Gilagolf Analysis 2017

I’ve decided to simplify my analysis of my golf game heading into 2017. Previously I’ve kept track of everything I do – from fairway hits to putts taken to sand saves and all that. At the end, what is the point? The point is to improve right? I’ve been tracking stats for years and still I play like a monkey humping a chicken. So, maybe the point is to clear your head from these numbers and just hit the damn ball. It worked for me for the second half of 2016 when I began to see more birdies on my cards than normal – generally when I started to stop tracking my data and just play golf.

So for 2017, I’ll do it simple: track the good, track the bad. Anything in between, doesn’t matter. The good = Birdie or better. The bad = Triple or worse. I will assume par, bogey and even double will be the normal course of my game.

For the first game in 2017 at Kota Permai, I played 47-46 for a 93. Both good and bad occurred in the first nine (back nine for us). Firstly, the birdie on the par 3 14th. It’s a beautiful hole actually – it plays downhill all the way, the smallish green around 125 – 130 meters but protected by bunkers. On that day, we were playing slightly nearer, around 120 meters, and with downhill and no wind, I hit a gap wedge to around 12 feet from the hole to the left. To be honest, two other guys on my flight hit it nearer. The putt however wasn’t an easy one. Kota Permai was playing very fast that day due to a Taylormade tournament. It was a double break and I hit it just right and it dropped into the cup on the right side – I didn’t even read it correctly so it was dumb luck that I got it in.

Unfortunately, in the next par 3 17th which was a reasonably long one, I hit my seven iron short to the right. It was in rough but it wasn’t bad rough, but slightly buried. I skulled my pitch across the green, the chunked my returning chip. Wasn’t even on the green and hitting my fourth. I rammed my fourth past the hole, and missed the fifth and tapped in for six – my first triple.

Game 1: 1 Birdie, 1 Triple.

For Game 2, I played at Palm Garden, and unlike Kota Permai, their greens were undergoing maintenance so it was absolute horror to putt. I played a lot better and actually had 4 – 5 opportunities to birdie – i.e putts less than 10 feet but always missed. It didn’t help that I was trying out a RM50 putter I bought – an old B61 Ping which looked older than me. It didn’t have good weight (I have since added Lead Tape to it) and I struggled a fair bit on the greens. I played 41-44 for 85, with 8 pars and 1 birdie.

My triple came first on the index 2 Par 5 13th. I know how to play this hole but because I just got a par on the previous hole, I felt pretty grand about my chances. I usually would hit a 5 or 3 wood but decided to go for the driver. Instead of my usual draw, I blasted it straight into the water on the right. I dropped, hit a wood 5 to a greenside bunker. Chunked my fourth out of the bunker to the apron, chunked my fifth chip 20 inches. Hit my six on the green finally but was horrible. Missed my seventh and tapped in my triple. Stupid hole.

I came back at least with 2 pars in my next two holes including a par 5 par on the 15th after hitting into another water. I managed to drop and recovered by hitting a sandwedge into the green on my fourth and tapped in.

The 16th was where I got my birdie. This is a very short par 4 and we usually drive it to around 30 – 40 meters away from the downhill green. I hit a not so great drive – hooked it and it kind of rolled to around 80 meters from the green but at least on fairway. I used my 60 degree lob wedge and hit it to around 2 feet from the hole, similar to the one I hit in the previous hole. From there, a simple tap for birdie #2 for 2017.

Game 2: 1 birdie, 1 Triple.

Overall: 2 games, 2 birdies, 2 Triples.

Time to knock off those stupid mistakes!

How to Enjoy your golf

I am a great believer that perfection is never achievable. Never in this life. Your job is never perfect. Your home is never perfect. Your kids are never perfect. And God forbid, your spouse is never perfect. You’d be stupid though to say that in front of her.

And in golf, forget about being perfect. The thing is, we are not pros. Neither are we those with a million hours to spend practicing around the greens and driving range . If you are anything like me, juggling between being a driver for my kids, a babysitter, running a business, spending time in my church doing stuff, participating in our home associations, going to my kids’ friends parties and generally being completely overwhelmed with activities in life without involving the game of golf – you will know the only time you are practicing golf is when you are playing it.

Trying to cram in one game a week isn’t easy. Firstly, its the work. Secondly, the family. Weekends are out obviously. Even weekdays, golf tends to eat more into my work hours than family time.

So the expectations of what we get out of golf is a lot less. And when the expectations are less, it makes the game a lot more enjoyable.

Playing golf – one of the easiest way to enjoy it is to play fast. I recently played with someone who took an eternity with his swing. An Eternity. I am a reasonably quick player, or so I think. My ‘pre-shot’ routine if there is such thing is to put the ball to the ground – 2 seconds. I step back, look up and find a spot like a tree, a crane, a bunker, a hill, a building – anything for a reference to aim at, near or far. It’s usually anything off to the right of my line of sight – because my natural shape is a draw. I would mutter to myself “Tree” or “Crane” or “bush” or “billboard” or whatever. That probably takes about 5 seconds. I take my stance, the ball slightly to my left heel, take one practice swing – 5 – 6 seconds. Step back and address the ball again – 5 seconds. I take a practice back swing to set my plane and shift my weight to my right slightly and address the ball again – 5 seconds. Then I rip it. My shot is between 20 – 25 seconds from teeing up to letting it fly. Which isn’t extremely fast but I have seen people go through the 40 second barrier and even one guy who takes a full minute. I am like, damn it, hit the bloody ball! Have you played with someone who just stands there at address on the ball as if he was frozen? Literally, a full 10 seconds go by and he is just there looking at the ball, addressing it. I am like, are you waiting for the ball to say hello?

I get very impatient very quickly; because I am a rhythm player. One of the difference between Kota Permai’s 93 and Palm’s 85 was rhythm. In Kota Permai we played behind very slow players and we were constantly disrupted. In Palm we made sure we teed off in front of a big group that registered and we played with hardly any breakage or waiting. Tee off, walk to the ball and take around 10 – 15 seconds to hit the ball, then go on. I play best when I don’t think so much. In the previous game, I had at least 4 -5 birdie opportunities – birdie putts with 10 feet or less. I missed all except one…that’s more due to the putter than anything else.

So, really, if you want to enjoy this game and have other people enjoy – play a quick pace. With our standard of hacking, it makes no difference if you address the ball for 10 seconds or just hit the ball!

85 at Palm Garden

The up and down year continues. After posting a 93 in my first game in Kota Permai with 1 par, 1 birdie showing, I switched drivers and putters and promptly shot an 85 at Palm Garden. It had nothing to do with the drivers and putters though because I was still awful with my drives and my new (or rather very old) putter wasn’t do me any favours either with a 3 putt on the 1st, 3 putt on the 10th and 3 putt on the 18th.

However, my irons were just dialed in as I went on a birdie hunt on a few holes – and ended up with 8 pars and 1 Birdie for a somewhat respectable score. if I two putted those, I would have saved 3 strokes. If I played the somewhat easy par 5 smartly instead of smashing my driver into the water for a triple, I could have parred it maybe and shot a 79. I never broke 80 before in my life. A 79 for me would be like the pros shooting 59.

Speaking of pros, how is Tiger doing? I did manage to catch a bit of his highlights at the Farmer’s at Torrey Pines. He was -1 after 11! And he had to go screw it all up by shooting +5 over the last 7 holes. I wish I can say that he is back. I don’t think he is.

However, here is some mind boggling stats for you.

Tiger Woods is ranked 663.

Our great Malaysian Players – Danny Chia, Nicholas Fung and Gavin Green are ranked 276, 321 and 346 respectively.

Yet, when he teed up, Tiger Woods, ranked 662 ranks lower than Jason Day, brought in crowds more than 4 deep. It’s like a football game between Germany vs Bhutan and everyone is watching Bhutan. It’s like watching Andy Murray play against Alberto Brizzi and everyone is going like: Alberto! I Love you!

WTF is Alberto Brizzi? I don’t know. He is the 663rd ranked player in the ATP tour.

So yeah – say what you like about Tiger – he is the main reason why I played golf, play golf and will continue to play golf. If he’s back, great. If he’s not, it’s still going to be Tiger being watched more than any golfer on this planet.

Happy New Year and We are BACK!

Happy New Year and Gilagolf is back!

I know, haven’t been writing a lot lately – my motivations have sort of slowed down in terms of playing golf. Am I still playing? Oh Yes, but its cycling through the same courses – Mines, Glenmarie, Sungai Long, Tropicana, Kota Permai, Palm Garden and then on and off back to our haunt at Rahman and also KGNS.

2017 rolls in and RHB tells us now that they are still negotiating with the golf clubs on whether they will continue on this year to provide golfing privileges. To be honest, compared to the other cards, I think RHB is a bit crappy in terms of credit card privileges. The only reason why we went with it is that the golfing privileges are reasonable. If these are taken away, a whole bunch of us will just revert back to our normal cards (Maybank, CIMB, Citi). So RHB – you better buck up!

The secondary reason why my golf has taken a sort of back seat is that other things like moving home, putting kids through school etc now takes precedence. The amount of money spent in moving to a new home and renovating it is ridiculous. And now, education as well – thinking of sending kids over to international schools? Good luck. They better be future Mark Zuckerbergs, else I don’t know how on earth will they make back their cost.

So what are we looking at for 2017 in terms of this game of golf. Well – gameplay wise, as always, I will seek to improve – play consistently in the 80s is a starter. 2016 was actually a pretty good year for my game – birdies became almost one per round for me – inclusive of my last game of the year at Glenmarie. Now, to make it more consistent. My struggles with putting needs to work on. My chipping is still shit, but at least my drives now are less wild and I am giving my chance for regulations.

For golf in general – look forward to see Tiger Woods back. Honestly since he left, I have never bothered to watch or even catch golf. I am always more of a football fan who doesn’t play football, and a golf guy who doesn’t watch golf. But with Tiger back in the hunt, why not?

So will I be updating this blog? I don’t know how often – it seems to me blogging is a bit of a yesteryear activity – now everyone is into anything else. Still, I still get to see a fair bit of hits and readers everyday on this blog and I just feel that I need to get something in here to be fair. So – like I said, I will probably be writing more of other things aside from just golf per se, and an article a week seems like a good plan, as long as you guys don’t judge me too much.

So, for 2017 first article – I just want to say: Glenmarie still have shitty service. OK, I like the course. It’s nearby, it’s accessible and it’s nice and there are 36 holes. But I always disliked the management and service there. There is just something off with it. From the time that they insisted on charging us extra for using the board for our tournament even when no one was using it; or when my playing partner got robbed by one of the caddies (the caddy admitted to stealing around RM300 from my friend’s wallet), and now recently:

Me and my buddy use stand bags for our game. Stand Bags are those bags with the built in legs so we can stand it at an angle while playing a shot, and then carry. Because we sometimes walk in KGNS or Rahman – like maybe 15 years ago. Nowadays, we can’t even walk to the car park without complaining of leg pain. But the bags still remain. Because these days we just dump everything in the cart, our stand bags are filled with full set of clubs with probably 30 – 50 balls etc making them extremely heavy. I instruct the caddies, or the ones taking the bags from our cars to not use the built in legs because the bags are generally too heavy. Additionally, if you use those legs of tiled floor, they have a tendency to slip, causing the bag to collapse.

I told this to Glenmarie and they just went like yeah, yeah.

The next thing I knew, I saw my bag sitting on the legs and almost breaking before I caught it. My friend – not so lucky. Those Glenmarie idiots put his bag on the legs and the one of the legs snapped and the entire bag crashed onto the floor. Worse, the Glenmarie idiots didn’t even bother to pick it up – they just left it. The leg is now broken and can’t be use. The argument is that, we don’t even use it, right? Well, the point is that we don’t like broken bags, Glenmarie. And to the day I die, I will keep repeating – your service suck.

Welcome – 2017.

Last in Tournament

After the relative high when I won the closed tournament among around 16 people, and scoring a very good score, I came dead last in my team as our team lost out to another team for number 1 in a bigger tournament last week.

There are 12 players from each team, which top 8 makes the total score. We lost with 287 points to 289 of the first team. I came dead last with a score of 32 stableford points and obviously not contributing to the score.

I started extremely bad – true, I was rushing and nearly did not make the tee time as I was stuck in a massive traffic and had to change in the car. So I stepped up to make my first swing and it OB’ed. I was triple bogey first hole. The second hole, I kept topping the ball and made quintuple bogey (without losing the ball!) and my third hole, I plonked into the water for a double bogey. I was +10 over the first 3 holes!

I had another triple later on and one more at the back nine, but I did come back with 7 pars and some wondrous escapes, but the blow holes really did me in as we were playing handicap of the day. I wasn’t that bad, really, it just was very unfortunate that the first 3 holes I was up against the wall and I had to really gun for a lot of the shots – normally I would play safe or putt safe, but playing too aggressive has its downside.

So it just goes to show:- if you are honest with your game, golf giveth and taketh.

Incidentally, the overall single winner was the guy that I had total beef with because he cheats. I have no proof this round as I wasn’t playing with him, but when he came in the clubhouse and said he scored 4 birdies – I was very skeptical. I have seen his ‘birdies’. He downright cheats when he plays non tournament with us so what stops him from doing the same in tournament?

I hate to be a sore loser actually, which I am not. I am gracious and thankful I still managed to enjoy my game – but any win from that guy will be forever questioned by me, even if he did play an honest game.

Hunting ground KRPM Hills

The last time I played at Rahman Putra Hills was probably 3 – 4 years ago. I think. We usually end up playing the ‘better’ course, the Lakes when we play Rahman.

I managed to squeeze in a game with a new member there and remember my first game of the year in Glenmarie yielding 94? Well, I went out and even out my average back to 90 by scoring 86. It could have been a heck lot better if not for some really missed opportunities.

The first thing to approach KRPM Hills – if you draw or you miss with a hook – you need to go safe. The 4th nine might look like a cakewalk, but ALL holes have trouble on the left. No kidding. First hole, woods. Second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth – OB. Seventh, woods. Eight OB. Nine -OB. And now, they have made cartpath OB. So if you hook it, you are dead. Memories of the explosions in Nilai comes to mind.

So I took out 3 wood on all holes (except the Par 5 second) and managed double, bogey, par, par, bogey, bogey, bogey, bogey, par. And that first double bogey came from a three putt.

For the 3rd nine (we played backwards), driver is a little more common and I started the nine with 3 straight pars, 1 bogey on the par 3 after a 3 putt, and followed by two pars and reached the index par 5 playing one over, and hitting 6 straight greens in regulation.

For those of you unfamiliar with the seventh hole par 5, it is a treacherous one. A long drive is needed, followed by an excellent wood over water and then a precise iron onto a really stingy green. Needless to say, I double bogeyed the last 3 holes to end up with a 43-43. Not bad, but not great either, especially playing +1 over 6 holes, and +6 over 3 holes.

Still, it was great to be back at Rahman Putra after touring those great courses like Mines, Kota Permai, Palm Garden etc. Here’s to a lot more games in the 80s!

Summarising 2015

2015stats2

So 2015 has ended, and now 2016 is in but golf is going to be scarce. I suppose this is a good time as any to look back what has been achieved last year.

First of, summary stats above.

The most damning stats here is the 91.21 average gross. This is just not good enough. I wanted to set out last year to break 90, but in 39 rounds played, I only broke 90 15 times, which is a poor 38% while only breaking 85 in 2 tries (both times at Mines, incidentally). I suppose the only good news is that I only broke 100 twice – once in Seri Selangor and the other one recently in the blow out in Nilai Springs. Otherwise, it’s mostly 90 – 95 scoreline. In fact, it took me 6 games into 2015 before carding an 86, and in first 10 games, only broke 90 twice. The good news, is that, in the last 10 games, I broke 90 on 6 occasions. Granted, these were played at a lot better courses compared to the first 6 games and I didn’t have to tackle Seri Selangor in the last 10 games. My fairway hits are also low, but it doesn’t really matter because in some games, I can hit all the fairways but still fail miserably in scoring, while the opposite is true, whereby I miss all fairways and still score pretty well. My GIR is up, which is good, and at 2.56% par breakers, it means I had my share of birdies also.

2015stats1

 

A further break down as above.

I recorded 18 birdies last year, of course, the best coming from the recent Mines game where I hit back to back birds. Overall, I have around 4.5 pars per game, which technically is just not good enough. I should be comfortably averaging around 6 – 7 pars per game. The encouraging fact is that my iron games has improved a lot. My par 3 is being played a lot better, and has highest conversions of pars and play to only +0.96. Which is great. That means, if I can work out my par 4s, I should be playing a steady 15 – 16 handicap, as opposed to a very unsteady 16.
2015stats3

Finally – horses for courses. It’s pretty obvious my favourite courses also happens to be the best courses – Glenmarie Valley and Gardens, and Mines. Of course, Bangi has to be there since it;s such a short course. Kota permai, Sungai Long are played around 90, while Palm Garden, around 91.

So there you have it. 2015 has been filled with some pretty amazing shots (2 birdies in a row for example) and some pretty crap ones (10 greens in regulations and 6 three putts), and as I approach 2016, new father of 2, I don’t expect too much gametime. Whatever game I have, hopefully I can learn how to take those opportunities and break that darn 90!

Happy hacking everyone.

So What Does 2016 Bring?

So quickly, we are in 2016.

I don’t think I achieve my goal of breaking 90 on average last year. I am probably hovering around the 91 – 92 mark. Which kinda suck. I had around 4 games I didn’t take into account last year – the scorecards are still in my bag. I think it reads around 88, 89, 102 and 88 or something. The 102 is the score in Nilai Springs, where I just had the shittiest time ever. Everyone knows Nilai Spring can be a bi*ch if you carry a hook. I think 99% of the holes in there are set up to kill the hooker. OB left. OB left. Water left. OB left. There was one hole, I hooked 4 drives into the bush. I was so pissed. Of course that hole I counted off as quadruple. In reality its probably around Unquadraguple. Look it up. It means +41.

I hate Nilai Springs.

The games before and after were good. I recall one outing at Mines where I struggled mightily at the nine that I usually score, and scored at the nine that I usually struggle, including two birdies in a row. It’s ridiculous, this game.

Anyway, starting 2016, my golf will generally be severely limited. My first kid is experiencing first hand his first year at kindy and every morning screams like how I scream when I miss a two foot putt. After screaming, he goes into a negotiative mode, like: “Can we just see the fishes and go?” “I want to see grandma” “I want to be with papa” and my all time favourite “I want to be a baby”. When everything fails, he goes into his default mode of screaming his lungs out. Every. Single. Day.

So, by the time I drop this bundle of screams off to be the teacher’s problem, it’s already around 8.45. I don’t think I will be picking up my golf clubs anytime soon, unless for an afternoon game maybe during the CNY.

My resolutions? Not to make any resolutions for golf. I think overall I have really improved. When playing in good golf courses. 2015 was a year where we played in Mines, Glenmarie, Sungai Long, Palm Garden, Kota Permai. When I go back to shitty courses like Nilai Springs and Kinrara and Seri Selangor, I generally end up playing like a panda humping a walrus. Technically I don’t think it’s possible but you get my point.

So don’t expect too much golf course reviews going into 2016. I might review a bit about baby food and stuff, but that’s over at my other blog at giladad.com.

For now, happy hacking and happy new year, you gilagolfers!

Golf is truly a strange game — Again

kotapermaioctober

A few posts back, I made a noise about how golf is so strange – that even hitting like 10 GIR, I can still manage to 3-putt 6 of these greens in regulation, and I threw away my putter – literally up in the air. Because I am so cheap, I had to go collect it back.

Kota Permai is a really nice course to play in. The holes are challenging, the par 3s are memorable and the course setup is tricky and the two ending holes are worthy adversaries. However, breaking 90 hasn’t been easy for me there. I played 89-94-90 in my previous 3 outings there and it didn’t really start that great for me this round, after hooking my first drive into the woods and the second one as well. My first par came on the 14th, my favourite par 3, which is elevated, and usually require a strong pitching wedge to clear the front greens. I hit my shot to around 6 feet. Unfortunately, two of the other players we were teaming up against both slamdunked their shots – one of them to about 3 feet, and another actually hit the flagpole before bouncing 5 feet off. Both of them birdied.

From there, I sort of struggled abit until the last par 5 where I putted in a 15 footer, followed by the next par 5 on the front 9, where I putted in another 10 footer.

I was actually hitting my irons excellent but my drives kept blocking right, causing triple and doubles to start appearing on my card. I three putted 3 of my greens in regulation, so my scores should have been a lot better, but nothing beats the final. I hit my only second fairway with a good drive (my second good drive only actually), and then with a seven iron, completely top the crap out of my ball, causing it to launch low and skim over the fairway and luckily onto the green. When I approached the uphill green, someone from the practice green said, “WAH, that’s  damn good shot!”

I looked and saw my ball nestling 4 inches from the hole – from arguably my worst iron approach shot of the day.

Golf is a funny game indeed – sometimes, the good is not rewarded, and the bad goes unpunished. Kind of like our country, I think!

Playing in the 80s

gilastatsAug2015

For those figuring out why I am so obsessed with shooting in the 80s, is this:

a) I’ve been playing golf since 2004. That means it’s 11 years and counting stuck in this darn game and still figuring out how to play it properly.

b) I’ve undergone a tremendously stressful amount of golf swings – because I thought I was Tiger Woods – and now I have a swing resembling Iron Man fighting with the Giant Python. Basically, a very bad overswing and a long drive that can easily go awry. I basically have very little idea where my swing will end up as soon as I initiate the downswing.

c) I feel that someone who can routinely drive 200 meters above should be scoring in the high 80s. Which I am not until recently. For the record, this year, I am still playing around 91.71 average. For the past 10 games, I am playing at 90.4. For the past 5 games, 90.4 exactly. On the USGA handicap calculator, I am playing to a 14 handicap. On my last 10 games, I am playing to a 16 which is basically a true reflection of my game.

d) Shooting in the 80s is devilish hard when you have a game like mine. Basically tee to green (if I get a reasonable tee shot), I am ok. I struggle mightily at my chips and putts. Mightily.

So here’s the plan for the next few games:

Plan A: Hit the fairway. This is essential. At 38%, that means per round I am hitting only 5 fairways out of 14. This is crap bad, especially if we don’t drive it that long. I am hitting my irons reasonably well eversince I changed to my MP-54s.

Plan B: Play short. I find I always end up in crap when I over shoot my irons. Since changing my irons, my distance control has become somewhat better. I am playing

10 – 70 meters = 60 degree

70 – 100 meters = Sand Wedge

100 – 120 = Gap Wedge

120 – 130 = PW

130 – 140 = 9 iron

140 – 150 = 8 iron

150 = 7 iron

160 = 6 iron

170 = 5 iron

Anything above 175 = 7 wood or 3 wood.

It’s really interchangeable once I go past the 140 mark. Sometimes I’ll hit an 8 iron, sometimes a 7. Depends on the hole. For instance, in Glenmarie, one of the hole had such extreme elevation that from 155, I hit a 9 iron and still long it.

These are not really my listed distance. I hit it shorter, but the idea is to hit it before the green or just front of the green, since my flight (and my old golf balls) do not promote the professional backspin…instead it just rolls and rolls after hitting the green.

Since opting to play a more conservative “do not attack the flag” style I’ve seen my scores hover within the high 80s or low 90s. I don’t experience those massive blow holes much anymore.

Next stop: Kota Permai, which besides Mines, is probably one of our favourite courses to play on!