Up-and-down at Licher Golf Club

Or better: down and back up again.

On the weekend I played a tournament at Licher Golf Club. This was my second round I played with my new Titleist CBs and I’m still in the process to familiarize myself with the club, the shaft, the distance and the feel in general.

So far, so good. I know Lich being a track in excellent condition throughout the year. It’s not an easy course and can be tricky here and there so a little experience is helpful.

The start is brutal: First hole, over water, dogleg right par-5! Never played par here as far as I remember. Stroke index 1. I wouldn’t say I was starting cold but my score was kind of freezy on Saturday. At least on the first nine.

After the turn I had scored 51 shots which for me equals 12 net points (5 gross). Oh my! On the second half I needed only 40 shots that translate to 22 net points (14 gross). You can imagine I liked the second half better.

So in hindsight I’m quite OK with 34 total net points, having in mind my weak start and that I’m only playing with my irons. I carried my 5-wood but refrained from using it as I feared the dispersion. What’s needed now is to create a bit more consistency with my new irons and then maybe get some training sessions in with my woods in order to get them in play more often.

My 2-iron usually has a distance of up to 200 meters. So I’m not much shorter than my fellow bogey golfers with their drivers. Often I’m farther even (and silently enjoy the moment having somebody out-driven with an iron).

I’m still a bit disappointed with my handicap direction this year though. Instead of going down to single digits I’m up by 0.4. Not a drama but still not the desired outcome so far. But I’m on it, promise to practice more and will card another great round this year to get me down a little (hopefully).

Wish me luck.

[UPDATE. I finally received the full results of the tournament. Actually came out 2nd place… Who would have thought!]

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.

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!

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.

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…

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.

Playing plays out, finally!

 

I have to say it’s difficult to accommodate a full job, a family, a house, multiple hobbies, friends and a sport like golf – oh, and sleep too.

As a consequence I don’t play as often as I wish but just so often that family is happy, I’m happy and I get enough sleep at night to be fit for the office. So training is pretty much out of the picture.

To put that in perspective: I’ve hit the range three times this year, short course once, private rounds three times and played nine tournaments so far of which one was a fun tournament with my company and all the others had effect on my handicap.

If I could chose I would play golf twice a week, but currently that’s not in scope so I have to life with it. What I do miss as well is coming around a bit, traveling here and there, taking my clubs with me, checking out new courses, new resorts, being on the road with my sticks. That would be cool again…

But not now. I get some rounds in, mainly through the tournaments I play in the German Rhine-Main area.

Couple of weeks ago I played Zimmerner Golf Club. Nice course, not spectacular but interesting. I played 45 stableford net points and won 1st prize. My handicap came down by 2.7 to 13.9.

I was over the moon because for the last months my game struggled – I mean I struggled with my game.

I didn’t practice much. But playing constantly, making the right adjustments here and there progressed and I do feel much more comfortable with everything now. Played more with thy hybrid, and plan to make my way up to the driver in multiple iterations.

I have time.

*dreamingofscratch*

Frankfurter Golfclub, once a year tradition.

 

Once a year I play Frankfurter Golfclub, the poshest club around my place, that’s my rule. It’s a great course, manicured, designed by the famous Bernhard von Limburger and always well maintained. Even when the sun is burning everything else to death.

I played a tournament here and I really enjoyed it again here. Well, first I hated it, then I loved it.

For the first three holes I had to pick up the ball. No score possible. Total crap what I played but I remained calm. My playing partners began to whisper about me and they looked concerned but hey, it was a Friday, it was sunny, I was on a great golf course, I just wanted to have some little fun.

And the fun came later. After the 3 holes on which I had to pick up the ball I played really decent golf. On the remaining 15 holes I guess I a couple of bogeys, a couple of pars and just maybe two doubles.

I went home with a smile.

Flat but bloomy: Bad Vilbeler Golfclub Lindenhof

To kick off my tournament season earlier this year I decided to play a round at Bad Vilbeler Golfclub Lindenhof, north of Frankfurt, Germany. I played this course once before, but only for 12 holes or so.

So I was excited that day, the weather was holding up quite nicely and I was really interested to see the rest of the course. In early summer, when everything is in full bloom, this course is supposed to be extremely beautiful. That day was a little different, no blossom to be seen.

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Great stage for today's Deutsche Bank tournament.

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The course is rather flat but interesting nontheless. On many holes you find water as the prominent hazard, on most holes you do find however multiple areas you wouln’t want to place your ball.

The 9 and 18 really stand out in my opinion. The 9th is a par-5 dogleg right with a huge pond right in front of the mens tees. Either you are overly brave (and good enough) and drive over the water, or you lay up to the left and start to play to the right side starting with the secon shot. Great hole. What’s cool as well is the fact that you have a telephone at the tee box with which you can order something to drink or eat at the halfway house. So when you reach the 10th 15 minutes later, everything is waiting for you. Cool.

The 18th is a par-3 towards the clubhouse. What makes it special is the sheer amount of water you find on that hole.

So playing Bad Vilbel was a treat, a nice course, definitely not perfect but when you are in the area anyway, Bad Vilbel is a nice addition to your list – and stay for dinner if you can and enjoy the evening.

Wrong direction, dear handicap!

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In the beginning of the year I was pushing myself into as many tournaments as possible in order to gain some important tourney experience and to bring down my handicap to the level I was hoping for.

12 is the magic number for 2015, #project12 it was called, my pursuit for greatness. I’m practicing a lot, playing as often as I can (once a week) and try to get better in all aspects of the game.

In the early period of the year I slightly changed my swing rhythm. I’m swinging much slower now, earning much more consistency off the tee—and I was happy as it always has been the long game I was struggling with.

So from one day to the other I was dead straight and even single handicappers envied my consistency. Funnily enough this came with a complete loss of putting abilities. Don’t ask me why, but for years I had decent touch around and on the greens and now, I was just not able to execute accurate putts anymore. 3-putts and even 4-putts been the result.

Last week, first sight of a weird change. Not doing anything differently, I somehow couldn’t play long shots anymore (my driver doesn’t count, I can’t hit it anyway), no 3-wood, no hybrid, no 4- or 5-iron! But my putting became better I have to say…

Whatever that is, and whatever I have to do to get rid of it, it came at very unsuitable time; my tournament season. I was down to a handicap of 14.6, now 15.1 again, although 12 was the overall goal for this year. Seems like I have to practice bit harder.

Last week’s tournament has been no exception. OK, I had a little hangover and my hay-fever is killing me currently but after a stretch of good holes and 18 stableford points on the front 9, I broke down to, I don’t know exactly 9, 10 or 11 points for the second half. My game was completely wrecked, and I went home ready to cry.

Next steps to work on:

  1. Getting the long game back on track
  2. Do some fancy putting drills because standard putt training is so damn boring
  3. Never leave it short at putting again
  4. Not neglect chipping/pitching
  5. Try to get the holy 1-wood work again

Nothing stops me from #project12!