1) What Golf Looked Like in 2014
On 31 March 2014, I played the first round of golf (9 holes) in 8 months of time away for varying reasons. I pared the first hole and birdied the 2nd. -1 after 2 holes!. The rest of the round went okay. I was just happy to get out.
While I didn’t play a lot of unique courses this year (11), 7 of them were new. 5 were private. I played my first course to host a major championship, and then went on to play another one that has done so. While the beginning of the season was so-so, the end of the year ended with a bang.
2) Where have all the courses gone? Long time passing.
On the immediate Westside of Cincinnati, we lost two courses in 2014: Hillview and Deer Run. Hillview was nothing really special, and is being developed upon. With Deer Run, a course I was even less fond of, that will likely be developed pending various approvals.
From a golf perspective, I don’t think anything was really lost here. Delhi Par 3 and Woodland are still available for beginners and juniors, Neumann Muni is still around for the regular golfer, Aston Oaks is still around for a challenge, and Western Hills is still around for private golf. Given the number of people playing golf going down, this is simply economics at play.
We almost lost Weatherwax, but the course has been saved for at least another year. Perhaps Middletown does not need a 36 hole golf facility. But it’s a mostly decent course and always in good shape. Would rather see others go before this one.
Lastly, Piqua Country Club, which dates back 118 years with 8 Donald Ross holes, has gone bankrupt and is ceasing current operations on 01 Jan 2015. It’ll be interesting to see if the course can somehow reopen, or if it is lost for good.
3) Playing at 6:30. Or, beggars can’t be choosers.
A decent amount of my golf came from playing the local muni at 06:30 (AM) on Thursday mornings. This enabled me a time to play 9, with little interruption to family responsibilities, and still make it to work on time. The conditions were usually a bit moist and there was no warm-up periods. But overall, I learned that as a husband and father of two kids under 4, you take what you can get, and you’re happy with it.
4) Turbulators and other golf equipment
As a guy who normally shied away from OEM golf equipment, I made a sudden about face and purchased a Ping G30 driver. I did not intend on going with the PING, but after a fitting, it was the best fit by far for length and forgiveness. One 9 hole round with it went really well. Another round didn’t go as well, but that was more swing faults than the driver. Hoping to continue to fine tune the swing to optimize my driving length.
I’ll also be looking to swap out most of the bag in 2015. I like collecting golf equipment as much as playing with it, and there are a number of my clubs that date back many years. They’re still fully functional, but just looking for a change. I suspect I’ll end up with all OEM equipment; again for a change of pace. The person I was 5 years ago would scoff at this.
5) Club. Whoops!
Let’s just say I need to wait a bit before this becomes a reality.
6) Mark Crossfield, Coach Lockey, et al.
After my complete collapse of a golf swing at Canterbury, I decided I needed to seek out some instruction. I came across internet golf celebrity, Mark Crossfield, and his band of interesting characters. I’ve found some really good golf instruction that I’ve been able to apply to my game. Swing faults take a while to fix, but so far the results have been good. I’m hoping that another few months I’ll be able to see the results on the course with consistency. I also hope he keeps on doing the video blogs of courses. His vlog of St. Enodoc was the best one yet. Still hoping for Westward Ho! (Royal North Devon).
7) Plans for 2015
In 2015, I plan on continuing my quest to get through the OINK Dream List. I will continue to grab rounds at 6:30AM at the local muni. I do plan a visit to the Jersey Shore again where I have two courses in mind. Other than trying to get my oldest daughter to ride in the cart with me for 9 holes on a Saturday afternoon, I’m not sure what 2015 has planned for me. Either way, looking forward to it!