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It can be no shock to see that participation in golf is dipping at the same time that our economy has suffered through historic drops. But can the blame extend beyond the economy, and does golf possess a future that could make it go the way of horse racing? I never thought it would happen.
I played a round of golf yesterday with Fuzz. Fuzz doesn’t look like he used to, but he was a good partner. I shot an 82 with him, yet he’s so unfazed by the triple-bogey and double-bogey that blighted my round that he’ll be back with me next time I play.
Fuzz is not Frank Urban Zoeller. Fuzz is the brand name of a golf ball that I’d never heard of until I found it in a ditch at Riverside Golf Course in San Antonio. Fuzz is yet another reason I’m able to Golf Like You’re Poor.
I can’t remember the last time I bought a golf ball. Seriously! I think it’s safe to say that since I had my college job as a cart jockey at Bear Creek Golf Course at DFW Airport about 25 years ago that I’ve probably bought just one box of balls. And I did that because the rag-tag collection of pellets I had in my golf bag would not have allowed me to follow the rules by playing a tournament round with the same make of ball.
It was that summer job, when I’d find balls left behind in carts and lost in bushes next to the practice range, that I gave my golf game a great gift -- a lifetime supply of golf balls!
Through my GLYP blog I always try to support my cheap ways by providing figures. The fact that I scoop up lost golf balls doesn’t save me much. If I found “recycled” golf balls on a retail website, I could pay $33 (not including shipping and taxes) for 60 Titleists on golfusedballs.com. If I play about 30 times a year and average the loss of two balls per round (that’s a high figure), I’d save that $33 list price by continuing to dig balls out of the ditch.
But I’ve learned that if used golf balls play quite well, wouldn’t other pieces of equipment? Yes! I bought my driver (Titleist 975L FE) used, and I hit a 322-yard drive with it -- and Fuzz -- yesterday. I bought my Adams 3-metal used, and it is a dependable club off the tee and off the deck. I’ve hit that thing as far as 270-yards off the tee, but mainly I have a consistent draw with it that finds the fairway. Both times I saved more than $100 -- bare minimum -- by buying used.
Here are some quick things, all common sense and nothing groundbreaking, to keep in mind while buying used clubs:
* Every big-name retailer has a used club rack;
* Auction sites and classified-ad sites (craigslist) sell golf equipment;
* Lots of golf associations now offer a consignment area, so that’s a must-see when buying clubs;
* Wherever you buy, always test the club (or at least have an easy out to return the club). Don’t buy it if you can’t test it.
The only thing I buy new is golf grips. I refuse to believe that the technology of this year is markedly better than last year, or five years ago. So I refuse to buy what is, for lack of real technological advances, a marketing gimmick given “legitimacy“ because someone on the PGA Tour is using it. Do you get paid to use your clubs? White-headed drivers? Please!
My blogs are listed here, and if you're interested in more stories you can go to Tim Price Sports Books. There is also a Twitter account @golflikeurpoor. Enjoy the reading, and your golf, no matter if you're rich or poor....
One of the simplest things that can help you create a repeatable swing and feel how to time your lower body at the right pace for you, is how you turn around your "Rear Leg". Most individuals will let themselves move through their swing with a considerable amount of lateral movement or sway which can cause a huge multitude of problems including coming over the top, picking your head up, fat shots and every other miss you can imagine. The best way to stop this from occurring is by watching the way that you turn around your hind leg (right leg for a right handed player) to keep an inside angle that will not allow your to sway.
This should also be accompanied by the feeling that when you start the rotation back you feel as if the muscles through the back of your right leg are moving you away from the ball and around. This will create the separation needed at the beggining of the swing to stay tension free and create a well timed swing. Jack Nicklaus used to say "I can tell in the first foot of my back swing if I have hit a good golf shot". Get your swing started off on the right foot and your odds will greatly improve....
Here’s one of my problems in golf: The trees can’t knock my drives toward the fairways, and my email’s spam filter can’t block the lousy offers I get via golf courses from landing in my inbox. Good ones do roll my way, even if they drop into the hole at the rate of my birdie putts.
You can put a red number on my scorecard now because I just got an email with a really imaginative golf offer. It comes from Woodlake Golf Club, which was the site of the PGA Tour’s Texas Open during a stretch in the ‘70s including the year NCAA champion Ben Crenshaw came down from University of Texas following his college eligibility and won in his first try on tour.
This is a course that has struggled the past few years with its condition, and I wonder if it will survive the development of real estate that’s been eating up the open ground along the northeast edge of San Antonio. But there’s been little struggle that I can tell with the management of the course, at least in terms of using imagination to get people to play there.
The latest move has the Woodlake golf operation teaming up with American Express’ “Small Business Saturday.” A cardholder is required to register online to get a one-time $25 credit if a good or service is purchased at a participating small business this Saturday (Nov. 26, 2011). Woodlake is participating, so it looks like I’m in line for a refunded green fee, range balls and change left over for a snack between nines.
There’s still some computer red tape to go, and perhaps some fine print that I may have missed. So we’ll see how it goes. I don't have to play Saturday. As long as I buy the round on Saturday, I'm good to go when I have time to get back out there (I can even get the card bought over the phone and not worry about driving out there until I'm ready to play).
This course normally offers some every-day value for a golfer always on the lookout for it. But the greens became spotty about a year ago, a new superintendent was hired, then the Texas drought came along and hasn’t helped matters out there -- I imagine; I haven’t played there in a while.
But this offer gives me reason to go out and check the place again, and possibly return it to my playing rota. I need that, I need a place like this, because more places that offer value and stay vibrant can work to keep green fees down. The operator of the municipal courses here has announced a green-fee increase. So I’ll vote against their green-fee increase by slapping down some plastic on the counter of the golf shop across town.
I imagine the credit card’s mindset is to get people to look at an alternative to the big-box stores. I like the alternative. Particularly, I like being able to make the choice. And I like it in golf.
You can follow Tim Price on Twitter @golflikeurpoor and read his blogs at Tim Price Sports Books.