Tuesday, 15 April 2014

First round of golf in 2014

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Finally managed to get out for the first round of 2014. Actually my first round for a good 5 months almost. Was a short 9 hole course, over at Balnagask Golf course in Aberdeen, that I played after my work, where every hole is a par 3. 

Unfortunately it meant I couldn't hit anything longer than a 9 iron and was still overshooting the green. Probably could have coped playing with a pitching wedge, but was just nice to actually be playing again.  

Beautiful views across the city from the top of the first couple of holes. Well worth it just for that. 

Wasn't as rusty as I thought I would be surprisingly, with most holes hitting par or just over due to not taking my time and rushing around the course, since I had plans for later in the evening. It's not a challenging course by any means, with no bunkers and only some slight patches of rough, dotted around the place.

There were no real markings for tee boxes and I actually ended up missing a hole out, simply because I didn't know where I was meant to be going. 

Not that I'm complaining as I was only really there to stretch my legs around the course and give my clubs a dusting off. 

Will be returning soon to play the 18 hole, since the course is just a ten minute walk from my work office.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Breaking 100!

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Today I broke 100. For the first ever time in my short playing time.

To be honest I'm quite surprised it has come so soon. The course I was playing was Kings Links in Aberdeen. For a council run course it is in pretty good condition and still offers one hell of a challenge to both the beginner and the seasoned player.

I had played this course twice before, the first time being my first time playing a full 18 hole course. The initial score I had for this course was a pretty high 121. Which is almost double what the par of the course is, but I didn't let it get me down, as I was just happy to be out playing golf on an 18 hole course, but something inside me knew I could do better.

I returned some three weeks later with a target in my head, a number that I wanted to hit better than. That was to beat my last score and I knew I could do it. In the end I managed to shave a good 17 shots off my previous score totalling 105 for the round. It was so close to breaking that digits that many golfers aim to achieve and it just spurred me on I guess.

Two days later and I was back at Kings Links again. Ready to take on my 100 shot goal. I knew that the only reason I never managed to hit 100 the time before was due to a few silly holes where I shot up into the high single digits for a couple of holes and I didn't want to go the same way this time.

My first tee shot wasn't great, but I didn't let it get me down. I carried on and managed to hit a bogey on the first hole which was the hole that got me a relatively high score the last round.

I continued the round with some pretty shocking tee shots especially into the wind on the back 9, but that was pretty much always salvaged by my short game, making some fantastic putts and even netting myself a birdie on a par 5.

I finished the round on a cool 99. Talk about cutting it close, but I was on a high and I still am whilst writing this.

The lesson to be learnt from this is just focus on something that you want to beat and do it. Remain calm and don't let those bad shots get to you and you can achieve it. Know you can.


Friday, 2 August 2013

Golf membership acquired

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I am very happy to say that I have recently become bought myself an Aberdeen City golf pass. 

This pass will allow me to use all of the City's four 18 hole, one 9 hole and one 6 hole courses, two 9 hole pitch and putt courses and all putting greens and practice areas.  These include:

I am absolutely over the moon at this and it will be my first ever golf membership, so I'm going to be using it to it's full extent and as often as possible. 

I am planning on playing the Kings Links course this Sunday, so will be blogging about that once it happens. I just wish it would come sooner. 

The pass itself cost me only £150 due to me being a student, which is incredible value for money. The normal price without student discount is £334.20 which is still pretty good considering the number of different courses you can have access to. 

I would definitely recommend it to others at the moment, although having not seen any of the other courses than Kings Links, that opinion might change. 

I'll let you know how I get on. 

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy

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Incase you're wondering where I've disappeared to, or why I haven't be posting on here. It's because I haven't been playing golf.

I have just moved into a new flat through in the city of Aberdeen in Scotland to be closer to my work, meaning that I just haven't found the time or money to be able to get to the course/range or even a park that I can hit some balls in.

Depressing I know, but hopefully in the coming weeks I'll be getting my hands on an Aberdeen City golf pass which allows me access to a selection of courses ran by the council in Aberdeen, such as Hazelhead, Balnagask and Kings Links. I really can't wait to get out and get practicing again as I know that taking this much time off is just going to be a step backwards in my progress, but hopefully just a small step and not a huge one.

Bare with me folks and I'll be up and running as soon as possible.


Thursday, 27 June 2013

Peterhead Golf Course - 9 Hole review

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For todays post I thought I would review the only course that I've really played so far, due to my inexperience.

This course is the 9 Hole course at Peterhead golf club in north east Scotland. The "new" course was initially established in 1923 as another 18 hole course, but now exists as a 9 hole course. Located right on the coastline of Peterhead it is subject to one hell of a wind and that's on a good day.

The course isn't the most challenging of courses for a regular long-time golfer, but for the likes of me it poses a nice challenge to progress my golfing ability.

Peterhead 9 hole course is a par 31 with a total yardage of 2237. 

The course begins with a par 4 hole that is 264 yards total. The hole is relatively straight with two bunkers to the left side of the green. Nothing too challenging here to be honest. 

The second is also a straight hole with a slight uphill shot to get to the green measuring 214 yards. A bunker to the left and right of the green with a lip to the back of the green. Again a relatively simple hole for a well versed golfer reflected in the par of 3. 

The third is a short 136 yard, but that's not to say it's an easy hole as you have to hit over a gully, one which has stolen a few balls from many the player. Although you can aim slightly to the right and play around it, most golfers will play for the green off the tee, but you have to be wary of the right side bunker just beside the green. The par for this hole is 3.

Hole 4 takes you down a steep hill with the green sitting 155 yards away. This hole has thick gorse to the right side of the slope with a bunker to the back left of the green and a river just beyond that. A small water hazard used to exist at the bottom left of the hill, but has since dried up and not been maintained unfortunately. 

To get to the 5th you must then travel back uphill where you will then be faced with a 174 yard par 3 with a straight and slight incline. The green is elevated slightly with a slope from back to front. If you don't get up far enough onto the green you will find your ball rolling backwards past you as you walk up to take your next shot. There are bunkers to both the front left and right of the green and a creek running to the left of the rough on the left side of the fairway. There is also thick gorse to the rear of the green to be careful not to overhit it when looking to get past the slope part of the green. Don't forget to say hello to the cows that usually come up to greet you from the adjoining field on the left. 

The par 4, 6th hole is a long 310 yard straight hole with a slight decline so I reckon longer hitters can easily make the green on this one, but beware of the bunkers to the front left and right of the green here. Thick rough lies to both the left and right of the fairway here, so avoid as much as possible. 

The 7th is a longer slight uphill shot to reach the green with bunkers to the right side of the fairway about 200 yards from the tee. The green lies behind two bunkers on both left and right side of the green. Par for this hole is 4. 

The 8th is a straight down with the same bunkers that plague you on the 7th but this time sitting in the rough to the right of the fairway. Out of bounds lies to the left separating the 9 and 18 hole courses. The green can be found 367 yards from the tee with bunkers again to the left and right of the green. 

The final hole is a short 184 yard, par 3. With OOB to the left and right a straight shot down the middle will find you the green as long as you can avoid the two large bunkers that lie to the left and right of the green. 

The course is good fun for someone not looking for too much of a challenge, with a relatively cheap cost. From what I'm aware you can only buy a day ticket for this course which costs £20. The course is pretty flat for a links course and the real challenge of a links course definitely lies with the 18 hole. 

Fingers crossed I can get the 18 hole course reviewed at some point in the future. 


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Top free golf app for Android in 2013

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I have become an avid user of apps on my android phone over the past few years and will pretty much end up integrating them into my daily routine in about every possible aspect I can. This may be sad, but it appears to be the norm these days and the marketplace knows this. Hence the reason there is an app for almost anything you want to search for.

This brings me to the App that I have been using on my android phone in order to track my golf scores, but also has a fantastic number of other features including a GPS rangefinder and all round golf tracker.

The app is called SwingbySwing golf and has opened up my score tracking to a whole new level. Taking me from writing down the scores on a card scoresheet to storing all my previous results in an online account that I can access at any time and see my improvement over a period of time with the click of a button.

There is also a huge database of courses, meaning you can just search for the course you are playing and it will provide you with a GPS overview of the course along with the distances for each hole. This is invaluable in gauging your shot distance and helping you choose the correct club to hit. The price of these units in the shops usually cost a fortune, but to get this basic functionality in your phone is completely free.

There are upgrades that you can pay for to get more in depth tracking such as clubs used, drive direction etc, but it is completely optional and the basic function is more than enough for a beginner like myself.

I would thoroughly recommend this app to any android or iPhone user who is looking for an app that saves them paying a fortune for a stand alone GPS rangefinder.

You can download SwingbySwing by visiting the website here. It is definitely my favourite free golf app for android in 2013. 


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

My best round yet.

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Tonight I decided to give the local 9 hole course a go again after spending the past three weeks or so practicing as much as my time would permit. I have definitely been seeing an improvement in my general striking and direction of my shots over at the practice area, so thought I'd put them to the test.

Usually when I've played the course I end up panicking and mishitting every shot that I take, so I didn't go in with too high an expectation, although I ended up pleasantly surprised.

I've not been doing any practice with my three wood, so decided to play the entire round with just my irons and putter and hitting straight from the ground, not using a tee.

The round started great with my tee shot from the first going right down the centre of the fairway, probably about 210 yards with my three iron, so to start off on that was perfect and hopefully set me up for a good round, but I didn't want to get ahead of myself.

I chipped onto the green and ended up with two putts to make par, which is unfortunate considering I probably should have birdied it, but I'm not complaining as I'm still very new to the game.

Onto the second hole and again teeing off with my three iron I ended up in the rough to the right of the green with a bunker to get over. I ended up trying a flop shot which I had been practicing after watching some tutorial videos on youtube. It came off pretty well and I ended up again on the green with two putts to score +1 on the hole.

The third hole was where I ended up going downhill. The green is on the other side of a gully, so in order to ensure I missed I was probably aiming too much to the right. Hitting an 8 iron off the tee, I ended up in some extremely long gorse bushes about 50 yards to the right of the green. This was an absolute nightmare to get out of and cost me three shots to get out of it and into a decent position to chip up to the green and putt in one. Ended up +3 on that hole.

The fourth is a downhill shot, so stepping up with my 8 iron I tee'd off this time ending up in the rough again about 50 yards to the left of the green. I managed to chip out, but overshot the green and had to chip from behind the green to get on. I holed the ball with one putt giving me another +1 on that hole.

The fifth is a long straight uphill fairway with a sloping green that if you end up too much at the front will roll back down about 50 yards so overshooting was my aim. I ended up again about 50 yards to the right of the green in some thick rough which chipping out of caused me a small problem of hitting the ball too hard, straight over the green and into rough at the other side. I chipped from the rough into a bunker and then from the bunker onto the green. It took me one short putt of about 3ft to finish the fifth with a +2.

The sixth hole, I tee'd off again with my three iron and ended up right down the middle of the fairway about 45 yards short of the green. A small chip up onto the green left me with a relatively easy putt for birdie, but I rushed the shot and ended up taking two putts making par on the hole.

The seventh I ended up slicing over onto the fairway of the adjacent eighth hole after ending up in the rough to the right of the fairway on my tee shot. My third shot chipped up to behind the green, I chipped from there onto the green for an easy putt to make +1.

The eighth, I tee'd off and again ended up on the adjacent fairway of the seventh, so pulled out my five iron and couldn't have hit a better second shot if I had wanted to, landing at the edge of the green. A quick two putts and I managed to save par.

Finishing off the round I hit the rough to the right of the green, narrowly missing the bunker from the tee. A chip to the left of the bunker left me an easy putt which I unfortunately missed, meaning I missed the chance to finish on a par, leaving me with +1 on the final hole.

My score for the round was 40 where the par was 31, so to finish on +9 is something I am extremely pleased about given my best score so far has been a questionable "48". This has definitely left me finishing tonight on a high and eager to get back out onto the course.

I'd like to thank all those who gave me advice about my mental game when stepping onto the course. Whether I took it on board and put it into practice subliminally or not, it seems to have helped me relax when playing a round.

You can view my SwingbySwing scorecard for the round here.