Monday, July 25, 2011

Mid-year Report Card on Poker and Golf - 2011

Yes, this is one of the reasons I LOVE summer!

Poker Activity – Not so much. Matchy had his usual fine poker game a few weeks back. Faldo lost a buy-in, but had a great time.

I was quite card dead that night - if you throw out the fact that I hit at least ten runner-runner nut hands for big pot wins AFTER I correctly folded. The action was there, but I never took advantage. I needed more gamble in me (and money) than I brought that night.

On-line poker right now is just a time filler and practice. Every tourney and SNG is easier early but just as tough as a money game later. Ego is a big part of poker and I have found that a lot of players don’t like losing their play chips almost as bad as they don’t like losing their cash chips. This fall, I will go back to cash play – when poker will be king for my leisure time again.

Golf - as usual, consumes most of my summer. I’m not called Faldo for nothing.

It was a struggle getting the golf game back together this year. Every year it gets tougher, but this was the hardest yet (twss).

My heart procedures, trials and tribulations got me into the worse physical condition of my life. Weight down (good thing), but my endurance and strength were at an all-time low. At the start of golf season, I literally could not do one push up or sit up! So I had some rehab to do right there, just to be able to carry my clubs to the cart!

Then of course this atrophy was no good for my back, which also gives me problems from time to time. Advil, stretching and exercise would fix that, but Mother Nature decided to kick Faldo - where usually only first dates of Faldo - end up kicking Faldo.

A cold and rainy spring gave Faldo no chance to really work on golf. Chances to play were hit and miss. Big gaps between rounds don’t help.

The course was under water and the conditions were a bad as they could be. The cold weather did not help my back, in spite of playing in a heavy shirt, a vest, a sweat shirt and a wind/rain jacket. I looked like the Pillsbury Doughboy and swung the club with all the motion and speed of a retirement home bingo game.

Add all this to the fact I was hitting a new set of irons! What more could I do to throw roadblocks in front of myself?

But the warm weather finally arrived and I started to get the feel of the new irons. Now the specifications of the new clubs were as close to identical to my old clubs as I could find. I was hoping the “new technology” would make a shot or two improvement in a round.

Uh…….no. The new clubs were not as good. I hit them 10 to 20 yards less. And instead of my usual slight draw ball flight, I was getting a dead right ball flight. Now I am not talking an “into the woods” dead right, but enough to where I was not hitting greens near as often. And I had to hit a 6-iron into a green where I used to use an 8-iron! That makes a huge difference too.

I first chalked up the loss of distance to my weight loss and weakened state. But as my driver yardage off the tee returned to normal, my iron distance did not - with the new clubs.

I had to figure out why. Another problem with my golf game this year was I could not hit my 3-wood, 5-wood or 7-wood consistently this year. Last year they were great clubs for me. This year they were a disaster. So, for a weekend, I took them out of my bag and added my old 7, 8 and 9 iron to my bag. Rule wise, you are only allowed to carry 14 clubs. So something had to go, and those woods were no longer performing.

Lo and behold, the distance and the draw ball flight returned with the old clubs! Since the old and new clubs are nearly identical for lie, loft and weight, the only thing that makes sense is the shaft difference (twss) in the clubs. With my strength returned, I still hit the new clubs 10 to 15 yards shorter than my old clubs.

I was taught in club building school that the shaft is the engine of the club. The new clubs had lighter and weaker shafts in them. That explains the less distance and the fade ball flight. With the new clubs, my swing speed is bending the shaft slightly and opening up the club face.

But since this change to all irons in my bag, upping my 150 to 100 yard club choices from 4 clubs to 6, my handicap has returned to where it was last year. It took two months longer to do it, but Faldo is back!

I am returning to my old clubs starting this week, and use a few of the new clubs to fill in gaps. Right now it is the other way around. Maybe this will give me that shot or two improvement. I’ll let you know.


Anonymous said...

Well now you know that clubs do not make the golfer.

At least now you will not waste money on a new pistol only to find that you will still shoot holes in the roof at target sports

Nik Faldo said...

Good point Anon.....I mean 4-putt Dave.

Matchy said...

Glad your golf game is getting back up to speed, I have decided I will never even be a bogey golfer. I just do not have the coordination to swing a golf club with anything except arms. I am still also bummed that you are through with the NL poker games. I would gladly host a limit game but all the young whippersnappers want to play NL! Any I still always enjoy reading the blog.

Nik Faldo said...

Matchy, don't worry about it. If you get a limit game together, let me know. I may even open up the original NPP this fall/winter a couple times.

And when winter comes, I might ask to sit in on your NL game.

Golf is hard! I am only slightly better than bogey (12 handicap). So it is not like I am ready for the Senior Tour or anything.

But I love the game, the weather, the scenery and the beer cart girl - whomever she happens to be.

Nik Faldo said...

Oh yeah, and golfing with friends and family.

Did I mention the beer cart girl yet?

BigBriMar said...

Golf with your friends.....
..still looking!