This is why I cheat

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In an earlier post, I still concede I don’t play a 100% honest golf.

This is the reason.

In most cases, when my ball is nestled in the rough around tree roots or rocky ground, I’ll pick it up and drop at a better area. Yes, I do it, and no I don’t penalise myself, so yes, technically, that is dishonest.

But today I played in a tournament in Seri Selangor. So there is no such thing as picking up my ball etc, and my ball ended up in the jungle (which is normal for Seri Selangor). The ground was rocky and there were roots, but it seems ok, tiny rocks, which I suppose would just scrape my beautiful Mizuno irons.

I hit my 6 iron to punch out – and lo and behold, there was a huge brick buried beneath my ball and when I hit the ground, my ball flew, and the large back cracked in half at the impact and rocks splatter all over.

The horrifying dent on my 6 iron is now for all to see. Thank you, Seri Selangor for burying bricks and destroying my club. AUGH!

Does anyone know where such huge craters on my irons can be fixed or buffed out? Any recommendations of golf repair shop in KL/PJ area?

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Tiger Woods Memorial 2015 Round 3 Highlights

For those interested in how bad Tiger played, the final hole was this:

a) Pulled 3 wood into river  – Stroke 1

b) Drop and hit to front of green – Stroke 3

c) Duffed chip hit false front and rolled back – Stroke 4

d) Screwed up flop that went back into the greenside bunker – Stroke 5

e) Blast out of bunker to 20 feet – Stroke 6

f) Missed putt – Stroke 7

d) Finally ball goes in the hole – Stroke 8

Ouch.

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I beat Tiger Woods this week

 

 

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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.

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Gilalogy: Slope and Course Rating

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One of the questions I had when I was starting golf was: what the hell are course and slope ratings that keep appearing in the scorecard that’s supposed to mean something?

Of course with the advent of the internet, everyone can find out what these numbers are and Gilagolf is probably the last website you would go to for any golf lessons.

But here’s the simple explanation to it:

a) The course/slope are used for handicap calculations, so we generally leave it to the experts. However, we do have an auto handicap calculator per USGA method in our gilastats area – unfortunately the Gilastats now is closed, as I was getting too many public requests and 99% of them were fake and for spam.

b) The course rating is simple: the average that a scratch handicaper will shoot for that course. OK, so if John Doe is a scratch handicapper and shoots 72, the course rating is 72. Of course the rating is rated over many rounds and some other strange rituals like considering the color of your underwear etc. Of course not. I don’t know. As long as you see a course rating, that’s what a pro would be shooting.

c) Now there is also a rating for bogey golfers called the bogey rating, but nobody knows about it, but its there. It’s basically what a hacker like us (18 handicapers) will shoot on that course. That being said, there is a slope rating to make up for it.

d) Slope rating is just a complicated rating created by USGA or the St Andrews guys or whoever just to make them look smarter like mathematicians. Slope here is counted as course rating – bogey rating X 5.381. So say our favourite course Mines has a course rating of 70.30 and a slope of 126. This means we have a bogey rating of around 93.8. I.e we’re supposed to score 93.8.

e) Why don’t they just put a bogey rating of 93.8 instead of all this nonsense of slope is beyond me. And why is there a magical 5.381 in there? Well, apparently, it’s 113/21 = 5.381. Which begs the question, why 113 and 21??

Apparently, 113 is the average course rating determined by these guys. And 21 is the average handicap index. So both these numbers are literally plucked out from the air. Without any explanation. Why is 21 the average handicap index? Why not 20? Why 113, why not 112? It’s a mystery.

How does all this mean? Should we be looking at course rating or a slope rating when we approach a course? Well, most of the cases for us gilagolfers, we are looking at the price. If the price is good, then we google for the food around the area for lunch. After that, we probably will look at the weather, and then the aesthetics, and then whether there is a tournament. Probably the 28th criteria will be the course and slope rating.

If I may venture, the course rating is probably a good way to gauge how ‘hard’ the course is. The slope rating will gauge how much hackers will enjoy the course.

Say for instance, the course rating is very high. Clearwater Sanctuary is the highest we played at 74. Saujana, strangely is 73 even though its around 120 meters longer. You can expect high course rating courses to be reasonably long courses, but length is just one aspect. Seri Selangor at 73.7 at 6266 meters is pretty average or just slightly above. But it’s high also because of other aspects – rough, greens etc. But in general, don’t expect courses like Bangi to have any semblance of respect in terms of course rating. At 68.50, it’s easily one of the lowest ratings we have played, so if we have a birdie or eagle in there, it’s no big deal.

Now higher slope means it gets progressively harder for hackers like us to navigate the course. Now expectedly, the Cobra Course is the highest slope we have played at 140. This means guys like us will shoot around 99 there. Strangely, another course at 140 is Tiara Melaka Meadows and Woodlands. Which is strange because I don’t remember Tiara Melaka being so difficult. Then again, usually in Melaka the only thing we remember is the food after the game.

A higher slope would also mean it gets very difficult for bogey golfers. If you see a high slope you can bet that it’s probably either a lot of water clearance at 180m, or bunkers around the green/fairway or just wooded courses, where wayward drives will be penalised. Scratch golfers probably won’t face this too much because they always hit the fairway (unless you are Tiger). They probably get troubled by small greens or tricky greens.

While all this might start to mean something when we play more golf, it basically just gives us a very rudimentary understanding of how we should approach the game. If the slope is high, you can probably argue that you need to be careful a bit because scores will escalate pretty quick if the mistakes pile up. If the course rating is high but slope is low, you probably want to work on your drives as it will be straightforward course but long.

Frankly, mostly we just try to avoid the following: slice, duck hooks, whiff, tops, submarine and shanks.

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Royal Perak Golf Club

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Introduction

I chanced upon this golf course by accident. I was on the way to play at Clearwater Sanctuary during my short trip to Ipoh, but it was already around 3.30 pm (we had a long lunch…it’s IPOH, how can you miss the food??!), and halfway to Clearwater, I decided to swing to Royal Perak Golf Club (which on Google Map is strangely marked as Ipoh Royal Golf Club – I suppose their old name).

As with all ‘Royal’ golf courses, I would expect some sort of tradition, and some old clubhouse, expensive fees and not so great course – see the review on Royal Johor golf course as a perfect example.

As I rolled into the Royal Perak, the clubhouse was surprisingly new and looked almost grand. I was accosted by the very serious guard outside who sternly told me to park at the visitor car park – which is probably a good 200 meters away from the clubhouse. I was fine, of course, but I did see some cars (non-members presumably) clamped at the members parking so they really take rules very seriously here.

Apparently, this used to be a pretty busy tournament course, hosting many events in its heydays. Since then however, it had sort of not gone with the times and hadn’t made much improvement, and not many big tournaments are held here anymore – instead at ClearWater Sanctuary. It’s a pity, because this is a really conveniently located golf course.

Travel ( 5/5)

Compared to the awful travel time for Clearwater Sanctuary, we stayed at the Weil Hotel – and from there to Royal Perak was a breeze. Literally, only 4 km away, around 8 minutes drive. Problem is, what if you don’t stay at the Weil? Well, Ipoh is a very small town, so if you aren’t at the Weil, you’re probably at Syuen, which is right next door to Weil and also around 5 km away from the club.

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This is like KGNS or Royal Selangor Golf Club – it’s in the heart of the city and you don’t get much better than travel for this.

Price ( 1/5)

Right after the great travel, I was rudely brought down to earth by the pricing of this club. Now I know you used the word ‘ROYAL’, but it doesn’t mean you have to charge fees that are reserved for ‘ROYALTY’ only! I mean, here’s the price list:

A Weekday WALK-IN is RM180++. ++ here denotes caddies and also buggy. The buggy fee is RM80. And caddy fee, I don’t know – around RM40, plus maybe RM40 tips. So if say, there are two of you, you are paying around RM260 with tax for a weekday game. If let’s say you are alone, like me, it would be a stratospheric 360+ with tax. Weekday.

Now would I have played there just to write one stupid review? Nope. But thankfully I had reciprocal with my KGNS membership and only had to pay buggy fee (I begged the lady to not have a caddy), and ended up with RM92 all in (buggy is forced) with tax.

Now for RM92, it’s definitely a worthwhile jaunt. For RM260 – RM360 for a weekday spot, and based on the course value? No, of course not. It’s way too expensive.

I do have a feeling that, it’s purposely set up like this to make it exclusive to members or members guest and avoid itinerant Gilagolfers from coming in and reviewing and hacking the crap out of their Royal Fairways.

First thoughts

Not that impressed, unfortunately. The problem with these city golf courses (and I’m saying it even for Royal Selangor), is that terrain is pretty bland. Most of it is flat, with just features on the greens like tabletop etc. Elevation is minimal, and although RSGC makes up for it with a great course design and devilish greens, Royal Perak doesn’t seem to hold that much beauty.

Also, cowgrass seems to be the choice for most Royal Courses. Since most of these courses are very old (this was built in the 1930s), they shared the course with grazing cattle, hence the name cow-grass. This is of course based on historical analysis from our Gilagolf archives, that has a historical accuracy of around 2.5%.

What I am saying here is that, on the first tee, a ho-hum par 5 with a nice broad fairway, we don’t get too much excitement from it. Obviously with the tee off only 10 meters away from the payment counter, you might be still jittered over the exorbitant sum you paid to play here.

Service (3/5)

There’s really nothing much to say on the service as the only experience I had was the counter lady who was friendly enough and who listened to my begging her not to give me a caddy so I can save money. I rushed off after the game so I didn’t experience any of the royal toilets with the royal flushes.

Fairways (3/5)

Cowgrass fairways was generally OK. Quite well maintained although nothing compared to the Palm Gardens or Mines back home. There is minimum undulation, but the course is devilishly tight. After the first hole, basically, everything gets kind of cramped in. Also, many holes have suspicious doglegs where a member might be able to navigate based on familiarity, but for a first timer like me, I got caught out a lot. Like Hole 2. I watched everyone tee off with an iron for some reason. Then it said 192 meters there is a drain. I’m like OK, let’s tee up with a 7-wood then. I flew the drain like 10 meters. The yardage isn’t exactly right then. If I had clobbered my driver, it would have been way across.

The narrowness of some fairways places premium on your drive. I was carrying an awful hook all day and it was expected that I struggled mightily to a 93. Most of my drives ended left in the woods. And in Royal Perak, like KGNS and other matured courses, woods = bad. Most of the time I was killing trees trying to get out with my ball.

Greens (1/5)

For the price paid, awful. The first nine, all nine holes were being sanded. I know there should be some maintenance done now and then, but I am in the school of thought whereby if you do maintenance, you should inform the customer or at least discount the pricing a little. It’s a fact. If I were to rent you a car with a punctured tyre, wouldn’t I discount a little so you could change the tyre yourself or at least inform you about it?

The greens got better in the back nine, but still, it wasn’t amazing and I was already mightily put off by the front nine greens, some of which was unputtable.

Rough (2/5)

The rough was typically cowgrass rough, the type you generally will see in courses like Bukit Beruntung, or what comes to my mind is Kundang Lakes, for some reason. It’s deceptively difficult to find the ball. One – because of the maturity of the course, leaves are all over the rough and also the trees are thick in some areas. You think it went in, but it bounded out. Another reason is that you will spend a lot of time in the rough due to the narrow fairways and the subtle doglegs. From the score card, it looks like it plays straight but it doesn’t, the course generally meanders here and there and if you overkill your drive, you end up with a visual like the one below.

Aesthetics (2/5)

There’s just nothing much to root for. The visuals are ho-hum at best, and the only pleasing sight is the distant mountain range on the back 9 first hole and Hole 14. The thing about Ipoh is, I suppose why many Ipohians love it – is that the mountains make it look as if you are in another country. This should be exploited as much as possible, but unfortunately the front nine was devoid of the ranges, and in the back nine, only a few holes had a peek of it.

An interesting par 4 Hole 12 had an extreme turtleback green. I had the misfortune of landing my second shot very short right at the bottom of the hill and struggled to a double bogey there.

Besides that, the rest of the holes are generic looking, without much attraction like the ones we are used to at Palm Garden or even the Mines.

Fun Factor (2/5)

If you had the misfortune of being stuck behind a VERY.SLOW.FLIGHT like me, all Fun is basically out the window. The front 9 I thought I had an open field to myself. I teed off a very good first shot, and saw in the distance a group putting out on the green. I thought this might be a fast group. I hit a great 3 wood, but duffed by 60 degree into the bunker. From there, I managed a double bogey and…wait, the group in front of me were STILL hitting their second shot only! I caught up already with that group.

The problem was, the group in front of them were also slow, so from the second hole onwards, I was waiting and waiting. To give an idea, I teed up around 3.45 pm. I only managed to finish the 18th at around 7.15 pm. Now I know it’s not anyone’s fault, but it still doesn’t make it more fun. It’s a full walking course for members – hence all members will obviously walk, and it seems like a perfect course for walking. Not much incline or steep slopes and holes clustered close together. But see, they force guests to take the buggy. I would prefer walking so that everyone can be at the same pace – but I ended up playing so fast, and there was no one I could bypass the group in front because all the groups were clustered together — I ended playing Chor Tai Di on my phone for the good part of the 4 hours on course.

My point is – if the groups are clustered together, at least let the reciprocal member have the option to walk – it would have been so much better.

I do put a 2 here because around hole 15, 2 members from the front flight left – so I immediately asked to join them and they agreed. From there, I shot bogey, par, par and double bogey. The final hole was just a small mistake — over clubbing at 90 meters – with a 60 degree. The yardage is just off. I couldn’t get out the bunker. But once I joined them, I suddenly started playing better. I wasn’t waiting anymore and it helped that the members were really friendly. Over 4 holes, we bonded quite a bit and I can just imagine if I had a full 18 with them.

Conclusion

Royal Perak wasn’t as bad as Royal Johor – but nowhere close to Royal Selangor. So it’s kind of in between. The course is actually quite functional and the proximity to the city is just unbeatable. The course is deceivingly hard. The members I played with said, “This course sure very easy for you one!” once they found I was a KGNS and KRPM member and playing around 17 there. But I disagree. At 6376 meters, it’s easily one of the longest 18 holes I’ve played. Comparably to the ridiculously long ClearWater which is at 6462m or Cobra Saujana at 6610 meters. It’s definitely not a pushover like Bangi, which plays almost a kilometer shorter.

Furthermore, the course rating is at 73.6. That’s worse than Saujana Cobra or Bunga Raya and higher even than KRPM Championship. KGNS championship sits at 72.90. Of ALL the courses, only the crazy Seri Selangor is harder, at 73.7. But the slope for Royal Perak is at 136, compared to Seri Selangor’s 131.  Anything over 130 for slope is generally on the harder side of playing. So Royal Perak is definitely statistically one of the harder courses a hacker can play on. Gilagolfers beware.

So I didn’t really feel that bad with my scores at the end. I did struggle with all the waiting, but at least I improved my Chor Tai Di skills.

The good: The location is unbeatable in Ipoh, compared to the harder to access Clearwater Sanctuary or even Meru; the toughness of the course is challenging and puts a lot of pressure on good drives which should make you appreciate the subtlety of the course; the members are very friendly and accessible – try to join up with a flight there and your fun factor should be multiplied.

The bad: Unless you are a member or reciprocal, I don’t see why anyone would pay so much for a course like this; aesthetics are generic at best and mundane at worst; the fairways and rough is reminiscent of courses like Kundang but the price is reminiscent of courses like Palm Garden.

The skinny: 17 of 40 divots (42.5%). Royal Perak is a go for Gilagolf because of its location and a reciprocal at KGNS. If you are a non-member or reciprocal, I think other things can be more worthwhile than spending that much money on a course like this. Clearwater is even cheaper than this and its championship material. The thing is, I doubt Royal Perak actually gives a crap about non-members (evidence by the 1000 mile hike to your car after the game), so there won’t be any changes anytime soon.

Royal Perak Golf Club Scorecard

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Palm Garden Golf Club

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Introduction

This is Palm Garden Redux.

A few years back, there was a brilliant course around Kajang area called Palm Garden Golf Resort. We gave it a must-play rating, because the pricing was around RM100 for walk-in weekdays, as it was accessible and it was a great conditioned course.

Unfortunately, golf owners being generally filled with greed, they decided to tear down the entire place and rebuild the course, giving it a slightly different name but marking up the price to some stratospheric pricing that it was no longer sustainable for sane golfers anymore.

So how then did we end up here?

Recently a bunch of Gilagolfers got the RHB Infinite Card and with it came all the goodness that golfers deserve – free green fees at Kota Permai, Mines among others, and then Palm Garden Golf Club. With that, Gilagolf had upgraded from hacking courses like Seri Selangor, KGPA and the God-forsaken Bukit Ungguls to playing excellent, overpriced and usually overrated golf courses that in normal circumstance would have a hunter shoot us down with a bullpup sniper rifle. But with the card, we have gone from eating maggi goreng mamak food to caviar at a Michelin Star restaurant. The downside was summarised in a question posed in our group:

“How to go back to play crap courses like that??”

Travel (3/5)

Travel is more or less the same as previously except now the former clubhouse is a dilapidated hovel that is primarily used as a preferred premise for B-Grade local horror movies. What I did was to use the famous Golfer Silk Road (North South Highway) and turn off at Kajang. After the toll, take the turning heading towards Cyberjaya and Putrajaya. Once you are on that highway you just look for the IOI City Mall Putrajaya.

This section of the review should no longer be even considered, now with the ubiquity of Google Maps and WAZE. If any of you are still using the Nokia 5110, well, probably a good direction is found here on their website. It’s pretty poor even by Malaysian Standards, but here it is.

Price (1/5)

The reason why we never ever stepped foot into Palm Garden since it was modified was simple. The rumour was that management had decided to charge a ridiculous rate for hackers, primarily to discourage grave diggers like us and to encourage the more genteel foreigners from Japan, Singapore, US, Korea and any other country that has a stronger currency than Malaysia – which means EVERY SINGLE COUNTRY ON EARTH RIGHT NOW, except for one of the Polynesian island called Kikitawaku, whose citizens use coconuts as the primary form of exchange. Thank you, 1MDB and our Ministry of Finance for caring so much for Malaysia and congratulations for turning the ringgit into something comparable to my son’s diaper after his daily shitting session.

Anyway, here is the rate for new Palm Garden (weekdays – since I assume for weekends, you are probably one of the said foreigners or a Malaysian who is planning to sneak into the course at the risk of being gunned down by a marshal with a bullpup sniper rifle.)

RM280 for Green Fee

RM110 for Buggy

RM80 for Caddy.

Which means for a single human – RM280+RM55+RM40=RM375+GST=RM397.50. Plus roughly RM25 for caddy tips per person = RM420.

That is RM420.

I checked back old Palm Garden and the rate was RM100 ALL-IN. Means buggy, caddy, green fee (of course, not tips).

In all honesty, the good news was that the rumour of Palm Garden charging RM400 green fee for a weekday was of course, false. The bad news was that, Palm Garden New is still no way worth RM400 ALL-IN for a weekday rate. Let’s compare:

KGNS – RM150 weekday greenfee + RM50 caddy + RM42 buggy =RM242. This means all in, KGNS is still cheaper than the GREEN FEE of bloody Palm Garden.

Now if its a really super, crazy Pebble Beach like golf course, then sure. In comparison, green fee at Bethpage Black in New York, home of PGA Majors is around RM280 Green Fee for twillight tee off. Yup. Palm Garden = Bethpage Black. Come on, Palm. From here on, I refer you as Face Palm Garden for stupid rates and pricing. Your course is nice, but it’s no way worth that much. It’s about maybe RM150 – RM180 green fee weekday, to stretch it if you want.

I know – Management looks at us and compare us to beings that is slightly between a centipede and an iguana and generally do not give a crap sh*t about what we think, but Face Palm Garden Golf Course – you are definitely getting a 1 on pricing from us!!

First thoughts

OK – now that we’ve gotten the price rant out of the way, let’s go back doing what we do best. Play bad golf.

The first hole we teed up was a slight dogleg right, blind tee off. It wasn’t a pretty hole, but once we got to the fairway (after one of my few tremedous drive), the thought was – nice. The fairway was like a carpet. It was very good.

Of course, if you were to pay so much, it shouldn’t be so surprising, and after playing Mines for a few weeks, we weren’t so terribly impressed either. I mean, it was good but shouldn’t we have expected that?

The greens as well, I must admit was way better than Mines. Well maintained, and excellent challenges as well.

Service (2/5)

Unfortunately, the caddies we received were extremely poor. At least the one we had was. She seemed very new, very inexperienced, and left us to our own retarded way of reading the greens. I expected her to at least help here and there, but she was slow off the cart to look for balls, and generally did not really find the balls, and we had to all plow in to help each other. A good caddy, now I admit, makes a ridiculous difference. The one I had in my previous 82 at Mines, was like a Caddy God. I think the other caddies probably has his picture on the wall and worship him. His reading was perfect. You think there was a break and he just stands there and says, No boss. Hit straight, trust me, because I am the Caddy God. And he was right.

Palm Garden Caddy was very much like the Tasik Puteri kind of caddies. Slightly slow, no response, no input to the game, does enough but not too much. The bad thing about her was that she almost lost my partner’s pitching wedge. She left it on the green and we all had to wait for her a few holes in front while she retrieved it. Lucky the course was empty!

So, no, sorry, caddies are just poor.

Fairways (5/5)

After such a bad start, the rubber hits the road when we play golf.

And at last, Palm Garden shines. At last.

The fairways were excellent. I would say, similar to Tropicana kind. It’s the type where the ball was simply sitting up, and inviting you to hit your perfect shot (which unfortunately hardly happened).

The undulation of the fairways was also a great challenge as well. Because they allowed buggies into the fairways (surprisingly), the caddy at the back was subjected to extreme conditions as we raced up and down the dunes of Palm Garden like crazy Fast and Furious drivers. This also meant that the ball was either above, below feet, or slanting or sloping, making it a far more challenging experience – though very rewarding once you get it right.

Greens (4/5)

Greens were great. It was much faster than Mines played, and the rolls were excellent.

The breaks for these greens were really really – subtle. It’s almost like Saujana where you think it doesn’t break so much and suddenly it veers 90 degrees and you are like, WTF? Caddy, why the hell didn’t you tell me!!??

Which is why caddies are so important. They need to read for you and none of us got a correct read. None. We were basically just guessing all the way and putting like a bunch of monkeys high on weed. Really. It got to a point of such retardedness that for 3 greens in regulation I hit, I three putted.

These are greens where you go, I will be back to play you again, Suckers.

Rough (3/5)

Rough – not much challenge here. I hit the bunker a few times and it was generally well maintained, and the rough was rewarding as well – you hit it there and it still sits up nicely. Not like Mines, where you are dead meat and you would need a cleaver to get your ball out.

Aesthetics (4/5)

Rolling hills, elevated tee boxes and expansive scenery – these would pretty much sum up Palm Garden Redux. It’s a course where you are definitely glad you took half a day or a full day leave for, or played hookey from work. It’s somewhat similar to the previous Palm Garden, but now, there is less maturity in the course and a lot more ‘expansiveness’ (not expensiveness, though that is also a case). Meaning in some tees, like the last one, you get to view the entire course from the teebox. The 11th Tee Par 4 also has an excellent view.

I guess the only downside of it is the construction buildings happening all around. Like the first hole. I am like, what the heck is this, Bukit Jalil??

However, I am somewhat partial to elevation in a golf course. It gives the course a lot more life, and here are some photos to just capture the essence of Palm Garden a bit.

Fun Factor (5/5)

Palm Garden never lost it.

Sure, they overpriced it, but playing on this course is just fun.

I actually played a lot better than my score suggested. The first hole, I was a Sand Wedge away from the green for my second, and I pullled the devil out of it. I went through a crisis over 3 holes with double, triple and double but mainly because I started shanking the crap out of my irons. I don’t know, I have been shanking a lot lately, so I am not sure how to resolve it. For instance, the best drive I hit was a soaring draw on the 8th, leaving me with a 60 degree pitch to the green. I shanked it way right into the bunker, my third shank of the day. Even my partner shook his head in disbelief and said, WHAT.A.BLOODY.WASTE. Yes. I know.

The backnine steadied somewhat, but was full of missed opportunities. Again, a lot of it was due to bad second shots and a dodgy drive. The best hole was the 16th, which long drivers can really gun for. It’s around 300 meters on paper, but it’s a sloping downhill that if you can catch it perfect, it can hit a slope and run all the way down to the green. No kidding. I hit mine low and with a draw and found myself at the dreaded 30 meter pitch with my 60 degree which I shanked a few times. Luckily I managed to pull it off and hit a perfect pitch to around 5 feet and sank in the birdie.

Again, it was fun. Like Mines, we avoided the excruciating wait for other flights as the entire course was literally empty. We had a great group and great wager going, and after the game had such a ridiculously good lunch at the famouse Dengkil restaurant, we were just drunk with happiness. My next game in Palm, I will take the whole day off instead of half-day.

Conclusion

OK – in conclusion, Palm Garden still retained it’s beauty, charm and fun as previously, if not, even becoming slightly better. The course condition is overall excellent and the fairways are fantastic, but the great letdown of stupid pricing and some poor caddies are really a concern. If you are going to charge premier pricing, you need to be a premier course. The fact is, Palm, you are not. You are just a wanabe, which is what Awana is trying to do (I hear). Please, price yourself slightly lower and don’t be too greedy and money grabbing to local Malaysians who are trying to do our country proud by playing good golf so we can represent Malaysia in Olympics.

The good: Great greens and fairways; the aesthetics are just charming; challenging holes and fun backnine with 3 par 5s and 3 par 3s (like Bangi), and food around the area (Dengkil) is through the roof. Get your favourite flight here and I dare you not to enjoy your game.

The bad: Pricing. My goodness. It’s not worth that much, please. And caddies really really need to improve.

The skinny: 27 of 40 divots (67.5%). Comparing it to the old Palm Garden, it went down a full 10%. It’s still entrenched in the Must Play category of golf courses, alongside KGNS, but it’s now rated lower. The pricing is just irreconciliable. If they remove that obstacle, the course will become more accessible. Then again, for guys like us, we might enjoy it less if shared with 100 other golfers as opposed to just 2 – 3 flights as we did that day.

New Palm Garden Score Card

palmgarden

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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!

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Taming the Mines

mines

We had a chance to play in Mines recently and the theory is proven – we need to play in very very expensive courses and we will play better because of our inherent kiasun-ness to not mess up and make the experience a living nightmare.

I scored probably the best I had in years, except for the 80 I did a few years ago at Damai Laut. An 82, with 9 pars, 2 birdies, 3 bogeys, 2 doubles and 2 triples.

It started crap though, with a pulled shot into the hazard and an incapable recovery for a triple on the first hole. The other triple on the first nine (we teed off the back nine) was after my drive stayed out of the water at the side in the hazard and I sliced it back into the water. Aside from those two brain-farts, the other double bogey came from a pulled drive on the 1st, and a pulled second into the woods on the 8th. The first birdie came on the first par 5 and the second was on the 17th, the green that fronted Tun Mahathir’s house. Which is here:

mahathir

I was wondering why on earth does the Tun’s house have a chimney?

The score could be lower – missed birdies on the 9th and the index 1 3rd could have put me in for 80, but then again, it could have been a lot worse. My drives were pulled left and a few times saved by the heavy rough from going into the drink. So, this is an extremely rare occasion when even with bad driving, a lot of luck and very good second shots/approach shots saved the game. I think this is probably not so much of a norm than an exception, but let’s see. NEXT GAME!

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There you go – 111th in the world tied with 1st in the world

tigerrory2

 

A couple of things.

My prediction was spot on. Tiger shot 68. He messed up the back 9 as predicted…couple of birdies, couple of bogeys. BAM! I just want to brag. Because I rarely get it correct, but because I was so pissed with Hank Heiney for sounding like Nostradamus only to eat crap after that when Tiger displayed no issues with his short game.

Hank: There is no way someone can get back his chipping so easily. HE HAS THE DAMN YIPS. Trust me, I am a short game expert and one of the top golf instructors in the world. I trained Tiger and made him what he is. His dad didn’t do crap for him and that Bitch Harmon guy is  wanker. I am the best. Call me at 1-800-HANKHASABIGDIC. Free lessons at my place if you are pornstar.

Gilagolf: Wait – Tiger didn’t mess his chips. His bogeys came from stupid drives and stupid putts. In fact, this guy’s chips are amazing. What are you talking about, the yips?

Hank:….Call me at 1-800-HANKHASABIGDIC.  Free lessons at my place if you are pornstar. Did I mention that it’s HANKHASABIGDIC?

Secondly – we now have the 111st player in the world teeing up with the 1st player in the world. And the 111 guy is a bigger attraction than the 1st player in the world. Only in golf will you see this, that 111 > 1. In ATP, this means James Ward is a better tennis player than Novak Djokovic. In badminton it is Dinuka KARUNARATNA vs Chen Long and Dinuka is bigger and more famous. In football, it means Libya is bigger news than Germany. You get the idea.

Tiger is NOT the 111st player in the world. He’s just at that spot temporarily for whatever reason because he doesn’t play. You would have the world believe that Tomohiro Kondo is better than him?

Bring it on tonight!

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Tiger at the Masters – Eat my shorts, Hank

augsuta

It’s 3.45 am now and I am watching the first major since God knows when. Because of one guy. Tiger Woods.

Sure, this guy Jordan Speith is burning Augusta like he was born here.  He is probably gonna win it, barring an amazing disaster or self implosion like Rory. But. Who. Cares.

The biggest news is obviously Tiger not just making the cut, but currently shooting 4 under on the first 9 of moving day and moving into the top-10.

Eat my shorts, Hank Haney.

And the rest of this planet. Obviously, there was never in doubt about Tiger. I actually wrote a piece before the Masters Begun called My Prediction of Augusta – Tiger to almost Win it. I didn’t post it up because I didn’t finish it because my son just shit in his pants. Of course, I am not going to post it up, because people will say that’s a poser of an article and that I wrote it AFTER the second round.

The reason I wrote was simple – Tiger kills Augusta. He also will NOT come back if his game is messed up. And more than that, 3rd round, he is playing against Sergio Garcia, the racist who told him to eat fried chicken a few years back. (Fried chicken to african americans is a derogatory remark).

But let’s hold on for a while. He’s sitting at -6. Will he mess up the back 9? Probably. It’s still game rust.  He will probably bogey a few, and birdie a few and probably end the round at around 68 or 69. Which is still damn good for a guy who chipped like me.

Now. Hank Haney. This old dude. I read his book about Tiger called “The Big Miss”. Hank is a guy who typically cannot play golf, so he purportedly teaches it. He makes a crap load of predictions like this:

“In 2 trips to Augusta in 2010 before the Masters Tiger failed to break 80, finished 4th that yr, the 74 doesn’t scare me, the chipping does,”

Hank. You are beyond stupid. You are still talking smack about chipping of Tiger. He is beyond that. And stop making predictions. There is no risk to you. You make a wrong prediction, you say, “Aww, Tiger got lucky”. Your prediction becomes right, you say, “See, that’s why people pay me stupid money to make comments on golf swing that I know nothing about so I can see if I can score those pornstars that Tiger scored.” Hank is annoying. I wish he would just shut up and crawl back to whichever piece of rock he came out from before he trained Tiger.

OK, back to sleepless nights and watching Mr Woods. His putting still sucks, so watch MY prediction. He will mess abit the back 9 and finish around 68 or 69. He will end up top 10 this week. Gilagolf HAS SPOKEN! Up your heiney, Haney!

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