Thursday, June 29, 2006

Uhh... I uhh... played Party blackjack again

Well, the donks got the best of me early yesterday evening. TT goes down to QQ vs a maniac-ish LAG and i'm down 88 through 400 hands. My Party account balance is $410 and I'd prefer it to be nice round numbers so I take $10 to Party Blackjack.

Why play a -EV game, gambling nerd? Because I feel like it and I'm bored. I don't care about $10. Actually I intended to go play Craps but they dont have it at Party Casino yet. Playing $1/hand blackjack is a good way to waste time and money, fortunately I started getting strings of wins before losses and started doing 1,2,4,8 betting. I ran that huge $10 all the way up to $75 where I was playing for nickels before losing $25 back and cashing out $50.

How bored do I have to be to play $1 blackjack? seriously.

Anyways, I won another couple bucks back at the poker tables and got just short of even for the day. Couple hands of 100NL on a good table helped. Looking forward to moving up and using whole dollar numbers as bet sizes again :)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Poker Update

Well, the pond has been good to me and the bankroll is getting respectable again. I've made a few bad plays for all my chips, but hey, if I wasn't an action player I wouldn't get action -- gotta look at the bright side.

Moving back to 100NL if I win just a touch more at 50NL. Weeee its fun to be a degenerate poker player again.

Harry, next time you get a Party bonus, just call me so you can dump it to me instead of $0.50/$1 limit tables k?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Thank God For Mondays

This weekend was the most tiring in history. Here's how it played out.

Friday I join NoSkillz and Harry for a round at the club, I shot 82 but saw some improvements in certain areas... bad score but there's HOPE.

Saturday morning we played same group + Gary and I shot a 79 which is better than I have been lately. This was an early 7:07 tee time and I was tired from playing online poker the night before till 1am. Ugh... lost $85 in that session when I got it All-In Pre-flop with QQ v a guy with AJ (not my normal line but he was a fish)... Damn you ace on the turn. Playing good poker, FYI. Anyways, Saturday afternoon I got all dressed up and went to a wedding for a friend of my girlfriend. I knew nobody there but by dinner I had them all talking about golf and poker. Surprised? Heh. Got home late that evening and woke up for a Sunday tee time of 7:45.

Now, Sunday was weird. I'm having a good round on the course (for me), 2 over on the front with a double bogey, and I'm one over on the back with a double bogey for +3 through 15. On the 16th hole I hit my tee shot and am walking up the fairway when Jeff of the Pro Shop comes driving up. "Anyone want to play the Niagara Cup at Port Colborne?"... they all point to me and I consider my afternoon options (none) so agree to go. I'm whisked off to my car and off I go to join the club's team in a 2-man scramble.

They've already started to play so I meet my bud Gary on the 3rd. He's one down at the time and we battle back to even. We then steal a par on a badly played tee shot on both of our parts on a short par 4 to stay even. The other team was by no means as good as us tee to green, but they were deadly anywhere near one. They steal a birdie on the 8th hole (15 footer) when Gary and I cannot make a 12 footer from a similar spot. We lip out on the 9th for the tie and lose the front.

The back nine we start off hot with birdies but they're keeping up. On the par 3 12th (I think) my ball comes to rest about 9 ft from the pin and they're off the green. Their chips come to rest 10-12 ft away and they MAKE THEIR PUTT for a par. We don't convert (these greens were tough to read for some reason) and we're still even.

On the Par-5 13th, the other team's approach comes up short. Gary lays up and I hit a beautiful rescue from 230 that's dead on the pin. Hop, skip and a jump and it's over the back... should have stuck thats just bad luck. Our chips leave us 8 ft and again we don't make the putt while the other team gets up and down to take the lead.

On the 14th the other team is 15 ft for birdie and make it. Then I make a 12 foot uphill putt for birdie to tie. The 15th we chip in to make the match even after my approach was too long and Gary's too short to make the back nine even. The 16th I hit my rescue straight (NEVER!) and into the water on the right -- was playing my normal draw/hook with that club). Gary leaves us in fine position and we lay up to 110 for our 3rd shots. Then, my wedge again flies too far. Gary's lands perfectly but does not stop at all and we've got 20 feet on a brutal slope for birdie. The other team again gets up and down and we miss our circus-putts to be one down again.

The 17th is a long par 3. I hit too much draw and end up in a bad lie in the trap left. Gary ends up in the middle of the bunker right (DOH) and the other team is on the back of a tough green. I hit a good sand shot to 4 ft, the other team 3-putts and we make ours.

On the 18th the other team both hook their drives into the trees. I throw my driver into prime position (again) and we've got 180 into the pin. The other team magically pulls a shot out of their butt (damn lucky bastards) and end up just short of the green. My approach is long, gary (fighting his hook) ends up way right. We fail to chip-in and the other team chips to gimme position and this match is done. We lose, ugh. Nasty.

If Gary and I had out putters hot we could have kept this match tighter but as-is the other team beat us moreso than we lost. They were totally solid around the greens leaving no room for errors on our parts although we were always on the fairways and hit most greens.

For my golf game here's whats up:

My driver is great... near perfect.
My long irons are mostly good... bit of room for improvement in consistancy of ball striking
My Short irons are good, going after pins
My chipping is bad... can't get used to weights and my wedge isnt checking anymore. need a new one probably.
My putting is so-so.

So as you can see, its my short game that needs work. I definately didn't play badly with Gary which makes me feel better -- hate to let other people down in a match like this.

I then slept from 8pm Sunday till this morning. Yes, tired. You should see my golf tan!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Putter Testing Trip Report

The last two evenings have been spent at the golf club attempting to catch a whif of what it was like to putt well. My hope was that I would find a putter so perfect that magically I could make putts again. As with all things in golf though, it's not the tool as much as the guy who wields it.

Did these putters make me putt better? Yes. Mainly because it forced me to practice putting.

Off we go.

Scotty Cameron Circa 62 #1

While perusing through a local golf store (not my pro shop) I came upon a putter that had a certain glow to it. There's something about the finish to a Scotty Cameron putter that makes it more attractive than others. Cameron's success comes from his ability to make what is in reality a piece of metal into something beautiful and functional. Unfortunately, the golf shop wasn't keen on the idea of my demo'ing a $350 putter so all i could do was roll a few on their carpets. The putter felt solid and looks stunning, that's about all I could say given the short time we spent together. One big downside to the Circa putter is its finish - you'd hate to mark up a putter this nice looking and their choice of finish is really easy to mark. Gotta love Cameron putters, but I can't give you a true trip report on this one since I never got to really roll it.

Ping G5i Zing

The brilliant folks over at Ping have always made some of my favorite putters. The original Anser and Anser2 have been endlessly copied by other manufacturers because the design works. The Zing models is not really fitting to my eye as much as the Ansers however. Ping's blue face insert is one of its newer toys along with a unique half-golf-ball alignment system with traditional top line from ball to back edge. On the greens this putter had a nice, even feel. Slightly dull from the softness of the insert but very strokeable. I found it's biggest downside for me was the new half-golf-ball cutout which detracted from an otherwise very attractive putter (top down that is). If it's not appealing to my eye, it's out regardless of how nicely the ball feels coming off its face. Yoinks.

TaylorMade Lambeau AGSI

TaylorMade makes really awesome equipment these days. Expensive yes, but nice. Harry and NoSkillz both play TM drivers and rescues, I've got a TM rescue, TM rocks. However, i've never liked them for putters until now. Sticking to the blade putter theme I tested the center-shafted Lambeau AGSI as suggested by Ryan in the pro shop. This putter is very clean, very tight and I really like its looks a lot. To this point i've never owned a center shafted putter but that might change. The AGSI system is a series of grooves in the putter face that are supposed to get the ball rolling end over end faster -- sort of like the Yes ! putter faces. The Yes! putter face does its job for sure, and so does this one. I made a lot of putts with this putter -- a LOT. This thing was just lighting it up for me. The only downside to this putter was the feel/roll on off-center strikes. Struck in the middle the Lambeau provides smooth feedback to the hands and rolls the ball beautifully, struck half an inch off middle and you get "clunk". Oh well. If I had a consistantly better putting stroke I would certainly consider re-testing this.

TaylorMade Monza Corza

The TaylorMade Monza Corza uses the same AGSI system as the Lambeau. I knew before taking this out that the ball would roll nicely off the face, but I was surprised that the off-center probs were gone too. The top line on the Monza Corza is a single black line pointing through your target. As anyone who has seen my ancient Zebra can attest, I'm a big fan of a large parallel top-line. This mallet putter rolls the ball very nicely and was certainly better for me on straight putts. I did have some trouble with weight on distance putts however which could probably be solved with a bit of practice. If i were to choose one of the three I actually was able to roll, this would be it.

So what's the result? As usual all this putter testing has brought my putting back up a notch so I'm still using my old-assed Zebra. I'm so damn picky with putters that I've yet to find one that's quite right though I will keep looking. My Zebra has a slightly dead feel to its face now as well as having a shaft that can be turned in the head (need to glue it) -- it's on its way out basically.

If anyone has any recommendations of putters to test, the Toastman would be happy to try and find one to putt with.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I don't post enough

I know I dont post enough these days. NoSkillz has been harping on me lately about it -- I think he's just bored at work or something. Did I mention how good he is at golf yet?

It was a good weekend in general. Saturday Matty booked us into the East Aurora CC reciprocal with our golf club. We arrived around 12, played one of the most enjoyable golf courses i've ever had the opportunity to play, and had an overall great time. I'll let him post course details since he has pictures and scorecards and all that junk though. I'm hitting my driver and long stuff like a champ but am faltering around the greens these days ... a total transition from the beginning of this year where I couldnt hit a ball but could putt the lights out. I had a whopping 40 putts on Saturday on the slickest, craziest greens ever. At least it was fun!

My crap putting continued at the regular Sunday game where I made a total of 1 one-putt for birdie. Of course that skin got cut up and I ended up -$15 for yet another week shooting 82. Really getting frustrated with my golf as I've now got the swing back in order but the short game went to hell.

I missed the PokerStars tourney this weekend as I was too busy drinking with my girlfriend's sister. We both decided that a family get together was too much to handle so we started early. I drank enough to be happy, not enough to be drunk... a good day.

The Toastman will be heading to the club after work to try and find his putting stroke (probably a new putter too). I'm liking the look of a few different models right now but will have to give them the usual tests. If i buy one, you'll definately see the rolling report up here right afterwards.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Thumbs Up For Golf

This weekend was definately all about golf.

Our journey begins when I sneak away from work at 4:45 on Friday to the club to play 18 with Harry "Thumbs" and Matty "NoSkillz" (aka "The SweaterVest"). Starting to play a touch better, and shot an uninspiring 80 in brutal winds. No great shots to speak of.

Saturday was a round with Gary P for our golf team qualifying. I had a brutal front nine and finished 6 over with two doubles (42). The back opened well and I was even through 15 but went bogey, double, double to shoot 83. That set me on tilt pretty good and I drowned my sorrows watching Lost season 2 episodes and eating coconut fingers purchased on the way home. THAT's how people get fat ladies and gentlemen... depression... YIKES. Funny, golf never bothers me when I'm really struggling with the game. I just go out there knowing i'll shoot a crap score and cant do anything about it. However, when I feel like my game is there and just can't bring it together therefore get mad at the game/myself, that's where I know my golf game is improving.

Little nuggets of gold in this here blog huh?

Sunday I travelled with Matty to Bradford, Pennsylvania to play in a yearly 2-ball tournament at a fantastic little course there. We stopped for breakfast at the Mozie On In where I had eggs benedict (thankfully only one of them) and Matty downed the largest breakfast known to man. We took the very nice 2.5 hour drive to Bradford, the trip winding through Ellicottville, NY among other little towns.

Arriving with much time to kill, we headed to the bottom of the mountain to the ice cream shop which is part of the tradition of this golf tournament. Had a chocolate shake ($2.35 USD) which was quite tasty.

Pine Acres golf course is situated up a bit of a mountain as you might have guessed, lots of trees, terrain that climbs and falls, and greens that are very large and steeply sloped back to front in every situation. The whole trick to the golf course is to leave your ball short of the pin so you have an uphill putt.

Upon arriving at the club again, Joe B from our club asks me "So, have you hit any shanks this year? I've been hitting them something awful." I of course said no, since i've been shank-free. Starting at the 7th hole, with 7i in hand, I proceed to shank my first shot of the day well over the trees on the right into the next fairway. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH how's that for karma?

I actually got around the course relatively well until an unfortunate incident on hole #18. NoSkillz and I both hit the green in 2 on the par 5 with solid rescue club shots from 225 and 235 out respectively. For a green guarded as well as this up front, these were ballsy shots and indicative of our need to get something going after playing par-golf for so long. Unfortunately, landing near the hole with a hybrid to stick it is pretty difficult so our golf balls rolled up and to the back of the green with the pins at the front. Note the previous comment about how the greens slope back to front. I was first up and putted it 8 feet past the pin -- not too bad given these greens. NoSkillz then stuck it 3 feet away with a nice roll. We read my line, I hit my putt and it broke more than we thought... and without thinking i knocked it away. GODDAMNIT. That's a brain fart folks. Now the partner couldnt kill it at the hole which probably would have taken the break out of the putt. He, unfortunately missed then tilted and went on a club whacking swearing rampage. Crazy bugger even yelled at the other team playing in our group over a scoring issue (our mistake not theirs). TILLLLT.

We then proceeded to make bogeys both on a par 3, hit both our shots OB on a stupidly laid out par-5 (I made a 7, our lowest team score), and then Matty made a nice bunker save on our closing hole a par 5 to make a birdie. We shot 74 as a team, 76 for him and 78 for me. I hit my shots great, and was awful around the greens... he was the opposite. I'd say it proves that short game is more important than long game.

I'll probably do it again next year. The tournament is run like they're desperate for money ($70 to play a $30 green fee course with free hotdogs and hamburgers that suck and a single keg of beer and $14 each for a cart). Prizes looked OK but we've never got close to winning one yet. Basically, great course, great day, well worth playing but boo to the food/drinks. Oh, and we had an ice cream sundae on the way out, $2.45 for a large one... f'in great.

And that's it. I fell asleep at 11pm, woke up at 8:30 having to be at work at 9, and here I sit. Hope you all had a good weekend too.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Week-end Update: June 3, 2006

The weekend was OK. The guys bailed on Saturday for whatever reasons to do their various things, plus it rained, so no golf for me.

Sunday I played horribly though I'm convinced my golf swing is close to workable again.

Here's my key right now... My swing this year has been inconsistant in all ways. Hook, cut, thin, fat, never the same strike twice or the same tempo. On the range this week I found that adopting an old Ben Hogan swing key helped quite a bit. That is to turn the right knee in slightly before the swing. This produces a right side which is totally stable and prevents "swaying".

Unfortunately, this still didn't help me produce a score better than 83 on Sunday. I hate golf.

Harry and I will be deciding this week who goes to Pennsylvania for a tournament on Sunday. We'll see.

Poker has been fine. Been taking shots at 2/4 6max and playing some 1/2 6-max still. Making $$, it's ok.

Boring post huh? Sorta boring weekend... what can I say?