Back with a Bang

Starting to get back into the swing of things here. And getting back to posting, mostly regularly. We're in the middle of an office move, and things have conspired to keep me out of my regular routine, and busy all at the same time.

I took some time to undertake a fairly large home project as well during the time away. Here is a before and after picture for you:
Yeah - pretty gross and embarrassing....

Much nicer....

You can see the entire photo set here. If you care at all.

In other news, I haven't been taken out of the golf schedule. It seems we get to play a couple of times per week, most weeks, which is nice. Other days, it's time on the driving range to pursue change and improvement. That has paid off nicely for me. Over the weekend I finally broke through my 80-stroke barrier and carded a well-played 78. Yes, you read that right, a 78, besting my previous lifetime best by 3 strokes. And I did it while dribbling my first tee shot off the hozzle about 30 yards, making a double bogey on the first hole. All in all, I hit 8 of 13 fairways, and took 34 putts - with only one three-putt.

The glaring thing about my stats was that I only hit 7 of 18 greens in regulation, so that tells me where I need to spend my range time for sure. I've changed my swing this year, using my wrist-load to try to get more club speed, and committing more to the shot, as opposed to trying help the ball more than I should. That "commitment" (mostly to the follow-through) makes better club speed, but can be disconcerting at impact and follow through. But the practice has paid off - my drives are going farther, straighter, and are doing so with about 20% less effort than before.

I reached 2 of 5 par fives in two, and narrowly missed 2 others, landing just to the right of the green, pin-high each time. Before, I haven't been long enough to consider going for the green in two. There are also two 200-yard par 3's on the course, and I played well there too, where before I would spend a lot of time wondering which club was going to get me to the green. Instead, I was wondering which club would give me the best stopping power and playability once I got there, and that was rewarding as well.

In other golf news (sorry to the regular non-golfing readers...), we took the time a couple of weeks ago to go to the Champions Challenge. It's a charity event hosted by Johnny Miller. Usually he draws a pretty good field to his event, and this year we decided to go, because Jack Nicklaus was going to be there, along with Annika Sorenstam. Given the fact that Annika has announced her retirement, and Jack just isn't going to be playing for that much longer, we decided we needed to go.

I haven't ever been to an event where there are tour players, and this was a good event right here in our back yard. Ian Baker-Finch was there, along with a few other notables, and we just really wanted to go this time. It was cool to see Annika close-up, and she was by far the biggest draw at the event, carrying the biggest gallery along with her. It's a two day event, and we walked most of the first day, and sat for the second day. We started out at the first hole on the second day, watched everyone tee away, then moved to the ninth green, then to the 18th green to watch everyone finish up. A fun couple of days, drenched in hot sun.

Tale of two hats:
One of the highlights - for me at least - was getting up close to Nicklaus, and having him sign my hat. He's the best player ever to lift a club, and it was very cool to see him play. Although he doesn't move well, he still has very obvious elements of his old swing, and it was cool to see him play for sure. And did I mention that he signed my hat? Yeah, cool.

The other hat story comes to us from Indiana. A year or two ago I found a guy who posted old 80's music videos. Every day. Many of them were a pretty good blast from the past, and he took requests. It was pretty fun. He went (and still does go) by the moniker OneHungMan. While I can't vouch for any of that, nor do I plan to be able to in the future, he is a very nice guy who cares about a lot of things, while still being able to make a joke and have fun. We struck up a conversation and before long we discovered we both loved the frustrating game of golf. He's a better player than me, carrying a single-digit handicap, with mine in the low 13's. (though I'm hoping to see mine go down a bit if I can string together a couple more decent rounds in the next couple of weeks.)

He's given me good advice and encouragement along the way. It's hard to link to his blog because it's private now, because he doesn't want to be outed at work - he sometimes vents, shall we say. It may also be private because I once sent some beer to him, along with a tshirt, at work, and I may have offered a couple of clues to his co-workers as to his online identity. I feel bad about that, because now he's private, and only a few get to enjoy the fun videos.

We've talked a lot about real estate too. That's when I learned that he goes away for a week or two every spring to the PGA event in Florida, The Players Championship. As he got ready to go this year, I didn't think much about it, but right as he was leaving, I sent him an email saying that if he had a chance to pick me up one of their cool hats, that would be really cool. He picked me up a hat, and sent it along in a package after he got back from Florida. He asked me a couple of weeks ago if the hat has made me a better player. I have to admit that I have not worn it to play in, and I'm not sure I will wear it. It's a pretty nice hat, and I'm not sure I will be able to get another one, so until I do, I think I may keep this one nice, as opposed to sweaty and stinky. But I can say that I LOVE the hat, and it was a much-appreciated gesture. Thanks man.


Tall Gurl in Utah said...

You got skills! Nice deck!

Loralee Choate said...

The deck looks awesome!


I just got CREAMED in miniature golf by my 9-year-old, so I really don't think that I have any room to talk about real, grown up golf.

OneHungMan said...

TOG, thanks for the love. It's good to hear about your improving golf game, but be careful about that wrist load. It's fun to watch the ball sail long and true, but if your timing goes south, well, good luck finding those balls.

OneHung thinks you have the right idea about the hat. Don't actually play in it. OneHung did this with a few of his hats when he first started collecting them and it usually only takes about one round in the hot before you've got a nice sweat-ring on the hat.

Tell you what, OneHung is planning on going back again next year (shocking, huh?) and he'll pick up another hat for you...something khaki or beige that goes with everything. You can make that your golf-playing hat. OneHung now wears his khaki golf-playing hat during every round where he doesn't wear a straw hat, and now all his various other colored hats are still new and pretty.

By the way, you're right about Jack...best golfer ever, regardless of how many majors Tiger wins.

Glad you enjoy the hat, and the people at work are oblivious to OHM, so don't feel bad.

BSC said...

Nice wood.

Anonymous said...

hey! The deck looks awesome. check out the renos on my Facebook for more pictures of ours. The work continues...
Was great to have your daughter here for a few days. The kids loved it.

We'll hope to connect in voice soon. In the meantime, could you email, Facebook or comment with the recipe for the chicken with Heinekin up it's heiny? Danke!

Anonymous said...

That is some deck! What kind of wood did you use? Cedar?

I looove remodeling projects/architecture projects. Not that I actually do all that work, but I do the decorating afterwards! =)

That One Guy said...

The deck is basic "common" redwood. What makes it pop nice is the finish. We used a nice honey-colored oil-based stain. It really brings the differences in wood color to the top. the contrast between the blond parts of the wood, and the real red parts makes it stand out really nice.

BSC - that made me laugh out loud. Seriously.