Archive for the ‘Golf on a Budget’ Category
That’s right, make a new putter. Not assemble one from components, but truly make one. Since I don’t have a metal mill I am going to have to make one using wood. And, in case you didn’t know, there are companies out there that make wooden putters. Check these guys out: emberwoodputter.com. They have some very exotic woods and absolutely beautiful looking putters.
Louisvillegolf.com is another one that pops up pretty quick in searches and they too have a great assortment of beautiful wood putters.
Despite the beauty of these putters, I am just not willing to drop $100+ on any putter. Nope. And, I have a bad habit of saying ” I can make that!” So… I think that might be my next project – Making my own wooden putter – in all of my spare time.
Golf is a gentlemen’s game, or so they say. And, I do love it for the honesty required of the individual golfer. But, one thing I have grown to somewhat despise is that somehow a “gentlemen’s” game has turned into a “status” game – who has the best and latest equipment, who uses what ball, how much they paid for the driver, etc.
Here’s what I’m talking about. I was playing in a tournament and one of the players was not as experienced, to say the least, but had all of the equipment to where one would think otherwise. The interesting thing, though, was when he hit an errant ball and a couple of us went looking and found it – a Top Flite 3000. Now, if you have spent anytime shopping for golf balls, a Top Flite is on the bottom rung of the price ladder – not as much of a hit when it lands in the drink. Our playing partner said in passing, “Hmmm…I didn’t know he hit a Top Flite…” I’m still not sure what he was trying to say, but I took it simply as some more circumstantial evidence that game of golf is just as much about the status as it is the game. I know, I know, nothing new, but it bugs me. Maybe if I could afford all of the latest and greatest I wouldn’t be bugged by it, but I derive a certain amount of satisfaction playing with my home grown $100 set of clubs and playing just as well as those who have spent $100 on balls!!
Again, I’m not that great of a golfer, but, as one salesperson asked me after hitting an $800 set of Mizunos versus a $700 set of Pings, “Do the Mizunos hit $100 better than the pings??” I thought it was an insightful question and certainly strikes at the heart of what I’m getting at… Golf is a game to be enjoyed for the skill and environment, not to brag about the latest and great equipment you can’t hit!!!
Alright…my turn on the soap box is over
—–Swing status update —-
I am making progress in my DIY driving range and trying to make the swing changes to more closely align with the theories of Mike Austin which I have found to be absolutely fascinating and more conducive to my natural swing. I’m still very perplexed by the wrist and arm motion of this swing and have found some contradictory sites, but I’ll keep trying…
The key ingredient to being able to inexpensively improve my golf game is my indoor driving range. Keep in mind there are very impressive studios that can be purchased for a pretty penny, but as you can probably tell, I really don’t want to spend the money. Here’s what I’ve got:
- A place tall enough to swing a club. In my previous home I had this set up in the garage. In my current home I can actually swing in the basement and not have any problems with irons (a driver would be an issue).
- A net. There are several nets that can be purchased, but I found a particularly economical solution on ebay: used commercial fishing nets. Do a search on ebay for “fishing net golf” or something along those lines and see what you find. The following link http://tinyurl.com/3oapkbo has a 20′ x 10′ net for about $22 with shipping about $11. That’s a great deal considering a much smaller pop up or framed net costs 2 to 3 times that. The netting pattern does play into consideration and these nets are a diamond pattern so they tend to gather when you hang them up. Here’s how mine looks hanging in my unfinished basement.
Notice how I’ve simply used some sheetrock screws to hang the net on. Nothing fancy, but it works. I’ve also got it wrapped around so that any really bad shanks get captured and don’t destroy the Christmas decorations in the same room. I’ll say $50 to be conservative.
- Putting green.
One year I received a Golf Digest putting green with automatic return.
And I found the quality to be a bit suspect but I liked the carpet. So I ripped it off and now it’s a great flat carpet putting surface to help with the shorter distance – 10′ putts. Not totally ideal, but it helps. I also had a little mock golf cup that was molded into a wedge shape that I slip under the carpeting just to force a little confidence in rolling it solidly into the hole. Here’s how it all looks put together.
For the putting green I’d say about $30. Not too pretty, but effective.
- A hitting mat. This is where the greatest cost will come into play. I purchased mine from the Golf Works website and it cost me about $70. You can find other less expensive options but this is a good size (4′ by 4′) which I would recommend.
For less than $150 I have a great little place to hit golf balls in the comfort and convenience of my home. I try to get down every night and hit a few balls into the net and fiddle with my swing. This allows consistent practice in relatively short chunks(depending on how diligent I am) which is a key to improving at this crazy game. I’m counting on this as a key ingredient of my improvement plan.
You may have noticed (or not) that this blog is about improving my game without alienating my family or breaking the bank. So far so good on the not-breaking-the-bank front, but I may be approaching a threshold on the not-alienating-my-family side of the coin. My son Zach, noticing me with my imaginary club practicing my take away and wrist position says, “Daddy, you are always doing that…” or something along those lines. Hmmm… And, I will sheepishly admit that I am writing this while my good wife is vacuuming around me feet. Hey, I did the dishes tonight – does that count? Okay, so I’ve got to be careful about how I execute my practice plan so as not to land myself sleeping on the couch.
I’d love to say I have a perfect plan in place, but it’s more like a loose set of guidelines that revolve around some key ingredients:
- The indoor practice range complete with net, mat, putting green and camera (with the help of my son)
- Online golf tip sites of which there are billions it seems. I’ve already mentioned one of particular interest djwattsgolf.wordpress.com. But there are several more that I will chronicle in a later post.
- Consistent practice – not long stretches batting balls on the range, but short snippets, 20 minutes here, 20 minutes there.
Pretty simple to say the least and I’ve already started on it by doing something utterly ridiculous – completely revamping my swing without a professional for guidance. Maybe its not such a great plan after all…