Top 5 at Nahetal

The title of this post sounds better than it actually was. Yes I was 5th in my last tournament, but with 14 gross points only. There you have it. All the others must have been rubbish, too.

Truth been told, I played some lousy round of golf. Really embarrassing.

The course was great, Golf Club Nahetal, an hour south-west of Frankfurt, Germany. The weather was superb, conditions have been excellent, all set for a fantastic round of golf. The warm-up on range was fine, then we were told there was a 30 minutes delay, so I chatted along with some people before I headed off.

I realized right from the start, the positive image of my current golf game, which I had from the last training session and the warm-up wasn’t really transitioning onto the course. I had some great iron shots, short game and putting was OK, but the long game, oh my gosh, just wasn’t there.

After many embarrassing tee shots, one of my playing partners said on the 17th hole something along the lines of “I can’t believe you still use that club to tee off!” He was right, I wasn’t quitting, I knew I can play metal woods and I proved it often, it’s just that it seems gone now. But I wasn’t giving up, I always took out the hybrid, the 5-wood or sometimes even the 3-wood to tee off. The driver I left at home in the garage, that thing isn’t working at all nowadays.

Anyway, the course is a beauty and I would recommend to play it if you are in the area. It’s tree-lined throughout, there’s water on quite some holes but fair to most golfers. As said, the conditions have been excellent and I actually have no idea what caused my fallout. Those balls in the water, those thinned shots, that lady, all those lost balls… a disgrace.

There is no excuse, it’s just me to blame—or my clubs, which I did.

Just kidding of course, but I will try out some new stuff with my old (long) irons, in order to keep the ball in play more often. Not saying this will bring down my handicap or will make me happier in the long run, but it will hopefully calm the waves a bit, and my nerves. That’s useful and frankly necessary since yesterday.

You can imagine I was quite astonished when I saw I ended up 5th place in the gross Stableford list. Nothing to be proud of unfortunately.

Just when you think you got it…

Last week I had such a great practice session, that I posted on Facebook that I was super happy where my game was heading. Small adjustments to grip and stance and the ball flight got much higher and—more importantly—much straighter.

That was one week ago. Yesterday I played a tournament at Golf Club Nahetal in central Germany. That was the first round after my little adjustments. On the range everything went pretty well, one or two shots off, but the vast majority was straight as I wanted them to be.

Then on the course, I don’t know why, I fell back to old habits I guess. Hooks, thins and really bad shots had been the outcome throughout the whole rubbish round. Some nice pars, one birdie but dozens of stupid shots as well. Still came out at 5th in the tournament but I hated the round nonetheless.

I’m not saying it’s my clubs’ fault but for some reason I’m really bad with metal woods of all sorts. I play PING’s G400 driver, 3-wood, 5-wood and hybrid. And all are making problems. Again, not the clubs’ fault but apparently I just can’t adjust to the swing necessary for woods shots.

Which is why I’m seriously considering to bring my old 2001 Taylor Made set back to the game!

Why, you will ask. I really liked this set, once re-gripped it and the good thing about it: it features a 3- and even a 2-iron. This may sound intimidating to some of you but as a driving iron, I really can recommend it if you struggle with woods. For me it worked perfectly in the past. Got down to a 16 handicap just using irons. That I’m still at 14 says it all I guess…

With (long) irons shot shaping is easier, getting the ball airborne in the first place is much easier and with a good swing you have decent length as well. Sure, no driver length, but putting the ball in the fairway on every damn hole really makes the difference in the long run. As least when you count strokes.

I will let you know how that goes. I’m still curious myself. Wish me luck. Or I might just get some pro sessions in.

Practice round for the company scramble

Every year there is a big trophy to win and I have to say, I really like winning that. I managed to put my name on the trophy already but there should be many more years we’d be able to take that home with us as a team, if you’d ask me.

The company invites for an annual golf tournament which is played in the Texas Scramble format, a real fun team format to enjoy every minute on the course. And boy, has this been fun in the last years.

In order to really make a move and get our hands on the (rather cheap) trophy, taking into consideration that we have a +0.8 hcp colleague (not in my team), we decided to practice early to increase chances. We penciled in at least two sessions, one serious range session with chip and putt, and another on-course session, pretty much play along each other, maybe talk tactics here and there how to tackle the course in the scamble.

Needless to say that some couldn’t make it to both sessions, and also needless to say that, once you’re on-site, you somehow lose the concentration, the focus on winning the trophy. Therefore I have to admit that the putting session was really short, chipping was short also, range session was OK, the round of golf actually was just 12 short holes only to be frank and we played quite poorly. The other blokes had golf clubs in their hands the first time since like September 2018 or so.

What indeed has been quite good these days, has been the food and the drinks in the clubhouse after our stressful, exhaustive training in preparation to reclaim the Deutsche Börse Golf Trophy.

Wish us luck! We might need it!

UPDATE (on tournament day):
Tournament has been cancelled due to inclement weather—heavy rain and thunderstorms… I live not even 10 minutes from the course, I haven’t seen a single rain drop today. That gives us more time to practice though. Yay!

Big Spring/Summer 2019 shop update

New season, new handicap, new clothes? At least it’s time to adjust here and there, we believe.

We updated our shop quite a bit and will continue to do so over the next weeks. Please check the store and see if we have something you might like. Focus is on modern, street-cred apparel such as T-shirts, long sleeves, tank tops, hoodies, etc.

There are items for men and women, some you could wear on a golf course, some which you better should not, and most come with a more or less meaningful pearl of golf-related wisdom on the front side. Others might call it golf nonsense… we say, it’s a statement and golf fans will understand.

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You can easily find the Golficiency store here:

GO SHOPPING

Golficiency is a non-profit blog, so everything we earn, will directly be re-invested in new golf items or travels in order to keep the blog content going.

U.S. Army golf in Wiesbaden

rheinblick-wiesbaden-logoFirst tournament of the year 2019 and I sensed this was going to be a bit special when I checked the website in order to collect some further information about the course.

The Golfclub Rhein-Main in Wiesbaden is a German golf club which shares the course with the Rheinblick Golf Course, a U.S. military facility.

Wiesbaden is a fairly big U.S. Army command base and in that capacity they own the golf course (one of three 18-hole courses in Germany) to provide additional service to the soldiers, military staff and families.

The U.S. Army MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) Division of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command signs responsible for the property and the management of the course. It is therefore no surprise that you have to pay your cash greenfee in dollars, that all staff is American and that the parking space in front of the club house offers enough room to park your Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Suburban or Lincoln Navigator. First thumbs up.

Insta Post Rhein Main

You step into the club house, into a different world. There are Army generals framed in the hall, and adverts of the local car dealers offering their military sales programs.

In my personal tradition I tried to buy a logo ball in the pro shop which was impossible as they only sell goods (balls, clubs, clothes, etc.) to people holding a U.S. military ID card. The only thing I was allowed to buy was a token for the ball machine. That was all—much appreciated though. I was looking for some coins in my wallet and the American pal in the Golf Channel cap said I had to pay in dollars or by card, no Euro cash allowed. He also joked that has something to do with taxes and if it would be allowed, Donald Trump could be the next German Chancellor and how he’d like the idea but most likely Germans wouldn’t… I had no smart comment in that moment (not even a stupid one) and left the pro shop with one ball token, paid by credit card. That was a premiere, too.

It was raining cats and dogs when I warmed up, spent a good amount on the putting green getting soaked and finally met my playing partners at the first tee to kick off my 2019 tournament season.

Another premiere: There is a guy acting as a starter, announcing the next group to tee off. What he’s actually doing; When it’s time, he’s getting out his microphone, toc toc toc, and says something along the lines of “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is the 10:30 starting time of the Deutsche Bank tournament. On the tee: [followed by the names of the people in the group]. Fire away and have fun!”

It was a slightly awkward feeling being announced over loudspeakers but quite cool nonetheless. Definitely something that other clubs should consider, really getting you in the tournament mood!

The course is a proper parkland course with rich tree lines on all holes. Back in the 1950s, after WWII, when this area was converted to a golf course from a military training area, there were no trees whatsoever. This has changed dramatically and it actually looks beautiful nowadays.

The property is quite hilly too, and due to these ups and downs you tend to have great vistas and magnificent views over Wiesbaden and the Rhein-area. It’s called “Rheinblick” (Rhein view) for a reason.

The course condition has been excellent and the architecture is indeed interesting and challenging. There are some tricky doglegs which cost you if you don’t have local knowledge, which I had not.

The pin positions were really tricky today, I mean US Open-Sunday tricky. We joked that this was done on purpose because Deutsche Bank recently released some Donald Trump tax papers to the authorities in relation to the Mueller-investigation and that this was their answer to the Deutsche Bank people to see them suffer. We laughed about it but maybe not a good idea to tell that joke to the U.S. boys in the pro shop…

Three hours in, the sun came out and we could concentrate on pure golf and and look forward to the famous hamburgers in the restaurant after the round. Then shock, the restaurant was closed… WHAT?!

All in all a great course, beautiful setting (one of the nicest in the area), fantastic course quality and a very special touch with all the military atmosphere there. I will definitely be back soon, when it’s sunnier and warmer, and I will carry some dollars with me—I desperately need that Rheinblick logo ball. PM me if you know somebody who could help.

Ball Showcase: Golfclub Worpswede, in the light of recent events

I displayed these two balls already in 2012 but thought I post them today, just because I played Worpswede again after many years and became somewhat emotional about it.

I had much fun there as a youngster, and truly enjoyed being back after such a long time.

One ball features the standard club logo, the other one I bought in 1999 when the club had its 25th anniversary, being founded in 1974.

The logo of the club shows a typical regional peat barge which was common in this Teufelsmoor area in the 17th and 18th century.

A nostalgic day at Golfclub Worpswede

Over Easter I traveled up north with my little family to visit the parents. It’s a 5 hour ride by car on the German Autobahn and definitely not stress-free with a two-year old toddler in the back seat.

gcworpswedeAs we planned to stay almost a week, I packed my golf clubs and thought it would be a good idea to hit a course in the Bremen area. Usually when I see my parents I play Club zur Vahr, Garlstedt course, one of the best courses in the country, or Bremer Schweiz, where I have been a member for a while, too.

This time I thought it would be worthwhile to go back in time and visit Worpswede, the course where I joined as an 18-year old and learned the game from scratch. Back then I became member, together with three friends who all have given up the game since.

Here is where I had my lessons, my first tournaments, my first trophies and so many golf-related memories. It’s a super laid-back club and the course used to be quite interesting. It’s not famous nor outstanding but having seen it again with all my golf experiences so far, it’s pretty underrated I have to say.

So I went shortly after Easter this year to play a round and to walk in my own old footsteps again. And boy, was that an overwhelming round of golf. It all came back to me, once I sat a foot on the property. Holes were coming back to memory, shots were rewound in my head and even the smell of the turf I seemed to recognize.

The course is situated quite remotely in the north-east of Bremen, North Germany. You find absolute silence and very little obstructions to the eye or anything else. Meaning, if you play badly here, there’s only one person to blame…

The day turned out to be optimal for my return. Blue skies and 20°C, no wind and just bird sounds to hear. I used to be a member here for a decade, then dropped out when I started to work after university and for some reason neglected the place for 12 years.

It was about time to come back!

I have to say I played quite poorly that day. It was my first round of golf in 2019 and my range practice sessions that I had earlier in the year appeared to be quite useless unfortunately. It still was an amazing experience and I enjoyed every single hole, most notably:

  • 3: A par-3 which I rarely reached back in the time.
  • 4: Dogleg left with a tree in the middle of the fairway.
  • 5: Drivable par-4 from an elevated tee box, the signature hole.
  • 7: Where I had my first ever birdie. Yay!
  • 10: One of the few water hazards (sorry, “penalty areas carrying water”)
  • 15: I hated this hole as a youngster: Forced carry, out of bounds to the left, water to the right and straight down, the green tucked to the far left behind trees and water. Impossible to score. This week I walked off with a par. Astonished.
  • 16: Beautiful short par-3 over water. Birdie chance.
  • 17: Great approach shot over another water pond. Picture perfect.

This concluded my remembrance round in my first golf club. I had a drink on the terrace, posted the first Instagram picture of my day and then drove off, just like I did for over 10 years—12 years ago.

See you soon, Worpswede. Good to have you.

Tiger did it again!

One of the biggest comebacks in sports or just in golf? Whatever you go for, Tiger’s 2019 Masters win will end up in sports history books as the triumphant comeback of a man who suffered so much pain, lost so much, changed so much and was pretty much absent from the game for so long.

He now came back with a great major tournament, The Masters supposedly one of his favorites, great touch, good drives and the luck of the Irish.

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I take my hat and salute a great man, who went from idol and role model to pretty much the opposite—and back. Fingers crossed he’s feeling home again on the tournament circle and will spark some enthusiasm again, win again and will continue to write history and lead a new generation of golfers to take care of this beautiful sport and its future.

A big ask, I know… But the 2 million dollars he went home with may be a kind of compensation – not that he would need it…

Practice in the right direction

The start of the year has been really slow and unusually quiet in regards to golf for me. As a dad it’s tricky to carve out hours and hours on the course and be as competitive as possible at the same time.

Time is more precious for me, so golf has to be even more efficient. German efficiency, you know what I’m talking about.

I have some range sessions in the books now, not a single golf hole played unfortunately and already cancelled a tournament due to lack of playing experience in this young season.

Yesterday I spent some time out on the range to make some progress.

  • Chipping went very smooth and I went from lob wedge all the way up to 7 iron to spec out my preferred feel and distance. Pretty sure pitching wedge and 9 iron are the ones I will play around greens this year for standard lies.
  • For pitching I was playing around with some different ball positions in standard stance. Really happy with one new position I found which made the ball go up in the air quicker and still get the pace I wanted.
  • Short irons were straight and crisp.
  • Long irons were doing better due to multiple little changes.
  • OK, now to the problematic part of my bag: The hybrid and woods. For years I struggled with rather low ball flight and a tendency to the left. The right-to-left ball flight I could live with for years but still wanted to sport other curves as well. I practiced a more outside-inside swing characteristic and was able to play high fades as well. In terms of ball position I’m still not sure but what I successfully managed was to create a new grip that seems to work very well. Balls have the tendency to go much straighter and much higher now as my address to the ball is different, too. Fingers crossed that wasn’t a one hit wonder.

The handicap is supposed to go down this year. Wish me luck! I keep you posted.
#project12 #break80