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    Countdown to Golf!

Friday 5/1/20

In the final edition of “Countdown to Golf,” we offer this article by Sam Weinman in Golf Digest titled “Hey Golfers, let’s not screw this up.” He offers the valid perspective that, once we are allowed to return to the course, we must recognize the situation, follow all of the rules and guidelines associated with it, and just be thankful to be out there.

We have already begun to plan what the “new normal” will look like at Poquoy Brook, and will continue to do so over the coming days. We can’t wait to safely welcome you all back to the club very soon!  

 
Thursday 4/30/20

When the PGA Tour returns, it will have a much different feel with no fans on the grounds to witness the action. Obviously, the atmosphere and noise level come to mind, but there are a few factors you might not have considered that will change without fans. In his Associated Press column, Doug Ferguson outlines what the PGA Tour will look like upon its return.

 
Wednesday 4/29/20 - Did You Ever Wonder Wednesday!
 
Check out this recent article from Golf Digest on the game during the current times, titled “Flagsticks, handshakes and masks: Infectious disease experts clarify coronavirus risks, say golf ranks as one of the ‘safest sports.’” While we won’t be able to open before May 18th after the new order from the state, we hope to provide a safe and enjoyable outlet when we do reopen, as we outlined in Friday’s “Countdown” message.
 
 
Tuesday 4/28/20 - Golf Tip Tuesday!
 
Seven Tips from the Golf Info Guide
1.  It's easy to rush in the golf swing. After all, you're probably trying to hit the ball a significant distance, especially if you are standing on the tee, so it is only natural to swing as hard and fast as possible. However, most of the time, that level of effort is going to do you more harm than good. The best golf swings tend to be those that allow speed to develop gradually, with the club accelerating all the way down until it arrives at impact.
 
2.  One of the most-important things you can do for your swing, and for your game as a whole, is to pick out a very specific target for each and every shot that you hit. When you have a specific target in mind as you swing, you will be far more likely to stay committed to the swing at hand. Indecision is a sure sign of doubt in your game, and doubt is something that can throw you off track in a hurry.
 
3.  There is one golf grip tip that can be applied across the board by every golfer, and it is the fact that the grip should be relaxed in order to promote club head speed and a clean strike. Many golfers squeeze onto the grip too tight as they swing, and those players lose power as a result.
 
4.  The average player uses their hands far too actively during the takeaway phase of the swing, and they pay the price when the club is off-plane by the time the backswing has finished. If you would like to keep the club in a good position all the way through to the top, you need to keep your hands out of the takeaway while your shoulders do all of the work.
 
5.   Don’t fall into the trap of trying shots you really can’t execute just because you want to prove that you can do it. The beauty of being able to pick your own shots on the course is the fact that you can make decisions which suit your strengths. Be smart about club selection and avoid those shots that really give you trouble.
 
6.  Keep you eyes on the back of the ball through impact.  If you focus on keeping your head down, you are going to limit the movement that takes place in your shoulders because you will be trying to keep your head quiet. You want your shoulders to be able to turn through the ball on the way down, so you don’t want to think about keeping your head still. It is actually okay if your head moves a little bit through impact, as long as your eyes are watching the ball the whole time.
 
7.  Keep your body still while still making a proper putting stroke. You need to understand what parts of the body are actually responsible for moving the putter back and forth. Ideally, it will be the job of your shoulders to move the putter, while your arms and hands go along for the ride naturally. By placing the control of the stroke in your shoulders, you can eliminate much of the unnecessary movement that often causes putts to veer off track. As you swing the putter, your lower body should be perfectly still, as should your head and your torso below the shoulders.
 
Monday 4/27/20 - Maintenance Monday!

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No one likes to hear the word "aeration," but it's a necessary evil for good course conditions. The superintendent and the grounds crew began deep tine aeration of the greens last week. It is not a core aeration, as was performed in the fall, but one that punches deeper holes with a solid tine. This provides positive plant health and heals faster than the process of removing cores. After being deep tined, the greens will be top dressed with sand.

As the weather warms up and new roots develop, the young roots enter the deep tine channels and are able to extend deep into the surrounding soil. A deep root system creates healthy plants, enabling them to withstand drought periods and extended periods of high temperatures over the summer.

IMMEDIATE BENEFITS

  • Strengthen Root Development
  • Improve Soil Profile
  • Increase Air and Water Movement
  • Reduce Water Runoff and Puddling
  • Enhanced Resiliency and Cushioning

Quite a few area courses have taken advantage of being closed to aerate their greens over the past few weeks. It will be worth the effort!

 
Sunday 4/26/20
 
VERY INTERESTING . . .
  • Golf was invented in Scotland over 500 years ago, but the Chinese claim to have developed a similar game as far back as 943 A.D.
  • If you get a hole in one in Japan it is customary to share your good luck by throwing a party, complete with gifts for your friends!
  • Using Google Insights, Topend Sports set out to discover which countries look up information about golf the most.  The winner:  Ireland, with Canada coming in second.  The United Kingdom was third, and the U.S. fourth.
  • Insurance actuaries have calculated that the odds of getting a hole-in-one are 12,500 to 1.  
  • Golf is the only game that's been played on the moon (Feb.6, 1971)
  • Golf is a good workout, if you walk!  A typical 190 lb. golfer can burn 431 calories and hour.
 
Saturday 4/25/20
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Friday 4/24/20
 
We are still very much hoping that come May 4, the governor allows golf courses to open in Massachusetts. You should be prepared for a lot of changes, as it won't be business as usual for quite a while.
 
Here are some things you might anticipate:
  • All tee times will have to be booked, and paid for, online. This will include paying for carts.
  • Carts will all have single riders (unless the other person in the cart lives in the same house).
  • Tee time intervals will increase to 15 minutes
  • There will be no bunker rakes or ball washers on the course, and the flagsticks will remain stationary in the cup. Do not touch the flagstick.
  • The Pro Shop will be locked, and employees will work from a window in the shop.
  • No transactions will involve cash.
  • Groups will not be allowed to gather in the parking lot.
  • Social distancing must be maintained on the entire property.
It sounds like a lot to get used to, but we'll all adjust quickly. It will be great just to be able to get out there again!
 
Stay well!
 
 
Thursday 4/23/20 - Throwback Thursday!

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#tbt to this beautiful rainbow over the course in July 2016. We are all looking forward to the rainbow at the end of this storm.

 
Wednesday 4/22/20 - I Wish Wednesday!
 
If you grew up in a household of Irish descent, you may remember that your mother or father had a quaint expression for almost any situation.  One, in particular, came to mind today.  "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."  Interpret it as you may, but it got us to thinking about what we would wish for.
 
We wish that we had never heard of Covid-19.
We wish that you and your families are healthy
We wish that you will come out of this financially unscathed
We wish that the temperature would be around 80 in the summer, and no lower than 45 in the winter
We wish that we didn't have to wait any longer to see your smiling faces
We wish that everyone loved and respected golf as much as you do
 
What would you wish for?
 
 
Tuesday 4/21/20 - Golf Tip Tuesday!

Stretching is one of the most under-utilized techniques for improving athletic performance, preventing sports injury and properly rehabilitating sprain and strain injury. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that something as simple as stretching won’t be effective. 

The 3 Best Golf Stretches

Instructions: Slowly move into the stretch position until you feel a tension of about 7 out of 10. If you feel pain or discomfort you’ve pushed the stretch too far; back out of the stretch immediately. Hold the stretch position for 20 to 30 seconds while relaxing and breathing deeply. Come out of the stretch carefully and perform the stretch on the opposite side if necessary. Repeat 2 or 3 times.  

Bent Arm Upper Back and Shoulder Stretch: Stand upright and place one arm across your body. Bend your arm at 90 degrees and pull your elbow towards your body.

Reaching Lateral Side Stretch: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, then slowly bend to the side and reach over the top of your head with your hand. Do not bend forward.

Lying Knee Roll-over Lower Back Stretch: While lying on your back, bend your knees and let them fall to one side. Keep your arms out to the side and let your back and hips rotate with your knees.

 

Monday 4/20/20 - Maintenance Monday!
 
It's a big day today...the golf course maintenance crew is back to work!  Superintendent John LeClair has been working with a skeleton crew over the last month or so, and this is a very positive sign.
 
John and his crew did a great job in 2019 and expectations are for more of the same in 2020.  Mother Nature offered us a pretty mild, golfable winter this year, and let's hope she is as agreeable for the remainder of the spring and summer.
 
That's the thing about golf courses though, so much is out of our control and many course conditions just can't be fixed.  Every single golf course is unique.  Golfers sometimes seem reluctant to accept this reality.  Judgements are made about a course without knowing what soil conditions are like, the age of the infrastructure, the age of the course itself, the type of pests and diseases that a particular type of soil and turf may be susceptible to, and of course, the budget.  
 
And let's face it, the issues we face at Poquoy could be worse!  We do have to deal with the geese from time to time, but what if we had to dodge these guys on the course?
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Or what if this guy greeted  you when you pulled the pin?
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Yup...we're doing ok!
 
Sunday 4/19/20
 
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Saturday 4/18/20
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Friday 4/17/20 - Fundamental Friday!
 
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Thursday 4/16/20 - Throwback Thursday!
 
 
Harvey Penick
And If You Play Golf, You're My Friend (1999)
 
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A Distinction
"The ability to concentrate is good, but thinking too much about how you are doing what you are doing is disastrous.
Trust your muscles and hit the ball to the hole. Keep it simple."
 
 
Wednesday 4/15/20 - Did You Ever Wonder Wednesday!

WHS Update 726x400

At the beginning of 2020, the United States Golf Association joined the World Handicap System, which combined five other handicap governing bodies from around the world into one. It’s purpose is to allow more golfers the opportunity to obtain and maintain a Handicap Index, use that Index on any golf course around the globe, and compete, or play recreationally, with anyone fairly. Here are some of the major changes you need to know:

  1. Daily revisions: instead of updating your handicap index on the 1st and 15th of each month, you will now receive a revision after each day that you post a new score. This was instituted to ensure that your index is a recent and accurate reflection of your playing ability.
  2. Calculation of your index: under the old system, your handicap index was calculated by taking an average of the best 10 scores out of the last 20, and multiplying that number by .96. Now, indexes reflect a true average of the best 8 scores out of the most recent 20.
  3. Playing conditions calculation: conditions such as wind, rain and course setup can adversely affect your score. To account for changes in conditions that may make the course more or less difficult than normal, the WHS adds a playing conditions calculation to ensure that the score differential is an accurate reflection of your performance on that day. This is done once automatically at the end of each day if scores posted from a given course and tee are much higher or lower than expected. If the system determines a PCC is necessary, it will show on your scoring record and is factored into the calculation by adding or subtracting from the course rating for that specific round. PCC’s are added “conservatively,” so don’t expect to see an adjustment every round.
  4. Net Double Bogey: replacing Equitable Stoke Control (ESC) as the maximum score on a hole that a player can post, the most you can take on a hole is now double bogey plus any handicap strokes you receive on that hole. For example, if you receive a handicap stroke on a par 5, the highest score you can record for posting purposes is 8.
  5. Calculation of Course Handicap: before, your course handicap was calculated by dividing the slope of the tee being played by 113 and multiplying that by your index. Under the WHS, the par of the course is also factored into your handicap. You will still do the steps above, but then add in the difference between the course rating and the par of the tee being played. For example, the white tee at Poquoy Brook has a rating of 70.2, which is 1.8 less than the par of 72. So under the new system, your course handicap at Poquoy will be 2 strokes less than you are used to. But don’t worry, it’s the same for everyone! The GHIN app features a course handicap calculator, so you can select the course and tee you are playing and it will calculate the course handicaps for you and your playing partners.

It is even more important than ever to post your score in a timely manner after you play. You should post your score by midnight the day you play to ensure it is factored into your daily revision and to have it included in the playing conditions calculation. You can post your score easily on the USGA GHIN app or at GHIN.com. It is also very important to go through the system and select the course and tee you played instead of entering the information manually so the score is included in the PCC.

For more information on the World Handicap System, visit WHS.com.

 
Tuesday 4/14/20 - Golf Tip Tuesday!
 
Practicing golf at home can be challenging, but there are still some things you can do effectively, even indoors. You have probably rolled a few putts inside at some point, but it's difficult to replicate the conditions of a real putting green. Still, according to Matthew Rudy of Golf Digest, while speed can be tough to gauge on an indoor carpet, you can still easily work on your alignment. He recommends using alignment sticks to guide the path of your stroke, a ruler to check your start line and length of your stroke, and a coin to keep your stroke in tempo. Click here to read Rudy's article and learn how to use these tools effectively. Grooving your putting stroke with these simple checkpoints now will have you ready to succeed on the greens when you get back to the course!
 
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Monday 4/13/20 - Maintenance Monday!

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Cleopatra named the worm “a sacred creature,” whose removal from Egypt was punishable by death. Aristotle had called them the intestines of the Earth. Charles Darwin, after forty years of studying them, said that it is likely that worms are the most important creatures on Earth.

But really, do they help or hurt the golf course? You've all seen the mess that the worm castings make (see picture of 3rd tee with said castings), but can we make a case for the not-so-lowly worm?

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Earthworms act as nature’s aerifiers, providing a service by creating pore space for air, water, and plant roots, as well as increasing the microbial population in the soil they process. So why wouldn’t we be happy with the help in creating pore space in the soil? Well, the work they do below ground is fine, but the downside to having earthworms on a golf course is that when they expel soil on the surface, it leaves little hills, like miniature volcanoes.  At best, these piles can be dragged or broomed off when thoroughly dry.  However, when we have moisture in the air, these piles stay wet. Dragging them turns them to mud. Left alone, the piles get squished by carts and mowers leaving mud spots about the size of a quarter.

According to our Superintendent, John LeClair, "they are a nuisance but are beneficial within the environment, more prevalent in the spring and fall with cooler soil temps and increased moisture through rain events. Summer months result in reduced activity as soil and daily temperatures rise. There are no legal chemicals that are allowed to be used to limit the number of worms. The only cultural practice that has been used with any degree of success has been the use of sand, which irritates the outer layers of the worms."

Also, they're good for fish bate!

Have a good Monday...stay safe.

 

Sunday 4/12/20 - Happy Easter!
 
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Saturday 4/11/20 - Missing the Masters
 
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Azaleas in bloom at Poquoy Brook GC
 
As though it isn't challenging enough in this upside down world we're living in, we have to get through early April without the Masters.  Always the symbolic start of the golf season, the Master's rich traditions and ridiculously well manicured grounds inspire even the casual golfer. For those of us here in the Northeast, it is a tease of lush turf, trees in full foliage and beautiful flowers that are still a few weeks out of our grasp.  
 
But the Master's is so much more than that. It is one of the few tournaments left that holds fast to the rich history and traditions of the game. The members of Augusta National Golf Club have not sold out to crass commercialism. You'll see no sponsor advertisements on the course to divert the focus of the competition and even the patrons still demonstrate a reverence for the game. It is unlikely that you'll hear anyone yelling "get in the hole!"  
 
The event has been rescheduled for November 12-15, but it is hard to imagine it being held in that time slot. No azaleas will be in bloom, and even the sun being at a lower angle in the sky will present the course in a different light. But that's ok...it's still the Masters, and there will be Masters Magic. Instead of waking up the golf season, it will be wishing it good night.
 
 
Friday 4/10/20 - FUNdamental Friday!
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"A golf match is a test of your skill against your opponents’ luck."

"It is surprisingly easy to hole a fifty foot putt. For a 10."

"Counting on your opponent to inform you when he breaks a rule is like expecting him to make fun of his own haircut."

"Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts"

"It’s not a gimme if you’re still away."

"The shortest distance between any two points on a golf course is a straight line that passes directly through the center of a very large tree."

"You can hit a two acre fairway 10% of the time and a two inch branch 90% of
the time."

"If you really want to get better at golf, go back and take it up at a much earlier age."

 

Thursday 4/9/20 - Throwback Thursday!
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Are you getting tired from trying to find things to keep you busy? Well, just relax. Why don't you take a few hours and watch (or re-watch...these throwbacks are all worth a second or third go!)  Might we suggest:
 
Caddyshack
The Legend of Bagger Vance
The Greatest Game Ever Played
Tin Cup
Stroke of Genius
Seven Days in Utopia
and ok... Happy Gilmore
 
Don't feel like a movie? Maybe a little reading material would help get your mind in a better place. These particular selections can also help your golf game!
 
Ben Hogan's Five Lessons 
Bobby Jones on Golf
Harvey Penick's Little Red Book (and Little Green Book, while you're at it!)
Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by Bob Rotella (this one can really help you with the mental part of the game)
 
Be safe! You'll be back on the course before you know it!
 
 
 
Wednesday 4/8/20 - Did You Ever Wonder Wednesday!

Today's Rules of Golf Question of the Day:

David is standing on the 18th tee at Poquoy Brook GC, a sharp dogleg left par 5. Trying to cut the corner and knowing he’ll need his best drive to do so, David overswings and tops the ball, causing it to roll backwards about 2 feet behind where he teed it up. His ball still remains within the tee markers and within two club lengths from the front of the markers. Which of the following are true of David’s options?

A. David must take an unplayable lie and retee under a penalty of one stroke. He would be playing his 3rd shot.
B. David may either play the ball as it lies or retee under a penalty of one stroke. He would be playing his 3rd shot.
C. David is allowed to play the ball as it lies or he may move the ball or retee anywhere within the teeing area as if it was his first shot, free of penalty. He would be playing his 2nd shot.
D. David must play the ball as it lies and cannot retee. He would be playing his 2nd shot.
 
Correct Answer: C
Explanation: Rule 6.2b(6) states that "if the player’s ball in play is in the teeing area after a stroke (such as a teed ball after a stroke that missed the ball) or after taking relief, the player may: lift or move the ball without penalty and play that ball or another ball from anywhere in the teeing area from a tee or the ground under, including playing the ball as it lies." 
 
 
Tuesday 4/7/20 - Golf Tip Tuesday!
 
depositphotos 13982361 stock illustration cartoon man chasing golf ball
 
Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect!
 
Just beating golf balls at the range isn't going to help you make any serious improvements in your game. You'd be surprised by the number of people who just aimlessly wail away at those range balls every day.
 
Your practice session should mimic what you do on the course.  Go through your pre-shot routine for every ball you hit. And don't just hit your driver! You're trying to improve your game, not win a long drive contest. Start out by hitting one of your wedges or short irons, warming up your golf muscles with half swings. Then increase the length and speed of your swings, and move on to your middle irons.  Work your way up to the driver, and after you hit some balls with it, go back to a short iron or wedge.
 
When we're able to reopen, be sure to contact our PGA Professional John Oteri for a tuneup. Learn more about John and his teaching philosophy
 
 
Monday 4/6/20 - Maintenance Monday!
 
Bauer and Sampson
 
You might recognize these two guys, Bauer and Sampson, who belong to our golf course superintendent, John LeClair. As you can see, they too are anxious to welcome you back.
 
Burning
 
Burning to get back to the course?
The mild winter has allowed John to remove winter debris and wind storm damage from the course in preparation for the spring season. Spring agronomics will soon follow...and it's a great time to start working on your home yards, too!
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