January 12, 2010

We've Moved To Our New Site

Me and Old Man Par is pleased to announce that we have moved onto our own domain and site


Please adjust your bookmarks accordingly, as from today (January12, 2010) onward, any new entries to the site will be made there.  All of the old entries from this site have been moved, along with comments that users have made in the time we spent here on Blogspot.

Thanks for coming and we'll see you in our new digs!

January 11, 2010

Changes Are Coming To Old Man Par

About eight months ago I started writing the Old Man Par website almost on a whim, and when I set it up, I deliberately chose a free blog provider so that I wouldn’t have to do a lot of work to get things rolling. Since I do that for several other blogs, and also as a part of my professional life, I wanted simple and easy.

At the time, I wasn't sure I was going to make OMP a blog that would last in the long run. After all, with writers like Vince Spence, Patricia Hannigan, Heather Jones, Ryan Ballangee, Neil from Armchair Golf and others already in the game, there was no guarantee I would have much unique or all that interesting to say. Those folks are just that damned good, and I am not blowing sunshine sugar kisses - I honestly have that much respect for them. To a person, each of them love golf and it shows day after day on their respective sites.

Anyhow, after roughly eight months now, it appears that I have been able to carve out a tiny sliver of worth in the golf blogosphere, and now it’s time to grow up "Me and Old Man Par" and move into a house of its own, so to speak. Over the holidays, I worked on that, and pretty soon, the site will be leaving Blogger and moving into its own domain full time. In fact, I've already set up most everything and have just the little things to do before that happens.

If you would like to take a look at my new site, feel free:

Me And Old Man Par

And let me know what you think.  If you already have the ability to comment here you can do so over there, as the login for comments use several different ways like Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, etc. in order to access the commenting area.  I figured that it would be easier for everyone to do it that way.

January 10, 2010

The Time Is Now To Start Improving Your Game in 2010

Across most of the eastern half of the country, the weather is hardly fit for an enjoyable day out on the links -- that is, if your course is even open. Going to the driving range and hitting shots would probably feel like hammering rocks, and it's tough to work on your short game out of frozen sand. These are the times that try golfer's souls, and spring cannot come soon enough for anyone who'd prefer spending their free time chasing a white ball towards the rabbit hole.

While it may be easy to sit on the sofa night after night, believe it or not, the offseason for regular players is actually a time when they can improve their games and improve the chances for a solid 2010 season. The way to do that? By improving our physique and tuning up our bodies in order to improve our swings.

Take it from Brad Faxon. "When an average club member goes to a golf pro, the pro may know a lot about the golf swing, but he usually has no idea what that player is physically capable of doing or not doing. Most of the time, not doing. And without that knowledge, the guy has no chance," he recently told the Wall Street Journal. Faxon's right. Your swing guru may have every technological terror this side of the Starship Enterprise at their disposal, but if he or she is trying to teach you to do something your body simply cannot do, then your time and money is wasted.

Most of us may not want to admit it, but we can all use some enhanced flexibility and increased strength in the right places in order to swing a golf club back and through the ball on plane and with power. While we may not have the opportunity to visit the Titleist Performance Institute as Faxon and other pros have, there are still steps we can do in our own homes and workout rooms in order to improve our scores...before we ever hit the course. Enter Mark Verstegen.

Verstegen, creator of Core Performance, has written a book listing golf-specific exercises that we can all do. Core Performance Golf claims that "golfers will discover a training program that is ideally suited to developing the golf swing, with exercises designed to help create more torque and balance, thus adding yards to drives and precision shots. [The book also provides] a conditioning regimen and nutrition program that will help you build strength, flexibility, power, and stamina, while reducing the risk of injuries and speeding recovery time."

Sounds good, but is it all too good to be true? Maybe, but it Verstegen's resume speaks well of him. In addition to working with Phil Mickelson and Billy Mayfair, he also works with David Ledbetter's pupils. That gives him quite a bit of credibility.

While there may be no magic bullet that will turn us from Clark Kent into the next Jack Nicklaus, one thing is for certain: we can always improve and here in the dead of winter, there's still time to get ready for next season. Whether it is Verstegen's methods or another trainer from whom you take advice, it certainly can't hurt your game to get stronger.

January 9, 2010

A Biodegradable Golf Ball

This seems like a good idea, but I doubt that the senior managers at Titleist are losing sleep over this new product:
 What if you like to play golf on the beach, on a cruise ship or from your boat? Well, now you can do exactly that without littering, but feeding the fish instead. The Ecobioball is a 100% biodegradable, non-toxic golf ball that you can use to play real golf on the water, full swing! The use of plastic golf balls is illegal near water due to the waste it leaves behind.

I've seen folks pounding golf balls off of a cruise ship, and when I visit our coast, from time to time I will bring a few old balls and a couple of wedges and work on my sand game.  After all, a beach is long bunker and it can be entertaining to hit sand shots for a while...and a good way to practice.

For the folks hitting drivers off of the deck ship, well, I can see why the cruise ships would want them to hit a biodegradable ball.  While I doubt that cruisers are going to cover the bottom of the sea with old balls, there's no reason not to hit a ball designed to break down and leave no trace.

I'm not sure I would buy a biodegradable ball for my weekends on the shore, however, because I always take home with me what I bring when I hit the beach.  Maybe growing up for several years on a Florida beach taught me this, but I detest littering and personally I throw my trash away and carry the rest with me.  As such, I have little need for a biodegradable ball.  I can, however, see how folks who might like to whack a ball into the surf might want to pick up a few of the "fish food" balls.

January 8, 2010

Golf On Ice...Looks Like a Great Way To Chill Out

Glancing outside my window here in the sunny south, I see bright blue sunny skies and no snow.  But before you think I might be heading out to the links for a quick nine before dark this afternoon, I should also add that it is 30°F with a stead 20 MPH breeze.  Not exactly normal stuff here in the winter, and definitely not the sort of weather that makes one think up an excuse to leave work early.  Nahhh, I think today I will stay indoors and watch the pros enjoy the fair trade winds and green grass of Hawai'i.

Other folks have different ideas, however, and winter golf in even more extreme conditions seems to be catching on.  Up in New Hampshire, for instance, there is a winter golf tournament that looks like it would be a blast to play in:

Pawtuckaway Open Charity Ice Golf and Chili Bowl
[We] set up a nine hole course on the lake. We use an ice auger to dig holes that are usually a couple of inches deep and about three times the diameter of a normal golf cup. The course is about the same length as nine holes on a grass course and takes approximately the same amount of time. Greens Fees are $20.00 -- that includes golf, chili, and a players gift. [...] The event is held rain, snow or shine.
Judging by their 2009 tournament pictures, it looks like a good time was had by all, and that's the point of golf, no matter where it is played.  That's the sort of thing that could get me to don three pairs of woolen long-johns and drag my sticks onto a frozen lake.  It would probably be a lot more fun than the frozen tundra I call my home course!

January 7, 2010

Stewart Cink Has Never Had The Original Claret Jug

Rich Lerner of Golf Channel should know this, but today in the channel's coverage of the SBS Hawaiian Open, he asked Stewart Cink what it was like to drink from the original Claret Jug.  Cink didn't miss a beat and said he drank from it without even cleaning it out.  Lerner, the lead interviewer for Golf Channel, then added it must have been something special to drink from the same trophy as Old Tom Morris.

Cool story, but not exactly true.

That was an amazing display of ignorance on Lerner's part.

For one thing, Stewart Cink never had the original Claret Jug in his possession.  That's because the original trophy was retired from awards ceremonies in 1927 and ever since, a replica has been engraved with the winner's name and given to him for a year, after which a smaller replica is given as a permanent keepsake.  Walter Hagen was the first name engraved on the replica, as has the name of every subsequent winner in the last eight decades.  So where is the original Claret Jug?  Prominently on display in the R&A Clubhouse in St. Andrews. It's not left the premises in years.

Note, via Twitter, Stewart Cink comments that all of the names back to 1872 were retroactively engraved on the replica Jug.  He oughta know!

Lerner also should have known that Old Tom Morris would never have drunk from any Claret Jug as the winner.  That's because Old Tom never won the Claret Jug.

Old Tom's last win in the Open Championship was in 1867 at Prestwick, and the Claret Jug was not even created until 1872.  Until then a Champion's Belt was awarded, and by winning three Opens in a row, Young Tom gained permanent possession of the Champion's Belt, leading to the purchase and creation of the venerable old Jug.  In short, Old Tom never lifted nor drank from the trophy.

Honestly, one would think that a lead analyst and golf writer would have a better knowledge of golf history, especially when it is on display not only at the Home of Golf in St. Andrews, Scotland, but it also prominently mentioned in multiple places in the World Golf Hall of Fame here in America.  Maybe it was a slip of the tongue and we'll give Lerner - who generally does good work - a pass on this one.

pictured: Bobby Jones with the orignal Jug in 1927.

Read about the history of the Claret Jug from here at the R&A Website.

My Second And Final Comment On The Sociopathic Tiger Woods

If it seems a bit quieter here lately, the reason is simple: I'm not interested in breathlessly covering every aspect of the so-called Tiger Woods Scandal and how it is going to be Golf's Armageddon.  If you want that, well, glance at the links on the right hand side of the page, you won't have to look long.  That coupled with golf's offseason both in the pro and amateur ranks (it's pretty cold most places, even the Tampa Bay newspaper is printing cold-weather golf tips) and recovering from wrist surgery, well, there's not much to say...until today as the SBS Open kicks off and once again the PGA Tour is back on the course on the road to the FedEX Cup in late summer.

People have asked me, however, what I think about the happenings around Tiger Woods since Thanksgiving.

That said, I will say this: I am disappointed in Tiger Woods as a man and husband.  Calling his actions indiscretions would be like saying Ted Bundy guilty of involuntary manslaughter.  Woods constantly, consistently and consciously demeaned his family, and in my book, that's nearly as low as you can get.  Now he has hidden himself from the public ridicule he so richly deserves, which only underlines his narcissism and cowardice as far as I am concerned.

I am happy he won't be playing golf on my television any time soon.  I don't want to see him.  I'd much rather watch likeable players who actually treat people around them as well, human beings.  Woods has never had a problem ignoring his fans, snapping at them if they make a peep or sending his caddy into the crowd to violently confront them if they snap a picture of him when they are not allowed.  I used to view that as a sign of Woods' competitive drive, but now I see it for what it really is: a sign of his sociopathic tendencies; and yes, Tiger Woods displays every bit of a serious psychopathic disorder. After all, a prototypical sociopath has deficits or deviances in several areas: interpersonal relationships, emotion, and self-control.  Sounds like the World's #1 in 2009, n'est c'est pas?

The PGA Tour cranks up again today, and as far as I am concerned, I would rather be talking about the sport I love and people I admire.  While I may admire what Tiger Woods can do with a golf club, as a fellow human being, I have little if any admiration for him.  That said, the point of this blog is to talk about golf, which is what we'll talk about from now on.  Again, look down to the right if you want to know what Inside Edition, TMZ and Entertainment Tonight are reporting.  You won't find it here.

December 31, 2009

I Resolve in the 2010 To....

New Year's Eve is the last day of the decade, and tomorrow begins a new one. Instead of looking back, however, I am going to look forward, and as many of us do, I am going to make the usual resolutions. Unlike many of us, however, I am going to make them happen, mainly because I plan to make them reasonable and attainable goals.

I won't bore you with the tedious personal ones, yes, I want to get into better shape, eat right and all of that. We all do and we all work at it constantly (if we are smart.) So instead, I will share you the short list of my golf goals for the year:

  • Mainly, I resolve to have fun playing golf and to not let the ups and downs of this crazy, wonderfully stupid game get inside my head

  • I resolve to finally stick to the pre-swing routine that sets me up to hit a good shot.

  • I resolve to practice six foot putts over and over and over so that from there in, they become nearly automatic.

  • I resolve to practice shots from the rough, from sand, from sidehill, downhill and uphill lies so that I can hit them with more confidence. I don't practice them enough.

  • I resolve to use the driver I have (a Taylor Made R9) and not be seduced into believing I will be a better player if I try to buy my game. (personal note to my wife: you're welcome)

  • I resolve to play Pine Needles from the US Women's Open tee markers and Pinehurst #2 in the spring. And if the numbers start adding up towards triple digits (and they probably will) I will quit scoring and just enjoy the day.

  • I resolve to take my 72 year-old Dad out to "caddy" for me when I go, because he would enjoy it. He can ride in the cart and make jokes about my game and we'll both laugh.

  • I resolve to only give golf advice to my wife when she asks. I rarely butt in anyway, but the worst teacher for a novice woman golfer is her husband.

  • I resolve to not put any stars beside any wins any player on the PGA Tour has while Tiger Woods hides from his troubles and refuses to pay the piper for his sins. He did that to himself and no one else should carry his burden.

  • Finally, I resolve to thank my lucky stars for each and every day I get, and for all of my friends. Never take those things for granted, ever. So, Spank-o-saurus, you might beat me from time to time on the back 9 here at Eagle Ridge, but you can bet next time it might not happen. And we'll have fun trying to out-do each other. That's all that matters at the end of the round anyway.