July 29, 2016

Believe it or not, I actually watched both Chelsea Clinton’s introduction to her mom Hillary, and Hillary’s speech on the last night of the Democratic National Convention. I hadn’t planned to, but as your humble correspondent I felt it necessary that, if I’m going to comment on something as significant as the first acceptance speech made by a woman running for President for one of the major political parties, I ought to at least watch it.

(That, and the fact that right now the Red Sox are incredibly frustrating to watch. I still think manager John Farrell’s job is in jeopardy, especially if they get swept by the Angels in Anaheim. Or is it California? Or is it Los Angeles?)

But I digress.

First of all, is it OK to admit I liked that red number Chelsea wore, with the zipper going all the way down the back? Do I sound like a COG (Goodboy-speak for “creepy old geezer”)? Well so be it. I’ve never considered her that attractive or (gasp!) sexy, but I thought she wore that dress well. What struck me most about her speech (as compared to, say, those made by Eric, Ivanka, and Donald Trump Jr. during their convention speeches) was the lack of genuine, family affection towards her mother. The Trump kids were both incurably and genuinely effusive and demonstrative in their love and affection for their dad. Chelsea, I think, reserves that kind of affection more for her dad; to me Chelsea’s relationship to her mom sounded more like a respected political and business partner than loving and devoted child. Just my opinion, but in that regard I found Chelsea’s introduction to her mom just a little unsettling, if not outright creepy.

Hillary’s speech can be broken down into two separate reactions: content and presentation. As far as content goes, it didn’t really break any new ground. From its disjointed nature, I agree with Politico’s Jeff Greenfield: her speech seemed to be the work of a committee tossing in stuff here and there that Hillary wanted mentioned, then tied together in a somewhat haphazard fashion. Outside of a few sentences tossed in as purely reactionary to Donald Trump (does anyone really believe Hillary will negotiate better trade deals?) and Bernie Sanders supporters (does anyone really believe Hillary will get tough on Wall Street? Heck, they’re her largest campaign contributors!), Hillary’s speech could have been one made at any point over the past year and a half out on the campaign trail, if not the past two decades. Not a lot of detail, just a lot of rhetoric saying how Democrats care about women and children, education, healthcare, social security, and the middle class, and are more tolerant and accepting than those mean old Republicans.

As far as presentation goes, I think the speech was better than I expected. She was able – at least for the first half of it – to speak in a kind of measured, authoritative tone without falling into that screechy-shout that makes one long for fingernails scraping across a chalkboard, but that didn’t last long: as the speech went on and the crowd got louder in order to drown out Bernie protesters she started to get into more of a shouting mode, to the point where I was just about to turn the damned thing off.

The best part of her speech came when she went after Donald Trump, and there she seemed to effectively use a bit of humor mixed with ridicule that actually made me think she was actually a human being and capable of humor that wasn’t phony. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long, as immediately afterwards she dived into a litany of traditional Democratic causes and in doing so started to raise her voice and use that cadence that makes one think of a teacher chiding an unruly pupil after school. It’s not flattering to her, and, at least as far as I was concerned, it forfeited any good will she might have gained from unaffiliated or independent voters that might have tuned in.

Which leads me to my final point: its overall effectiveness. My guess is that Hillary’s speech is destined to go down as, if not a failure, than one as largely ineffectual. Ultimately, convention speeches are graded not on how you make the sale to your own party faithful, but to those who tuned in looking for a reason to crawl over shattered glass to enter a voting booth and pull the lever for you, and in this way Hillary failed. The Donald Trump critique was solid, and had it been pushed to the end of the speech perhaps it would have been more effective. But instead Hillary stupidly launched into red-meat mode, attacking the NRA and promising to use the Supreme Court to overturn its Citizens United vote, then for what seemed the gazillionth time repeating her role as a champion for women’s and children’s causes. At that I pretty much threw up in my mouth and called it a night.

I’m guessing I wasn’t alone.

The problem with Hillary’s speech was that, take away the setting and the occasion, it was nothing more than pushing “the Cause”: the same Democratic / liberal / Progressive issues that Barack Obama has been pushing these past eight years. She couldn’t help it: Hillary is cut from the same cloth, after all. Donald Trump, on the other hand, represents a movement that is neither traditionally Democrat nor Republican: it’s a populist movement designed to tear down the status quo, the Washington-Wall Street-Beltway insider “uniparty” establishment that Hillary can’t help but represent. Heck, she’s been a part of it for more than two decades.

In another year, against a different candidate (for example, Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz), Hillary’s attempt at cloaking her liberal/progressive/feminist Democrat lineage in a little Main Street populism would likely get the job done, but this year she’s running against a alpha-male populist who isn’t interested in playing the same polite game of politics that the likes of John McCain and Mitt Romney did. Like the colonists at Lexington and Concord, who chose to fight the stodgy, rigid British in a untraditional (and unexpected) guerilla fashion, Donald Trump’s movement has the kind of guerilla passion and spirit that Hillary’s admittedly well-presented message lacks.

What last night showed was a messenger and a message that is old and stale. In an election year where people are desperately seeking change, Hillary represents the Washington establishment and more of the same. And while her performance tonight was as good as anyone had reason to expect, I will be surprised if it changes the dynamic of the race for the White House much, if at all.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:12 | Comments (0)
July 28, 2016

I dunno. Maybe it’s because we’re in the middle of the political conventions. Maybe it’s because, due to the Summer Olympics, the PGA Championship has been moved up to just two weeks after the Open Championship. Maybe it’s because after Goodboys Invitational weekend I’m feeling more than a little golfed out right now, thank you. Or maybe it’s because I couldn’t stand watching Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman hosting their “Live from the PGA Championship” nightly broadcasts this week (awful!). Or, most likely, it’s a combination of all these factors.

I wish I could say I’m interested in what happens at the last major of the year but I find myself not really caring that much. It would be nice, I suppose, to see Phil Mickelson rewarded for that incredible last round at the Open Championship where he was simply flat-out beaten by Henrik Stenson, but seeing Phil in contention on Sunday is probably the only way I’ll bring myself to watch.

Were I to hazard a pick, however, it would have to be Dustin Johnson, who has to be – at least as far as I’m concerned – the favorite to win the Fed Ex Cup this year. He’s had a great year, and it would be nice to see him put the pedal to the metal, so to speak.

Just wondering: whatever happened to Jordan Speith?

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 14:35 | Comments (0)

I’m sorry, you really can’t take anything that’s going on at the Democratic National Convention this week seriously. I mean, the fact that there were no American flags to be seen on the stage Monday – they only added a few after being ridiculed by Republicans – no American flags to be found anywhere on any speaker’s lapels, and no – zero mention of ISIS the first two nights of the convention tells you how unserious these people really are.

As I’ve said before, this week’s convention has always been about a Hillary coronation, rigged from the start, orchestrated solely for the Clintons and by the Clintons. Oh sure, you’re gonna see a lot of emotion out there tonight from the same tired old group of feminists who have fawned over Hillary for decades, but, regardless of how the mainstream media falls all over itself in praising Hillary – no matter what she says – the fact is that the number of voters who share the same level of love and affection of those who will be in attendance is actually very small: Hillary remains an incredibly unlikeable character, and her flaws both as a candidate and politician, and her track record as Secretary of State and co-conspirator in that criminal enterprise known as The Clinton Foundation (now apparently under investigation by the FBI, BTW) will come under increasingly sharp focus by Donald Trump, the GOP, and, yes, the mainstream media, in the coming weeks.

That’s fine, I say give Hillary her night – heck, she’s been waiting more than eight years for it. Sure, it took a entirely-rigged system and process for that to happen, and there will come hell to pay at the Democratic National Committee and for the Democratic Party following her defeat in November, but she won regardless. Now America can see for itself what having Hillary – and Bill and Chelsea – thisclose to the White House is going to look and sound like.

And if America really wants eight years of that kind of hell, well, there’s not much I can say.

To whet your appetite for the train wrech that’s sure to come tonight I offer two videos: what would have made Hillary’s acceptance speech a true highlight, and Trump supporters Diamond and Silk’s take on a “Bikers for Hillary” rally. Both are priceless. Enjoy!

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 09:23 | Comments (0)

It’s time for the Red Sox to fire manager John Farrell. Sure, I’m guessing if you were to ask anyone if they’d be satisfied with the Sox being 11 games above .500 and just three games out of first place days before the July trading deadline back in March they’d be pretty satisfied with that, but the fact is that this team is under-performing and the pitching staff in particular poorly managed by Farrell pretty much from the start. One can only guess where the team would be were it not for the sheer “luck” of Eduardo Rodriguez’s knee injury in spring training forcing knuckleballer Steven Wright into the rotation – I mean, Lord knows where they’d be!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, it’s hard to believe that Farrell was a one-heralded pitching coach. Let’s face it, folks: with the exception of Wright and Rick Porcello, the Sox pitching staff has pretty much under-performed from top to bottom, and it’s starting to get worse. Sure, the injuries to Carson Smith and Craig Kimbrel have hurt, but that doesn’t mean Farrell’s use of the bullpen hasn’t been horrendous from the very start. And while I’m no fan of Clay Buchholz, I believe Farrell has destroyed whatever confidence the fragile Buchholz might ever have had during Farrell’s tenure. And while it’s true the team’s offensive strength this year has come on the heels of its “Killer Bs” – the young trio of Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr, and Xavier Bogearts – I have a sense that Farrell really doesn’t know young ballplayers, how to relate to them, and how to get the most out of them.

With some serious talent lying just below the major league level and about to show their faces in the upcoming September call-ups, it’s time to replace Farrell with bench coach Tory Lovullo, who replaced Farrell last year while Farrell was undergoing cancer treatment and did a great job getting performances out a team that, truthfully, didn’t have the same level of talent this year’s team does. Not only am I confident he can get more out of the talent that there already is, but as the team further integrates its major league roster with new and younger blood that will be regulars as early as next year, having Lovullo at the helm will make sure this process is handled correctly. I’m also certain Lovullo will do a much better job at ensuring the pitching staff gets straightened out and performs closer to their abilities.

John Farrell must go.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:45 | Comments (0)
July 26, 2016

After watching the Red Sox pitching staff stink up the joint for yet another game and manager John Farrell once again mishandle his bullpen (can you believe this guy was once heralded as a pitching coach?), I figured I’d tune into to watch Bill Clinton’s speech at the national Democratic convention. I’ve never thought much of him as a person but he wasn’t that bad a president. More than anything else, and unlike his wife (who’s the equivalent of fingernails scraping across a chalkboard every time she opens her mouth), he’s always been – at least to these ears – an interesting and engaging speaker, spreading equal amounts of down-home folksy bullshit, policy wonkishness, and purpose into his speeches.

Tonight, however, wasn’t one of his better performances. Physically, there’s little doubt the former Prez has lost more than a little off his fastball, and you could tell as he waxed sentimentally about his marriage to Hillary he was really laying it on thick, the bullshit really flying. He obviously seemed to be enjoying himself being once again back in the spotlight – who wouldn’t? – but only the most rabid Clinton supporter could believe half the crap he was saying.

Me? I would have found his speech far more interesting if he had been just a tad more honest about their relationship – after all, everyone knows they’ve been traveling in separate circles for years, reserving their increasingly-forced interactions together and demonstrations of a working marriage only for those occasions and causes that serve their individual interests most. But I guess that would have been asking too much: he was given a job to do, and the good soldier (if not good husband) he is, he did it.

Following Bill’s speech came that absolutely cringe-worthy, subtle-as-a-sledge-hammer montage of male presidents making way for the inevitable, animated panel of glass shattering to reveal a smiling Hillary in what looked to me like a red Chairman Mao suit, smiling down on a convention hall left only half-full following a mass exodus of Bernie Sanders supporters earlier. It was as if we were watching a live version of Strawberry Fields, where nothing is real. Because there was little about the proceedings that seemed real. Heck, even Hillary’s supposed “live” appearance wasn’t!

All this turned out to be was a Clinton love-fest put on solely for the Clinton faithful, by the Clinton faithful. Forget the protests going on outside the arena. Forget the 700-800 Bernie supporters who had their access passes revoked for the remainder of the convention. Forget Hillary’s e-mail server woes. Forget Benghazi. Forget the WikiLeaks scandal illustrating the way the DNC truly operates. This was the act you’ve all known for so many years, back again for another encore. And who knows? If Hillary can get in the White House, perhaps they can start grooming Chelsea to take us through another generation of Clinton scandals and corruption that follows them around like the scent of a skunk.

Watching Hillary’s videotaped comments I couldn’t help but think that after all this time, is this the best the Democrats can do? Another reprise of the Clinton years? There’s no other talent out there? Two old has-beens talking the same and acting the same, only this time using their Democratic Party privileges to shove the fact that Hillary’s a woman, and fighting – yes, fighting! – for every women and child out there because, after all, only Hillary with all that experience as a former First Lady, former senator from New York, former failed presidential candidate, and former Secretary of State is truly capable of knowing what it means to be a woman, and therefore fight for the issues that women can only truly know and care about.

It wasn’t just the Bernie supporters who were missing from the evening; it was the overwhelming sense that Bill and every other male in that hall were there solely as to be subservient to Hillary and her vision for America. Because, frankly, as far as she’s concerned, males (especially white ones) don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. They’re only there to prop her up and present a picture of her that begs credulity. As a woman, this is her time, she deserves this, she’s entitled to it, and the hell with everyone else. Her race will be run by the Clintons and for the Clintons, no one else. And anyone who dare show disloyalty – are you listening, Bernie supporters? – well, you can go find yourself another rodeo.

Unfortunately for Hillary, she’s no Bill, and never was. Which is why I’m having a hard time seeing how Hillary’s beyond phony and tired act will resonate among women. She’s a child of the ’60s, after all, and while her brand of feminism might play to a half-filled convention hall filled with Party insiders, I’m having a hard time believing it will resonate much beyond the Party faithful. And no amount of mainstream media ass-kissing – of which you can there will be copious amounts of in the coming weeks and months – is going to change that come November.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 22:39 | Comments (0)
July 24, 2016

I have to admit, I’m enjoying greatly the fact that it turns out it’s the Democrats, not the Republicans, whose national convention has turned into a nightmare with all the Wikileaks e-mail scandals now hitting the fan. The only think I’m missing is the popcorn: something I just won’t eat now that me and my teeth have entered their seventh decade of use.

But am I surprised? Hell, no. Anyone who has frequented this blog since its inception knows that there are few as more tuned into the utter and blatant hypocrisy of the Democratic Party – and liberalism in general – as The Great White Shank. I’ve been telling y’all all along that with the Democrats it has always been, and will always be, about getting elected. Democrats will say anything and do anything to push their agenda forward, even if it means supporting someone as corrupt, inept, and vile as Hillary Clinton.

Back in 2008, it took someone with the truly unique charisma, timing, and African-American identity as Barack Obama to push Hillary to the side of the curb; otherwise, Democrats would have been more than happy to make sure Hillary “had her chance”, as if in Democratic Party politics giving someone with a vagina a chance at the presidency trumped experience and raw political talent. And as she showed then, Hillary turned out to be a completely inept candidate: someone both politically tone-deaf and totally incapable of beating an opponent who had virtually nothing else going for him but his skin color.

Fast-forward ahead to 2016: the Democratic National Committee, wanting to ensure that nothing like 2008 were to happen again, greases the skids to ensure Hillary, and no one but Hillary, gets the nomination. The only problem? Everything associated with the DNC’s electronic communications, just like with Hillary’s e-mails while Secretary of State, have been hacked by Wikileaks, allowing the entire world to see not just how the inner machinations of the DNC work (something I’m sure being no different from their Republican counterparts), but their treatment of Bernie Sanders’ campaign, and, more importantly, the inherent racism and hypocrisy of the so-called “party of tolerance, acceptance, and diversity”.

As it turns out the DNC is nothing more than a reflection of their Party members when it comes to religious intolerance (seeking how to use Sanders’ Jewish heritage against him), and referring to their Hispanic outreach as “taco bowl engagement”. Can you imagine how the mainstream media would erupt if these kinds of communications came from Republicans? Oh, but there’s more. That they are not just in cahoots with all your faves in the National media, but joined at the hip to ensure that Hillary’s campaign received the most favorable coverage, and that Donald Trump’s didn’t. No surprise there: I’ve been telling y’all the same thing for years.

But I guess what gives me the most joy about the Wikileaks e-mails is how they’ve upset the applecart when it comes to the mainstream media, who spent the last two weeks telling us all just how much in disarray the Republicans were, and how their convention was one controversy after another, how much of a failure it was, and how “dark” Donald Trump’s acceptance speech was. Everything delivered from the same echo chamber. As it turns out, it’s not the Republicans who are in disarray at all, but the Democrats. That vile snake Debbie Wasserman-Shulz having to resign her post, only to have that equally-vile snake Donna Brazile take over for her as interim chair. And now apparently she’s gone. And that’s all without taking Bernie Sanders’ supporters into consideration. How are they going to handle this, both at the convention and at the voting booths in November?

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch of folks.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 20:38 | Comments (0)
July 22, 2016

OK, so I’m still scratching my head about Hillary’s choice of Virginia senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. I have to admit, I didn’t understand (or even support) initially Donald Trump’s choice of Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate, but after watching his RNC convention speech I understood completely: Pence not only is everything Donald is not as far as demeanor and political experience is concerned, but he plays off Trump’s “outsider” persona by being someone who runs a state outside of the Washington beltway. So I get that.

Which is why Hillary’s choice of Kaine makes no sense to me. After all, Hillary’s as Beltway establishment as they come, and so is Kaine. If, as some have surmised, the choice of Kaine was to lock down Virginia’s electoral votes, then I’m thinking Hillary senses her chances of winning the White House in November are a lot more dicey than she’s been letting on. Personally, I don’t buy that argument.

So why did she choose Kaine? Some will say he speaks Spanish fluently. Who cares? Most certainly Hillary could have found someone more “Hispanic” (HUD secretary Julian Castro, for example), to carry that aspect of her campaign if she felt it that important. Had she wanted to add a little “color” to the ticket, she could have chosen former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick or New Jersey senator Cory Booker to lock up that all-important African-American vote. Or, she could have attempted to appease the Bernie Sanders supporters by either offering him the spot (something he’s never take), or, more likely, asking that darling of the Progressive left, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren to be her running mate. To me, these would have made a heckuva lot more sense than Tim Kaine.

I’m with “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams here: Hillary’s choice is simply to make her look like the alpha male of the ticket. I don’t know. Otherwise, what does a milquetoast, boring running mate like Tim Kaine bring Hillary Clinton? Charisma? Ha ha ha. Experience with Wall Street and the Washington politics? No one is more of a political animal in that regard than Clinton, who has seen it all, done it all, and shaken down them all for political contributions, so she don’t need that. Simply put: Kaine offers nothing to the Democratic ticket. So what gives?

I’m going to go out on a very big limb here, and y’all can laugh all you want: what if the purpose of choosing Kaine on the ticket is to have him come out of the closet as either gay or a transgender during his speech at the DNC? Most certainly, given that gays and transgenders are the “new blacks” of Democratic Party identity politics would it not be a triumphant moment for that movement to see one of “their own” on a presidential ticket?

As predictions go I’m guessing this is pretty outrageous, but then again, I can’t see any other reason for Hillary to choose someone like Tim Kaine.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 19:30 | Comments (0)
July 21, 2016

I’m guessing you’ve all been wondering where I’ve been since two days before Goodboys Invitational weekend. I’m around, but things have been kind of hectic since getting back to the Valley of the Sun, so I’ll ask your indulgence on that. A number of posts are coming, but here’s a spoiler alert: the pic on the main page ain’t gonna change anytime soon. :-)

About Donald Trump’s acceptance speech tonight: if I’m a card-carrying Hillary Clinton Democrat I’m shaking in my boots right now, because Donald Trump made one of the most unique and forceful acceptance speeches I’ve ever seen this side of Ronald Reagan. Only the most indoctrinated and inebriated Hillary supporter could have missed the broad brush being painted by Trump tonight. It was a speech Mitt Romney could have never given. It was a speech John McCain could have never given. And, I’m most pleased to say, it was a speech no Bush could have ever given.

Trump tonight not only spoke to his Republican base (especially when it came to Supreme Court judges), but he spoke to inner-city African-Americans and Hispanic Americans. He spoke to steelworkers in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and coal workers in Kentucky and West Virginia. Simply put, he spoke to just about everyone the likes of Hillary Clinton would expect to be serving her, not likewise, and his populist message is gonna make a dent. You’ll never hear it from the likes of the New York Times and the Washington Post, nor CNN and NPR, but Donald Trump is a once-in-a-generation figure, one who transcends the usual party politics. There is no one out there in the American politicl landscape who could have given the kind of speech Donald Trump gave than Donald J. Trump.

How good was the speech? Even PowerLine blog’s John Hinderaker, hardly a Trump enthusiast, offered the following:

Still, it was an excellent night for Trump. To begin with, he demonstrated that he can deliver a well-crafted speech and stay on message. There were no random riffs, no weird digressions. Trump knew his speech, and didn’t need a teleprompter to deliver it. His message was powerful, hitting on one populist theme after another–law and order, terrorism, Hillary’s incompetence, economic stagnation, illegal immigration, cronyism, trade, and so on. His attacks on Mrs. Clinton were devastating. Have we ever seen a Republican presidential candidate so willing to take the gloves off? Not during my lifetime.

The press will spin this one feverishly, but their only realistic hope is that not too many people were watching. It was a great night for Donald Trump and the Republican Party–if, as always, you assume that Trump represents what we have thought of as Republicanism.

I guarantee you’ll hear from the crazed moonbats in the mainstream liberal media picking this word or that phrase out of Trump’s speech, but I can equally guarantee you they’re doing it primarily out of fear: fear that in his acceptance speech Donald Trump struck a unique chord in American politics. Fear that Hillary Clinton can’t hold a candle to Trump in terms of being able to relate to the average American Joe struggling against monumental odds to try and make ends meet. Fear that Hillary Clinton truly is the reckless and lawless incompetent that Donald Trump has portrayed her to be. Fear that Donald Trump is not your average Republican candidate that Democrats can use the same old and tired playbook against.

I’m guessing that there will still be a hard-core group of Democrats who will be willing to let bygones be bygones and allow a criminally-incompetent and reckless b*tch like Hillary Clinton represent their party in November’s general election – that’s OK, I’ve seen and come to understand insanity in my own intra-family travels. But tonight’s speech by Donald Trump imprinted upon Hillary the stench of politics as usual – the graft and the criminality that goes with being the ultimate Washington insider. Were Hillary to project a likeable persona and the guile of a professional politician I might say otherwise, but I have a feeling that many folks are going to see the most phony, corrupt, and unlikeable politician in American history try to match what Donald Trump did tonight and be repulsed by it.

Great job, Donald Trump.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 21:49 | Comments (2)
July 14, 2016

Days until Goodboys Invitational weekend: 2
Location: Trull Brook Golf Club
Score: 49
Handicap: 23.8

A few of us Goodboys have made playing the back nine at Trull Brook a tradition over the years, and it’s a good test: A couple of tight holes and a couple of wide-open ones, all situation amongst rolling hills. It’s a nice way to gauge where your game is before you start teeing it up for real. There have been years where we got off early enough to get in as many as thirteen holes before darkness sets in, but this year we had just enough daylight to get nine in. The other guys were yukking it up (as usual) on seventeen, but as I stood on the hill in the growing dusk breathing in the fresh, clean air my thoughts were on Arizona and all the hard work I’d put in over the past four months to get me to this point.

Not to be lying four on the sharp, dogleg-right then uphill par 5: I’d crushed a 5-wood that split the fairway, then (for the second time – see below) mistakenly pulled my 3-hybrid instead of the four – I was using a pull-cart and my clubs were all sitting upside down from how they’re usually sitting standing up in a golf cart – and pushed it way, way right, then getting back into position with a 7-iron before leaving my 64-yard pitch just off the green right. No, I was thinking of the last six weeks and everything that had happened in my life since my last lesson with Alex Black. Golf has been more than just hitting balls with my Mom’s passing, it has been a much-needed diversion from real life. This past Saturday, I’d finally chosen to abandon completely the upright take-back I’d been employing since seeing that Hunter Mahan article in the February 2015 GOLF Magazine and going with a lower (flatter) takeaway – not just with my irons, but with my woods and hybrids as well. And the difference has been pretty marked: I’m now driving the ball straighter and longer than I ever had. The Goodboys are a tough bunch, so when you’re getting complimented on how well you’re driving the ball you know you’re doing something right.

On #10, my 240-yard drive left me on the uphill – something I’d never done before in the countless times I played there. A crushed, 250-yard drive on the uphill, dogleg left par 5 #12 left me only 210 to the middle of the green. On #14, a slight, uphill par 4 with a creek running ~ 190 yards from the tee that traditionally I’ve never tried to drive, I hit probably the best drive of my life: a dead-straight 230+ yard blast that left me only 110 to the pin. Doesn’t sound momentous, but you gotta understand: I’ve played these holes probably forty times over the years and have never found myself in territory like this. It made me feel as if all the process of discovery and tweaking this and that in between all the sadness and stress going on around it had been worth it.

Of course, it wasn’t all peaches and cream: a slightly-pulled pitching wedge left me off the green right and three putts gave me a double-bogey six; on twelve I meant to choke down on a 4-hybrid but mistakenly pulled the three instead and yanked it OB right, leading to a double-bogey seven. Throughout the nine I continued to struggle with my short irons and my short game (16 putts), but I did end up parring #14 as well as the par 3 #11 and par 4 #18, so the 49 I ended up posted sounded about right. But, boy, looking back, it could have been so much lower.

So that as they say is that: tomorrow the Goodboys Invitational starts and I’m as ready as I’m going to be. I know I’ve been trying to be too fine with my chipping and need to be more aggressive, forgetting about those lightning-fast Arizona greens. Of course, if the Plymouth courses feature faster greens than what I’ve been playing the last two days at Green Meadow and Trull, all the better, but I simply have to bear down and get the job done. It won’t be for lack of trying, however – my game is in the best state it has ever been, ball-striking wise. Now it’s just a matter of finding confidence and executing as I know I can.

Filed in: Golf Quest,Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 06:51 | Comments (0)
July 13, 2016

Days until Goodboys Invitational weekend: 3
Location: Green Meadow Golf Club
Score: 52 + 49 = 101
Handicap: 24.2 / Trend: 23.8 (no change)

Great to be back in New England and playing golf on the same kind of courses I can expect to play this weekend at the Goodboys Invitational. While golf in Arizona is the same game and useful in crafting one’s swing, it is primarily around the greens where the difference lies: in the Valley of the Sun the greens are typically flatter and rocket-fast, and there’s not the kind of swales and rough around the greens that you see around these parts. As a result, and I guess it is to be expected, that my first prep round this week would feature a few struggles around the green. While I knew I’d probably make a few more putts than the 32 I’d been averaging to date, 41 putts is still completely unacceptable. Seven holes with three putts and one hole with – gasp! – four putts.

To be truthful, it wasn’t just the putter to blame here: my game from 110 yards in was pretty abysmal. I can think of three 9-irons that either never hit the green or left me putts from a gazillion feet away. I can think of several chips from just off the green that went completely awry. Taken together, when you can’t put it relatively close to the pin you’re putting way too much pressure on your putting game.

The good thing is that these are relatively easy fixes, and I could feel myself starting to get more comfortable around the greens as the round went on. So all is OK: had I made, say, six fewer putts, that’s a mid-90s score. One or two shots that didn’t get away from me and I’m looking at, say, a 92 or 93 that would be perfectly acceptable. And even though I only marked three ‘X’s indicating fairways hits all day, there were more than a few holes where I was just off the fairway, so I drove the ball pretty well. As a final tune-up, I’m still in a good spot heading into Goodboys Invitational weekend.

The next time I tee it up for a full round, the scores will really count.

Filed in: Golf Quest,Goodboys by The Great White Shank at 06:58 | Comments (0)

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