Reopen Readiness

Golf Courses Reopen After COVID-19 Closure

Folks want things to go back to the way they once were. Or, so they say so.

With the new requirements of face coverings and social distancing, I don’t see that happening any time soon.

My home golf course sent me multiple emails, urging and encouraging me to return the course. They have assured me of all of the safeguards that they have put in place to ensure that play remains both safe and enjoyable. The emails seem well intended and well written.

I’m just not ready yet.

Fauci and Facts

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, “The Virus is a formidable foe.” No matter what President Trump says about Fauci, the fact remains that only one of them is a doctor and a leading expert on such health conditions. In a mad rush to reopen the country, we have seen an enormous increase in the amount of cases across the nation.

The PGA and Golf Channel have given us some teasers with a few tourneys the prior month, then some regular PGA events. Our appetites for watching golf had us salivating for at least a morsel something that we could sink our teeth into beyond those late night viewings of Celebrity Golf with black and white footage of Sam Snead and Hollywood hunks going at it for nine hole challenges. And the almighty golf media gods delivered.

My county has seen fit to reopen golf courses with a laundry list of safety precautions. The one about single golfer per cart is nice since courses were trying to pair riders prior to this, but not touching the flagsticks and removing the ball washers seem sort of extreme. But those precautions would not be deal-breakers.

Other states have slowly reopened courses as well, while some have chosen not to do so. As of now less than 5% of GolfNow.com‘s 5,300 partner courses remain closed. But that doesn’t speak to the amount of players actually hitting the links for a round. The question is not whether or not we can play. The question is whether or not we will play.

As for me and my clubs, I’m just not ready yet.

It’s Been a While and It’ll Be a While

It has been a while since I last played golf. I am not going to lie. And, like many golfers, I feel that itch to toss the clubs into the trunk and head over to at least the driving range to see what I still got in the tank.

But I’m just not read yet.

I believe that I could probably handle a full round of golf and hold my own. I don’t believe that I would come out striking the sweet spot on my drives or reading the greens for those delicate putts for par or better. But I do believe that I could go out and have a great time enjoying the challenge of the course and maintain a steady pace of play.

But I still believe it will be a while before I play again.

This time last year I was knee deep in golf. I played a short par 3 course near home in the AM hours and a choice of municipal and resort courses throughout San Diego County. Or, if I had the option, I would stay overnight and play Barona Creek or Sycuan, even Pala Mesa Resort. On “off days,” I would just hit the range or work on my short game with the gap wedge and pitching wedge. That lob wedge can be tricky. I’d work on putting game every so often, but I had grown accustomed to using my early morning play on par 3 courses to develop an eye for reading greens and feel for delivering some near-miss putts.

I even had plans of venturing up to Journey at Pechanga this summer, but circumstances changed that. The same circumstances have me resolving to not rush it, to take things slow and easy, and simply wait it out until I feel comfortable and confident about getting back out there.

I believe that there is still a while to go before we get through flu season and see the coronavirus curtail and dovetail into the distance like a hooking drive angled on a dogleg fairway.

Waiting It Out

I think I can just wait it out for now.

I fill my time with other fitness and sports activity. I run and walk a lot. I have taken to some body weight exercises that include some yoga and shadow boxing. I have focused on losing weight before I turn 50 years old later this year. I have occupied my time with a lot of other things other than golf.

I have resolved to just wait it out.

My hybrids may grow a little dusty and my putter stroke may grow a little rusty, but golf is about touch and feel among other things. I do not believe that I have totally lost touch with the desire to play. That’s still in there. I do believe that when i feel comfortable and confident, I will load up the golf bag and mark my Callaway Supersoft balls with my red Sharpie as I take a few deep breaths at the first hole. Whenever I go out there again, I will probably wear some Loudmouth gear or something else bold and obnoxious to pretty much announce my return whether anyone else gives a hoot or not.

I just feel like I can wait it out until I am good and ready.


Weight Loss Update

Over the last two weeks, I have extended my long runs on Sundays and have also returned to the work site. Working on site as opposed to remotely from home can impact everything from workout schedule to meal planning. And I feel it.

I lost 7 pounds 2 weeks ago and regained 4 pounds before I got back into any kind of fitness groove this week. I need to kill it on my run on Sunday to keep pace with the weight loss as I enter a 10-day Daniel Fast coming up.

I will be sure to keep you updated as I go further with this journey.

Less than 5 months to go before I turn 50.

Fit by 50

To get fit by 50 is the goal.

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#PRESSURE

I am not in the best shape.

Don’t get me wrong. I am thankful for what I have mainly the ability to get up and get out, working out or walking, even playing golf. I see the condition others are at my age with aches and pains, especially former high school and college athletes, and i thank God that I got what I got.

But here’s what I see as what is wrong.

I am not in the best of shape.

To be turning 50 in less than 50 months, I need to make some real life changes. My cholesterol is in line and no high blood pressure. I do not have diabetes. I do not have major joint or back problems or pain.

On the other hand, I tip the scale at just over 280 lbs over the last 3 to 4 months. Call it COVID-19 weight or whatever, but I need to shed it. The last time I was this heavy just over 275 lbs with a limited active life, I was diagnosed with “pre diabetes.” That simply means that I am on the verge if I don’t make changes. And I did make changes. I got active. This time I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. I do NOT like the machine or the mask. The mask shifts around too much and the hose annoys me. I look like a lost Jedi fighter pilot out of Star Wars or something. I decided to continue with the sleep study and try my best, but I am also determined to get in shape before 50 and NOT need this machine at night or 2 Advil in the morning.

I want to be fit by 50.

#FitBy50

Everything that is wrong with me is under my control: Sleep, Nutrition, and Activity.

Sleep: I do not sleep long hours. I got sleep apnea. But the sleep that I do get isn’t always restful. It’s time I take sleep seriously due to its impact on my ability to lose weight and maintain a healthy diet.

I will commit to eliminating the things that disrupt and rob me of a good nigh’s rest, interfering with my sleep and my health.

Nutrition: I have added more fruit and vegetables to my diet, but my problem is that bread dominates my diet. It can be tortillas, pizza dough, sourdough slices, or biscuits. I drink too much coffee throughout the day (and evening). Too much coffee leads to added sugars because I am that guy. I also do not drink enough water.

I will commit to eliminating bread from diet for 2 weeks initially. I will commit to removing white bread and white sugar from my diet by July 20th. I will focus on the transition to a plant-based diet as I begin again with “clean” eating.

Activity: I am inconsistent and too sporadic with my activity. Prior to COVID-19, I played basketball once per week if not 2-3 times. I also went to the gym at least 4 days per week (treadmill, free weights, weight machines, and stationary bike). I would do Zumba and body combat classes. I would run an average of 8 to 10 miles per week. Now gyms are just reopening. When it comes to golfing, a lot of golf courses are just getting back to up and running again. I should have read those blog posts on getting fit while at home. And we are all supposed to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing. I might be doing 4 to 6 miles per week run, jog and walk at best. I am sort of at the starting block as Eleanor Sophie put it in her recent June post.

I commit to maintaining a consistent activity schedule, including logging at least 10 miles per week. I will also add variety to my workouts to attack my problem areas.

I want to be fit by 50.

Join me on the journey.

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When Fitness Friday is a Flop

Some days work out better than others.  That’s just a fact.

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Fitness Fridays Require Focus (Even After They Fail & Flop)

I try to spend my Fridays with a focus on fitness.  Like I shared previously, fitness for the fairway makes a huge difference in your game.  Strength training, nutrition and some yoga or basic stretching can help make a difference in your scorecard.

Some Fridays that doesn’t happen.  It just doesn’t work out.

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Flop Shots and Inconsistency

It goes sort of like that flop shot that every golfer seems to flip out about mastering.  As much as golf pros and swing coaches might suggest ditching the lob wedge in lieu of a gap wedge or alt wedge, it still sits in the bag.  We still try to force ourselves to emulate or rather imitate what we see Lefty pull off from the fringe.  We consider it working on our short game and fight to master a flop with finesse.

I have yet to see it work out.  Its infrequent and inconsistent success keeps me chipping with my other wedges and 9 iron more consistently rather than taking the risk of yips taking over as I overthink what should be a simple and routine shot.  I would rather face a shot with consistency and confidence.  I would even putt it from the fringe if the lie is right and I can see the possibility of getting a good line at the hole.  That beats out the possibility and potential of a flop from the fringe every time.

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Focus on Fixing What You Can Fix

So, when it comes to my Fitness Fridays, I sometimes lose focus or even miss the opportunity.  I make the mistake of not getting in enough protein.  I skip a meal or commit some other fitness cardinal sin.  It turns out like that flop shot.

When your fitness focus flops, be sure to set up a comeback.   Do not beat yourself up too much.  You just need to refocus and get back at it to get back on track.

Comeback Commitment

  • Talk yourself out of doubt.  Your self-talk will make a difference in your success.
  • Spend some time making a commitment to your fitness and nutrition regimen.
  • Set some simple and attainable goals.  Think SMART goals.
  • Work on working in some makeup days in your weekly routine.
  • Meal plan and meal prep ahead of time, not the morning of or on the fly.
  • Keep a journal or diary of your fitness journey.  Include workouts and meals, even results from weigh-ins.
  • Get an accountability partner to keep you honest and supported.

Your success is about long term results.  Such success is achieved through commitment and consistency.  You can change the course of your own success by making some changes along the way.

Think about it.  Your golf round is not summed up by your worst par 3 hole.  It is the culmination of all 18 holes.  Approach your fitness plan the same way.

I want to make my Fitness Fridays more successful.  I want to see a change in my strength and shape, even my weight.  I cannot achieve it if I stay in the dumps about what one day that did not work out.  I have more to achieve and I need to spend some time making sure that I focus on how to fix it when it flops.

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Now that flop shot? I think I will spend some time working on it here and there, but I doubt if it ever becomes one of my go-to shots that I would rely on in pinch.  I will treat it like the days when my fitness focus does not work out.  I will simply take a step back analyze what worked and what didn’t work, and then I will shove that lob wedge back in my bag and take a sure shot that I feel more confident about each round.

Fitness Fixes to the Fairway

I need to lose weight.

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If I am going to break 90 consistently, dropping pounds and improving strength and stamina are definitely necessities.  Otherwise, my golf game will be so inconsistent it will become unpredictable.

I started a regular fitness regimen a few years ago and it has been beneficial.  I walk.  I run and jog.  I play hoops.  I lift weights.  I hit up the cardio classes at 24 Hour Fitness on the weekends.  And I need to keep losing weight and building up my strength and stamina.

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It helps with my overall health and wellness.

It also helps with my golf game.

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Some time back, I found it difficult to walk a par 3 18-hole course.  Heck, I could hardly handle a 9-hole with over 6 clubs in my bag at  that time.  It was all about a cart or no deal.

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Nowadays I can walk that 18 hole par 3 course.  I prefer mornings myself.  There is something about that fresh cut grass smell in the air and the frost coming off the greens to make them slightly slick in the right (and wrong) places.  It also serves as a major step count boost, especially if you get 18 holes out of the way early in the day.

My fitness level improves my ability to have a strong game.

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Consider the following items to fix your fitness for the fairway:

  • Nutrition: Check out your diet; what you take in day by day, meal after meal.  Track meals and manage your diet based on your weight and other health goals.
  • Exercise: Get moving daily.  Get those step in day after day.  Join a run club or a fitness center.  Walk at the local park.  Just get up and get motivated to get moving.  The heaviest thing you lift should not be your golf bag.
  • Rest: I used to not give this any credit, sleeping 4 to 5 hours per night and wondering why my immune system would shut down on me every so often.  Duh!! I average 6.5 to 7 hours now.  I even cut off my snacking after 9 PM due to how it disrupted my sleep.  Like the commercial says: never underestimate a good night’s rest.
  • Stress Reduction: If you do not reduce your stress level soon, you will create a load of problems for yourself further down the road.  Stress disrupts your entire system.  Major and chronic illness is called disease.  In other words, your body system is NOT at ease.  From blood pressure and heart disease to anxiety and panic attacks, stress is a killer.  At the least, stress can kill a great foursome and a good round of golf.  Just ask your playing partners.

Make the most of your opportunities to stay fit.  Fix what you need to fix to get fit for the fairway.  It will show on your scorecard.  Your body will definitely thank you for it.