My 99 in Hindsight

Scorecards don’t lie.

They’re an indicator of how well or how poorly we played a round of golf on a certain course at a certain time on a certain day.

My recent round of 99 was an indicator of what was right about my game as well as what was so wrong about my game.

Driving Distance and Fairway Play

I will be the first to admit it. My fairways hit usually are limited to 2 maybe 3 per round. I tend to veer to the right and then adjust and start going too far to left. I’m not hitting as many fairways as I would like with my woods, especially the driver- my TaylorMade Burner Superfast Driver.

This round I actually hit 7 fairways. I will take that. I need to get it up to 9, but I haven’t played in ages. Distance was not a problem off the tee.

Great to Just Get Out

I loved playing with my cousin Robert from Texas and PGA Tour Champions caddie and Monday qualifier Mark Teran. Along with Mark’s brother, I was completely surrounded by Austin, Texas, and they let me know it and not forget it.

Mark Teran owns Piped Golf and caddies for some well-known senior PGA players. He’s definitely got his eyes set on swinging on tour making his rounds and taking his shot at Monday qualifiers. Beyond being a superb caddie with great reviews, Mark is a mean with a dream and a pure swing.

Fix and Focus

I need to fix my swing flaws as i mentioned earlier. i need to find my rhythm and get there with my swing. On the par 5 8th hole, I hit trees on one side of the course and chipped it short of the green by about 8 yards or even closer. That’s what needs to fixed and quickly.

I need to focus on my fitness, and then I need to focus on my par 3s and playing from the rough. I’ve come up short too many times leaving myself with par shots at best. If I do this right, I can see more fairways hit, a few greens in regulation, and lower numbers of putts.

My Breaking 90 Goal Broke Down Today

Not Today

I’ve got way more that I could say about this round today.

I’m just going to go ahead and just leave this pic here for you to soak it in.

In summation, it was not my greatest outing and despite some good moments it just wasn’t happening for me today.

When the wheels came off, they broke the whole darn thing down to pretty much a crawl.

Not Ready Yet

Like many things in life, we’re not ready to talk about this one yet. I’m going to need a healthy does of time and space. I’d say at least 24 hours. I think I can regroup and break down where I broke down and need to fix some things.

Currently, I’m rethinking my retention of the wisdom of Brian Penn’s post on swing thoughts. I am reeling on my heels and tiptoes at what the Grateful Golfer shared in a past post about our work to get things done.

In the meantime, check out the Instagram page of Piped Golf with Mark Teran. I did have the pleasure of playing a round with Mark and his brother as my cousin and I ventured out to Cottonwood Golf Club today. Mark’s got an extraordinary story to tell and I hope to give you more of his story in another format on another day.

I’m regrouping. I’m recharging. I’m hitting reset right here and it’s right up someone else’s alley. I’m going to have to make a fitness turnaround within this equation, though. That can cause more delays in fixing my game, but the benefits will outweigh those delayed opportunities.

For now, just know that I am not ready to talk about today’s round like folks watch Disney movies and agree to not talk about Bruno anymore.

Golf Getaway Destination Poll

Sometimes, you just want to getaway and go play golf. There are plenty of luxurious and relaxing stay-and-play golf offers out there.

People save up for golf stay-and-play packages that they want to experience for themselves. They plan for years. They budget their dollars and they save up as much as needed to getaway and play. Some even sacrifice coffee runs to Starbucks for the sake of getting away to go play golf.

Plenty of people have such a golf getaway on their bucket list. They want the ultimate golf experience. For some, they see it as a major part of their entire life’s journey as a golfer.

The pandemic sure didn’t help things any. Many have been awaiting an opportunity to get out and just go away to go play.

Where do you see as your ultimate golf destination?

Golf Season Never Ends

Chip & pitch practice at Cottonwood Golf Club

Golf season never ends.

No, don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about the PGA Tour or LIV Golf. The PGA Tour ends and cycles back around with the West Coast Swing until the cycle ends again.

Even where some of you live makes it hard to hit balls amid snow and heavy rainy seasons. Your season has to end at some point.

I’m talking about my personal golf season. I’m talking about my ability to get up and go out to play golf throughout the year. That never ends for me.

Location Matters

I live in the San Diego area. The locale’s weather is consistently warm and sunny with a handful of rainy days. There are plenty of golf courses to choose from on a regular basis.

I love living in such an area. I love being able to play golf at so many different types of courses with different layouts and designs. I love having a neverending golf season in such a place as San Diego.

Schedule of Play

I can set up a tee time during my off days as well as during the hours when I’m not working for those twilight discounts. The level of flexibility that my schedule allows will provide me with opportunities to play golf and train frequently.

I do not find it difficult to get a tee time at different times, especially with tee times offered online. Plus, life happens for people and plenty of folks fall off and free up slots at local courses. I advise calling the pro shop ahead of arrival and seeing if there’s room for a single or pair to jump in. Otherwise, I say just show up at the course and hit a bucket of balls while you wait for an open tee time.

Swing It!!

For me, based upon my schedule and locale, golf season never ends. It just keeps rolling on endlessly.

And guess what?

I love it.

Invested in My Golf Game

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is 

I was probably teeing off at either Chula Vista Golf Course or Mission Trails Golf Course when I heard about it. I just remember being captivated by the idea of it. In fact, it caused me to be a little distracted until the second or third hole. (I think it was Chula Vista. I recall going into water that ran along the course.)

The guy who was paired with and playing with us had mentioned that he had invested in Callaway.

Think about it.

This was Big Bertha era. This was when the PGA was all up in arms about equipment specifications and restrictions. Callaway was long before PGX in leveling the playing field for weekend golfers to gain yardage off the tee.

And this dude was casually talking about how he had invested in Callaway early on as an IPO.

I was intrigued.

I was starting to invest beyond my mutual funds with Franklin-Templeton and I had started a trading account with TD Waterhouse (later TD Ameritrade). I held a few shares of companies like Oracle, Pepsi, and Ford.

But this guy owned Callaway.

I looked into it and that’s when I became a conscious investor in the game of golf and the world of sports.


You can read all about my sports portfolio that I have accumulated via this Medium article that I wrote a while back.


Popular Golf Stocks for Investors

Fun Facts about the List

  • Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF ($BETZ) is most probably one of the oddest items on the list.
  • Comcast owns NBC and the Golf Channel
  • One of these stocks is actually using the ticker symbol: $GOLF

I didn’t include Nike ($NKE) because despite their athletic apparel lines which include golf gear the company no longer makes golf equipment.

There might be some other names missed on this list, too. I just wanted to create a broad list of golf-related investments available out there including an ETF.

Callaway as a Stock

Like I said, I was first introduced to the entire idea of investing in golf stocks by a guy who owned a piece of Callaway. That was where I did my initial research.

$ELY still is available under $25 on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Got any golf stocks you want to share? Share in the comments & keep swinging

Tuning Up with a Par 3 Course

Most folks who know me know that I am not a big fan of par 3 holes. That being said, I have also challenged myself a few times here and there to play an entire par 3 course. It might sound contradictory, but you really have to follow the logic on this.

My last golf outing that I posted about a few weeks ago felt like a true dusting, not even the type of play that I would call a comeback from a long lay off. It did prompt me to sure up certain parts of my game which had shown some rust and lackluster maintenance. It got me rethinking about consistency across the board and how much more consistency I needed with some fundamentals like alignment and approach.

I felt like a par 3 course like Singing Hills Pine Glen was just what I needed to get me back on track.

Swinging and Switching Up at Singing Hills Pine Glen

Nestled at the foot of East County foothills of San Diego just a short drive from the Sycuan Casino and Resort, Singing Hills is a golfer’s paradise in Southern California. As opposed to its 2 other 18-hole courses, Oak Glen and Willow Glen, Pine Glen is an 18-hole par 3 course that covers a lot of ground at just over 2,500 yards. This course has a total scorecard of 54, but it offers some challenges to make you knuckle down and choke up to keep your shots on target.

On target?

Yep, that would have been great to remember as I started launching balls in all directions except onto the putting surface. I could have used that reminder when I came up short or just so close with my initial shots off the tee. I need to keep the ball on target and I can’t do that if I am not aligned with my target and I need to. . .

Front 9: Nothing But Bogeys and Double Bogeys

You get the point. I was all in my head the front 9. I shot a 39 and paced myself for another disastrous round, but I was angling in the right direction. My swift swing found the sweet spot on that 7 iron a few times and I felt confident. My main issue was that chipping from greenside or even the fringe left me putting for par or worse. I was not giving myself many birdie opportunities.

When that’s the way you are playing, you leave yourself little room for error. My putting was rolling along as I expected and I could not ask any more it than to maybe give me breaks on those putts that just slowly edged the hole and came to a complete stop. When that’s your putt for par, you can’t help but get nothing but bogeys and double bogeys.

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Back 9: Swinging on Target and Switching Up

So, you see the scorecard. You see those 4 GIRs that rarely ever show up on my pics of scorecards. What that really means is that I had some changes that I had to make and I made them going into the back 9. On the 9th hole I had come up short on the left side of the green after a rocket of a shot with a 6 iron dropped in thick grass. The greenside short shot I tried to tap for a little roll caught too much speed and left me with a long putt for par. Then, after putting it past the hole, it took me 2 more putts to close out the hole. That hole got me psyched on how to conquer future holes, though.

I switched up my swing and alignment to get myself swinging on target again. This is one that you don’t get to on the range much because everything is static and nothing changes up much. That’s why I consider some rounds like this as my best practice rather than swinging away on the range with some soggy mat of artificial turf.

As you can see, I started getting my shots on target and putting myself in position to putt for birdie. That’s your best option if you are going to lower your scores, get in a position where you are putting for birdie or better. Putting to save par is too much work when you’re over 20 feet out and you’ve got bad read on the line. If you are putting for birdie, you can simply putt to the hole and follow that up with a putt in the hole for par. Improving my alignment got me on target with some greens in regulation and a handful of par holes to save my hide. The remainder of the holes on the back 9 were bogeys, but I have to admit that some of those were just errors in my putt reads or short game shots that didn’t pan out as I had planned.

Lesson Learned: Switch Up Where and When You Need To

My game is a testimony to trial and error. It speaks volumes about how much time I spend wondering if I am implementing the right techniques rather than testing out what I am doing and making adjustments from there. I need to trust myself more and make slight adjustments where and when I can in play. My cousin was a wild driver off the tee, ending up in the most peculiar circumstances for an approach shot, but I would always be amazed with his recovery shots that got him in a great position for birdie or par in a lot of circumstances. I don’t want the wild shots off the tee that force me to make amazing recovery shots. I want that consistent play that allows me to evaluate my circumstances at the moment and make a judgment call to switch things up here and there to improve my play.

Not Exactly a Comeback

Mama Said Knock You Out– LL Cool J

C’mon man
And with the local DDC news, LL Cool J with a triumphant comeback
But tonight…
Don’t call it a comeback, I been here for years
I’m rockin’ my peers, puttin’ suckers in fear

LL Cool J lyrics from “Mama Said Knock You Out” via Musixmatch

Definitely Not a Comeback Performance

I must have missed the memo, but I certainly can say that my latest outing in golf didn’t get me any closer to breaking 90 or breaking 100. In fact, it simply proved what I know good and well for my own personal golf game. I need more consistency to get better results.

I will even give myself a break. Over the past 2-3 months, I have been heavily into tennis. Playing doubles with co-workers once or twice per week and trying to organize groups of folks to just come out and try it with us for fun and fellowship with a little bit of fitness. And, might I add, I am decent enough to hang even when the temperature tips to about 90 degrees or so.

But this latest golf outing was nowhere near a comeback.

It was like more of a proving ground that what needed work when I left off after Spring Break still needs some work and what I thought I had down and under control still leaves me with drives veering off too far to the right or the left of the fairway.

Willowbrook Country Club

Venture outside of San Diego proper eastward and you will come across Lakeside, a rural area where the summer weather is unquestionably hot as hell and the scenery is majestic with mountain views and wide open terrain. Nestled in the midst of Lakeside and surrounded by mobile homes, Willowbrook Country Club is a nine hole course designed for you to play twice. While playing with Cousin Robert, we went for the white tees on the first round, and then the blue tees on the second round.

The course is in decent shape and the rates are reasonable even with a cart. The staff was friendly and attentive, especially as we awaited teeing off due to the men’s regular Monday tournament in session when we arrived a little early to check in for our tee time. There are plenty of trees and enough water on the course to keep you trying to angle your shots to avoid them. For me, it was like I was on the EPA’s most wanted list and continually hitting anything with bark and leaves on it.

All in all, the course gives you enough of a challenge to keep you working on your game’s necessary tweaks. In my case, I found the types of holes designed on this flat dessert-like oasis to seem more fitting for an early morning tee time with a cool breeze and some June gloom to keep the sun at a distance. But you can only go dogleg left so many times before you have to hit a par 3 over water or decide between trying to drive a short par 4 with the flag behind the brush and sand trap or just lay up in the hopes of getting on in 2 shots.

My Letdowns Left Me Looking for Relief

With Cousin Robert @ Willowbrook Country Club

I spent way too much time with poor shot selections. You know the kind that I mean: chip shots between 2 trees with dangling limbs, approach shots where the alignment is off and you end up in the other fairway, and 3 putts upon 3 putts. man, I really thought I had those 3 putts down.

Despite all of the poor shots and lost balls, I still had my moments out there. My chip shot on the first hole over the trees that I would eventually deflower and damn near destroy on the second round showed promise and left me just off the fringe. My choice to go with a 3 wood when things looked wild off the tee was right on point and gave me a shot at birdie that fast greens do not allow. And of course I had to figure out my hybrid game which offered me some saving grace in a few instances on the course.

Mulligans were being called out countless times. This wasn’t one of those rounds where you felt like tracking any balls into the woods and bushes with the summer heat and any potential disturbance of local critters like reptiles. Like I always say, that’s why they come in packs of 12. Just toss me another one from my bag, bro.

Overwhelmed at Over One Hundred

No matter how bad my scorecard looked, I didn’t expect it to look that bad. But I got to be honest. It was a poor showing of course management and shot selection to go along with just plain gamesmanship. i was basically just out there without any strategy. That’s where I really got overwhelmed, I believe. My entire approach that day was just swinging and seeing where it went rather than trying to navigate the course with strokes in mind.

My first round looked like it might have some promise, but when I look at the scorecard I know that shows signs of an inevitable uphill battle. Throw in that second round and you see nothing but squares and double squares. And yes that is a ten on the 10th hole. I cannot even go into the depths of despair that I went through on the same hole that I had just done okay on in the first round.

Lack of Consistency Without Any Loss of Confidence

I mean I would be a fool if I just said that I am done playing golf due to a poor round. Look at guys like Lefty or Bryson DeChambeau when they miss the cut. They do not run and hide from the golf paparazzi and emerge the next season with a new coach, new caddie and new clubs. They take it on the chin and come back the next time with that prior round off their mind. They come back with a refreshed perspective and a can-do attitude about what is ahead of them. They make a plan to make things work out better than did previously.

Oh, believe me, I am reeling from some of these numbers. I can handle a few double bogeys and an occasional snowman, too. Just let me chip in for par or birdie off the fringe. Let me get a few pars and birdies along the way with those short par 4 and par 5 holes.

I am still on my way to consistently breaking 90. This one just truly informed me with data to work with and analyze for my next round. Like some golf bloggers have shared, it makes sense to prep for each shot one by one, hole by hole. Now, armed with a scorecard that seems like a video game score and an attitude that says Yes We Can/ Si Se Puede and “Be the ball,” I am ready to tackle my next round later on this week and see what I get out of that.

Aerated Greens and More Challenges

“A great golf course both frees and challenges a golfer’s mind.” — Tom Watson

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Most golfers can say that the challenge of your average golf course comes down to its design or its incorporation of the natural landscape into the course design. Whether it be the flowing waterways that present a hazard running parallel to and across a course’s fairway or the rocky hillsides of local mountain ranges, most courses tend to place you smack dab in the middle of nature with a few added challenges to boot. To be honest, most golf courses have their own built-in challenges.

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Aerated Greens Add a Challenge

Playing Cottonwood the other day gave me a discounted tee time and plenty of challenges on the putting surface. The course is an East County of San Diego County staple with its wide open fairways and reachable par 5 holes. Take into account that landing in the rough tends to come at a high cost for the average player, this course continues to reward straight drives and soft chips onto the green with little backspin. . . even on aerated greens.

Decent Play Despite the Heat

An added challenge for this day was the heat. I was on my way to the course and found myself battling temperatures pushing beyond 90 degrees. As I drew closer to the course, the higher the temperature rose. By the time I reached the course, the temperature was somewhere between 92 and 95 degrees. Thank God for dri-fit golf shirts and board shorts.

Despite the heat, I still had a decent outing. I found myself pulling my drives to the right initially. My on-spot analysis gave me every indication that my hands and clubhead were moving out of sync with my body, but I did not make a major adjustment immediately since my recovery shots were placing me in a decent position. Those right-sided drives would come to cost me on holes #10 and #17, robbing myself of yardage as obstructions cut down the ball flight of my tee shots.

Oddly enough, my tee shot on hole #13 placed me smack dab behind a tree line and facing about 195 yards out from the green. I smacked a 5 wood low and it threaded the needle between a wishbone-looking branch of a tree for a straight pathway that left me about 10 yards short of the green. Having survived that hole with bogey, I began to adjust my alignment on the tee and cut down on my tendency to pull my drives to the right, but I slipped back into old habits on hole #17 and it proved costly.

Scrambling Saves the Scorecard

Let’s be honest! If you keep pulling your drives to the right, you will not hit too many greens in regulation nor set yourself for too many birdie opportunities. You’ll work against the thick grass of the rough, having to select a club and shot based upon how the ball lies in the thicker grass as opposed to how it might be sitting on the fairway. So, hitting 3 fairways and 1 green in regulation did not help to improve my scorecard.

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My scrambling got me out of trouble a few times and I thank God for that type of recovery on the course. However, even scrambling here and there isn’t enough to get you shot at birdie or par. In most cases, it is just enough to keep playing that bogey golf. On the front end, my 3 double bogeys cost me. In theory (and hindsight), if I had cut that down to just a single double bogey, I would be sitting pretty with an 89. But my 91 was well earned. My putts rolled well despite the aerated greens, edging the hole more often than I care to mention, so I continue to play with confidence.

Aerated greens? I’ll take the challenge. And I’ll take the discount as long as it’s still available.

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Spring Break Golf PLans

Spring Break golf plans are underway. Every single day during the week of Spring Break this year has some element of golf on the to-do list, even if it isn’t all play. Whether it be a bit of wedge work and chipping around the green or walking 9 holes in the morning hours, this week is dedicated to getting out there and getting back on track to breaking 90 more consistently.

Spring Break Golf PLans for 2021

After some review of my winter break golf spree, I have chalked up my lessons learned and see how to add more balance to days off and spending time between rounds of golf on productive work like my freelance writing, weekly video livestreams, and organizing multiple side hustle projects. I have made an initial decision regarding my dilemma to go spikeless or spikes, purchasing the Skechers Pivot spikeless golf shoes. Other than a few extra pounds from bouncing from Zoom meeting to Zoom meeting, I believe that I am armed and ready to get back out there on the course.

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Limited Daily Doubles

Roll back the calendar a few years ago, I would have definitely felt fine about taking advantage of free replay or playing early AM and then again at twilight on the same day. I learned my lesson and I definitely will take it easy, spreading out my daily doubles during this time of intensive play. My regimen has to include at least half a day gap if not a full day off from playing twice in one day. The body needs what it needs.

Walk More, Ride Less

Like I said, working from home and sitting on Zoom has not been the best thing for my health. I have truly had to change some things up in order to get my fitness back on track. That is perfectly fine and it fits perfectly into my playing plans for Spring Break golf rounds this year. My focus is to walk 75% percent of the time or more. If that’s the case, then I need to be sure that the Advil is packed, the water bottle is filled, and my pre-game stretch routine includes some deep or dynamic stretching.

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Breaking 90 is an Ongoing Goal

I have broken 90 multiple times. That is not the problem. I can play primarily bogey golf and catch that one par to break 90. The formula is not that hard to calculate. Execution is the key. That’s a major factor when you start talking about golf and errant drives, remarkable recovery shots, and yipped chips around the green.

Here is my short list for keeping my head in the game and getting out of my own head:

  • Control: I want to remain in control and that means not forcing myself to make a lot of poor choices that leave me with limited shot options. Know when to layup. Keep an eye on where I am with hitting the fairway consistently. Manage my expectations and play the shot that will deliver the most benefits with the least amount of trouble. Play under control and keep swinging.
  • Confidence: The more I play the more confidently I play. That might be more than just me, but it makes a difference. You can be 1oo confident. That’s cocky. We don’t want that. We want confidence in our swing and shot. That’s where we want to be this Spring Break.
  • Consistency: This comes from doing thing right time and time again. Don’t make drastic changes. Adjustments are fine. Those don’t cause us to get too far off into our own head. Major changes can cause
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Overall, I am ready to hit the course this Spring Break and see what rust I can shake off and what new adventures that I can experience. I have a good idea of where i would like to play, so I will keep you posted as I post throughout this week.

Keep swinging and having fun.