Sunday, March 06, 2016

God Bless You Mr. Bowditch

Steven Bowditch has, for the time being, become the Bad Golf blog's favorite golfer. In case you haven't heard, Mr. Bowditch made history this week by shooting a record setting 72-hole score of 325 in the World Golf Championship at Doral. If you're wondering, he posted rounds of 81, 80, 80, and 84. Apparently it was so bad that the standard bearer (the kid's that follow golfers with signs showing their scores) was told not to post his score. It's been over thirty years since a player's posted 4 rounds in the 80s on the PGA tour. 

But, bad golf aside, Mr. Bowditch still managed to bank over $65,000 for the week, and for that, we have to consider him for membership in the Bad Golf Hall-of-Fame. 

According to multiple article's I read about his play, here are some quotes attributed to him:

"I shot 37-over par and still made a paycheck. All's not that bad,"

"No one wants to play that bad, but it's just golf. That's it,"

"I think there was four dozen golf balls at the start of the week in my locker and I'm down to my last one."

I certainly know that feeling. But he's lucky. I usually manage to lose all my balls on the front nine. At least his stash made it 72 holes. 


Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Fringe With Benefits

What do you get when you add 10 guys between the ages of twenty-something and sixty-something, a kitchen counter full of bottles of booze, a briefcase full of poker chips, an awesome lakefront house, a northwest weekend with just a touch of rain, and two rounds at Sandpines golf course? One helluva good time, that's what you get. This my friends is what the Bad Golfer was up to last weekend and I have to admit, it was once again all Lefty's idea.

I don't recall when it started but it must have been back in December. Lefty sent a text to me, Sparky, and Numbers saying he and a couple of buddies were going to golf Sandpines in February. He invited us and any buddies we wanted to bring along. I invited a couple of guys whose company I enjoy as did Sparky and Numbers and the next thing you know we had a gaggle of guys going ga-ga for golf (sorry, couldn't help it). .

One of the bags of booze 
We arrived at the house late Friday afternoon. For so many guys I expected there to be some fretting about who was going to get which bed but maybe that's just projection on my part because everything just seemed to fall into place (especially considering I got a room to myself). Of course The Golf Channel was on and we proceed to introduce those who didn't know each other, mix drinks, testing the hot tub, and just generally settling in.

Later that night a poker game broke out. By this time Sparky was feeling the festivities and couldn't cope with the way the poker chip denominations were set up so everything had to be reset. That was probably the longest half hour of the weekend. But finally, the game was going. Buy in was ten bucks and since we started late, no re-buys. We had one person who never played and surprisingly they didn't win (which, as any poker player can tell you, often happens when first time players enter a game) but he did hang in there 'til the final five or six. My cards were cold but I managed to hang long enough for the top three with Sparky and one of Lefty's buddies. Lefty's friend had the big stack and of course Sparky and I graciously attempted to split the winnings with him but he'd have none of that. So I did what any self-respecting poker player would do -- I lightened his pot by catching him on a bad beat (caught a flush on the river to beat his 3 of a kind). Next hand I had pocket aces and Lefty's friend drew pocket queens so we had another show-down which I won and the tournament was over. That's right, The Bad Golfer won the night.

After poker it was already early in the morning and time for bed for the old guys. Apparently the kids thought they could stay up until 4:30 and golf well the next day, so that's what they did. Fortunately, our tee times were between 12:00 and 12:30.

Statue at the entrance of Sandpines
We picked the perfect weekend as the weather was in the mid-fifties with no rain on Saturday and just a spattering of rain on Sunday.  To top it off, there were very few other's playing so they let us play two fivesome. The night before our first round we ranked all the players and paired up the top five and bottom five as teams. We had three betting games -- best team cumulative score (using "Shackleford" scoring -- OK, OK, I know, it's Stableford, geez mispronounce the scoring system once and hear about it all weekend), KP (Sandpines even gave us KP makers -- BTW, anyone know why it's KP and not CP?), and a three putt game where you had to put a buck in the pot for each three putt and the person with the fewest three putts got the pot.

Sandpines is truly a beautiful course. It's an odd combination of links and parkland. I found it to be challenging but forgiving with no gimmicky holes. I was in the first group to tee off and of course, bad golfer that I am, I managed to duff my first drive (using a five iron no less) much to the enjoyment of the other nine players, in particular Sparky. The front nine was beautiful but brutal for me and I scored a sixty. That's right sixty. But along the way, something interesting happened. On eight out of nine of the holes, I managed to end up on the fringe. Putts off the fringe don't count as putts, and I had zero three putts, I was winning the three putt competition. And this pattern continued throughout the round. By the 15th hole I'd hit something like 13 or 14 fringes and still had no three putts which prompted Lefty to say with disgust, "I've never seen a guy shoot 130 with no three putts before."

The first green, yes, that's a ball circled
in yellow. Surprisingly, not mine
It was the oddest thing. Try as I might, I couldn't hit any greens. I just kept hitting fringes. But it was truly fringe with benefits. At the end of the day I hit no greens on the par threes, my teams stableford score was nowhere near the top, and I shot 109. But I did manage to get into a putt-off for the thirty dollar-ish three putt pot. And I won.

The second night there wasn't as much partying. The young guys burned themselves out the night before and all crashed which left a few of the old guys sitting around watching the Honda LPGA Thailand tourney on The Golf Channel. That's when I was given these words of wisdom: "I hope someday to be as lazy as the person who name the fireplace." Think about it.

Sunday's golf was amazing. We were literally the only people on the course. I suggest we play as a ten-some but some of the good golfers complained that would make putting too difficult (good golfers -- sheesh!). Sunday I put together a four hole run that was probably the best I ever played four holes in a row and I thought I played a spectacular 9. I was surprised that it added up to 50 but considering I'd played the front in 60 the day before I was still happy. Oddly, I only beat Sparky by 6 strokes on the front even though he put two in the drink on the second hole. I'm still not sure how what worked out. At the end of the day I was happy to end up with a 98 even though I didn't hit a green on par 3 (oh for 12 over the weekend -- talk about bad golf), had two three putts which put me out of competition for the three putt pot, and, to top it off, I beat my stableford partner and he was one of the top five (I was his bottom five partner) so I got nothing there. But still, 98 at Sandpines for a bad golfer ain't too bad. And I was happy that one of the guys I brought played well and won the stableford with his partner.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend and I think we all agreed, this could be the start of a yearly tradition. I just hope the young guys learned to pace themselves so I can win two poker tournaments next time.

PS - Happy Birthday Sparky


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Bandon Dunes, 2015

The main people I golf with are my brother, "Sparky" and his two kids, "Lefty" and "Numbers". These, of course, are their Irish Mafia names. Every year we play toward one goal, our annual winter trip to Bandon Dunes. For the past four or five years we've traveled together to Bandon in December, when the weather is surprisingly calm and the greens fees are reasonably priced. In June you're likely to find me at Langdon Farms, Lefty at Spring Hills, Numbers at OGA, and Sparky floating in his pool with a margarita in his hand. And we all agree -- it's just preparation for Bandon.

Lefty, Bad Golfer, Sparky, & Numbers
at Bandon Dunes
The trips to Bandon started with me and Lefty and I have to give Lefty credit, because it was all his idea. Since the first trip was the two of us, we enjoy the honor of being the "Founder's Club". That first year the weather was rough. The extreme wind was the worst of it. I'm talking wind where you blast a drive 80 yards on one hole and then over shoot a green 150 yards away with a sand wedge on the next. But that first trip we didn't catch too much rain. It was harsh, but fun.

Following that first year Sparky and Numbers joined us. Typically we keep our eye on the 10 day forecast looking for a weekend where the weather looks reasonable, and book our trip. The trip consists of us arriving at Bandon on Friday night or Saturday morning, spending Saturday at the practice center and playing 27 or so holes on Shorty's, and then playing Bandon Dunes or Pacific on Sunday.  And every year we've played, the weather has been perfect. I'm talking short sleeves, guzzling beer because you're thirsty perfect. And over the years we've had some great times. I should have been blogging about them. There was the round where Numbers had the opportunity to be the first of us to break 100 at Bandon. He was at 90 on the 18th of Pacific Dunes and proceeded to shoot a 12 on the final hole. There was the time that Sparky had one too many on the course and got enraptured by sunset. It was beautiful and he was having an out of body experience that didn't end until the marshals came looking for us.And every year we've played, the Founders Club has marveled and told Numbers and Sparky, you haven't played Bandon until you've played it it weather. Well this year, Bandon abides...

Monday, November 07, 2011

New Poll Reveals LPGA More Popular Than PGA

Surprise findings in a new poll conducted by the Bad Golf Blog show that the LPGA tour is more popular than the PGA tour. Also revieled in the poll is that Yani Tseng is the most popular player on the LPGA tour. According to the poll The Children’s Course ( located in Gladstone, Oregon is the best golf course in the world and the most popular male golfer is Yu Daddi.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Best Golf Tip a Bad Golfer Will Ever Get

I’m hesitant to do this because I know my buddy Craig reads this blog. For years he and I have been racing each other to be the first one to break 100. Imagine, then, how difficult it was at the beginning of this year when we played a quick nine after work (ok, at our skill level there’s really no such thing as a “quick nine” but we try).  At the end of nine we were both below 50. We were on the rode our elusive sub-100 rounds.  But we’d told our wives we were only playing nine and it was the first or second round of the year so we didn’t want to push our luck. We just had to pack it in with visions of future rounds in our heads. This year I did manage to break 100 four times. But Craig didn’t. So, I’m hesitant to give out this tip, because I’ll be giving Craig my secret and it’s just so much fun to tease him. But this is the Bad Golf blog, the blog all about bad golfers and we need to stick together. So, without further ado, and at the risk of helping Craig with his golf game, here it is: The best golf tip a bad golfer will ever get.

Oh, wait; there is more ado.

The reason I believe this is the best golf tip a bad golfer will ever get is this: I’ve been trying to break 100 for over fifteen years. I’ve had friends break 100 the first year they started playing. I’ve worked on my grip, tempo, alignment, pre-swing routine, and relaxing. I’ve tried new clubs, multiple swing thoughts, and psychological tricks. I've focused practicing my short game and putting. I’ve tried “playing smart” and once, I even tracked down a Golf Magazine top 100 teacher and took a lesson with him out at Pumpkin Ridge. And even with all that, the 100 mark remained as unobtainable as a straight answer from a politician. But this year I found it. I found the one thing to take me to the next level and I’m confident next year it will help me go even lower. That is why I'm declaring this the best golf tip a bad golfer will ever get. Because I've tried everything and this one simple tip is the one that did it. 

Ok, seriously, that's enough ado, now here's the tip: