Monday, May 3, 2010

Goal: Lower Weight and Golf Handicap

Sunday, I weighed in at 210 pounds! And, when I last checked, my golf handicap was 8 (USGA Handicap Index of 6.5). I want to lower both, substantially. Weight to 190; handicap to 4.

In just over three weeks, I’ll be 58 years old. That’s not a major milestone though there are some who think every day, every week, every month, every year is an achievement. Being 58 is no big deal to some, and it’s huge to others. I like to think I’m a young 58 years.

A golf ball which I drive from a tee consistently travels 280 or more yards before coming to rest. Many of my playing partners who are 10 to 15 years younger don’t come close to that. I played the other day with a golf pro who is in his mid-40s, was using the latest TaylorMade driver and the best Callaway ball. After several holes of ripping at his tee shot so very hard without the desired results of watching the ball sail past mine, he finally went for accuracy and gave up the distance battle.

Hitting it somewhat long is baffling to me. That day, I wasn’t swinging any harder than normal. I have strong legs and a fluid swing and usually take a nice even cut, impacting the ball in the sweet spot of my out-of-date Titleist 975-stiff-shafted-9.5-degree driver. But while I might hit 10 of 14 fairways, sometimes 12 of 14 or all 13 at Lonnie Poole Golf Course where there are five par 3s, my scoring suffers because I’m inconsistent with my second, third, fourth, and fifth shots as well as my putting. It all used to be better, but I reduced my practice and playing time in the last four years for various reasons.

Back in the summer of 1971, my handicap was 1. That summer, I topped several nine-hole member outings at Quail Ridge Golf Club in Sanford and was zooming along at 1-under par after 15 holes in the year-end 36-hole tournament, but posted a 78 that day. When asked how I shot 78, I quickly pointed to the birdie lip-out on #18. Then I explained the double-par 10 on #16, with reference to the lovely wooded area left of the fairway, and the much improved two above par 6 on the 17th hole, rebounding from the #16 disaster. The round of 78 that August Saturday was followed with a fabulous 85 the next day. I’ve been going in the wrong direction ever since then. Actually, my 8 handicap is a bit better than it has been in recent years, but it could be better.

Speaking of headed in the wrong direction, I’ve added a little weight in recent months/years and tipped the scales Sunday at 210, probably at least 20 pounds more than my 6-foot, big boned frame should carry. Admittedly, I do not get enough exercise, and even though my day usually starts with a bowl oatmeal with fresh blueberries mixed in, my daily food consumption is not what it should be. Not the correct quality; definitely not the right quantity. Maybe too much beer and wine.

A few years ago, I was 210 on July 1 and went on a three-month daily 5-mile walk on an up-and-down neighborhood course that I could traverse in as little as one hour on some days and never more than 70 minutes, even in the heat and humidity of July, August and September. When I was done, I weighed in at 190, looking and feeling a lot better than three months earlier and today. And, I actually hit the golf ball better, posting consistently in the high 70s. But a few over 80 kept that handicap up.

That walking regimen was in the summer of 2002, just after I turned 50. At that time, I was seeking employment, not heavily involved in a terrific job as I am today. Back then I had time to walk, lose weight, and play more golf, getting better at all three each day. Now, I want to do the same, as well as keep up my daily writing and continue to excel in my work. And, let’s not forget the daily home duties and life, both much more important that the rest. Being an on-the-road salesman doesn’t help with any of this.

It’ll take dedication and a few changes. I like my morning routine of dressing, eating breakfast, writing this column and diving headfirst into my work, but walking in the morning was better for me back then. Most recently, I was walking on our treadmill late in the afternoon, but that just didn’t work out, so instead of moving to the morning, I just quit and gained weight. I might move the writing to the evening. Matter of fact, this column was started Sunday evening, and, but being posted Monday morning.

There also needs to be time to hit more golf balls on the driving range. Though practice is the least favorite part of the game, it’s necessary for improvement, especially putting, though sometimes I amaze myself and all around me with the flat stick. Practice is not for everyone. Even the best of athletes like to shy away from it. I’m not one of the best; practice is necessary.

Maybe, instead of playing the 6,900 yard course, maybe I’ll try the 6,326 markers for a while. That means a little throttling back on the driver on some holes which could be a disaster. When I’ve been a better player, it’s because of the good, long drives, not to put me into easy scoring position but to give me greater confidence to hit those second shots. Last time I played the shorter course at Lonnie Poole, my drives were in all 13 par 4 and 5 fairways (or at least no more than a few inches into the light rough. I shot 76 that day, mid-January this year. On the other hand, two months later, from the 6900+ course, I shot 78 finishing bogey, bogey on the last two holes. Who knows? I do know that if I want to compete in any official “senior” golf tournaments, I need to conquer the 6300+ course on a regular basis.

So, as I approach my 58th birthday, I have two challenges: drop 20 pounds of weight and reduce my golf handicap from 8 to at least 4. I want to feel better physically and mentally, and I want to be a better golfer. Since when i play golf, I usually walk and carry my bag, I know being better physically will be better for golf. Being tired coming down the stretch is not good for the game. Both, losing weight and reducing the handicap, as far as I’m concerned, are attainable on my own, but I’m open to suggestions to make both happen. Just click comments below and let me have it. Thanks.

1 comment:

  1. Jim, last year I lost over 40 pounds (from 220 to 178) by doing one simple diet change: I stopped eating bread. Period. I also added doing the treadmill or elliptical for a half hour a day and that surely helped my overall health regardless of anything else, but cutting out the bread was the biggest thing for me. I know it doesn't work for everyone, but it's worth a try. Just go for one week without bread and see what happens.


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