Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hurley & I Achieve...Lots of Frustration!

Date: 27th March 2007
Place: Forest Hills Golf & Resort
Weather: Heavy Rain / Wind
Conditions: Dry fairways / Wet greens
Shot of the Day: Jaime's 2nd to the 9th, 8i middle of green with the pressure of clubhouse diners watching on!

Our confidence was high after a good practice the night before, Jaime breaking in his new hybrid club (Nike Slingshot, 20 degree 3w) with great success and Dave's swing evolving with more consistency and distance. Unfortunately all the positives from the night before evaporated on the 1st tee! Jaime smashing his ball through a mini forest to the right and Dave topping his drive about 60 yards...Not a promising beginning.

Indeed the whole outward 9 was painful, seemingly endless duff shots, wrong club selection, green mis-reads as well as some serious trekking through the lovely Hiroshima countryside staring hopefully at the foliage for a small white pimpled object. The worst shot of the day (and there was plenty to choose from!) was recorded on the 6th hole by Jaime who hit the tee shot so far left in was close to landing on the neighbouring Hiroshima International Airport. Only to be being saved from going to airport to ask for his ball back by the border fence. Air traffic control must have been very worried if they had been following our round!

Dave's hopes of avoiding a double figure was also dashed, with a horrendous score on the 6th, but at least he was on the fairway during the hole, unlike Jaime who incredibly rescued a bogie despite not once being on grass less than ankle high. (You are in the rough, you know you should play safe, but hey what the hell right? A curse word and an almighty whack will serve just as good...until you land in the rough again! But hey, you are in the rough, so....)

We trooped in for the luncheon break downhearted and wet from the heavens that had poured on us for most of the morning. Trying to forget the scorecard we both indulged in a delicious lunch. One of the true enjoyments of playing golf in Japan, is the without exception excellent food offered in the clubhouses. (The other 2 being the beer machines/food huts & the bath house after the round) They really set you up for the afternoon play.

With rounder mid-drifts we set out for the afternoon 9 and even though the weather continued to be foul, the scorecard observed a slight improvement, with Jaime at least edging nearer the birdie end than the bogie one. Dave again just failed to achieve is perfect single figure score, but the weather was a distinct handicap. By the last few holes the wind had really got going and with the rain as further hindrance, not too much should be dwelt on the final score. In the end both Dave's and my scorecard wasn't as bad as it looked at the halfway point and the weather did play its part.

Dave could take pleasure from his continued increase in length from the tee, breaking his own yardage distance with a 176 yard drive. Jaime too gained some distance as was getting the ball 250+ by the outward 9. At one hole, according to the computer Dave hit 228 yards and Jaime 331 - so we assumed it was having a momentary loss of control due to the extraordinary dreariness of some of our play. If indeed our little monitor was correct I would have landed right bang on the green from the tee...if only wishing made it so!

Golf Photos
Unpredictable Greens - Missing a birdie on the 10th by running out of juice

On the same green Dave's ball slid 2 feet past...Notice the plane flying overhead

The Scoop & Scrap Method - Dave's unusual way of playing a bunker shot...

Confusingly brown fairways - despite the rain & cold!

Things of real beauty - The traditional Japanese Mid-9 holes Beer Hut! (and loos)

An Applicable Golf Quote:

"Golf is a day spent in a round of strenuous idleness"


William Wordsworth

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Golf: Hurley Sets new P.B.

Date: 21st March, 2007
Place: Tokuyama Country Club Yamaguchi, Japan
Weather: Cold / Sunny
Conditions: Firm
Shot of the Day: Hurley's 7i approcah to the 17th to set up his par.

Noda, Hurley and myself had our first hits of the new golfing year at the attractive, if unforgiving Tokuyamma Country Club yesterday. Let us say there were no surprises in the final standings, yet the day's prize went to Hurley who has much improved his game since his last hit. Indeed, some of his approach play while certainly novel was outstandingly precise. The 17th being his highlight culminating in a 1-put for par that had the old fists pumping. His final tally breaking his previous lowest score by 7 shots!

Noda started sluggishly and was very annoyed with his out 9 score, the only highlight being a par on the tricky (and deceptively long) short 7th. However, after a refueling lunch, he burst out onto the course like a luge down a track. He ended with a lopsided scorecard of 4 pars and birdie in the inward 9.

For me, it was one of those rounds that you just want to forget very quickly. At one point, so bad was my confidence and swing that I was contemplating putting from the tee box – it surely would have moved the ball further! In addition I have developed a mental block with any short holes, doesn’t matter what the lay out, I will find the worst spot to plant my ball…The only small consolation was my putting saved me from a truly hideous scorecard. Without the touch on the green my score could have broken totals not posted since England were as bad as we are now (yes I know there are many, many periods to choose from, but I am referring to the 1988 European Championships, for those who can recall such torture…).

And now for some photos!

Noda & Hurley's legs aren't as young as they used to be! Using the escalator on the 2nd.

The 18th from the Tee

The cool little Electric Golf buggy that kept me amused during a painful round...

Hurley on the 16th. Notice the background! Just in case he shanks his ball...

Some End of Year Mahjong Photos (2006)

After a somewhat Grand Tour of Wales*, Mahjong I ended with Noda being installed as Yokozuna and Hurley having his chonmage shorn. Here are some end of the year photos of the prize giving....

Noda: "The Bull"

Dave: "The Duck"

*Mountains & Valleys = Highs & lows

DEH FC SEASON - 2006 - 2007 REVIEW

We played 9, lost 9 and got relegated.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Some Golf Photos

In 2006 I was fortunate to play golf in several different countries (and yes England is different from Scotland!) and I was just trying to place the courses in some kind of "Jaime Ranking". Before I reveal the results, here are some photos from some of those courses - notice the slight difference in weather conditions!

"2 Swedes & Yorkshireman feel the warm coastal breeze, NE England, Winter, Freezing - Dunstanburgh Links Course

T Woods (Tim) trying a rescue on the par 3 13th. You got to hit over the North Sea...

Perfect for Swimming! View from the 13th

My Very helpful Caddy who had more belief in me than I did! Phuket

The Excellent Grand Canyon Course and the Blue Lagoon C.C, Phuket

Forest Hills G.C, Hiroshima - View from the 14th

Forest Hills, Me taking a swing on the 10th

Warkworth G.C, Northumberland England

The very short, very tricky, always windy Warkworth G.C

Mount Oswald G.C. 8th Hole - Winter fairway green - almost an eagle! (due to the somewhat uneven playing surface a lucky par..)

Flynn's first taste of golf - he was quite good!


My Favourites

1.St Andrews R&A

The Most Historic, The Most Popular, The Greatest and it's very best feature - it's a public course.

2.Close House G.C, Newcastle

The Cheapest Course I have ever played (about 130 times) Henrik & Tim know to what I refer to...

3. Alnwick Golf Course Northumberland

Long and almost always soaking wet, but incorporating some of the most beautiful scenery and odd bits of history to be found on any course. Also, I once birdied the massive uphill Par 5...

4. Misawa Setouchi Golf Resort, Hiroshima

Simply a stunning course. Very long, but on a hot summer day the ball can carry on and on and on. Also the beer huts, Club house and bath house are incredibly welcoming...

5. Boldon Golf Course, County Durham

A nice compact course that has some challenging holes. Also the only course in which I have had to carry the ball over a cemetery! Lots of variation and natural obstacles to overcome. Some surprisingly difficult short Par 3's.

6. Mount Oswald Mannor G.C, County Durham

A course that is beautiful in summer, but a real pain in winter. Cheap and very relaxed atmosphere for 18 holes. The 18th is a wonderful last hole, with the old manor house behind it and surrounded by trees.

7. Forest Hills Golf & Resort, Hiroshima

Another long and beautiful course - similar to Setouchi, but a bit flatter and less troublesome water! The golf buggies with the computerized ball yardage is a nice touch.

8. Newbury & Crookham G.C, Berkshire

My first regular golf course! A stickler for rules and dress code - no cycling caps allowed on this course. Members can be somewhat stuffy to younger players, but the course is great with lots of everything - water, trees, rough and animals! The long par 5 18th can add a cruel addition to a good score.