Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Classic - Summer 2017 Recap

That's right. The Classic. We had two events (so far) lose their sponsorship... because money is tight these days. We're not doing very well in the ratings. WAG viewership of our leader board is down 20% after Brendan's wife jumped off his bandwagon last season. Will the remaining sponsored events survive? Probably not.

Anyway, Stoneybrook was a great test today. Greens were slow and a little bumpy... but they weren't "bad." I feel the expectations have gotten a little out of whack lately. Some of the slowest and most bumpy greens each season was Southern Hills before they re-planted them. To me... "bad" is when Quail Hollow's greens were literally dirt.

Winds were blowing 17-24 mph and the course beat us up. Our scores suffered as only three people were under par (net). Geoff had the only good day, starting the Summer off with a win after an abysmal Spring season. I hear he did a ton of prep on his course strategy before the round. I'm not sure if that helped, or if it was Gary coaching him up all day... but excellent round.

The other Brown guy (that's me!) coached up Troy who continues a really good stretch of golf. His 44 on the back nine was great to see. Gary rounded out the top three, which would have been much better if not for two blow-up holes.

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Groups 3 and 4 each played 5 hour rounds without anyone holding them up (as in... Group 4 was barely keeping up with Group 3 until the last few holes). I know why group 4 played slow. Gorecki is a head case and has zero understanding of how to speed up. Instead of dropping off Darryl and going to his ball... he likes to sit in the cart and pout about his previous shot. Then when it's finally time to hunt for his tee shot... he starts looking 40 yards ahead of where it actually is. Even if it's known to be OB, he'll hunt for 3 minutes. We can fix him with enough public scrutiny. We have the technology.

I don't know why Group 3 played slow, but if you aren't keeping up with the group in front of you... that's a problem. Speed up. Drop people off at their ball. Don't grind out natural double-pars. Don't spend more than a few minutes hunting for balls. Get off your phone and get ready to hit your next shot sooner.

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This week we're playing at Fox Hollow - 9:29am tee time - $50.  I have been told Robbie and Anthony need guest spots. I feel like there was someone else (Danny is out... Brendan maybe?). Make a comment ASAP since space is limited.

The tee options are wide ranging. We're really going to test the "play where you want" this week... CHECK BACK LATER so you can comment on where you want to play. I'll post a scorecard soon... but I don't trust it.

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Two weeks remaining before World Rankings lock for the Rapture. Casey made the list this week, and Anthony is only one round away from his debut. Dave is actually pretty close to passing Katie for the #1 captain spot (she's out this week). John needs a win and some help to get up there. Reid is now "last man in" with Brendan on his heels.

But, as mentioned before, we're going to invite Robbie as our 16th... allowing everyone who's available to attend. Robbie played with Katie this week, so I'll put him with Dave at Fox Hollow (and then both of them Week 3).

We were going to draft at the Hangover but I see Dave is out that week. We'll do it another night later in the season, and perhaps we can all go out on our off week. Really... just captains need to be there. We could even do it in the clubhouse after a round.

Great opening week everyone!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Is Gorecki Improving?

This will be a hot topic at the Rapture draft, which is scheduled to be the same night as the Hangover outing. But since Mike likes to manipulate data in his favor (see: selective Handicap Tracker posts)... what is actually going on? Let's separate fact from fiction:

1) "His handicap has dropped rapidly, faster than anyone in league history."
This is true and implies drastic improvement in his game. However, handicaps incorporate all rounds played, not just league rounds (some of you are better than others at reporting). Your index is made up of the best 10 of your last 20 rounds. In Gorecki's case... only TWO of those are league rounds. So he's playing lights out... in Orlando... by himself.

2) "His gross scoring average last season was 4.9 strokes better than his career average."
This is also true. But while the career gross average over time is a good stat... looking at his 5 round sample size from Spring 2017 can be skewed. Especially when, as Faz points out, he missed all the difficult courses!

So how do we cut through the fog above? Let's set some better conditions:
  • We'll take only his rounds in league events. Those scores are under more scrutiny and pressure, so they're a better test of overall skill. They also don't contain any mulligans or "forgotten strokes." I hope. Maybe he still slips a few in there.
  • Instead of using pure gross average, we'll use actual handicap differential. This is the number that goes into your index, and it basically determines what you would have shot on a course with a rating of 72.0 and a slope of 113. Why the extra step? Well a 102 (+30) at Buffalo Creek from the gold tees is a LOT different than a 102 (+30) from the platinum tees at Southern Hills. But using gross average... you wouldn't be able to see that difference. Converting them to differentials makes it quite obvious the SoHilly round is more impressive (less sad?) than the Buffy Creek round.
  • Plotting all points on a graph makes it difficult to visualize. So let's use a rolling average of 10 league event differentials... which is basically one full season rounded up. 

Gorecki's league history, in one chart.


Conclusion:
Has Gorecki improved? Yes! Exactly one stroke (104.6 to 103.6) from his 10th league event all the way back in February of 2013. Four years and a one stroke improvement. His recent drop in handicap is 100% due to non-league rounds... and his recent decline in career gross average is only because his trend was on pace to shatter the top of the chart!

However... his worst differential average (ie: the top of that mountain) was 4 months after he started taking lessons. So the lessons appear to be working and his scores are trending in the right direction. But if Gorecki wants people to believe he isn't "The Worst," he's going to need to start shooting tournament rounds in the 90s this season.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Player Spotlight - Chandler

Faz had an idea to do Player Spotlights periodically, and I believe he's only done one. I liked the idea, not only because the one was about me, so I would like to try to push it back to the blog. Also, with the season starting up, more blog content should be welcome.

I'll start with the founder and dictator of the league, Chandler.

This is your league dictator...
Profile:
Name: Chandler S.
Hometown: Davis Islands
Age: 35
Turned Pro: Summer 2012
Height: 6'1 or so
Weight: Fits between hotel doors
College: Gator with a dash of Clemson
Likes: Golf, wine, cheese, maybe Rachael
Dislikes: Optimism, Gorecki

Stats of Note:
League leader (by far in most): Events, wins, 2nds, greenies, LD, sandies, League Chamionships (3)

Other Info:
Urban Junior Golf League Participant - 1992
Signature moves: Club drop on shots that aren't that bad, claim 3-putt zone and 1 or 2 putt
Former signature move: Aim left, slice right
Golf style: Boringly good

NEXT WEEK: The mysterious Brendan...

Week 1 - Preview

Stoneybrook is going to be a good test for the Scotland guys... as the course is apparently pretty dry, fairways are tight, and greens are NOT butter smooth. The way golf was intended.

Below is the scorecard. I have Dave on the black tees, Gorecki on the W/S tees, Katie on the green tees. EVERYONE else is on the whites unless you tell me by this Friday.

For those considering a move... moving back to black adds at least 3 strokes to your handicap... while moving up to W/S reduces it by at least 1. Plus whatever based on your index.



Also... UPDATE YOUR REGISTRATION. For all upcoming weeks. We got three of us actively booking courses as we speak, and the schedule is going to shift slightly due to course availability.

Oh, and we have two open spots for Sunday. Some of you mentioned in upcoming weeks you have guests. Let me know what those are again on here so it's saved.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 1 - Summer 2017

I'm still out of town at the moment... But we start up this week at Stoneybrook in Bradenton. 9:45am tee times. Pairings were randomized this week, and will be until later in the season.

Conditions are reported to be "ok." Dry fairways. But the cost is $25 so... We can deal with it.

More later this week.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Spring Season - League Updates

A few updates, reminders, policy changes for the upcoming season:

- Still waiting on the USGA to process our application. I highly doubt they have a large backlog, so apparently "growing the game" is a lot like growing a tomato plant.

- I've had a few requests to tighten up our procedure for allowing new members. Back when we had about 8 people, we asked new members to submit scores and try to play a couple events with us. That soon evolved into requiring a little more commitment, as Katie and Troy basically played an entire season with us before becoming official. That's the direction people want to see it go... a longer probation period where new members need to show dedication while establishing a more accurate handicap.
   It seems Robbie is finally healthy enough to start playing, so I'll make room for him this season (He filled out his registration! Maybe Dave can figure it out?!?) . Same goes for Danny Mac. Both should attend as many weeks as possible if they want to officially join.

- Regarding Gorecki's lack of athleticism... since we're finally calculating handicaps from different tees correctly, he feels he should be able to move up as far as he wants. From what I'm hearing, most people have told me they don't care. That tune will change if he ever starts winning long drive dollars (his 10% long drive rate is the second lowest in the league among active members).

- Then there's "Gorecki's" tournament. Should we be allowed to move back as far as we want? Most people are saying it defeats the theme, so we should play up at whatever 5,000yd tee box he picks. However, his event has also been reported by a handful of people as "offensive." So it's currently under review and we might remove it completely.

- Last but not least... due to the popularity of the "Handicap Tracker," there is a TON of interest in the "Gross Scoring Average Tracker." The below chart shows all active league members and their tournament gross scoring average (only what you shoot in official events, adjusted to par 72). #goreckisucks


Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Rapture - Leftovers

When "The Rapture" happens, a majority of people will be left on the Earth to wait for "the great tribulation"... which could be really awful or kinda anti-climatic, depending on which preacher you listen to. Either way, it's not ideal and you're much better off being selected to ascend to Heaven.

I'm told there's a good show on HBO about this called "The Leftovers" (91% on Rotten Tomatoes seems promising). I haven't watched it yet, but this year our golf league will have our first batch of Leftovers.

With Faz officially out, as many as three league members will NOT qualify for The Rapture. As the league expands to our target number, this will be a regular occurrence. It's also a good thing, since qualifying should be an accomplishment we all strive for.

The Leftovers have a choice of skipping the weekend, or attending anyway and playing in the first group out each round. I encourage anyone who doesn't qualify (myself included) to attend. It'll still be fun and we get to play some great courses. We should also bring up anyone who is interested in joining the league full time, assuming there's an open spot.

That being said, let's rank those who are in danger of becoming a Leftover. Remember, rankings lock after the 3rd event of the upcoming season.

No Chance in Hell - People who will definitely qualify:

Katie - If she scores zero points in the next three events, she's all but guaranteed to still be a captain. Sorry, Gorecki. There will be a girl in charge. #thisiswhytheymarch

Dave / John - The other captain spot will more than likely be one of these guys.

Gary / Gorecki / Buchert - All three have a mathematical chance to be a captain... but they'd have to win two, if not all the events. Regardless, they'll be at The Rapture.

Tall Mike / Troy - They're in no matter how they play. No chance at captain, though.

Getting Warmer - People who are fairly safe:

Darren / Geoff - Mathematically possible for them to put up a bunch of zeros and not qualify. It would also take the guys behind them to play well.

On the Hot Seat - The Leftovers will probably be three guys from this group:

Anthony - He needs to play in two of the next three events to even qualify. Assuming that happens, he should be in the top 12. Of course, he also could be ranked last after week 3.

Reid / Chandler - Both desperately need a win, or at least a bunch of top 4 finishes to remain in The Rapture. Poor play will probably ruin it for one of these old veterans.

Brendan / JW  - Brendan is in a slightly better spot, but it's not looking good. JW's terrible Spring season, along with his 175 world ranking points dropping off in the next three events might be too much to overcome. Either way, both need a victory.

Summer season starts up in 14 days, down in Bradenton (course TBD). So get some practice in the next two weeks! And if you don't qualify for The Rapture, definitely consider going anyway. Once rankings lock I'll immediately need to start collecting payment from those attending.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Golf Game Book - Android

I received an email that Golf Game Book (the app we use for leaderboard tracking during our tournaments) is finally back for Android phones. So go download the app before our season resumes. (its free) And stop relying on the iPhone users to post those double pars of yours.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Good Friday Golf

I have two spots open at the moment for golf on Friday at Southern Hills... 8am tee time. So if you're off work and are always up at 5am anyway... you should join!

Let me know!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Handicap Tracker Spring 2017

Well we concluded the spring season a short 3 weeks ago and man has new content on here been absent. So let me post what many of your request from me regularly.. the handicap tracker!

This tracker has what your handicap was at the start of this spring season (1/1) and then at the conclusion of it (4/1) so you can see if your handicap reflects how you fared during the league's 9 events.

Congrats to Katie and John for their one-two finish in this year's standings and they also had the biggest drops in handicap indexes.

It was pretty even among league members with those that had their indexes improve over the season vs those that saw theirs increase. Odd as we normally see a majority improvement of scores as the season concludes due to getting out and playing nearly every weekend. Maybe Katie and John are willing to share their secret!

Well here's the tracker. Another fun season has concluded and looking forward to us resuming at the end of the month!


Monday, April 3, 2017

Off-Season Golf Update

The off-season is a good time to mend things in your life. Katie and Gary are mending some injuries (although Katie apparently just stepped on a rusty nail and can't walk). Many of you are mending your relationships after coming home too late from golf. I'm mending my handicap, trying to figure out if I'll ever have a chance to win again.

But we've played a few courses we can discuss. Let's start with the Red Tee Challenge. Much more difficult than I thought. And I saw a LOT of shanks out there. Trying to hit a 100 yard 8 iron apparently leads to lazy swings and hosel rockets. Reid showed up pretty sick, which definitely added some strokes to his round. But I was shocked more people didn't buy pitchers.

We also checked out Seminole Lake in Pinellas. It's ok. Nothing great. We could do a Spring event there next year if the price is right. Definitely not worth wasting a Summer event. Sad truth is... Pinellas courses are all pretty weak.

Tampa isn't much better. We had to jump through hoops to get a noon round for $65 at Carrollwood Country Club. Greens are excellent. Fairways and rough and good. Layout is decent. But there are so many better places to go that are less of a hassle. Lake Jovita... Eaglebrook... TPC Tampa... and I want to try to get us on Hunter's Green for Match Play this season. All better than CCC.

Summer season we travel more, and we are working on some really nice courses. So fill out your registration sheet! Same link on the top right of the blog that you used last season. First week is 27 days away!