Kickstart 2019 Tropicana

So the new year kicks off with all the new equipments for 2019. Just a quick comparison with my last year.

 

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Cobra Fly Z+ vs R11 Taylormade – No competition. The Cobra is several years ahead of the R11 and it shows. I wasn’t just bombing my drives today, but I felt very much in control, unlike the inconsistent display with the R11.

 

Titliest 910D 3 Wood vs Cobra LD 5 Wood – I never really had any 3 wood in my bag before and only had an old LD5 Wood. Again, with a 3 wood, the game changes – especially with this solid fella, which i managed to hit very good shots today

 

    

 

MP57 vs MP54 – This is probably the only one requiring work. The 57s are beautiful things, but I must say, very much different in terms of forgiveness – as in, it has very little margin of error. When I connect, it flies like a hot knife through butter, cutting through air. But when I mis-hit (on several occasions), it’s very tough to play. The 54s are a lot easier, but it doesn’t look that good!

 

 

Smart Square Cleveland vs Odyssey  DFX 5500 – I’ve been having a love hate relationship with my DFX for many years. Sometimes, its so good that the hole looks like the size of a basket ball hoop. Other times I can’t even hit those 3 foot putts. The inconsistency now makes me switch to the much larger, face balanced Smart Square – and it works. Awesome putting today, and the visual (two squares) gives me a lot of confidence.

So Away we teed up at West Course 3 and crossover to East Course 1.

Hole 1: Tee off into the woods on the left as was expecting a slice as experienced on the range. Nope. It was long and left for some reason. Managed to hit a pitching wedge out and flew the green, and left with a chip over bunker. Guess what? Yup, chipped into bunker. Solid Bunker out to around 6 feet and drained the putt with my new putter. The chipping skills cannot be bought though, damn it. (+1)

Hole 2: This is a really nice hole but OB right makes us go left, which I did, leaving me with a pitching wedge into a downhill green. I missed it slightly left, and had to chip it. It landed soft, to around 8 feet and I drained the putt. The putter is ON!! (+1)

Hole 3: Par 3 messed up. My irons flared right, and didn’t even come close to the green. My chipping wasn’t great and I still wasn’t on. From off the green, my putt almost holed and I sank the bogey from around 4 feet (+2)

Hole 4: Nice controlled hole which forced me to hit my hybrid, which veered left a little. From there, it was an easy enough 9 iron into a big green. Long lag putt wasn’t good and my par putt didnt drop. So a 3 putt bogey. (+3). Not an easy putt anyway, can’t fault the putter.

Hole 5: Not an easy hole, but a very good drive sorted it out. I hit a wonderful 7 iron flighted into the green, one of the times I caught the MP-57 perfect and saw what a great club it was in the hands of actual good players (not me). I had around 10 feet for birdie and literally burned the edge with my putt. Good par though. (+3)

Hole 6: Another drive bombed with a slight draw down the middle. This time, to around 110m, I shortchanged my gap wedge and ended up in the bunker. I like bunkers, and I blasted out, two putted for bogey (+4)

Hole 7: Uphill par 5 which another driver found me needing a 3 wood. The new 3 wood is AWESOME. I hit it so flush that it landed into the greenside bunker almost pin high. From there, blasted out of the sand to around 6 feet and somehow missed a very good opportunity for birdie-sandy. Settle for par (+4)

Hole 8:Just when you think we figured out, again, my 7 iron flared right. These MP-57s dont take kindly to off center hits like my 54s.From there, I found myself again in the bunker and again, hit it out to around 6 feet, and missed the very quick downhill putt. Bogey. (+5)

Hole 9: Great end to the 9 with a long par 5. I twacked my driver dead straight.  A 3 wood brought me to about 80m to the pin. I hit a ‘meh’ shot that found me on the left of the green, on a slope, with a water grating in front of my ball so I couldn’t putt. Instead, I had to chip – and for once, hit a great one, which trickled to about 3 feet and sank the par. (+5). Great 9! Away to East 1!

Hole 10: For once, a bad drive that flared right. Still found the ball nestled under the tree, and I thought an 8 should suffice. Instead I missed it badly and it still left me with a very difficult pitch to the green. Yes, I promptly pitched it into the greenside bunker. I blasted a good bunker shot out for 4-on but cannot do anything further from 10 feet. First double bogey of the day. (+7)

Hole 11: It’s a very nice narrow hole. I hit a great fade but it landed into the rough about 110m away. Once more, I mishit my irons badly and my pitching wedge just tricked forward and I had those tricky pitch/chip shots where for once I executed well, leaving me around 4-5 fee to sink the par putt, which I did. (+7)

Hole 12: Another par 3. And another monumental failure again. This time, my 6 iron semi hook got over the water, bounced promptly to the left and went back into the water again. I took a drop, chipped to about 15 feet and ended up double bogey. What’s up with my irons??! (+9)

Hole 13: Ah the great par 5, that just need a good drive first. I drove it well, although it did pop up a bit. From there, I duffed my 7 iron approach and it went only 20m in front. ME-57s are hard to hit, man! From there, my 6 iron found the bunker. A great bunker shot still left me around 15 feet to manuever down hill. I hit it slightly hard, but it hit the hole and rested a few inches from it. Good for bogey (+10)

Hole 14: This is a low index hole because the tee off is guarded by bunkers on left and water on right. I managed to sliver my shot into the middle of the fairway- once again the Cobra Flyz+ proving awesome value for money. However, I pulled my PW slightl and yes —into the bunker, my favourite. A good out, but caught the hill and rolled down to 10 feet. Missed putt, but pretty good bogey. (+11)

Hole 15: This is supposedly an easy par 5 if you have a good tee off. I had a good one, but it landed right in the middle of a huge divot in the rough. It was so unlucky! I could’t get the buried ball with my hybrid properly and it went around 20-30m ahead. Now  have the 3 wood. I also missed it due to the extreme slope I was hitting on. From there, a 6 iron found me off the fairway slightly. My chip was almost good but short a bit. 2 putt for double. (+13).

Hole 16: This is one of the holes I didnt catch properly my driver. Yet, so forgiving was it, it still flew and rolled a good distance. It left me around 140m to the green. Once more, the MP-57 was tough to hit. My 8-iron was short and left. Chip on wasn’t superb and had to two putt for bogey. (+14)

Hole 17: Easy par 3 and this time I made sure I stayed through the ball. 7 iron found the green and two putted for par (+14)

Hole 18: Final hole requires some finesse — not. Once more, the Cobra came out and the drive was good and long – so good I only was left with a gap wedge distance. I launched the approach to the right a bit and landed softly, trickling down to around 6 feet of the hole. Birdie to end the first game of the year? You bet. BIRD IT! (+13)

KRPM Mini Tourney

We had a mini tournament of 16 people at Rahman Putra today. And boy, did I not do too well. The last outing wasn’t so bad, as I shot sub-90, but this time around the downpour the night before made for conditions that were not so ideal. Muddy, soft ground, hard bunkers = high scores.

Hole 1: Just like last time, pulled the tee shot to the left over the cartpath. Second shot had to punch out (not so good), and a 60 degree pitch (good one!) set me up for a 15 footer for par, which I expectedly missed (+1)

Hole 2. The very tough par 3. I actually hit a great 6 iron that didn’t draw enough. It landed on the fringe of the green on the right, hung there for a second then decide to roll into the damn bunker. In the bunker, the ball was between rake marks, I hit it poorly. Bunker was too hard and I hit it clean out to the other side, beyond the other bunker. 3rd shot, flop failed right into the other bunker. 4th shot out. Two putts for triple! (+4)

Hole 3. Par 5. Hit a dead straight drive into the woods. Manage to escape with a good 6 iron to around 120m, perfect distance. I used a gap wedge to hit to a downhill green which I hit smack in the middle but it annoyingly rolled off over. Note: don’t use shi*ty golf balls. My first attempt at a bump and run was ok – it trickled onto the green but not near enough for par. Bogey. (+5)

Hole 4. Pushed my drive way right but luckily missed the next hole’s pond. I duffed by pitching wedge a bit and had to chip on. Good chip, had around 10 feet for par, which I missed. Bogey (+6)

Hole 5. Par 3 with an 8 iron was short, so another chip. This time, not a solid one, way short, and 2 putt for bogey (+7)

Hole 6. Hooked this one to the left and managed to punch out. Now, with around 90 to the downhill green, I hit my 60 degree short. I realised much later on cow grass, I tend to dig more and I don’t get the distance I usually get compared to other fairways in the RHB courses (Mines, Trops, Glenmarie etc). I was about a few yards from the green. Usually I opt to putt but since I was testing my chip, I thought I can hit a good one. Not. Ball was duffed, didn’t even make the green. 2 Putted for double (+9)

Hole 7. Hooked again, this time another punch out. With around 100m to go, I once again opted for my 60 degree. I need to learn – when rain, don’t use the 60 degree! Chunked my third, chunked my fourth into the bunker, finally out with my fifth (barely), six on with a putt and 7 in. Triple. Once more due to my inability to adjust to wet conditions (+12)

Hole 8. Tough one. I drove pretty well actually.With a five iron second shot, I reached around a few yards of the green. Chipped again and yes, its ok but I still had around 15 feet for par on a very tough green. Two putted for bogey. (+13)

Hole 9. Really a very stupid hole for me. I played my first two shots perfect. Great 5-wood to the edge of the lake, a six iron to set me up around 110m from the hole. I semi chunked my pitching wedge into the greenside bunker. Like Hole 2, I couldn’t get enough sand due to it being so hard and ended up hitting the ball clean to the very end of the green. Three Putted for double bogey (+15)

Wow. That’s a very high score. But it was really due to my brain farts more than the condition of the course.

Hole 10. Doesn’t start great as my drive found the right fairway bunker. My shot out was poor and I had around 160 to go to a downhill green. I stuffed an 8-iron to around 20 feet of the hole (it actually hit the front of the green but kept rolling and rolling). Two putt for par. (+15)

Hole 11. Pulled my 5-wood (again!) but hit a reasonable 5-iron that passed the hazard. I had to do a chip again, and not bad, I had around 10 feet to save par which I missed (+16)

Hole 12. Uphill par 3. Once more, a good six iron set me up for an easy chip, which I did not do it easily. My ball scampered to around 15 feet over the hill and I was luckly to escape with a bogey. (+17)

Hole 13. A relatively easy hole which I pulled my drive but luckily hit a tree on the left. I crafted a gap wedge through a gap between the trees and landed about 10 feet above the hole for my reasonable birdie look. I missed it and par. (+17)

Hole 14. A good draw drive to the center of the fairway but I hit a very poor 9 iron which landed on the left, around 10 m left to the green. I executed a perfect chip for my third shot that landed and rolled to about 5 feet from the hole. Saved par! (+17)

Hole 15. Really sort sighted this one. It was playing at the whites, so I thought I can muscle in a gap wedge in there. Nope. It did cross the hazard, but it landed, jumped backwards and rolled into the water. Dropped, hit on the green and had around 15 footer downhil which I missed for bogey. Double bogey (+18)

Hole 16. The start of the 3 toughest holes in the course.I hung my drive too far right, and my second shot clipped the trees and into the water (again!). Hit my 4th on, two putted for double. (+20)

Hole 17. HOOKED! Luckily there was an opening which I punched out. So I was around 140m away to an uphill green and this should be money for me. Instead I shanked the hell out of my 9 iron to the righ. I was lucky it was still alive. I pitched pretty ok for my fourth, two putted for double (+22)

Hole 18. Perfect drvie – the first one of the day!My 7 wood crossed the lake and set me up around 100m to an uphill green. Gap wedge stuffed to around 15 feet but it was an extremely tricky putt which I had to aim 90 degrees from the hole, up the slope and down again. Three putted for my last hole again for a bogey! (+23)

Conclusion: My other mates were not having a great time also. The ground was muddy and soggy, but the sun was roasting us alive under its heat. Humidity was at its worst and even my climalite shirt was completely soaked. It was really the worst weather for golf – extreme hot weather right after a thunderstorm.

I ended up more or less at the middle of the pack. Given the conditions, it wasn’t the worse I have played. Plenty of positives, especially the chipping continues to improve as I get more confident to bring the stroke into the course.

Tropicana – great course, horrendous caddies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So yet another year ends – What brings 2018?

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

But I won’t.

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

What does 2018 brings?

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

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

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

b) Line up my driver and my stance

c) One practice stroke

d) Line up my driver and stance again

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

f) Waggle a bit

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

h) Take a deep breath

i) Take one last look down the fairway

j) Pull the trigger.

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

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

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

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

Tiger is back!!!!

Happy new year, Gilagolfers!

Sungai Long, Luckiest Day and Bad Caddies

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Based on our previous experience with Sungai Long the conclusion was nice course, crap service. And there has been no changes since.

But firstly – more optimistically – the game at Sungai Long recently will forever be rated as the luckiest day of our collective lives.

I am usually not a firm believer of luck – but thanks to today, I am now pretty sure there’s some sort of lucky counter up there that’s helping us out.

a) My first drive was a hook into the trees on the way to OB – and yet it spilled out nicely onto the fairway.

b) Twice, my playing partner’s drives were all headed into oblivion only for the trees to spit them out.

c) My playing partner skulled his ball from the bunker, zipped over the green over our heads, hit the stationary cart parked opposite and dropped to about 8 feet from the hole.

d) My 10th drive was an exact same drive as my first, but this time, the hook hit the SIDE of the cart path (where the stones were angled at a 45 degree angle), and bounced so hard to the opposite direction, that it landed smack in the middle of the fairway, about 20 meters from the green, which technically made it my first 300 meter drive.

e) A few drives after that, my drive hit the cart path again on the left and bounced again onto the fairway, around 60 meters from the green.

f) And finally – on par 5, and hitting my 3 wood second shot to around 250 meters: the ball faded right and hit (again) the 45 degree angled road bank and bounced back left so hard  that it landed on the green around 10 feet from the hole! I missed the darn eagle but it was the easiest birdie of my life.

I mean one time, two times OK – but this was like constantly LUCKY. I should go and buy me some number.

Anyway even with such divine help, I could only limp to a 91 – Sungai Long has never been easy for me, but the caddies …. If Glenmarie caddies were a bunch of crooks, then Sungai Long caddies are a bunch of idiotic gerbils.

Actually, we expected that anyway yet it’s our fault for taking up the caddies. First, they only gave us one guy at the first tee, promising they will send us another one. It was only through the 3rd hole, that the guy came.

The first caddy didn’t really speak any English and his Malay was only very primitive, so communication was devilish difficult. He was constantly smoking so throughout the 18th, our buggy smelled like a tobacco factory. Not cool, even when we made it clear we didn’t want him to smoke, he would keep his smoke up his sleeves and drag it when we are hitting our shots.

Look – I am willing to overlook all these. Really, it’s our fault for not learning. He didn’t read any greens and was slow in getting our clubs. He was just a terrible caddy…but I don’t blame him. He’s just a labourer, who worked in maintaining the course but because Sungai Long couldn’t afford proper caddies, they just sort of promoted these labourers to become caddies. At least that is in our opinion, since he would stop by and chat with the labourers all the time in (I think) Bangladeshi.

But what we cannot overlook is this: At the end, we go, alright, let’s just give him RM30 because we are kind. As in, he is ABSOLUTELY, PAINFULLY USELESS. Yet, because of our stupid culture of tolerance and kindness that my parents had instilled in me, I was still compassionate enough to give that money to him.

And he looks back and says bluntly in barely intelligible Malay, “You should be giving me RM50. That is standard, boss”.

We were like, WTF?

As in W.T.F.??!

I wanted to retort, yeah, standard if we get standard caddies and not some sort of parasitical organism that happens to be growing at the back of my buggy and smoking the crap out of his life the entire game!

I know Sungai Long is basically going down the toilet, but this is truly humiliating. I bet if Jack Nicklaus knew what they are doing to the club  he designed, he would be telling them to close it down and turn it into a cattle farm.

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.

The Cursed Swing

Ask any golfer, which of these would be his/her nightmare shot:

a) Top

b) Duff

c) Whiff

d) Shank

e) Missed One Foot putt

Now with the exception of e), where you will probably proceed to jump down the nearest lake and likely commit suicide, between the 4, the first 3, while embarassing, are not the worst nightmare of golfers. It’s the dreaded shank.

I played at Danau recently (based on my previous review, you would know this is a course NOT to be trifled with).

I started the day in somewhat confident mood as I was playing pretty good golf over the past few weeks, except for a general triple-triple meltdown in two holes in Nilai, where I knew what my problem was; I was playing much better than what my score suggested. No kidding. It’s like times when you play so darn well, yet cannot score, because your perfect drive went into the woods because it was so long, or a woodchuck came out and gnawed on your balls. Golf ball, I mean.

So anyways, I started the day with a hooked drive. Second hole, hooked drive. Third hole hooked drive. At this point, I was going for bogey-triple-triple to start. And on the par 3, it happened. The dreaded shank. I just shanked the heck out of it. And from there, the game descended into an apocalyptic piece of turdmess. All it took was one shank and it left me fr dead. I scored 50 on the front, and thought i can recover with a par-bogey on the back nine to start, and then the third hole – Shank. Par 3 again. Triple the next par 5 and from hole 5,6,7,8,9, I played double-bogey for ALL holes. Never happened ever. Ended with 50-52 scoreline. And I was lucky too, because I snapped my 3 wood on the par 5 fourth, and then on hole six, I shanked again on the par 3. I then proceeded to test 3 more shots (while declaring I will play the first), and shanked ALL of them. So technically, I shanked around 8 – 9 times this round. It’s like a bloodbath of epic proportions.

Oh yeah, Danau is also cursed, because I snapped my driver previously when it fell from the buggy, and now my 3 wood when I tomahawked it to the ground. So long, 3 wood and the reminder of my Happy Gilmore temper.

Anyway, back to my shanks. What causes a shank?

Heck if I knew. Else I wouldn’t hit 9 shanks in a game, now would I?

But here’s what I think. Too close to the ball at address and too closed the clubface. I always think two wrong things:

1) Shank is caused by open club face

2) Shank is caused by too much outside in

Both are not wrong, yet, not correct either. The Shank is caused by the ball whacking the hosel. Duh. This happens due to the sudden retardation of my hand-eye coordination. Case in point, the first hole back nine, I was 140 m away to an uphill green and hit an absolutely pure nine iron that just cleared the green and landed 5 feet from the hole, which I heroically missed the simple birdie. Hole 3, full of supreme confidence, I shanked the crap out of my ball into the jungle. Why? How can you go from a superman to a homeless hobo in one hole? Somewhere along the line, my address went out of alignment. To be honest, it was happening all day. Some shots were ‘near-shanks’ where you hit a seemingly good shot but in your heart you knew it was a close call.

I must have creep closer to the ball the less confidence I had. Because I thought I was opening my club, I proceeded to shut the club face. Because I thought I was going outside in (which I never do, for those who plays with me know, I am a hooker in principle and cannot slice/fade to save my own life), I set myself to come even more inside out than normal. All these adjustments lead to worst results.

I don’t really have a solution, as I topped my last iron shot and never really fix what was broken, but I guess I’ll know in my next game.

 

What so Great about Golf Anyway?

I was talking to an acquaintance recently and he was selling some stuff, which included his golf bag and clubs. As we were talking, he suddenly blurted out, “What so great about Golf anyway? Sorry, (he apologises to me, knowing I Gilagolf) but I find the game so stupid and boring, where you hit the ball, chase it and hit the ball and chase it”

Knowing that he’s a guy that liked cooking (and spending God knows how many hours cooking some french stuff then posting it on Facebook), I said philosophically, “It’s like cooking. I find it boring as well, because I suck at it.” Implying because he sucked so bad at golf, he immediately dismisses it as a stupid game. It’s like the fox that can’t get the grapes and he mutters that the grapes are sour anyway (I guess there’s where the term sour grapes come from?). I didn’t mean it as an insult, just a very easy way to say, “People don’t understand stuff because they are either crap at it, or they don’t bother to expend effort in it, and therefore dismisses it.”

Of course, he immediately retorts back that without food I won’t be alive, to which I responded, whoever cooks, someone must eat, so I am the guy that eats it. Besides, I don’t like those frenchy food anyway where the plate is like 15x bigger than the actual food. Give me chow kueh teow, dammit! Here’s what I learnt: it’s useless saying to a self proclaimed chef (and we have many these days) that cooking is a waste of time, like how you tell a self proclaimed ‘golfer’, golf is a waste of time. To me, any food that requires more effort to make than to eat is worthless. It’s like the popiah theory. You spend so long making the damn popiah, and you just finish it in one bite. Or the crab/prawn theory. You spend so long peeling the skin of the prawn or hammering the claw of the crab just to get the little meat…sheesh, it’s just not worth it! Cost benefit analysis, people!

Anyway, back to Golf. Why do Golfers like it anyway? I guess, like many sports, it fulfills our 4 happy chemicals:

1) Dopamine

Dopamine  is the human chemical responsible for releasing good feelings of satisfaction, achievement, and completion. The word dope comes from this. Basically, this is what we get when we score a birdie. Or hit a perfect drive. Or flush a six iron to 1 feet from the hole. Or hole a bunker. Sheesh, I can think of a million ways Dopamine gets released on the golf course. In fact, every anti-dopamine act (a duck hook, a top ball, a shot into the bunker), gives an opportunity for the dopamine act to occur. That’s why we end up ‘chasing’ the high. Even when we hit a crap shot, we ALWAYS think we are going to hit that 3-wood 250 meters curve past the trees onto the green. DOPE, MAN!

2) Serotonin

Serotonin is the pride we get at the end. When we collect our $$ from our friends. When they concede you are the better golfer. When they say, jeez, that’s a freaking long drive bro. Or even, when you whip out your driver and someone comments, holy crap, that’s a long shaft and a big head. Sometimes, the words we use on golf courses are just waiting for an innuendo. That’s why some people play better when they bet. Or ok, all of us play better. Because there’s a reward. There’s a trophy. There’s a beat down. There’s bragging rights.

3) Endorphins

Endorphins is the high we feel when we need to mask the pain. It’s the ‘pleasure’ chemical. Golfers get this, that’s why we don’t feel that our wrist is hurt, or our backs are aching, or our legs are gone. We just play (except for those idiotic golfers that complain about their physical impairment all the time to pyscho you)…to be honest, even if someone was feeling pain, when he steps up to the tee and envision all the orgasmic dopamine and serotonin he’s going to get by blasting the ball straight down the fairway – endorphins kick in and bye bye pain.

4) Oxytocin

The final part to the puzzle. Golf is the most relationship based sport ever. For 4 hours, 4 people end up together and they become best friends. Oxytocin is the feeling of camaraderie, friendship, of ‘belong’. Through golf, trust is automatically created. Experiences are shared. The lunch after the game is filled with memories and laughter. We know these guys will be there for us no matter what. That’s why when you play with an a**hole, you never want to play with him AGAIN. Ever. Because he has taken away that Oxytocin from you, because he’s such an a-hole. Golf is about friendship. When someone breaks that trust, we should cast him out like the pile of dogcrap he is. Case in point, was the other day I was at the pro shop fixing my putter grip. While waiting, someone walks in and looks at my putter and asked me about the grip and we started talking and laughing about stuff. He left after a while, my wife asked me, who was that and was that a friend? I said no, don’t know his name, or anything else except he played golf and we knew each other’s golf clubs. She looked at me strangely, as if I was a half witted numbskull. Golfers immediately create a trust bond. It’s like what Victor Hugo says: Great perils bring to light the fraternity of strangers. The peril we all share is the game of golf.

So there you go. Golf provides for all. Cooking? I guess. But I suck at it, so to me, it’s a boring activity. I don’t get my 4 chemicals from it. I rather be eating.

So to non-golfers who thinks golf is boring–you’re right. It is to you, because you don’t play it. Everyone gets their fill of these 4 chemicals somehow. Let’s not knock on our respective methods shall we?

Dawn of a new Era

As some of our most loyal readers would know, we are ridiculously, unreasonably, fanatically biased towards a guy called Tiger Woods when it comes it golf. It is an irrational loyalty to the guy who coined Sunday Red in the lore of golf. Throughout his sexcapades, we have stayed with him, remaining as one of his main sponsors, even to the point that he was unaware of it. Throughout his injuries, we stuck with him, and even continued to offer money into our Tiger Fund, which as of this date, we have -10RM, the 10 RM was withdrawn due to our group not having enough money to pay for our golf lunch. In fact we were so serious with our fanaticism for Tiger that we all had a vow of silence for 3 months, which is why you have not seen this blog updated since April. In fact we have more than 6,534 articles written ready to be posted, but due to our vow of silence, we have decided to destroy all these articles and start from scratch. Yes, we are fanatics.

But now, even Gilagolf must admit – the time has come.

With Rory graduating from a half beserk nincompoop who threw away Augusta to the actual person taking over Tiger’s throne, and with Tiger’s injury (again) flaring up again, it’s hard to see how our good friend will ever recover from this. Even if he does, he has this punk with his curly hairstyle to contend with. And unlike Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Phil Mickleson and Steven Ames, they are not going to wither like a flower when Tiger steps up to the tee. Anyone know what the heck happened to Vijay Singh?

So the truth is this: Jack Nicklaus record remains. Tiger will fall short. And despite him being more than 20 years in the circuit, golf is still a white man game. And now, the top 5 in the world isn’t even American.  Nicklaus and Palmer will be turning in their graves, I think. Wait, oops, they are not dead yet. Sorry, my bad. Need to google more.

A big congrats to Rory, but it is definitely the end of Tiger after this. It’s been a fun ride while it lasted.

 

 

Tiger vs Rory

Did any of you know that there was apparently a “Duel and Jinsha Lake” yesterday? It’s a mano-e-mano, one to one matchup between the world number 1 and world number 2.

World number 2 gets 2 million USD. World number 1 gets 1 million USD. I know, there’s something a bit wrong here, so I am guessing world number 3 gets…?

Anyways, Jinsha lake is located somewhere in Henan, China. Which is somewhere in China. Anyhoos, I managed to accidentally catch the game on TV as I came back from lunch. A couple of calls to clients moved all my meetings two hours later and I managed to catch the majority of the so-called Duel.

Which.Was.A.Waste.Of.Time.

Not so much that Tiger lost, I think -4 to Rory’s -5, but the way they lost it. They didn’t give a crap. It was exhibition. They got a couple of million bucks just to show up, and even though the commentator said it was for ‘pride’, I am not buying it. 2 million bucks is more than they will get if they won a regular tour tournament. Heck, it’s larger than a major event’s purse! All they need to do was play 18 holes. It’s equivalent to a consultant working on a project for 3 months to get 300,000RM, or work 3 days to get 600K RM. Which one would be better?

Tiger played like I’ve never seen before. Without a damn. He just wasn’t locked in. When he hit a bad shot, he didn’t care. When he hit a good shot, he didn’t care. No fist pumps, no anger, no slamming of clubs, no clenched fist. It was like his mind was on Mickey Mouse playing the ukelele. You could see how disengage he was, when rory would talk to him facing him, he never looked back at Rory, just stare into the ground ahead and talked back a bit. After a while, I think Rory said, “Darn it Tiger, just play along a bit or we will lose this stupidly easy paycheck, will ya??!?”

Rory? Heck, I don’t know, he was playing well, but he was just walking about, not really caring much as well and I think purposely missing a few putts to keep it close. He was a lot better than Tiger, granted.

The only interesting thing was their conversations to each other as they sauntered along, collecting a few thousand bucks with each step they took. Rory was talking about the weather and Tiger was saying it was a hell lot better than the hellhole called Malaysia last week (not in those words)…and he was saying he was literally dripping as he addressed the ball in KL. (in those exact words).

Another interesting bit was this humongously irritating on-course chinese interviewer, who literally stopped Tiger and Rory while they were still playing and asked stupid questions like: “How do you think you are hitting it?” “How is the weather?” “What color underwear are you wearing?” He was classic hilarious. The look on Tiger’s face when he was first accosted as he was walking to his second shot, as if “WTF is this china man?” The very next hole, the hole he swung his driver dramatically out of his hands in a hook shot, he strode off to his ball fuming. And this annoying chinaman interviewer hops in front of him and says: “What do you think of your shot?” Tiger at that moment was a milisecond away from slamming his Nike club into the head of this guy but stopped himself with two sentences: “2 Million prize money. 100 billion losses in PR”. He smoothed his face and smiled forcefully and through visibly grinding teeth said, “I don’t know, I havent seen it yet.”

Ah, the beauty of insensitive and utterly clueless chinese interviewers!