Alas! The time has come to put 2020 well behind us. A year that was so challenging and difficult for so many. Please allow me to take a few minutes of your time with a few words.
Thanks to everyone who took the time out from their lives to read, look, and listen to what I had to say this year. Over 129K views!!! My site traffic increased by over 100% from 2019. From the bottom of my heart, thank-you!!
Oh, I also made up a little golf song or ditty wishing you the best in golf tidings and offering a couple of friendly tips.
When the calendar flipped from 2019 to 2020 I had a lot of optimism for my golf game. After having a stroke in 2018, 2019 was a strange year. Strange in the fact that even though I had lost a lot of clubhead speed because the left side no longer really “fires” I had my best scoring year ever. Instead of trying to establish power, my swing was all tempo-based. So, I couldn’t wait until 2020 to see what this year would bring.
Yeah, that thought didn’t age well. At all!!
Our golf season here started late due to the ongoing headline that is COVID-19. When this “thing” is all said and done, if I never saw that moniker again, it’d be too soon. So, my season started out on the very modest “Until The Next Tee Practice Centre for Deprived Golfers”. One way or another, I was going to hit the ground running when golf courses were given the green light to open. A prediction that I accurately made, golf courses opened on our May “Long Weekend” (Victoria Day… God Save the Queen). So armed with a backyard hitting net (that I no longer have because we now live in a small 2-BR apartment with no outside yard), some shoddy golf balls, and an even more shoddy piece of carpet remnant I went to work.
My main focal point was just to work on a couple of small things. Handle through the golf ball first (delay the release) and just worrying about the quality of the strike. Nothing major, I was comfortable with my swing and where I was headed. I had played as recently as January while I was in Orlando for the 2020 PGA Show and my scoring carried over from 2019. But, us golfers, we’re certainly a fickle bunch aren’t we? Always looking to tinker and find… Dare I say it (insert gulp here), more.
So golf courses and driving ranges got the go ahead to open in May. I was pumped and excited. Heck, I was returning for my third season working for GolfNorth Properties at Scenic Woods Golf Club. A position that I would resign from at the end of May for a multitude of reasons. Including but not limited to multiple angina episodes, a mini-stroke (or T.I.A), and the safety for us staff members was certainly not up to par in my eyes (For more details please see this article). Initially, I regretted that decision but, looking back at it now, I have no regrets.
As I found my way back onto the golf course or a driving range I noticed that a scary trend was developing. For the first time in my life, I was fighting the blocks or a slice. I’ve always had a natural draw. So this was a bewildering situation for me. It didn’t take long for me to figure out the reason why this “fault” had occurred. All of that time on the “UTNT Practice Centre for Deprived Golfers” developed a bad habit. I was now delaying my release so much, that I wasn’t even releasing the golf club. So, I sought out the solution. An easy fix. Just release the golf club. Little did I know, now I was in trouble.
Mechanically speaking, all Hell broke loose. The good news was that I had killed the right for the most part. The bad news was that my new miss and fault was way worse. Now, I was consistently thinning the golf ball and I even managed to top the golf ball with my driver. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the forgiveness of the Tour Edge Exotics EXS 220 metalwoods that I was reviewing, all of my consequent sessions would have been disastrous. Looking back at that sentence, I have to laugh, because my sessions – save for a couple – wreaked of stench. My rounds played were even worse, except for “flashes of brilliance” on a few occasions.
Every time that I teed it up, I hurt. I don’t know what was so different about this season or this year, but, the arthritis that I was experiencing all season long was brutal. On most days I couldn’t make a fist. My shoulders were always sore. In general, every stinking joint in my body hurt. Literally. I hated being inside of my own body, the temple that it is.
If it wasn’t for CBD oils from Asheville Botanicals and Hempcy Active and a derivative called CB5 from Boomer Naturals which all managed the pain to a near tolerable level, I wouldn’t have had any season. All of my swings were maxed out at a liberal 3/4. I couldn’t get through the golf ball (my glutes weren’t firing), and I was experiencing the early release. I averaged 83 this season compared to 68 in 2019. Yeah, it was a real “shit-show”. Thinking about it, it wasn’t so much swing mechanics from the backyard practice as much as it was my physiological issues. Which also included yet another fight with a diabetic foot ulcer, which prompted me to start learning how to play left-handed. So, this resulted in changes number 1 and 2.
Full send on graphite shafts in all clubs. I still need to switch my wedges to graphite. But when compared to steel the year before, even though I struggled with arthritis I was still able to swing a club. The prior few seasons on more than one occasion it actually hurt to make a swing with steel shafts. It might be placebo, but the graphite was more gentle on my wrists and elbows.
Even though my hand size puts me into a standard grip with 2 wraps. The time has come to go to jumbo or at least a mid-size grip with two wraps. A brand like JumboMax grips comes to mind. If you can’t clench a fist, you might need to re-evaluate your grip size.
The struggles continued through August, September and the beginning of October. It was frustrating, so frustrating in fact, that I thought about walking away from golf. For at least the rest of the season. I had never quit anything in my life until I resigned from my position and I was worried that a habit had formed. I stayed the course and soldiered on, with thanks going to my friend Randy. But then, something happened on October 20th. I had a range session at Brock Golf Course with a couple of thoughts put in place. Actually there were three.
Get the ball position back more in my stance. Cheating towards the trail leg. My right.Because of eye dominance, my ball position at set-up was way too far downrange at address. From the left side, it was perfect every… single… time.
More lift, force it if need be.
“Think like a linebacker”. Be really freaking aggressive and get through the golf ball. At all costs.
These basic things resulted in me having the best range session that I had all season. So, I thought that I would play their executive-length golf course the same day. Iron striking is the key to their very small greens. I failed to miss a GIR, carding a few birdies along the way, and just like that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. (Brock Golf Course pictured below taken October 20th. The turning point. I started to fling darts in to the small greens.)
The vibe and flow continued through any rounds played thereafter. I was posting scores of E or better (-3). My ball-striking was on, I was taking crisp divots, and my accuracy was there. I was driving the ball well and my putting rounded into form as well. I played a few rounds with my former caddie and he said that he had never seen me play the way that I was when I was playing Min-Tours. Even after golf courses closed, when there is no snow on the ground, I’ll take my pup for a run over to a closed city-run golf course down the street. We play fetch and I’ll hit balls to targets (trees, bunkers, etc) from the rough. I never strike a ball from the fairway or teeing ground nor do I step foot on the greens. I only take one club and one golf ball.
I’ve worked a little bit on a couple of things while I’ve been out there. I’ve worked on my wrist hinge as opposed to wrist set. I’ve tidied up my connection, staying a little more connected too. Also, I’ve worked on width too. My striking is where it needs to be. Hitting from the rough has had its perks too. I’ll be a heck of a player from the rough in 2021 when I miss a fairway.
Even though, I don’t want the season to end, I am ready to close the chapter known as 2020 and move on to 2021. Moving forward and employing the changes in equipment and swing philosophy has me really excited for the 2021 golf season. 2020 sucked, but it served a purpose. Always #fightandgrind.
As of December 26th at 12:01 a.m. the province that I live in (Ontario, Canada) has entered into another lockdown. The reason? Because the number of COVID-19 cases has seen a dramatic surge, bogging down emergency departments and hospital wards alike. A necessary evil to stem this nasty critter as we wait for the vaccines to be distributed so we can hopefully eradicate this thing once and for all. Fear not, this is not a political post but just a lead in.
So, last night I posted on Twitter that were going to be locked down and I was asked by a friend out there (@wallajay) who happens to lead and moderate Golfchat (#GolfChat) how I was going to cope.
Well, this lockdown is a little bit different than the last time around. For example, outdoor activities are open right from the get-go this time. While tobogganing hills are open, ski areas are not. From a golf perspective The first glaring difference, even though it’s a small picture sort of thing, is that as it stands right now golf is nowhere to be seen on the immediate horizon. So, for those “jonesing” to get out and play right now. Well, we could but the amount of snow on the ground might have a lot to say about your prospects. A winter storm that I hoped would pass us over dumped a pleasant mix of ice and snow on us, and eliminated all hope for golf on Christmas and beyond through the holidays.
How about driving ranges? Well, the good news is that if you can find an outdoor range that’s open, you’re in luck. Because, outdoor ranges are open. However, if you wanted to take your practice to an indoor facility, you’re out of luck. Unless, you’re a professional or elite level athlete. What defines “elite” anyway?
So, now I will circle back to the question. How will I cope and manage myself through the lockdown. Well, luckily I do have a couple of avenues. Now this of course pertains to golf.
As I sit and type this entry, this is the one method. I will continue to write and come up with ways to create content. From a website perspective, 2020 has been a roaring success for me. Admittedly, with no in-person attendance for the 2021 PGA Show, I will lose content. The hardest part will be having no Demo Day and no Teezy Awards. Which have been surprisingly popular.
Knowing that equipment reviews might be lean, I will start reaching out to manufacturers for media samples. While they won’t be Teezy Awards, I will be able to post reviews in 2021 hopefully. I already have TaylorMade Golf on board for golf balls, I am getting help from Wilson Golf, and Tour Edge Golf as well. Also, I might reach out to a couple of other sources (golf stores) to perhaps become “partners” and post their ad on my site. If and when the borders restrictions are alleviated, getting packages shipped to the United States will make it easier for manufacturers to provide samples. Theoretically speaking.
I have a Big Moss putting mat. I’ll be working to improve my putting stroke and overall results.
I now have no yard. Living in a small two bedroom apartment will pose an issue. But, I’m thinking of either getting my hands on a smaller 6’x6′ net and a small mat, or devise some sort of backdrop to hit into.
If I can get that accomplished, then I can test the indoor/net capabilities of the Rapsodo Golf MLM. A review that you’ll see in the New Year.
On Boxing Day last year we purchased a PS4. That helped get us through the lockdown in March. Well, it’s going to help me get through this one too. That purchase ended up being a good investment. Between Fortnite and PGA Tour 2K21 are going to be staples. I wish that Fortnite had a golfer skin.
I am going to try some Beta tests. Through Zoom etc I want to get on calls with other golfers, manufacturers, etc and try to run with a podcast-type thing this year. It will be called “TeeBox Chatter”. The plan is for it to be very informal. So, if you’re reading this and want to take part, please drop me a line through “Contact”. I can’t guarantee you superstardom.
I might even offer video lessons. Free of charge or maybe a donation if you feel like making one.
So, in a nutshell, I have a few things to keep me out of trouble during “Lockdown 2.0”. Oh, things that I will not do is watch golf YouTube videos of swings or read anything that involves instruction.
From me and my family to yours. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
From the bottom of my heart I hope that each and every one of you have a very happy and safe holiday season. 2020 has been a challenge, and this holiday season has been tough for almost everyone in one way or another. Please stay safe, be happy, love, and take care of one another. If you’re able to celebrate with family, hug each other just a little bit longer. Appreciate them and one another.
The video below has a short ditty in it. Jingle Golf, many thanks to all of you and a giveaway update. I haven’t forgotten about it.
Before you know it, 2020 will be over and we’ll be celebrating a New Year. If you drink, please don’t drive.
You’ve heard about it because of Frank Costanza. George’s somewhat intense father on the television show “Seinfeld”. Are you down because of the stress that is Christmas? Well, no need to fret. Because there is a “Festivus, for the rest of us”. December 23rd. Yep, it’s today. So get ready for the airing of the grievances and some feats of strength because it’s “Golf Festivus”.
Airing of Grievances
Frank Costanza said it best. “I got a problem with you people! And now you’re going to hear about it”.
Slow play. I don’t care if we’re talking about Bryson “The Tortoise” Dechambeau or the folks at your local daily fee golf course. All that I know is this. There is no reason for rounds of golf to last longer than 3 hrs 45 min. Fun fact. When I played U.S. Open Qualifying everybody walked (of course). It was less than 3.5…