Joe Buck and Greg Norman Broadcasting Golf

Really. I think Joe Buck is great for baseball and football announcing and stuff but I don’t know about golf. According to this months golf magazine he’ll appear along side Greg Norman. I think the shark is great and love his sports apparel and he makes an exquisite Pinot Noir but I don’t know about this pairing? Guess we will see.

In Phoenix AZ on business so doubtful I will run tomorrow.

Got some new cool foot joy golf shoes over the weekend. Like butter.

Oh well. Just in and out for a day trip but I tire of travel for business very easy these days.

Early start so gotta go.

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Stardate Tues 08202014 194040pm: Golf Practice This Week – Diary

Quick Practice Notes for the week

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A local San Jose Golf Course – Great 9 holer

it’s hard to practice routinely without a routine.  Thank goodness school has started up again.  Looks like Mondays and Wednesdays will be my putt practice days at Pruneridge golf after drop off and before pick-up (if i can bust a hump at work and get out on time).  Now I need to schedule a day for pitching and iron work.

I’m pretty sure I’m going to volunteer this year at the Frye’s Open in Napa this year.  Rory has already agreed to show up.  Last year was lackluster but many pros are overdue to appear so we’ll see.

fryes open

Frye’s Open Return to NAPA – Rory to Play

  • Focus for Aug/Sept:  i’m back to focusing on putting so i can get real good from 2 club lengths and in.  so back to doing the circle (right-to-left, left-to-right etc… putts).
  • I’m still working on my new stance that has me leaning over a wee bit more (see a few posts ago)
  • I’m also trying to really feel the earth (how is grading where is it leaning) with my feet as i walk up and down the putt line when i first approach the hole
  • Plus – after reading a fellow blogger on the importance of process and routine in Rory’s return I’m doing a set of drills where i hit 10 balls from different spots by just spot checking and then going thru my routine quickly but steadily.
  • breathing.  i find that timing my putting stroke with my breathe helps to make me stroke thru the ball evenly and completely.  I take a couple slow breathes before pausing before my stroke and then i inhale (hah!) on the back stroke and exhale coming back.  it keeps me relaxed and my clubhead square
  • Practice balance on Public Transportation.  Also, i took the light rail a couple times this week and i’m using it to practice my balance again by standing parallel to the direction of motion and then taking my stance and trying not to let the train topple me.  I don’t hold onto anything.  the rail doesn’t travel that fast and on the straight shots from station to station. so it’s all about your thighs, hips, feet and rocking or swaying laterally to stay balanced.  it’s an invisible fun exercise.  I’ve been doing it off and on for 6 months now and i must admit i rarely grab for any support – even when the train is full.  Now that’s developing some core i think – and it makes travelling to work more constructive and rewarding.
  • Lastly – who knew pursuing golf required such an upgrade to my physique.  It really requires physical stamina to do this sport right – day after day, week after week.
from the grass driver

onward and upward

That’s all I got.  

SVGolfer over and out

Shot of the Day – Wow Ricky!!

Who said there isn’t any excitement on the PGA Tour!!? (oh right – i was just saying that the other day :-/ )

Despite lagging sales and attendance and Tiger stuff and all that kinda stuff – I for one am glad I’m still following this sport today at least.

What a shot by Ricky Fowler to get on the green on the par 4 16th.  What the……??!!!

The last few holes at Valhalla Golf Club are worth the wait.

Perf Swing_black

Shazzam goes Ricky

SHazzam!!

Gotta admit – the guy’z got swag.

That said – the PGA has a long way to go trying to turn around this slump in the sport.  I can’t help thinking about that after reading some other blogs today.

The reasons are many – macro-economic, financial, plain-ole-logistics (you just can’t walk to the neighborhood park and start playing 9 or 18 holes like you can with bball or tennis – in fact you can’t even learn how to strike the ball and enjoy the sport without at least a few lessons – again unlike basketball or soccer, and did i mention few people have an old set of clubs just lying around in the garage), and…. lastly and suggested with nothing but good intention….

a cultural heritage that necessarily – dare I say – was originally somewhat exclusive and Great Gatsby-esque ya’ know?  I mean, it doesn’t seem that it was a sport originally intended for mass or even mainstream consumption or perhaps layman consumption if you start reading into the whole St. Andrews 1800s practice of the sport.

I don’t know – i think there’s an element of that that still makes people think – this sport just isn’t for me.  And beyond that – I can think of a ton of confident people who rock the house speaking in front of crowds, running business meetings, managing million dollar budgets or doing a bunch of things I find scary – but ask them to play golf with a group of friends and they freeze out of fear of embarrassment and just whiffing the ball entirely.  I still have that fright on occasion.  And that’s why most male golfers just play to have a few beers and relax versus taking the sport seriously continuously like a soccer fan or bicyclists or swimmer or even tennis player – those tennis players are out there every weekend – no matter the age, race, culture, sex – whatever – right?

On many levels but especially the money, culture, exclusivity side of things –  and i don’t mean that to stir up debate or to get all Downton Abbey on anyone – but let’s face it, not even just a generation ago this sport required huge annual dues to a country club to participate at the local level.

Joining a club is totally easy today but, again, the need to join a club period can be an intimidating and often gate-keeping type of thing for anyone who is looking for a fun free thing to do to keep their kids healthy or to engage in a sport.  It’s a problem I don’t think equipment manufacturers will solve nor will the clubs or even the veteran industry professionals.

Much like today’s IT world embracing the cloud and thinking differently about innovation – the PGA needs intrapreneurs to point the way to bringing new fans back into the fold.  Despite the good intent of new programs like Get Golf Ready or the new Team Golf program, you can see that the majority of the messaging – look at 80% of the product commercials…. focuses on a select cohort …. product include investment banking, high-priced electronics, luxury vacations, powerful german engineered cars,lear jets, Rolex watches, and this short guy walking around serving real dogs when you ask for a hot dog like he belongs in a Hobbit movie (I mean what millennial or digital mom or corporate middle-aged soccer dad is sayin’ – yah – that’s me?!!).

It’s all so multi-6 figure income kinda stuff that even multi-6 figure income families are having a hard time doing the math.

So, it’s hard to compete as a crowd pleaser when the guy down the street just wants you to bring your wooden bat and some passion to a neighborhood park or an old racket you found in the garage and some dirty sneakers.

Add the economic tsunami of 2008 is not that far away and you’ve got a multi-trifecta.

For sure, golf is a lag economy sport in that when times are great it will pick up eventually but when purses are tight – people will rationalize their way away from the course in no time and the comebacks will always be slow simply because of the above mentioned economic and personal barriers to success.

Getting proficient at the sport to the point where you can really have fun – something that is still alluding me because I’m trying to squeeze it in on my spare time as a full-time working dad living the Silicon Valley life which is blissful weather wise but busy in ways my dad could never have imagined.  I dream email – need I say more.

But – let me say this.  Foot-golf and team golf – the latest program introduced by the PGA – are not the answer.  It’s like pouring pepsi into single malt scotch to make it more accessible.

I agree with many that, in order to keep the spirit of the sport – and I by no means as a total amateur pretend to have any clue what that is – we should leave well enough alone.

in my heart i believe the sport is truly more than just a sport.  it is a life tool.  it is a guide.  it can be therapy.  it’s a health regimen.  it’s camaraderie.  and it’s all those other things that you discover when you are trying to understand life’s graces and stages and ups and downs – things like confidence, trust, humility, courage, toughness, persistence, acceptance, compassion, being a gentleman, courtesy, honesty – stuff like that.  i think all sports aspire to these platitudes but golf is uniquely singular in its pursuit.

i feel strongly about that even in my novice-ness. I feel like – they should leave well enough alone or find other creative ways to engage former fans and newer converts.

And, I’m guessing – just to return to some of the new macro-economic forces changes our planet and the sport – a lot of those efforts will need to point to developing economies and especially Asia.  So like it or not – this game is going to change a lot in the next two decades.  Faces, locations, fans, norms, the whole magilla.

But the sweetness of a good swing on a quiet morning or a slow roll on the putting green in the kiss of a sunset.  Well – hey – she had me at ‘Ping!’

SVGolfer_over.

Thumbs Up Phil Mickelson & Confidence in Golf: It’s All So Senti-Mental

The Putting Whisperer

SIR Phil

Thank you Phil – for saying it like it is and letting me know it’s OK to be human (no matter the level)

Here’s the prelude – So I’m watching the PGA Tour the other night and I catch the clip from Phil talking about how he totally whiffed his first couple of tee shots at this week’s championship at Valhalla.

I think he was getting the EBGBs with the larger crowds that showed up and the change in intensity got to him AND his nerves.

I’m not so sure why but listening to him talk somewhat absolved me from a very down place I had fallen into after a complete failure attack at a driving range in Mountain View last weekend.

I felt better and re-assured in a silly way that I had already known. Even the greats – for whatever reason – have to remind themselves that they have to trust and have confidence in their swing both on and off the grass.  But he knew, somehow even after the awful misses and unlike other times when his swing failed him at first,… this time – he was confident and knew without a doubt that he indeed had his groove.  You know that feeling?  Those days when it seems you can’t hit the ball incorrectly if you tried – you’re so loose and focused and having fun and confident?!  He knew he had it and just kept at it and then he got into contention. BAZINGA!!!

So much about this game is mental and non-physical – almost spiritual at times if you think about it too hard.

Truth is, I’ve been making progress ever since New Year’s Day.  It’s been hard and I’ve had set backs but I have had days where they ball flight was elegant over and over again and I’ve had more days than not where I felt I could strike a practiced shot with confidence and get the desired result during a practice session – more than 70% of the time.  Often enough to make me want to keep practicing.

I’ve spent the past 6 months trying to change my physique, practicing routinely at least 5 days a week, getting to the putting greens and driving ranges, pushing through injuries and good and bad days and then the other day – I just sucked.  I outright sucked – as if I had just picked up a set of clubs from Costco yesterday.  I’m there on the driving range and some twerpy kid is waiting his turn and the place is full (I can’t stand going on a Saturday – that was my problem right there) and I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn if I tried.  It was un-nerving and unsettling.  It unbalanced the rest of my weekend for sure.

SelfConfidence

Yes I Can

In retrospect I realized I hadn’t played in front of any large public group in like ……forever – only duos and light practice range traffic – since the year began…..(my game-plan is to work in crowd control next year – assuming I get to a point that I can play some local amateur tournaments as is the original intent) and so I was completely miss-aligned and I threw my tempo off and I kept pulling the ball left.  But the thing is I was not confident at all.  I didn’t trust anything I was doing.  I did not follow my routine.  I panicked.  I got distracted.  I let outside stuff including some bad energy I received earlier in the day when meeting with someone and other extraneous stuff sway my attention and my belief.  I was nervous and full of doubt and I couldn’t do anything to slow that down.

FAST FORWARD:  I haven’t swung a club in the last 5 days.  Very rare.  I’ve been down all week.  Then I saw this CLIP – THIS SIMPLE LITTLE CLIP thing from Phil and it reminded me. …. AND i STARTED  to feel better.

That stuff comes from within.  And I’ve swung like a champ before.  And miss-alignments can be corrected.  And I just need to find a way to routinely set myself up even when I’m nervous.  I need to learn how to align myself off the ball and club face instead of relying just on site lines – right?  and i can learn that if i read a bit and practice a bit. And if I keep at it – I’ll be able to handle heavy traffic without the willies.!!!

So thanks Phil.  Thanks for that bit of encouragement(without knowing it) by just keepin’ it real and letting us all know that even though you’re a superstar you still deal with the same block and tackling issues as the rest of us do now and then.

BOO-YAH!!

BOO-YAH!!

 

CONFIDENCE.  That’s a holy grail thing to get to.  One of golf’s life lesson derivatives.  And it feels like a fleeting hiding unicorn sometimes that you only get a glimpse of while running through the forest.  Or it’s a moody jolt of energy and creativity that shows up when you’re your laziest and trying your least (ya’ know that whole less is more thing) but physically up to snuff or some odd combination like that – that leaves you wondering – why am I playing so well today?

And it’s such a beautiful thing –   That’s when you’re just dribbling the soccer ball towards the goal and “looking sideways like ma’ man Pele’ – right?”

Nothin’ but net.

SVG_over.

Some Meandering Thoughts on golf and trains

One of my off course practice techniques.

I work full time. Until I quit and go back to consulting so I can play the amateur tours I have to use my Silicon Valley ingenuity to improve my skills whenever wherever right? Isn’t that what Saas computing is all about heh heh?

So I’m practicing my golf stance and balance by standing hands free … Bumps turns and all. On the light rail VTA home. i love our VTA even if its getting crowded now and the have the new VTA gustapo checking us like we’re in new york or something.

still. Feet shoulder width apart and trying to sway and bend my knees like I’m a pendulum and trying not to fall. I stand perpendicular to the motion of the train. I’ve been doing this for weeks. Don’t know why I’m just mentioning.

With my new wireless Motorola S11s headphones. My legs hurt after the 30 minutes but its a good workout.

It’s like virtual surfing and I definitely get that swing back forward leg and knee stability thing hogan talks about in his book.

It also helps me understand the reference of feeling planted into the ground. Actually I think Adam Scott made that reference in the last Golf Digest.

Listening to XTC Seargent Rock.

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