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.


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.


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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Third Time Lucky

Happy Chinese New Year!

We had a game this week, my third game of the year. The first two games were completely off…the first game in KGNS was a 100+ while the second in tropicana yielded an almost bogey free game – 5 doubles, 4 triples, 1 bogey and 8 pars.

This time around, we tried our luck at KGNS once more, and played A LOT better. The caveat is of course we played one nine on Championship and the other nine on what we term as the ‘Mickey Mouse’ course – i.e the non-Championship Kelana Course.I think we played a par 35 for that one. This caveat is balanced out with the fact that I was trying out by really old Hi-bore driver again, and an extremely old putter (PING B60 OLD), and another 60 degree wedge, other than my normal one. Switching clubs is always a problem in the best of times, its made even worse when you are struggling, but I thought, ah well, just for fun, why not.

The front nine was played in typical roller coaster fashion, but there were TONS of missed putts. Bad lag putts, bad short putts, and everything in between. It could be 2 – 3 strokes better, but at the end 3 bogeys, 3 doubles and 3 pars isn’t bad for Championship course.

Going into Kelana, it was again still very bad putting and chipping, but the last six was played with bogey, par, bogey, par, par, par to a +2. And this included a 3 putt and a missed birdie putts on most of the par holes. The back nine was played on a +5, and for the first time this year, managed to break 90.

So here’s to better golf!

The good news is now of course, fingers crossed, Tiger Woods is playing well again. I am thinking of subscribing to the Golf Channel once more, but the thought of the crooks at Astro getting any benefit is keeping me away from it.

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Tropicana – great course, horrendous caddies

Tropicana has always been a favourite haunt of ours. The advantages of the proximity to all our homes, the great fairways there, good greens and overall mixture of challenging holes and holes we can attack – and over 27 holes, it has become our preferred destination of weekday golfing.

Which brings the problem – it is also the preferred destination of a thousand other golfers. Even playing on a weekday, especially with one 9 closed, can feel like a weekend pace for some. Especially today, when we had an absolutely hopeless flight in front of us. You know those type that takes 2 minutes to putt a 3 footer, misses, kicks out a leg and screams a chinese expletive. It is very, very tiring just sitting down (yes, we finally gave up and all of us just sat on the fairway watching them do their nonsense) and seeing how frightfully inconsiderate they are.

While Tropicana is one of the best course in Malaysia (in our opinion), it is balanced out with the most crappy caddies in all of Malaysia. They are useless and the ones we experienced were idiots. I generally don’t like to comment too much on caddies, but today, there was one hopeless lady caddying for us (the other buggy, not mine). She had comments for everything. The clubs we used, the distance, what we should be doing and all that. Once in a while it’s fine but when I am at the 17th hole, and you are the caddy of the other buggy you DO NOT tell me to hit a 8 iron into a 140m stick. She just stood there and said, “For you, boss, use 8 iron”. I am like, who the hell are you? You don’t caddy for me so shut the hell up.

The final hole, where it was a 240m to the pond, while everyone was using 3 wood, I was contemplating between my 5 wood and a half controlled driver. Because I was feeling good with my driver. She immediately said, “Cannot! Tak boleh!” and I told her, the more I hear cannot, tak boleh, the more I say, BOLEH. And it was the last hole anyway and I just wanted to swing it. She kept grumbling for some reason. She is NOT my caddy. She caddies for the other buggy. My caddy was generally mute, which is the preferred condition I want my caddy to be in.

I hit a great shot, but it drew and it looked like it entered into the water near the green. The “not my caddy” laughed and said, “Padan Muka (serves you right)!” a few times.

I walked over to her and said in my broken Malay interspersed with English colourful words, “You do not comment on me. Once, twice is enough. If the golfer decides to use a club, the golfer decides. You do not make any further comment, or laugh or make fun of the golfer. You are not my friend. You are a god*amn caddy, and that’s what you do, so shut the **** up and caddy your sh*t or else I am going to leave you here or throw you into the ******* water. You are not my friend, so do not talk to me like you know me or you know sh*t about me. You don’t get any tips and I am going to put your card into the sh*tty caddy category later. Now get the **** away from me.” I said it in a very calm manner, but made sure she understood. She has no familiarity with me, and I have zero inclination to be familiar with her, so unless she wants her mouth stuffed full of golf balls, just do what your limited job scope is or get out of my sight.

I found my ball at the edge of the water, used my 60 degree and stiffed it to around 5 feet, missed the birdie and par my last hole. She avoided me after that.

This is not the first time, Tropicana caddies have given us shit. The problem with these caddies is that they think they are our friend. There was another caddy my friend scolded the other day (on the 1st tee, nonetheless), for showing up late, and not doing what she was told, and scowling and making a meal out of taking the club for my friend. He just told her to get away from our flight and basically kicked her out. The starter intervened before my friend went berserk on her.

It’s not like we want treat Caddies like crap. I get it. It’s not easy caddying for hackers like us. But when we have told you to shut the hell up once or twice, then just shut the hell up. Again, the concept here is you are NOT my friend, so don’t talk to us like how we talk to each other. They aren’t educated to caddy properly, and I fault Tropicana for that. If you give us hopeless caddies, then at least just let them carry our clubs and that’s it. Nothing else. Tropicana = great course, EXTREMELY USELESS caddies.

My game was amazingly up and down today. When the dust settled, it was 5 double bogeys, 4 triple bogeys, 1 bogey and 8 pars.

I almost went bogey free today except for the 17th hole when I hit my first bogey with a bad 4 footer miss.

And it’s not like I was driving it bad. All my triple came from great drives.I usually set up to aim right as I have my draw as my normal shot and hook as misses. For some reason, on all my triple bogeys, I hit great straight drives – either they went into the water or OB, or in one occasion, I simply could not find it. So driving wise, except for one hole where I topped it, it was a PERFECT driving game for me.

The other parts of the game was another story. My chipping was like a baboon trying to hump a kangaroo while parachuting down, with a dynamite attached to the ass. That’s how bad it was. There is something wrong mentally. I am mentally incapable to chip. I do it perfect on the practice range, but in the game, as if for some reason, I suddenly become a tapir learning how to tap dance. I don’t think it can be cured, like my color blindness, so I just have to live with this confounding handicap. This has turned many of my par or bogey opportunities to double and triple today.

But yeah – slowly, I am getting back up to speed for 2018. It’s at least a lot better than my first game for sure.

Oh by the way, at the end, we did tip the hopeless caddy and we also put her card into the ‘good’ category. For all our talk, we are actually very compassionate people and look – you are far away from your home, you probably have kids back home you are homesick for, and you probably made an honest mistake in being familiar with us when we don’t want you to – let’s move on, be careful next time. That’s why I like this group I play with, we are NATO people – No Action , Talk Only. Always threatening the caddies, but at the end we are too charitable to be angry for long!

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2018 begins…with Failure!

Like every year, 2018 starts with all the best intentions.

Lose weight.

Don’t swear.

Exercise More.

Spend more time with kids.

Sleep earlier.

Don’t overwork or overeat.

Play good golf.

And like all good intentions, everything is shot to hell within the first week. Really. I’m like, damn it! It’s like groundhog day!

Lose weight – In Malaysia, not possible. Because after english new year, is Chinese New Year. Only a stupid person will not eat anything in chinese new year. Only an EXTREMELY stupid person goes back to Penang and not have anything good to eat.

Don’t swear – This one very easy to lose. First hour of the year already gone.

Exercise more – I am currently exercising. In my mind. In my mind I am jogging and playing badminton and football.

Spend more time with kids – actually this is still going as planned. I am working a great schedule now to ensure I spend some time to take them out for food and hang out at the petrol station store more – because its cheaper than hanging out at cafes.

Sleep Earlier – No. Gone within the first day.

Don’t overwork or overeat – Overworking is subjective actually. I don’t think I am overworking at all. As in I don’t really know what the limit of my work is, so how do we know what “over”-working is?

Overeating — I apply the same theory.

Play good golf.

Ah. So we played our first game in KGNS. I started with a beautiful double bogey over the first 4 holes. Then I rattled in a triple bogey. Then at least I ran into a bogey, then I had bogey, bogey, par to end the front nine.

My drives were just horrendous, my stupid wedge was completely off and I was just playing absolutely fantastically lousy golf. It was frustrating, because there were some absolute beautiful shots in there, like my sand wedge on the 10th to 2 feet of the hole fro 110 metres. Or the booming drive on the 16th setting me only 60 meters away from the green and I stuck it to 5 feet (and missed the birdie). But 80% was CRAP. My 60 degree dug into the ground so much, that I can start a new career in landscaping. Every single shot I did was in the ground. Duff. Duff. Duff. I duffed, I think, total 6 shots. Until it dawned upon my stupid brain that the ground was very wet and soft, and I should be using something with more bounce, like my sand wedge! And voila, from there on, it worked! But I was on the 17th hole already! Stupid!

So, no, my first game, I think I didn’t even crack 100.

What a great start to the year!

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So yet another year ends – What brings 2018?

It used to be that once almost weekly I would have updated this blog, but not anymore. I would like to give the thousands of excuses like taking care of my two kids from getting killed by a thousand things in the house, like TV, fan blades and them jumping off the bed and swan diving onto my marble floor — sometimes I think I am in a real life game of lemmings. You know that game where I have to save those little buggers from committing suicide. Or I can blame my business, where I spend all the time figuring out how to get work done or get paid or how did I end up getting work done and not get paid or any of those permutation of events.

But I won’t.

Because the free time I have, yes, I am still whacking the tiny ball and trying to get it into the hole with the fewest stroke possible.

What does 2018 brings?

For one thing, I am finally playing reasonably good golf, after a LONG. Long. Time. Now, the very moment I write this I am going to jinx myself and I know for sure the next game will be a car wreck. But so far, the games I’ve been playing, I have been shooting regularly in the 80s, from the best of 84 to average of around 86 – 88 at least. I am playing probably to a reasonable 13 – 14 handicap now finally.

The best part of the game improved is my drive and irons. The driver is starting to click. I’ve developed a pre-shot routine that somehow works. It takes longer but it generally settles me down easier. It’s:

a) Select a far item in the horizon, point to it

b) Line up my driver and my stance

c) One practice stroke

d) Line up my driver and stance again

e) Do a shortened backswing to about quarter swing, to set my weight to my right

f) Waggle a bit

g) Look at something around 3 – 5 feet away in front of me (that means not in direction of the fairway, since I am already lined up perpendicular for a swing) – this usually ends up being the buggy, a stick, a tree, a bush, a monkey or a surprised caddy thinking I am pissed off at her

h) Take a deep breath

i) Take one last look down the fairway

j) Pull the trigger.

It sounds like a long pre-shot, but it’s actually quite brisk, around 15 – 20 seconds before I pull the trigger. I’ve been around guys who takes 40 + seconds to get the shot off, so I am considered ok. And it’s doing some incredible things to my game, because now, I am less rush, so I don’t swing so wildly. I still have this hook sometimes, but I am connecting it. I am much more confident that my driver is going to connect and when it does, it goes long, dropping around 240 – 250. I always think that we overestimate our distance, but I did do some measurements roughly and for some par 4s in Glenmarie valley, I was hitting my second shot into the green with a sandwedge.

The other aspect is my irons. After switching to my Mizuno, I can’t go back to anything else. I tried using my taylormade again the other day and promptly duffed or topped all my irons. The Mizuno is like a freaking samurai katana. It just feels balanced and awesome. It feels like I am having the staff of Gandalf with me. It helps that my iron distance has gone long as well – now for 100 meters, I am looking at sandwedge, for 110, a gap, and for 130, a pitching wedge and for 150 meters, a 9 iron. I hardly use my 8 or 7 anymore, because from 160 or 170 onwards I use my 6 iron and for 180 plus, 5 iron. I don’t use any utility and only occasionally I use my 5 wood to get two-on for par 5s. One of my friends calls me the Bull, for my bruteforce, not for my bullshit. At least, I think so.

And the aspects of my game that is completely stupid? Chipping, pitching, any shot that requires control. Except bunker. I love bunker shots now, and I use my 60 degree all. The. Time. No more sandwedges for me. But chipping? Nope. I have the yips. Pitching anything below 80 meters and I am likely going to duff it or skull it. I asked my friend if anyone sees a 70-degree wedge, let me know. At least I can do a full shot on it on 50 meters. For chipping, anything within sight of the green is puttable. A bad putt is a good chip, as they say.

So looking forward to more gametime in 2018 of course and guess what?

Tiger is back!!!!

Happy new year, Gilagolfers!

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