Posted by: randyhaaggolf | July 27, 2017

SENIOR OPEN – VERY TOUGH CONIDTIONS

As tough a round of golf as you’ll ever want to play today. The wind was BLASTING at some crazy speed 30-40 MPH every ball on the green was wiggling at approach. My putter would not go back and forth straight I would need to time the wind movements.

If someone would have told me that TODAY I would out play major championship winners: Bob Tway, Nick Faldo, Mark Brooks, Jose Marie Olazabal, Jean Van De Velde (ooops I forgot he didn’t win at Carnoustie) Larry Mize, Fred Couples, Jeff Sluman, Sandy Lyle, and I tied Corey Pavin.

All of these golfers are WAY better than me, and always have been. But to enjoy the moment as an amateur playing in an event like this is VERY cool.

I made epic par save after par save. I hit the tee ball very well, and my approach shots were not very good. My short game was superb, and the putting was like nothing you could ever imagine with the wind blowing you, your putter and your ball.

My driver 9 iron to ten feet on 18 for eagle was memorable. Even though I just missed the eagle putt, my day ended on a very happy note.

I am lucky and privileged to the 9’s to be competing in an event like this. I will fight hard again in the high winds and driving sideways rain to reach goal number 2, make the cut!!!

I am having the time of my life!!

Stay Tuned

 

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | July 27, 2017

SENIOR OPEN AT ROYAL PORTHCAWL

Right looking out my window its raining sideways with 25-35 mph winds. At 3:40 when I tee off its suppose to be even worse. I am not sure how they are going to get much TV coverage with this weather.

Golf is a VERY expensive sport, and when you are playing in these events you rack up tens of thousands of dollars in expenses. BUT what else would you ever want to spend you money on, when you love this game, you love to compete, and you have a chance to do something that you once could only dream about.

I am living this dream, the dream has many episodes of bitter defeat, struggles and challenges to over come, but that is no different than life itself. Today I will need to stay patient and know that my tournament is about making the cut, and being low amateur in this event. I believe I have a solid strategy, but putting side saddle in high winds is very difficult. I will do my best!!

I will write to you later about my experience today, I’m sure it will be a battle for 5 hours.

Career record in the Senior Open

Stay Tuned

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | July 27, 2017

Living the Dream

My journey began on July 17 with a flight to Detroit Michigan to attempt to qualify for the US Senior amateur championship​​​.

The journey did not begin well as I missed qualifying for this important event. I then took an earlier flight to London with a drive to Wales to begin preparing for my Monday, July 24 qualifier for the Senior Open championship being held at Royal Porthcawl.

This is my absolute favorite event I have ever played in, and allows an amateur like myself to play in a professional major with an 18 hole qualifier standing in front of us.

Monday was a very exciting day for me as I got off to a very good start on a very difficult golf course, Pyle & Kenfig. Three years ago at the same site the qualifying score was four over par 75.

After a few mental errors, I battled and fought down the stretch to finish at +3 74 and then waited another four hours to determine my fate.

The day ended as it did in 2009 when I secured a qualifying spot through a playoff with a very exciting putt that found the bottom of the hole to punch my ticket into this major championship.

This was no ordinary putt, and I was doing everything possible to try and secure two putts from my position on the green. I was above the hole 20 feet away looking at about 6 feet of break. When I first struck the putt it was on a great line it took a big left turn headed straight downhill and found the bottom of the cup.

I can clearly remember the feeling in 2009 when I qualified for my first professional major into the open at Sunningdale. I had goosebumps on my arms for many hours, in this instance it was the exact same.

Since I am writing this post via my mobile phone, I am not sure if all the videos below will be available for viewing. I play my first round in about three hours and it will be contested and some of the most difficult conditions I will ever play in, with very Highwinds and driving rain.

Stay Tuned

Results can be followed at http://www.europeantour.com

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My favorite trip of the year will commence next Monday with a flight to Michigan, a drive from Detroit to Marshall Michigan for a Wednesday qualifier for the USGA Senior Amateur Championship. My guess is 54 players will compete for 3 spots into the Championship. I’ll have a day and a quarter to acclimate and prepare for this important 18 hole qualifier.

The qualifier is at The Medalist Club near Marshall MI, and it looks amazing. The challenge will not be playing a new course I am not familiar with, it will be putting the greens. My long game is in good form, with the putting being the challenge. I laugh when I hear that I am one of the best Side Saddle putters in the world, its true I am one of the few, but certainly not the best, or even a good putter. Tragically in 2012 I developed a yip when looking at the ball while putting, so since 2012 most putts are hit with my eyes closed.

I had a great run from 1997-2012 winning over 100 amateur events using this method, so it can and does work. Like any part of golf the technique is of paramount importance, and will assist in keeping the brain from creating a quirk while putting or chipping, or even driving the ball.

If you think you have the YIPS, or you know you have the YIPS, then make a change, and let your brain look at something different. It always happens at the point where your going to hit the ball. YOU CANNOT LOOK AT THE BALL (like Spieth looking at the hole) as the brain will send an electric charge and the result will not be pretty.

THE CURE…..well there is no cure. Its mind over matter, its getting to a boiling point where you decide to not let it rule you and your body. This has worked sporadically for me. I also now try to concentrate on the putter head finishing down the line I am putting down, and take the emphasis off making the putt, but just hitting it on a line and speed I want.

After the USGA Senior Amateur qualifier I head back to Detroit to fly to London arriving on Friday at 6:25 AM with a drive to Wales to play a practice round at Pyle & Kenfig for the Senior Open qualifier on Monday July 24th. 18 holes, 120 players for 6-8 spots, bringing my A putting game.

Then I will check in at Royal Porthcawl for my practice round on Tuesday with a Thursday start to the British Senior Open. Photos and updates will be here as I progress through these events.

I finish my trip by competing in the British Senior Amateur at the amazing Sunningdale in London on August 9-11th. For that event I am already fully exempt and don’t have to go through a qualifier. Obviously the goal is to qualify back to back for the USGA Senior Am and the Senior Open. The strategy will be same in each case, one shot at a time, never too high, never too low with the emotions. A strong strategy and game plan, as in qualifiers you do not need to win them, but that is always my goal. If I fall short of my goal, I usually still qualify.

The pressure will be high, and dealing with pressure can actually work in your favor, if you know how the adrenaline is going to effect your shot and distance it goes. The more experience you have the more familiar it becomes. But regardless coming down the stretch playing the last few holes knowing you’re close is the true challenge of this game we love. Even at any level this is where you will be challenged most. And unfortunately most players will be fatigued, dehydrated, low in sugar and very short and quick with their swing.

I take a different approach, I will drown myself with water and electrolytes, have sufficient food in me, I will always go into slow motion with my swing. Rhythmic swings down the stretch do NOT produce wild shots. Nervous fast swings do!! Stick to your game plan and visualize your shots to the last putt drops. This may all sound easy, but its not, it takes practice and patience as this game is very difficult to stay in the ZONE for 5+ hours.

If you want to win, you must believe you will win. To believe you will win you must prepare and act like a winner. Your subconscious  will always know when you are a fraud, so don’t be a fraud, Prepare…prepare…prepare. And then prepare even harder!!!

 

Thats it for now, photos of all these courses coming up!!!

STAY TUNED

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | July 11, 2017

DANIEL CONNOLLY A TRUE NCGA CHAMPION

On occasion I write about individual achievements that are worth bringing to your attention. This past weekend Daniel Connolly ran away with the Northern California Stroke Play Championship at Poppy Hills with rounds of 68-69-71.

Since I was there, and played all three rounds, I can attest to the difficult challenge that Poppy Hills threw at this star-studded field of many college and young elite players from Northern California. Yes, the field was missing a few of the best Nor-Cal standouts do to another event being held at Sahalee, but that had no bearing on the eventual winner Daniel Connolly with a 5 under par winning total.

Since I have known Daniel since he was a wee-lad from the Olympic Club, I am excited to write to you what a fine young gentleman he is.  He carries himself humbly and exemplifies everything that is good about golf and the people that are passionate about this sport. He possesses the heart of a champion, and has progressed through the junior ranks and now into the college ranks advancing his game step-by-step.

I had the pleasure of dining with Daniel, and my good friend, his father Martin, on Thursday evening before the start of the tournament. I was very curious to hear about what Daniel thought about his college experience to date, and what his goals are looking forward. This young man is realistic about how tough it will be to play professional golf, but certainly has the confidence in his abilities to grow and mature in the game he loves and to compete at the highest level.

Daniel and I shared a very special day in 2016 when we both won our flights in the San Francisco City Championship, an event we both cherish in our local area. I remember walking out to the 17th hole at Harding Park (after I had won the Senior division) with the rain coming down sideways, and witnessed Daniel strip a 6 iron on the green and then drain a 25 foot putt to win the championship. Those are memories for a lifetime!!!

Having watched top amateur talent come up through the ranks in NCGA and USGA events, you never know who may be the next Jordan Spieth or Justin Thomas. But I can again attest to the distance off the tee per pounds of the golfing world, and Daniel stacks up there with the biggest hitters in the game per pound. That combined with a deft putting stroke, and a fearless attitude can get you a long way in this game.

I believe that Daniel possesses all the talent to play this game at the highest level, but hard work and a relentless work ethic will be the difference maker in this young mans future. Some guys just cannot rise about the distractions that life throws your way. I see a focus and quiet brilliance in this kid’s eyes. I don’t believe there will ever be another Tiger Woods, who single handedly can change the face of the game, but I believe that many top young players will make their mark in this game we love, and they’ll do it with great respect and integrity for the game they love.

It was pure joy for me watching the Daniel and father Martin on the bag coming up the 16th hole. I believe Daniel held a 5 shot lead at the time, but was out of position on the hole, left with a difficult 5o yard pitch shot to the green with a front pin location. He had a very tight lie, and I thought it would be very difficult to get up and down for his par. So after carefully studying the shot up at the green and then back to his ball, Daniel cooly hit a flop-shot that landed perfectly on the front of the green and found its way to the bottom of the hole. Seems every time I come out to watch Daniel he is doing things I used to watch Tiger do when I briefly competed against him. Keep an eye on this young man, he has a brilliant game and will represent our region well!!

Below is the link provided by amateur golf.com which covered the event

Daniel Connolly goes wire to wire to win the NCGA Stroke Play Championship

Coming up next the detail of my upcoming crazy schedule that brings me to Michigan for the USGA Senior Am qualifier, flight to London for the Senior Open Qualifier in Wales, and then back to London for the Senior Amateur at Sunningdale. Also more on Side Saddle putting in my next post.

STAY TUNED

Posted by: randyhaaggolf | May 2, 2017

SIDE SADDLE PUTTERS REVIEWED

Please remember these are my opinions about these putters, and your preference could vary greatly on each individuals preference in length, height, lines, look, feel, angle preference, stability etc.

Side Saddle Putting is a unique way of putting, while looking a little abnormal to the general golfing public. But keep in mind that Dave Pelz once said in one of his putting books, that if he were to start a beginner putting, it would be using a FaceOn/SideSaddle method.

The key to success extends WAY beyond the putters listed below, its primarily about the technique one uses. Instruction is difficult to come by, and poor technique will result in many 3 and 4 putt greens, and a quick exit from this superior technique to getting the ball in the hole. For some GOOD instruction join my YouTube channel for updated instruction – look on YouTube for Randy Haag

Most find that the ability to tilt the putter more vertical, makes this technique easy and more consistent. This may not be true for everyone, but for most of those I have spoken to using this technique, its the case.

Below are my written comments on each of these putters:

 

INTRO TO PUTTER REVIEW

JUANPUTT

I give this putter an overall score of 8, I think its a very good option versus the other putters available. Juan provides instruction, and is always available to help his fellow FaceOn putting customers.

One model only, called the JUANPUTT

Available in left and right hand, with lengths of 31″-52″

Center shaft, Lie angle/79.5 degrees, one model only

Price: $275 includes Putting Trac, access to Juan over the phone, 40 minutes DVD putting instruction by Juan. 1000+ using the JuanPutt

juan@juanputt.com (402) 598-1026 http://www.speedstik.com

The Schaeffer

I give the Schaeff a score of 8 with the current model, but will re-reveiw once I get a putter with an aiming line on it.

Putter is still in Prototype phase. But will soon be out for the general public. One model only currently, with different lengths

All stats on the putter will be available at a later post. For more information contact Bobby Schaeffer at bobbyschaeffergolf@gmail.com

L-2

Overall rating at this time for me is a 5, as you need to maintain a significant angle when using this putter (no tilting up). But I am sure that many others will like this stye of putter. The L2 MOI MAXX is the only model that can be customized to 32′ – 42′ lie angle 70-78 degrees / head color/grip and shaft color.

information at L2putters.com

$179 purchased off webpage

750+ players have acquired an L2 putter, instruction offered by PGA Quarter Century Member Art Colasanti with over 40 years experience

THE ICE CUBE

This putter also gets an overall rating of 5, its an awkward putter, looks a little crazy, but I did make a few putts with it. Its weighting / look and balance are not to my liking.

cost $189 http://www.icecubeputter.com

1,000 sold so far and come with the amazing book, 7Days in Utopia (GREAT BOOK)

length 46′ 21 degree angle, SuperStroke Grip, Red sight line embedded in the putter

STX

My rating of this putter is also 8. I like that you can find these relatively easily on Ebay. There are three face colors Black is the softest, then green and red is the firmest face. They come in a variety of different lengths, and angles. Some have shaved the toe, in order to putt with the shaft vertical. This is often the technique that I use. I like the balance and stability of this putter, and I put lines on top of the putter to help me with my alignment. Worth trying one of these and can be found for $50-$150 on Ebay.

So Easy by Jack Koski

This old relic has served me well in the early years putting side saddle (1996-2004). I probably won 40 amateur events putting with this Koski “So Easy” putter. Jack I believe has since stopped making them, so if you can find one, hold onto it!!

I’d also give this putter an 8 rating, as its light, but very stable and makes the ball roll very nicely.

 

BOBBY GRACE

This is a very good putter for side saddle putting, and again I’d give it an 8 rating. The draw back is you really cannot tilt this putter vertical, but it features a very nice aiming line, and has good stability.

The cost is $350 for this F-35

http://www.mcssl.com/store/bobbygraceputters/catalog/product/d141678d7c6d4b9e8ed360ba10578f98

With its aluminum frame anodized in rich Black with bright lime green sightline and deep weighting (for higher inertia and a solid hit), now in 39”-43” (standard is 41” or 42”) with a Winn one piecs round grip

GP

The GP is another very nice, but small side saddle putter option. It creates a very solid roll that is important to making putts of any length.

GP putter costs $190 plus shipping

website is http://www.side-saddle-putting.com

Additionally PR Dionne Golf Club makes a side saddle chipping club, hmmmm I have not tried that technique yet. Patrice Dionne has some nice instructional videos for both side saddle putting and the side-chipping method. You can find all the other information on this putter on the website

Pendy

The Pendy is again another decent option for us FaceOn putters. What I liked about the Pendy is its stability back and through on the stroke. The balance was nice, despite the small head. Again I rate the Pendy with an 8 like the other good ones available.

They’ve sold about 200 putters with a price point of $180 plus $15 shipping, and are available in any type of grip preference and length. Has another putter out called the Sweeper, which I have not reviewed yet.

YouTube Brad Butler Sweeper Take One

Contact and email address for the Pendy is Brad Butler (Class A PGA pro in Phoenix) bbgolf@cox.net

Heavy Putter

The Heavy Putter I struggled with because it was very difficult to get any vertical tilt on it. I did make many putts with this putter, and you probably will as well. But for me it was a little too heavy and awkward. But please remember that everyone is going to like something different about each of these putters. For sure anyone with completely frayed nerves may love this putter, and its weight.

All the information on this putter can be found here: http://www.golf.com/equipment/boccieri-b3-m-putter-review-clubtest-2016

Bottom line is golf equipment has more to do with personal preferences than anything. Most all of the equipment out there is quite good, or they wouldn’t survive. Finding a good side saddle putter is tough, and I hope this was a good start in giving you some feedback into what’s out there.

There are many more Side Saddle putters out there I didn’t get to review. I write this blog for the love of the game, and to give back to the game that has been good to me. I am not being paid by any advertisers or club/putter manufacturers. I am JUST in search of the truth (Yes like Molder).

How you can me is SHARE  this blog with other (subscribe so you automatically get all my posts) and PLEASE let me know of other putters that are out there that the world should know about. Anyone that has a sidesaddle putter that wants it reviewed needs to write to me and send me a putter. I am very much an amateur blogger/video editor, and writer, so this is always going to be raw information coming to you as fast as I can produce it!!

LOTS MORE COMING SOON!!!

Stay tuned!!

 

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