End of the official golf season here in Colorado

Here on the Front Range in Colorado, we’ve had our first snow. For many here, that marks the end of golf season. That’s very fortunate for those of us here in the Rocky Mountain West that don’t mind golfing when the weather is a bit cooler. In fact, M and I played a small executive course here in Denver on Sunday afternoon. The sun was shining and the temps were in the 70’s.

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The golf league finished on September 29. I took 3rd with a 43. The winner shot a 40 on the par 31 course. She’s won in the past – in fact I tied with her last year for first. I had a rocky summer, with my swing being a a bit challenged. I think it’s mostly straightened out after taking a series of lessons with a coach. I’m still struggling with my driver. If I’m still struggling next Spring, I may take the driver in and have it cut down a bit.

As the weather cools, we need to pay attention to equipment. I like to clean my clubs and clean out my bag. Here on the Front Range, the mice move into garages during the winter. I have a bad habit of leaving Gorp in my bag. Since Gorp is made up of peanuts, raisins, cashews, and chocolate pieces, mice love it. I’ve had one bag ruined after mice chewed it up trying to get into it for food and shelter. So, clean up your equipment and clean out the food in your bag. You’ll not want to eat it next year anyway!

What do you do to get ready for winter golf? Let us know in the comments.

 

Flooding in Colorado

It looks like our week of rain is done. Hopefully, our monsoon is over! The course was very wet during our round on Saturday morning. The greens were so wet you could see the water coming off the ball as it rolled. It was very difficult to judge the speed of the ball.

I know of several courses that had challenges with the weather over the week, including Fossil Trace which shut down a few times due to standing water. I think it’s safe to say that the Estes Park courses are closed or in recover. The river actually runs through the Par 3 there. I haven’t seen any recent pictures of the course, but would guess it was under water at some point.

For anyone that has an interest in donating money to help the victims of the flooding, go to HelpColoradoNow.com.

August 15 at the Solheim Cup

The weather has been great here this week! No rain, or even the threat of rain. It’s been hot and sunny. Hope all the flatlanders that have joined us here in Parker have used their sunscreen! I saw some pretty red faces yesterday morning at the course.

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The ladies set off on their practice rounds about 9:30 yesterday. The galleries followed like a brightly colored waterfall. I hung out on the ropes between the 3rd and 4th holes, getting autographs and taking some photos of the players. Michelle Wie and Brittney Lang were wearing red, white, and blue leggings. Not a bad look, but definitely one that looked odd from far away.

Hole #3 at the Colorado Golf Club has an interesting approach – like most of the holes on this course. The green is guarded by an arroyo across the front and around to the right. The green slopes into the arroyo, so if the ball doesn’t get to the middle of the green, it definitely will roll back into the weeds. Each lady took a couple of shots to get this one right!

The crowds were respectful. The players were generous with signing anything put in front of them. Since it’s not likely you’ll get much of a chance to get anything signed in the next few days, folks were really trying to get all the players signatures on the tee flags, visors, and hats.

I left around 11:30 and returned for the opening ceremonies in the evening. We got there an hour before the ceremony was set to start and the venue looked full already. What a great crowd! Patti Sheehan was dancing around and signing at the back of the seating area. It was quite a party through the event, with raucous cheers when the players were introduced. Meg Mallon and Liselotte Neumann gave great speeches that revved up the crowds.

We slipped out before the other thousands and managed to get back to the parking lot before the throngs arrived. We even talked about going to Germany for the next Solheim Cup. We’ll have to see about that.

I have tickets for tomorrow. Watching the teams today, Europe is up so far. Yikes! Go USA!

Practice day at the Solheim Cup

The practice rounds started at the Solheim Cup in Parker, Colorado. We headed down to the course this afternoon hoping to catch some of the players practicing on the course. The crowds seemed light when we got there about 1:30 p.m. We started at the driving range where Brittney Lincicome, Angela Stamford, and Gerina Piller were hitting balls. We didn’t see any of the European team at the driving range or chipping green.

Driving Range, Colorado Golf Club
Driving Range, Solheim Cup, August 14

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We walked down along hole #15 and #16. The course looks like it’s in excellent shape. As we walked over to putting green, a couple of the European players were practicing their putting.  Working our way around to the 1st tee, we headed up into the deserted grandstand to look at the course from above. Looking over the #9 hole, we noticed a player heading up the fairway and decided to go check it out.

Hole 15 Green
Hole 15 green, Colorado Golf Club, Parker, CO

Standing by the green, we watched as Morgan Pressel worked her way up the fairway. She stopped about 120 yards out and hit a couple shots to the green. The first one landed about 5 feet from the hole. Her other shots hit the green, but the second and third weren’t nearly as close. She came up to the green and hit a few chip shots, then a few pitches. The caddy through out a couple of marks and Morgan hit a few puts. While putting she hit a long put across the green that directly hit the mark. The small crowd applauded and Morgan said, “Ahh, you guys can do that!” You could hear the laughter.

Morgan Pressel
Morgan Pressel, hole #9. Colorado Golf Club, Solheim Cup

As she finished, she thanked the gallery that had followed her and headed in to the clubhouse. It’s fun watching her play.

I’ll be heading back to the course tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll see a few more players and get some autographs. I’d also like to see the opening ceremonies. Until tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

Applewood Golf Course – in the shadow of the foothills

From the east side of the city, we drove through two separate rain showers before we pulled up to the Applewood Golf Course with the sun shining and the clouds moving off. To the west of Denver and nestled in a Golden neighborhood, Applewood Golf Course is providing golfers with a great budget alternative.

The pro shop is down the hill and round the corner. The staff is pleasant and helpful as they made our tee time, took our money and returned our receipt. We took the code and the advice to wait for the ball machine at the driving range as it pauses between drops. Hitting a few balls on the driving range got us limbered up and ready for the first tee.

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The course is a fairly short, 6188 yards from the back tees and 5386 from the fronts. The longest hole is 529 from those back tees, which means lower handicappers may be able to reach the green in two.

The first hole is a short, straight par four with the driving range along the right side. The second hole is set up behind the green for the first hole and is a par 3. There’s a lake to the right, but it’s not in play. On the third hole, the back tees are set so that player shoot over a swamp onto the fairway. The view through the scrub was intimidating, but our group managed to get over with no problem. Once out on fairway, be aware of stray shots from the other fairways. This hole played slow for us as we waited for folks to retrieve or hit their shots to other fairways.

Applewood Golf Course Hole #1
Applewood Golf Course Hole #1

 

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #2
Applewood Golf Course Hole #2

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #3
Applewood Golf Course Hole #3

Hole #4 is one of the par fives on this course at 458 from the back tees. It’s pretty straight with long rough on the right and hard pack on the left. The fairway went from patchy to soggy on this hole, but there aren’t any other hazards to avoid. Hole #5 is a sharp dogleg right. There’s a large pond on the right that is fenced off and doesn’t belong to the course. There’s also a large tree that sits in the middle of the fairway. Once around the corner, the green is slightly elevated and tend to move left to right.

Applewood Golf Course Hole #4
Applewood Golf Course Hole #4

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #5
Applewood Golf Course Hole #5

 

Hole number 6 is a short par 4 and dogleg left. There’s a bunker guarding the left side of the green, so stay right on the approach. Number 7 is the short par 5 and with a dogleg right around a pond. There’s a lot of tall rough around the pond, so hit towards the tree on the right to avoid the hazard. Once you get a view of the green, notice the small water hazard guarding the green on the left. You’ll want to keep your approach shot to the right.

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Applewood Golf Course Hole #6
Applewood Golf Course Hole #6

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #7
Applewood Golf Course Hole #7

 

Number eight was a fun hole. It’s a short par 4 with a sharp dogleg left that goes uphill after the turn. Low handicappers may be able to hit over the corner and get close to the large green. For those of us that play the fairway, on the way up the hill be aware of the large bunkers guarding the front of the green. The green is also a challenge, moving distinctly down the hill.

Applewood Golf Course Hole #8
Applewood Golf Course Hole #8

Hole #9 is a par 3 over a pond, 203 yards from the back tees and 99 from the fronts. There’s a bit of room to overshoot, but the green is large. Two of the four of us hit the green and were able to par the hole.

 

Applewood Golf Course Hole #9
Applewood Golf Course Hole #9

We only had time to play nine on this course. The back nine looks similar to the front, with number 14 another par 3 over a pond. Overall this is a nice course to play. It’s not too difficult and there aren’t a lot of hazards to worry about. For the high handicapper, this course is a good choice. For the long shooter, there are several chances to drive the green and eagle, though play might be a bit slow. The course looked a bit stressed, though the greens were in reasonable shape. It looked like the grounds team was working on replacing some tee boxes around holes 4, 11, and 12. We enjoyed the round enough that we’ll be back to play again.

Applewood Golf Course, 14001 W. 32nd Avenue, Golden, CO  80401. (303) 279-3003, www.applewoodgc.com

 

Swing drills to help off the tee

I’ve been spending some time with a golf instructor over the past few weeks. I suddenly had a problem hitting my driver, and my iron shots were becoming much more erratic. I firmly believe that if you want to have fun while you play, sometimes it’s necessary to get professional help. And I really needed professional help!

I’m a decent player. My official handicap is 30 as calculated by the Colorado Women’s Golf Association. I’d like do get it down to the mid-20’s if possible but I wasn’t getting anywhere. In fact, my scores were creeping up instead of down. So, off to the driving range.

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The issues with my swing are myriad, but the basics include being too tense and basically not letting my swing take it’s course. I have a bad habit of slowing down before I get to the ball, then standing up just about the same time I try to hit it. There’s plenty more, but let’s just start there.

The drills I’ve been doing to help correct this are very simple.

  • Without the club I stand as if I’m addressing the ball and gently rotate my shoulders, letting my arms swing in a natural arch.  This helps to develop muscle memory when I finally do have a club in my hand.
  • Grabbing a club, I grip it lightly and trying to swing from my shoulders in a natural arc. I don’t go all the way back or complete the follow-through. I’m trying to develop the muscle memory of relaxing through the swing and not stopping the club. I have a bad tendency to tense up and my arms become rigid. Rigidity in a swing is not good.
  • Grabbing a club about half way down with one hand, swing my arms back and forth imitating a swing. This allows me to see how my wrist, arm and shoulder is working together to produce power. I also have a tendency to use my hands to hit the ball, with my arms and shoulders just coming along for the ride. That’s part of the reason my shots are much more erratic.
  • With my driver I make a half swing, practicing taking the club all the way through without hesitating. I mostly hit the ball in the right direction.

My bad habits have become deeply entrenched. The movements I’m trying to learn are much harder to implement than I would have thought. My instructor has a great deal of patience as she helps me through this torture. But I’m hoping that once I get this mastered, the game will be much more enjoyable, and my scores will begin to come down.

Have you ever used an instructor? How did that go? Talk about it in the comments below.


Start of the golf season

It’s been a busy few months! We started our golf league at the end of April. I played that weekend and the next, and then time got away from me. My two sons graduated from college in the same weekend, so we had company starting Mother’s Day weekend and going through Memorial Day. I did get in several rounds of golf, but between working and visitors, the blog took a back seat.

As the season gets rolling, it’s clear that something bad has happened to my swing. I can’t seem to hit the ball with my driver, and my other shots are becoming more erratic as well. This is depressing, but not uncommon. Today I called the pro at the golf course to schedule a few lessons to correct whatever it is that is wrong.

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I find that when I start playing again in the Spring, my game is fine. But then I seem to disintegrate into a few bad habits and need to spend some time with an instructor. I know several folks that won’t call for help. They just flounder, trying to fix it without really knowing what is wrong. That doesn’t seem like fun to me.

I think that if you like to play, and your game has suffered, try to put it right. Golf is a game, and should be enjoyable. If you’re not having fun, for whatever reason, why play at all? So I’ll go to my lesson on Friday night and learn some fixes for my swing issues. The game is  more fun if you play better.

Do you call in help when you need it? Let us know below.