Posted by: randyhaaggolf | May 3, 2016

A PRIVATE LESSON WITH LEGENDARY GARY PLAYER

Last week I arrived for the start of the Coleman, a top amateur tournament played every year in late April at the famed Seminole course in Juno Beach Florida. After completing my practice round, I decided I better dedicate some time to my ever evolving short game. Seminole has a great short game practice area, and as I started me session in the sweltering heat, up from behind me I could hear someone approaching. Much to my surprise it was an elderly gentleman wearing a long sleeved white shirt, white pants and hat. YES it was Gary player, who at age 80 decided to hit a few extra shots after his round. What he didn’t anticipate was someone like me to ask him for his magical secrets to his short game. I was blown away impressed with Gary’s kindness, intensity, and knowledge of the game. Just a few of his grip changes have already helped me.

Only towards the end when a few others showed up, did I get a chance to take any video, as he was focused on me primarily after I asked him “hey Gary, can you show me that shot”. And BOY did he show us all a few shots. He also spoke of many of the legendary great players and his feeling about where they stand in history. He also started by telling us that if given the chance to give  Jordan Spieth a lesson, to fix his swing, he would be perhaps the greatest ever to play the game. Gary feels like Joran Spieth has probably one of the best putting games, golf has ever seen.

Hearing about Gary global success, all the places he traveled too while also maintaining a very large family life, was most interesting to hear about. I have great respect and admiration for this fine gentleman!

 

I thought it would be fun to share a few of these short videos of Gary in action!!

Enjoy and stay tuned!

Gary talking about the Phil flop shot

Passionate Gary Player

GARY PLAYER Strengthens the grip for higher shots

Gary weakens the grip for running low shots

Gary with the Chop Shot

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | March 14, 2016

HISTORIC FINISH TO THE 100th SF CITY CHAMPIONSHIP

WHAT A DAY TO REMEMBER FOR YOUNG DANIEL CONNOLLY WHO RALLIED TO WIN THE HISTORIC 100th SAN FRANCISCO CITY CHAMPIONSHIP. PLEASE SHARE THIS POST WITH YOUR FRIENDS!!

https://youtu.be/gLfT5xQWcoI

FOR ALL THOSE THAT WERE INVOLVED WITH THIS GREAT EVENT, THANK YOU FROM ALL THE PLAYERS. THANK YOU TO THE SF TOURNAMENT COMMITTEE, TO THE NCGA OFFICIALS OUT THERE IN THE RAIN AND WIND OFFICIATING OUR MATCHES, AND TO THE GLOBAL GOLF POST FOR PAYING ALMOST $4,000 FOR ALL THE FINALISTS GREEN FEES. ALSO A VERY BIG THANKS TO RON KROICHICK FOR HIS AMAZING FRONT PAGE ARTICLE THAT THE SF CHRONICLE RAN, AND HIS CONTINUED COVERAGE OF THIS HISTORIC EVENT. ALSO TO THE OTHER UNSUNG HERO’S ARE THE GUYS BEHIND THE SCENES, THE MAINTENANCE CREW FOR GETTING THIS AMAZING COURSE READY FOR US TO PLAY, DESPITE HUNDREDS OF FALLEN TREE BRANCHES, AND MANY INCHES OF RAIN!!!

THANK YOU ALL!!

I WAS FORTUNATE TO WIN THE 100TH SF CITY SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIP, LARGELY DUE TO A CHIP IN ON 11th HOLE WHILE THE MATCH WAS ALL SQUARE, FOLLOWED BY A 3 METAL TO 8 FEET FOR EAGLE ON THE TWELTH HOLE. THAT TWO UP LEAD WAS PROTECTED WITH PARS ON THE NEXT 5 HOLES. DEAN PRINCE IS A FRIEND, A FINE GENTLEMAN, AND A GREAT COMPETITOR. AFTER MY MATCH CONCLUDED, I WENT BACK OUT TO WITNESS DANIEL FINISH OFF HIS MATCH ON THE 35th HOLE TO BECOME THE HISTORIC 100th CHAMPION OF THIS LONGEST RUNNING GOLF TOURNAMENT IN THE WORLD.

PHOTOS TAKEN DURING THE AFTER PARTY CELEBRATION WILL FOLLOW THIS POST

STAY TUNED

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | March 12, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO CITY FINALS

Tomorrow will conclude the historic 100th San Francisco City Championship. The weather again will be less than ideal with rain and high winds forecast. The “City” has moved to a younger mans game, as the last ten champions have either been in High School or in College. This years final will be no different, with fellow Olympian Daniel Connolly the 13th seed, facing the long hitting Noah Sheikh the 10th seed.

The Championship flight final will be a 36 hole grind, beginning at 7:30 am. I am quite sure that Daniel’s army of supporters will be out early in the wind and rain in support of this very fine player and young man. I have personally had the pleasure to watch Daniel mature into the fine player he is today. I have not met Noah yet, but I’m sure I will meet him tomorrow.

The Senior Final will pit Myself (Randy Haag) against the steady Dean Prince from Chico. Dean today defeated one of the best match play players in the history of Northern California, Gary Vanier. I believe Gary has played in a total of 10 City Finals (between the Championship flight and Senior flight) Gary did not have his typical strong game today, and Dean took him down 5&3. Dean has already taken down some of the strongest players, starting with Terry Foreman in extra holes in round one.

Today I played Jim Williams who has advanced to the finals the past 4 years. Our match was very tight, with no lead beyond one up, until I decided to hit driver on the par 4 16th hole (playing downwind) when I drove the green to set up a winning birdie on the hole to go two up. It was by no means my best golf or Jim’s, but the conditions played a major role in that.

After paying an entry fee of $150 for the qualifier, and then $80 for green fees 4 times for another $320, tomorrow thanks to the GLOBAL GOLF POST, I will not be adding to this total. My goal for next year will be to assist this tournament back to Harding Park, without these daily green fees for each round played. I will be writing more about the HOW later!!

SLOW PLAY………OMG why would it take 5 hours to play match play, especially when short putts are being conceited? Its killing the game, and the fun of playing tournament golf. I have written about this many times in the past, and will continue to as long as this serious problem continues to plague the game we love. I watch some players go through such unnecessary routines, that only hurt their game. 5 hours is a VERY long time to be waiting in the wind and rain to play golf, and officials should have stop watches timing players that are slowing the whole field up. All it takes is one inconsiderate person playing slow, to ruin it for everyone!!

I will write more about the Final match tomorrow, but for today, I want to again thank the support of the Global Golf Post, the SF City Tournament committee members and the NCGA volunteers out refereeing our matching, especially in these weather conditions. And to you SF Park & Rec, shame on you for not supporting this historical event, and for forcing  the “City” away from its home, Harding Park.

Stay Tuned

 

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | March 1, 2016

WHY I LOVE THIS GAME!!!

In golf, you will find many common denominators in the people associated with the great game of golf. There are those that donate massive amounts of time to referee and marshall NCGA events. There are those that contribute to the game by being involved with the USGA and R&A. All of these people have a common thread, and that’s the love of this great game, they are the unsung heroes that make this game so great.

I look for many ways I can give back to the game that has enriched my life through those I’ve met, and those who have made it all possible. I am motivated and confident that together we can raise $100,000 for the San Francisco City, and move it back to its home Harding Park, with the players paying NO green fees!!

Thru hundreds of people I have met, and become friends with, I want to congratulate Jim Nugent for his tremendous passion for the game, especially the AMATEUR GAME. Jim Nugent the founder and publisher of the Global Golf Post, today announced that it will donate the funds for the greens fees for all of the finalists of the 2016 San Francisco City Championship in all flights!! PRESS RELEASE BELOW!!

If you have not yet subscribed to this leading golf publication you should go to www.globalgolfpost.com and sign up for free!!

Thank you Jim and everyone at the GGP for your support of our “City” Tournament!!

STAY TUNED

 

 

Global Golf Post Donates Funds for Tee Times

At San Francisco City Championship Finals

 

Winter Park, Fla. (March 2, 2016)Global Golf Post, the world’s leading digital golf news magazine, today announced that it will donate the funds for the greens fees for all of the finalists of the 2016 San Francisco City Championship.

 

“We got our inspiration from Bay Area amateur golfer Randy Haag,” said Global Golf Post’s founder and publisher Jim Nugent. “On the eve of the championship, he pointed out in his blog that competitors had to pay their greens fees as they advanced. We have been a sponsor of this historically-significant amateur event for several years, and I thought we could do even more to support it.”

 

Under the plan, all 22 of the finalists at Harding Park GC on March 13 will not have to pay any greens fees to compete in their championship matches. In addition, the winners will be featured in a congratulatory ad in the March 14 edition of Global Golf Post.

 

Finalist Flights are:

  • Men’s Championship
  • Women’s Championship
  • Men’s Senior Championship
  • Men’s Super Senior Championship
  • Juli Inkster Flight
  • Ken Venturi Flight
  • John Susko Flight
  • Sandy Tatum Flight
  • Ray Pellegrini Flight
  • George Archer Flight
  • Harvie Ward Flight

 

“Amateur golf is a part of the DNA of The Post,” added Nugent. “We take great pride and similar joy in supporting the amateur game, globally.”

 

About Global Golf Post:

Founded in 2010, Global Golf Post is the leading designed-for-digital weekly golf news publication in the world. It is delivered overnight Sunday, 50 weeks per year, to a global audience of nearly 2.0 million avid golfers. Global Golf Post is a fully interactive digital publication that incorporates rich media applications and offers golf consumers a remarkable online experience, much like reading a traditional magazine or newspaper.

 

About the San Francisco City Golf Championship

The San Francisco City Golf Championship, known locally as “The City,” is an annual golf tournament hosted by the City of San Francisco. It is a match play event and boasts one of the largest files of any tournament in the nation, broken down into five separate divisions: Men’s, Men’s Senior, Men’s Super Senior, Women’s, and Open.

 

The San Francisco City Championship was inaugurated in 1917 and is the country’s oldest municipal golf tournament. Another thing that makes the City Championship a unique event is the inclusion of an “Open” Division, allowing for golfers of varying abilities to compete. Those familiar with the City Championship will tell you about the tradition of playing the ball as it lies at San Francisco’s Lincoln, Presidio and Harding Park Golf Courses in less than ideal conditions. Conditions are the same for everyone; the ability to accept the occasional bad break is paramount to a competitor’s success. Past champions include 1964 US Open Champion Ken Venturi, 1999 US Women’s Open Champion Julie Inkster, and 1969 Masters Champion George Archer.

 

# # #

 

Media Contacts:

James Nugent                                                              Karen Moraghan

Founder & Publisher                                                   Hunter Public Relations

Global Golf Post                                                         908/963-6013

nuge@globalgolfpost.com                                           kmoraghan@hunter-pr.com

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | February 29, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO CITY DOWN TO 16 IN ALL FLIGHTS

Under some amazing weather here in San Francisco, the City tournament moves into a fast moving El Nino windy downpour thats going to hit us this weekend. The Presidio course has a difficult time even when rain has been very sparse over the past several weeks, we still experienced muddy balls and wet thin lies in the fairways. The rough is WAY up, and still wet and juicy. Keep in mind this is a very short course, totaling approximately 6449  yards from the tips, and Lincoln even shorter at about 5146 from the tips. But yet the medalist score was 140 (even par 68 at Lincoln and 72 at Presidio). Trust me these scores are not a lack of skill, but very tough conditions.

I made every mistake possible in the Championship qualifier and missed the cut in the championship flight for only the third time since I was 20 years old, resulting in  a date in the Senior Qualifier. Call me stubborn, but I seem to lack enthusiasm for Senior Golf. Professional Senior golf, now thats a different story. I have been fortunate to have played in 6 Senior Major professional events (4 British Opens and 2 US Opens). But until Sunday, I had not won one single senior match in Senior golf. My record was 0-2 (one loss in the USGA Senior Amateur and one loss in the NCGA Senior amateur), hey both guys played great, but if your heart is not into the event, then perhaps do not sign up to play!!

I once had a rule of entering events, if I felt like I had no chance of winning, then do not enter. Obviously I entered the qualifier for 35 US Opens. But then I realized that its not all about winning these events, but how hard can you work to advance into an event that perhaps you never knew how good you really are. YES you are probably not going to win the US Open in your lifetime, but neither has Sergio Garcia, or Phil Mickelson. So I’m here to tell you, don’t limit your dreams because you feel like you cannot win an event, go for it and you never know how good you really are!

Honestly I am not sure that my good friend Greg Puga (a caddy at Bel Aire) thought he could win the USGA Mid Amateur, and he DID, and he played as an amateur in the Masters. Of course like most great amateur success comes the “I am turning pro now” which 99% of the time does not work out, but in the end, they chased their dream. And I respect and appreciate those that go for it in life.

Despite winning over 170 amateur tournaments in my career and being Northern California Player of the Year six times, I personally never had illusions that I could make it playing professional golf. SO MANY times I have been asked, “Randy, oh my god man, you came in 27d place in the British Open, why aren’t you going pro? I would always chuckle inside, because I knew that the 27th place I finished was a massive over-acheivment in my life, it was a dream come true. But I also knew that my paycheck was going to be about $18,000 and I think I spent $15,000 on that trip. So realistically I knew that I had done something that I could always cherish and think about, and remember the crazy butterflies in my stomach on the first tee each day of the event.

I cannot imagine a happier life than to play a game I love for fun for many many years, meet the amazing people in golf, and have had a chance to play in these major championships. I was always a realist, I wasn’t as good ever as Tim Jackson (two time USGA Mid AM champion) I was good enough to make it to the quarter-finals of the USGA Mid Am five times, and always dreamed about one victory to get into the Masters, but all five times it was the same reason I didn’t win, I just wasn’t good enough, my short game was not good enough!!

When I did win a few major events, my putting and short game where at their very best, especially the two times I won the Crump Cup at Pine Valley (2000&2002) My god lets be realistic about this game, if you cannot putt the lights out of it, you aint gonna win the big one. How many majors would Sergio have won if his putting was average to slightly above average, I say many. But you cannot teach putting, you either have the touch or you do not!!! I would say the same about chipping, you either have the touch and feel, or you don’t. I think with proper technique you can get way better, but again under the most severe pressure will your feel be there?  The best players in the world from 100 yards back, aren’t even on the PGA tour. Mo Norman didn’t make it…..why?

I am all over the place here tonight, but if you want to know if you can make it in golf, find someone to putt you $100 a hole on the practice green (make sure they are a multi millionaire and don’t care about losing a couple thousand) and see how you do?

In closing, I am extremely passionate about getting the San Francisco City back to its home Harding Park. I would like to set up a gift crowdfunding site where people anywhere in the world that care about golf can give a dollar, ten, twenty or a thousand dollars. My dream for the city is the talented kid with limited resources doesn’t have to pay over $600 in fees to make it to the finals of the event. My goal is that once you make match play in the “City” you don’t pay again. With the help of the crowd, we should be able to raise $100,000 for the oldest running golf championship in the world and move it back to Harding Park. I mean really, what a slap in the face, we play Harding for all those years when the drain was clogged (for over 20 years) where there was zero drainage, and then the PGA tour and others come in, save the day, and renovate Harding to its current pristine condition,  and then sorry City Players we now need to charge you $140 for a green fee, on your course that you have supported for almost 100 years. Go play Presidio, but sorry we have bigger events to worry about. Maybe I am missing something here. But I say NO to this, and that we will fight until we get this event back to its home. Oh and keep in mind this blog will never be 100% grammatically correct, I don’t even apologize, as I am an amateur writer and most certainly an amateur golfer!!

Stay tuned on how exactly we are going to raise $100,000 for this historic event, and how you can help!!

Thanks for tuning in, City results can be found by clicking this link!

 

http://sfgolfchampionship.com

 

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | February 24, 2016

100th SAN FRANCISCO CITY CHAMPIONSHIP

Its taken me a few weeks to collect and calm my thoughts on this years 100th running of the San Francisco City Championship, one of America’s largest & longest running amateur tournament. This years event is dedicated to the memory of past City Champion Ray Pellegrini

The SF City (or just the City as we all call it) is the oldest consecutively played competition in the world. And its history has a famous final match contested between Harvey Ward and Ken Venturi  that to this day is remembered as the greatest final match in its illustrious history.

Growing up as a kid I can remember reading about the “City” in the SF Chronicle on the front page of the Green Sheet (The coveted sports section). I dreamt of one day perhaps playing in this great historical event, that many of the greatest professional players never won, including Tom Watson and Johnny Miller. But the real allure of the city was that you knew you would be met with impossible conditions, driving rain (with no such thing as a weather horn to suspend play), temp greens, and players from all walks of life, bus drivers, homeless chaps, police men, Investment Bankers, college students on golf scholarships, Insurance salesman and real estate tycoons. In the City, it was you against the world, and the grueling format made it very very tough to win this event. Your first weekend is qualifying over two course, traditionally it was Harding Park and Lincoln Park, 300 or so players vying for one of 64 spots in match play, before we’d begin three weekends of match play, the first weekend would be 64 to 32, and 32 to 16 players. The next weekend would round of 16, and then quarterfinals, followed by the toughest weekend of a 36 hole semi-final match, with the two tired survivors playing a 36 hole final the next day starting at 7:00 AM.

The kid from Orinda that dreamt of just competing in this event made it to the final match in three different decades, 1984, 1999 and 2008. In 2008 the tiny print headline was 49er faces 16 yr old in city final. I vividly remember after playing 36 hole semi final (all walking no carts) how do you think my 49 yr old legs felt when that 5:00 AM alarm went off? Rested and fresh, or dead tired and running on pure adrenaline. Well yes, it was a dream to be playing the youngest player ever to make it to the finals, while I believe I was the second oldest in a final match. It was a tale of getting a big lead (5 up after 22 holes, and then completely losing my legs and losing 6 holes in a row. I then convinced my mind and body that I would throw everything I had at the last nine , and got the match to all square going into the  35th hole of the match with Martin Trainer. I enjoyed this young man, and was proud of what he had accomplished, and as much as I would like to erase my bogey bogey finish on the 35th and 36th hole, I was happy that Martin my very talented and respectful opponent would be the youngest city champion in history. I had played 72 holes in basically 32 hours, in the most intense pressure imaginable. AND THATS what makes the City so amazing, is that everyone cherishes and values a City win as a major championship.

The BAD news is the City has not been held at Harding Park for many years now (accept for the semi and final matches). My hats off the the SF Tournament committee, these guys fight hard to preserve the legacy of this amazing event, but in the end, the City of San Francisco really doesn’t care. They still want to charge a full weekend rate green fee for each round played (my understanding is thats approx $140 a round). The SF City is the ONLY event I play in that after your qualify for match play your reward is you start paying green fees for each match you play in, so if you go to the Finals you could end up spending almost $1,000 to play in the event.

I am quite befuddled, upset, and a little crazy about this, and have watched this incredible event lose stature over the past 40 years from its media coverage to the City just not caring that the event is played at its real historic home Harding Park. Our beautiful City, is more concerned about missed revenue ops, and what the PGA can pay to have events like the WGC Match Play Championship, the Presidents Cup, and the PGA Championship. For now they are in….and the historic City is out.

Its also sad to me that true amateur golf has gone from being more important than the pro game, to now nobody seems to really care anymore about it. The college game is bigger and has more media exposure, but once you exit the college ranks and come into the amateur ranks, its pretty much over. I guess some would say, why would anyone care about a bunch of passionate players playing amateur events for trophies and prizes? When you can follow Ricky Fowler on Twitter and know what he had for breakfast. Fair enough, I am biased because I was apart of the day when high level amateur competitions were popular and followed by the media.

My guess is – if you polled every player in this years SF City and asked them, would you pay $40 a day more to play Harding Park over Presido, my guess is that 80% of the guys would happily pay the extra money to play Harding. I guess thats what you call the cost of doing business with the city of San Francisco, just like how you have variable pricing parking meters. I am not here to talk about the financial wisdom of those that make these decisions, but I say to them, SHAME ON YOU!!

As a contrasts to the city of San Francisco, the fine Gentlemen that run the Alameda Commuters, Alameda has NEVER lost the importance of running their fine event.

But these guys are all out there on almost every hole, and they have been able to keep the same feeling of the past alive in this important event. While the SF City committee is trying everything they can do to make the event matter, and they do a great job with what they have to work with. Its just a shame that our illustrious city by the bay that generates billions of tax dollars from tourism, hotels and big business, cannot see its way past perhaps $20,000 to bring the worlds longest running tournament back to its home.

I hope that those of you that have read my views on this must know I may not have 100% of my facts correct as I am not on the inside of the actual numbers, these are guesstimates and in NO way am I trying to take away from the amazing job the SF City committee does in running this massive event. These guys volunteer their time, and should be recognized and thanked by each player in this event, that may not understand how much work and effort goes into running a major event like this. And to all the NCGA volunteers that give up their weekends to come out and start us, officiate us, these are all the hero’s of amateur golf. And I hope more of the participants in all of the flights take a minute to thank those that are there running these events out of the love for the game.

To them and the memory of Ray Pellegrini am I motivated to write about this historic and special event. that many of us have memories that will last a lifetime!

Tomorrow evening is the 100th SF City Champions dinner, I will attend with great anticipation about remembering Ray Pellegrini, my friend, a competitor that exemplified everything that is good about competitive golf. Many of us will always remember Ray for his rhythmic swing, and deadly bullseye putter. In this life we have to remember how precious every moment is, and memories that I have with Ray, are very precious memories to me.

Thank you all for tuning in, and this blog will now become more active, especially if I have more to talk about with improved results))

STAY TUNED

 

 


					

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