Tuesday, August 4 2020


Holiday blues, or not?

Update: September, 02/2018 - 09:00

By Robert Bicknell

Another Viet Nam National Day is upon us and, as usual, many are thinking of where to go for the holiday. Getting stuck at home can either be a blessing or torture, depending on your situation.

For me, this is one of the few times I will be home with family as most of my career involved working far from my family and holidays are the times the club is busiest. As I always told the club employees: “We work so others can play.”

Yes, it’s not fair to employees, especially around Tet [Lunar New Year festival], for example, when everyone wants to be with their families, but that’s the price you pay for working in the Leisure Industry – which is what golf is a part of, as well as part of the tourism industry.

So, while my wife is busy making plans, which generally includes a laundry list of things or me to do, I have made my own simple list of what to do over the holiday.

Sleep, eat, gym, play with daughter’s hamster, eat, help daughter with studying, eat and sleep again. That’s it. Very simple, but I have no doubt the wife with think otherwise and include day trips to places I really don’t want to go, to take photos of things of which I have zero interest, or just going for a walk.

I’m a semi-retired golf pro. This means I have walked a lot further than most people on the planet over the last 60 years. If the wife can’t find me a golf car, then I’m not going. Period.

Yes, you’re probably right… I’ll end up going anyway. Hopefully it’s a shopping mall with air conditioning and a coffee shop where I can sit while she window shops for a few hours.

I was thinking of heading to my favourite course, The Bluffs, but I figure they will be packed solid with other people having the same idea. I don’t like crowded courses. It’s not that I’m anti-social in as much as I like to play golf quickly. Standing in the fairway waiting to hit my next shot is not my idea of fun.

And besides, The Bluffs is as much a religious experience as a physical one. When standing atop a sand dune and seeing the sun reflecting off the ocean, it’s easy to let go of your cares and just enjoy the view.

So, I will expect to amend my plan with the occasional side trip scheduled by my wife and plan to visit The Bluffs after the holiday when it becomes a little quieter, but in the meantime, its back to the gym again…

One of my golf students came to me asking for putting lessons as he had an “important” match coming up the next day…

Really? I’ve been begging him to get down to the practice green for short game work for the last two months, but now he expects a miracle. Gioi oi!

I’ve commented on this many times in the past, but it bears repeating.

The fastest way to lower your scores is to improve your short game. You would be surprised how many people come to the driving range and hit 50 drives, 30 7-irons and 20-wedges, then go home and claim they were “working on their game”.

Sorry, that’s not working on your game. That’s “exercise”.

Many people don’t even track their statistics, so they have no idea what to work on when they do get to the range. But, here’s a few stats from the PGA Tour for you.

Tour pros hit the fairway with their drives only 61 per cent of the time. They also hit the green with their approach shots only 67 per cent of the time; and here’s an eye-opener… PGA Tour pros make bogeys 80 per cent of the time when a recovery shot is involved. You’d think they saved par, but TV only shows you the best ones.

As for putting, a PGA Tour pro will sink 96 per cent of his putts from 3-feet, 50 per cent from 8-feet, and 15 per cent from 20 feet.

On the other hand, an 18-hdcp player will sink 84 per cent; 27 per cent and six per cent, respectively.

Want to improve? Learn to putt…



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