Category: Golf

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What the heck, I might as well give it a try. I will replace my rescue and see how it goes. Besides, rescues are for senior hackers anyway. For now I'm still good enough, so it'll be a fun challenge making new changes and tweaking my golf style before it's too late.

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I figure that from off of the tee there are some challenging holes with narrow fairways where this driving iron can come in very handy. Using a full-fledged driver is a bit risky, and although with an iron the distance is reduced somewhat, splitting the fairway more consistently is what it is all about.

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Great first round, so so second round. Thanks to Thea for letting me play on her 60th birthday.

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The game of golf is an unpredictable sport. Not only can your scores differ greatly from week to week or even day to day, but if you are not careful suffering scattered results within a single round is not uncommon.

Very frustrating to say the least, but that's often what the wonderful game of golf is all about. You against mother nature and her inclement moods.

So with that introduction, let me try and explain what happened to me this afternoon. The stormy weather, high winds and gusts of hard rain pellets stinging my face surely didn't make life easier. This is how the erratic nine holes went:

Double, eagle, double, par, par, birdie, bogie, triple and double for an unimpressive forty-three.

Wow, an eagle on hole two. That was a nice surprise.

On my second shot, I lofted a nine iron to the left of the flag to compensate for the wind blowing from left to right. Indeed, the ball came down drifting to the right as expected and landed right next to the flag. Since the green is elevated I could not see where the ball had stopped, but I knew that it was very close.

Turns out it actually rolled nicely into the hole without me seeing it, which after the awful double on the first hole put me at even par.

Seven wet and windy holes later, I was putting on the ninth green. It started to hail so hard that I missed my bouncing putt for my noble efforts.

That's when I decided to call it a day and walk back up to the clubhouse for a hot chocolate with extra whipped cream as a reward for my suffering.

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I haven't played any serious golf since September of last year. Sure I hit balls a couple of times and practiced putting and chipping a bit, but I had become so distraught with my lousy game last year, that I decided to put gold on hold for awhile. Maybe even give up the stupid sport for the rest of my life.

It being winter and too cold outside, I was even less inspired to continue honing my golfing skills so things just went along fine as long as I didn't try to play golf.

Yesterday I played at the Leeuwenbergh Golf Course with a couple friends (Reinier, Vanessa and Maurits), accepting that this would be purely for fun and relaxation since I'd surely hack around and make a joke of myself.

For the first time in two month I hit a half a bucket of balls, and I was even surprised how good it went.

Then everything magically came together. A nice par followed by a birdie on the first two holes. One under par after two holes, are you kidding me? So then I bogied the next two holes to go one over, part of the game. Parred my way to the turn, and continued parring down the stretch for twelve holes in a row (that must be some kind of record). Knocked the ball in the left-hand trap on 17 and scrambled for a bogie, and ended up with a par on the final par 5 hole.

Final result: 37 + 36 = 73 (two over par).

Last year I had played so poorly that I had accepted the painful fact that I may never be able to play a decent round of golf again, maybe not even breaking eighty the rest of my life. Out of the blue and totally unexpected, I manage to pull off this miracle. Dear God thank you for blessing me with such a fantastic day on the golf course. Yes, there is still hope so never give up.

I guess I still have it inside of me, somewhere deep yet accessible. It's a great feeling knowing that I am still capable of pulling it off. If I put my mind to it and get a little bit lucky along the way.

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The defending champion and hunch-backed golfing legend (far right) manages to get third place at the club stroke play championship with a not-so-blistering 81, 87 (ouch) and 81. Better luck next year.

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I know that I am a power hitter, but this time I got a little carried away and hit the ball a bit too far. Oops, sorry about that.

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Too bad for that lousy double-bogey. Those par fives were not on my side this morning. They are normally easy birdie chances for me, but I flubbed three of the four par five holes choking up four strokes. Oh well, better luck next time.

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For the first time this year I managed to break eighty by shooting a 41+38=79. It was also the first time in a long while that I had a double-bogey free round. So maybe I was playing from the regular tees, but still it feels to me like a nice accomplishment anyway. All that hard work training makes it worthwhile and good to know that I'm still capable of playing a respectable round of golf.

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So you hit a pretty good long iron shot to the green but get an unlucky bounce. The ball rolls off the green, nestles itself just off of the fringe but ending deep in the high grass. The top of the ball is visible, but just barely. You have only ten yards or so to work with to the flag, and the greens are very fast today. What now?

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I've been plagued by this challenging situation many times. Still I haven't figured out how to play this shot without either fluffing it a couple inches, skulling it across the green, or clubbing it too fat and sending the poor ball to who knows where. The odds are that nine out of ten tries I will hit the ball badly and lose a valuable stroke or two. Training this shot hours on end down at the practice green doesn't seem to help.

I decided to do some research on the Internet and see what kind of advice other so-called professional golfers have to give. I was very surprised to learn that there is a very wide range of possibilities, from one extreme to the other, and not a single one offering the magical solution to this frustrating predicament.

Please feel free to choose one of the following, cross your fingers and hope to die:

  • Take your gap wedge, open up the club face as wide as possible and swing through the ball.
  • Hold a five iron perpendicular to the ground and hit the ball with the toe of the club like you are putting it.
  • Hit down on the ball with your wedge contacting the ball on the downward arc.
  • Swing through the ball with your sand wedge scooping the ball out like it's in the sand trap.
  • Tap the ball lightly with your rescue club so that the ball jumps out ever so slightly.
  • Take a fairway wood and pop the ball out by striking the upper half of the club face.
  • Hit down solidly on the ball with the putter and let the ball pop out.

So partner, which will it be? Choose one of the following weapons: gap wedge, sand wedge, low iron, high iron, wood, rescue, putter or something else. They all seem to work.

After searching for the answer, I now realize that it doesn't matter that much which advice you choose. Just take what first comes to mind and hope that your first hunch is the right one.

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Down below at the practice green.

I could easily shave off 3-4 strokes a round by honing my short game around the green. Time to work on those bump and runs, chipping out from the thick rough, and don't forget those tricky shots from the bunker.

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Today marks an important historical day for Dutch sports. For the first time in history, Tom Dumoulin became the first Dutch cyclist to win the renowned Giro d'Italia. This is the second most important race after the Tour de France.

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Breukink vindt Giro-winnaar Dumoulin absoluut geen eendagsvlieg

While perhaps only slightly less significant than Dumoulin's win, but also very deserving of an honored spot in the annals of Dutch sports history, is that I managed to win the Club Championship on the very same day.

After a grueling first nine holes, I was able to pull my game together again by shooting a nice 37 after the turn to beat out the leader by one stroke.

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Uitslag Clubkampioenschappen Strokeplay 2017

Bij de heren sloot Kiffin Gish finale zijn ronde (83 slagen) af met vier parren op rij, waarmee hij Nico van Leeuwen één slag voor bleef. 252 slagen (85-84-83).

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This is a picture of me teeing off on the tenth hole. Great drive down the middle of the fairway. Seven iron hit well, just nicked a low-lying branch and bounced into the fairway. Eight iron landed six feet from the flag, and unfortunately my birdie putt just lipped out.

Been trying to practice as much as I can, especially now with such nice weather for golf. My last few rounds were 38+39=77, 43+35=78, 41+36=77 and 41+38=79. Being able to break eighty again with relative ease makes me feel young again.

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Not bad for the first official tournament this year. Hitting the ball straight and far felt good and even managed to make a couple nice birdies. Not a single double-bogie which is always a nice accomplishment. Although I could have easily shaved off a few strokes had I focused just a little bit better.

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Wellput mat.

No longer do I have any excuse now not to become a much better putter. If I practice enough I can easily shave off 3-5 strokes a round.

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Late afternoon at The Dutch.

Finished the round just in time, and managed to pull off a 36 + 41 = 77. A nice birdie on hole two and an unfortunate double-bogie on hole 16. Not a record but still within my handicap buffer. Proof that an aging man can still perform well and enjoy life.

Thanks Mr. Kordic for inviting me again to play on this fantastic golf course.

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Getting the luck of the draw and being able to start with number one out of the fifty contenders, is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Although you have to leave home at the crack of dawn in order to make it in time for the first early morning starting time, being the first off the tee is a symbolic gesture.

I also felt pretty good about may game and thought that who knows maybe I could get a lucky streak and win the tournament. In the past I've entertained similar illusions of fame, only to go into mental meltdown mode and shooting terrible scores. Just to play one shot at a time and enjoy the round as much as possible at this beautiful golf course, "Misschien Wel de Mooiste Golfbaan van Nederland."

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The number one sign hangs proudly from my golf bag.

As it turned out, although I made the turn with a so-so 39, the back nine went quite well and I birdied three of the last four holes. Boy was I hitting the ball really great. For awhile there, I was leader in the golf club but after the long wait I came in fourth place which is also nice.

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Future famous golfer?

He picked up the putter, took the over-sized club and started swinging it ever so slightly back and forth, as if he'd done it before. A natural? We will just have to wait and see if in the end he'll like the sport or not.

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Luiten wint KLM Open met tien birdies op slotdag.

Joost Luiten claims home victory with three-shot win at KLM Open.

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Joost putting (I took this picture on the last hole of day one)

I'm not the greatest fan of his, but I have to admit that he pulled off an impressive victory.

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For the first time in seven years, my handicap has increased over the year. This time I started at a record low of 4.1, and after a full season of golf it has unfortunately gone up to a 4.7 (despite playing on the golf team and practicing regularly). Thea keeps reminding me that I should just accept my fate. I am getting older: meaning that my athleticism and thus also my golfing skills will inevitably get worse and worse. Until who knows how bad. I still refuse to give in and will not accept such a disappointing fate. If I just practice enough and get my mind in the right flow, while I might not become a professional, I should still be playing at a much better level. No excuses and no questions asked. Oh well, better luck next year.

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Sometimes you pull off a nice shot and it makes the whole day worthwhile. Take for instance last week at The Dutch where I pulled out my five wood I hit the ball low and into the teeth of the wind at the 14th hole.

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14th hole par 3

58

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Jim Furyk shoots the first 58 in PGA Tour history in the final round of the Travelers Championship.

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My old golf shoes have been falling apart for some time now. There's even a huge open gash on the side of the left shoe which was splitting wider each day.

If it rains my foot will get soaked completely, maybe even wrecking a great round with only a couple holes to go because of sopping wet socks and squeaking shoe, causing me to lose an important tournament.

Don't want that to happen now, do we? So it's high time that I hopped into my car, went to the local golf store and purchased some new shoes. These days you can easily fall victim to greediness and spend an arm and a leg on stupid golf shoes, but I was set on not spending too much money.

But there was a slight dilemma when I went to the store and looked around. I narrowed down the choice to two styles (both Footjoy of course), but I could not decide between them. You had the much less expensive, nicer looking pair but less comfortable. And you had the more expensive but super comfortable pair which fit me perfectly and made me feel like a pro.

Given the two possibilities, which one would you choose?

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Footjoy Contour for €169

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Footjoy Hydrolite for €125

Answer: Okay so I succumbed to extreme greediness and decided that I preferred feeling like a pro even if it meant forking out an additional forty four euros.

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You never would have expected that this grueling contest of wills would go down to the final hole, but it did. It was one of those wonderful days out with the guys hacking around in nature and laughing out loud, making great shots and bad ones too, once in awhile a slight curse here and there.

On Friday afternoon at exactly 16:17 the battle of Michael and Kiffin (Merikans) versus Thomas and Dion (no team name) began. The weather was perfect, sunny and dry, the fairways extra hard meaning that our amazing drives would roll and roll forever making us feel like real joe blows.

As is inherent to our golf course these days, the greens were irregular and bouncy, meaning that you had about a fifty-fifty chance of making putts just outside the gimme range. Frustrating yes, but adding an extra sense of excitement and unpredictability fitting for the true spirit of golf where nothing is certain.

The first hole was a good start for the Merikans as they turned on the gas and won the first hole with a par (thanks to a nice chip by Michael).

On the second hole the Merikans messed up knocking both their balls into the trees on the left, playing give-away golf with a triple bogey, and it was back to all square. What a waste.

After that it was just another day on the links with a long streak of five ties nothing special just pars and bogies.

Starting on the eighth hole and thereafter for three disappointing holes, Thomas and Dion pulled together a string of great drives, super approaches, chips next to the hole, that kind of thing. Michael: what happened to us we're three down can you believe that?!

I turned to my fellow Merikan and reminded him that we had not won a single bleeping hole since the first one, we need to get our act together. Remember the Alamo!

It worked and we pushed forward winning the next three holes in a row, this time around it was Dion and Thomas playing give-away golf, and coming to the fourteenth tee box we were all square again. Wow, how'd that happen so quickly?!

Tied fourteen to remain all even. On the fifteenth both Thomas and Dion nailed their shots on the dancing floor for a likely par possible birdie. Michael made a great sand shot from the left bunker rolling the ball up close, but yours truly missed yet another short putt, one down with three to go.

Merikans won the sixteenth after another great chip by Michael to within a couple inches of the hole for a gimme. Lost the seventeenth and there we were one down with only one hole to go.

Thomas and Dion were hot but not quite hot enough. They drilled their drives in excellent position, but Kiffin punched his drive even further even to the bunker in the middle of the fairway.

Dion's approach looked really good (ended up over the green but we didn't know it at the time), so Michael was under alot of pressure. When I turned to him and said it was his moment to achieve the Warhol's fifteen minutes of fame, he duly addressed the ball and made it happen.

The Merikans had to win, and when we finally made it to the top of the hill and discovered our ball pin high five feet to the right and the opponents' ball over the green with a nasty downhill chip, we knew we had a chance. I was convinced that I'd finally make my first normal putt of the day and tally that birdie.

Thomas and Dion pulled off a respectable bogey (after the stupid ball kept rolling and rolling past the pin) and of course I missed the birdie putt curling it left and downhill from the hole. It was definitely what you'd call a semi-easy putt but a good knee-knocker just the same.

With confidence Michael rammed it into the back of the hole for the par. The grueling contest of wills was over, and we tied 1-1.

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The summer season for senior golfers kicked off yesterday and I was in good spirits. Although I didn't play that great, shooting an 82 and being tied for twentieth place out of 93 players is a respectable round. Three easy putts under two meters should have been made combined with a mere three pars on the front nine made things a bit frustrating. I managed to shoot a double-bogie free round with the same ball which in itself is a nice accomplishment.

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Ready to tee off on the first hole at Golfclub Anderstein

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So here is how it started: par, birdie and eagle. Already three under par after only three holes. Hard to believe, but it's true ...

I flubbed the next easy par four with a careless bogie, but after that I held on with a string of pars to make the turn at two under par. 4-4-2-5-3-4-5-3-4=34.

If I could just keep playing half-decently, nothing miraculous just an ordinary nine more holes, then I'd have a pretty good score.

There's this mental thing that rears its ugly head in my mind when I'm playing great golf and it always tries to ruin me. I'm thinking that there's only so many holes left and I need to hold on, getting more and more nervous.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so let's get serious and make the best of it. Or so I thought. The second nine was a disaster and I went into mental meltdown mode. Two double-bogies and only three pars: 6-3-6-4-5-7-4-4-5=44. That's TEN strokes more than the first nine, you must be kidding.

Afterward when the good life was all done and gone, I sat at the table moping, shaking my head and wondering out loud how it is possible to play so well for the first nine holes and then blow it so badly during the second nine holes.

My playing partner Jim (who comes from Ireland) hit the nail right on the head when he said, "You know the more often I see this happening the more convinced I am that it is one hundred percent just a mental thing.

How is it possible that such disasters strike when you least expect it? And why if it's just a mental thing can't I control it better.

(No I did not break a single club, although I was tempted to a couple of times)

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This year we have a really great team again. It's a long shot but we could still become champions if we win our last two matches (so far won one and lost one).

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Last Saturday I played a practice round with the team. Just another normal day on the links with the goold old colleagues. Until we reached the eleventh hole that is. Jose started things off by chipping his ball in the hole from off of the green. Then from the fringe at the front of the green, Paul sank a winding twenty-footer uphill. Finally, Maurits rammed in his six-foot putt making it three birdies in a row. Could I do it as well? As the last remaining hero under tremendous pressure and all eyes watching me anxiously, I curled in my putt from three feet away. We all had birdies: 2-2-2-2 on the same hole. That was a pretty amazing golf moment! Don't think I've been so excited and screamed so loud and long in quite some time.

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From left to right: Kiffin, Paul, Jose and Maurits. The scorecard is proof that it really happened.

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Although some people may not consider golf a "real" sport, it nonetheless requires that your body is in good condition and that certain muscles are well developed.

Since I started a more intensive workout program at the SportCity three months ago, I can really feel the difference.

My training focuses on the golf muscles as shown in the diagram above. Not that I need to develop giant muscles for extra distance, but rather well-toned upper legs, abdomen core, torso and arms to be able to hit the ball with a more stable and predictable swing, and above all with more confidence.

And yes, I can now also hit my drives straighter and about ten to twenty meters further. I am not sure whether or not this is all just psychological, but one thing is for sure and that's how good and healthy my body feels.

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I make my own sandwiches for lunch and like to slice my bread into nice uniform segments of equal thickness. Over time my cutting actions had acclimated well to the continuously dulling knife. It meant that gradually I had to cut imperceptibly just a little bit harder each day. I had become fond of that dull utensil and had developed a close relationship with that grip and sliding motion. There was balance between the forces of nature and my bodily movements.

So when I picked up the brand new knife that Thea had bought in some sale, I failed to register her comments. Or should I say warnings? She told me that it was a really great bargain for such a high quality knife which was as sharp as a razor blade. Then I watched the corrugated edge glisten in the light as I positioned it atop the bread ready to slice.

One slight push was more than enough, no need to press very hard nor initiate any cutting motion whatever. The super sharp knife went through that bread in an instant. The saying is like a hot knife through butter and that I the exact same sensation I felt. If it hadn't been for the top half of my forefinger blocking the way, it would have put a nice deep gash in the wooden cutting board.

I screamed although I felt nothing. In the same instant my hand shot up in the air. Blood started spurting out, and at first I thought that I had cut off my poor finger. The gouge was deep and clean, but my finger was still attached thank God. Thea came to the rescue and put her nursing skills to work by wrapping some gauze and bandages tightly around the wound. My life was saved and I would more likely survive.

The first thing that came to my mind was that I would never be able to play golf again. Not that I might bleed to death, but that having half of a finger would become an insurmountable obstacle for me at winning any future golf tournaments again. My days as a future famous golf pro were over.

One week later and it still hasn't healed completely, but things are improving nicely. In a couple more days I hope to be back on the golf course. I will use that little scar as a touch point from now on so that I can focus and play better golf.

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The funny thing is that around the time that I cut myself, a number of articles appeared in the local newspapers about people complaining that these knives were way too sharp for normal folks. One woman even threatens to sue the store for neglecting to give sufficient warnings about the danger.

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Once a week every Wednesday evening, we have our golf training at the golf club. I always look forward to this activity very much, getting a chance to socialize with the team, hit buckets of balls, and most importantly get psyched up for next year's competition season.

You can imagine the disappointment I felt when I opened the trunk of my car and discovered that it was empty, except for a couple of spare "lucky" golfing caps which I always keep there just in case.

As it turns out, I had left my golfing equipment in the garage at home and forgotten to put them back in the car. I'll have to go again tomorrow afternoon and make up for the lost time.

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Information

This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2357 entries and as many as 1878 comments.

Important events

Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

Believe it or not but I am 10-11-1957 young.

First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.

Began well-balanced and healthy life style 1-8-2013 ago.

My father passed away 10-20-2000 ago.

My mother passed away 3-27-2018 ago.

I started working at Vereniging COIN 12-1-2017 ago.