Posted by: randyhaaggolf | May 16, 2015

FROM WHISPER ROCK TO SOUTH KOREA

I’m sitting at LAX getting ready to board a flight heading for South Korea to participate in the 2015 World Club Championship, being held at The Club at Nine Bridges and Haesley Nine Bridges. This is a two man best ball, with two members from many of the elite clubs in the world participating. My partner Kory Storer (from the Olympic club) is already over there going through the opening ceremonies, as I make way from Whisper Rock to the Island of Jeju for this event.

I have never been to Asia before, and I am very much looking forward to this experience. My only issue actually resides with my game. which continues to be quite poor, especially with the putter. I laugh often when people come up to me and suggest that I am a great putter, I have given up trying to explain to them that side saddle putting worked for me for a good 15 years, over which time I won close to 100 amateur events, and felt that I could putt with anyone in the world. I didn’t have bad putting days, I knew I would always make my fair share of putts. Not the truth is I have the YIPS with this form of putting, I guess this honesty will prevent me from perhaps ever being an expert on Side Saddle Putting, but like anything in life, you ride your highs, and work through your lows. Additionally my game has suffered from a lack of proper preparation, which normally would include 3-5 workout sessions per week, and better mental preparation. I am not throwing in the towel yet, as I have many great events on the calendar over the next 4 months. But its getting old putting my eyes closed, and sometimes looking at the hole. I cannot seem to putt like I once was able to just look at the ball and give the saddle putter a good even back and through stroke.

I cannot imagine what these tour players are going to do that have relied on the anchored technique of putting to make their living. Clearly Adam Scott is a better putter with it anchored, and will perhaps see his world ranking plummet once he no longer can anchor the putter to his body next year. Is this FAIR…hell no its not fair, why would all of a sudden the powers to be, outlaw something that has been used for decades by many pros?

I guess this one can be argues from both sides, but in the end, does anchoring a putter really give a player an advantage. I say NO.

I am off to board this 17 hour flight, stay tuned to see some photos and coverage of this event in South Korea!!

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | May 16, 2015

Whisper Rock National Invitational

One of my all time favorite events I have ever played in is the “Whisper Rock National Invitational”. There are many reasons why this event is special, here are the main ones: You are treated like perhaps no where else in the world when you arrive at this very special place. The event has two man teams from all over the country, to play 54 holes of best ball over two very challenging courses.

To properly plan to play in this event, you’ll need to allocate about one pound of weight gain per day, as the food is perhaps the best you’ll find at a golf venue. The competition is at a very high level. as is the quality of the individuals that participate. There always seems to be an underlying rule in these Invitational events that poor behavior, and/or play is not your ticket back the following year. This year was no different than the rest, made some great new friends, spent half my time in the desert looking at how to get my ball back in play, and the number one reason I love this event is I get to spend 4-5 days with my good pal PB (Paul Balatti).

What makes “The Rock” so so special starts at the ownership level, and funnels down to all that work there, and those that are privileged to be a member of what may call the “best hang in golf”. The staff at Whisper Rock is second to none, and should be used as a model to other clubs that are interested in making their club stand out when it comes to the total experience. These guys know your name, go out of their way to make sure you have everything you need, and just genuinely love their job, and being a part of the WR experience. I believe at last count, approx 30 PGA tour players are members.

Okay, so much for the niceties, and lets get down to the golf. The champions in both the Mid Am flight and Senior flight shot -10 for three rounds of best ball over three days. What this tells us is the course prevailed, and nobody really went seriously low. The weather was crazy unusual for May, with rain and very strong winds. What seems to look like a fairly generous looking fairway on most holes is quite deceptive, as these fairways all tighten down considerably the further down you attempt to go.The second shots require great accuracy to have any reasonable putt at a birdie. In my opinion you must nail the par fives.

I have many great memories of playing in this event, and I hope our T4 finish will bring us back next year.

My next post will have some more serious content about what its like to struggle in a game that I love so dearly, along with some comments on side saddle putting, Stay Tuned

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | March 12, 2015

DOES SIDE SADDLE PUTTING WORK?

The most popular topic I get comments on is putting, and mainly side saddle putting. It has become apparent that the side saddle putters once abundant on Ebay and other auction sites have disappeared, for many reasons. I think there is a steady movement to this style of putting, but I don’t believe it will ever catch on big due to the significant change in feel required on the long putts.

For those of us that ran out of alternatives, side saddle putting has become a way of life, and there usually is no going back. The key fundamentals to the technique are the key to success using this technique, you can find video on the technique at : YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9NI430i59U

There are many side saddle (Face On) putters available on YouTube with many instructional help. But keep in mind, these are guys that have not won major tournaments using this style of putting, these are mainly guys trying to sell you a garage made putter that typically is a disappointment when it arrives. I have ordered many such putters and have been given others, but have always found the STX Side Saddle putter to be the best.

First tournament of 2015 this weekend, the San Francisco City Championship. It’s just a little harder to get excited about it with the qualifier and match play rounds at The Presidio vs. Harding Park (home of this year WGC Match Play Championship that Tiger will not win….oh thats right he’ll be off somewhere watching Linsey win an award).

I’m going to slowly get this BLOG cranked back up as the new season gets going. Till later, stay tuned!

If you’ve never seen this before, its worth taking the time to watch. All about the crazy game we love!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcnFbCCgTo4

 

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | August 30, 2014

BACK TO GOLF

Golf can be a brutally revealing sport, when its going good, its bliss, but when your off, its a brutally difficult sport. For anyone still reading this bizarre golf blog, I appreciate your patience during my absence. I have been through quite a roller-coaster with my game. Many issues have gone into the steep decline in my performance, but this blog has never been about my performance, but more my experiences and preparation for attempting to play this game at the highest level possible.

Playing well for a long period of time will all come crashing down, if you do not put the time and effort into keeping, mentally, physically, and emotionally sharp. The desire to practice and compete need to be burning deep inside, and sacrifices need to be made. I basically just lost all of these aspects necessary to compete at a level that I desire to compete at. I started shooting scores in the 80’s on occasion, and didn’t ever grind out rounds, just wanting to quit and walk off the course.

My recent trip to the UK was a disaster, I only managed to play 9 holes in the Senior Open (a tournament that I have qualified for 4 times and have made the cut three times) My back gave out after nine holes, which probably was more a result of the 42 I shot on the front nine holes. During my three practice rounds I was golden, and anticipated a good round in the qualifier. But the lack of getting off to a good start really in any event, has me in a tail spin. This blunder was followed by another poor performance in the British Senior Amateur at Ganton. Although my clubs got lost for three days, I cannot use that as an excuse to shoot an 84 in the first round, followed by a 76 for a 160 total. I did make the cut and had a chance to shoot a final round 80. Although this may have been the hardest course I’ve ever played (next to Oakmont in the 2003 US Amateur) I normally like the tougher venues, and feel they play to my advantage.

Everything about my game has been weak in competition, poor driving, iron shots, chip shots, and poor putting. Each putt I am not sure if I will hit it with my eyes closed or open. Finally I just decided that this 3 year slide needs to come to and end, and I should either quit competitive golf and all the frustration, or get back to what once worked before. What worked before was simple, I was confident.

A few weeks ago, I played a round with a good buddy of mine Stan Morrison. We played the Olympic Club Lake course from the tips, and after nine holes I decided that I had enough of the sloppy focus, and pitiful play. On the back I made a purposeful effort to focus, visualize, and extract the putting issues. I played solid, and carried it into Monday’s USGA Senior Amateur qualifier, where standing on the 17th tee I stood -7, a career best in a USGA event. I didn’t finish strong, but still shot a solid 66, and was low by 3 shots.

The difference was I didn’t carry the fear about “oh my lousy game” waiting for the bad shit to happen. I made a 6 foot putt for par on the first hole, and I was off and running, not missing a putt inside 10 feet through 18 holes.

I also must admit I have a new secret weapon, its a simple new weapon, its food for the brain function, and focus. I’ve had this food twice on the course, once after 9 holes in the US Open local qualifier at The Preserve (played the back first and shot 39) then played the front in 31. And this qualifier my breakfast was this product that you can read about at http://www.cognutria.com

It won’t cure the putting woes, but you will be more focused, aware, and into making better decisions. I will never not play without taking one (or two) of these delicious baked bars, which is the genus of its founder Allan Lees. 

After a 10 day layoff, I again played the tips at OC Lake and shot a 67 (although not in a tournament) for my last 36 holes I am -10. This after shooting half my rounds in the 80’s. We all can get better, you just need to believe you can do it, and that the sacrifices will pay off. Don’t waste your time wishing for something magical to happen, it never works that way. If you put in the time to be better mentally, physically, and emotionally, combined with better nutrition, you will play better golf.

And yes, I have a TPI trainer, I’ve recently been to a Hypnotist, I work with one of the best golf instructors in the world, and I again am making sacrifices to play better golf. I have many more stories and experiences to share with you, but for now, I am focused on the USGA Senior Amateur being held at Big Canyon CC from Sept 13-18th. Everyday I am visualizing holding that USGA trophy high over my head at about 12:30 PM on Thursday September 18th. Stay tuned for how I plan to prepare for this grueling event that has 6 matches over 4 days on a very tough track!!

Stay Tuned 

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | June 17, 2014

CALIFORNIA STATE AMATEUR

Hard to write about a tournament that has just ended for me in an early exit. But this is worth writing about. This years event is being held at the beautifully renovated Omni La Costa Champions and Legends courses in Carlsbad. The match play portion of the event starts tomorrow with the featured match going off at 7:30 with medalist Jason Anthony vs. defending champion Cory McElyea in match one number 1 seed vs. #32. It a testament to how deep this field was in quality players, that over two tough tests, 147 +3 was required to move onto match play.

I hate to give you the same old update about my sad game, I drove it poorly, I hit my irons poorly, I chipped it poorly and putted poorly and finished 3 shots out of match play. YES I am 55 and only three players in their 30’s made match play, zero 40 or 50 year olds make the cut. But I had the pleasure to play with 54 yr old John Pate, and past State Am Champ Don DuBois. After a fine 72 yesterday, I thought John Pate would cruise into match play, but today was tough for John. We all have had our moments on the links, and it was a pleasure to play with these guys. So our group was 164 years old, while other groups combined age (pairings of three) were less than 60. The beauty of golf, is the old saying, the ball does not know how old you are. But unfortunately our bodies ache more, we don’t hit it as far, and its frustrating to have been dominant in the amateur ranking and now struggle to be relevant.

So the choice is either give up playing against the kids, or succumb to playing against the older generation. Quite honestly, I am not ready to give up on the dream of playing against the best amateurs in the world. So the plan is to get better, easier said than done!!

I have a lot of respect and gratitude for both the NCGA and the SCGA, I’m sure it is challenging for the SCGA to provide venues equal to what the North provides in its State Am venues. Honestly other than Rancho Sante Fe in 2010, the venues we’ve played in So Cal for this event have been less than adequate for an event that for almost 100 years was held at Pebble Beach, and its early days, was played at Cypress Point and Pebble. For those of us to remember those days, its hard to get fired up to play La Costa, with its resort style course. Quite honestly, its not in the top 25 courses in California, and has many mediocre holes. I am sure some will not enjoy reading this critique, but the deal here is to be honest about the venues we play in this historic event. 

The tong line up of players in this event is impressive, and the match play portion is grueling and intense. I love match play, and I am pulling for my pal and best ball partner Jason Anthony. I played a practice round with Jason on Sunday, and all I can say is his game is ON. After a fresh win in the Fresno City, I think Jason will be tough to beat. But match play never goes as slated, so anyone of these 32 players could be holding the trophy on Friday afternoon.

I did have a pleasant consolation prize in being able to visit my favorite place in Carlsbad, the KINGDOM, where you go to get fitted for the best and latest and greatest Taylor Made equipment that I believe is the best made for both great amateurs and pros. If you aren;t playing Taylor Made clubs, you are at a disadvantage to those that are. Don’t take my word for it, try the new Taylor Made Clubs!!!

Day one I bogeyed all 4 par 3’s, and had 3 three putts from fairly short range. Today I hit a shank into the Lake in #9 and made double. I ended my tournament by firing a 34 on the toughest 9 to finish with 150, not good enough. Now its rest the back and get ready to play the homies on their home course at Green Valley for 2 spots into the USGA Senior Open. 

Stay tuned for my comments on the upcoming events, USGA Senior Open, NCGA Stroke Play, British Senior Open, British Amateur, NCGA Amateur, and many more up and around the world.

AND  finally people seem to be very interested in side saddle putting, soon I will be doing video on a few lessons that will help you with technique, if your putting sucks, you may want to try saddling!!! It works!!

STAY TUNED

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