Category Archives: Local Golf

Mr. X answers Question From “Tired of Angry Golfer!”

Breaking ClubsIn his running advice column, Mr. X, answers a question from “Tired of Angry Golfer!”

Q: Dear Mr. X,

We’ve recently had a “gentleman” join our weekly group of golfers. He’s a pretty good golfer but he has a serious temper and a really bad mouth with curse words from #1 to #18 and into the clubhouse. He throws clubs, has broken one, and just generally goes crazy if he hits a bad shot. It’s very uncomfortable to play golf with him. I would just tell him to go find another group to play with, but he’s a good friend of one of our senior members who I think highly of. Should I just find another group to play with or address it directly with the new guy? I’m afraid of how he might handle it because of his temper.

Signed,

Tired of angry golfer!

 

A: Tired of angry golfer,

Hot heads on the course really bother Mr. X because they ruin everyone’s round and take the fun out of playing. Mr. X usually practices a “to each their own” belief, however, club throwing, excessive cursing, and just generally stupid behavior (like breaking golf clubs) on the course is universally not acceptable behavior in golf.

Keep in mind, you’re probably not the only one who is bothered by this guy and his antics. You’re also probably not alone in your dread of spending upwards of 5-hours with a person like this every week. Although this new guy is a pain, you are lucky in one sense, because this angry golfer is a friend of someone in your group.

Mr. X’s advice is to pull the friend of the new guy aside (your “senior member”) – in private – and share with him that you don’t appreciate playing with this new guy if he’s going to continue to blow up, throw clubs, and use bad language. If you were surprised the “senior member” of the group actually calls this guy a friend; then chances are this same senior member is also a pretty good person and will be able to handle the delicate conversation with the angry golfer.

Hopefully, after the two friends talk, the angry golfer will change his behavior for the better.

If not, it might be time to consider creating your own group of golfers, because there are a lot better ways to spend 5-hours on the golf course.

Good Luck!

1429477010_portrait-16-256To Read More From Mr. X, Click Here

To ask Mr. X a question, please either leave your question/s in the comment section of the column, or email Mr. X at askmrx@localgolfer.com

If you prefer, questions can be asked anonymously through email. Just let Mr. X know you want to keep all names private to protect the innocent.

Is Golf Morphing? Check Out These Different Forms

LocalGolfer.com writer, Jack Seybold, explores golf’s metamorphosis into different forms around the globe.

Sports evolve, as cultures do, and we can witness tendrils from the stem of our beloved game of golf growing in a range of adaptations.

The sport we call soccer has its antecedents two or three centuries before Christ. Games in ancient Greece and China involved kicking a ball into an opponent’s goal, and there were indigenous games in pre-Columbian Latin America with similarities to modern soccer (or football, as it is known elsewhere the world). In the early 19th Century the idea developed (perhaps inevitably) of “football” (soccer) players at England’s Rugby College running with the ball, resulting in the sport of rugby – which on our shores eventually morphed into “American football.” Similarly, golf offshoots are developing, gaining devotees ranging from casual to professional.

Hickory Golf

hickory golf 5First, consider the back-to-the-future phenomenon of Hickory Golf. Participants are likely purists who harken back to a hickory golf 4supposed Golden Age of pre-1935 golf, or even to the modern game’s 15th-Century roots, when clubs were made with wooden shafts and heads. The Society of Hickory Golfers, founded in 2001, developed from the golf championships in the 1990’s of the Golf Collectors Society, whose members had accumulated enough dated equipment to have a go the old-fashioned way – although not risking their rare valuable specimens.

In those early days there were perhaps two dozen “hickory golfers.” Today their worldwide number has swelled into the thousands. They usually dress in period attire, and you hickory golf 8expect them to adhere to strict standards, such as scrupulously playing their ball as it lies, observing proper golf etiquette, and repairing divots and pitch marks with zen-like dedication.

hickory golf 10Rob Ahlschwede of Olympia, Washington has used only hickory clubs for a dozen years. The difference between them and modern clubs, he says, is that “the driver just does not go as far, although I still hit the hickory driver 220 more or less. But then, when I hit a modern driver–when someone lets me–I hit it about 250-70.”

Fellow Northwesterner Bill Keeler’s modern clubs are also gathering dust in the garage. “When I started playing with the hickories, my expectations were low and I found that a slower tempo was key hickory golf 9to better shot making. I can’t describe the wonderful feeling of the shaft flexing on the ‘pure’ shot!”

They are echoed by Ray Tokareff of Ashland, Oregon. “Forget distance,” he declares, and adds that playing with hickory clubs improves his modern golf game as well. “It makes me really focus, and sharpens my short game.”

The Society of Hickory Golfers seeks to “promote the experience of golf in a manner consistent with how the ‘royal hickory golf 11and ancient game’ was played in the hickory era,” and “develop and maintain equipment standards for authentic hickory play.” The organization hosts tournaments, provides a hickory golf handicapping service, and publishes a newsletter, The Wee Nip.
http://www.hickorygolfers.com/

Several manufacturers, such as Louisville Golf, Tad Moore Golf, St. Andrews Golf Co., and Play Hickory Golf, now create replica wooden-shafted clubs for use in events such as the U.S. Hickory Open (since 2008). Louisville advertizes a “starter set” of five clubs for $760, and a “tournament set” of ten clubs for $1,500. Some golf courses have hickory clubs available for rental, and manufacturers make rental sets available at tournament venues. In 2011, the first Professional Hickory Golfers Association championship was held at Temple Terrace, Florida, with a purse of $5,000.

Flogton

Quite elsewhere on the golf spectrum you find Flogton. That’s “not golf” spelled backwards. Neither royal nor ancient, it is flogton AGAotherwise known as the Alternative Golf Association, a group of Silicon Valley executives who advocate a relaxed attitude toward the rules and equipment of golf. Those for whom executive courses, pitch-and-putt courses, or even miniature golf do not sufficiently reduce the challenge of the game might take refuge in Flogton. Improve your lie, take mulligans and “gimmes,” tee the ball up anywhere on the course, use non-conforming clubs or balls, score no higher than double-bogey. Recognizing the game’s considerable challenge, Flogton’s advocates hope to stimulate participation in golf, as snowboarding boosted the sport of skiing. Less frustration, more fun.

Snow Golf

Speaking of skiing: This year marked the 31st annual snow golf tournament at Lake Tahoe’s Alpine Meadows ski resort. Participants (wearing skis) tee off on a snow golf 4series of nine white downhill “fairways,” hitting green tennis balls that won’t sink into the snow, shussing down for follow-up shots, ending in flagged circles spray-painted on the greens (well, whites). Although they keep their scores, winners are determined by a snow golf 2raffle drawing of the scorecards, and major emphasis is on the post-round party.

There is, however, a sport of snow (and ice) golf that is both old and new. In fact, Medieval Dutch artists created paintings that showed what might be the antecedent of both golf and hockey, known in Dutch as kolf. In his celebrated short story “Winter Dreams” F. Scott snow golfFitzgerald mentions playing golf with colored balls, which would be more easily spotted in snow. And in the last decade or so Canadian Tina Blomme, the “inventor” of snow golf, designed the first snow golf course next to the Ice Hotel in Quebec, and has snow golf 3attempted to “officialize” the sport. There are snow golf events (using colored golf balls) from Greenland to Argentina, and a World Championship was played in 2008 in Austria.

Boerengolf

Vacationing in Netherlands a couple of years ago I was charmed to see a curious boerengolf 4event in a pasture along the Maas River. Several groups of five young men were
swatting what looked like a volleyball, using a Dutch wooden shoe fixed on the end of a pole. It was my introduction to boerengolf 5Boerengolf (Farmers Golf). Invented by a Dutch dairy farmer, Peter Weenink, the game was his response to frustrations such as the expense of golf and the requirement in Netherlands of earning a golf certificate to be allowed on a course.

The game of Farmers Golf is very simple: “The course is a pasture, and a hole is boerengolf 7quickly made by digging a milk bucket in the ground with a large flag next to it,” says Weenink. The team that completes the hole in the fewest hits is the winner. Hazards include cows, and their droppings. There are boerengolf 8usually ten holes to a course, averaging perhaps two hundred yards. Green fees are usually from $7.50 to $12 at more than a hundred courses in Europe, mostly in Netherlands. Farmers thus make additional profit from their land, and the public has an enjoyable, boerengolf 3inexpensive, family-friendly alternative to golf – no experience necessary. The Boerengolf website claims it is the fastest growing outdoor sport in the world.

The first boerengolf club was invented by Peter Weenink’s neighbor as they were organizing for the first boerengolf tournament, a neighborhood event, on Easter of 1999. Now the clubs are made in boerengolf 2the nearby village of Beltrum, exclusively for Farmersgolf Int. by Nijhuis, the largest manufacturer of wooden shoes in the world. The ball is about eight inches in diameter and is manufactured in Pakistan. Club and ball can be purchased for about $48. No other equipment is required, although boots are recommended.

Pasture Golf

Golf played on farmland has been happening in the USA for decades now. The town of Wisdom, Montana (population about 100) has hosted the boerengolf 6quirky Cow Pasture Open on a course created on all-but-unimproved farmland once annually for nearly twenty years. Part charity fundraiser, part pasturegolf 6 pasturegolf 7 pasturegolf 8country fair, the event is a two-person scramble through unforgiving rough to offbeat hole locations – sheds, hay bales, a cattle skull. Beginners welcome.

The just-for-fun aspect of some pasture golf events is evident from the list of rules for the Second annual Cow Pasture Golf Classic in Brownwood, Texas (2010), which include: “Leave wildlife alone. Critters should not be bothered except for rattlesnakes and copperheads. Feel free pasturegolf 10to use your clubs on these (at your own risk). Bring your own ride (pickup, golf cart, mule, horse, or whatever).”
A list of “fun and affordable” pasture golf courses can be found at pasturegolf.com. pasturegolf 2The site is much less tongue-in-cheek about the pasture golf experience. “Golf as it was meant to be,” it claims, the courses are “the true link to the game’s grass roots.” Pasture golf pasturegolf 5shares elements of hickory golf’s philosophy of reverence for the game, but boasts a more blue-collar approach. Pasture golf courses might have normal-looking greens and tee boxes, but few other features of modern pasturegolf 3golf courses. Often players use old or thrift-store clubs due to the rough nature of the rough – and fairways. As pasturegolf.com quotes, “the fairways aren’t always fair, the greens aren’t always green, but the game is golf.”

FootGolf

And then there’s golf without clubs. Less than a decade old, a merging of golf and soccer materialized in various parts of the footgolf 1world. The game is played in parks and also on golf courses, using soccer balls propelled by nimble feet (without cleats!), generally following the rules of golf. The hole is a 21-inch cup, not located on regular golf greens, thus preserving the quality of the course. The American FootGolf League lists hundreds of courses in the USA (48 in California!). The sport’s enthusiasts point out that some participants are induced to take up golf after footgolf introduces them to the pleasures of golf courses.

A Federation for International FootGolf, now with 22 member nations, was organized in 2012, when the first FootGolf World Cup was held in Hungary.

Disc Golf
A further iteration of golf sans clubs is disc golf. I get the idea you shouldn’t call it Frisbee Golf. Frisbee is a trademarked name for the original throwing disc, manufactured by Wham-O (also the manufacturer of the hula hoop). Of discgolf1course, the object is to hurl or zip a plastic disc in as few throws as possible until a target, usually a chain basket, is struck. The origin of the game predates by decades the invention of the plastic disc, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association. Yes, there are professionals of the sport! Professional disc golfers use a bagful of discs, just as golfers have an array of clubs for different distances and challenges.
discgolf 2There is a disc golf hall of fame, national collegiate championships, national and world pro championships, with purses as high as $15,000.
Disc golf courses number in the thousands throughout the world, usually located in public parks, although care must be taken to ensure safety and tranquility for non-participants. Not a problem at the isolated and formidable Shale City/Frog Creek course, located on a forested mountainside near Ashland, Oregon. It is difficult to find, let alone navigate, and lost discs are common.
The PDGA maintains lists of courses, world and national player rankings, events, rules and standards, and publishes the quarterly DiscGolfer magazine.

Moongolf

moongolf 1Gearhart 200x200 final banner 2Moongolf is a form of golf that is out of this world.  As of yet, has been only one participant… astronaut Alan Shepard.

 

 

Jack Seybold
Jack Seybold, a teacher with an M.A. in linguistics, played college basketball, ran three marathons, and has published a novel, articles, and poems. In retirement he has appeared in over 25 theatrical productions at Talent’s Camelot Theater.
 

 

15 Things I’m Sure of In 2015

Golf Writer, Keith Cook, takes a look at the year ahead in the World of Golf.Fireworks

With most of the country dealing with winter, the annual “haha” we’re in Hawaii tournaments are coming to TV. They rub it in with cutaways of the pros wiping sweat from their brows, whales jumping from the ocean, and scenes of surfers living it up . . . all as I’m snowplowing my driveway. However, I’m not a hater (well, not much of one) and like the pros in Hawaii, I’m ready to start my 2015 golf season.

Looking towards the 2015 Golf Season, here are my “15 Things I’m Sure of In 2015” for the World of Golf.

  1. PROs will be SLOW . . . SO SLOW

NoSlowPlayWe can complain until we’re red in the face about slow play, talk about how it’s killing the game, and talk about how the pros need to be part of the solution vice an example of the problem. However, it won’t matter, because just as we take a breath, we get to watch as the pros take over 60-seconds to line up putts and over 2-minutes to debate club selection, all because the wind switched. Trust me, golf broadcasts are already quiet enough without watching a pro take over 1-minute to line up an 8-foot par putt – and miss. Nothing – repeat nothing – will change unless the tours get serious and start penalizing strokes, instead of taking away money.

  1. Club Makers will come out with the “next big thing”

Can’t wait for the next driver, irons, putter, and balls that will change your game; don’t worry, because just like the weather, wait 10-minutes and look again. $300 drivers, $1,000 irons, and $200 putters, they will all be out there waiting for you – and your credit cards. In a game already losing customers to the cost of the game, I’m hoping equipment manufacturers pay a little more attention and listen to their customer base a little more in 2015.

  1. Dustin Johnson will return in February from a self-imposed “break”

Dustin Johnson’s self-imposed leave of absence from the tour will come to a quick halt in February. Coincidentally, 6-months after he wasn’t suspended by the PGA Tour. Hopefully, Johnson will come back quietly and not try to tug at the heartstrings of fans as he returns. Johnson enters 2015 as a new father and a reported refocused player. One thing for sure, Dustin Johnson needs professional golf to make a living and to be successful in his chosen field. I’m hoping this long break for Johnson has shown him the opposite is not true.

  1. Keegan Bradley will win in 2015 – with a “short” putter
Keegan Bradley, Photo: Associated Press
Keegan Bradley, Photo: Associated Press

We all saw Keegan Bradley put the non-anchored putter in play at the 2014 Hero World Challenge to some success. Unlike many tour pros who anchor, Bradley is starting early to incorporate the change into his game. With Bradley’s ball striking on the rise, victory will come early in 2015, and set the mood for the change in players like World #3, Adam Scott. *Anchoring will become illegal under the rules of golf in 2016.

  1. Someone will shoot 58 on tour in 2015 (look out you 59’ers)

It’s only a matter of time until someone shoots 58 in a PGA/European Tour event. Well, in 2015, time is up. This year, we’ll see 58 on a scorecard and probably not on a Par 70 – but on a Par 71 or Par 72 course, where Par 5s will give today’s long hitting pros more opportunities to make eagle. Who will do it is the only question? Well that, and how long will it take him to get “Mr. 58” registered on Twitter.

  1. Bubba Watson will be petulant, possess super hearing, and be brilliant

Saying anything negative about Bubba Watson is usually greeted by golf fans in the same fashion as picking on puppies or Santa Claus. However, even fans have to admit, he can be a bit to deal with at times. With super human hearing abilities to hear ice melt, Watson is hit or miss on moods, but 100% brilliant on talent. This won’t change in 2015, because another great year and multiple wins are in store for Watson in 2015.

  1. Golf will still be an “Old Man’s Game”

It’s tough to say, but the reality is the game just keeps getting older. Report after report brings the bad news that golf is not attracting the youth of today’s world. It could be about cost, about time, or maybe just about golf not being an attractive game for today’s youth. It’s probably a bit of all three, but one things for sure, unless golf gets back on track with a younger generation, the game we all know and love could be in trouble.

  1. Lexi Thompson will win a Major in 2015
Lexi Thompson, Photo: Associated Press
Lexi Thompson, Photo: Associated Press

Long off the tee and beginning to come into her own, on and off the course, Lexi Thompson will win a Major in 2015. Her best opportunities will come early in the season in April at the ANA Inspiration (former Kraft Nabisco) and at the U.S. Women’s Open in July. Don’t be surprised if she’s also a contender in the RICOH Women’s British Open in July based on hard off-season work to control her ball flight better in the wind.

  1. Tiger will stay healthy in 2015

A healthy Tiger is all we can hope for in 2015. His once dominance is probably over, but as a golf fan, I hope we can still see sparks of that brilliance again. With his surprising early return at the Phoenix Open in January, Tiger is taking on the course – and the fans – at a tournament he had left in the past when rowdy fan behavior soured his experience. Here’s a toast to a good year for Tiger on the course, but also a healthy one. A healthy Tiger is great for the game and also brings the potential to thrill us once again.

10.  The Solheim Cup will be awesome – because Team USA wins!

When looking back at the 2013 Solheim Cup, to say Team USA lost is being nice. Team USA was dominated from the start and for the first time in the event’s history, the Europeans won on American soil. During the event in 2013, the U.S. displayed poor sportsmanship to the point of walking off greens before opponents putts were made and bringing in WWE moves of the “You Can’t See Me” variety. All of this nonsense reflected poorly not only on Team USA, but the players themselves. 2015 is going to be different, or at least let’s hope so. This year’s Solheim Cup will be held in Germany, 17-20 Sep, and Team USA is ready to bring the Cup back; with dignity, sportsmanship, and a bravado that will have all us chanting: “USA, USA, USA!”

11.  Rickie Fowler will win a Major in 2015

Finishing Top 5 in all four Majors in 2014, Rickie Fowler will continue his stellar play and get it done in 2015. Fowler’s best chances come later in the season at The Open Championship at St. Andrews in July, and the PGA Championship at Whistling Straights in Wisconsin in August. Fowler has been working hard in the off-season to bring his driver and iron play in line with the rest of his great game. If he improves his game in these categories, look for multiple wins in 2015 for Rickie Fowler.

12.  Phil Mickelson gets it done at Chambers Bay

In what could be one of the greatest stories of the year, Phil Mickelson will win the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in Washington. Mickelson’s game fits nicely into the links layout of Chambers Bay and his victory will be one, which will be celebrated by the masses. In year’s prior, a course like Chambers Bay might not be a site Mickelson would compete well on or even enjoy. However, that was prior to Mickelson’s win at The Open Championship in Muirfield in 2013. In 2013, Mickelson committed himself to learning the secrets of links golf and changed his game to succeed in links conditions. In June, Mickelson’s game should be right on track when he and Chambers Bay lock up.

13.  Greg Norman’s honesty may leave players wanting Miller back

Johnny Miller has made a reputation for being honest about players . . . sometimes too honest. In 2015, Greg Norman, as part of the new broadcasting team with Fox’s Joe Buck and Holly Sonders (yes, that Holly Sonders), will hit the airwaves. If Norman’s debut is any indicator, if you were a Miller fan, you’ll probably love Greg Norman. Norman’s on-air style is still developing, but his honesty is home grown. His comment directed towards Ian Poulter, after Poulter forced a delay while a camera on a camera stand was removed, (during the Franklin Templeton Shootout) said it all. “You better hit a good shot after all this Sunshine,” reflected Norman’s aggressive nature and his “tell it like it is” attitude. Poulter duffed the next shot after all the fuss, to which Norman just laughed under his breath. 2015 could get interesting on the air.

14.  Colin Montgomerie dominates the Champions Tour

If not for Bernhard Langer’s year in 2014, Colin Montgomerie would have been the talk of the town. Montgomerie, who finished 2nd to Langer in the season-long Schwab Cup, won two-majors and over $2 million dollars on the Champions Tour in 2014. Montgomerie will continue his great play and have a dominant year on tour with multiple wins and more majors to add to his C.V. (resume).

15.  Rory McIlroy starts the year at #1 and ends it at #1

Rory McIlroy, Photo: www.facebook.com/RoryMcIlroy
Rory McIlroy, Photo: www.facebook.com/RoryMcIlroy

It would be a tough sell to say Rory McIlroy, in 2015, would repeat the year he had in 2014. Golf never really lets one person have all the secrets for long. McIlroy is now very comfortable in his skin, an experienced world traveler, and is also becoming the consummate professional. However, with all the new demands on his time, scheduling will be his and his team’s top priority. McIlroy’s 2015 will be a successful one, with multiple wins spread across the world, but McIlroy’s push to win Augusta right away, could slow him down if the dream for the Masters doesn’t come through. Augusta or bust won’t derail him for long and even if McIlroy loses his spot at #1 during the year, by year’s end, he’ll be back on top and ready for 2016.

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BIO: Keith Cook has been a writer/blogger/contributing editor at localgolfer.com since 2013. He is a retired U.S. Military Veteran and Ashford University Graduate living in Michigan. Follow Keith and Local Golfer on Twitter @_KeithCook and @LocalGolfer.

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