Incremental Improvements

For the 3rd and 4th game of the year, there are some incremental improvements.

Game 3 was at palm garden and again, similar to Glenmarie, started the game with very very good drives, before unravelling midway and sorting out at the end. I was +1 over the first 3 holes, with my driver very much in control; before the par 5 sent it OB. The next par 5 5th I managed to par again, and then stumbled to a bogey on the 8th when my drive hit a tree next to the tee off box. The struggle began on the back 9 when I double bogeyed 3 out of the first  4 holes , and then played the last 5 holes at +3 for a 45-46. Its a very frustrating game because the driver which was doing so well early just couldn’t keep the pace and I ended up hooking a lot of shots at the end.

The next game is at Tropicana, where we teed up in the afternoon and ended up chasing against the weather and storm. We managed to cram in 18 before 15 minutes after the end, the siren went up.

This game was much better, but started just the opposite. My driver was cold as we teed up in the West Course and pull hooked the first; and still managed a bogey. The second dogleg par 4 with a lower tier green was navigated with a par before I sent my 5 iron in the drink on the 3rd par 3. Then another par, then pulled another into the drink and escaped with a double bogey. Then pulled another on the 6th but thankfully was so bad it missed the water. Pulled my approach and just missed the water.  At this point, the driver, after 6 holes was still being sorted out and if it keeps on going like this, it would be for a long day.

And suddenly, just like that, it sorted out. It’s weird. Just as how little I know about what I am doing wrong, I have no idea what I am doing right. Boom boom boom. The last 3 holes the driver came in and started to go straight or with a baby draw or with a baby fade. Once I was on the fairway and not hacking myself out here and there, I managed to par the final 3 holes coming in , which was a par 5, par 3 and par 5.

Making the turn, I parred the 10th (east 1) which is not an easy one to do. The 11th was an absolutely missed; I hit it straight and long into the OB area when I was trying to draw it.  Bogeyed the next; then pulled my approach for the par 5 into the water after another great drive. Then from there on, my driver was just booming straight and long, and I parred 3 of the 5 holes coming back, including a sand save at the end. Overall, the game of Tropicana was much more in control; especially once the driver was ticking. I am getting a lot better with my irons – even though there is an occassional duff and mishit due to the difficulty of the blades – but the chipping and putting also was a big factor to my final score of 87.

The putting has absolutely improved. Eversince adopting the lefthand-low technique, it has does wonders to the game. Where previously those jarring 3 footers or 5 footers would have me shaking, I am able to sink all within 3-4 feet today. It sounds pathetic sure – but it does wonders to you psyco when you are able to hit those. Any hackers will be able to attest to that.

The iron play is still WIP – I no longer adopt an extreme stack and tilt, but I still put most of my weight on my left, but just try to focus less on the mechanics than on the feel.

Here’s to better golf!

The Power of Mediocrity

It goes without saying that most of us, most of time have no. CLUE. what we are doing right or wrong when it comes to this game of Golf. That’s why it’s so addictive. We are constantly chasing the high – the last memory we had of a good shot – a good drive, a good putt, a chip in, a bunker hole out, an eagle, a birdie, a hole in one, a miraculous shot over an impossible terrain … anything. While 99% of the time we are snap-hooking, duffing, topping, 3-putting our way to infamy; that elusive 1% makes us constantly wandering around the course looking for it. Most of us will likely haunt golf courses in the after-life or hopefully play cosmic golf in the heavens.

KGNS was the site of the second round of 22. And it was not a good site.

My drives were still stuck in the awful back 9 mode I was in Glenmarie; I seemed to have forgotten how well I was smashing the ball in the first 9. But somehow by some stroke of good fortune and pure fortitude, I managed to bogey my first two holes, chipped in a par for the third, and 3 putt bogeyed the fourth. So far it seems rather ok, despite knowing my game was structured like a house of cards.

Par 4 fifth, hit a great drive, my first good drive. Then proceeded to duck hook my six iron into the g*ddamn water. W.T.F. Past 4 holes my drives were awful and I still managed to squeeze a result out of it and the moment I hit a great drive, I proceed to sabotage it with an awful approach. Dropped, and went on to double bogey. Next up , Par 5 6th, great drive, good second shot, left with 120 to the hole and duffed my approach. Then skulled my chip to the back, came back again for 5 on, two putt. Another double.

Par 3 seventh – shanked my hybrid, another double.

Par 4 eight, topped my approach into the bunker, hit a good bunker shot , escaped with a bogey.

Par 4 9th, topped my approach into the water. Ended up triple. WTF is wrong with my approach? It’s not just irons – I was playing my hybrid  like a rabid hyena snorting cocaine as well.

First 9 was a train-wreck score – +13 for 49.

Back 9 was slightly better – started with a par, before screwing up the par 5 for a triple. But then came back with another par on the par 4 12th, bogey-bogey for 13th and 14th.

The par 3 15th was an awful one with a bunkers on right and water left, and around 180 to the green. I managed to get a small landing spot near the fringe , chipped to around 8 feet, and closed with a par.

Par 4 16th , I smashed my drive into the tree, and sitting around 150m in the rough, proceeded to hit possibly my best 6 iron of the day to the green, around 15 feet from the hole, and rolled my putt in for a very improbably birdie.

Par 5 17th, narrowly missed par and settled for bogey, and the final 18th, just lost legs and got stuck in the bunker and ended up double bogey.

Final score – 49-43, so did not break 90 at all, but its not a bad recovery. And my driver was still struggling nevertheless, so all in all, it’s pretty ok in terms of scoring. And at least, its 2 birdies in 2 rounds so far, which is good.

Another sub 80 Slips away

I make no secrets about my lifelong golf ambition. It’s very easy supposedly and its enough for me to slip to my grave if I achieve it.

I just want to shoot a sub-80 round. That’s it. Simple.

I was on course for it in my first game in 2022 in Glenmarie Gardens. As I’m getting used to my new MP20 clubs, I started the round with my driver smoking hot. I was hitting the driver almost perfect for the first 7 holes. First hole, routine regulation and Par. Second hole, par 3, 3-putted from 10 feet. Frustrating. 3rd hole, my second shot on par 5 with a 3 wood took me to just 10 meters from the green. But what a shitty chip and a disappointing par. After a couple of bogeys on the par 4 and 3; my second par 5, again, a perfect drive and perfect 3 wood took me to even nearer to the green, around 5 meters. This time, a good chip and a birdie. After that, the two subsequent holes 2 pars including a pretty good save on 8 from the woods. On the par 4 9th, again, from the woods, landed on the fringe with around 10-15 feet to the hole and guess what – another 3 putt. I could have saved 2 shots from my 39.

But just as the possibility crept into me to break the 80; my entire game unravelled on the back 9. My drives deserted me and left me hooking my drives again. It’s a testament to some pretty ridiculous short game and putting that I still managed a 46, with the shots I was hitting. Nothing demonstrated it more than the 16th par 5.

I was hooking so badly that I aimed my shot way right and my drive went straight into the trees and dropped a feet away from the ladies tee box. A duck hook 3 wood later, I was left with around 230 or so to the green.  I finally hit a good 3 wood leaving me a difficult 40 meters from the green and I stuffed my 4th to around 6 feet. My putt lipped out for a bogey, but it was this sort of fighting golf that left me scrambling like a monkey at the back 9.

I don’t know why I am playing like a pro in one 9 and then collapse like an idiot in the back 9. Its this type of Jekyll and Hyde game that leaves even a respectable 85 a bad taste in my mouth. It could have been a WHOLE LOT BETTER.

Back to the drawing board. On the bright side, starting with 85 bodes well for 2022. That’s 6 pars, 1 birdie, 8 bogeys and 3 double bogeys. Not too bad but could have been better. Now, just to fix my driver again.

Bad Golf, Here We Come!

For those who know me, I am one of those golfers that are incorrigibly bad at golf for the very reason that I rank aesthetics and looks above performance and money. Let me explain. If I had half a brain that works for golf, I would know that as a 12 – 14 handicapper, I have no way in high heaven or seven hells that I can ever play with a club that is designed for pros or at the very least single handicappers. I used to have cavity Taylormade and when I had the chance to grab a Mizuno MP-54, I grabbed it even though my game suffered like a mad cow slowly being split in half by a rusty drill. Then, I saw an MP-57, which makes it even much much more hard to hit seeing that the 57 was a much older tech compared to the 54. I went and buy it and used it and the cycle of pain continues.

For a driver, I went for testing, and even the fitter told me, SIM Max is suitable for you , as your drives are all at least a bit predictable. I said No. The SIM looked like a club that has gone through a pyschedelic makeover after taking too much drugs and seeing talking barstools – meaning – it’s way too colorful and busy for me. I want my clubs to be the absolutely boringest piece of equipment ever. And so, Titliest would be the one. Frustrated, the fitter then said, OK, there is the Tsi2 which has good CG at the back and I was hitting it OK as well. I said, No. The shape looks like me after having one of my durian binge , with the bulging head shape like my stomach. I want the classic pear shape of the Tsi3. Does it fit my swing? Who cares? It looks awesome!

So here we are, a few days before the Mizuno 221,223 and 225 was announced, I sort of knew that the old version MP20 was going to be unavailable by the golf stores. I called up my fitter and asked him about the MP20. He said, the entire Malaysia was sold out already and MST was preparing for the new Mizzies. But he added, that there was a faulty set available in Penang, that was the last of its kind on this God loving country.

I said Faulty? He said, there were aesthetic dings and scratches, but nothing that affected performance. It’s a Mizuno. Dings and club chatter is PART of the Mizuno lore because of its blardy softness. A Mizuno without this is like a car without a wheel. I said, OK, bring it on, with the discounts – but was still very pricey; and I was then looking at an available MP-5 for almost 60% of the price.

But come on – MP20?

I knew I couldn’t play it. If there was a MP 20 HMB set available, maybe that would be a lot more suitable for me. But MP20 MB blade? It’s like dating Scarlett Johansson. You know, you just ain’t good enough and everyone will be looking at you and go, “How the hell did this loser end up with her?” The MP20 is Scarlett. In fact, I will name my set Scarlett.

Come on.

Say it, it’s f-ing gorgeous. Its even reflecting my big, fat, bald forehead.

Can I hit it?

Hell, no. No, no no.

I’ve played a few 9 holes with it. And last week had my first 18 with this set, in Palm Garden. Shot an 88 – which you would think its pretty ok, but I hardly used my MP-20s. I had a few here and there, chunked my 9 iron once, mishit a few times very badly. This MP20 is like a wife – if you did something wrong – she lets you know and she lets the entire world know about it. You hit it fat? Your 9 iron goes into the water. You thinned it or you missed the center by a hairline? Too bad, your 7 iron now looks like a flaccid p-nis that goes 80 meters only. But the moment you pure it – and it happens occasionally, as in very occasionally – that feeling gets you uncomfortably high. Like as in, you go, WTF is this intense feeling of pure orgasm in the middle of the golf course surrounded by 3 other guys?

No, the 88 was down to some great chips, some great 3-wood, hybrid and some wondrous putting using the left-hand low style. If I had my irons working for me, I would have probably shaved 3 – 4 strokes and at least played to my damn handicap. But I wouldn’t have the MP20s.

So there you go – welcome to bad golf but with a set that is completely unsuitable to the game but so damn pleasing to the eye.

Maid Permit, Passport and Contract Renewal 2021 Part 3

OK, so here we are, Part 3 of this adventure called Maid Renewal. So after getting the documents and the timing for the maid contract renewal with the embassy, the next task is – yup, you got it – head over to the embassy itself.  I did mention that I could not find the previous contract but in reality, my wife had it filed up somewhere and she magically brought it up upon request. My wife keeps track of everything and files it up methodologically so she can bring it up again at a moment’s notice – from receipts, bank statements, housing and car loans, university documents, all the times that I made mistakes in our marriage – you know like any normal woman would.

So armed with the 8 documents, the only thing difference in renewal for MCO is

  • Both the direct employer and DW must appear at the Embassy during the renewal of employment contract if processing thru accredited Malaysian agency is not required anymore.

Because, the good news is that the employer no longer needs to hand around. All I need to do was to sign everything that needs to be signed and off I went about my day. And this is a huge huge plus. Because it was only around 4 – 5 hours later that I received the call from my helper to state she is done, and from there I just arranged a GRAB for her and boom, we now have the new contract + new permit on an expired but extended passport. Contract done for the next two years.

The final level is to get her renewed passport (she has a set day – Tuesday – to collect, based on the receipt she has from the embassy – don’t lose that!), so its just a matter of getting the right day to go over and collect the passport, then I will (I think) need to go to the immigration to transfer the permit over to the new passport physically as well as on the system. And after that, we are done – and the cycle then repeats itself.

Maid Permit, Passport and Contract Renewal 2021 Part 2

Following up on the previous post, the reason why it took so long is because MyEG took eons to process the working visa. I sent it in first week of October and only on the third week of November (7 weeks) I received finally a call for the guy to come over to paste the work permit onto the passport. So, yeah, keep that in mind that that’s the timeline they are working on basically, due to the MCO as well.

So once that is done, we have now an extended passport with a valid working permit. The next level in this game of “Maid Renewal” is to renew the contract.

So firstly, this is the first time we are doing it ourselves, so beware. Previously the nice agent did everything (for a fee), so now the adventure is to do everything on your own. Start off with downloading the Standard Employment Contract for Filipino Domestic worker.  It is found here – http://www.philembassykl.org.my/main/images/pdf/POEA_Standard_Empl_Contract_for_DW___-_revised_10262017.pdf

However, in case the link changes, it’s probably wiser for you to just google it and get it. Fill it up with the necessary details. Additional to this, you need to get the affidavit of undertaking for domestic worker – http://www.philembassykl.org.my/main/images/pdf/Affidavit_of_Undertaking_for_Domestic_Worker.pdf

Both need to be notarized by a legal professional, so go ahead and get that done which won’t take a long time or won’t cost much.  As per the embassy website, the full list of requirements are

  1. Previously verified employment contract;
  2. Duly accomplished POEA Standard employment contract for Domestic Worker (download form), must be notarized by any Malaysian Notary Public;
  3. Photocopy of worker’s valid passport;
  4. Photocopy of worker’s valid working visa;
  5. Photocopy of employer’s IC;
  6. Insurance for the worker;
  7. Passport size photo of the worker; and
  8. Notarized Affidavit of Undertaking (for domestic worker registered on site & renewal without agency) – (download form)  
  • Processing of contract verification for new/change employer and whose period of employment with the present employer is less than five (5) years, must be coursed through an accredited Malaysian agency.
  • Both the direct employer and DW must appear at the Embassy during the renewal of employment contract if processing thru accredited Malaysian agency is not required anymore.

The next level of game is hard. TO get an appointment with the embassy. This is tough. So you need to head over to http://philembassyklappointment.biz/.

Select POLO Contract Verification.

You will find all dates are FULL. No worries, all you need to do is do like previous – try at 8 am in the morning for the extra slots. Which I did. Again. And Again. And Again. For 3 full days I was there at 8 am in the morning, furiously clicking on the damn page. The damn page goes down at 8 am every morning because too many people are trying the same thing as I am, and also the page is designed by a bunch of semi intelligent planktons. If you knew a flood of people are hitting your page at 8 am, just increase your capacity of the page resources lah! You will either get page not available, service down or various other excuses that the page cannot handle the load. Look, this is the official page of the Phillipines EMBASSY. It’s an official page representing a COUNTRY. Not a company. A COUNTRY. How much budget do you think you need just to build a simple appointment website? 6 billion?

So on the fourth day, I had 3 windows up, 2 laptops logged in, one with my Wi-Fi, the other with my Mobile. Various browsers, with multiple tabs so I can simultaneously cause more traffic to kill the page. If I can’t get an appointment, I will sure as hell make sure no one can, till they fix this damn page. This was a similar battle with the Vaccination appointment page.

Finally, today, I managed to get (by luck) a random timeslot (noon) for tomorrow and I quickly fill in the details. It helps to just fill in your details in a text file first, so you can copy and paste it onto the form. Because one of the days I actually dilly dallied on the form information entry and someone beat me to that slot.

So this level conquered! The next step is to go to the embassy itself with the maid and do the renewal. I do have a problem – I have all the documents required, except for the previous contract, which I have no clue where I put it. That might be a problem, but we will see what happens in part 3.

Maid Permit, Passport and Contract Renewal 2021 Part 1

Honestly, this topic is turning out to be far more popular than all my golf writeups has been. It goes to show that either my golf writing (and golf) is extremely crap or Malaysians generally have major issues in knowing WTF is going on when it comes to maid permit renewals. I would gravitate to the second. Really, even I find myself coming back to these articles on this blog to refresh my memory everytime the maid renewal season comes up. So yeah, I go back and literally read my own blog to remember how to do certain things.

So now, its 2021 and this time, its the big one. I call it the 3 in 1. Maid Passport Renewal, maid Permit Renewal and Maid Contract Renewal! Let’s start with the first permutation:

a) Passport Renewal and Passport Extension: The Embassy

Now, keep in mind that when you want to renew a PERMIT, the passport needs to be ONE YEAR valid. It means it needs to have a 12 month window there. If you were an idiot like me (who never learned 4 years back in 2017), and just sort of assumed that it’s 6 months based on our normal expiry buffer for travelling, you’d end up in this blog thinking how absolutely numskull you were in doing that.  I am even more stupid in that I reminded myself not to be so stupid back in 2017 when the exactly same issue occurred – the issue of the passport not having 12 months validity left, and you want to renew permit, and you do not have the time to renew the passport (renewal of passport generally will be around 2 months). In my case, this is October and the permit is expiring in around 4 weeks. Well done.

So I now have the extra task to extend the current passport while waiting for the new passport. Why extend you ask? Well, it is so that I can renew the permit, O Simple Reader. Because the new passport won’t be out in time, before the current passport expires, therefore I need to extend the passport to another 2 years. Why 2 years? Don’t know. It seems this is the only option and it cost me RM96. So RM288 (for new passport ) + RM96 (for being stupid).

Now this is MCO, so in my case the Philippines Embassy has a sniper who will headshot anyone who comes in without an appointment. So therefore you need to get an appointment first. So head to http://philembassyklappointment.biz/app/public/ and in the drop down, select Passport Application.

You will then see ALL DAYS are FULL. You will. No matter what day you are reading this article, I double dare you to go to that site (as long as appointment is still needed), every day will be Full, from today to the second coming of Christ. What you need to do is to wake up the next day at 7.55 am. Or earlier. And quickly go to the website at EXACTLT 8 am. Not later. And you will be able (if you are lucky) to get some empty slot days and then select the hour you want to have the appointment. I suggest you take the earliest available slot (if you get it).

Fill in all the information, like name, address, email, phone number and make sure you get the appointment slip.

Once you have the appointment slip, bring your maid, photocopy of the passport data page, the passport itself,  the printout of the appointment slip and make your merry way to the embassy. Oh yes, please download the passport renewal form at

http://www.philembassykl.org.my/main/images/Passport_Form_2018-Renewal.pdf

And you can fill it up and bring it along.

Now due to the MCO, employers (and agents) are not allowed into the embassy, so you must give your maid the necessary money (just pass RM400 or so to be safe) and the specific instruction for her to EXTEND the current passport validity. Else, she might just happily renew the passport and then you are screwed, because you won’t have a valid passport to tie the permit to (new passport hasn’t arrive).

It will take pretty long for all process to finish. We took the first slot at 9 am and we were only done around 1 pm. So just chill, go to a cafe somewhere and get some work done while waiting. Don’t worry, there is more to come.

a) Passport Renewal and Passport Extension: The Immigration

The next step is to go to the Immigration. Why, you ask. Well, it is to inform them that the passport has been extended and that they need to make it valid in their system once more in order for you to renew the permit. Its similar to you asking them to change the passport when you get a new one. Except now, its just an extended old one. So later on, once you get the new passport you need to go to the immigration again and transfer the permit over to the new passport. Yeah, it’s dog work.

The first question asked is, does our Malaysian Immigration in October 2021 have any booking or scheduling system similar to the Philippines Embassy? You can look at http://sto.imi.gov.my/e-temujanji but it doesn’t look like it applies if you want to just extend the maid permit in their system. I don’t know. Anyway, I headed over to the Duta immigration at around 9.30 am. Its probably better to be there earlier since it opens at 7.30 am but I couldn’t be arsed about waking up so early. Make sure you bring the maid’s passport (no need maid), and that the passport already has an extension to it. You can photostat if you want, but you won’t be needing it (at least for me). Do note that the immigration only handles Foreign worker/maid processing up to 1 pm, so you need to get all these done in the morning.

Go up the escalator and make sure you queue up at the right queue. There is a room for Malaysian Passport, and another room for Foreign Workers/Maid. Once you queue up, just wait and then when its your turn, go in and there will be a temporary table there with an officer, take a temperature, and they will give you a form to fill up for COVID declaration etc. So good idea to bring your own pen to write it down. Actually even if you don’t fill it up, no one will know, because at the end you are supposed to put it back on the table, but I noticed many forms there were empty except for the temperature. One of those strange things, I guess of government process that is utterly useless.

Explain to the officer at the first table that you have extended the maid’s passport and you need to update the system. He will understand and instruct you to go to the first counter, and she/he will give you a waiting number.

Then you just wait. For me, it was just around 20 minutes or so and then my turn came up, I explained to the officer again , he took the passport and clickety clack on the keyboard, and in 5 minutes, he looked up and said, OK. I was so shocked at his efficiency I thought he was joking. I asked, “OK? Sudah siap?” He just nodded grumpily and waved me away like an annoying fly.

Wow. Talk about fast.

I didn’t believe their system would be updated in real time. I didn’t. I am a non-believer in the Malaysian Immigration department. So right after that, I went to my office, logged into MyEG and tried to do the permit renewal. Previously it stopped once I clicked proceed and said that the passport was not valid without 12 months.  I was utterly shocked when the system allowed me past that stage now, meaning that I could now renew my maid’s permit using the old, extended passport.

Syabas indeed, Malaysia, I am in tears on how proud I am of you. It is like seeing the child that everyone gave up on as being an utter idiot in school who failed his Matematik and Moral, become the first man to land on Mars and set up a colony there and terraform the entire planet and save mankind.

So now, half of the work done already – we still need to

a) Renew Maid Visa on old extended passport

b) Renew Maid Contract for 2 years

c) Transfer Maid Visa from old extended passport to new passport once received from Embassy

This feels like an RPG game where you have to complete side quests before you can win the game. Bring it on!

Golf Simulator Series

The MCO has pretty much change a lot of things that we do in life. From ordering food, to getting things online, to exercising online. It probably set us back a few years in terms of revenue and income but catapulted us a few more years in front in terms of how the future will likely be in terms of virtual reality and new standards of anti-socialness.

Which is great for golf, since its probably the best game for anti-social behaviour. It’s one of the only sport where you do not need to interact with another annoying human being if you have a choice and still can play a great round of golf.

Over the course of the MCO, I’ve been toying with the idea of setting up an area in my terrace home to build a small golf simulator area. The idea is simple – these lockdowns will happen more often than not, it provides a place to improve my game without socialising and it also offers a way to introduce my kids to the sport.

The last part is important. Because the idea here is to eventually plan our so-called family trips surrounding the things that the majority of the family prefer. Since my wife’s vote is 2, most of our family trips now consists of things like shopping, swimming and all sorts of stuff that interests me as much as watching flowers grow. If I can bribe these two kids to play golf, we can finally plan some meaningful trip surrounding golf for the 3 of us, and just put my wife in a shopping mall somewhere for 5 hours. Everybody wins.

There’s a lot of Sim options for golf, but since I haven’t really set up anything at home to have a real hitting area, I am limited to only a few option – one that does not require space and one that is so easy, my 6 and 9 year old can play without going into golf rage for not hitting the ball.

I settled on this product called TittleX.

I know it sounds weird, as anything that starts with “Tit” would, including Titleist which many pronounce incorrectly as “Tit-less”. But what attracted me was the simplicity and the price.

For USD119 you basically get the TittleX hardware (consisting of a small bluetooth device the size of your pinky finger), some cradle so you can put on your club and an amazing software E6 connect to play on 5 great courses for free. The software is absolutely smashing, because the graphics is the best you will see in a sim. E6 is used by the best simulators out there from Trackman, GCQuad to other more affordable ones like Skytrack, Mevo+ etc. To get this software for USD120 plus the hardware is a steal.

If you are willing to pay USD80 (Around RM350) more, you get the swing stick, but I am a cheapskate, so I rather check out the system first before I commit another RM350 for the stick.

It arrived after around 3 weeks + and yes, because of the cost, I had to pay the courier the custom duty fees of around RM100+, so altogether, I guess the whole cost was around RM600.

The box was simple enough, small and compact, and out of the box, there was a charging cable and simple instructions to get started. The instruction from the box isn’t updated to the E6 Connect version (it’s using the old E6 TruGolf application), so you must go to https://tittlexplay.com/article/play/8/90/ for a better idea on how to set it up. It took me a bit of tweaking here and there but it worked nicely after that.

Once you set up with E6 Connect Golf, you just download the five free courses and then you are all set to go. The five courses are Bandon Dunes, Aviara Golf, Sanctuary Golf, Stone Canyon and Wade Hampton. Those courses eventually get a bit boring if you end up playing over and over and over, but hey, its for this cost and price, there’s nothing to complain.

The only problem isn’t so much of the TittleX itself, but how to set it up with real golf clubs. Because it comes with limited cradles, I’ve put one on my driver, my hybrid and my iron. I have a driving range mat I bought from Lazada so initially, I would set it up outside the garden and try hitting from the mat without balls.

The problem is the TittleX receiver is only one, so every shot, I have to go and change the receiver to the other club and hit again. The receiver itself wasn’t extremely accurate (my usual hook shots translated to slices) and my distance had a significant reduction. On trackman, my driver was around 98mph swing speed and around 220-230 meters, but from this TittleX, it was easily around 20-30% less. While we never liked being shown how lousy we actually are, it didn’t seem likely that all my drives were going around 180m when in reality (on the course + Trackman at MST Golf), the numbers were a but more.

Plus, the disadvantage of this set up was that I had to play outside as there’s no space to swing indoors my driver, and my kids cannot participate, so this wasn’t what I wanted. I increasingly wished I bought the golf stick.

Of course, for additional RM350, I tried looking for a similar thing in Lazada and Shoppee. But most of these turned out to be swing trainer sticks for adults which are a bit heftier for kids. Until I went to Decathlon online and found this

This is around RM50. So it’s a whooping RM300 less. It’s less realistic, but the cradle fits nicely to it, and it’s a lot lighter and easier for a 6 year old to wield. In fact, right now, we just play primarily with this stick and TittleX just to get the kids interested in golf. Realism? Obviously not. My 6 year old hit his drive 320m by shortening the club and swinging it.

However, I do see improvement in his actual golf when I play with him outside the garden using his US Golf Kids 7 iron and hitting foam balls. He is now connecting the ball better, and more confidently.

This isn’t a true SIM, but its a great way to get your kids interested in golf, so go ahead and get it. I would recommend the same set up and if you can get the RM350 stick, go ahead, but we’re happy with what we have right now with the cheap Decathlon driver.  I don’t know how heavy the RM350 stick is and whether it’s suitable for a kid, but it sure perks their interest better when they are hitting birdies and eagles.

Sometimes a little less realism is fine to get their interest into the game.

TittleX – go for it!

Putting Changes

It seems every MCO brings about a change in the golf game.

Possibly due to boredom and the closure of golf courses, I’ve taken the time over the past 6 months plus to revamp the swing and move from the conventional weight shift left-right and left again to a stacked left side. The result? Well, I am not playing worse as before. In fact, my score is more or less the same, hovering between high 80s, low 90s and occasional moving down to mid 80s and low 80s but never breaking 80. That’s pretty much how I play previously.

The problem now seems to be more in the irons and less of the driver/woods. Especially, the shorter irons which I generally pull left and the occasional struggle with the mid irons when I would shank it. I haven’t figured out why, but those blow holes are usually the 7/6-iron shanks. But the drive now is very much more consistent and distance wise, more confident.

Putting seems to be the problem now, so for this MCO, 3 things are being experimented.

a) Left Hand Low

I saw Jordan Spieth putting the lights out and tried his grip. Even though it’s indoors, and on a cheap putting mat – it works. It feels much more ‘intact’. In terms of the takeaway and stroke, it feels more one piece as opposed to my previous conventional overlap. Of course, it’s on a mat, so a lot of discount is needed on the results, but it does feel better, which is important.

b) Forward press

I never thought this would help, but it does. I always had a weight back a bit on my putter stance and sometimes hit up on the ball the same way as how I hit the drive. With the forward press, the putter face is more level and lower when it impacts the ball and it seems a lot more solid as opposed to my previous attempts to hit up – causing very inconsistent hits and often end up just brushing the damn ball – the way I did my eagle putt at the Impiana a few weeks back.

c) Head Up Putting

Now I probably won’t put this in practice just yet but have been experimenting this since a year + even before I knew there was a term for it. My original idea was that – if we threw a ball, we don’t look at the ball we are throwing, we look at the target. So why is putting different? Only recently I found out this is actually a thing that many other people are thinking – and saw Jordan Spieth do it as well. So, head up putting isn’t about staring at the golf hole, it’s about just loosening up without getting too caught up staring at the ball. What I do is to just look probably a few feet ahead of the ball, or to the break-line that I want my putt to go, blur my vision and just stroke the ball.

Blurring my vision is how you do when you disfocus your vision on purpose, same way as you would do when you are looking at a 3D magic eye picture and looking through the picture instead of at it. So far, again, it works but I haven’t done it much on the course except for some simple 9-hole games when we don’t have those previous RM5 hanging on the hole. But now that I know it’s an actual method used by the best putters in the world, why not??!

So those are the changes on the putting – let’s see how it works out as soon as this MCO is over and we are back out on the course!

A Review of Q1 2021

So after around 4 months into 2021, it’s probably a good time to review how the new swing change is shaping up. First of, for a couple of months, the lack of golf was evident, although we are getting back into the groove now (despite our COVID cases increasing!), so we are trying to get as much golf in before any lockdown occurs.

I do a 9-hole walk on Tuesday with a secondary set – a 917F 3 Wood with a putter and 2 wedges + 3 irons (5,7,9 – my old Mizuno MP-57). Honestly I think I play better without my driver as this 3 wood is only around 30-40 meters shorter.  So scoring wise there is good, but better is the morning walk, with just a range bag without trolley.

We’ve crammed in also a couple of rounds of golf in Mines, Glenmarie, Saujana Impiana, Palm Garden and the results were – varied. I think I am back to my scoring as previous before my swing change. Like in Mines, I scored a 90 and 84, Glenmarie – 100 and then an 88. Palm Garden a 92 and an 84 and Saujana Impiana a 92. Good scores? It’s more or less the bloody same as I would score before the changes!!

But.

I do feel the game is coming along fine. For Saujana Impiana, that 92 could have easily been an 87 or 88. I had 4 triple bogeys against a fair number of Pars and a birdie. Of the 4 triple, 3 were really ridiculous. One was caused by a six iron shank from prime position on Fairway. Second was a lost ball after a good drive that just skittered a bit to the left, but for some damn reason, we couldn’t find the ball (most frustrating thing in golf), the third was the final hole, after being on the fringe in 2, and proceeded to duff a chip and 4 putted into infamy.

Only the first quad bogey where I hooked 2 into the woods would I say it was unavoidable.

But the encouraging thing for Impiana was how I played the par 5s. The first par 5 (Hole 3 I think), I proceeded to birdie it after my second 3 wood shot left me only 40 meters from the hole. The next par 5 in the back 9 I thunked my 3 wood so perfect from the fairway from 240 meters that I had to run up and apologise to the group on the green because my shot ended up around 20 meters from the green.

And the final par 5, hole 17. Bombed a drive (or so I thought) to around 160m from the green, and hit my new 5-iron (I reshafted it to a graphite) for my first two-on Par 5 after such a long time. What proceeded after that would forever be part of golfing lore. But before that, the group behind us had a guy who bombed his drive even further, to 100m marker. In fact, it was extremely dangerous as we were around that area as well. So actually, the par 5s are quite short and dangerous in Impian especially if you are a long hitter.

Going for my eagle, my ball was resting at that part where the fringe and green met, so it had that tuft of raised grass. I didn’t think much about it but when I putted, brushing the stupid grass on the backstroke caused a sudden retardation of my brains and I completely lost focus and I literally molested the ball to not even halfway to the god-damn hole. Molested my eagle putt. What. The. Flaming. Fukuoka.

I just stared in disbelief at my partners, before they all started to rail on me for my failure. This is a devastating failure. Because then I proceeded to miss my birdie and was forever labelled the biggest choker of all time. DAMN.

That has nothing to do with new swing. This is to do with a new brain, which I cannot change.

Same thing as Hole 18. Hooked my shot into the woods and from a superbly difficult shot down the hill, through the trees with just a bit of opening, I hit a glorious hybrid to the fringe of the green from 180. I mean, even Mickleson will be proud. Celebrating at least a bogey, I cockily went up and duffed my chip. Ok, no problem, a putt from fringe should be fine. I overputted, and sent the damn putt 15 feet downhill, my uphill putt didn’t have legs and I missed my double bogey putt.

You see, failures are often not due to the swing. My swing (except for the occasional and unknown shank) is coming along nicely and distance is better, consistency is better on the drives. My irons are the ones failing me (short approaches) and my stupid putting is as bad as a Gremlin high on cocaine.

So, overall review of 2021? Good with the long clubs, everything in 100 meters, atrocious as can be seen by up down scores. Am I encouraged with the swing change? For sure yeah. Very encouraged.  Just completely shit around the greens, but that’s not due to the swing change.