As far as I could tell, Walter was Birkdale Golf Club’s Boo Radley – mysterious, detached, reclusive. He seemed to live among the woods of North Carolina pines, or maybe in the pond beside the second green, rising up out of the stagnant water every morning dressed in rubber coveralls with attached boots. I’d spot him in the strangest places – rummaging through the dense underbrush beside the 3rd fairway, or crouching across the swampy, snake-infested muck to the right of the 13th hole. He would hold a KJ Choi SuperStroke putter grip-sized cigar in his teeth as he slunk through the shadows of the property. He never made eye contact, he never talked, but he was always there. Continue reading

WANTED: Golf Criminal

SCENE OF THE CRIME: UNC Finley Golf Course driving range, Chapel Hill, NC.

Divots on the golf Range

EVIDENCE: Photo of the aftermath taken by MyScorecard blog writer. (See photo at right)

CHARGE: Desecrating golf grounds with inexplicably grotesque divot pattern.

WEAPON: Not yet discovered. Search is on for a very muddy 5-iron or a trench shovel.

NOTES: The location of the tee marker relative to the divot pattern, the rightward slanting direction of each individual divot, and the unnatural depth of each divot suggest that perpetrator is a left-handed golfer with a violent over-the-top move. Residents in homes on left side of driving range have been evacuated in case perp returns to hit more balls.

Divot pattern somewhat resembles middle finger being given to greenskeeper. Greenskeeper has been relocated for his own safety.

WARNING: This photo is for investigative purposes only. If you stare too long, you won’t be able to help imagine the golf swing that created this mess, and you will feel your handicap increasing as you do. Glance if you must, but avert your eyes quickly as if you were looking at the sun.

Three (strange) Minutes with Tiger

Tiger Golf CrowdIf you’ve been to a PGA Tour event, you know it’s next to impossible to get an up-close view of Tiger Woods. You might wriggle your way to within 40 feet of a tee box or green, but unless you’re taller than most you’ll have to look through the backs of people stacked ten deep just to get a glimpse of the side of his leg. As I rode the shuttle bus in to see Thursday’s round at the 2009 Quail Hollow Championship, I decided I would use a little strategery to increase my chances of seeing the world’s number one golf swing at point blank. Point blank is what I got, and a bit more.

PGA tour stats show that Tiger Woods misses 36% of his fairways, and if you watch golf on TV, you know that when he misses he misses right just about every time. So, as Tiger played the 8th, I staked out some real estate on the right side of the 9th fairway (Tiger’s 18th for the day), about 300 yards from the tee. I planted myself on the rope and Continue reading

Start Putting (and Making) the Short Ones

Taking gimmes impact your handicapI remember reading somewhere that the average golfer effectively lowers his or her handicap a full 3 strokes by taking unwarranted gimmes.

In other words, taking gimmes on a regular basis results in a handicap index that is lower than your true ability. This is bad if you’re giving strokes to your friends on Saturday mornings. I don’t know how accurate that 3-stroke statistic is, but it’s compelled me to take the time, even when I’m just playing by myself, to putt everything out. I always want to know that my handicap is an accurate measure of my game, and unfortunately my game includes a fairly severe incompetence from inside 5 feet.

The day I left a 24-inch putt 6 inches short was the day I knew I had to do something about my short putting. If you’re like me, the sight of your golf ball coming to rest anywhere between 2 and 5 feet from the hole causes immediate, involuntary twitching. In fact, I sometimes will my chips to roll 10 feet past just so I won’t have to face the shakes from 4 feet. Continue reading


Never leave a putt for septuple-bogey short. That’s not quite how the saying goes, but that’s exactly what I was thinking as I stood over a left-to-right 15-footer on the par five 5th. Four Sasquatch divots marked the scene of my undoing exactly 108 yards back up the fairway, one for each of the four shiny new Pro V1’s that were sitting at the bottom of the pond in front of the green. I’d managed to hit something other than mud on my fifth try, and all things considered, ended up relatively pleased with the bellied screamer that skipped once and spun to 15 feet. It was an excruciating 108-yard walk up to the green. By the time I arrived, though, I was done moping. If there was one thing I’d learned from all of my self-help reading, it was Continue reading