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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

Is match play the better golf to watch?

I haven’t had much time to watch the Dell Technologies Match Play on TV over the weekend. My parents visited for a couple of days and golf became 6th priority, if at all.

What I realized however in the small snippets I got to watch through social media, and that’s no real surprise, match play is pretty cool to watch. I followed the Ryder Cup extensively in the past years and the various match play variants they play there are truly fascinating to watch and much more exciting than the stuff we tend to see in normal tournaments every other week.

Don’t get me wrong, a Masters weekend with 5 guys in contention is pretty exciting too, but a whole weekend in mano-a-mano battles in order to get to the next stage is something refreshing in golf, at least in front of the television. And it must be for the players too! No fixed schedule, just need to beat the next guy in line, not playing against the own abilities but actually against another person. And it’s social media heaven, I’d reckon.

I’d be in favor to see more of these, even if that would mean that there are fewer players to see in total. I say there’s more strategy, more battle, more excitement and consequently a shame we don’t see it that much on regular tour.

What do you think?

Good start into 2019

Finally I managed to kick off my 2019 season. It’s late March, weather has been nice at times but in the mornings I still have to free my car from ice due to minus degrees overnight.

Until I own a property in the Mediterranean some day and could golf all year round, I guess I’m forced to start my season not earlier than March. Temperatures still are quite fluctuating and hence the weather is a bit unpredictable and therefore not optimal for a start into the year.

This may sound a bit whiny, but… yeah, it does sound whiny, doesn’t it. Point taken.

Anyway, on the weekend I kicked off with my first range session of 2019. And I have to report that I was pretty happy about the performance. Not that I expected that I lost it all, but generally everything was working pretty much, similar to last year.

Short game touch was there, mid-irons were on point, fades and draws were identifiable, and even my ever problematic long game was not too shabby.

Long story short, I’m looking forward to a successful new season. Can’t wait to get 18 holes in soon and pick my game up from there.

Wish me luck.

How Arabs teach the western world about female equality

jordan golfI stumbled about this while flipping through the European Tour website the other day. I don’t do that very often, mainly because I don’t find the time. Generally I appreciate all golf related news, it’s just too much nowadays. Not counting great golf blogs even! :)

But what caught my eye was not an article or a pro event, it was an advert (the one shown here). Good for them, you might argue, but it turned out this is an ad for quite an interesting golf tournament—from various angles.

The tournament is called “Ayla Jordan Mixed Open Golf Tournament” which basically tells you everything. It’s a golf tournament played in Jordan, featuring men and women fighting for the same trophy at the same time in a mixed event. “This is stemming from Ayla’s beliefs that despite their biological differences, men and women have equal power and equal opportunities for financial independence, education and personal development”, the website reads.

While it’s a bit sad that the equality of men and women still is something to promote actively, it is indeed quite interesting to see a tournament organized in that fashion—and who would have thought that amongst the first ones doing that, these are based in the heartland of religious female inequality: Jordan, with the course being just 30 minutes from the Saudi-Arabian border.

Before you come up with some counter arguments: I know Jordan is by far not the most religious country in that region and I actually know some very educated, western-oriented females from Lebanon or other Arab countries, very well with both feet on the ground. So the picture, of course, is not black and white, but still it is something which could be a model or at least fire spark for every golf club in your country: start with one club tournament a year in which men and women are treated completely the same and see if that’s a model you’d appreciate. Don’t take everything too seriously and just enjoy the new format. I sincerely believe this would create some headlines!

Because “we share the same drive” indeed.

And by the way, the course doesn’t look too shabby either…

The world laughed about Rory’s shoes

…in the end he’s the one laughing—with a $2.25 million smile.

I’m not good at betting and my money definitely wouldn’t be on Rory lately, but after quite a long period of time during which he wasn’t able to win or at least substantially satisfy, he came out with a win at the 2019 Players Championship, the unofficial 5th major tournament.

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Wear gold, win gold. 🏆

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This young bloke is in the hunt for the career slam and personally I keep my fingers crossed for him. I wish him well, wish he’s able to make a move on the PGA Tour and in particular in the majors (and in the Ryder Cup, but that’s a different story). He has the potential and, believe it or not, he matured and is able to get his head around things happening on the course.

What you saw over the weekend was a crystal clear Rory McIlroy, focussing on the next shot, on the win, on getting better and taking a lesson from every suboptimal shot. There were indeed some as putting is actually not his strong suit, but boy can he drive the ball off the tee! And I’m not sure if I would stand the pressure to take out driver on the 18th on Sunday that close to Jim Furyk, risking a play-off.

Rors did and he did win this prestigious tournament in fashion. Frankly I missed a big jubilance and thought he was a bit too cold, but that’s I guess the case when you won dozens of tournaments and your big aim is that huge career slam—with the rest being just practice under tougher conditions.

Congratulations, Rory!

Getting ready for 2019, equipment, practice and rules

Season prep is in full swing. While it’s still cold around here, and I’m actually on a short ski break at the moment, I did my bit already to get the season ready for 2019:

Clubs are cleaned, put in the carry bag for the early-year practice, shoes are cleaned (three new pairs of golf kicks put on the Amazon wishlist too), rain gear packed, hats sorted, markers, pencils, tees and gloves put aside and new dozen of Titleist’s Tour Softs as well.

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2019 will be the second season I’ll play my PING G400 clubs; 4 wedges, 4-9, hybrid, 3- and 5-wood plus driver.

This season however I want to see some real progress in terms of playing abilities, but seriously who doesn’t. Have to get out on the range rather sooner than later. The first session is planned for next week, followed by some heavy pracice and finally the first round of golf by end of April.

I’m already enrolled for 5 tournaments this year, more to come, but this keeps up the pressure – in a good sense.

Another preparation to the season 2019 has to be up-to-date with the new golf rules. Obviously the new golf rules were introduced for the recreational player in order to speed up the game, which I indeed appreciate. It’s just that these rules (or at least some of them) should not be applied for the pro tours if you ask me. It’s still a weird picture to see top players leaving the flag in for a short putt. Not sure I like that…

Sun come out, let‘s get going

The year 2019 is two months old, Germany and basically the most part of Europe is cold, rainy and unpredicatable. It’s time we see some major improvements in the temperature!

Some golf nuts are already practising for the new season, some courses opened their summer greens and more or less everybody is waiting for the spring and summer time to get out on a more regular basis and play.

I don’t know about you, I need sunshine for a round I enjoy.

This picture shows Kronberg Golf und Land Club, the club house, hotel and restaurant of a local club, where I tend to play once or twice a year. And it gets me into golf mood every time I pass the big entrance gates of the property – longing for better weather to kick off the golf season 2019.

Ball Showcase: Golf Club Schloss Braunfels

Two weeks ago I played Schloss (Castle) Braunfels, a rather hilly course in the Taunus mountains.

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Last week‘s souvenir from Braunfels.

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Never played here before, so I got myself a ball as souvenir and played a decent round of golf — at least the first nine have been very ok, then the heat paid its tribute. Shame that they neglect the course in the heat wave currently. Most of the fairways were brown. Doesn’t look good but kicks the ball even further… I don’t have a problem with length but esthetically I prefer lush green.

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This is how a thirsty golf course looks like…

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On hole 3 I chipped from the rough with my lob wedge, the ball went right into the cup and sprung back out. That would have been so cool. Next time.