Posted by: randyhaaggolf | February 21, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO CITY GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP 2014

7 years ago I was inspired to start this blog and cover the historic SF City, I never thought I would still be writing about this event or others. Over the past 7 years the SF City has continued its steady decline in media popularity, and now even qualifying scores are hard to find. The official website of the event http://sfgolfchampionship.com has improved over the years, with scores sometimes making it onto the website the day of the event.

This years amazing weather in January made it clear that we would be hit with some difficult weather during the city, and did it ever come true. The qualifying two weeks ago was perhaps some of the worst weather I’ve ever played in anywhere in the world. Not only did it rain hard for 6 hours straight while we played, be we also had hit winds to make matters even worse. The greens were so saturated with water that on many occasions chipping on the greens was the only chance you’d have.

The weather conditions certainly played into the highest qualifying score in the history of the event, or at least what anyone can ever remember. I think I can remember one bad weather year when 154 was a playoff, this year a WHOPPING +19 over par 159 for 36 holes will playoff tomorrow morning at Presidio at 7:00 AM. There will be 12 players vying for 9 spots. Tomorrow the field of 64 will play match one of the SF City that this year will be contested over a record 5 weeks. I’m unsure as to the logic behind playing a qualifier 2 weeks prior to the commencement of the match play portion of the event. Because Harding Park is unavailable this year due to the replacement of all the greens, The Presidio took the tournament for the 2014 event.

I am actually very grateful to all those on the SF City Golf committee that dedicate their time to make this event as good as possible. The history if this event is second to none on a national basis, where some of the best matches in golf history occurred right here at Harding Park.

One of the biggest changes in the event is the number of great younger players that enter the event and make a huge impact on the championship. Historically high school players could not compete with the likes of Gary Vanier, John Susko, Frank Mazion and Aly Trompais. Now however these young guns could care less who you are and what you’ve won in the past. They just look at you walk slowly up the hills and know that coming down the stretch they will not tire. I once knew 90% of the players advancing into match play, and today its the reverse where I know maybe 10% of these young players.

These young guns cannot be underestimated, and I have first hand experience with a handful of these very good and accomplished players. Six years ago I played Martin Trainer who at the time was a mere 16 years old. After 21 holes I had a 5 up lead going into the 4th hole at Harding Park. That’s the hole where my legs started giving out resulting in many shots left that cost me 5 holes in a row. After trading blows on the back nine, we arrived at the 35th hole even for the day. Clearly one would think my experience in this event would be to my advantage, but after having walked 36 holes the day earlier in the semi-finals (The Sf City is the only match play event in the world that plays back to back 36 hole matches) I was exhausted and had little left in the tank. The result was a bogey, bogey finish to lose one down. At the time Martin was the youngest player to ever win the SF, which lasted one year when Carlos Briones in 2009 won the SF City at the age of 14. Since 2009 college standouts George Gandranata, Brandon Hagy (both from Cal) and Cody Blick won, followed by 16 year old and fellow Olympian Will Brueckner, who is the number one seed going into tomorrows first round. Will will face the last player to survive the playoff tomorrow.

I will try to continue writing about the SF City this year, and even though I will miss Harding Park, the Presidio is a very nice city golf course, and has done a nice job getting the course in the best condition possible. Stay tuned for more results and comments on this years City!!

Stay tuned!!!

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | February 3, 2014

TIME TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR GOLF GAME – TIME FOR CHANGE

Like every new year we all want to make changes in our games, our approach to our game and our preparation. But its not easy to do, we fall back into our old habits of not working on the parts of our game that needs the most attention.

Its fun and easy to stand on the driving range and launch balls out into a wide open driving range, last time I was on the range there were about 20 other people hitting balls. Then I moved over to the putting green where 5 people were practicing their putting, and as I moved down to the chipping area I was the lone chipper.

This is not unusual, most golfers hit range balls to warm up and go and play, yet the weakest part of most peoples game is from 100 yards and in, which is where most shots are taken in golf. I am now FORCING myself to spend one hour chipping and putting whenever I go the course. It is remarkable the difference this will make in your game. If you don’t have time before you tee off, then skip the 19th hole beer and chip and putt after the round (thats what the best players in the world do). You will be amazed at the results.

NEXT UP

THE SAN FRANCISCO CITY CHAMPIONSHIP

Qualifying rounds next weekend at Lincoln Park and the Presidio, looks like winter will finally arrive in time for the start of the city!!

Stay tuned

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | January 2, 2014

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | November 12, 2013

TRAIN LIKE CRAZY FOR THE 2014 GOLF SEASON

Don’t get soft over these winter months, use the lousy weather outside to do your work inside for the upcoming season. These are the very best training techniques I have found for golf over the past 30 years.

1. Of all the different Yoga’s available I think BY FAR Pilates is the very best. Especially using the reformer. This will rip your core, you’ll gain flexibility, and its fun!!!!

2. Egoscue – This is a program I tried several years ago, look it up online. I still use these stretches before I play, they are GREAT!!!!

3. TPI- (Titleist Performance Institute) find a TPI certified trainer and get your body tested for flexibility, range of motion and strength. TPI will put a program together specifically for your body. I highly recommend this. YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME IF YOU ARE GOING TO THE GYM WITHOUT A SPECIFIC PROGRAM THAT IS BUILT FOR YOU>

And worse yet, you can easily injure yourself if you do not have a program, and have your progress monitored.

So I ask the question, if you want to improve at golf, you must increase you club head speed and ability to keep the club face on plain. These suggestions will help you in a VERY BIG WAY. So get off your lazy ass, off the couch, and quit watching 8 hours of College Football on Sat and 8 hours of NFL on Sunday and get in the Gym and do what I’ve suggested. It will pay HUGE dividends.

Not to toot my horn, but I at age 54, I can still move a drive out over 300+ yards. Its not because I am laying on the couch, I work at it, and want to stay competitive. Start slowly, but get the body moving in a way that will help your rotation abilities.

Any questions?

Stay tuned!!!

 

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | November 7, 2013

2013 STOCKER CUP SAWIN TAKES TITLE

Nice article by Scott Seward:

Stocker Cup

John Sawin captures the Stocker Cup, coming from two shots down in the final round

CARMEL, Calif. (October 26, 2013) – John Sawin picked the right time to catch fire.

The 28-year-old captured the 22nd annual Stocker Cup, posting a 5-under 67 to come from two shots back in the final round at The Preserve GC. That score allowed the San Francisco investment banker to overtake three-time defending champion Kevin Marsh, whom he played with in the final group.

“I got off to a solid start,” the champion said. “And it seemed almost like match play.” Indeed, after an eagle on the 8th hole and birdies on the 9th and 10th holes via terrific 9-iron approaches, coupled with a double bogey followed by two bogeys from Marsh, Sawin took a two-shot deficit and turned it into a four-stroke lead.

“I had a sense that I had a good lead so I thought then that pars would do it,” he said. Though Sawin was 6-under for the day after a birdie on the 13th and was well within striking distance of the course record of 65, he had victory on his mind. “I knew the course record was 7-under but I’d rather win the tournament than do something stupid.”

A bogey on 18 hardly diminished the sense of accomplishment Sawin felt. “This is the first tournament of any significance I’ve won,” the Princeton alum said. “So I’m thrilled.” While the Stocker Cup victory is a great win, it is important to note that Sawin owns several club championships at U.S. Open host Merion GC in Philadelphia as well as the 2013 San Francisco GC championship. He also played in the U.S. Amateur earlier this year.

Kevin Marsh was looking to become the first four-time champion of this event, but was unable to maintain the terrific play that led to his second-round 66. His final-round 73 earned second place, four strokes behind the champion. “I didn’t play well today,” he said. “But that’s my game right now. Good some days and bad the next.”

Randy Haag, the 2011 champion, carded the second-best round of the day with a 68, propelling him into a third-place tie with past champion Joe Sanders; Haag and Sanders were five shots out.

In the newly christened Ruth Stocker Barry Flight, Erik Stocker, Peter Stocker’s son, came from behind in the final round to win the gross division. Stocker’s 30 points in the modified Stableford format led to a 94-point total, good for a two-shot win over tournament director George Kelley. Matt Pingatore was three back of the champion.

In the net division, The Olympic Club’s Martin Connolly also came from behind to win, posting a net 117 total. Two Preserve GC members, Steve Hoffman and Mark Flynn, took second and third respectively.

Notes

  • Course knowledge is essential to success at The Preserve. The Tom Fazio gem is known for immaculate conditioning and wicked-fast greens. It’s no surprise that past champions do so well year to year. The three past champions in the field, Marsh, Haag and Sanders, finished runner-up and tied for third, respectively.
  • Mike Machette of Claremont CC in Oakland led both the gross and net divisions of the Ruth Stocker Barry Flight going into the final round, a rare occurrence. But he managed only 20 gross Stableford points in the final round and faded to sixth.

I know this is a re-occurring theme that perhaps you’re tired of reading about, but what the hell else can I write about when I wake up screaming in the middle of the night in a cold sweat thinking about  ONE HOLE that owns me.

The epic and short 18th hole at Olympic, which measure all of only 350 yards, was again the culprit in missing an opportunity to be a 9 time Olympic Club Champion. I had two chances on this hole in the final match to defend this title which means the world to me. But that darn little hole has my number, dating back almost 20 years ago when I lost the club championship on this hole after coming to it all square in four 36 hole final matches, and all  final losses ended on this hole of sudden death. In all four matches, after a tee shot in the fairway all 4 times with my opponent in the rough, and in two cases having to chip out sideways. And then of course there was the biggest letdown of all in the 2007 US Amateur where I arrived at 18 all square with Derek Fathauer, and on global ESPN embarrassed myself by making an ugly 6 to lose one down. Unfortunately I don’t have any exciting success stories to share with you about this hole, other than its an amazing finishing hole, no water hazard, its not 480 yards long, the trouble left should be out of play, and the tee shot is only part A of success on this hole. The second shot to a very narrow and sloping green from back to front, provides a challenge even for the best players in the world, as either McDowell or Furyk were able to make anything happen on their final hole of the US Open in 2012.

BUT the the troubles on the 18th hole are not limited to only the OC 18th this year, I had to finish off my 2013 season with a complete blunderous melt down on the 18th hole of the Stocker Cup, where in the last round I found myself -6 going to the 18th hole. I decided to challenge the fairway bunker to have a shorter shot into the green, despite being into the wind and needing a downhill carry of about 280 yards. I was nervous and I took a mighty rip at this final drive of the 2013 season, and to my delight watched this missile heading at and over the bunker leaving me 150 yards to a front pin. I suffered over the hard 8 iron of the solid 7, but because of a severe false front chose the 7 iron to make sure I found the green leaving me a chance for birdie and possibly a win in the event. A par would have forced Kevin Marsh to shoot under par to beat me, little did I know that John Sawin was tearing it up. So back to the ugly 7 iron that was pulled left and short sided to a downhill chip, I tried to flop it onto the green onto the flat spot, but came up short and watched the ball roll off the front edge. From there I miss hit my putt from off the green leaving me a 5 foot bogey putt which I missed badly. Not a great way to end the year, a par would had me alone in second, in stead I finished T3.

I am not complaining about these high finishes, what I am trying to figure out is why I am all of a sudden more nervous than ever on the last hole in these events that I have competed in hundred of times?

How can I improve on this? Well the answer is simple, I am not prepared mentally or I think even physically for the end of the round. I expend all my energy on the earlier holes and by the time I am coming down the stretch I am not mentally or physically strong. In my next Post I will describe what I will do to change that for the 2014 season.

Again I am in AWE with what Mike McCoy achieved as the 2013 US MID AM champion and will be at Augusta in April for the 2014 Masters, what a dream come true, it can happen and Mike works as hard on his game as anyone. It takes hard work people, this game will kick your ass if you get lazy (or if you take rain deer antler spray and get caught)

Work hard in the off season and you will see results in the new season, but start now!!!

Stay tuned!!

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