Butler Cabin, Augusta National (c) Burgh Golfer

Saturday, February 25, 2012

WGC Accenture Match Play - European dominance

The WGC Accenture Match Play is under way this week and it feels like a European Tour event.  Of course, 2012 is a Ryder Cup year so you have to take note of the European dominance this week at the WGC.  Since both the WGC and Cup are Match Play Style events one has to begin drawing comparisons.  If the Europeans continue to play well and perhaps go on to win this week questions will arise about their dominance in this format.
I did not get a chance to watch many of the matches on days one or two.  However, I flipped on the tube yesterday afternoon and saw what appeared to me as a European Ryder Cup roster.  Familiar European Tour players names filled the brackets such as; Westwood, McIlroy, Jimenez, Hansen, Lawrie, Laird and Kaymer.  In fact, seven players in total out of the sixteen remaining in the field were European.  Let’s not forget that Luke Donald won the event last year.  He is regular on the European Tour Ryder Cup roster.  Likewise, in 2010 Ian Poulter, another regular European Ryder Cup player won the event.
So, why are the Europeans so dominant in this event? By all appearances they are superior in most match play format tournaments?  What is it in their background, preparation or style of play that better suites their games?  Do they want the win more?  Do they play more aggressive?  Are they more consistent?  Are they better putters? Do they play more match play events on their tour than the PGA does?
I have my own theory as to why the Europeans are better at Match Play and it comes down to short game.  If you have ever played in Match Play style events you quickly realize that players who can scramble have a distinct advantage.  Match play is not really about distance or power.  It is about the ability to get the ball in the hole at the right moment.  Unlike stroke play the total number of strokes is not as critical.  You are playing against a single opponent not the entire field.  I believe in this area the Europeans overall are just better equipped to play that format.
I am not saying that the Americans do not have great short games or short game players.  They clearly do, however, we play a different style of game in the US than in Europe.  The guys on the PGA Tour play under perfect conditions each week and an ariel game.   European players play under less than perfect conditions both on course and due to the weather.  Also, they are forced to learn to play along the ground and learn to play a variety of short game shots.  One could argue why that matters if the WGC and Cup are being played in the US?  Because you either have the shots or you don’t.  Plus you must be comfortable and confident you can pull them off under pressure.
Why do you think the Europeans are so dominant in Match Play Events?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

2012 Golf Goals

source; museumarts.com

Each year I set goals for all aspects of my life; financial, personal, spiritual and of course, golf.  This process begins in December of the previous year as I assess the goals of that year and start to outline what I wish to accomplish the following year.
 As I began my career out of college I took a class on goal setting.  In that class they taught us not only how to set goals but why we should set them.  Statistics show that people who set goals are much more likely to achieve them.  Research has shown that you not only need to set goals but you must also write them down.  By writing down your goals it provides you the opportunity to view them periodically.  This will keep you focused on the goals you have set.  This step also acts as constant reminder that the goal exists and your behavior needs to reflect that goal.   Last year I began the year with seven golf goals and only achieved four of them.  Not bad considering they were all fairly difficult to achieve in the first place.  Since I am not one to dwell on the negative here are the goals I did achieve.
2011 Golf Goals Achieved
·         Repeated as Club Champion
·         Improved Lag Putting
·         Reduced risk in shot making, playing smarter
·         Improved Greenside Bunker Play
As I reflect on the previous year’s goals I always ask myself, why did I achieve or not achieve each of the goals?  This past year it was clearly practice and focus.  I guess I could probably say that every year but last year that was the case.  I spent an inordinate amount of time practicing these areas in an effort to see marked improvement.
 I thought I would share my 2012 goals with everyone and we will have to check back next year to see how I fared.  Of course, some goals are more easily measured than others.  For example, qualifying for a tournament is very easy to measure.  Whereas, improving bunker play is not so simple.   The less quantifiable goals are more based upon your own judgment.  You need to ask yourself if you truly achieved the goal or not.  This is where being honest with yourself is key.  It does not pay to tell yourself you achieved a goal when in fact, you did not.  One last thing I have learned over the years is to have attainable goals.  They need to stretch you but they also need to be reachable.  Otherwise, you will lose interest early on in the process and probably shy away from goal setting in the future.
My 2012 Golf Goals
·         Defend the Club Championship
·         Improve my chipping around the greens
·         Improve longer bunker play
·         Improve pitching from 65-95 yards
·         Buy a new putter
One last Goal I wanted to achieve last year was related to my Blog.  I had hoped to exceed five thousand page views by the end of 2011 and we exceed that goal significantly.  Let’s see if we cannot reach the twenty thousand page view mark by the end of this year.
What are your golf goals for 2012 and how do you track them?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Preparing for the Golf Season

It is that time of the year again, spring is just around the corner and that means it is time to prepare for the upcoming golf season.  This year I was nominated to research and organize the spring golf trip in March.  The past few years all I had to do was buy a plane ticket and show up.  This year I was the “chosen one”, what were they thinking?  During the process I had the opportunity to play several key  roles including; travel agent, administrative assistant and research analyst.  I am sure after a few months away from the game I will also get a chance to play a Psychologist either on or after the trip.  I am not really a doctor I just play one on the golf trip.  I want to thank the other guys as they did help out as no one in their right mind would trust me to make ALL of the arrangements.
I usually go through a pretty consistent ritual in the winter in anticipation to the season.  The major objectives are replacing grips, replacing spikes (which by the way Soft Spikes do not last very long), what a racket.  I also get the clubs out and clean the faces and grooves to get rid of last years mud and bad play.  In past years I have begun to work out more, although, this off season I have done a good job keeping up with that.  I really should stretch more than I do especially now that I am over the big four zero.  At least I am not over the big five zero like some people I know, HEHE.  In the past I used to have to get all of my golf clothes out of storage.  Not this year however, thanks to a new closet organizer the golf clothes hang in there all year round.  Given the number of golf shirts I own that used to be a chore.  I Especially hated all the ironing, thank goodness for the invention of wrinkle free shirts.  The last big chore will be to replace a few of my grips.  I know my driver and three wood need new grips at a minimum and probably some of my short irons as well.  I do not enjoy changing grips but good grips are crucial to playing good golf, especially in the east where the humidity is higher.
In previous off seasons I have built myself a few new golf clubs but not this year.  I bought two new Titleist Sand Wedges last summer which I love.  Since my trusty driver is still doing the trick I do not need to replace it yet.  My next big purchase is a “Scotty”.  Yep, I am going to break down and get a new putter after fifteen years.  Although my putter did allow me to successfully defend my club championship last year I believe it is time to hang it up. 

So, come back to see my future posts with course reviews from this year’s spring trip. 
What do you do to prepare for the golf season?