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

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | June 10, 2014

Golf is a sport we love – It will test us, push us

I know that I haven’t written much over the last year, but everyday I think about golf, and my game. I want to get better, get back to the days I once enjoyed, and perhaps didn’t appreciate as much as I should have. But now looking back I realize how lucky and fortunate I have been to have played this game at a level that I could only dream of.

I have outperformed any expectation I have ever had, I have traveled the world and have played some of the best courses in the world. What I can tell you that my round of 77 at Del Monte in the NCGA Masters championship was a huge disappointment, and I hope I will  benefit from this tough go. Despite winning the Olympic Club stroke play championship on the weekend by six shots, when tested in a major event again I was unable to perform like I’ve done previously.

What is the problem, well golf is a tough sport. Some of us like Chip Lutz and Mike McCoy play well day in and day out. The are the guys that I respect and think of as true amateur champions. They both are class guys, and always are a joy to play with. 

In my first round of the NCGA Masters I played with a player not to be named that was a walking narrative. He doesn’t shut up, everything is all about him, and he moves and makes noises all day long. The game is tough enough without having to be distracted by someone that really doesn’t care. 

But to help you become a better player, I have this to say to you. Once you start to lose your club head speed, you are in serious trouble. If you think you are losing your speed, write to me and I will recommend a TPI trainer in your area. This will be a game changer in your life, and you will become a better player if you take this VERY important step and dedicate yourself to making your body and mind stronger. I have failed in this department, once mentally tough, I have let myself become quite weak minded on the course. I can assure you this will change.

SOME WORDS OF ADVICE- If you back or body hurts, don’t hit range balls, think mentally about each shot and visualize. Your body needs to be rested and fresh to compete at the highest level. Don’t over-practice, but prepare physically, mentally and emotionally.

This is a very hard game when you are struggling, but remember that can change VERY quickly. Up next the California State Amateur and the US Senior Open qualifier.

stay tuned!!!!

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | May 22, 2014

GOLF, its just a game!

I used to enjoy writing about golf when I was excited about playing, competing, practicing and traveling to play in events around the world. This joy has wavered over the past two years for several reasons. ONE is that I have not performed consistently over this period of time, and have struggled mightily with my side saddle putting. 

But instead of whining about my poor play, perhaps I can write something interesting that won’t be a waste of your time.

SUCCESS is not playing well for nine holes- US OPEN LOCAL QUALIFIER at the PRESERVE, best field I’ve ever seen at a local Open qualifier, and to top it off we were 6 players short of a 5th qualifying spot that all the other Nor Cal sites had. After a good start off #10 with three pars and a birdie, the 14th hole has always tortured me, with its green and angle of approach to the green. I chose a 5 iron from 190 out and hit a solid shot to the back of the green. After three putts walked off with my first bogey of the day. The 15th hole is an uphill par 4 that we played from 475 into the wind. After a perfect drive I have 205 to the pin uphill and into a one club breeze, again I took the bigger club (I am 55 now) and fired a rescue over the green and fought to make bogey. 16 was routine par, I ran up the hill to 17 tee and blocked a drive straight right into a field of tall weeds and proceeded to make a double bogey seven. The thought process was okay here we go again, a ruined round with one bad shot, but I decided enough of this negative shit, get positive and play hard for the next ten holes. 

After a solid par on 18, I was faced with the one shot I do not enjoy at the Preserve, the tee shot off number 1 is elevated to a fairway that pinches down to a narrow opening. I decided to take a drive deep, as I have nothing to lose. After a pull cut perfect I ended up with a sliding 20 footer that I made for birdie (now +2 on the day). The second hole was almost a hole in one from 195 downhill to with a six iron, now +1. Number 3 was a missed 6 footer, still plus 1. Number 4 was the most exciting hole I’ve played in many years. I have played in 13 Stocker Cup events at this great course and every time I’ve had this second shot into this green, you need to hit it over a tree left and have it bounce down and onto the green. FINALLY I hit the shot I’ve been trying to hit since I started playing here, the result was a ball that looked like it was going in for double eagle, but hanging on the lip I settled for eagle and moved to -1 on the day.

The 5th hole gave me another chance at birdie, I missed a makable 10 footer. The 6th hole was a glitch, as I hit a 6 iron over the pin to 25 feet, followed it up with a three putt bogey. But birdies on 7 and 8 got me to -2 on the day and a chance to get one of the 4 spots. After a good drive and wedge on the 450 yard 9th hole, I had a 15 foot birdie putt that I knew was important, and it was. I missed a little high, and saw my fate sealed as the 4th score below 70 came into the scorers area with only one group left.

39-31 is not the kind of scoring consistency I am looking for, so what do I do to fix this?

The answer is simple, work harder, practice smarter, exercise more often, and fix what is making me flinch at my longer putts. All easier said than done. I have had hundreds of people ask me about Side Saddle putting, and most are looking for a quick fix, but like anything there is NO quick fix in this game. There is no tip that is going to make you a scratch player. Its all about hard work and making baby steps. In the end, its how bad you want it, and what your willing to sacrifice to get there. But if you do not believe in yourself, it will never happen. I have my own doubts about wether or not I will ever get it back to where it was in 2011. And sometimes I’m not sure I care, but I know that deep down I care a lot.

Life is complicated and tough, and this game can make life more enjoyable, and certainly more frustrating. It is the game of great revealing, it will expose us of all our weaknesses, our frustrations and what is going on in our lives. Patience is not always an easy thing for some of us, but if you put the time and work into this game, you will see results. In the end, nobody really cares but us, and nobody will ever really know the sacrifice of time and life that some need to make to play at a level the aspire to. 

Coming up are many exciting opportunities to play amazing courses in amazing events, here is the upcoming schedule. Olympic Club Stroke Play Championship June 7&8. NCGA Masters June 9&10th at Del Monte and Spyglass Hill. California State Amateur at La Costa CC JUne 16th-20th. US SENIOR OPEN QUALIFIER – Green Valley June 24th. Monterey City Am at Del Monte July 4-6th. US SENIOR OPEN 10-13th at Oak Tree where I played in the 1984 US AM. July 15th leave for England for the Senior Open and the British Senior Amateur, back Aug 9th. NCGA Amateur championship Aug 11-15th. 

Thats enough for now, I will be back to tell you what I am doing to get my game back in shape. The keys are mental preparations, diet, exercise, proper instruction, and stress testing what I’ve learned.

Stay Tuned

On a Blustery day at Seminole, the fine play continued for Patrick Christovich who cared a solid 72 final round to become the 2014 Coleman Champion. Bryan Norton also fired a final round 72 to break the Senior scoring record of -1 (215). The course played extremely tough today, with higher winds, and tough final round pin placements. 

My day wasn’t particularly pleasant, despite being in the company of two former USGA Champions (Trip Kuehne US Mid Am Champ & and his brother Hank Kuehne a US Am champion was following along). After 3 glorious rounds at Seminole I am physically and mentally a bit fried, as I commonly tell people that its always going to be my toughest venue of the year with its 188 daunting bunkers, waiting for any slightly miss hit shot.

I don’t want to sound like a whiner, as I just got to play in one of the elite amateur events in the world, with a group of the greatest guys and players in the game. For us all, we like to compete, but even better yet we enjoy seeing the people in the game that we enjoy competing against and forging the life long friendships that are developed at these events. But lets be honest, it suck to play poorly, and you always worry about the next years invitation if you finish in the bottom portion of your flight.

But regardless, Seminole always seems to be the real winner in this event, as it has the respect of the players, and makes us all realize that a course does not need to be 7700 yards to provide a tough test. This gem is probably about 6800 yards, and will test every aspect of your game.

In the final analysis, the putter needs to be in good form to have a chance on these firm and fast surfaces. Your touch needs to be keen and able to anticipate the roll out that you’ll get on this very tough downhill putts. I happily now head to Spyglass for my first ever senior event in the NCGA Senior on Monday and Tuesday. Although I love Spy, I must say I am not so fired up to play senior (am) golf quite yet. I am sure it will be two great days at the Glass, one of my favorite courses in the world.

For those of you considering putting Side Saddle, I want to caution all of you on the time it takes to adjust to this completely different style of putting. BUT if you have no other options, it is a good alternative for sure.

Stay tuned for comments and results from Spyglass

 

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | April 25, 2014

SIDE SADDLE PUTTING- PUTT LIKE A DEMON

If your a shitty putter, it may be time to make a change, and Side Saddle putting is a great option. The most popular questions that I’ve been asked are 1. How long does it take to be competent and competitive with this technique? A. Its going to be different with each Individual, but getting the correct instruction, and making sure the anchoring left hand does not move, you could be completive after just a few months of practice. But the real answer is I believe about 1 year.

2. What Side Saddle putter do you use? I started with a Jack Koski “So Easy” Side Saddle putter and then went to a STX Side Saddle putter which you can still find occasionally on Ebay

3. Will Side Saddle putting be legal once the new putting rules take effect. Absolutely YES, I do not anchor the putter to my body, and the putter and style all conform to USGA standards

4. Is Side Saddle putting a quick fix to putting problems- Absolutely NO, this technique requires a lot of practice and proper technique before you will be able to make putts from all lengths.

If you can’t putt, forget competing in golf, the putter is the great equalizer in this game we all love. So what’s happened to me? It seems like personally I developed  a YIP with my side saddle technique. I am currently reading one of Dave Stockton’s books Own your own game, but seriously nothing seems to be working. Today at Seminole I experienced three 3 putts and one 4 putt. And any 20 footer I have, I know I have no chance of making with my eyes open, most of my putts now are with my eyes closed. I had a great run of over 15 years putting well above average with this technique, but now am looking for a way back. Its two things, one I get a jolt of YIP at impact, and 2nd I have lost my keen speed control feel. Not sure how this happened, but now I have a better appreciation for how good I was able to putt over this period from 1997-2011 where I won over 80 amateur events, and played in 20 USGA events and 5 professional majors. Now I’m searching for a new way to approach my putting, in hopes to regain the touch I once had. Honestly if I cannot regain the touch I’ve enjoyed in the past, I am not sure I will play competitive golf very much longer. 

I feel like I can help a lot of players putt better than they ever have before putting this way, despite my own personal issues, I strongly urge all of you that struggle with your putting to try this technique.

Stay tuned for more on Side Saddle putting

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | April 25, 2014

COLEMAN ROUND TWO RESULTS

Another beautiful day at Seminole in beautiful Juno Beach Florida. I’ve given a partial list of the leaders below. I again don’t have any good news about my won game, and today witnessed another train wreck by a fellow competitor (to be unnamed) The hole was the somewhat benign 13th today, playing about 155 yards to a front left pin. His shot unfortunately found the front right bunker, his second shot was bladed long into a back bunker, now leaving an almost impossible downhill shot. His third shot rolled back into the front right bunker, and his 5th, 6th shots were hit onto the bank and back into the front right bunker, but now his ball rolled into one of his deep sand divots. His 7th shot was it long left to about 50 feet, which was masterfully 2 putted for a whopping 9. I unfortunately didn’t do much better as I had an uphill 40 footer that I almost holed for a birdie 2, but again I was left with a tricky side bending 3 footer that I lipped out leaving me 6 feet coming back, which of course I missed for a splendid 4 putt double bogey. I made even a worse mess of the par 3 17th hole, which was only playing 170 downhill, but when finished I walked off with a triple bogey 6. Obviously these guys listed below have few stories like those, but I can assure you that on every hole at Seminole looms a risk of something happening that will have you scratching your head. On the other hand, my other playing partner made a spectacular birdie 3 on the tough 18th hole.
In the end all you can do is have respect for this great test, and know that whatever you are struggling with currently will be exposed. My next post following this, will be about Side Saddle Putting, stay tuned!

2014 GEORGE L. COLEMAN AMATEUR INVITATIONAL

SEMINOLE GOLF CLUB Thursday, April 24th – Saturday, April 26th Round Two Results

Mid-Amateurs – Leaders

1  Patrick Christovich  72-69–141

2  Billy Williamson 75-69–144

Mike McCoy 73-71–144

Kris Mikkelsen 73-71–144

R.J. Nakashian 73-71–144

6  Edward Richardson 74-71–145

Senior Leaders

1 Tim Jackson 73-69–142

2 Chip Lutz 70-73–143

Bryan Norton 69-74–143

 

Scott Rowe
Roger Newsom Stephen Anderson

14 Jon Veneziano Parker Smith Gene Elliott John G. Sawin Robert Gerwin II

19 Eoghan O’Connell Ryan Abbate Kevin Grabeman

22 Nick Gilliam Tim Spitz

  1. 24  Carlton Forrester

  2. 25  Trip Kuehne

  3. 26  Mark Loomis

    Randy Haag Patrick Duffy Robert Gregorski Tommy Brennan

31 Roger Hoit Matt Sughrue Keith Decker

34 Kevin Hammer Mark Mance

36 Steve Harwell Wesley Pate

  1. 38  Michael Barbosa

  2. 39  Steve White, Jr.

    John O’Donnell

    Dan Horner

42 Bradley Shaw

Dennis Bull

John Pinkham
45 Stephen Summers

Tom Nolan

  1. 47  Jason Edgeworth

  2. 48  Christopher Reeves

72-69–141

75-69–144 73-71–144 73-71–144 73-71–144 74-71–145 76-70–146 73-73–146 73-73–146 78-69–147 78-69–147 74-73–147 73-74–147 77-71–148 76-72–148 76-72–148 73-75–148 73-75–148 76-73–149 75-74–149 73-76–149 76-74–150 74-76–150 74-77–151 83-69–152 82-71–153 76-77–153 76-77–153 76-77–153 74-79–153 79-75–154 77-77–154 75-79–154 77-78–155 77-78–155 81-75–156 80-76–156 77-80–157 79-79–158 78-80–158 79-79–158 82-77–159 81-78–159 79-80–159 83-78–161 81-80–161 77-85–162 84-80–164 

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