything, was that the new generation of potential golfers also decide to not pick up this pseudo sport that requires spending 4 – 5 hours under the hot sun, destroying acres of prime estate just to build a golf course, and whacking a tiny ball into a tiny hole. If you noticed, the rise of the activity of ‘jogging’ and ‘cycling’ coincided with the demise of golf, and the demise of golf coincided with the exit of Tiger Eldrick Tont Woods.

Tiger Woods isn’t to golf what Federer is to Tennis. He isn’t what Jordan is to basketball. He isn’t what Messi is to football. He isn’t what Lin Dan is to badminton. He isn’t what Mohd Salleh bin Yakob is to sepak takraw. He isn’t. Any other sport always had someone who will and can succeed the GOAT (greatest of all time). Because in every sport, there are commonalities in greatness. There is the baseline where all greatness comes from. GOATs fade away and a new generation of GOATs take over. So there is always a new generation of followers, new generation of hobbyists, and new generation of purchasers of sports equipment and apparel. This considerable cycle of followers is vital to the survival of the sport. No offence, you don’t see people talking too much about squash, or bowling or lawnbowl or ice skating. Because there is no ambassador there. For a global following, you need someone to transcend golf. Bigger than the game.

In golf, it is unique. This is the game where possibly, nobody in their right mind will even bother watching. Honestly, I love playing golf, but I rather watch two iguanas stare at each other than to tune into Golf Channel. Because watching golf is the third most boring thing to do in all of sports watching. The most boring sport is F1 followed by curling.

So, Tiger Woods faded into the sunset. I gave up my subscription to golf channel. Adidas gave up Taylor made for dead. Nike exited golf entirely. The entire industry of golf went into the sort of depression that caused billions of dollars lost and thousands of jobs gone. Please note:- this is ONE MAN. One guy. He effectively sent golf back into the stone age when he walked out.

Sure, you have a whole bunch of pretenders come and go after. Tiger Woods was the greatest golfer for so long (683 weeks cumulative), that when he vacated, it was as if the king left his throne to go to take a piss and never came back and everyone was like, WTF are we supposed to do now?

683 weeks. That was how long Tiger was No.1. The big cat. The top dog. The master of the universe. Went for a piss and never came back.

In perspective, that is 13 years. That is from the time you see your baby come out of the operating theatre wrapped up in a swaddle to the time that he or she goes to Form 2 in government school and probably has his or her first relationship and first kiss. The closest another golfer has to that record is Greg Norman, roughly half of that weeks. And the only thing we remember about him was how he choked in the 1996 Masters leading the field by six strokes and lost by five. That’s the only memory we have of the poor man.

So since Tiger left, we had a bunch of number 1s switching back and forth, all not good enough to become the king:

a) Adam Scott – zero personality, too nice guy, as charismatic as the piece of wood I am staring at outside my home now. He also hired Steve Williams, the ex-caddy of Woods who made some racist and deragatory remarks about the man who made him a millionaire. The halo of a$$hole-ness surrounding Steve Williams embedded Adam for years and he ended up now outside the top 50.

b) Rory McIlroy – for a while, seemed a worthy successor to the great Woods but now garbage. Too distracted with other things and his hair is too curly, recently teed it up with Woods in the Valspar and missed the cut. He is out of the top 10 now.

c) Jordan Spieth – again, this guy is too nice. He has a special needs sister whom he dotes, and seriously, which crazy kahuna will want to beat Jordan Spieth? He is like a frigging baby penguin that everyone wants to support! He would generally be a great ambassador of golf, but guess what, nice guys don’t sell tickets. If he doesn’t win, he doesn’t matter.

d) Jason Day – yawn. Who is this guy again?

e) Dustin Johnson – boring beanpole. His swing is ok, but like Adam Scott, he is only as interesting as a piece of creamcracker on the side the road.

Face it. Nobody can compare to Tiger. And yes, I may be extremely biased to Tiger Woods, as he was the reason why I picked up golf in the first place. But trust me, ask any lay man down the street about golf, and they only person they know is Tiger Woods. Nobody else.

I think the very reason is that Tiger creates an emotional bond to all of us. Think about it.

When he was top of the world, he was an asshole. He slept with pornstars, he cheated on his wife, he kicked everyone to the dirt, he destroyed Phil Mickleson, he threw cameramen into the lake, he chatted up with hot chicks that none of us could get and he basically did anything he wanted like a brat. He was the top of the world, he lived like a god and he treated everyone like a slave. Competitors were only as interesting to him as the crap under his shoes.

When the shit hit his fan, everyone went, he deserves it! A-hole! It’s the same feeling you get when that speeding BMW that was tailgating you and flashing you and then speed past you and give you the finger, crashes into the back of a sixteen wheeler and burst into an inferno of flames. Then you realise that he probably died and you feel a little guilty but deep inside you , you go like, “That guy was an a-hole. God have mercy on his soul.”

And then Tiger went through a humiliating time, and every single golf news was about him going through depression, eating cereal alone in his room, and every single pornstar was claiming they slept with Tiger Woods. Some are admittedly hot, while some looked shockingly like they just got off meth and it would take some believing that Tiger would even touch, let alone sleep with. But here’s the thing, as humans we love schadenfreude. That means, we want to see bad things happen to people. Like the BMW driver.  So here’s this billionaire, cocky, self assured son of a gun who is finally getting his comeuppance. The world loved to watch the destruction of Woods. It was fascinating. It transcended the game, and instead it made guys like Steve Williams, the thug caddy and Hank Haney, the spineless coach, household names. Frankly, without Tiger Woods, who the hell gives a rat-ass about these two losers? Now they write their books and biographies and the only interest people have is to flip to the pages that talks about Tiger Woods. He single handedly created the industry of golf. Literally made pro golfers millionaires. Before Tiger, the prize money for Masters was hovering around 400K. From 1990 – 1995, the increment for the winner was around USD170K. From 1996 to 2000, the prize money incremented to USD380K. By 2001, the prize money went past the 1 million mark. Tiger did that. You read about this all the time. Tiger doesn’t move the needle in golf. He is the needle. Because golf is made up of individuals that are so uninteresting, when you have a guy here who is like a freaking mafia on the course, everyone wants to watch him. Even when they want to tear him down. Destroy him.

But nobody understood the aftermath of his devastation. When you tear down the greatest of all time, what happens? The very fabric of fantasy that golf is built on is suddenly gone. The reality is: golf is so boring to watch. Sponsors leave. Companies go bankrupt. Nike, the largest sporting company in the world, decides Golf is not worth their time. Suddenly, the golden age ends and nobody is interested in golf anymore. They rather run, jog, cycle, play in the park. Golf reverts back to its old fuddy daddy, elitist game. Suddenly the only black guy was gone, and golf became a game for whites again. We don’t know who to root for anymore.

The only one that could now be considered an a-hole in the tour is Bubba Watson. But instead of eliciting a sense of awe and god-ness in himself and ‘move the needle’, he comes out as just a regular a-hole that you wish will just go back to whichever yankee doodle country club he came from. The other person that was closest to Tiger, both in skills, arrogance and ethnic minority was Anthony Kim. Remember him? AK, the man. Now became a hacker.

After everything that he has gone through, suddenly 2018, I feel the urge to subscribe to golf channel again. Because Tiger is back. It has been an extremely difficult journey but now, the entire world, which back a few years ago was hoping he would suffer all the suffering he had inflicted on people, now this world is praying that Tiger comes back. Because they know how winter is, without Woods. How golf has died without Woods. And they know the only one who can resurrect this game is the same guy that created golf as a professional game almost 20 years ago.

Chris Rock puts it rightly when he said this world has gone crazy when the best rapper Eminem was White, and the best golfer, Tiger was black.

If Tiger wins the Valspar Championship, the world will go crazy again.

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The Myth of Club Distance

An interesting topic that has recently cropped up, and topped off by a gilagolfer via an email, is the distance that I am hitting. He wasn’t the first that pointed out that my distance seems long in my blog description, and I am not sure if I have overstated some of these distance, because most of the time, I am using the distance marker of the course to dictate my clubs I am using. So if the distance marker is screwed, then obviously my description is screwed. I always feel sometimes, the 100m marker on some courses are understated. I look at how far Usain Bolt runs in the 100m dash and I look at the marker to the green and I am like, “Hold on, this is way too near. Usain Bolt will just take like 10 strides to reach the green from here!”

So obviously there are some discrepancies, but in general my thought process is this:

a) If I am 150m away based on the marker, I am deciding if an 8 iron or a 9 iron, depending on the green (downhill or uphill, back pin, front pin etc). I rarely take out my 7 iron for anything these days.

b) If I am 160m away, I automatically select a 6 iron.

c) If I am 170 – 180m away, a 5 iron . A 5-iron off the tee also works for 190m, anything over 200m I am thinking a wood.

d) Anywhere 100m-110m, a gap wedge

e) Anywhere 130m, a pitching wedge.

f) Anything 90m t0 100m, a sand wedge.

Now, this is the actual thought process I have. And there might be actual reasons to it, and its not because I am hitting pro distance. Of course, there a lot of mental gymnastics being used.

a) Not true distance

The distance might not be to the pin. I usually play it short because I am too cheap to use good balls, so all my golf balls are really old and lousy and rolls a lot. Almost never I aim for the pin, so the green could be 160m away, but I am actually looking to land it around 150 or so and hope for a good roll.

b) Delofting

I also deloft my club A LOT. I noticed this stupidity in my swing, because I break my wrist so early in the take away, when I am impacting my irons, I feel like I am compressing the ball and slamming the ball into the dirt. I usually take out a divot the size of Brazil. My address to the ball is in a typically closed position, which also reasons why I sometimes yank my ball way left like a banana.

c) Clubs

And my clubs are MP-54s. The loft is a degree lower than my previous RAC LT irons for all the irons, so that also goes a fair way in terms of distance.

d) One strength

The other problem with my swing is that I have only one strength: MAX. I have no other way of slowing down my swing or shortening my swing or playing those finesse shots, which reasons why my short game is like a walrus humping an orca. This problem is translated into the fact that if I have around 80m to go and its between a soft sand wedge or a hard 60 degree lob wedge, I would go for the lob and whack the living $hit of out the ball.

e) Swing with a soon-to-be expiry date

Some golfers play with a swing that’s so natural and relaxed, you wonder if they are in a coma during the downswing. I have a friend in his 60s who bombs the ball a mile, but he swings like he’s going for a picnic. Of course, him being an ex national cager, ex national hockey player and extremely adept in his hand eye coordination helps, but you look at him and you think he can keep his swing well into his 90s.

Not mine.

I feel like I am wrestling with a damn anaconda all the time with my swing. It’s like this massive reptile is threatening to gobble me up if I don’t put it under control. I have to constantly remind myself never to flip my wrist early, always lean to the right, always shift my weight, always do this, that, stop my overswing etc. When I pull it off, I feel like I deserve to be in the PGA tour. When I miss it, I miss it so bad, I end up in the part of the course where nobody ever goes to. And always, in my mind, I am waiting for the day this swing kills my back or spine and I have to swing like Charles Barkley after that.

f) My Driver is not Pro

You can tell that, my drive, although pretty long by hacker standard is nowhere near the pro distance. I will be lucky to hit anywhere at the 250m range. I usually hit it short because at a 10.5 loft and stock shaft, my golf balls are generally ballooning up without much roll.

g) Shape of shots

I set my shots up to draw, and miss by hooks. I can’t fade to save my life. On shots that end up drawing, the rolls are more significant, giving an illusion of a longer distance. However, the problems are a lot more…as they say, you can talk to a slice but you can’t talk to a hook.

h) The Overestimation of Hackers

And finally, it could simply be the disease that inflicts all of us. We all overestimate our greatness. How many times we’ve heard people go like, “WOW, I’ve just a hit a 250m drive!” and when you walk up to it, you see that it has barely trickled past the 200m mark. So all of us, myself included has a myopic view when it comes to our golf distance and for some unknown and maybe unconscious reason, always lie about how long we are. All guys like that, maybe. About golf distance of course, you pervert.

So there you go, those are generally my explanation. I am not pro distance, not by a long shot. My scores tell the truth – good games are in the low 80s, average games are between 88 – 95, and horrible games can blow to 100s.

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Glenmarie Valley Course

Glenmarie always had a bit of dysfunction in terms of the quality of its course vs the quality of its services. The course – especially the Valley – is a joy to play in. The service like caddy and marshals are as bad as extracting your wisdom tooth with a rusted plier. And as expected, today’s game, our caddy was once more hopeless. On the 2nd hole already, he wanted to start smoking, until one elderly gentleman from our flight scolded him properly.  I don’t know why they are so idiotic like that. Can you imagine me doing training formally with my client in his office and then start smoking while in the training? Glenmarie, please spend more in getting proper people to run your course!

The marshal is also another joker. She came to us on the sixth tee claiming we are slow. I looked back and saw nobody on the green on the previous hole. How are we slow? We played the next hole and even on the tee of the hole after next, we saw nobody on the tee on the previous hole. She kept asking, are you a member, is anyone a member, you are slow. I said OK, sure we will hurry up but I don’t see anyone behind me.

But Valley course, while not as joyful as mines, usually serves a good score for me, but today, the greens were quick. And mostly on quick greens I suffer. My driving wasn’t as bad as in Mines, but my putting was awful. It’s very strange that the driver and putter never want to go to work together.

Hole 1
Tough par 4 and I started the day by pushing my drive into the water. Its common that in the  first few holes I always struggle, and from there on, I couldn’t recover and ended up 5 on and 2  putted for a triple bogey. (+3).

Hole 2
This is a broad par 5 and friendly. A good drive and a duffed 5 wood saw me around 130 meters  away which I duly put on but unfortunately 3 putted on a quick green, missing an easy 3 footer.  (+4).  3 putt.

Hole 3
This is a very nice hole where a good drive can find you less than a hundred to the hole. Which  was what happened to me. I flighted in with a gap wedge around 100 and two putted for par. (+4)

Hole 4
An uphill par 3 around 140 meters, where if you challenge the front bunker you will be duly  rewarded. I took a pitching and stuffed to about 5 feet and sank in the birdie! (+3)

Hole 5
And right after the birdie, it went downhill quickly. This hole was tough because it was narrow  and does not favor the guy who hooks. I hooked my drive, punched out and with around 160 to the  hole, I mistook the distance and my 9 iron was left with a difficult 20 m flop over the bunker  which I stubbed to around a few feet away. My 5th was too hard and it rolled over the green down  the other side, and my 6th was barely on. Two putted for a nice triple, yay. (+6)

Hole 6
This was where the marshal came after us and told us we were slow. We never saw anyone behind us  and we were all fast players, so what the hell was she babbling about? This was a reasonably  tough par 4. I found the bunker on the right even with a good drive, and from there hit a  pathetic shot out to around 60 meters. I flopped my 60 degree to around 5 feet but this time,  missed the par putt (+7)

Hole 7
A very nice dogleg right that needs to go over the water on the second. A five iron left me
around 150. I almost hit the perfect 9 iron but started too far left and couldn’t draw the ball back in. My ball plopped into the green bunker, one out, and two putter for (+8)

Hole 8
Long par 3 which my five iron found the side. It was not a great lie, with a lot of rough between  ball and green but because my chipping was so retarded, I opted to putt. It barely crawled on the  green and I two putted for bogey. (+9).

Hole 9
The final hole this nine is the signature par 4. However I hooked my drive and from around 140 at  the bottom of the hill, I duffed my nine, chipped poorly on but managed to two putt for a bogey.  (+10)

Hole 10
As great as my putter was last round, it was kaput this round. A great drive to start, but
shortchanged my approach when my pitching was short. Again, I opted to putt but was once more  very poor and only had to 2 put for a bogey (+11)

Hole 11
Great par 4 here, but my drive found the trees on left. A punch out found my next shot at my  dreaded distance, the 30 meters chip/flop. I obliged my idiocy by skulling my chip over the green  into the water (!). I hit a reasonable flop for five on and two putted for triple bogey (+14) my  third of the game.

Hole 12
This was a par 3 which I finally hit a perfect 5 iron into around 180 meters to the fringe.
However, I managed to sabotage all my efforts by three putting from around 20 feet for a bogey!  (+15)

Hole 13
Tough hole but I managed to hit a very good drive that left me around 140 to the green. Instead  of a nine, I thought I could muscle a pitching in there. Like Hole 10, shortchanged myself, and  once more on the side of the green. Opting to putt, it was not a good one (again) and I had to  two putt for a bogey. (+16)

Hole 14
The signature par 5. Everyone’s favourite. I clobbered my 5 iron and then positioned myself with  an 8 to around 100 meters. A simple gap wedge gave me a 10 feet or so putt. I am a putting idiot  today as I blew the first putt past and missed my 3 feet comeback. AGH! (+17)

Hole 15
The par 3 was playing from black tees and basically I just couldn’t shape my five iron into the  green due to the wide expanse of water on my left. Instead, from greenside bunker, I slapped one  out to the fringe and two putted for bogey (+18)

Hole 16
A reasonable drive which gave me around 130 meters to an uphill green. I used a gap wedge in  (much to the confusion of my caddy because he kept looking at my gap wedge in disbelief – to be honest, its probably the distance marker that is a little screwed up), and stuck it safely on the green, two putted for a par that  was a long time in making. (+18)

Hole 17
Hate this hole. It favors the fader, but I set myself to aim so far right I drove the ball into
the trees and was spitted out to around 50 meters away. A poor 5 iron duffed left me around 140  meters to a downhill green protected by bunkers and water. I hit an OK topped pitching wedge that miraculously rolled to around 5  feet, and guess what? I three putted when I charged for the first putt and left with a tasteless  double bogey (+20)

Hole 18
Finally a par 5. The drive once more wasn’t a good one but caught a break when it sat up ont the  left rough. I hit perhaps the best 5 wood I ever hit to around 30 meters of the green, although that’s no man’s land for me. That meant my 5 wood went around 220 meters or so if the markers can be believed. I hit a bad chip, but at least I was on for regulation. A two putt routine par to  end the day. (+20)

So there it was: I 3 putted around 7 holes, inclusive of the ones I tried to putt outside the green and it just shows the how low confidence my game is on chips. If I can sort those chips out, I could probably play at an easy 14 handicap or lower.

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Mines Golf Resort

Mines had always been a positive hunting ground for me. Sometimes it’s like that – horses for courses sort of thing. We have a guy in our group who struggles in almost every game we play because he doesn’t drive very long, and we end up giving him previously up to 3 strokes per six (that means in a game of sixers where we switch partners every six holes). So for every 3 lowest index holes of that six holes, he gets a stroke from us. Yes, this also means its possible that a par 3 is a ‘chocolate’ hole as well. We moved down to 2 strokes when we started noticing that he would play exceptionally well in Tropicana. Not one time, but almost all the time, he would be scoring pars and playing in the low 90s, which generally pressures us to play in the 80s which naturally we struggle to cope with such a pressure. But in the other courses, he still plays like an ostrich dancing in a tutu.

Same here. Some course just suits the eye. There are some courses that you just hate. Just hate. It’s like an eyesore each time you look at it because it looks like you are about to play inside the carcass of whale that has been dead for 80 days and maggots are rotting inside its flesh. Seri Selangor fits that description. Some other courses that I have reviewed here in this blog that get bad reviews. Basically courses that I cannot break 100 because my driving is so crap.

But ah Mines Golf Resort. It’s really a course worth waking up to.

If I were to tell you that you would score one of your best scores , but you would lose 5 balls either in the hazard or OB, you wouldn’t really think that’s possible. But it happened. And it’s mind boggling.

Hole 1:- Great drive, pulled my pitching wedge into the bunker. 3rd shot still in bunker. Fourth shot out and drained the 8 footer for bogey (+1)

Hole 2:-Hooked the drive but luckily it skittered into the rough. Placed my six iron around 130m or so and used a gap wedge to end up in the front fringe – two putt for par. (+1)

Hole 3:- Horrible hole. Hooked my damn drive again into the water on the left. 5 wood to about 20 meters, duffed my chip. Skulled my fifth across the green. Chipped my sixth to around 5 feet and putted for triple. (+4). First lost ball.

Hole 4: HOOKED my drive again into the palm trees but got a lucky break and hit my 9 iron through opening and onto the green to around 12 – 15 feet, drained birdie putt (+3)

Hole 5:  Par 3 across water, hit a poor 8 to the small landing area on the right of the green, and then putted across the fairway and green to around 5 feet and sank the putt for par. (+3)

Hole 6: Drivable par 4 but again hit a bad drive to left of the green. I once more skulled my chip and it skittered over the green into the water. I dropped for my third, missed putt for par by inches. Second Lost Ball (+4)

Hole 7: Six iron into the fringe, routine two putt finally for par. (+4)

Hole 8: Not a great drive, again its a left pull. Pulled my second shot again but at least I had a gap wedge in the rough to the green for my third – which I duffed and nearly tomahawked the club. But with my 60 degree into an extremely difficult green, it landed around 5 feet for a downhill putt which I miraculously sank for par (+4).

Hole 9: Horrible drive, this time, flared right. Found it and once more an opening with an eight. I hit a reasonably good shot but it caught the tree in front of me and it dropped. Or at least everyone thought it did because we saw it fall, but didn’t see it hit the ground. We spent 10 minutes combing the entire place, all 6 pair of eyes (4 golfers + 2 caddies) but nadda. We suspect it fell onto the branch of the big tree and got stuck in the tree. So I had to drop for my 5th (illegal OB drop at the tree). Hit my fifth near the green, two putted for 7. (+7) Third lost ball.

At this point, I was having an absolutely nightmare driving. Except for the first hole, all my drives were either pulling, hooking or pushing and it was like wrangling an anaconda.

Second nine and the same story prevailed.

Hole 10: Hooked the hell out of my ball into the water on the left. Dropped for 3 and stuffed my gap wedge to about 1 feet of the hole for an improbable par. Fourth Lost ball. (+7)

Hole 11: Par 3. Pushed my six iron into  the jungle. Bye Bye.Dropped, put 3 on and two putted for double bogey. (+9) Fifth Lost Ball. 

Hole 12: Pushed my drive and hit a freaking tree around 50 meters from the tee box but luckily skittered past the ladies tee. Shortest drive of all, only around 80 meters. 5 wood near the fairway bunkers, I had around 190 m left which I used my 5 iron and ended up around a few meters from the fringe. I putted to around 10 feet and drained the par putt. Another miracle par. (+9)

Hole 13: Finally – since my first hole, a good drive. So good in fact, I was using a pitching wedge into this index 2 hole and was around 10 feet away from a birdie putt which I missed by an inch or so. (+9)

Hole 14: Hooked the crap out of my drive again into the trees. Couldn’t get out with my punch, and a poor 3rd ended up around 10 meters from green. Skulled my chip to the back, chipped to around 10 feet and again, sank in the double. (+11)

At this point, the trend is that my drive was exceptionally crap, but my putting was exceptionally brilliant.

Hole 15: Drivable Par 4, but bottomed by drive. Thankfully I still hard about 110 meters in which I hit my 60 degree too short and it trickled into a deep valley at greenside. I putted from the bottom of this valley to around 4 feet and sank the par. It was like God himself has given me this putter today.  (+11)

Hole 16: Simple par 3, but short again and this time my putter  didn’t rescue and my putt from the rough came short, and two putt for bogey (+12). When asked why didn’t I chip, I told the caddy has he seen my chips the entire day? I would have putted even if I was knee deep in bloody quicksand. (+12)

Hole 17: We call it Tun’s. Because Tun Mahathir’s house overlooks the green. And traditionally for some reason, my favourite despite it’s formidable index 4. It just suits the eye, and I’ve been scoring well each time I play this. A good drive gave me around a nine iron into an elevated green. I actually didn’t hit a good shot but it got lucky and curled and bounced onto the green and trickled down to around 15 feet of the hole. I just about missed my birdie and settled for a par. This is quickly becoming my favourite golf hole of all time. (+12)

Hole 18: This one was weird. I hit what I thought a great drive, which shaped around the bend but the caddy said it might be OB. True enough, I curled it so much it landed into the area of the fairway where I had no sight of the green. I was blocked by trees. I took my 9 iron and just hit the living crap out of the ball and it curled round the trees and landed on the green for a two putt par (+12). When asked how I managed to curl the ball like that by my caddy, I told him, that was my natural shot. Each shot that I am hitting straight is a battle against the habit to hook/draw the damn ball. So if I need to hook around the trees, that shot is pretty easy for me. It’s hitting straight shots that suck!

So there you go:- 5 lost balls, a shocking driving day, lucky bounces, ball eating tree, magical putting and a score of 83 (Mines is Par 71). Ah, golf.

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