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Golf on Christmas Eve

Theres nothing like enjoying the cathedral like atmosphere of a grand golf course on Christmas Eve.  The weather was a bit chilly and little overcast here in Point Clear, Alabama but the quite, somber environment seemed appropriate.  I played by myself and it was very quiet with the hundred year old oaks and dripping Spanish moss overhead.  Occasionally, I found myself peeking into the gayly lighted houses along the fairways watching the families bustle about.  The wife and I will have a nice Christmas dinner tonight.  Merry Christmas to all.

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Be Careful Out There

I have two thermometers on my bag and when they are both showing about the same thing, I think maybe I’ve got an accurate reading.  Weekend before last I played the Barton Creek Hills course in Austin with a couple of friends.  Our tee time was 11:00am.  It was the end of July and I knew it was going to be hot.  We were drinking plenty of water but on No. 16 one of the guys started drooping, he sat out No. 17 and was pretty disoriented by the time we got to No. 18 tee box.  We decided to call it quits and get him back to the pro shop.  After getting back, I looked at my thermometers and one read 108 and the other was reading over the 110 mark.

My friend had a touch of heat stroke.  Heat stroke or sunstroke, is a serious form of heat injury especially for people over 50 and needs to be treated immediately.  It occurs usually in combination with dehydration which leads to the failure of the body’s temperature control system.  It’s recommended to call 911 immediately and transport the person to the hospital.  

We got him back to the house where we were staying, where it was cool, got him plenty of water and a cool towel for his forehead and took his shoes and socks off.  We also gave him some fruit.  These steps seemed to work and he bounced back after an hour or so.  He scared us to death but we did the right thing by grasping what was going on, getting him out of that heat and into a cool place.  You need to be careful out there especially during the summers in Texas.
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Modified Stableford System

I've gotten myself involved in the Dallas Senior Interclub league.  Twelve DFW country clubs host an event about once a month at their club so we all get to see each other's courses.  Participants must be at least 50 years old.  Each club fields a 10 person team and the best eight scores after a round are used in a Modified Stableford Format to determine the winners of each event.

Mr. Stableford's scoring method is very interesting in that each player, depending on his handicap and his performance in past events, is assigned a quota of points he needs to produce for his team.  The DSI league awards points as follows:  1 for a bogy, 2 for a par, 4 for a birdie and 6 for an eagle.  If you miss your bogy shot, you have to pick up your ball and you get 0.  The teams that produce the most points above the quota for their team is awarded credits for merchandize in the host club's pro shop   It's a good system because the poor golfers with the lower quotas have a good chance to contribute to their team at about the same level as the good golfers with the higher quotas.  Thus far, I've failed to make my quota at two of the events.  I'm still getting invited back so, we'll just keep hanging in there.

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South Texas Golf Adventure - Day 5-6

Well, the adventure came to an end, but not quite as planned.  The day before I left Rockport, I thought it might be wise to check the weather in Houston which was my next stop.  Boy, did I get a good picture of the weather system that was passing through there.  Houston was inundated with rain not only with the system shown below but with a second system that blew through the next day.  I drove on up anyway without any problems but the afternoon I got there I decided to check in at the course I was planning to play.  The parking lot was pretty well empty.  It was empty because the course, Cypresswood Golf Club, was flooded.  The guys in the pro shop checked with some other courses for me to see if anyone else was open and no luck.  They said the water might go down by the next day but I called the next morning and it didn't.  So that was it and I decided to come home a day early.  It was a good trip.  I covered a lot of territory, saw some family and played some nice courses.  I now need a new target for the next adventure.

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South Texas Golf Adventure - Day 3-4

San Antonio had a good bit of rain the evening before Memorial Day.  It continued on and off that morning which was unfortunate because the Memorial Day service at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery had to go on as scheduled.  Everyone was under umbrellas except for those in uniform.  It was a little difficult to watch the members of the military band sit there in the rain with their instruments.  It all seemed very appropriate.  It was nice to see Dad's place in the columbarium again.

The drive down to the coast was also a rainy affair - thought a couple of times about pulling over.  But I made it to my brother's house in Rockport, spent the night and got up the next morning and made it to the course at the Palmilla Beach Golf Resort in Port Aransas.  It was very windy, up around 17mph, so there weren't many people out there.  It's an interesting course, right along the shoreline, very rolling fairways, no trees and a high thick rough.  If you miss the fairway, your ball is gone.  At the tee box for number ten, after picking up a sandwich at the pro shop, there were a number of gulls watching me that seemed to know something about how to steal snacks.

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South Texas Golf Adventure - Day 1-2

Left home early Saturday and decided to make a course change during the drive to San Antonio.  Knowing that I-35 between Dallas and San Antonio was probably a parking lot during the Memorial Day weekend and not wanting to risk rocks being kicked up by semi-tractortrailor trucks that bust windshields and headlights, I decided to take the scenic route along 281 through Hamilton and Johnson City, the Hill Country.  It's a longer route and a little slower but its worked out well.  The route also put me coming into San Antonio close to the entrance to Cordillera Ranch.  I'd seen adds for it and thought I'd stop in and see what it was all about.  It's a beautiful development with a great golf course and great views from the home sites they're selling.  This is someplace we could live if we ever decided to leave Irving.

It was raining during most of the drive down here and it's great to get the moisture but I hated the idea that my tee time at Brackenridge Park could get rained out.  But I got lucky, it held off.  The Old Brack in San Antonio has a lot of history.  They used to have the Texas Open here and Nelson and Hogan played here although there has been some remodeling since then.  They do still have some of the old square greens.  Anyway, I played pretty well with some nice guys and had a great time.

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South Texas Golf Adventure

My road trip to south Texas is coming up.  This event is similar to the West Texas Golf Adventure that happened last year except that it will be in a different direction.  There are some courses that have been on my wish list for a long time down there and now it's time to see them.  The first stop will be San Antonio to play the Brackenridge course.  Years ago this course hosted duals between Hogan and Nelson and it's been written up in books about them.  The next stop is going to be Port Aransas on the coast.  Palmilla Beach Golf Club, formerly Newport Dunes is located on Mustang Island and appears to be a true links type course with lots of sand and wind.  And finally, I'll come back through Houston and play the Memorial Park course downtown.  This is another course that has a lot of history behind it.  All of these courses have been written up as being some of the best places in Texas to play golf.  It should be fun and as always when it's just me showing up to play, I'll be paired up with some interesting people.

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LPGA Texas Shootout

My hometown, and home course, got a lot of national attention last week on the Golf Channel.  The LPGA Texas Shootout was in town.  The women that played were not only terrific golfers but some of them were really good looking - and then again some were a little chunky.  Stacy Lewis won the tournament going away.  Even with the hot and windy conditions on the final day, she went through the holes in a very workman like manner.  There was a good crowd of spectators, too.  What's interesting when watching these lady pros is the pace of their swings.  They appear to be very slow with their takeaways but somehow they manage to generate a lot of club head speed when they make contact with the ball.

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Getting Back to Normal

I’ve been away from playing for a few weeks and the challenge now is getting back into the swing of things.  It seems like it's taking longer and longer the older I get.  Not that I’m physically out of shape, its just I suppose I’m out of mental shape.  Getting past a number of international time changes is probably the biggest task.  Now that everything is finally greening up here in north Texas, I suppose it’s just a matter of getting out there and playing.

My wife and I went to Eastern Europe and floated up the Danube river for eight days.  I wanted to get out to a course near Budapest but couldn't figure out a way to get out there and back and not get myself hopelessly lost in all of the narrow, twisting one way streets of the city.  We did meet some interesting people and saw some wonderful country and architecture.

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Nike Method Core Putter

As I mentioned a few posts ago, whining, moaning, groaning and complaining about my putting did some good with my wife before Christmas.  She gave me a birdieball putting surface and a Nike Method Core putter to shut me up.  I've described the birdieball surface but not the Method putter.  It's really pretty amazing she could pick out a putter, although I did hint I wanted one like Tiger has, that is the right length and has a weight that feels right.  It also has a grooved face with different materials that does seem to grip the ball on contact and make it roll more smoothly.  The grip is the smaller, standard flat on top kind with a rubber material that feels very comfortable.

I now have three putters.  My old Ping putter with a 36" shaft and a thick grip, my Ping mallet putter with a 34" shaft and the new Nike Method putter with the 35" shaft.  It has been very helpful to study my stroke with each putter.  The new Nike Method is the most comfortable and has helped the most with reaching a smooth stroke.  I'm running out of excuses for poor play.

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