Category Archives: News and Notes

Thump thump… Thump thump

I’m not dead, and I certainly have not abandoned writing. I took a week after my final round to chill, and am now in New Jersey, without reliable Internet access. I am, however, returning to Pennsylvania tomorrow, and should be back to writing in the days that follow. Stay tuned.

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Trip begins tomorrow – Stats / Games page added!

Well, I’m within 24 hours of day 1, and it’s safe to say that I am in the final stretch before hitting the road for an amazing 7 weeks.  I would be lying if I said I can’t wait, as I have a bunch of stuff to do today, including laundry, and packing.  This will a brief entry, very “news and notes”-y.  I’m going to post a few more entries later today, with one focusing on goals for the trip, and another discussing travel, and my experience with it.

First, some thank yous.  Thanks to Matt Cecil and Fairview Golf Course, again, for everything they’ve done for me.  A donation jar is set up in the clubhouse, and they have graciously sent me a few polo shirts, a visor, and a tee shirt for my use during the trip.  Great people at Fairview – and it’s a lovely course to boot.  If you live in Central PA, I assume you’ve already played there and need no further convincing.  For those of you who aren’t from “the Fatherland,” there is plenty of excellent golf to be played in Central PA, and Fairview deserves a spot on your list.

Thank you also to Drew Crumbaugh, good friend of mine and author of the punk rock blog The Power of Independent Trucking.  He recently blogged about my trip, arguing that golf is punk.  I couldn’t help but agree.  Check out his blog, particularly if you are into independent music – the man has a depth of knowledge about music that I could only hope to one day have half of; from the technical elements of audio engineering to what makes music resonate with all of us, he can tell you pretty much anything you want to know about rock and roll.

Finally, just a few maintenance updates.  I have added a “Stats / Games” page to the site.  You can navigate to stats related to golf, and also related to other assorted facets of travel by hovering over the “Stats / Games” button above.  Check these out.  You’ll probably find this page to be interesting, particularly if you are a dork like me.  More on what I’m looking for out of these later in the “goals” entry.

Regarding the “games” element, I have also decided to make the fun inclusive!  There are 3 categories, my trip totals of which you can guess: my total score, the total amount of birdies I make, and the total number of balls I lose.  Of course, as the trip progresses, better guesses may come into clearer focus, and so I will stop taking answers on July 28.  The winner of each category will receive a small prize, likely something from one of the courses I play at during the trip.

Okay – I am off for now.  Couple short entries coming later today.

As always, spread the word, and consider a donation!

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Two days away…

In a mere two days, I will be en route to LeRoy Country Club in LeRoy, NY.  The trip is upon me, and I am bubbling with excitement.  I’ve been quite busy the last few days, and still have much preparation to do.  For those looking for deeply developed and thoughtful entries that rise above the level of merely the pragmatic update, you’re going to have to wait.

I have played two rounds of golf recently – on Wednesday and again yesterday.  Both rounds began with sparkling front 9’s – 42 and 40 respectively.  The round on Wednesday petered out mightily, ending with a snowman on 18, leading to a disappointing 90.  I was fearing the worst: that my game was deteriorating just in time for my trip to begin.  The 40 on the front 9 at Tri-County Country Club yesterday, then, was particularly encouraging, given that I had never played there before, and that the 9 is comprised of tight holes with significant elevation change.  Also, my wedges were…. dialed in…. from the first hole, as you can see by this photo of my 3rd shot on 1:Image

Unfortunately, this short putt was for a par rather than a birdie, as my drive drifted into the trees and I had to punch out.  Either way, I played a fairly tight 9 holes of golf, and closed out the front with a 5 foot birdie putt on 9.  I had found my game!  As soon as I had found it, I lost it.  I made it through 10-12 +3, and was still hoping to turn in a solid round in the low 80’s.  I began, at this point, to spray my drives in every direction, to lose the touch with my wedges, and to forget how to putt.  I was an absolutely miserable +12 over the last 6 holes, easily my worst 6 hole stretch this year.  Ended up shooting a 91.

The last 4 9’s are pretty emblematic of golf: 42-48-40-51.  Look at those ups and downs.  To bounce back after a 48 with a 40 at a much tougher course was very encouraging.  As soon as I managed to feel good about the way I was playing, I go and lose my ability to do pretty much anything correctly on the course.  It’s kinda like following the Phillies – they sit at 46-47 this AM… having just won series against Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Washington… clearly full of potential yet sitting a game under .500.  Stretches of adequacy followed by adventures in futility.

I have no time for further tune-ups; this was my last round before the trip.  I’ve historically played the front 9 at LeRoy much better than the back, and it’s my hope I can string together a fair back 9 at LeRoy.  I’m not too concerned about the front, but really, really need a tight back 9.  For my psyche, and for my goals on the trip.

Within the next day, I’m going to post a bunch of goals I have, both golf and non-golf related, for the trip.  I’m also going to get that “stats” page I’ve mentioned previously up and running.

With the donation of the tremendously skilled scramblin’ man Brendan Sweet (the dude reminds me of a slightly more consistent version of myself, although I have beaten him 2 of the last 3 times we’ve played), I have now exceeded $1000 in donations!  This is an amazing figure to reach before the trip has even begun, and it’s my hope that as the trip continues, the donations will only become more frequent.

Big thanks to Alex Peters at Kraftsmachine for priming the Jetta for the trip.  She’s got new tires, was aligned and is pointing as straight as an arrow, has fresh oil and received a stellar detailing job, both in and out.  It also got new rear brakes.  I had a minor scare with those yesterday driving home from the golf course, as that pungent odor of brake/clutch began wafting into my nostrils about the time I noticed one of the brakes was grabbing.  Sure enough, a little smoke caught my eye and I had a sticking brake.  As it turns out, some accumulated rust in the caliper’s piston is almost certainly the culprit, and I’m headed back to Kraftsmachine immediately after this posting to have a new one put on.

For those of you who simply aren’t car people, trust that it’s a minor problem which will be resolved by today.  Basically, as the brake pad wears down from normal use, the tiny piston which pushes it against the brake rotor doesn’t have to go all the way back to it’s normal position, and some sediments and road gunk can get in there.  Then when you put a fresh new pad on the car, the rust gets in the way of the piston fully seating, and sometimes the brakes stick.  It happens, and the only way you’ll ever find out you have the problem is when you put new pads on the car!  As Alex told me “good thing it happened here!”  Indeed, I do NOT want car problems when I’m on the road, and I anticipate having none.

I’ll give an update later in the day to notify you all of some of the changes around the site, as well as to update some goals and give a confirmation that everything is A-OK with the Jetta.

As always, please spread the word and consider a donation!

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News, Notes and Updates

The trip is just 8 days away, and the entries are going to be shorter and far more frequent from here on out.  This is simply a maintenance update, if you will.

After being turned down by by the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society and the Lymphoma Research Foundation, and after having not heard back from any of the youth golf organizations I contacted, I have decided to proceed with solely the Anxiety and Depression Association of America as the beneficiary charity.  While I had hoped to engage with several other charities, in the end I feel that working with only 1 will have several advantages.  First, all money raised for charity will go to this organization; more money can make a bigger impact.  Second, it will be far easier to focus my energies on working with 1 charity – it will bring more of a focus to my blogging, and will make the trip far easier to promote.

I have made several additions to the website – I have streamlined the donations / support page, have added a donors / thank yous tab to thank everyone who has helped me out, and have also added a calendar to the itinerary page.  Once I leave, I will add a second calendar which shows my actual progress compared to what the plan was.

I will be adding a “statistics” page within the next day or two, full of dorky stats for numbers people.  There will be some guessing games put up there as well (think guessing the overall number of strokes type stuff), so check back soon.

My new apartment is not yet perfect, but the move is complete and it is certainly livable.  I can now resume focusing 100% of my energy on the trip.

To that end, I played my first round in two weeks yesterday – I started birdie, par, par and was flirting with the idea of a low round.  In the end, I shot an 84.  Just too many double bogeys, and too much time spent in the trees.  I played at Oak Run, a nice public course just south of Lockport, New York.  6500+ from the tips, it is very narrow and has relatively small greens.  Several of the long par 4s run parallel to each other with moderately thick lines of huge oak trees separating the fairways.  It’s very easy to find trouble on pretty much every hole at Oak Run, but by far the hardest stretch is 15 – 16 – 17.  All three are very tight, and 16 has a little pond right in front of the green.  At just 373 yards, the pond is driveable by big hitters, and I was quite afraid of blasting it in as I have done before so I took something off the drive.  I promptly chunked my wedge into the water and made a double, with the rattle of the ball in the hole going my hopes for that outside shot at the 70s.  I feel as if I left many, many shots out there yesterday – and that’s encouraging after an 84 for the first round in 14 days.

I’m planning on playing just 3 more rounds before I depart – with the first of these rounds being tomorrow at the delightful Churchville Golf Course just outside of Rochester.

Finally, I have reddited about the trip, and was truly overwhelmed at the positive responses I got at reddit.  I have received several offers for places to stay and people to play with, and I look forward to meeting everyone whom has so graciously offered their assistance to me.  I am new to Reddit, but have seen in the few days I’ve been a member why the site is so highly regarded.

Look for daily entries moving forward.

As always, please consider a donation, and tell everyone you think may be interested about the trip.

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