Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Finally played at Mansfield National Monday afternoon, and made some pretty good shots. Only hit par on one hole, the par-3 #12. Favorite hole was #8, a par-4. The total cost was $27, which is any day after 2pm. Good deal if you ask me.

Also played today at Fossil Creek with Jennifer's co-worker, David. I actually did really well. Par'd the first hole we played, #3, since we skipped the first two, due to the first two being taken up and it was 4:30. So par on 3, then kept hitting good shots. I was on a roll. Overall my best round yet, but didn't keep the scorecard. My favorite hole, #6, was great. Had a great drive using my 3-wood, then my second shot was an easy 6-iron above the wall, but I hit it too hard, and ended up past the green inside a sandless bunker. A nice chip put me on the green, and I putt it in for par. Best time on that hole yet. Overall, a nice round!

Trying to plant the seed for some decent clubs. I've been playing with some pawn shop specials I got in Longview last April, and they suck. They're knockoff custom clubs, "Turbo Power HKI". Googled them, and they turned out to be some generic clubs that are "similar" to some Cleveland clubs, but they aren't, believe me. I need clubs with a wider sole to ease up my ground shots, and my long irons are unbelievably difficult to hit. I'm just now, a year later, getting to the point where I can confidently hit my 3-iron, but I'm nowhere near the distance I should be getting with those numbers. I have a 6-iron Ping G2, and it's my favorite. I can hit that thing about 120 yards confidently and consistently, 140 with some oomph and wind. But those sets are expensive. So I'm looking around online, and it seems that the Nike NDS are the ones for me. Unless I go to a real shop and they recommend something different, that's what I've got my eye on. Golfsmith has 'em on sale for $249, and I'm going to start calling around for used sets. I'm also scouting out pawn shops for decent sets, but it's really hard for a lefty to find decent used clubs. Any suggestions on clubs?

So I think I'm done for the week, and may not be able to play until Sunday afternoon, if Jen will let me. Thinking about going to Cross Timbers in Azle, since they have a cheap special going on, and I think that I can do better there this time around.

Have fun out there.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Golfing is fun. Frustrating, but fun. I started last March, when Brett came down to Lake Jackson over Spring Break. Been hooked ever since. I only started to get really into it during the summer, but once the fall came around, I've been absolutely addicted. I had a period of about five months where I improved at a really great pace, so much so that I was feeling awesome about my chances for the tour. But it seems that I've slowed my improvement somewhat since Thanksgiving. As of tonight, here are all the courses I've played, with links if available.

Freeport Municipal Golf Course, Freeport, TX - (4x) Crappy course, breeding ground for mosquitos, but I'd play it again, since it was the first course I've ever played. You know, if I ever go back...

Wood Hollow Golf Club, (10+x) Longview, TX - Decent public course in Longview. I hit it almost every time I'm in town visiting Jen's family. The front nine is great for people who slice and hook, but the back nine is straight, where you need to be accurate. Cart paths could be better, but for as cheap as it is, I'll deal.

Alpine Target Golf Center, Divine Nine Par-3, Longview, TX - (4x) Fun, lighted par-3 course. Not the best-kept course, but it's decent for the price. Favorite part is the practice area where you can hit out of different bunkers onto various-sloped greens, along with a nice driving range. The course can challenge you if you're not a straight shooter out of the box, but otherwise it'll build your confidence. Plus it's great to go to for an evening respite from the heat in summer.

Alpine Golf Course, Longview, TX - (2x) Crappy course as well, but it's FUN. Cart paths might as well be non-existent, the greens are in horrible shape, the fairways may as well be rough, blah blah. But the layout is challenging. The holes are crammed in there at times, so be careful and be sure you're ready to shout "Fore!" While you're there, see if you can make it over the lake at #10 without a wood. Number 6 is probably the most fun, with a nice dog to left, and a ridiculous slope in the middle of the green. Aim long on that one. Also the home of my first chip-in for par on #10. And my first sub-100 game. Yeah, I suck.

The Golf Club at Fossil Creek, Ft. Worth, TX - (8x) MY FAVORITE COURSE. Had my first birdie there, two in the same day, actually. Favorite hole is #6, which has a ridiculously short tee-off fairway, which then immediately dogs right. Your second shot, if your drive doesn't end up in a tree, is a tough choice: Lay up in front of a creek or go for the green which is elevated and above a 25-ft rock wall. Awesome. I usually hit the green in three. Then I like #10, which is a ridiculous par-3, but 160 yards from the whites, over a HUGE lake. Yeah, I'm only successful about 25%. All in all, this course can kick your ass, but if you play it enough, you'll enjoy it and end up learning how to play it. Favorite yet.

Sky Creek Ranch, Keller, TX - (1x) Most expensive course I've been too, and I shouldn't have gone there so soon. Went in September, when I was way bad. Would like to go back, but need to improve a bit more. Very tough, but wide open on about half the holes. The big deal is all the creeks on the side. I'm going to try it again when I'm better in the summer.

Meadowbrook Municipal Golf Course, Ft. Worth, TX - (1x) Decent muni, but I wasn't able to finish. Got dark. Part of the Fort Worth Golf family. Decent rates.

Rockwood Municipal Golf Course, Ft. Worth, TX - (1x) Another FW muni, I liked this course. They had beavers in the water! You could tell they need maintenance work on the fairways and greens, but I could tell why some locals have this as their hangout. Best feature of this one is #18, where a short fairway leads to a creek and an elevated green surrounded by low-hanging trees. It's a par-4, but don't be disappointed by a bogey. You'll feel you've earned it.

Chester W. Ditto Golf Course, Arlington, TX - (1x) Once of the Big A's munis, I played this with Scott. Liked it a lot! They're working on the layout and cart paths, and a lot of care is going into the renovation. The new section is still choppy in the fairways, but they still play well. Watch out for the holes along the road; the fairways are straight, but narrow and lined with low trees.

Lake Park Golf Club, Lewisville, TX - (1x) Decent links-style course, plays fairly forgiving. Just make sure your ears are up for errant tee shots on adjacent holes. They're crammed in there. Nice looking back nine, which backs up to Lake Lewisville and a retaining wall. I wasn't very successful at this course, but I might try again.

Lake Park Executive Golf Course, Lewisville, TX - (4x) This is another lighted par-3 course, and it's a lot of fun. It's one of my faves, probably number 3 on my list. It has two par-4 holes, and I had my first par on number 4. They charge for nine, but it you want to go again, you're supposed to pay half-price for the second time. I never do. They never say anything. Favorites are #2 where you have to hit a 6 or 7 iron short or you'll end up on the road, and #4, the par-4, which dogs left, which is great for my slice. Great place to go if you get off of work late.

Iron Horse Golf Course, North Richland Hills, TX - (3x) Built in 1989, it's aged ok. But a nice course nonetheless, with a good layout. It's broken up into three areas, and the middle area, with #1-2, 9, 16-18, are crammed in there. It's the course you see as you're driving on 820 in NRH, and #2 is the one everybody drools over. Given a good drive, your 2nd shot has a tough choice: layup in front of the creek, or go for it with a long fairway iron shot to the elevated green, which has a difficult down-slope to throw your ball into the creek. Another fave is #6. No particular reason. Usually a slow pace of play, so go if you have a lot of time. Not a place for a fast round. Nice staff, and the train theme is pretty cool.

Indian Creek Golf Club, Carrollton, TX - (1x) Played this course this week with Scott, and had a good time, despite the gusty wind and slow players in front of us. Lots of winding fairways, sloping greens and enough creek hazards to quench your thirst. Went with a coupon, but still expensive. Cart girls are nice, staff was nice. Beer's expensive, though...I'd go again with a discount.

Cross Timbers Golf Club, Azle, TX - (1x) Country course, but decent. Low trees around the fairways, and there are plenty of doglegs. Very hilly as well, which can work with you or against you. Best part is they're cheap. Great value!

Willow Springs Golf Club, Haslet, TX - (1x) Another country course, but not as nice as Cross Timbers. Interesting fact here: They have two greens, one for winter, another for summer. Hate it. So confusing when looking off the tees. Also, the cart paths aren't in the best condition, and some greens were rough when I went there in December. Should be ok by now. Would probably try to give them a second chance once the time change comes around. But I didn't have the best experience, due to the poor greens and confusing layout.

Westdale Hills Golf Course, Euless, TX - (1x) Yet another par-3, this one tries to be nice. It isn't. Nestled in between a master-planned apartment community, the area was built around the late 70's-early 80's. The apartments are about 5 complexes, and the course has three lakes around which it's built. To make it seem nicer, they keep it trimmed, but it doesn't really help. It's actually in bad shape. The fairways are wavy, the greens are no better, and you have to walk it. Hills all over the place, and it's a bitch to walk. #4 and #5 are really hard because the holes are over water and the tees are angled. Weird. Don't know if I'd go there again, unless I can take a cart or at least a pull cart. But it was only $8. And it feels weird hitting tee shots near someone's apartment porch...

Riverside Golf Club, Grand Prairie, TX - (1x) Nice course, links-style. Well-kept, very nice greens. Challenging slopes, layout and tee placement. I just don't like it. Don't know why exactly; could be because it's so open that the wind is on play everywhere. Or it's noisy due to aircraft, freeway and bird traffic. I just didn't like it. Played decently, but some holes were just slow because of the difficulties, and the back nine wasn't as nice as the front. Oh well.

So I belong to a rewards club for golf, Golf Rewards. It's really a golf course management company that owns a lot of the DFW courses I've played. Since Fossil Creek is in there, I get points each time I play a round there. When I reach a certain level at each course, I get a free round. In addition, each 10th round with my card earns me a free one. So that's why I play Fossil Creek, Lake Park and Iron Horse a lot. Next time I'm at Fossil, it's free!

I'd like to try Mansfield National next, maybe this weekend. It's supposed to be really nice, and it's really cheap after 2pm, even on weekends. And it's part of my program.

I'll try to keep you guys posted on here about my golf hits/misses.