Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Is That Mine..?

I'd love to not mark my balls when I play, but with all the same ones out there it leads me no choice. I've actually seen little ball templates you can buy to create a unique imprint on your ball. I've actually also seen "special" mini golf ball markers..which look just look like a smaller version of a Sharpie marker. I didn't even know it but they even has a "Sharpie" PGA Tour Team. I like the Sharpie Mini as a matter of fact.

Anyway, before I could say anything, a buddy of mine bought the mini golf ball marker at the pro-shop. He kept the red marker and gave me the black one. They cost around twice as much as a regular Sharpie marker also. I almost bought that ball template where it cups your ball and draws a straight line to aim your putt, because it came with an actual Sharpie, but I already have 2 Sharpies. I didn't buy it.

I always try to come up with unique ways to mark my ball. I normally do the "one dot" below the number but my buddy started doing this. Actually this little ball marking gadget looked pretty cool..those crazy Japanese golfers..what will they think of next.. Now I like to place to a small dot before and after the name of the ball. I think PGA Tour Pro Duffy Waldorf actually has his daughters draw a colorful design on them.

Monday, February 27, 2006

What's In My Pocket..

I consider myself a superstitious golfer when it comes to keeping certain items at hand when I play. The first thing I do when I get to the course is to remove all my wordly possesions (watches, keys, phones, wallet, change) and put them in my bag. I then pull out the two balls I used last week (if they aren't damaged) and put them in my right pocket. I then pull out my Tom Lehman PGA Partner's Club medallion coin (it's slightly larger than a JFK half dollar coin) along with one "Texas" 3 3/4 long white tee and also put these in my right pocket.

The piece de resistance is my bronze Doral divot repair tool with the little magnetic disk. I've never played Doral but actually found the divot repair/marker tool in the grass, while looking for my ball, when I was playing at the El Toro Golf Course 3 years ago. The only thing I know about Doral is that it's called the "Blue Monster".

I recently changed my magnetic marker disk (it was the original bronze Doral insignia) to a Tiger. I like Tiger Woods but the reason I got it was it looked the most visible on the green compared to the other insignias they had..I believe it's a Clemson University Tiger as a matter of fact. The pro-shop had a bunch of college mascot markers but for some reason San Diego State University, my alma mater, didn't make the list.

I've never bought shorter tees because my driver's head size is fairly large and I only use a shorter tee for par 3's. Usually those tee boxes are littered with half broken tees anyhow..but if I find a unbroken shorty tee I'll try to collect those. I'm fairly picky when it comes to my tee color and I just buy white.

I use to like all those colored ones but as I got more serious about my game all I want to see when I tee it up is white. To me it's distracting to see a white ball sitting on top of a red tee (or any other color besides white). I know it's just a visual thing, but I like to see all white down there then a myriad of colors. It seems like there's a bigger object to hit then a little bitty ball. I also like to use a bigger ball marker because it's easier to pick up and place. However, it is big enough to carom a rolling ball off of, so if it's in the line with another person's putt I'll just use my smaller, flatter Clemson Tiger ball marker..genious huh..?

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde..

I always think of these two characters and how they resemble my golf game (other reference being a biotech stock of the early 1990's). On any given day I can be really hot, like last week, even while it rained I finished with an 82 (43 on the front and 39 on the back) and it felt easy too. Yesterday was another story..I started of with a double and then a triple..ugh. I maintained for a bit with 3 pars and a bogey and a double, but then scored a TRIPLE again on a par 3. I went into the sand, which I had no worries about, but the green was sloping downhill from it and I was positioned on the downward slope in the bunker. There was absolutely no way my ball would stop anywhere near the hole.

The sand was not that hard but slightly moist from the previous week's rain. The lip in front wasn't even high, but it was the downhill lie after that that made it unbelievable..my luck. Anyway, I was thinking what my options were. It was a decent lie and I could have chipped/picked it out but then it would've rolled all the way off the green. I decided to try to flop it out of there. First attempt..it just hit the very top of the lip..back in..almost in the same place. Second shot..ditto. FUDGE! Third shot, I said screw it and took my normal bunker swing..which came out perfect. It did check a tad but rolled off the green as expected. I swear not even Tiger Woods could've done better..it was just a miserable situation in the bunker.

What was weird was I just couldn't get into my game yesterday. I felt all day in a mental fog..I'm usually feeling pretty sharp at this point. True, I don't eat anything before I play..just loadup on coffee..but usually I'm just a little jittery on the putts..but not even that. I couldn't shake it off or get into my game until the 17th and 18th hole. I just felt I was just merely going through the paces..not really getting into it. Even my golf bud asked me what was up. I did go to sleep later than normal so that was the only thing I could blame it on..I just felt sleepy.

Oh yeah, my push cart
(Sun Mountain Speed Cart V1..that's a mouthful) arrived Thursday (ordered Monday..fast!) and got to use it yesterday. I got mine from GolfGods, ask for Mike V. and he'll set you straight..he's a great guy and wonderful to deal with. I've bought a few clubs from them also. Very courteous and prompt! Anyway, I ended up carding a 93 (13 on the front and 10 on the back, par 70) which I was surprised to even get that for my lack of attention for the whole round. Mental note to self next week..get more sleep.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Index and Pearl Balls..

I just signed up today to get an official USGA index at GolfServ. Out of my research, they seemed to have the coolest features. I can play all over L.A. and not just limited at a home course to log in scores. I had a few scores to record already and it gave me a projected index (trend) of 15.2 which seemed about right. I think with this scoring system in place, I'll be able to focus more on my game to improve. One of my goals this year is to break 80 again..I was close last week with an 82.

My wife gets GOLF for Women but I usually end up reading it more than her. Anyway they were showcasing some of the newest items for women golfers. The item that caught my eye were these new balls from Callaway called the HX Pearl. It's designed for people with slower swing speeds and it's a 3 piece ball. It supposed to have this cool, iridescent cover that I guess has a "pearl" opaque look to it and it supposed to aid in locating the ball.

The Callaway site doesn't even have it listed yet but my favorite internet golf store, GolfGods, is already selling it. It looks like they're waiting for their shipment but I'm placing my order today. I remember the Precept "LADY" ball was a popular ball with men for a while, I assume this will be the same..if you can get by with having a pearl ball.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My Setup..

Not sure how fundamentally sound my setup is but it had been working for me consistently lately:

1. Tee the ball high (about 3/4 of the ball above the face of the driver), I play with a 415cc Callaway Great Big Bertha 2.

2. Pick out a spot a few feet in front of the ball in direct relation to the intended target/landing area.

3. Set up slightly open with 80% weight on the right side.

4. Initiate hip trigger and "Slow and Low" backswing slowing down at the top. I know the taught method is shoulder turn first but this works for and as long as I get the hips firing through first, which I do, that's all that matters.

5. Keep head behind ball at impact.

6. Hit ball at 4 o'clock for straight or 3 o'clock for cut/fade.

I never knew until I was watching some episode on The Golf Channel that Tom Lehman also sets up open. They said he usually hits it pretty straight or an occasional cut/fade (I've noticed that with my ball flight also). Funny coincidence is that my ball marker is a coin with Tom Lehman's face on it. He's been my mental image when I tee it up now.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Kicked Arse..

I shot an 82 today..lowest round in a long time. Today marked the fourth and last round of our "kitty" tournament. I ended up winning our informal tournament by 2 strokes. (I was 5 strokes off the lead to tie this morning) The key was I successfully converted four up and downs to save par and then had landed four GIR's with 2-putts for par and I got a birdie.

I still did have 7 holes that I 2-putt for bogey (they were all tap in bogeys too..geez). Taken this into account, if I was just able to get up and down, on those bogeys, for less than half or 3 holes I would've shot a 79. The short game is the way to the promised land! (This is my golf mantra)

Another thing I noticed is that when I hit more than 50% of the fairways (I hit 8 out of 13 fairways) off the box, I know it's going to be a pretty good round overall. I feel confident that I will shoot another, last being June of 2004, sub-80 round this year at this rate. The icing on the cake was that, although my golf bud and I are even strokes..he may think else, I didn't have to hear him say that he STILL won this time..it's was pleasantly quiet.

*You can see some of T.J. Mahaffey's funnies here.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Use The Force, Luke..

Lately, I've really been concentrating on not letting bad holes ruin my round. This really is a hard concept for your average golfer, me, but it's this ability to perservere, adapt and move on that really is the nitty gritty to becoming the better player. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to prove to my self on such an occasion and that I can overcome this and move on.

On the 8th hole, par 5, I topped the tee shot really bad and the ball landed about 30 yds. in front of the tee box. I then managed to hit consecutive bad shots that had me lying 5 from about 80 yds. left. I was thinking to myself that even if I play this hole decent I leave with a triple. I put the Jedi mind trick on the ball and ended up chipping out for a bogey.

Everybody was hooting and hollering..I was stoked on the inside, but tried not to get too giddy about it. I was more than excited that I saved 2 strokes right there. Talk about the pressure being taken off on the next hole. (The 9th is a wicked 230 yd. par 3, straight hole with an enormous green, I ended up two putting for bogey)

The funny thing is the back 9 was played consistently with bogey golf. (that should've been 5 shots better with numerous up and down misses..more about this on
Proof Is In The Putting). Another facet I need to polish up is to reduce "blow up" holes. Those holes where for some reason you forget how to play golf and every shot feels like your very first ever taken. Usually these holes feel like the same when I get the dreaded shanks. But once again it's the ability to overcome the current crappy state that takes you to the next ability level.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Run Forrest..Run..

I'm not sure how many of you incorporate some extra physical fitness into your golf routine but I've been an avid runner for almost a year now. What brought this on you say? Well, about a year ago, I noticed that toward the end of my golf round I would get fatigued and sometimes get cramps in my calves. It probably didn't help the fact that I'm a walker and never ride unless the course mandates it. I also felt that I was developing a slight midsection, not a 6-pack, but the other way.

At that time I was about 180 lbs, I'm 5'9", and felt a little sluggish also. I decided to take up running and I absolutely hated, WITH A PASSION, running. I was the person, after the first couple laps, that would get tired and depressed and stopped..eventually. I then told myself that I'm going to beat this and take it seriously.

Preface: I used to weigh over 200 lbs. in college and got down to 155 lbs. when I graduated. I was one of those that saw the physical fitness "light" and just changed my whole lifestyle. I ate nothing but salads and NO fast-food for a year and in addition to all this I seriously worked out, mainly cardio stuff, for about 3 hours every night. WHY?!?! you ask, I was training to be a firefighter and knew there were some serious physical fitness tests up ahead.

Last May, 2005, I ran in my first competitive run. It was actually termed a "FUN RUN"..an oxymoron..but turned out rather competitive. It was actually longer than a 5K, 4 miles to be exact, that started in the Gaslamp District in San Diego and went over the Coronado Bridge and finished at the nearby park. I placed 22 out of 44 people in my age class (34), 30-35, with a time of 41:21, not the fastest but not the last either..a true "midpacker".

I really do believe running has helped my golf game also. I am definitely in better physical fitness, but besides that I feel more alert and aware of my game. I no longer experience those nasty cramps in my calves either.

Lately, I haven't ran due to what I felt was a sore hip after my last, and final time, walking a full round with my bag. I ran just a little while ago, about 2 weeks off since, and felt really good. I started REALLY slow but ended up finishing 4 miles easy. My normal run, 3 times a week, is 3 miles. I'm currently debating/training to run the Seal Beach 5K/10K in April.

I'm confident I can blast the 5K but have been seriously contemplating doing the 10K. My goal is to do a marathon..someday. I really tried to test myself and do 6 miles today, about a 10K distance, but my legs started to get tired and heavy. Physically, my breathing and pace were great and everything was working good, no pain, but my legs started to poop out on me after the 4th mile so I stopped.

The furthest I've ran is 5 miles and I'm sure if I train for it I'll be 10K ready by April, but maybe I'll just work on kicking some 5K butt instead. What's weird is, like my golf game, I usually do much better after I lay off awhile and come back..thus my golfing and running relationship.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sky Marks, Diaper Bags, Jack on Credit..

I got to play today, just the back nine at the local course with a buddy of mine because I was taking my daughter to the doctor's office for her 6 month check up. Well, for the longest time I tried not to put a sky mark on my hybrids, and I was doing great, but it only lasted until today. I managed to put some nice sky marks on the toe end of BOTH of them. The PUP, Pop Up Protector, seems like a nifty idea. I probably would bought it if I had known about it before the marks.

I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels sick when they mar up their beautiful clubs. It's truly a sign of an amateur hack indeed. It happend when I teed the ball a tad to high on a long par 3 (220 yds) and ended up putting 2 in the lake guading the green. Anyway, I felt actually relieved, after a few minutes had passed, because now that whole "brand new" cautiousness was no longer there.

After the round I was going to go to the nearby hardware store to see if they sell some touch up paint so I can just cover up the visual scratches. I decided to first dab on some "Sharpie" ink and see if it holds. I just really hate looking down and seeing scratch marks on clubs. I guess it just leaves a reminder of bad shots from previous rounds. I've been known to actually replace clubs just because of this reason.

I'm not following precedent because I really have been hitting these hybrids well and has been my "go to" club for shot from 220-240 (I have both a 21 deg. and 17 deg.) and tight fairways. They really need to make the graphics on the top of these heads stronger though. I've hit a few on top of my Callaway driver but it has resisted any noticeable marks.

I told my wife, and this has nothing to do with golf, when we were leaving the house to the doctor's office that she has the world's most expensive diaper bag. It's actually not a diaper bag but a really nice Coach tote handbag, but a big one. You know the kind where it's deep enough to hold an umbrella (folded), newpaper, folders, etc. I got it for her a couple years ago but now it is serving double duty as the all essential diaper bag. Actually we're getting good use out of it because it really holds ALOT of stuff. You name it and it's there, including a camera and a mini-DV camcorder. I paid $500 for it at the Coach store at the Glendale Galleria at the time.

While driving to the pediatricians office we were stopped on the corner of La Cienega and Pico in West Los Angeles. There was a Jack In The Box restaurant there which, I thought, had one of the funniest/quirkiest signs. Right underneath the tall, customary red and white "Jack In The Box" sign there was another sign that read: "Credit Accepted Here" and had the VISA, MC logos. I can see now some guy in there strapped for cash signing a loan application for a Jumbo Jack.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Turn Your Headlights On..

I'll keep this one super-short and want to thank Rich, EatGolf, for telling me that my moderate comment function was on..thus no longer feeling that I'm going crazy, just speaking to myself..gratefully, I have had a few comments..gracias. Rich, when I saw your email in my Gmail account it read "Eat, me". I guess what it means is that it's from Eat(Golf) TO me..I got a chuckle out of it anyhow. Anyway, I'm glad to know some of you guys are out there.

Get Off My Balls..

When I played last Saturday the pro-shop at my local course had an armada of Sun Mountain V1 (SMV1) push carts for rent. I decided to try it out to see if it was worth it..it was. It was an absolute joy to walk that day and now see how much more fun the game is when fatigue doesn't set it. I usually get tired at the back 9, but today I felt energized. I'll get one probably this week but seems like the internet is cheaper than the stores (see Pimp My Ride below).

The SMV1 was effortless to push and rolled great. It has a cool cup holder in the middle for my coffee, or any other beverage..beer..and a little compartment where you can store your keys, wallet, cellphone (forgive me). On top of the compart is a scorecard holder and a pencil holder. There is a spare ball tray too. It also has 6 holes to hold tees. The SMV1 also has a place to hold a tire pump and divot filler cup. If you really want you can also add a side chair (I guess for thoser really LONG rounds), umbrella. They also sell a seperate cooler bag or pouch. Honestly, I can see golfers bringing a small t.v. to watch the game with this thing.

I actually felt I was playing faster and had more pep in my stride. Where it really paid off were those slightly downhill grades where you could just push it and it would gently roll to a flat area..but becareful with this..like make sure there isn't a lake at the bottom..ahem..


So back to the real gist of this post. I cannot stress the importance of playing your OWN ball. I was the victim of someone in my group hitting my ball. Not a regular, but somebody I was grouped with. I hate ProV1's because it seems like everyone is playing it now. I've been playing the Callaway HX Blue just for this reason..not too many people play it..until last Saturday. I hit a great drive and when I went to it it was not there. I looked up and turns out this other guy was telling me, as he was chuckling in his heavily thickened asian accent while carting down the fiarway, that he plays a Callaway too!..I checked at the one on the ground and it was a Callaway alrighty..a frigging rock hard "Warbird"..and all dinged up too..what the..the dude hit my precious HX Blue and left me his crappy, doggy chew toy.

I placed another HX, in place of abandoned ball, and ended up getting a par..and no I didn't penalize myself..because in the real world stuff like this just doesn't happen..unless you happen to get grouped with a group of Philipino doctors..as was my case.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Proof Is In The Putting..

When I played last week I realized how much putting REALLY matters when you want to lower your score. As dumb as this new found theory may sound, just bear with me here.

Out of my years playing golf, I never really wanted to strangle my putter and "helicopter" it into the nearby lake more than last week. My technique or stroke didn't feel bad, it probably was though, but I missed five, pathetically easy, putts. You know the "all hope and life on Earth depending" 2 footers. The reason I was placing so much importance on these putts, last week, was that I was in realistic contention to convert all those putts to save par and even birdie.

These missed putts were literally on the edge/verge of dropping in. If the wisp of a bee's wing had gone by the ball as it rolled it would've sank. I had this one hole, dogleg right par 4, and ended up driving it into the rough. I got very close to the hole on my 2nd shot and had an uphill 2 footer for a birdie. It doesn't get any easier than this right? It was a great wedge followed by an obscenely easy uphill putt for a birdie..which I managed to convert into to a tap in par.

For the longest time I've always played with the mind set that I'll get get on dance floor then I'll take a 2-putt anyday. It seems though I usually don't got on in regulation and after having all those missed opportunies where I REALLY needed to 1-putt to save, forget the 2-putt theory.

I realize now how dramatically this matters if you are playing, at a level, where you regularly have chances to convert up and downs to save par. Who says you have to be on in regulation! I now see the light when everyone, good players, is saying it comes down to putting. I can see how a mid 80's player can realistically be a high 70's player just by making more of these putts..gees!

On the other side of this argument I also can say, with confidence, that if you're shooting in the hundreds, this part of the game is probably not a blip on your ability radar yet..like who really cares if you're finally on the green in eight. I'm still a strong believer that once you have the basic fundamentals, you should concentrate on the driver on down, UNLIKE the teaching methods of all your PGA teaching professionals today. Like who really wants/cares to be able to get up and down to save an 8..right?

Are they saying learning to keep a 250 yard drive in play down the middle is any easier or harder than getting proficient with your up and downs? I say they're equally important, but you gotta be in play too for any of this to matter.

Andre Agassi was taught how to play tennis his father and was taught to hit the ball as hard as he could. It didn't matter to his father if young Andre was hitting the windscreens on the opposite side fence. His father believed that once he gets his power he can dial down the accuracy later. Andre Agassi is the oldest player on the ATP today, 36 next April, and is ranked 8th in the world, but sorry I digress.

Anyway, with this new found knowledge I expect to shoot a 79 this weekend..lol

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


When I'm in the mood to buy used golf equipment, I usually check out eBay, first, to see what's out there. I use them as a barometer of what the current market value is as well. If it's a good deal then, obviously, I'd buy it there, but lately I've had the best luck or deals from Craigslist.

It's very easy to use and amazed at how much good stuff is really out there. I've bought and sold on Craigslist with great success also. What's great is there are absolutely no fees to use this service. Sure, it looks a little rough around the edges, but for the person that knows exactly what they're after this is the place. I also like the fact that you can upload your pictures directly, instead of having to host it, if you're selling something.

I've been looking to get a new stand bag, particularly the Callaway STS. I went to eBay and they did have some great deals (MSRP $99) for around $50-$60, but then usually the shipping is around $15-$20. I decided to check out Craigslist, Los Angeles, and low and behold there was a guy selling the EXACT same bag for $50, NWT (new with tags, common Ebay acronym). I immediately emailed him and left a message. He called me back about 30 minutes later and we decided to meet at Loyola High School, a local private prep school.

I don't know if it's just me but I always get the feeling that meeting someone from something like this to do a transaction might be iffy..not dangerous..but who knows. Fortunately, on the three occasions I've sold and bought, the tranaction went without a hitch. I guess as long as both parties agree to meet in a open, public place then it would make it safer for both..which in our case was the parking lot at an exclusive private boy's preparatory school..and turns out that the seller's son attends school there.

Anyway, I cannot say how happy I was with the stand bag. The next time you're looking for golf equipment check out Craigslist.

BTW: that picture in the upper right hand corner is the man himself, Craig Newmark. Founder, Chairman of Craigslist.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Part Deaux..

The Scotty Cameron (SC) Club Cameron "Welcome Kit" arrived this afternoon at my doorstep. I originally posted the pictures but it was messing with the frames so just click the links:

The putter headcover has a silver, carbon-fiber, look to it. The embroidery is beautiful to say the least.

The baseball cap is a weathered and unstructured. A relaxed fit that has a polished, metallic adjustable buckle.

Not sure how I'm going to use the sticker or lapel pin, but excellent quality nonetheless. I'm sure these SC pins will be a collector's item soon, if not already.

The piece de resistance has to be the backpack. It was the reason why I actually bought the kit in the first place. It is a very heavy duty bag and reminds me of a skydiver's rig. After a close examination it is simply a beautiful backpack. The inside of the backpack has the famous SC "crown" all throughout. Although I did not put it on it looks it would be very comfortable.

The SC t-shirt was wrapped in plastic and I didn't open it up, but looks to be of the same quality as all the other items. After I took these pictures I wrapped it back up in the box. If you're debating to get this or not, I think just on the investment alone it is more than enough reason to shell out the $93. Rest assured the quality is outstanding, like his putters. I checked Ebay and you can't even get these yet. I've seen someone selling the putter headcover for $75.

I'm A Somebody..

Well, with enough pleading, moaning, griping and bribing sometimes you can get things your way. Here are a few folks who have painstakingly linked to me:

Blogger Leaderboard

The Undaunted Duffer



There will always be a place in my heart for these guys. *weep weep*

Pimp My Ride..

I've always been a true "walker" when it comes to playing and never ride, unless it's absolutely required by the course. A lot of people who claim they walk do so, but take a pull cart or one of those newer 3-wheeled push carts. You've seen them. They actually look like those baby joggers and I've heard their design actually derives from it..which makes sense. Who else would you trust to carry your babies..sorry clubs.

I've always mocked the push cart'ers deep inside for using such a behemoth of a contraption. At least your 2-wheeled pull carts didn't look as offensive, or noticeable, but still ugly, none the less. I figured to maintain the truest form of golf one had to play the round looping the bag yourself, preferably a light stand bag. It defitnitely adds another hurdle of fatigue when you play, but I have noticed though that maybe my game might have also suffered, respectively, of this too.

After much debate I've decided to put my looping day behind me and purchase a golf "trike", as I call it, soon. I've been doing some research into whether I should just pick up one of those "cheapo 2-wheel pull carts or the fancier 3-wheel push cart. According to a couple sites, that coincedentally also sell the 3 wheeler variety, it turns out that "pushing", compared to "pulling", is less fatiguing on golf swing muscles. You're right though.."You can still push a pull cart dummy."..but that extra motion of pushing down and pushing forward, with the 2 wheel carts, probably fatigues in another way..or just my excuse to get new golf gear.

The two companies that seem to dominate this 3-wheel "trike" market is Sun Mountain and BagBoy. I was surprised how many different models and options you can get. The most expensive, non-motorized, seems to be the (EZ fold in action) BagBoy EZ Fold (MSRP $250). Actually, while writing this entry, I found it for $189 (with FREE shipping here). The cheapest one I found was the BagBay SC-525 for $99.95 (with FREE shipping here). You can actually get an optional cart seat or cooler bag too..geez, what's next..GPS, A/C? Some of them actually have chrome mag wheels! Check out BestBuyGolfBalls for a pretty good line up of the most popular push carts.

The course I play at actually has these for rent so I'll try it out and see if it really matches up with what everyone has been saying.

*UPDATE* I found a cheaper place for the Sun Mountain V1 for $169.99, SHIPPED, at ColoradoDiscountGolf.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Friendly Wager..

I played with my regular golf bud this weekend and played yesterday at our local track. He jokingly said he was bored playing with me UNLESS we put some money on it and was tired of beating me..so he thinks. We're about the same level of play on any given day so I have no problems playing straight up, no handicap, with him.

We've played for a a few dollars here and there before (skins, birdies, murphies, drainos, etc.,) but I came up with a different betting game this time. We both play around bogey golf or a few strokes either way so I told him instead of playing against each other let's set a base par of 80 this game.

Any strokes above this base par we would add $1/stroke to the "kitty" per player. Then, after we play 4 times, we would take whatever money is in the kitty and we would take our families to go eat out. He really liked this "new" game and so did I. It still has that competitive edge but then you know there's a mutually beneficial reward at the end.

I ended shooting an 88 and he shot an 87, so we both put in $8 and $7, respectively, into the pot. I figure at this rate we'll have around $60 in the kitty. Actually it's probably not going to be enough to feed 8 people (actually 4 adults and 4 kids) but it could be a healthy "discount" toward the bill.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Ric Breeden..

His name has already made the #1 search on Google for his feat. *DRUM ROLL*..Ta-Da!! He's the new owner of a $35,000 (Yes, "thirty-five" thousand dollars) special edition, mint condition, Scotty Cameron Classic Mini putter.

I have highlighted some of the finer moments of the Q&A session between ScottyCameron.com and Ric Breeden:

SC: "Did you have to run this purchase by a significant other, and if so, how did that conversation go?"

Ric: "My wife has no idea I own this putter, nor is she aware of the price. I trust that my fellow collectors will keep this information in strict confidence."

GolfNomad says: "Ric, by any chance is her name Wilma of BedRock?"


SC: "$35,000 is a lot of money for anything. Explain to us why you purchased this Classic Mini."

Ric: "There are a few reasons. First, most collectors have a deep appreciation for finding and acquiring something this rare and exquisite. That's the first reason. What makes it extra special is that this is actually a piece of Scotty's history, one that will be mentioned for a long time as a sought after putter. You could call it one of the "Holy Grail" putters. Scotty was asked which putter was his favorite. His answer: the Classic Mini because his wife announced the impending birth of their first child by placing this putter head underneath his pillow.This made it even more important to me, this special emotional tie to Scotty. Another reason is that it's been on my fantasy list for some time. It's one of those putters I've known about, would love to own, but never expected to ever see. The Classic Mini was first on my list. When this came up for sale, it was a dream come true, and in fact it was difficult to not buy. There are so many reasons why I purchased this putter. I guess the most important would be because of my respect for Scotty's art and the respect for our friendship.

GolfNomad says: "..sounds a little creepy to me."


SC: "Have you stroked a putt with it?"

Ric: "This is a putter so valuable that one would think it wouldn't touch a ball. I have to admit, though, that the first thing I did after opening the UPS overnight box...I couldn't resist. I set a golf ball down on the carpet in my office and stroked three dead center 10-foot putts. I immediately oiled it and placed into its display rack. I have to say it's an excellent putter. Not something I'd let go of easily."

GolfNomad says: "..imagine that.."


SC: We now know where four of these putters reside—one with you, two in Japan, and the other with Scotty. Any word on where the other one is, and do you have any plans or desire to acquire it?

Ric: I believe Kaz Nakamura has one. His was a putter made for a Tour player in Japan and has been used. I have not seen that putter. I've heard this from other collectors. The location of the last one is unknown. To my knowledge, it has vanished. Rumor has it that it may have been destroyed.

GolfNomad says: "..but it was secretly saved as it was smelted and forged into a sword used in The Last Samurai"


SC: How did your passion for collecting putters begin?

Ric: I learned to play golf in high school, but I never really played much in college or in the service. I played baseball and still played softball into my late 30s. I had some injuries and decided to find something less punishing on my body. So, I started playing golf again. It quickly became a passion. I was using a Bulls Eye. Then, while visiting a friend in Missouri, I noticed that he had this putter sitting in his office with a black headcover. I pulled off the headcover and took my first glimpse at the most beautiful putter I'd ever seen. It was a 2003 Newport Beach 1.5 Black Pearl Prototype. I thought it felt wonderful. Just a perfect putter. The craftsmanship. The beauty. My friend came back into the office and I said, "I need this putter." He explained to me that it was a prototype that he had just secured from a Titleist rep. I told him to bill me. I didn't care what it cost, and I took it with me. Thankfully, we are great friends. I soon became infatuated with my new putter.

GolfNomad says: "*CHIME IN* The Twilight Zone theme song..doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo"

Ric: Sometime after this first acquisition, I got on eBay and just by chance started looking at golf equipment. There was another Newport Beach 1.5 Black Pearl Prototype. The one from my friend was my gamer, so I figured I'd get this one on eBay as a backup. The passion was full-blown, and within a month I had 7 Black Pearls, 7 Newport Beach 1.5s, and an assortment of Oil Cans. Within a few months I was hopelessly hooked on collecting Scotty Cameron putters.

GolfNomad says: "..passion..or infection?"

Ric: When I started, I bought stock putters, 1 of 500s and the like. But, as I became more educated and started connecting with other collectors, I began to learn about putters I'd never seen before. The Classics and Handmades most golfers haven’t seen and aren’t even aware of. In that process, I began to change my focus and direction in collecting. To get the putters I really wanted, I had to now sacrifice some. I sold almost all of my stock production putters while I refined and upgraded my collection. I still have a few Tour models. I must say, too, that I've made several road trips to personally pick up and pay for certain Handmades. Nothing over 3,500 miles roundtrip.

GolfNomad says: "..oh, what a relief, as long as you didn't go over 3500 miles roundtrip."


SC: Do you have any advice for other collectors?

Ric: Patience.

GolfNomad says: "..and a stash of cash."


SC: Help our readers get into the mindset of those final moments when you stroked a check, issued the wire transfer, or delivered $35,000 and received this very rare putter. Take us through your routine.

Ric: Well, first of all there was nothing routine about it. My first feeling was disbelief. This was a putter I thought I'd never see, let alone own. After I saw it on the website, I had about two hours of anxiety as I walked around my office, wringing my hands, wondering about buying something this expensive. Who knew if I would ever have another opportunity to own a Classic Mini? If I let it go, I may never see it again. So, I immediately figured out how to raise the money. I sold the best handmade I own. It was hard to let go of, as it was pristine, just an exquisite piece. It hurt, but it was worth it.

GolfNomad says: "..wow, congratulations on the birth of your..putter..?"


SC: Any final thoughts?

Ric: I'd like to give new collectors a few words of encouragement. For guys in it for years, they already own some valuable putters. But, for new collectors, the first feeling could be discouragement. They could be thinking "I'll never be able to get a putter like that."

GolfNomad says: "..naaa..really..I heard that left arms go for pretty good these days"

Ric: I thought that, too. Finding this Classic Mini was a fantasy and something I appreciate beyond words. I look at it this way, when you get your driver's license at 16, you don't give up driving just because you don't get to drive a Porsche right away. Things come around when you're patient.

GolfNomad says: "...absolutely, in high school I didn't settle for anything less than a..BMW."

Ric: Also, you will meet other collectors who appreciate Scotty Cameron putters the way you do. In fact, fellow collectors are some of the best friends you'll ever make. They appreciate Scotty Cameron's art. Because that's what it is. It's not just a putter he makes. It is much more than that. Scotty’s putters are pieces of art. I liken his putters to works from Picasso, I really do.

GolfNomad says: "I'm sure the Picasso family agrees too, Ric"

Ric: To a collector, these rare works represent something far beyond a putter that has the mechanical ability to help a golfer put the ball in the cup. They are beautiful and full of emotional attachment. And, new collectors are going to get opportunities to find other rare putters. For instance, collectors like me who sell something to acquire something else put rarities on the market. That's how I've picked up a lot of the putters I have now, from guys who were looking to refine their collections. To those new collectors, I should mention that on one occasion I sold 40 putters. On the same day I bought 3 and broke even. Persistence and patience are the keys. Stay in the game and eventually you will own some very nice pieces—even if you never own something on the top of your fantasy list. In the quest, though, you’ll meet some friends for life. And, in the end, that’s what it's all about. You get that internal enjoyment, relaxation, and satisfaction. Look for that passion in your life and that’s what will make you happy. Guaranteed.

GolfNomad says: "I wish my passion had six zeros behind it too"


What a treat, a glimpse into the mind of your modern day Howard Hughes.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Papa's Got A Brand New Bag..

Recently, I was looking, both online and at the stores, at getting a backpack. A fellow member, at one of the golf forums I belong to, told me about joining Club Cameron.

I've heard about the "club" before but really didn't want any more golf stuff, but then it turns out every year they change their new "Welcome Kit". This year they're offering a backpack (along with a baseball cap, t-shirt, putter headcover, sticker and a pin) for $93. I guess last year they had a duffel bag or something like that.

In addition to the gear, you get Club Cameron "exclusives" access to the inner world of Scotty Cameron and alot of in-depth articles and commentary regarding the SC line of putters. You also get notified beforehand when something special may be coming out. One of the MANY cool things they have in Club Cameron is the "Scotty On Tour" section. A picture gallery of him currently on tour, FBR Open this week, with the guys.

I heard they used to have problems of not really updating the site, but it seems very updated. There are alot of behind the scene photos that's pretty cool too. Club Cameron has every imagineable aspect covered if your an avid fan of SC, more than I can cover here, and you can actually have your questions answered by him too!

At first I thought the price was a tad high, but then looking over what I'll get it seemed like a pretty good deal. I figure a decent backpack is going to cost me around $40~$50. Okay, but I spent about another $50 right? Well, then that gets you a SC (Scotty Cameron) baseball cap (usually they go around $16 at golf shops), a SC T-shirt (around $15), a Limited Edition Scotty Cameron '06 Fine Milled putterhead cover (stock putter headcovers on the Scotty Cameron site go anywhere from $25 on up and this being a limited production who knows what it could be worth later), a SC sticker (probably $3..if you can find it) and a lapel pin (I don't know what this would cost but on Ebay I'm sure it would fetch more than its share). From the picture everything looks awesome.

After assessing what the true value of these contents may be, someday, maybe I won't even use them at all and just hold onto it and sell it when my kids go to college. Seriously, have you seen what
Scotty Cameron putter headcovers are selling for on Ebay?! OOPS!..too late..it looks like this guy is already selling his Scotty Cameron "Welcome Kit" gear on Ebay. If he does sell it he's going to make $185..talk about a 100% net gain in profit..capitalism at it's finest. It may be worth renewing my membership yearly.

According to the fine print, which I seem to never read, it said it would take 4-6 weeks for delivery, not that this would've swayed my decision either way. I've emailed them to see what my order status is. I really look forward on getting this and will keep ya'll informed when it arrives and let you know if my expectations matched up.

10-4! Good Buddy..

I was surprised at how far golf clothing has gone to mimick current fashion trends. You can see almost every young, hipster in L.A., and celeb's, sporting the "Von Dutch" trucker mesh back hats without skipping a beat.

It was funny to see Davis Love III sporting the same lid but with the "Titleist" logo instead..hmm.."Von Titleist"..naaaah. I too was a victim of golf fashion recently and got a similar one but made by Callaway. It seems like all the other major golf companies are also following suit too like PING, Srixon, Precept. Even putter maker guru, Scotty Cameron, has one out.

One thing is that it keeps your noggin cool during the round and actually found it not insulating enough during those chilly rounds, but it's lightweight and won't shrink. Just call me 'Clem.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Don't Hate The Playa'..

I just got off from reading a post from one of my favorite golf forums, The Sand Trap, and that my beloved Phil Mickelson is one of "The Ten Most Hated Athletes" today, according to David Gargill and Nate Penn of Men.Style.Com, The Online Home of Details and GQ.

In the article "Mr. FIGJAM" (the second paragraph of the article explains the acronym), was ranked 8th. Obviously, I don't know Phil on absolutely any personal level but what I can relate to and appreciate is his playing ability.

I think when it comes to any mega-sport athlete you're always going to have three types of athletes, or players in my case. You either have a fan of the people, a fan of the players, or both (ala Tiger Woods). Phil is surely a fan of the people and it's obvious at whatever tournament he's in by the gallery that forms. I think it stems back from when he was "go for broke" Phil and did stuff on the course that would make you cringe but deep inside you wanted to see him do it to.

I think reasons like these make him so likeable by the fans. They want to see excitement and drama. They can relate at that level when they know it may not be the smart play but it's sure going to be fun to try.