Monday, February 10, 2020

Golf Course Review: Brackenridge Park GC

I recently played Brackenridge Park in San Antonio, TX, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  There is so much golf history here.  The course was designed by famous architect, A.W. Tillinghast and opened in 1916.  It is one of the oldest courses in Texas.

The Texas Open was played here from 1922-1959 and is the third oldest event on the PGA TOUR.  Typical of the older style courses, it is not long, but the fairways are narrow bordered by beautiful oak and pecan trees.

 Also, you will find six greens are rectangular in shape which is another trait found on courses of this era.

The course was in excellent condition and the greens rolled fast and true.  The fairways and tees were all overseeded which made for a green golf course in January.

The Texas Golf Hall of Fame is now located in the club house so be sure you take a stroll through the building to view the artifacts.

If in San Antonio, this is a must play!  Soak up some history and enjoy this gem of a course.

Golf Course Review: Blue Lake Golf Club

Although I have played this jewel many times, I always forget how much fun it is!  Blue Lake Golf Club is a nine hole golf course located near Horseshoe Bay, TX.  It has been ranked by the Dallas Morning News as one of the Top 10 Nine Hole Golf Courses in Texas.  It is a beautiful course with great views of the hill country and Lake LBJ.

It was designed by golf course architect, Joe Finger, and opened in 1962.  There are five, par 3's, three, par 4's and one par 5.  My favorite holes are the par 3, 6th, 7th and 8th holes all fairly long and playing downhill.

Wildlife is abundant here, just watch where you step.

It's an easy one hour drive from Austin and it is worth the trip.  I would recommend coming in the spring when the bluebonnets are in full bloom.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Proud of my Collegiate Golfers!

It's always fun to see my junior golfers I work with grow up and graduate to college golf.  It's a bigger stage for them and they not only deal with that, but also the demands of school work.  It's a balance and I am proud of them for just getting out there and competing whether they win or lose.

But, I am extremely proud when they do well!!

This is my team of golfers I worked with during their high school years and have now moved on to play golf at the collegiate level.

Sarah Rovenstine-Vandergrift High School (All District and had Top 10 finishes each year in HS)
Attended Southern Nazarene University   Graduated 2018

Abby Cloud-Dripping Springs High School
Attending Schreiner University, Kerrville, TX

Michael Gonzales-Lockhart High School (4 year Letterman)
Attending LeTourneau University, Longview, TX

Arturo Hernandez-Cedar Creek High School (3 Time All District First Team, Voted Team MVP)
Attending Arcadia University, Glenside, PA

Competed in seven events and has four top 5 finishes with a low score of 71.

Chandler Roberts, Hays Consolidated High School
Attending Fort Hays State after two years at Hesston College, both in KS

Matt Shuler-Eagle Pass High School
Attending Westmont University, Santa Barbara, CA

Zach Slayton, Home School (won numerous events of note during his high school career)
Attending Colorado Christian University, Lakewood, CO

Competed in five events this year and has a scoring average of 73.8 and a tournament low round of 67.

Congratulations to all of these collegiate golfers as they progress with their game.  They all have wonderful work ethics and I know they will all be successful in whatever career path they choose!

Friday, December 13, 2019

The Story of a Trophy Called "The Chicken"

This is the story of "The Chicken" and how he came about.  Jeff Cooper, then head professional at Sunset Grove CC in Orange, TX, and his assistant professional Kerry Lamb, were playing weekly rounds together and wanted to play for something meaningful.  Playing for cash is one thing but playing for a significant trophy is quite another.

The Chicken in Austin, TX
Thus, "The Chicken" was born.  Engraved on the chicken is "Who's Your Daddy".  To win the chicken was a sign of achievement.  Whomever won the chicken had it in his possession until the next challenge match.

About 7 years ago I was playing in an event at Sunset Grove CC and I saw the chicken for the first time.  I had heard about the legend of the chicken and was quite jealous of him.  But living in Austin didn't give me an opportunity to play for this prestigious trophy.

Move forward now to July of this year (2019), Jeff had moved on to become the head professional at Beaumont CC and Kerry moved up to head professional at Sunset Grove CC.  Their weekly matches became a thing of the past.  But the chicken remained on display at Sunset Grove.

Then in July, Kerry and I were playing in a STPGA event at The Traditions Course in College Station and he brought the chicken and I finally had a chance to play for this famous and handsome trophy.
Well, over the two day event my score was good enough to win ownership of the chicken and take him to Austin where he belongs!  He presented me the chicken at dinner after my victory.

Now Who's Your Daddy?
I knew the chicken would love living in the beautiful Texas Hill Country.  I brought him home and gave him a nice place to perch.

The very next week after winning the chicken I was competing in an event in Houston, the STPGA Senior Championship.  I thought the chicken would love going on a road trip.  I also thought he might enjoy a little fresh air so I let him ride up front...way up front.  Although he enjoyed it for a bit he didn't like catching bugs at 70 mph!

The Chicken always liked the fancy hood ornaments on expensive cars...don't tell him its a Chevy
So about half way to Houston we made a pit stop for gas and kolaches.  Just by luck he met one of his ancestors and was impressed about how large he was.

The Chicken meets a chicken for the first time
So when we arrived at our destination, The Golf Club of Houston, he had to have a picture.  After all this was the home of the PGA TOUR event known as the Houston Open.

The Chicken is moving up in the world
But that wasn't the only picture he wanted.  He couldn't wait to see the championship trophy and his new daddy's name was on the trophy as winner in 2006.  He was so proud to be as shiny as this historic trophy.

The Chicken posing with the STPGA Senior Championship Trophy
So for now the chicken is residing in Austin, but our first event is in January 2020.  Kerry and I and maybe Jeff will be competing to see "Who's Your Daddy"!  After that we will be competing in approximately 5-6 events over the year for this prestigious trophy simple known as "The Chicken".

The Chicken right at home!
The legend of "The Chicken" to be continued...

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

For your Favorite Golfer on the Shopping List


The gift of instruction will make the golfer on your list MERRY! 

I offer private and group lessons covering full swing, short game and on course instruction. You may purchase a two hour full game analysis, one hour lesson or multi lesson package.

Whichever you choose, I will email you a gift certificate to present to the golfer on your list.  It can’t be any easier!

Call or email me at 512-974-9353 or for more information and pricing.

Garry Rippy, PGA
Staff Instructor, Barton Creek Golf Academy
Player Development Instructor, Golf ATX

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Pre-Shot Routine...Aim at Something!

I am at that point in life in which I could actually shoot the same score as my age!  With that goal in mind it has motivated me to get back to playing better golf.  Without giving away too much about my age, I was on my way to accomplishing this feat about three weeks ago.  I had it 4 under par going to the ninth hole and made a double bogey.  This was partly due to poor execution and a hole location on the severe side of playability.  I still managed a 3 under par back nine which got me close.

The reason I bring this up is I had discovered I was getting very lax in the aiming part of my pre-shot routine.  The one part of aiming which brought me back to hitting more greens was getting really focused on an intermediate target between me and my destination.  For some reason I had quit paying strict attention to this detail.  Since increasing this focus, I am hitting more greens in regulation and making less bogies. In fact, my last four rounds my greens in regulation is averaging about fourteen.

Missing greens, particularly on the wrong side was producing more bogies than birdies to off set them.  I have also started aiming at targets which may not include the flagstick or the middle of the fairway.  In other words if a hole location is near the edge of the green, a bunker or water hazard I am now aiming at a safer target.  I have been tracking my misses and discovering I do tend to miss more shots to the right of the flag than the left.  I am factoring this in to my aiming process.

In the picture below, the hole location is in the back right side of the green.  As an example, the orange circle would represent my shot dispersion with a pitching wedge, the burgundy would represent an 8 iron and the light blue would represent a 6 iron.  With this dispersion pattern, one can see with my tendency to miss shots to the right, I would be missing the green some with an 8 iron and more so with a 6 iron. In addition, being long or short is just as important, but I find direction is more of an issue than distance control for me personally.   I am now adjusting my aim so my misses will still either be on the green or much closer.  It was an easy fix, I just have to have the will power to not look at the flag when aiming.

Now that I know the general area I want to aim, I choose an intermediate target with precision.  I do this by using my club as a aiming rod of sorts.  I am on the practice facility in this picture and aiming directly at a flag about 80 yards away.  I try to line up the left edge of the shaft from the ball to my target and find my intermediate target.


In this case I have found a piece of grass about one foot in front of my ball as my aiming point.  Even when hitting a tee shot, I use this same philosophy.  The difference is I may be looking at something in the distance such as a tree, antenna or house as the target.  I then do the same process as above although when on the teeing ground, I find divots to be an easy intermediate target.  

When practicing you may want to use alignment rods to assist you with aiming.  Just remember the ball is on the target line and your feet will be aiming parallel to that line.  For right handers, you will feel your feet are left of the target and that is OK.

Obviously when practicing you will move the rod on the target line to about 1" to the right of the ball, but keep the line for your stance so you get comfortable with the feel of your feet in this position.  I will say you need to perform this process for every shot you hit on the range so you can repeat it with confidence on the course.  I recommend you leave the practice balls in the container they are in and hit one ball at a time with complete focus.  I find if you pour all the practice balls out, golfers tend to hit them rapid fire with no focus on target.

I am in no way promoting you to play slower!  Once you get your yardage and factor in the conditions, the entire process from pulling the correct club to striking the ball should be under 30 seconds.  In the video below I have already pulled the correct club and it took me about 15 seconds to hit the ball.  Do not wait until it's your turn to play to figure your yardage, etc.  When it's your turn to play, be ready.  

Thursday, November 14, 2019

A Couple of Oldies in my Collection

As I was organizing my Ben Hogan Collection of golf clubs I came across these two clubs from Spalding.  The first is a Spalding Tour Model Dynamiter sand wedge.  From what I can obtain it is circa early 1940's.

The next club is an AG Spalding Bro's Cash In putter which is circa early 1920's.

I actually played both of these clubs in the late 1970's with success.  The putter in particular had such a soft and solid feel.  There was one player (Gary Hallberg) on the PGA TOUR that putted with this same type of putter in the 1980's with great success.  It's always fun to pull these old clubs out and hit a few shots.