Wednesday, June 28, 2017

St. Andrews Old Course - The Face Hole

The 17th at St. Andrews Old Course is one of the most famous holes in the world. It's named "The Road Hole" due to the road that runs behind the insanely shallow and elevated green. The dirt path and tarmac road are in play, and you do not get free relief from either surface. Nor do you get a free drop away from the stone wall on the other side of the road.

The green is also protected by a deep bunker, which is extremely difficult for golfers of all skill levels. And there's a blind tee shot over two railway sheds and the courtyard of a hotel. Basically... it's the most tricked-up hole in golf.

So how do you think Gorecki played it with his 23.6 handicap? The handicap limit was 24.0 so he was technically allowed to be there... if you believe that 8 of the 10 rounds used in his index were played in Orlando without member verification. And a few of those were solo rounds, which are banned for handicap purposes by the USGA. But whatever... I'm not a conspiracy theorist so let's all agree he is a good enough golfer to play The Old Course.

Here's the "ShotLink" map of his first time on #17, with explanations below:



1) Off the toe dead right, barely clearing the sheds and presumably landing in the pond next to the hotel. Because our group had been "out of position" since hole 9, the Ranger was standing at the corner of the wall watching all of us play. Oh well, reload!

Ball highlighted. Heading right. Ranger in blue at the corner of the wall.

2) Penalty stroke, ball back on the tee.

3) After a mighty lash, we watch in horror as the ball is topped and rumbles about 70 yards into some medium fescue. Welp... at least it's away from the hotel and his next shot won't be blind.

4) The fescue fights back, grabbing his chunked iron and only allowing the ball to travel 20 yards. It's still in the fescue, but we're making progress. We might finish the round before 11pm sunset (it's about 2:40pm at this point).

5) Gorecki's over-the-top hack produces a pull to the left. It's not moving very fast, but his ball took dead aim at an elderly Australian man 95 yards away (playing the 2nd hole and waiting for Mike to pass). His teenage caddie literally dove out of the way, ruining any chance of joining the Secret Service later in life. The Aussie sees it coming, but couldn't bring his aging body to dodge the projectile. He contorts like a velociraptor and gets nailed in the collar bone. The ball ricochets up into his jaw and drops down to the ground. Fatality.

Golf courses are pretty quiet in general, but there are now about 20 people standing within 50 yards of the incident just dumbfounded. The Aussie starts mumbling about being hit in the jaw, and he's clutching his face. Nobody really runs to his aid... the Ranger slowly walked over. All of us knew that he wasn't hit very hard, we just didn't know how much of an asshole he was going to be about it. Myself, John and Gary all found the fairway with our drives, but we didn't want to hit our 2nd shots while an international incident was taking place behind us.

Gorecki went up to the man and apologized. He asked if he needed medical attention and offered to pay for any treatment, meals or beers. I snap the most amazing photo of my short journalistic career... resulting in my caddie saying: "I can't believe you took a picture of that." I told him that it needed to be documented. Behold, my soon to be Pulitzer Prize winning photograph:

The Ranger on the far left. Gorecki's caddie on the far right.

....

Honestly, this is the most "Gorecki" picture I've ever seen. Left hand on his hip holding his hat. Right hand scratching his head. Head down wondering why God abandons him during golf. Old man grasping his jaw.

The Aussie eventually said he was fine and played his approach shot into #2. Surely, I thought, Gorecki was done with the hole and would pick up to regroup for the final iconic tee shot on #18. He even started walking toward the green, so I figured John was good to go with his 2nd shot.

Nopes. Gorecki was actually searching for his ball, failing to consider that it was right where he just killed a guy. He finally locates it, and tops his 6th shot down the fairway. He gets on the back of the green with his 7th stroke. Putts it to about 4 feet with his 8th. Then picks up a gimmie for 9 and writes down "7" on his card.

Our graphic artist was kind enough to make a template for a bronze plaque to be placed on the spot of the incident. I'll keep you posted if St. Andrews graciously accepts our contribution to their storied course:

Based on "The Concession."

Gorecki hit a low bullet on the 18th tee and it actually out-drove all of us. He then hit a thin approach across the green, up a steep grassy embankment, through a fence, and into the R&A courtyard. No word if it hit someone, but the ball was thrown back onto the course and it rolled to the fairway in front of the green. Assuming stroke and distance, Mike was laying 4 at this point. He chipped on for 5. Putts past the hole for 6. Grinds over his up-hill comeback and sinks the putt for 7. I'm not sure what he wrote down for his score, but my suggestion would have been: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Stay tuned for more hot takes from the trip!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Week 6 - Match Play

It's been just over a year, but we're finally returning to Waterlefe.

10am on July 9th... $35+ tax.

It's the best layout in the surrounding Tampa Bay area, and great for Match Play. Last year only two players were in red figures.

We have 20 spots reserved, so update your RSVP. Katie... ask Greg if he's available.

Match-ups will be finalized on Monday.

Monday, June 26, 2017

DPT Championship - Summer 2017 Recap

We avoided the worst of the rain and lightning, and put together one of the lowest scoring tournaments at Southern Hills in our history. Over half the league was in red figures at the end of the day.

On the range, Katie told me she was "going to win because I'm trying a new tip." I asked her what that tip was, and she said: "I need to keep my legs closer together." I pointed out that it was a great...

Never mind. Excellent win by Katie, who shot her lowest round ever on a par 72 course (89 gross). We got guys in the league who have never broken 90 at Southern Hills. We also have guys who have never broken 90 in league history outside of The Memorial.

Casey finished runner-up for the 2nd week in a row... continuing some excellent play as he moves up the standings.

Tall Mike and Reid rounded out the top 4 with scores that could have won in previous years.

JW pointed out halfway through the round (via text) that Gorecki must have left his magic pencil in Scotland. He shot what I believe is the 2nd worst round in league history (118 gross).

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We're off this week for the 4th of July weekend. I'll announce the Match Play course soon... so update your RSVP.

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Yesterday I changed the World Rankings formula which knocked Katie from 1st to 5th. She wasn't having any of that... and jumped back up to the top spot this week.

Troy is officially OUT of the Rapture in August, so Mike H can go ahead and pay me $160. Send it to me on PayPal... chandler dot brown at the gmails.

As soon as we officially hear from Anthony, I'll update Greg on his status. Dave and Reid are the other deadbeats who owe $160.

If one more person bails, I'm booting all the non-members and we're taking 12 people.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

New World Golf Rankings

As previously mentioned, the formula for calculating the rankings has officially changed. It is retroactively being applied to the previous week, since The Hangover at TPC Tampa is the first event that will count toward the 2018 Rapture. Here's yet another summary of what changed:

1) You make the list if you've played in at least 10 of the league's previous 18 events.
2) Your new point average is your highest 10 points in those previous 18 events, divided by 10.
3) The more you've played in the previous 18, the more chances you've had to increase your point average.

Play often, play well, and you'll probably qualify next year.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

DPT Open - Week 5

We're back this week! Lots of non-members playing, and had a couple of "requests," so pairings are crafted. But they're finalized so deal with it.

Tee time at Southern Hills 11am (club rules) and we might get some rain. Course will probably be pretty wet. Could be cart path only in some spots.

Southern Hills has also re-rated their course again. They named the tees (which is awful), and removed the Blue/White combo from the sheet in order to make room for the new family tees. HOWEVER... the combo is in the USGA database. All the slopes and ratings were increased since we last played there.

Everyone is on the Blue/White unless they tell me otherwise. Play blues on the 3s and 5s. Play whites on the 4s. Same thing we've always done at this course.

See you there.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Carnoustie

I had 120 yards to the front of a green.  Hit a towering, perfect, 90 yard wedge letting the wind take it. Ball lands right on the front. Rolls 70 yards over the back and down a hill.

That's what it's like to play Carnoustie. Add in hidden bunkers and burns that you can't see from the tee or fairway. Brutal course. Shot 98 with maybe 45 putts.

JW and Dave played great.

Two days in St Andrews remain.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Kingsbarns

Spectacular. Pebble Beach mixed with Erin Hills and Chambers Bay etc. You can view the ocean on every hole. Many play on/over it. Rolling hills and large elevation changes. It is a HUGE property. Very long walk and this pace of play target is 4 hours 40 minutes. 

Also, fastest greens we've seen by far. Insane speed and undulations. Fairways were also super hard and fast. I hit three drives over 300 yards. Dave hit a couple past 350. And I made two 4putts in the damn round. Shot 93 with two birdies. 

Everyone loved it. Might be my top course out here. 

Carnoustie today which we will all hate. But weather today and yesterday is sunny 73 degrees and decent wind. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Old Course

Very weird. Not difficult. All depends on wind. Five of us waited in the line and got on.  The rest will try later, I think.  Shot 84 with three doubles. Faster greens than the other courses. Tighter fairways too. Definitely not used to that lie with long irons.

Gonna get sleep for the first time all trip. Kingsbarns tomorrow. Supposed to be the best of the trip.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Muirfield

As old and fraternal as expected. Beautiful course. Fair if you keep it near the short stuff. I'll talk more about the courses later, but so far it's my favorite. Would play it all the time if possible. 

Back nine destroyed me though. Weather was windy but clear with one hole worth of cold rain. 

Gorecki played like a 30+ handicapper in my group. Thought his caddie was going to quit after 3 holes. But he wasn't asked to leave... So the rest of the trip is stress free. 

Slept for two hours then went down to Old Course queue at 1:30am. Here now in the cold and was 3rd in line with John. Gary and Gorecki here too. More arriving slowly. 

Turnberry

Amazing course. Re-designed holes are spectacular along the cliffs of the ocean. We had 20-30mph winds all day. Final stretch into the wind was just impossible. Can't wait for the Open to go back to this venue. It is going to beat the hell out of everyone. Pretty sure Dave shot an 80 playing "up" with us. Only great round to report. Few birdies by the group.

Drove across the county after the round to Gullane. Headed to Muirfield in an hour... Should be the most "interesting" day of the trip.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Royal Troon

Home of last years British Open Championship. Reviews called it bland... It was awesome. Got cold and rained lightly for two holes. Course was tight. Fescue rough was brutal, with balls easily lost in it. Basically all fairway bunkers required you to hit out sideways with a sand wedge. Nobody got a par on the short Postage Stamp par 3.

Geoff, I shot 86 with two birdies (3 and 12).

Each group had forecaddies and Darryl had an extra caddie for himself. At some point in the round, Darren is addressing his tee shot... Darryl's caddie says "hold on" before he swings. Walks up to him... Looks him over... Grabs Darren's chest... And says: "you got some man boobs." Darren was dumbfounded and the caddie wasn't laughing or anything. So Darren tells him he's fired... Then starts to re-address his ball. Caddie stops him again and points out he teed up on the red tees.

I'm not doing the story justice but Big Boob Darren had a great laugh at his own expense.

Turnberry today.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Glasgow

Staying downtown... Not much to look at but the people are pretty cool. Very old buildings. We played some random muni called Cowglen. Built in 1906, very hilly layout and a difficult walk. But a fun introduction to playing in Scotland. Had about 5 wardrobe changes due to wind and rain starting and stopping constantly. Nobody played well. 

Shut down the Hampton Inn bar and cleaned them out of port. Headed to Royal Troon today, where the 2016 Open was held. Weather could be interesting. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

DPT Championship - Week 5

Only THREE spots remain open and I haven't heard from Troy, Katie or Dave.

Update your RSVP!

If we have any other open spots we should try to get Greg G. out to get some more rounds under his belt.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

"World Golf Rankings" Changes

Most of you are aware we have a "World Golf Ranking" that's used for Rapture qualification. Few of you really understand how it works. I'm going to clarify that for you, and then tell you how it's probably changing.

I modeled our rankings after the Official World Golf Rankings, which were first released in 1986 (Bernhard Langer debuted as #1). The formula is pretty complex, but basically they take a rolling two year period for each golfer... total up all their points... and divide by the number of events they played during that two year period.

Each event (and each final position on the leader board) is worth different points. Majors are worth way more than events on the Asian Tour. They use previous years' strength of field to determine value. They also use a tapering system that devalues events as they age in the two year window, meaning the most recent events are worth more. It's a mess, but it works.

Every now and then there will be something weird (like Adam Scott becoming #1 for the first time on a week he didn't even play)... but the debate that follows is ridiculous. The rankings literally group all the guys who should be in the discussion at the top.

In the 31 years of existence, the rankings system has changed 23 times. It's constantly being reviewed in an attempt to make it better, since many tournament exemptions rely on the published results.

So what about OUR system? I also total all points earned in a rolling two seasons (18 events). I then divide that by the number of events you've played. If you've played in 10 of the previous 18 tournaments, and scored 1,000 points total, your number is 100.0 (and right now that would put you 8th in the rankings). All tournaments carry the same weight, since points at Majors are already increased. You also must have eight tournaments in the previous 18 to make the rankings.

Simple. But we can make it a little better.

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Two factors lead to wild swings on the rankings board: 1) the small rolling window (18 events) and 2) the small sample size required to be ranked (8 events).

We can't do anything about the rolling window, since it's literally one year worth of official events. I definitely don't feel rounds more than one year ago should count. We can increase the number of required events, which would slightly normalize the averages and cause new players to play more before they qualify.

But what if instead of averaging out all your events, we used the "best of" events? This would do two things: 1) not kill your ranking if you have a bad day 2) reward those who play more frequently, by giving them more chances to increase their top scores.

This year, Rapture qualification doesn't matter since I already fell into the trap of allowing replacements. But NEXT year will be different, so we need to reflect on the spirit of qualification. This change makes it more difficult for rookies to become captain, which I think is a good thing. Get in the league... get to know everyone... earning captain gets easier when you have a full 2 seasons under your belt.

The changes I'm more than likely going to make are: 1) increase number of rounds to qualify from 8 to 10 and 2) calculate the rankings score as the average of your top 10 points in the last rolling 18 league events.

Since last week's Hangover Invitational was the first tournament of the 2018 Rapture qualification, I'll apply this change to the current rankings and beyond.

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Much like the USGA and R&A, this post serves as a "heads-up" of upcoming changes. Take time to digest it... hold back your terrible opinions... comment to tell me how awesome of an idea this is. After I return from Scotland I'll probably implement it.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Hangover Invitational - Summer 2017 Recap

After much debate, 10 of 15 league members followed the old "mandatory" rules (Reid and Katie left slightly early but whatever). We agreed to play for an extra $10 per person in a winner-take-all side game on Sunday. A few attempted to back out of that bet...

In all... 12 of 15 league members showed up. Our two oldest looking members, Gorecki and Gary, were a little late. It was a great time, with Darren "winning" the night. No penalties needed. No need to unfairly disrupt the lives of Troy, Casey or Anthony by giving them the "show up or be disqualified" ultimatum. No need to explain why JW, Geoff and Tall Mike are incapable of empathy toward different lifestyles. And definitely no need to devalue coveted DPT Points by handing them out to those who are still physically able to drink for 4+ straight hours.

Just an officially recognized USGA club holding a social gathering in compliance with Decision 2/7: "In order to be able to utilize the USGA Handicap System, the golf club must have group cohesion. Group activities should go beyond playing in tournaments. There should be a group orientation policy and other functions, such as group meetings, award banquets and the like."

Seriously though... fun times at The Red Dog.

As for the actual golf... Chandler's (hey, that's me!) national nightmare is over. Twenty one straight tournaments without a win, suddenly snapped by a 4-stroke beat-down of the field, thanks to 4 birdies on a wet Scotland-like day.

Outside of the winner, the golf was VERY competitive. Five players were at -3 or -2, creating a logjam and spreading out points and money. JW, Brendan and Troy had chances to get to solo 2nd, but were eaten up by the daunting 18th hole. While Casey and Reid couldn't quite get off the bogey train.

Very difficult day out there... but glad we were able to get it done.

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We are off for TWO weeks as 47% of the league heads out to Scotland. I'm going to attempt to post quick daily recaps of our trip... but we'll see how that goes. I might use SnapChat like I did at last year's Rapture.

When we return, we'll be playing our 2nd Major on June 25th at Southern Hills at 11am (club rules now restrict us playing any earlier). We have a hard cap of 20 spots reserved. So get your RSVP updated or you'll be left off the list when it fills. Seven league members are currently "???," which I interpret as "OUT."

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The following people owe me $160 for The Rapture: Gary, Dave, Gorecki, Reid.

Troy and Anthony are not "officially" out yet. When they are I'll let their replacements know they can submit payment.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Rapture Update

Just locked up Day 2 - Saturday, August 19th - Alternate Shot (not scramble) - Candler Hills

10:30am start - $45 after tax with range balls included.

CH is mostly wide open off the tee and has some interesting holes. Perfect for the Alt-Shot format.

So far only THREE people have sent me the $160 for the trip. You should probably get on the ol' PayPal and do that.