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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.

ShopUpdate2019

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

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…