Confession of a golfer
I hate being pigeon holed or branded as someone. I am a fierce individual who cannot stand being labelled or associated with anyone or anything. I am not a number; I am my own man. I am an individual.
So how did I become a golfer ?
Well, five years ago I was morbidly obese and had the choice of either continue like this or do something pretty radical. Taking up jogging did not appeal to me. I was also not fit enough to take up cycling again. I have always been an avid computer golfer. I had also moved to another town and joined a company with a rich golf tradition. A good second hand golf bag with fifteen golf clubs was also advertised through their internal second hand market. I bought this set of golf clubs. I also bought a driver and some woods + a golf trolley. I then went to my local golf course and played some holes. Well, I played a full round and I became instantly hooked on golf. 216 strokes, I used on 18 holes. But I was hooked.
….... I also became a legend on this course because I was really, really fat. I looked like an elephant and my panting when I climbed up and down this very hilly course could be heard for miles. But I quickly lost a lot of weight on golf. My new passion also meant I took up a healthier diet. But my golf was still crap though. I tried to join the local golf club, but I was deemed not good enough. I had bought some irons which was simply not suited my style. My woods was also not suited my style and I did not take the golf technique side of golf seriously either. I enjoyed being out and among friendly people too much for that. Even a loner like myself still got good friends on the golf course. I also travelled around my local area and played some stunning good golf courses.
Two years ago, I started to sort out my swing and game more and joined the local golf club. My opening handicap was 25, but my handicap soon slid down to 26.
I changed irons and woods to sort my style. I got myself a good base setup and started to trust my abilities more. Last year (2009), I played in competitions around West Of Scotland and won some prizes. My handicap was pretty static at 26 until June last year when I made some great improvements on the mental side and got myself down to a handicap of 20. I am planning to improve my handicap this year down to 17-18. But I do not have the mental and physical abilities to become any better than that. I am happy with that. I am a bad golfer and I love it.
My current setup
I did the classic beginner mistake: I threw money at expensive clubs instead of spending money on improving my own game. Big mistake. I have changed driver five times. The last time because my TaylorMade 580 driver became illegal two years ago. I have now arrived at a set of clubs which suits my game. The main thing I am after is the right shaft of the clubs throughout when it comes to woods. So I use golf clubs from Ram. They are cheap and excellent for my ability level. My golf clubs is as follows:
Ram Fx 9 driver
Ram Fx 9 3 Wood
Ram Wizard 16 degree utility club
Howson Attacker 21 degree utility club
Ram Fx 5Iron - SW irons
Ram Fx 9 mallet head putter
Please note I do not use 3 and 4 Irons because they are very difficult to hit properly. The Howson utility club has replaced them. I have been considering using a Ram 5 wood instead of the Ram Wizard 16 degree utility club. But I rather like that utility club too well so I will stick to it.
My setup is also very cheap. Altogether, these clubs has cost me £ 110. Throughout 2009, I frequently was doing better scores than those who had spent 3-4 more on their clubs.
Balls........ I stick to hard balls instead of those optimum feel balls. I use Srixon AD333 balls in competitions and any other hard balls in practise rounds. The cheap Dunlop balls are good practise and competitions balls. I see no reason at my level to use the expensive soft Titleist and TaylorMade balls. The soft balls will just make my game worse. Not to mention my bank balance.
My golf bag is a cheap second hand golf bag. I probably need to change this year. I am using a cheap golf trolley too which I am dragging around the golf courses. I am thinking about changing over carrying the golf bag on my back this year. I have three pairs of golf shoes. All of them in the middle range, money wise. This is where I have spent most money on golf. Good golf shoes is very important. The picture above says everything about my clothes. Using a cap is very important and essential for my level of concentration. I also use long tees for my driver and make sure I got plenty of water in my golf bag.
Altogether, I am doing golf on the cheap. I am also doing golf pretty sensible with a more emphasis on improving my skills rather than throwing money around. Golf is a cheap, good hobby if done right.
I took up competition golf in 2009 and got some very satisfying results. Most because of my handicap, it had to be added. But I managed to win some competitions and get myself a third place in my local golf club ranking (out of 61 members). So I am overjoyed with that. I also knows that 2010 will not be as good as 2009 because that is simply impossible.
The highlights of 2009 was winning the two rounds long (in one day) John Brown Trophy. I was leading by 3 strokes after the first round and felt under intense pressure during the second round. But I still won. I am really proud of that.
I also won some club competitions and have picked up some money on the two ball competition on the first par 3 on the local golf course during these competitions. My best round of the year (of in total 160 rounds) was 84. That is 16 above par. That's not too impressive, but I am not a good golfer so I can live with that.
The second highlight of the year was playing in the Bellisle Open. I did not play well, but I still won a prize (18 golf balls). But the most important was the course itself. Bellisle is a stunning, stunning good course. It is also a very difficult course. This course slaughtered me, but I still loved every second of it. I am most definete want to play this course again......... and this year's Bellisle Open too. Bellisle is commonly regarded as one of the best golf courses in Scotland and in the world. It is golf heaven as far as I am concerned.
My first ever big golf tournament at Fereneze golf course was also very special. I started with par-par before I hit problems at the final nine and lost the golf tournament with five strokes. I was still placed in the top ten and cannot complain. This experience gave me a big buzz though.
Yes, 2009 was a very positive experience for me on the golf course when everything else in my life went pearshaped. Roll on,2010 and 2011.
My advice for beginners......
As a beginner, buy a good second hand set of clubs, but make sure the irons are a back-cavity set. I bought a set of blades after one year and that was a big mistake. Thankfully, back-cavity irons are pretty cheap because they are meant for handicappers between 10 and 28.
Do not use 3 and 4 irons. Replace them with utility/rescue clubs. These utility clubs are both easy to use and excellent clubs. My Howson utility club has been in my golf bag for five years and it has served me well. When it comes to putter, buy a mallet head or a big head putter. Don't use a single blade putter. The big head putters are easier to use. I use a big head Ram putter and I am regarded as one of the best three putters in my club. Also make sure that the putter has a soft insert on the blade. It give you a good feeling and extra confidence when hitting the ball. That is essential and saves you some strokes each round. A good putter is essential.
The same can also be said for the driver. Get a good, cheap big head driver. Make sure the shaft is
normal and get used to the big head.
Get a good inexpensive set of golf clubs and don't throw money around. The rest is practise, practise and more practise. Maybe with some added golf lessons too and by playing with people you can learn from.
Golf saved my life and gave me social life too. I hate to be pigeon holed as a golfer........ but I can live with it. I recommend golf as a good way to stay alive and as a good hobby. I guess I will play golf until I die and welcome many days on the local courses.
Here is some reports from some of my golf experiences. More will follow...
Dalmuir GC, Scotland
Dullatur GC, Scotland
Millport GC, Scotland
Rothesay GC, Scotland
Please email me if you have any questions or any issues.