3 In a Row – My Sub-90 Journey

glenmarie

As long as I can keep the trend going, I will. I managed to hit a sub-90 round 3 in a row – which I think probably has never happened before, giving me some hope in this year’s pursuit of sub 90 target. As of now, I am averaging around 92 thanks to some explosive scores like 102 in KRPM, 96 in Palm Garden, 99 in Seri Selangor etc. But the last 3 games – Kota Permai, KRPM and Glenmarie has given me 89,88 and 88 – respective scores given my struggles in this game.

Glenmarie game didn’t start out well. We played the back nine and I had a pitching wedge from the fairway on the first and shorted it. I skulled my chip and settled for bogey. Second hole, I had regulation and 3 putted from 10 feet. The 13th, I had an easy 9 iron into the green, pulled left, shanked my flop into the bunker and died. 16th and 18th were just very poor – easy par 5, and I got myself into loads of trouble in the woods, and on the 18th, I skulled my chip again – many times, after getting 2 to the edge of the green.

At 46 on the front, I managed to turn around at the back.

The amazing stats on the back nine was zero fairway hits. I was having a horrendous driving day which is so frustrating because the last two games, I was driving like a king. So today’s 80s round was basically a lot of recovery, and some reasonably good irons from bad positions.

Glenmarie garden was playing benign. The rough was almost negligent and all my drives in the rough managed to survive relatively easy. In fact, I could have gotten 4 additional pars – I three putted the par 5 3rd, then I had an easy chip on the 4th which I skulled, and the last 2 holes I had easy chips which I also screwed up.

If I can learn how to chip, I could be consistently scoring into the 80s!

Let’s see if 4 in a row is possible – next round is at Rahman Putra, where I have NEVER posted 2 sub-90 rounds in a row eversince I joined the club 10 years ago.

2 good games

kotapermai201507

It’s quite rare that I actually am able to string two decent games together. I don’t recall doing it at any point of time in my hacking career that I shoot sub-90 rounds in a row. I know, some of you are probably wondering why am I so happy about this – for those following this blog, you would know me to be someone who is constantly suffering this love-hate relationship with this game. I never seem to get better, because nothing seems to come together – if my driver is pure, my irons suck. If my irons are heroic, my putting is a lump of camel crap. If everything is going well, the game is stopped due to thunderstorms.

The first game was at Kota Permai. I shot a ho-hum 47 on the front nine despite hitting 5/7 fairways and driving superbly. I kept messing up my approach shots and my irons. It was just killing me. The only par I mustered, strangely was on the index 1 long par 4, where I got regulation on with a thunderous drive and an 8 iron in. Kota Permai greens were playing at speed 10 – which were knee knockers on putts. This is evidenced by my first 4 putt in the longest time.

The back 9 got much better. I scored a 42 – and that’s with a 4 putt double bogey regulation on there. It could have been a 40 if I putted better! But overall, Kota Permai was perfect condition. I had a great end where the 17th, I strung my 5 iron to the right and ended up under the trees with barely a sight to the elevated green. I thought of bump and run but decided to just flop it. I never execute good shots consistently but this was the greatest flop shot ever created as the ball shot up, missed the branches by inches, dropped on the top of the fringe and meandered down the quick slope to 3 feet from the hole. Never had such an amazing par before.

The final hole was also great, where my second shot 3 wood left me with a tricky shot over the bunkers into the green, which I flopped again with my 60 degree to the fringe and a putt to around 1 feet to save par. I am going to continue with this Ping 60 degree until I start shanking it like I did with my Cleveland (now banished into the closet!)
krpm201507

The second game was KRPM – my eternal nemesis. A quick check showed I never broke 90 before for the longest time. It started on the back 9, where 2 doubles and 1 triple were offset by 4 pars – 2 coming from the tough ending holes 17 and 18. I hardly get par for 17th and I managed to regulation on with my 7 wood – for once.

The back 9 started poorly with 3 double bogeys in 5 holes, including on the par 3 5th where I shanked my 6 iron and almost killed the next flight on the 4th hole. From there, something clicked and I just began to pepper the flag with my approaches on 6th (SW third shot from 80m to 3 feet, 8 iron second shot from 150m to 5 feet and missed birdie). The index 1 was navigated with a drive to the middle and then a six iron in to around 20 feet and two putts.

So there you go – although not low 80s, two games in the 80s are very very motivational for me!

Navigating Seri Selangor

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Seri Selangor has consistently bedevilled me despite playing there a thousand times. I have only broken 90 once there, and my average there generally hovers around the high 90s, with occasional explosions into the 100s. This year, I played it four times, with the score, 97, 99, 96 and 97. Yup, that’s around 97.25 score, almost 11 strokes more than my average at Mines. There is a reason. Seri Selangor is damn. Hard.

The greens are devilish, the fairways are tight and the jungle is unforgiving. It’s like the death star, Bobba Fett, Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader rolled in one.

The most recent game I played, I had the worse 9 hole score ever in Seri Selangor. I teed up at the easier front 9 (easier because generally the fairways are wider). However, my driver was horrendously out of sync. My first triple at hole 4 was a bad drive that skittered 60 meters, and a 3 wood to the right, and then a pull to the left. I decided to putt up the green and it didn’t even make it. Stupid.

On the back to back par 5s, I actually dunk my shots in the drink – my second for Hole 5, and my drive for Hole 6 but yet managed to carve out bogeys on each hole thanks to some luck and good irons. I tripled Hole 7. It is by far the worst hole I ever encountered, a tight uphill drive with OB right and left, and a narrow fairway to hit and a crap hard green to hit. I average almost a triple bogey for that hole for the 4 times I played there.

But then when I made the turn, I made two adjustments.

I didn’t give a sh*t anymore and just dumped my 3 wood and decided to use driver all the way from the tee, and secondly, I shortened my driver significantly, holding it almost at the beginning of the grip, near where the grip meets the shaft.

And I drove perfect. The two drives I missed the fair way on 16 and 17th were perfect drives that rolled too far and nestled just a bit in the rough and I parred both. The two triple bogeys were from great drives, but just lousy approaches that ended up either in the bunker or woods which I proceeded to have a short game meltdown. The final hole I went for green in two and just pulled it a bit into the water.

Final 9 was 5 pars, 2 triples, 1 bogey and 1 double for a 45. It could have been much much better but it was the best score I ever shot for a 9 hole at Seri Selangor for a long time.

Oh, I also had my six iron buffed out. It looks bad, but not as horrible as previously. Got it done by a guy named Shan at the KLGCC repair shop.

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I beat Tiger Woods this week

 

 

tigermemorialminesjune

Before anybody says anything, do note I am a super die hard Tiger Woods fan and believe that without him, golf will still be played by white guys who are all 40 years old and above and drives around 160 meters and tournament winnings will be slightly over USD1,000. Tiger changed the way golf was viewed by the world.

But I beat him this week. Or at least, I beat his round 3 scores.

Granted, it wasn’t on the same course. And obviously Muirfield is much much tougher than the Mines, but hey, he has over 17 handicap strokes on me so I suppose we are all even stevens on this. He scored a 42-43, while I scored a 43-41. We both had one birdie, he had more pars but had a quadruple bogey. And OK, we both shot +13, since Mines is a par 71, but hey, my gross score is lower than Tiger Woods! How often can I say this??!

I might be the last to admit it, but if he doesn’t make it back by end of this year, I think his goose is finally cooked.

An Update on GilaStats

Since I launched this stats site a few years back, I’ve been forced to close it down (or rather, make it closed) due to the many fake requests and site bots hitting it. Well actually not that many, but enough for me to get flooded. Since then, I’ve been asked by a few others whether I’ll open it up again.

It’s actually not a bad software, if I do say so myself. Since I coded it. Yes, I actually do something in my life aside from trying to break 90 at this bloody game. And it’s actually up for free, downloadable from sourceforge if anyone is willing to pick it up. I’ve stopped development since 2008, but I still tweak it here and there a little and currently using it for my own Gilagolf group.

I’ve added another function to calculate Handicap Index based on the ACTUAL, official counting, guided by http://golf.about.com/cs/handicapping/a/howcalculated.htm.

 

USGA Handicap Calculator

Course Score Slope Rating Differential
The Mines Resort & Golf Club — Blue Tees 82 126.00 70.30 10.49
Bangi Golf Resort — 2nd & 3rd — Blue Tees 86 122.00 68.50 16.21
KGNS TEMP COURSE C+A – Blue Tee 87 127.00 71.00 14.24
Impian Golf and Country Club — Blue Tees 90 127.00 71.80 16.19
Total 57.13
Average Diff 14.2825
Handicap Index for gilagolf 13.7112

The handicap index gave me some thought and it’s correct – Handicap isn’t what we really play to. It’s actually what we can potentially play. According to the actual handicap, my potential is 14, meaning, I can actually go out there on a course rating of 72 and shoot 86. I find that hard to believe, but it is what it is.

The problem with us is that our games varies so much. This is a hacker problem. One day we play like Gods and the next we start to shank like the devil. That’s why we have those 82s and in between a 105 and 99. Course rating officials never seen a bunch of flers like us before, so therefore, I propose a simplified handicap rating :- just take 10 of your previous scores and count the handicap! Easy peasy. I get a handicap of 17. This is arguably completely accurate of my current skillset. Those who know me might think I am a buaya when I drive well – you ain’t see me hacking around the green like an idiot yet.

Course Score Slope Rating Differential
The Mines Resort & Golf Club — Blue Tees 82 126.00 70.30 10.49
Bukit Kemuning GCC — Blue Tees 95 129.00 72.00 20.15
KGNS TEMP COURSE C+A – Blue Tee 87 127.00 71.00 14.24
Seri Selangor Golf Club – Blue Tees 99 131.00 73.70 21.82
Impian Golf and Country Club — Blue Tees 90 127.00 71.80 16.19
Bangi Golf Resort — 2nd & 3rd — Blue Tees 86 122.00 68.50 16.21
KGNS TEMP COURSE C+A – Blue Tee 94 127.00 71.00 20.46
Seri Selangor Golf Club – Blue Tees 97 131.00 73.70 20.1
Kelab Rahman Putra Malaysia 1st & 2nd — Blue Tee 90 137.00 72.30 14.6
Kelab Rahman Putra Malaysia 1st & 2nd — Blue Tee 95 137.00 72.30 18.72
Total 172.98
Average Diff 17.298
Gilagolf Handicap Index for gilagolf 16.606

If anyone wants to set up their own stats site with the software, let me know, it’s quite straightforward to get it up!

I am the King of Self Sabotage

impian201503

One of my resolutions: to break 90 on average. My outing in Impian Golf and Country could have really turned out to be one of the best games I’ve had ever, especially the back nine. However, I am the king of self sabotage.

I started the day quite badly, my recent hot driver turned out to be a piece of crap after all as my familiar duck hooks and push far right shots started to come back. It was as if that driving streak I had in Bangi was a distant dream. So – if the driver start to suck, something else needs to come in play. Even when I drove ok, on the first hole for instance, my approach was just horrendous. Chunk, fat, thin etc. Only after I hit my par on the sixth hole that I started playing well. The double bogey on the eight was a self sabotage, I was trying to drive across the river, which required about a 250 meter carry. I just thought I was good. I was not. But after that, the back nine, I was +1 over 5 holes. But on the par 5 5th, I missed a 3 foot for birdie and from there, everything sort of crashed down. I needed a bogey to get to 89 in the final hole and I double bogeyed after a 3 putt. I 3 putted twice on the last 3 holes that cost me the sub-90 round.

As for the course – Impian is in good conditions, but the greens are really bamboozling. I really cannot putt well there. Ah well.

Hacker Guide To Breaking 90

bangicard

 

It seems easy for some golfers, but somehow after hacking this game for what seemed like an eternity (it has only been 11 years), I am still struggling to break 90 regularly. Of all the games I’ve played this year, I finally managed to get that done on the (admittedly) easy going course called Bangi, by scoring 86. Here’s a hackers guide to get it done.

1) Go for everything

This might sound counter-intuitive as Butch Harmon and Leadbetter and all these losers will say, “You gotta manage the course, don’t go for it if you think you can’t.” That’s horse$hit. As Master Yoda would say, “Do or do not. There is no try.”. Every Par 5 in this game I went for 2. On the front 9 3rd, I whacked a 3 wood to the green and the toughest green on earth to putt. 3 putting for par was the best I could do. Admittedly, Hole 8 was almost impossible to go for 2. Hole 13, went for 2 and ended up greenside and just bladed my chip too far for birdie. Hole 17, also went for 2 and ended up greenside again but again, chipping was retarded. The point is, forget about course management – GO FOR IT!

2) Drive like a machine

Due to retarded short game inherent in all hackers, our only hope of survival, we need to drive like a king. Which was precisely what happened. I was blasting the ball like a machine, and only had one bad drive the whole round, the par 4 six, where my drive skittered right, ricochet off the 150m marker and into the bunker.

3) Luck, luck, luck

Again, par 4 six hole, if my drive did not ricochet off the 150 marker, it would have ended up dead in the woods and survivability would have gone from 20% to – 50%. Sometimes, luck is all you need to keep the round going.

4) Go for 1 on if you have a chance

Related to point 1), this is a more extreme case. In Bangi, there are plenty of holes where you can actually blast one on if you are feeling it. Hole 10, I launched it around 20 meters from the green, so near that I had to apologise to the group in front, who just said, “Good shot!”. However, after they saw me chunk my chip and blade my third to a bogey, they just shook their heads and left. Ahhh – the delusions hackers have. Hole 16 is another drivable par 4. I missed mine right, but a friend of mine was left with only 30 meters to the green. Hole 18 is definitely drivable, it’s an elevated teebox and if you had the balls to challenge the bunkers you can go for one on. I was around again, 20 meters from the green.

Hole 1, challenge the trees on the right and you can also one on. And if you are great, even hole 9, you can put it to around 40 meters to the green, which was precisely what my partner did.

But the one hole you MUST go for one on in Bangi is Hole 4 in Putrajaya Nine. This is an elevated tee off to around 270 meters to the green but challenging a large pond fronting the green. Usually people will play safe and play to the fairway to the left, but it didn’t make sense since the drop zone is only around 80 meters from the green. I did go for it and the ball stayed in the air for an eternity before splashing down around 1 meter short of the green. In fact, it hit the stone wall fronting the green and bounded back.

5) Momentum counts

We had a partnership going on, and we played the back nine first. We were 4 – 1 down in the first five holes and the other team was just gloating around us. The sixth hole, I stuck my second on the green around 10 feet but tricky downhill. The other guy, putted around 25 feet from the fringe and dunked in his birdie. They were so confident of winning his partner did not putt out and they were saying 5 – 1 down is too big a hole to dig from. My partner was going for par. I putted, and ridiculously went in for a birdie to tie the first ball and we won the second ball. From there, we went on a tear, from 4 – 1 down, to win 4 straight and won 5 – 4 on front nine, and carried over to the back nine and won 11 – 7 overall, outscoring them 10 – 3 after that unlikely birdie. Play for something, and get the momentum.

In all likelihood, if you are a hacker, you have a retarded short game, like me, so don’t bother about it. Avoid bunkers like the plague. I only hit one bunker (the lucky shot) and the rest was either fairway or rough. We just don’t have the capability of hitting chips, bunkershots or flops that other low handicapers can do. But if you drive like a demi-god, it will cover your flaws. This is the only route to breaking 90, if you continue to suck at short game and putting – like me.

Obviously, the lower handicapers will shake their heads and say, we need to improve the short game, but where do we have time or the discipline to do so? If we had short game, we won’t be hackers!!

Frankly, it’s a lot more satisfying blasting the ball to smithereens and watch it dissolve into the horizon and sunset, isn’t it?

A True Hacker

Since the launch of Gilastats a few weeks ago, we have 37 players registered. I always kinda felt with the limited game I am having, I’d be somewhere down the middle…not so great as to shoot consistent birdies, not so bad as to have my family disown me for destroying this beautiful game of golf.

And among 37 guys on the gilastats ‘tour’ I’m split down the middle on all the 8 main statistics! First time I’m seeing that I’m a hacker for all. For those wondering, the eight main stats are ranked according to the following:

Anyone interested, click on the gilastats button on the menu, or go here and sign up.

Happy Hacking!