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Fascinating conversation on the course

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I headed for Rockledge GC in West Hartford, CT yesterday to see if there was a spot for a single. The starter paired me up with a threesome.  One of the guys was long time tour caddie Steve Hulka who was playing with his son.  Steve's been carrying the bag for tour players since 1972 when he hooked up with David Graham.  Over the years he's caddied for many players and carried Tom Watson's bag at a PGA championship.  He's carried Aaron Baddeley's bag when they were paired with Tiger for a few rounds.  These days he carries for Englishman Brian Davis who is having a pretty good year:  1.6mm to date, T5 at the Players and 2nd at the Byron Nelson.  Unfortunately for Brian (but fortunately for me) he missed the cut at the Travelers Championship as it afforded me the opportunity to hit Steve with a barrage of questions about life on tour. 

Brian plays for Srixon and Steve gave me one of the balls that Brian had used at the Travelers.

Steve has an enterprising side business.  He drives a pickup towing a 20 foot trailer and transports gear for other players.  It saves them the hassle of flying with clubs and the prospects of losing them.

Their next stop is Tiger's tournament at Congressional. 

I've always had a fascination with the history of the PGA tour and it was nice to spend a few hours with someone who has experienced part of it.
post #2 of 15
 I have as much of an appreciation for the caddies on the PGA as I do the players.
After attending the Buick Open last year I gained a bit more appreciation, having seen an up close and personal view of their handy work.
post #3 of 15
Patmoore, How good was Steves' game?  Always wondered that about the long time caddies. 
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post

Patmoore, How good was Steves' game?  Always wondered that about the long time caddies. 

It was a bit rusty but I was impressed with his strict adherence to the rules.   One bunker was water-filled and he blasted out getting wet in the process.  He putted out on every hole - even tap ins.  He probably doesn't get the chance to play very often.  I suspect that with more regular play he would do quite well.  He certainly knows how to read a green!
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by patmoore View Post



 He certainly knows how to read a green!

This is an area that I could use some help.
Reading slope is not an issue as much as speed. 
post #6 of 15
Well here's a tip about reading grain. Grain determines speed and break. Depending on the kind of grass, knowing which way the grain is going will help you. I do this on every green before I put. I take the putter head and drag it across the surface. You can feel the difference in the resistance of the grass. If you feel more resistance, the grain is going against the direction you drag the head. You will feel the difference right away. When a putt slows down, the direction of the grain will increase or decrease the amount of break. and, obvious, if you are putting into the grain, your putt will be slower. Putting with the grain, it will be faster.

I bet once you learn this, you'll be shaving at least 2 strokes a round, just on the green alone.

Reading speed is all about experience. Like skiing powder, the more you do it, the better you become.
post #7 of 15
Yo Lars. That is against the rules of golf good buddy. You can't check a green that way anytime on the day of play. You can check the practice green. The way to determine against the grain with the brush test is that the grass bristles up (vs stays flat)& changes color from shiny to darker when you brush against the grain. Drag the putter in a circle to find the "against" direction. Dave Pelz says grain can effect break by 10% and speed by 25% or more. Note that the grass found on Northern courses tends to be more grainy than grass on Southern courses. Grain direction can vary on a green but mostly effects putts near the hole. Pelz has 2 chapters covering green reading in his Putting Bible. That are a lot of specific things you can do to improve your green reading besides experience.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

Yo Lars. That is against the rules of golf good buddy. You can't check a green that way anytime on the day of play. You can check the practice green. The way to determine against the grain with the brush test is that the grass bristles up (vs stays flat)& changes color from shiny to darker when you brush against the grain. Drag the putter in a circle to find the "against" direction. Dave Pelz says grain can effect break by 10% and speed by 25% or more. Note that the grass found on Northern courses tends to be more grainy than grass on Southern courses. Grain direction can vary on a green but mostly effects putts near the hole. Pelz has 2 chapters covering green reading in his Putting Bible. That are a lot of specific things you can do to improve your green reading besides experience.
Who's rules Rusty?

Maybe during tournament play or league play but certainly not while practicing and certainly not for those like TC who are learning to read greens huh? And who cares about the practice green? 9 times out of 10 the practice green is  set up totally different than the course greens.

There are no rules when you're just playing for practice. Most of my practice rounds find me hitting several shots from the same spot if if I'm alone and not being pushed by anyone. And I will argue the fact about northern and southern courses. Most of the courses I play in Florida, the greens are dominated by grain way more than any course I've played up here.

And ya know rusty, whether it's moguls or golf or stupid questions about anything, it always seems you have to counter my opinion. Why is that? Do you enjoy getting into my knickers?
post #9 of 15
plus the fact that 90% of what you just said is exactly what I said whether you move your putter in a circular motion of drag it.

You'll be happy to know you piss me off sometimes. Enough to play you for a hundred bucks anytime or outbump you anytime.

ok, my rant is over.
post #10 of 15
Snickers maybe. Knickers? Never.

Who's rules? "The rules". Didn't anyone tell you that you have to get down on one knee, clasp your hands together and bow your head every time you say the words "The Rules of Golf"? Of course, you don't have to play by the rules. But some of the rules are obscure enough (and this one is a doozy) that we should not be passing on advice against the rules without at least a caveat stating so. Especially so when there are legal alternatives. One of the unique elements and traditions of the game is to self referee. I don't always play by the rules, but I do make an effort to both learn them and follow them. I freely admit that this qualifies me as a sick person.

I'm confused Lars, what you are saying is in agreement with the statement that grain has more effect on Southern courses.

I don't make this stuff up (except for that bit about the rules being holy). One of the strengths of the online community experience is the contrasting and conflicting opinions. Another strength is the transfer of information from those that know to those who want to know. This place would be boring indeed if we all knew everything and always agreed with each other. If you weren't calling BS on me, I'd be disappointed. Please keep it coming. This often makes conversations fascinating.
post #11 of 15

I'm well aware of the rules of golf the rusty. I've been playing the game most of my life. The rules don't have to apply when you are practicing or playing for fun as many people use mulligans or other "rules" when they play each other, winter rules, mud rules etc. Checking to see which way the grain is growing on a green while shooting a practice round is  one way to help learn how to read greens. That was a helpful post for those who want to get better.

Why you had to rebuke it as you rebuke almost everything I post on epic is beyond me but as I said I'm tired of it. You always have to challenge me. I'm a seven handicap. If you can beat that good for you but don't preach the rules of golf to me ok?

post #12 of 15
OK Lars
post #13 of 15
Hey Lars, you might be the best golfing skier going playing to a 7, way to go. Most skiersI have played with can't break a 100. I just came back from 6 rounds down at Myrtle Beach and disappointingly was in the 90's. Couple of 9's in the low 40's but couldn't put two nines back to back. Why, I stink, and probably averaged close to 45 putts a round.

Anyway, my buddy who now lives in Houston has a lake house up at Chautauqua right below the gold course there. I've jogged up that hill to the gold course and its painful never played there though. I'm at an outing Thursday at PeekN'Peak, the golf course is almost as flat as the ski hill there(Ha Ha).

I'd like to play Holiday Valley this summer sometime. I have customers in the area. If I can put this together I'd like you to be my guest and you can show me a few things including how to read a green. Never played at HV and would like to do so.
post #14 of 15
Nice, the upper course at the Peek is killer. It's long been a stop on the Nationwide tour. The best i've shot there is an 82. Toughest course around here I think. The lower course isn't hard if you're a good putter. Greens are big and always firm. I like the Hill course at Chautauqua over the Lake course. Play there quite often. HV is not bad if you've played it a few times. A first timer there will struggle for the simple fact of not knowing what to hit. Many holes there you don't need a driver and a 3 or 5 wood will actually get you in better position to score. Lots of sand, lots of water. Much like the Myrtle Beach courses. One of the toughest courses around here.

I'd be happy to show you either course if you can give me a few days heads up, I'd love to play some with you.
post #15 of 15

Just came back from the Peek and we played the upper course. After the first 2 holes my manager thought we better play a best ball . We had two guys that were pretty much beginner golfers.(wrong course I know). Its a great course and I would have been happy breaking 100 if I would have been playing my own ball.  Hit a number of drives I liked but that was the end of my highlight reel.  Lousy again from 150 yards in. I don't know why I can't be more comfortable with a driver in my hands than a 7 iron. Doesn't make sense but its a sad fact.

A customer from Bradford told me on the lower course he played he won the long drive holes and thought he hit one 330!  He's about 5' 9" 165 lbs!

Anyway he said we need to go out and play so I have another reason to head north to tee it up. If I put it together I'll give you a heads up and will try and play at HV .

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