Michael – allow me to clarify your comments around the handicap system and its application to golfing.The concept of maximum number of strokes per hole is called Equitable Stroke Control (ESC), and is in fact part of the RCGA rule (and USGA rules for our American friends) regarding maintaining accurate handicaps.  Its purpose is to prevent artificially high handicaps (deliberately or not).  While it might serve your ego to have a low handicap, it serves your pocketbook to have a high handicap.However, the application of ESC only occurs when you are entering your score for handicap purposes.  I agree with you – the person who scores 10 but says “put me down for a double since that is my max” is cheating.  His score for his round, whether it is tournament or not, stroke play or match play, is a 10.  However, when he enters his score in the computer to recalculate his handicap, his score for that hole is a 6.On the other hand, if he does not adjust his score for handicap calculation purposes, he is cheating as well.  The RCGA has instituted this rule because it works.  “The purpose of adjusting scores is to prevent exceptionally bad holes from artificially increasing your handicap”.  The handicap system works.  I play in numerous tournaments throughout the year, all with handicaps applied and it works.  It is a beautiful thing as it allows a scratch golfer to play with a hacker and there can be a competitive game.

Don’t mess with the system and don’t break the rules.  When you score a 10, your score for that day against your playing opponent, against the guys, or your score for the tournament is a 10 for that hole.  After everything is settled and you go to post your score on OGIN, or on your home handicap-tracker, be sure to adjust your score on that hole for ESC:

0 or plus            max 1 over par
1 – 18                max 2 over par
19 – 32              max 3 over par
33 +                   max 4 over par

For a good overview of the Handicap System, visit this site:


  • Dogleg .. smogleg .. I am going over those trees.
  • My friend told me to get out of a sand trap, you just aim an inch behind the ball and swing like crazy.
  • Laying up is for wimps. (Funny thing … when playing with the pro on 18 last week, I was 230 out from the green looking at some big ugly traps so I pulled out 5 iron to lay up and she said ‘Your not going to do that are you?’ … I had to laugh, her trying to goad me into a wood .. LOL .. A nice par).
  • I think I got all the kinks out on the range.
  • I can carry that lake.
  • I always hit my 6 iron straight.
  • I can reach this in two.
  • I can’t see over the hill, but I am pretty sure no one is there.
  • I heard you should always aim right at the hazard you should avoid.
  • Why don’t we play from the tips?
  • I better not leave it short.
  • That’s it, I’m switching balls.
  • Maybe it’s in the cup.
  • I don’t see any water up there, time to break out the big lumber.
  • Instead of punching out, I wonder if I can blast one between those two branches and then fade it back toward the hole.
  • 50 bucks if you make that putt.
  • There is absolutely no way I should use my 3 wood here. What the heck.
  • I saw Tiger try this once.
  • Mark it down, this is the day I break (Insert 100/90/80).

A few others I will add:

  • So, you wearing the pink or red thong today?
  • 50 bucks says he picks his nose.
  • I was hitting it so well on the range or ..
  • One of these days I will learn that I need to get to the range before I head out for a round.
  • Great drive! Hold on ..come on .. hold on .. come left .. hold … too bad.
  • I’m going for it.
  • I play better after a few beers.
  • Nice distance Sally (You ever see a female pro hit? I have).
  • If I just par the next 3 holes, it will be the round of my life.
  • Should have put the driver away on the range and practiced a few putts (Putts are 1/3 of the game!)
  • Think I can make this?
  • I really shouldn’t try this.
  • I need a new set of clubs.
  • The weights on this R7 are amazing. They have really helped my hook.



In my humble opinion, two laws that can never be broken:
1. The Bill Hertha mulligan rule. This rule evolved over a few years of playing golf with Bill as he learned the game. The rule goes like this:
“If you shoot a crappy shot and take a mulligan, you will repeat the crappy shot” So true.
2. If you are having the round of your life and you count up your card and realize that you are having the round of your life, it will quickly change into a doomed round. You will start thinking ‘If I just do this, this and this then I will .. oh, my goodness, ok .. I need to calm down, just do what you have done before .. settle down .. wow, I could shoot a X .. just need to get this next par .. ok, and swing .. OH NO, not in the trees .. ok, if I can hold this to a double and then birdie, I can still do this ….’
Case in point, what happens when you don’t add your card:
When I was golf crazy, I never added my card mid-round. Bad karma. My low score was an 80 on a challenging course (Blues – 135). I missed a 3 footer for 79 to finish the round (Proud to say it was only my 5th year of golfing). I shot that 80 because I did not know that I was playing so well and I was having fun. As I like to say, if I had known that the 3 footer was for a 79, I would have taken at least 5 minutes lining it up and then missed it.
Case in point, what happens when you do add your card:
At the golf-a-thon (See other posts), on my 4th round I was playing great. We started our game on 16, and after 3 holes I was 1 over. We moved to the front nine where I went 5 holes to a dead even (Two birdies, two bogies and a par). I then read my card and realized I was playing to 1 over after 8 holes. I then went double bogie, double bogie, double bogie (Insert bad words) and a par to finish out the 9 at 41.
Got to love golf.


As mentioned, I had the opportunity to play in the BMO golfathon at Angus Glen last week, which was amazing. Raised a ton of money for kids and had a fun time doing it.
My partner and I played 66 holes in 10.5 hours and had a few interesting experiences:
  • My partner always ‘gets’ me at least once during our day. Last year he snuck his ball in the hole while I was grabbing a drink on a par 3 and watched in amazement as I jumped around celebrating his hole in one. The year before he had me ‘laser’ in his distance while he took a picture, which you can see here. This year while I was in the washroom he drove up 200 yards and dropped 3 balls within 1 foot of each other. I was amazed … as he had been duck-hooking everything off the tee all day long (Some kid who goes looking will find a ton of once-struck ProV1s).
  • We had the opportunity to play with a few LPGA pro’s and one was amazing, Carrie (Dont remember her last name). She was 5′ 2ish and no more than 115ish and she pounded the ball 260 off the tee everytime. Proof that it is not physical strength but tempo and technique. Of note, on the 18th we had a little competition going and I drained my 12 footer for birdie to ‘beat the pro’ (smile). I have to thank her, I started mirroring her finishing position which is a picture perfect finish, and my drives straightened out (eliminating my pull) and started dropping to 250+ regularly.
  • I had the chance to play with Jan Dowling from the Big Break III. We know of her as a woman at our home club knows her mom quite well. It is exactly as you saw on TV, she is a very nice person. Of course, I just had to ask that question we all want to know, is Danielle really like that? The answer is yes .. and she would get up at 3AM, 2 hours before the filmed breakfast to get ready for the day. The best things that have happened to her over the last couple years? The Big Break III and getting to play in the Ladies Canadian Open. Good for her.
  • I did not win a keg this year.

I wish Jan and Carrie all the best in the future, and another GREAT DAY FOR A GREAT CHARITY! Thanks to Frank for the pictures … enjoy his shorts! At least he was not wearing plus 4s this year.

 2006 06 22 - Frank   Carrie Vaughn   Michael

Frank, myself and Jan Dowling from the Big Break IIII. A great person and a good golfer. Glad to see her doing so well!

 2006 06 22 - Michael   Jan Dowling   Frank

A theme for the day, I spent a ton of time on the beach.

  2006 06 22 - Michael  in bunker on 6th

This is on our 4th round, right after I said to Frank and Jan – holy cow! I am 9 holes in and 1 over! (We started on 16, where I went par, par, bogie). Then I went par, birdie, bogie, bogie, birdie, par. We had a big conversation on this hole and then I went double, double, double for a 41. NEVER ADD YOUR CARD! I flew it into the bunker.

  2006 06 22 - Michael  on 14th

Then I flew it over the green and two putted. Thanks for catching the pain on camera Frank.

  2006 06 22 - Michael  greenside on 6th

Playing on my new Moto Q. Amazing, I ran it for 10 hours and it only used 1 bar (I have the extended battery). Windows Mobile is here!

2006 06 22 - Microsoft technology at work

the handicap system: the best form of cheating out there

I have said this before, I think the handicap rule during non-tournament play is just sanctioned cheating. I was in the BMO golfathon on Friday and had the opportunity to play with an LPGA pro. During our play we start talking about the handicap system and she mentioned that it drove her nuts. To paraphrase, nothing drives her crazier than during a normal round having someone screw up a hole, shoot a 10 and turn to her and say ‘My handicap only lets me take a double, put me down for a 6’. Her point, if you take a 10, suck it up and take a 10.
I cannot agree more. I think that the application of the handicap rules during non-tournament play breaks the spirit of the system. The system is meant to level set the field during tournament play so that every golfer, regardless of skill level, has a chance to win the tournament. Not so that during a Friday afternoon round a golfer who has just had a crappy hole can take a 6 instead of their earned 10.
The reason why my handicap is up 2 points this year? Because when I shoot a 10, I take a 10. I wonder how many other golfers out there would see their handicap rise if they were not putting a six on their card?
I would rather see someone take a mulligan and call it out as a ‘cheaters par’. At least they are acknowledging it.


I played my first 9 holes of the year today, with a) no practice (straight from car to tee) and b) a lag of 6 months between swinging clubs. Not bad, shot a 46 from the blues with 4 pars (Yes, that means there were some interesting holes in between).
I don’t know what it is about golf, but where else will you see people walking in the freezing cold, with a slight drizzle and brisk wind while chasing a little ball around the course?
That being said, there is nothing like a walk with my wife across the course. I am one lucky guy. Truly, golf is one of the greatest couple sports.


I was just reading my wife’s GOLF FOR WOMEN and it would appear my laser finder is now legal, as long as local club rules allow it – USGA 14-3/0.5 :

14-3/0.5 Local Rule Permitting Use of Distance-Measuring Device
Q. May a Committee, by Local Rule, permit the use of distance-measuring devices?

A. Yes. A Committee may establish a Local Rule allowing players to use devices that measure distance only. However, the use of devices that gauge or measure other conditions that might affect a player’s play (e.g., wind or gradient) is not permitted.
In the absence of such a Local Rule, the use of a distance-measuring device would be contrary to Rule 14-3. (New)

It is about time. It speeds up play by not sending you running around looking for a marker and eliminates the frustration of going to a new club and not being able to find the marker. Heck, even if you know the distance, that does not mean that you will hit it well!
Time to talk to our club pro about the ‘local rule’. I LOVE my Bushnell.


I don’t know why, but when I hear someone say ‘give me a 6, my handicap’ when they just plugged out a 9 on the hole – it just strikes me as wrong. Maybe it is the purest in me, but when I blow up and hit an 8 or a 10 on a hole, I take it.
Now, I know the idea of a handicap system, how it is meant to smooth out the scores and provide tournament parity, but it just seems wrong. When I was out the other day, I was on a tear … 7 holes into it and I was 1 over, then it all fell apart. In the end, I could of scored 5 lower if I would have ‘taken my handicap’ (Nice blow up triples), but I did not. 
The handicap system makes sense for tournaments, but seems to defeat the purpose of the game – that inner challenge. I will keep taking my actual score and when I get older and have more time to get into the single digits, it will be the old fashioned way.


Have you ever been in a pool store and seen one of those cheap pool golf toys (which are cheaply made but really expensive)? They are usually Velcro balls that you try to ‘stick’ to a Velcro island. I have improvised a great low cost – and more practical alternative. What you will need:
1. An inexpensive mat (I picked one up at Costco – $10). I don’t like the green turf type – they mark your clubs.
2. A lounger – you can pick them up at any pool store or Costco for $30-40 – and chip away.
3. A whack of wiffle balls (Pick them up at Wal-Mart or any golf store).
4. A wedge (I have a Nike 56 degree wedge that I won in a tourney in the pool house)
And – viola!  You are ready to chip away the hours beside the pool. Make sure that you create a game of ‘go grab daddy’s wiffle balls and bring them back into the bucket as fast as you can!’. Enjoy the weekend!

Scope in that distance please

I came across this picture the other day – where I got got. I was in a golf tournament with a practical joker and he said ‘Can you tell me how far it is to that pin?”. The pin was over a hill so I had to climb on my cart to use my handy dandy laser scope. Little did I know that he was snapping a picture …..



I know that all 2 of you are wondering – what did they decide on the golf lessons? If you are wondering what I am talking about – check out my previous blog May 01.

Well, just so happens that my wife and I were out on the range a few weeks ago and she watched our club pro give a lesson. It was all feel and these little tid bits – and that locked it. We went to Virtually Perfect Golf.

She had her first lesson last week – and loved it – the entire lesson was on video (Of course, being the geek I am, I converted the VHS into a Windows Media file so that she could watch it on our Media Center (connected through the XBOX to the TV) or on her Pocket PC. It wire framed her swing and she is making progress. If you are looking for real improvement – either P3Pro or Virtually Perfect (They resell them all over – ask your pro if he uses it! I heard Leadbetter is interested in it).

A friend bought the P3Pro last year – and what an impact. His nasty big mother slice is gone (I still kicked his butt .. well, I kicked his butt the first game, he kicked mine the second).

Of interest, while at our club yesterday someone asked her (Insert astonishment): What, you are not going to Kevin? (our local pro). Personally, I now think of it like this: I could go to a mechanic who has the ‘knack’ for fixing cars or the one who has invested in that handy dandy computer to augment his ‘knack’.





I’ve been reading a new book that has changed my golf game. It is called “Useful Golf Book”. It contains the following life changing articles:

1. How to line up your fourth putt

2. How to hit a Nike from the rough after hitting a Titleist from the tee

3. How to avoid water when you like 8 … (or are laying) in the bunker

4. How to get more distance out of that slice

5. Using shadows on the greens to maximize earnings

6. Proper golf etiquette when you are playing with a complete jerk

7. Crying and how to handle it

8. How to rationalize a 7 hour round

9. How to find that ball in the long grass that everyone saw go in the water

10. Why your spouse no longer cares that you birdied the 4th

11. How to let a foursome play through your twosome without getting embarrassed

12. How to relax when hitting 7 off of the tee

13. When to suggest swing corrections to your opponent

14. How to convince your foursome that you really did score a bogey 5 after losing 3 balls getting there

(The above is me leaving it 6 inches short again)

SUCCESS: Gene Sarazen

In 1923, who was ……

1. President of the largest steel company?
2. President of the largest gas company?

3. President of the New York Stock Exchange?
4. Greatest wheat speculator?
5. President of the Bank of International Settlement?
6. Great Bear of Wall Street?

These men were considered some of the worlds most successful of their days. Now,
81 years later, the history book asks us, if we know what ultimately became of them.

The Answers:

1. The president of the largest steel company: Charles Schwab. Died a pauper.
2. The president of the largest gas company: Edward Hopson. Went insane.

3. The president of the NYSE: Richard Whitney. Was released from prison to die at home

4. The greatest wheat speculator: Arthur Cooger, died abroad, penniless.
5. The president of the Bank of International Settlement: Shot himself.
6 The Great Bear of Wall Street: Cosabee Livermore, also committed suicide.

However, in that same year, 1923, the PGA Champion and the winner of the most important golf tournament, the US Open, was Gene Sarazen. What became of him?

He played golf until he was 92, died in 1999 at the age of 95. He was financially secure at the time of his death.

The Moral:  Screw work. Play golf.


My wife and I love to golf – and we are hoping that our two young lads will get hooked. They start their Linksters program tonight.

The parental conundrum around golf clubs is what to buy? You can get Cobras/Taylor Mades for kids (Expensive) to cheap clubs (Play it again sports). Last year, I read a great article in Golf Digest on the topic and in the end, they gave 100% to only one manufaturer – US Kids for a couple reasons:
1. They are the lightest on the market by far.
2. You can buy them individually (9,5,7,P, driver, 3W, putter, etc.) No need to buy an entire set – just what your child needs.
3. They are colour coded for height (Where the Cobras and Taylor Mades are only one size) – reds for smallest, blue for middle, greens as they get older (9-10).
We did it this way for our kids – and they are great. The sizing makes a big difference (Last thing I want to do is custom fit my kids at this age! They will outgrow them too fast).


My wife is started golfing last year. I truly am the luckiest guy on the planet – she is smart, beautiful, a great partner, a great mom and .. loves to golf!

This year, she is going to take lesson – in a programmatic way – so that she can progress through the year (Something I did a few years ago when I started golfing). What I have come to realize is that these pros are not all good teachers. You go to them and they use the ball flight and their eye to see what you are doing. But how do they really know? How do they know if I am too far inside to out, or if my club is 5 degrees to open? The reality – they can’t – until now. With the help of the computer and video – they can slow it down and instead of working with you through a program of trial and error (the common approach – “hey try this”) they can programmatically help you improve with data support.

So, we will not be wasting our money with a “pro” that does not use the technology at hand to eliminate the guess work.

Some great technologies to check out:



I used Virtually Perfect and a few short lessons took me down to a 14 handicap (I even shot an 80 last year from the blues).

My opinion: In the very early stages the pro can help with stance, alignment and swing mechanics. But as you advance, a pro can’t fix what he/she can’t see.