Amverton Cove Thumbs Down

As the year winds down, 12 Gilagolfers headed off to Amverton Cove, a previously reviewed golf course with a ranking of Not Too Shabby. Well, we are revising it. It is VERY shabby. You can tell from the picture that it has been badly photoshopped. The golf ball is the size of a basketball. And the fairway looks nothing like that.

It was supposed to be the ultimate golf game to end all golf games for 2014, so we decided to take the day off and head off far into the outer reaches of civilisation to Amverton Cove. Now, we have already mentioned how far this Amverton Cove is, but the previous experience of it has been reasonably good. It wasn’t a great course and certainly not worth RM138 they want to charge unsuspecting golfers, but we had a bunch of seniors with us who could get cheaper and we dumped all our premier vouchers in there so the game itself was around RM110 per person. Which is still pricey but I thought should be fine.

I scored a birdie and overall 90. This included a triple bogey out of nowhere on a par 5. I played reasonably OK – it wasn’t the worst game ever, but again, about 4 -5 iron shots I had were from the fairway into the green and I just completely mishit it with my MPs. These suckers are really hard to hit. But when you hit it, you hit it.

The other problem was the course. There is a difference between a course set up to be tough and a course neglected. Amverton is the latter. It’s pretty sad to see a promising golf course turn into a turd-bath just because

a) There is not enough money, so no maintenance

b) There is enough money but not enough maintenance

Of course b) is speculative, if you know what I am getting at – but in either case, the once reasonable looking course turns into a UPM look alike. Still, black waters like the ones you find in Mordor litter the course. One hole, I swear, the whole black pond (which is not moving at all) is probably full of shit – because that’s what it smelled like. My ball was near it and I just couldn’t hit because of the smell – it was like my 2 year old’s diaper filled with 2 weeks worth of crap. The rough – unhittable – if you can find it. It was just allowed to grow so there is no first cut – fairway and then bam – ridiculous rough that is so heavy you cannot get out nor find your ball. I am sure whoever owns Amverton will say that this was purposely done – but yes, in the same way North Korea purposely set up their country so they can test how human beings have limitations to nuclear exposure. Of course. Come on – it’s neglect. Let’s just call it that. Setting up requires effort. Neglect means, let’s forget about this darn course.

Recommendations for 2015 – avoid Amverton. It’s not worth the trip and it’s trying to pass as a premier course. Let them knock the price down to around RM80 and then it would be more of a fair shake of a course that is slightly below the standard of KRTU. Amverton people – you have a nice course in your hands. Why don’t you manage it and get your maintenance program going? And get rid of that darn shit-lake!

Tis the year to change your Iron Set – MP-52

I have had my Taylormade RAC-LT for more than 8 years now. I like it. It’s a great iron to hit, and I’ve hit some ridiculously good shots with it. It’s not too difficult and only occasionally gives me the duck hook on the long ones simply because of my horrendous swing. I had no intentions to change it, until a good friend of mine asked if I wanted to switch with him.

He bought a Mizuno MP-52 set and couldn’t hit it. He’s a half beginner of sorts, and the MP-52, is really not easy to hit. Really. I tried it and I shanked the devil out of it.

But oh, it looks good. So good. It’s like a car that will definitely get you a speeding ticket. It’s like a durian that will cause you a heart attack. It’s like a girl that will definitely get you into loads of trouble with her extended family and have her brothers murder you for breaking her heart.


So I said yes.

I traded away the RAC which had been so ingrained in my muscles that it was like an extension of my arm, for a really really, ridiculously sexy set of irons.

I would love to say that I played like a king when I teed up a few weeks back. The truth was, I sucked. My drive was fine. My wedges were ok. My irons? My gawd. It was awful to a point no return. See the MPs are is a different beast. While the RAC is like a comforting friend whom you can be so natural with without any effort – the MP requires the utmost concentration when you swing. Be careful not to let the head drop. Be careful not to cross over your right hand. Be careful not to overswing. Be careful not to stab it.

The MP head is way, way heavier than the RAC, so I had a bad time adjusting to it. Many, many iron shots were stubbed into the ground like 5 feet away from the ball (exaggeration obviously), resulting in wet earth pounding further away than my ball. On most of my par 3s, I duffed, either ending up in the water or before the ladies tee box. On some par 3s where I remembered to extend a bit more effort in not letting the head drop, and I pured it —heaven. The 5 iron I hit to 10 feet on one hole was a thing of wonderment — straight, no slice, no hook, just pure straight, with a bit of feedback residual on the NS PRO shaft.

Problem was – I only bashed like 10% of that. The others were like horrendous.

And then distance. Now, on paper, one of the reasons why I agreed to the MP was its similarity in loft with my LT. Both are tweaked slightly lower loft – for instance, PW to 47 degrees, as opposed to 48, which most of the Cleveland wedges I have is tweaked to. Then again, some irons like Ping tweaks the PW to 46.

The problem here could be the lie angle. I won’t lie. I have no bloody idea what difference it makes. And of course the offset. For the six iron,  it’s about 0.2mm less, and the lie angle is 1 degree less…I suppose it just means it’s flatter, which…I have no idea what it does to me. Slice more? Anyway, I was very comfortable hitting my LT, and with the MPs, it’s just all over the place. That being said, I think I’m one of those guys that are not so good, who will adjust to the club as opposed to having a swing consistent enough for the club to adjust to.

As you can tell, this is not much of a club review. The fact is, I don’t really know. But I’ll just put some fancy specs here to make this site have more dignity in the golf community.

The RAC specs:


MP Specs:

Also, there is a saying that the MP52 is only for low-mid handicappers.

I kinda disagree to that. How do you actually know WHY I am a high handicapper? I could be a God at my irons, and a twit in my short game. Wouldn’t then I might be better off being even BETTER at my irons by upgrading to a player iron, even if I am a 24 handicapper? I suppose, it’s something we should know. I think I hit it decent with my RAC. It’s just that I can’t chip because of the yips. So does it make sense for me to upgrade to the MP?

I think maybe 3 – 4 rounds of it should give it a fair shake whether I can handle it. If I can’t, I can’t. I’ll go back to the RAC. But I think maybe the philosophy should be:

“Get an iron set that requires you to improve – and you will improve” – Gilagolf Mantra.

Welcome, 2015, and let’s see if the MP works out.

Confession of a Golf Cheater

This is probably going to be the last for 2014 and possibly controversial post but I’m going ahead to do it since 2014 is now officially over for golf, and I probably won’t play another round until mid January 2015. There is a lot of time to reflect on the year playing and not improving in this stupid game.

Golf cheating – now, out of all the 21 readers of this site, how many of you actually ‘cheat’? I know it’s a little bit of a taboo in golf and we like to always judge ourselves as the paragon of honesty and that nobody cheats — but I’ll be the first one to raise my hand. I’ve done it. I’ve cheated.

Golf is a strange game. It allows you to call a penalty on yourself. In fact, it requires you to do so because nobody else can. It is the only sport where ‘conflict of interest’ is there – you audit your own work. You referee your own game.

Take football for example. How many times we see Ronaldo/Messi/suarez flop around like a rag doll to get a penalty or to get someone sent off? How many times we see people who did not break the offside trap, but scored and then celebrated, knowing that the referee did not spot the infringement? Can you imagine someone who scored with his arm from a corner kick and remonstrate to the ref to disallow the goal because it came off his arm?

So golf – it is truly unique, because when  you cheat no one knows.

Have I ever improved a lie? Yes. Have I ever taken a wrong drop? Yes. Have I ever capped my score at triple bogey? Yes. Have I ever accidentally skimmed the sand in the bunker on my back swing and then did not tell anyone about it? Yes. Have I ever grounded my club and then the ball moved a little and i did not tell people about it? Yes. Have I ever OB-ed the ball and knowing it’s OB, dropped and say it’s hazard? Not often – but yes. Have I ever moved my ball in the jungle away from the roots or rocks to a nicer spot (though still in the jungle) behind the original lie because I don’t want to crack my wrist or destroy my club? Yes. Yes. Yes.

I am probably not the most honest golfer around, and unfortunately, I’ll admit that, and probably have my playing partners crucify me. But tell it as it is.

Improving the lie is probably the biggest culprit. I did that a few times when my perfect drive was on the fairway on par 5s and it has landed into a damn divot. I put it out, and lie it for my 3 wood to go for 2. The reasoning is that, hell, I am going to risk it all and go for 2, so why not just put it at the best lie. If I am going for 3 on, then I won’t be too bothered about it.

Wrong drop – yup – a lot of times, especially after it goes off into OB and I am dropping for 4. Its usually at the middle of the fairway or a little longer than my greatest ever drive ever. Or a purposely wrong interpretation of ‘point of entry’, or two club lengths actually becoming 2 flag pole lengths etc. My reasoning is, that I am out of play already for the betting, so who cares (unless everyone else OBs). It is a rather dangerous assumption obviously as many times, my other flight members manage to sabotage themselves as well…this is probably a guilt justification.

The reason flows is that as long as I am not putting myself at a severe advantage, then it’s ok. Like moving the ball out of the roots – I won’t put it closer to the hole, I’ll put it deeper into the jungle but on a softer ground. The problem here is – in golf, it’s not ok. No matter how we view it, it’s cheating, and cheating in golf is cheating yourself.

The reason for this confession is this:

I played a final round of the year with a bunch of good friends, and also with someone whom I looked up to a lot, since he was a very good player. I don’t play often with him. But he is good. But throughout the round, something really gnawed me – it seems no matter how bad his shot is (there were only a few), he always would put it regulation on. I thought it was just because he was damn good. Until I found something – we were both in the jungle. I sprayed my shot into the trees and bounded off right. He hit an even worse shot…just a straight skull that went probably 10 meters. I was relieved, since I was betting with him. I walked out, hit my third and to my surprise, he was there at my ball, his ball perfectly positioned on the fairway. I thought he had hit his third as well, so we went on playing. When we finally finished the hole, he said he parred it, and I thought, yeah, if we are playing par six. But he said his second shot had got to where my third shot was. Which, was probably 150 – 160 meters away from our second shot…which wasn’t possible because I saw it skull a miserable 10 -20 meters. As in I actually saw his ball was still in the rough. With my own eyes.

When I started observing, then it became more telling – like near the green, he would walk up to his ball, pick it up with his towel, wipe the ball and then place it a lot nearer than before. The most obvious one came when we both saw his ball on a tough lie sideways greenside. I even said to him, “Damn,that is going to be a hell of a shot”. When we walked up to the green and I prepared my putting, I saw him pick up that ball, walk a few feet towards the green and place it nicely on the fringe to putt. There is cheating, and there is epic cheating. I wondered if I should go and talk to him about it, since we were technically betting, but I guess I didn’t want to wreck the day for everyone, and also, I do feel guilty, like a pot calling a kettle black.

I must say, it startled even me, and I don’t mean to be so self righteous, even if I am just a big sinner as he is, even if I do it less. Far less and probably when it doesn’t matter to anyone anymore. The one memorable time I ‘cheated’ and it mattered was some time back when I was partnering this same ‘good player’ guy and he had even with the other team’s best ball. How we play is, when the best ball of the team is even, then the second ball comes in play. He announced that I had tripled the hole, which made us square the hole. However, I knew (and I think he knew) I quadrupled it, because I didn’t really care anymore when I thought I was out of contention, I just sort of halfheartedly whacked my bunker shot twice. I didn’t know that he was going to four putt and even the first ball at double bogey, did I?  I am absolutely ashamed to say that I didn’t correct him, and I was troubled by it for weeks, to a point where I told myself I would never ever do that again (cheat when it mattered), and I would make up for it by taking the other guys out for lunch, which I did, although I didn’t tell them why. The wager for the hole? RM2. The guilt? Priceless.

So you see, I am a sort of a conflicted golfer. I know there is no excuse to cheat and many of you would be tsk-ing me. But if we are honest with ourselves, even a survey done on PGA tour caddies said that 54% of them has seen pros cheat. But I think my recent observation has got me thinking: my scores never improve anyway, so what’s the point? Usually it’s just frustration – that the round was so bad, that I need to make a break on my own since I am not getting any – or that my ball is in a divot or an unraked footprint in the bunker, and it is not my fault. The justifications are there. But it’s never a good reason. Now I can see how someone can really go overboard in cheating and I don’t think I want to go there. And the thing is, he is too good to resort to this. He only hits a few bad shots, unlike me, whose one game probably has 94 bad shots. But I suppose when the habit is there, it becomes so ingrained, that it just becomes natural…and I don’t want that to happen. I love this game, but a few bad habits have crept in. I rather be honestly awful, than dishonestly good.

So here is to 2015 – a year where even the slightest ‘cheat’ or ‘justification’ will no longer be part of my golf game and that I will play it as it should always be played – honestly, even if it doesn’t matter to anyone. And maybe…just maybe, I will finally play better.