I've recently rekindled my interest in golf. I played lots of golf as a young man, but not so much in the past 15 years.
Now there's the internet and podcasts and blogs to add to all the old things which spur the obsession that is golf.
I was listening to some outstanding podcasts from GolfSmarter, hosted by Fred Greene. They are so professionally produced, they are a welcome change from many of the amatuerish podcasts of all genres out there.
Since I can't link directly to the podcast (neither on the website nor on iTumes), if you want to listen to the ones I'm about to review, then go to the website, and scroll down to the podcast episode's date and click to listen.:
Apr 20 2006 - "Once you're on the course" with PGA director of instruction Joe Sievers. :
Here Sievers talks about mental attitude on the golf course, and the importance of playing the shot you are about to play. Not the last shot, not the next shot, just the one you are about to play. Sort of the power of positive thinking for golfers. He explains it better than I can. That's why the podcast takes about 20 minutes.
Apr 04 2006 - Jim Fazio, legendary course designer, on The Country Club of Oxford, a new project. :
Fazio has been designing golf courses for more than 40 years, and here talks about how he does it, his philosophy behind his designs and the practical aspects of building a new course, or redesigning an old one. There's also hints for golfers on how to play his courses, and these probably apply to lots of other designers' courses too. For reasons which are explained on the podcast, he also talks at length about The Country Club of Oxford, one of his most recent works.
Oct 31 2006 - David Leadbetter Academy Senior Instructor Aaron Fagan. :
Fagan talks about his experience working with Leadbetter, swing aids, and what to do during the months when golf cannot be played in cold (freezing) climates such as the northern U.S.
Dec 12 2006 - Playing the Top 100 courses in the world.:
This was probably the most enjoyable and fascinating of the podcasts. It's an interview with a guy, who remains anonymous, who has made it his quest to play all 100 of the best golf courses in the world as rated on a particular list. He writes his blog anonymously so that his frank opinions will not embarrass members who may have invited him to play a particular course as their guest. He talks in the interview at length about how he came to start his mission, and about his favorite courses amongst the 100. Expecially interesting are his hints about how to gain access to ultra private clubs. The sense of irony and humour which is apparent from my subsequent reading of his blog also comes out in the interview, as is the sense of humour of the interviewer, Fred Greene. It's easy for the listener to relate to the blogger, as he is of intermediate standard as a golfer, having a 16 handicap.
"One of the characteristics you need to play the top 100 golf courses in the world is an open mind, a great sense of curiosity and a love of golf, travel and adventure. It is in this spirit that I am always looking for new ways to get onto golf courses I haven't yet played."
and here's a course he raves about in the odcast interview, one of his favourites, Sand Hills Golf Club.
ADDED: For more on the Sand Hills Golf Club, see this analysis from golfclubatlas.com. After noting how the course designers and builders have improved on nature, scroll to the bottom of that page for a stunning, nay shocking, photograph of a man belittled by the sand bunker in which he is standing.
Losing is not sad, or even infuriating, so much as it is itchy. A loss is uncomfortable, awkward, a disturbance in the force, and it doesn’t matter how many times it happens, it always feels that way
A team wins by doing the few clear but immensely difficult things that all its members have known, for their entire careers, that they must do
... there is a great deal of nuance to losses. There are games lost on unfortunate bounces, on injuries, on fatigue, on bad calls. There are close, down-to-the-wire losses and losses so one-sided that it’s as if only one team was even there. A game can be lost on one bad play or twenty, and sometimes even on none at all. Each of these losses is different, they feel different and they are, in fact, structurally different.
It is true, then, that a game can be lost easily on individual failings. But it can only be won as a team.
e, I don't know if you aspire to a job as a sportswriter. If you do, I hope someone spots you soon and gives you a job. I like what you say and how you say it. You go, girl.
And there's this very charming story about how Don Carmen found some long forgotten fan letters in his garage and wrote replies 15 years after their receipt. He had worked diligently during his pitching career to answer every fan letter personally.
Back in the 70's and early 80's there was a fad going on around the world to line up thousands of dominos and then topple them in a chain reaction. Read about that old-school phenom here and here. Those stunts used to feature on the nightly TV news.
A few Japanese guys have brought that tired old sport up to date. Turn up the sound and view the YouTube here.