Category: Golf

Introducing Golf Blogger Les Bailey

Hi! My name is Les Bailey, and I am a sports blogger with golf as my foremost subject. I write daily for Pro Golf Now, which is a subsidiary of the FanSided network. I have been an avid golfer since 1975, when, at almost 30 years old, I became a little to slow and old to play baseball any longer.

Honestly, up until I hit that first come back shot, I was under the opinion that golf was a dumb game played by rich people. You know what a come back shot is…? That’s the one perfect shot you hit all day, that provides the incentive to come back and try again. Of course, when you hit that one shot, all of a sudden you think you’re ready to qualify for the US Open. Then the Golf God carries your next shot to the trees on the right, and all of a sudden you make a snowman, and have to go to work the next day.

In the late 1990, and into the 21st century, I was a member of a regular Sunday foursome and realized how much I loved the game, and loved the camaraderie I had with my fellow golfers. We had a great time! For over ten years, we would get up at 4 AM on Sunday, someone would bring egg sandwiches, and we were off.

We didn’t take the game real serious, but played pretty close to the rules. We had a game, where we switched partners every 6 holes, and played for .50 cents a game, and of course we did greenies, birdies, sandies, and skippys.

What’s a skippy? A skippy is when you hit a shot that skips across the water, comes out on the other side, and you make par. I think on my worse day, I lost $ 4.00. Of course, the big winner had to buy the first beer, so sometimes it was advantageous to yang a putt or two.

The beautiful aspect of golf is, like Tom Watson says in his commercials for his videos. Golf is a game for a lifetime. It is the only sport that you can play everyday and choose how challenging you want your round to be. You can play the tips if you’re feeling good, or move it up to the whites if it just isn’t your day. Unfortunately, at my age, I spend a lot of time on the white tees these days, and am very thankful that some courses are starting to put yellow tees in. I have a feeling they will become a staple before long.

I am thankful everyday that the friend who took me to my first game in 1975 had the tenacity to talk me into going. I came very close to blowing him off, and doing something else. It was a match made in heaven, me…, and golf. Thanks Tom, where ever you are.

Tiger Wins THE PLAYERS Championship

He did it again! Yesterday Tiger Woods won the 2013 PLAYERS Championship shooting a final round 70 to hold off guys like Sergio Garcia, Kevin Streelman, Jeff Maggert, and David Lingmerth. Tiger did make things interesting on Sunday hitting his tee shot on 14 in the water. Then, on 17, Sergio hit two balls in the water. Needless to say, it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Oh, and Lingmerth had a putt on 18 to force a playoff, but he hit the putt so hard it went off the green after barely missing the hole.

Speaking of Sergio, there was an issue with him on Saturday. On Saturday Sergio was in the middle of the fairway on the second hole, a long par 5. Tiger pulled his drive left and was in the woods on some nasty pine straw. All of the spectators went over to watch Tiger as Sergio got ready to hit his second shot. Just as Sergio was ready to hit, Tiger grabbed a 5 wood from his bag in hopes of taking an aggressive line from trouble. Sergio would proceed to hit, pushing his second shot some 40 yards left. He then looked over and Tiger basically blaming him for causing the distraction.

In the clubhouse, after the round, Sergio talked with Steve Sands. “Well, obviously Tiger was on the left and it was my shot to hit. He moved all the crowd that he needed to move, I waited for that. I wouldn’t say that he didn’t see that I was ready, but you do have a feel when the other guy is going to hit and right as I was in the top of the backswing, I think he must have pulled like a 5 wood or a 3 wood and obviously everybody started screaming. So that didn’t help very much. But it was unfortunate because – I mean I might have hit it there if nothing happens, you never know – but if I hit a good shot there and maybe make birdie, it gets my day started in a bit of a different way.”

Steve Sands Interviews Sergio Garcia

Good thing Tiger and Sergio didn’t play together on Sunday. I must admit I was hoping for a sudden death playoff, but I am fine with Sergio sending two into the water on 17. Consider that karma! I bet that would have been great for ratings, too.

It was a fun weekend, and I am glad to see Tiger on top. If you follow me here on the official Discount Tee Times blog, you will see me posting a lot about Tiger. I am pretty much Tiger’s biggest fan, and he made me proud to be a fan this weekend.

Michael Thompson Goes Hole Hunting

The PGA TOUR is in Florida this week for THE PLAYERS Championship. This event takes place every year at TPC Sawgrass and is filled with the biggest names in the game. Like right now Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, and Zach Johnson are all at the top of the leaderboard. Some want this event to become a major championship, but that is a topic for another blog post.

Having been to TPC Sawgrass, I can tell you it is not an easy golf course. The course was designed by Pete Dye, and forces players to hit every club in his bag. The course never lets up, and on the front players will find a few long holes including the par 3 8th. The hole is 231 yards, and most players are just focused on finding the putting surface. Not Michael Thompson. Yesterday Thompson hit a 3 iron on this hole. Watch this!

Have you ever carded an ace? That was his first, and helped him shoot a 69 in the first round. I have never had a hole-in-one, but I can imagine what that feels like. Let’s just hope he didn’t bogey the next hole! Nice shot, Michael.

Woods and Vonn Take Things Public

Its no secret Tiger Woods has a new girlfriend. A few months ago, both Tiger and Lindsey Vonn shared on Facebook about their relationship. They shared photos and Tiger asked for privacy saying, “We wan to continue our relationship privately, as an ordinary couple.” Not sure how two of the biggest athletes in the world are going to keep things private… but still, they asked for privacy and thus far things have been pretty quiet. She has followed him around on the golf course, but they have not yet  made a public appearance together. Until now.

Woods and Vonn will be making their first public appearance tonight as they walk down the red carpet at the Met Gala in New York City. The two will be attending as guests of Vogue, and will not be the only stars in the room. Other celebrities will include Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, and Jennifer Lawrence, among others.

The last time we saw Vonn was at Augusta. She followed Tiger around all week, and even wore red on Sunday to support her man. Tiger hasn’t played sine then, but will be back in action this week at TPC Sawgrass.

Golf Balls: Comparing Competing Brands

What golf ball do you play? I have, since high school, been playing the Titleist Pro V1. I feel it provides me with the necessary distance off the tee, the control I need with all irons in my bag, and the spin I desire around the greens. They are expensive, but for the performance that I expect on the golf course, they are worth every penny. I have tried hitting the Pro V1x, but it doesn’t spin as well around the greens for me. It is longer off the tee, but I prefer more control around the greens.

Last week I played 18 holes and decided to try a new golf ball. Someone gave me a dozen Callaway HEX Black Tour for Christmas, and they have been burning a hole in my golf bag ever since. I wanted to see how they compared to the Pro V1. Since I am playing a Callaway driver and 3 wood now, I figured it couldn’t hurt trying out a Callaway golf ball.

Off The Tee

The ball is long. I would even say this ball is longer than the Pro V1. The cover is just as soft, but doesn’t scratch like the Pro V1 does. I can’t play five holes with a Pro V1 without having to replace the ball. At $45.99 a dozen, that can be quite expensive. (I will admit I sometimes buy refurbished golf balls. Target actually has a great deal on refurbished golf balls for half the price!) I was able to play my entire round with the same ball. I played a tough course, so you can see I hit the ball well!

Maybe I am just getting used to the new driver, but this ball was deep off the tee. It just had a nice “pop” to it when I teed off.

From The Fairway

I hit 12 fairways on Sunday, or I would have titled this section something different. From the fairway, whether I was hitting a wood, hybrid, or long iron, this ball was simply perfect. The ball flight was consistent and it felt great with every swing. I did have a few shots from the bunker, one in the fairway and the other greenside, and it performed just as well out of the sand as the Pro V1.

I did hit a few in the rough, but couldn’t tell a difference in the feel or the ball flight of the golf ball. Thus far, the Callaway was stacking up nice!

Around the Greens

This is where the Pro V1 shines. Granted, the greens at Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club were hard, but still. I can still get a Pro V1 to check from around the greens. I wasn’t able to get the HEX to check as much as I wanted, but it did react with all my wedges. It spun more from the sand than I expected, too. The real difference was with my 6-8 irons. With the Pro V1, I am able to stop, sometimes spin the ball back a little. With the HEX, it would check, but it would hit, bounce, and roll out. There was a good 5-7 yard difference between the two from what I can remember.

The HEX was a good ball, and since they were free, I plan to use them again next week when I tee it up. Not sure where I am going to play, but I look to play through this dozen before I go back to the Pro V1. If nothing else, I am trying to experiment with a different ball and it will force me to think about my shots more. Rather than just tossing the ball at the pin hoping I picked the right club, I will now be able to think about where to land the ball to get the expected reaction that I want based on the shot type that I hit.

If nothing else, the HEX will make me think about my shots more. So… having said all of that, what ball do YOU play?