Archives for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

FREAKY FRIDAY — SCARIEST HOLES IN GOLDEN TEE

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On Friday, October 28, 2016, the second “Freaky Friday”, which is the Daily Contest consisting of a different collection of holes each week, focused on some of the toughest holes ever created.  I decided to document my attempt and share the holes and setups for those who couldn’t play.

1

Not bad to start. I high teed a driver straight ahead in the right fairway and had a wedge into the green for birdie.

2

I hate this pin placement. I put my drive out towards the neck before the water but I didn’t want to attempt a 3-wood towards the pin…really didn’t want to water the second hole. I bailed out with a driver long right and missed my chip, tapped in for birdie. Moving on.

3

For this tee box, this was a generous setup…just had to make sure not to clip the tree. I used a 4-wood with bite pretty straight at it and made the eagle putt.

4

Another very generous setup…this one was pretty easy. I hit that 9-iron smooth with roll and it settled by the pin for my birdie.

5

Here we go. Put my drive in the fairway ahead and decided to thumb a driver into the green…it’s just a very challenging shot with the wind, elevation and crazy green. Luckily I settled in the lower half of the green and made a long putt for eagle!

6

Instead of trying to fly the mountain and hold the green, and given the pin on the left, I opted to play the gap. I settled a 4-wood in the icy gap to the left, and it bounced around and landed nicely on the green not to far from the hole! Another eagle.

7

One of the hardest, if not the hardest, holes on this 18. I had a pretty good tee shot with the 9-iron, trying to land in the upper right of the green so it’d roll back down and give me a putt. I was a bit too long in the dirt, so I chipped back on and made a long putt to save par. Not bad here at all.

8

Fortunately my high-teed 7-wood worked great here! I rotated one left and played a full cut that got over the stones and settled pretty close to the pin. Another nice eagle!

9

This was actually a very good setup, but I didn’t quite get this one. My low-teed driver cut through the tree, but it lost steam and fell off left into the water. I had to chip back on and make the putt for par. -11 after nine!

10

I ALMOST went for the shortcut here. If you turn right and use a tee, you can hit a 3-wood with roll to the right of the farthest tree in this picture, and it will shoot over the hill and roll down to the green. But, the tee box didn’t seem to quite give me the right angle to try it, so I bailed out and hit out left over the water. It was a tough approach with the pin on the right and wind blowing left, but I hit the green and made the putt for birdie.

11

I don’t have that many rounds in on the new courses yet, so on this setup, I opted to lay back in the first fairway. This gave me a 3-wood that I cut around into the green, and with bite, it held the left half and gave me a long putt. I made it for another eagle!

12

Not a bad setup here, just had to control distance. I used a tee to slide to the back left and played a small cut into the pin with backspin. It settled nicely in the center and I made the putt for birdie.

13

Here I just turned left, took advantage of the high tee, and played an A1 down to the second fairway. Fortunately this gave me a lower-lofted 4-hybrid to use for the approach, which helped with the strong cross-wind. I hit the green and made the breaking putt for eagle.

14

Again, nice having a high tee to use here. I moved left one and high teed the LW, almost acing it…tapped in for birdie.

15

Look at this cake setup. Straight on 3-wood with bite…almost went in the hole, easy tap in eagle.

16

Yikes — I hated this wind. This hole is often drivable but cutting a 4-wood or so left over the trees, but I didn’t like my odds with that wind, and I had a good round going. In the trees is not what I wanted. Well I screwed it up anyway. Good tee shot ahead, but I was short on my approach in the sand. Short chip left me in the sand. Then I got it on and made the putt for bogey. Oops.

17

Another generous setup on a hole that can be so difficult with a wind blowing right. Instead, this look allowed me to use a 9-iron with bite, and I played the wind well to stick the green for a short birdie putt.

18

I’m glad this was the finishing hole, because many, including me, voted it the toughest finishing hole ever presented. However, in this case, we got a good look. And we have tees now! So, it was just a high-teed 5W for me with a small cut around the left. I nailed the distance and had just a short chip into the pin. I hit it for an eagle to finish!

final

Here’s my final scoreboard. I was thrilled putting up a -22 on my first attempt, and it ended up in the top 50 for a $19 win!

Pretty good job picking out holes, but we all have our opinions on what we would have stuck in there instead. Also, IT has no control of the setup that results from a locked conditions contest. So, while they picked a LOT of tough holes (which was the point), many of the setups were much easier than they could have been. It was fun — look forward to more of these in the future!



All Things Golden Tee 2017

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The 18th Hole in LIVE — Ranking the Difficulty of all 45 Holes

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Course designer Jim Zielinski proves year in and year out that he knows how to close out a round.  When you step up to the 18th tee, you know that almost always an eagle is there for the taking, but almost always it’s really tough to get.  And if the risk/reward doesn’t pay off, a good round can easily be erased.

Golden Tee 2015 will give us 5 more challenging finishing holes to bring the total to 50, but it’s never a bad time to take a look back and evaluate the designs over the last 9 years.  But how do we properly evaluate these holes both individually and against each other?  To me, there are 3 main categories in play that determine a hole’s difficulty.  Let’s look at them in some detail.

1) The Obstructions:
What is blocking your path to the hole?  Sometimes, it’s nothing.  But many more times, your skill will be tested by landscape features obstructing an easy path to the hole.  Obstructions force you to execute at least one of the following 3 shots:  shooting over or under something, curving the ball around something, or shooting directly through something such as a gap in the trees.

2) The Green:
To go even further, there are 3 features of the green that also directly affect its difficulty: size, shape, and slope.  A small green is difficult to stick, and you’ll almost always need to stick it to have a chance at eagle.  The shape of the green can also cause havoc.  A circle is the easiest, but some are very narrow, crescent-shaped, or wavy, creating situations where even if you stick the green, you may not have a putt at the hole.  And of course the slope matters, because as slope rises, so do missed putts (including the dreaded rollovers).

3) The Hazards:
Hazards are your penalty for missing the green, and they are often present on multiple sides of the hole.  While water is the most common (and most penalizing), deep bunkers or rough lies can also make for difficult recovery from an errant approach.

Finally, two more factors play into the difficulty of the closing hole.  The first is elevation changes.  Shooting uphill into a green or floating a shot downhill into a green both increase the difficulty over a flat approach.  The second is what I call reachability.  Given the most difficult setup on a given hole, are you still able to get the ball to the green?  Sometimes the answer is no, and you’ll lose your eagle opportunity by having to bail out, lay up, or go for it anyway (unsuccessfully).

Rating the Holes:
Now that the categories have been identified, it’s time to evaluate each hole.  A persistent practice is a rating scale of 1-5 for each identified category, where 5 is the toughest and 1 is the easiest.  Whatever course racks up the most points will be determined the most difficult.

The Greens:
For the difficulty of the greens, the course gets a rating in each of the 3 subcategories, and those are averaged out for an overall score.  For slope, a couple courses (Cape Haven, Great Wall) earned a 5 for having slopes greater than 10.  A slope of 10 gets a 4, and a flat green gets a 1.  For size, the greens were all compared to each other.  The largest greens got a 1, and the smallest greens got a 5.  For shape, a circle gets a 1.  The closer it was to a circle, the closer the rating to a 1.  The craziest, toughest shapes got a 5.

Results: Bella Toscana and Monument Valley tied for the toughest 18th hole greens.  Laurel Park has the easiest.

The Obstructions:
Difficulty of obstructions depends on type and severity.  If the hole has no obstructions, it got a 1 in the category.  From there, I had to determine the percent of time particular obstructions were present off the tee, and how severe they were.  A severity of 5 means that you need a full cut around the obstacle or that you need to shoot through a tiny gap.  Over/under obstructions were weighted slightly less because they are less difficult to overcome.  So, the overall obstructions rating takes into account all the tee boxes and how often you are placed in them.

Results: Tahiti Cove blocked the most of your path to the green, followed by Glacier Ranch and Misty Springs.  Many holes had no obstructions.

The Hazards:
What’s the penalty for missing the green?  I looked at all 4 sides around the green and averaged the penalty for misses on each side.  I also looked at a “close” miss and a “far” miss, since inaccuracy can vary widely among players and per round, but I gave more weight to the “close” miss.  The hole earned a 5 for water (or lava), 4 for the potential for water or a steep blocking bunker, 3 for a tough recovery, 2 for a difficult lie such as dust or mud, and 1 for a straight fairway or rough lie.

Results: Coral Vista‘s island green is the toughest because you can’t miss anywhere, followed right behind by Heather Pointe and Tundra Peak.  Tahiti Cove and Jackrabbit Junction are the most generous holes for an errant approach.

Elevations: In the scoring, elevation changes were weighted at half, because they don’t pose a problem as tough as the others.  All the holes were evaluated against each other, and Tundra Peak and Monument Valley earned top points for having to shoot way up and way down, respectively.

Reachability: A course gets a 5 in this category if you can find yourself in multiple setups where you just can’t get the ball to the green.  Bear Lodge and Cypress Cove both took 5s here.  The course gets a 4 if it can have an extremely difficult setup for most players and a 3 if there are distance-challenging setups for some players.  The course gets a 1 if distance is never an issue.

So let’s take a break and see where we are.  After plugging in data for greens, obstructions, hazards, elevation changes and reachability, we have the top 10 most difficult holes, as follows:

Misty Springs
Sequoia Grove
Coconut Beach
Cypress Cove
Bear Lodge
Summit Lakes
Monument Valley
Kangaroo Trail
Dusty Bend
Bella Toscana

Now data is good, but it’s not everything.  There’s a reason the BCS Formula incorporates a human element, and I wanted to do the same thing.  The Golden Tee players who have been attacking these holes for years certainly have a pretty good idea of the easiest and hardest closing holes in the game, so I reached out to them to get their votes.  Here are the users’ top 10 most difficult holes:

Misty Springs
Coconut Beach
Moose Landing
Kangaroo Trail
Summit Lakes
Tundra Peak
Bella Toscana
Shady Acres
Sequoia Grove
Glacier Ranch

Given that valuable user input from the community, I combined my data with their votes to come up with my final results.  I now give to you the GoldenTeeFan list of top 10 most difficult closing holes in the Golden Tee LIVE era:

1 – Misty Springs
2 – Coconut Beach
3 – Summit Lakes
4 – Sequoia Grove
5 – Bear Lodge
6 – Kangaroo Trail
7 – Bella Toscana
8 – Tundra Peak
9 – Cypress Cove
10 – Timber Bay

In addition, here are the easiest closing holes in the game:

1 – Turtle Island
2 – Highland Links
3 – Laurel Park
4 – Cape Haven
5 – Indigo Mound

Click here to see the full breakdown per course and how each ranked in the various categories in play.

As a final exercise, I wanted to compare the data rankings to the user rankings to see where there was a wide variation.  The top 6 examples are below, and I’ll attempt to rationalize the difference:

Courses User Rank Data Rank Difference
Cypress Cove 31 4 27
Moose Landing 3 30 27
Monument Valley 32 7 25
Black Hills 16 39 23
Jackrabbit Junction 45 23 22
Eagle Crest 43 24 19

Having played Cypress Cove many, many times for the Classic Course of the week this summer really put this one in perspective for me.  If you are pinned to the left or right and have to curve a shot around into a tough wind, sometimes you can’t even get the ball to the green.  That was a big contributing factor (reachability) to its difficulty rank.  I’m under the impression that the players most often remember the straight shots from the middle two tee boxes, which are indeed very favorable.  But it’s the tough tee boxes you get the other half of the time that can really make this a tough eagle.

For Moose Landing and Black Hills, I have to agree with the voters that it should have been higher.  Perhaps the lack of obstructions on the way to the hole gave these courses an unfairly low score relative to the rest of the field, because they are really tough.

For Monument Valley, I’m sticking with the data.  With a 15 wind in your face here, eagle is almost impossible, as if it wasn’t hard enough already.  Floating a shot downhill while fighting a wind is very difficult, and there may as well be water all around the green because of the rock deflections.  Factor in the shape of the green and this one is an awfully tough eagle.

Jackrabbit Junction has some setups where many players can’t even get to the green in two, and that’s the main reason why the data score this hole more difficult than the users.  It’s not always easy to blast a drive out to the second fairway and bring it in for eagle.

Finally, Eagle Crest has difficult setups in the corners that make me lean with the data rank.  Not only do you need an accurate curve around the trees, but it’s very difficult to nail the distance.  Long is water, and short is almost always the dust.  That dust eats up anything short that may otherwise hop down onto the green.

So is it perfect?  Of course not.  The beauty of this game is that so many factors make up the difficulty of a hole, even others that I chose not to evaluate or that you cannot evaluate (club selection, touch required, intimidation factor, a player’s particular skill on one hole vs. another, and so on).  But it sure was a fun experiment, and I do believe I got it pretty close.  You’re not alone when you’re shaking in your boots on the Misty #18 tee, but we can hope that 2015 and beyond doesn’t bring too many more closers as demanding.



Let the experiments begin!

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Some of you know that I invested in a 2012 Golden Tee Unplugged that I got set up in my basement right before the Super Bowl this year!  It’s been incredible.  Not only do I hope to improve my game, but my mind was also racing with ideas for experiments to run with the luxury of free play and mulligans.

I’ve been playing a lot of games, but I’m also eager to get started on some of these ideas, and I plan to share my findings on the site here to help spread a lot of additional knowledge that’s much more difficult to get from your local bar!

Below are some ideas I’ve come up with so far.  Please let me know if you have others — I’ll be happy to give them a shot!  Check the Home Experiments category to track my progress, and I’ll keep you all updated so we can benefit from the findings!

  • Find the footage at which turbo putts begin, validating against different holes
  • Show how B1/B3 shots vary by club.  Take pictures after 3 shots with each club, marking total distance, lay protractor over to get angle, and see how far apart they end up.
  • Do the same as above with other types of shots, such as a A.5-1.5, A.5-1, A-1.5, to show how accuracy and distance are affected.
  • Show how C2 shots differ from C3 shots, in terms of distance, angle taken, and how far left of center each shot ends up
  • Given a straight headwind and tailwind, show how much distance is affected with a static speed for each club.  Then repeat for side winds for shots into the wind (no angled pull-back applied) to end up straight ahead to see how much distance is lost.
  • Draw a grid with incremental degrees around the trackball, and use this for the mapping exercises below.
  • Start mapping ideal club, speed, pull back angle, and forward angle of all approach shots given any particular wind and a flat elevation.  Disregard slope for this exercise.  Goal is to develop a formula or table to predict the shot that will come closest to the hole for any distance and wind condition.
  • Show how total distance is affected by roll, backspin, bite or nothing given no wind, flat surface and static speed for all clubs.
  • Show how distance is affected by high tee, low tee, medium tee, given no wind and static speed for all clubs.  Perform for B2 shots as well as A1/C3 shots.
  • Show how total distance is affected by appling backspin, roll, bite or nothing to both high-teed and low-teed drives.
  • Demo chush shots, and show how far they go with each club and with roll or backspin applied.
  • Figure out how far I can pull back any particular club with a full forward swing to achieve a particular distance, such as 200 yards, 100 yards, 50 yards, etc.  This can help with distance control on shots between clubs.  It would also be good to measure carry on these shots.  A benefit may be finding a way to hit a half-pullback 7-iron or something on Royal #16 to stick the green while minimizing wind damage.
  • Figure out a way to train players on bump-and-run chip shots.  Need to pick just club long enough to carry the green to minimize wind damage and get the ball rolling on the slope.  Faster is better — chip with confidence (even using roll) where able to keep as straight a line as you can!
  • See how many distances I can achieve without a pullback for a driver shot to a flat fairway.  Intention is to see how precise the computer reads the speed of the trackball.


Golden Tee LIVE Course Trivia and Analysis

By • Category: 2011 - Golden Tee LIVE 2012, Features, Miscellaneous • • Leave a Comment (2)

Let’s start with some trivia.  There have been 35 courses since the inception of Golden Tee LIVE back in 2005.  How well do you know them?

  1. What are the only two courses to feature six par 3s and six par 5s?
  2. What is the only course to feature six never-drivable par 4s?
  3. Name the six courses where every par 4 has been driven.
  4. Which course can see a six-stroke swing in GT Par depending on the setup?
  5. Which two courses feature only three par 5s?
  6. Which three courses could set up for a GT Par of -32?
  7. Which two courses may only set up for a GT Par of -24?
  8. TRUE or FALSE: Every opening hole has been a par 4.
  9. 30 of the 35 courses feature a par 4 as the 2nd hole. Name the only three courses to feature a par 5 for hole #2:
  10. 30 of the 35 courses feature a par 4 as the 2nd hole. Name the only two courses to feature a par 3 for hole #2:
  11. TRUE or FALSE: There has never been a par 5 as hole #3.
  12. Name the only 3 courses to feature a par 4 as the 3rd hole.
  13. Which year of courses features a par 5 as the 4th hole on all 5 courses?
  14. Heading into the turn, only one course features a par 3 as the 9th hole.  Name it.
  15. Heading back out, only two courses feature par 3s as the 10th hole.  Name them.
  16. Similarly, only two courses feature par 5s as the 10th hole.  Name them.
  17. Which course features three consecutive par 5s?
  18. Which year of courses features a par 5 as the 16th hole on all 5 courses?
  19. Which year of courses features a par 3 as the 17th hole on all 5 courses?
  20. Name the only 2 courses to feature a par 5 as the 18th hole.
  21. Name the only course to feature a par 4 finishing hole that is not always drivable.
  22. There is a year of courses where only two par 4s have never been driven.  Name it.
  23. Which course features three par 5s that have been driven?
  24. Which three courses feature only two always-drivable par 4s?
  25. GT Par never varies on only 4 courses.  Name them.
  26. Name the only 4 courses that feature always-drivable par 5s.

How did you do?  Open the sheet here to see the answers and the statistics behind the following analysis.

The “Hole Pars” tab shows not only the par for the hole, but it also breaks down how often you can expect to be able to drive each hole (you can also hover over the comments in the cells to see a bit more how I break down each classification):
n = never been driven
e = drivable in extremely rare conditions
r = drivable in rare conditions
s = sometimes drivable
a = always drivable

Towards the bottom, you can see the average minimum and maximum GT Par for any given course (reminder: GT Par is the score you are expected to shoot without any fairway hole-outs).  GT Par sets up between -28.7 and -26.7 on average for the LIVE courses, but it’s skewed by easier setups in the original LIVE year.

The next tab is “Hole Par Stats”.  It breaks down how many times each scoring classification applies to each of the 18 holes, and then also in percentage form at the bottom.  What’s fascinating here is finding how many par 5s and long par 4s have actually been driven at one time or another!  I’ve got pictures of each hole on the site, so check them out!

Finally, there is “Stats Summary”.  At the top, you can see how often each of the 18 holes sets up as a par 3, 4, or 5, sorted by the percentage.  Below breaks it down by driving category, also sorted.

Now for fun, let’s predict how a Golden Tee LIVE 2013 course might break down, given the data we know from the past 7 years:

HOLE #1: A long, flat, undrivable par 4.
HOLE #2: A dogleg par 4 that’s only drivable in extremely rare conditions.
HOLE #3: An easy par 3.
HOLE #4: An easy par 5.
HOLE #5: A challenging but always drivable par 4.
HOLE #6: A par 4 that’s only rarely drivable with a great setup.
HOLE #7: Another easy par 3.
HOLE #8: A bit more challenging par 5.
HOLE #9: A par 4 that’s sometimes drivable depending on the setup.
HOLE #10: A tough, never drivable par 4.
HOLE #11: A tough, never drivable par 4.
HOLE #12: A moderate par 3.
HOLE #13: A challenging par 5.
HOLE #14: A very challenging but always drivable par 4.
HOLE #15: A very challenging but always drivable par 4.
HOLE #16: A very challenging par 5.
HOLE #17: A very difficult par 3.
HOLE #18: A very challenging but always drivable par 4.

If you play it clean, you’ll end up between a -26 and -28!



An Ode to Golden Tee Courses

By • Category: 2011 - Golden Tee LIVE 2012, Miscellaneous • • Leave a Comment (1)

Eighty-six courses designed mighty fine,
From 2012 back to 1989.

One was Great, while 2 were Grand,
A King dubbed three Royal with his mighty hand.

Two Eagles soared high with majestic Crests,
While a Falcon and Kiwi flew along as their guests.

A Crawdad approaches, not one you can eat,
A Scorpion and Rattlesnake slither at your feet.

A Buckhorn, A Moose, and a Kangaroo near,
But a Coyote and Grizzly should bring greater fear.

Crimson, Red, and Auburn you’ll find,
These Greens are Painted with color in mind.

One was Black while two were Blue,
Don’t forget we had Indigo too.

 

3 Oaks, 2 Palms, and 2 Pines dominate
While Cedar, Cypress, and Maple await.

There’s Willow, Laurel, and Timber too,
Arbor Day loves this Woodland view.

Yes, Sylvan Woods are a common theme,
Both Rustic and Mystic in their gleam.

 

Water all around can be quite harsh,
Bayous and Swamps kick off this marsh.

The Ocean will see if you have what it takes,
Try dodging the Sea, 3 Creeks, and 3 Lakes!

Dropping Anchor in any of 5 Coves is no safe Haven,
5 Springs and a Falls – your balls need a savin’!

Let’s not forget the 2 courses with Coral,
And 3 Bays will have you and your game in a quarrel.

 

Aspen and Alpine, it’s getting hilly,
Tundra and Glacier, it’s downright chilly.

A Mountain, a Summit, and 2 Peaks ahead,
A Mound and 3 Hills is where you’ll be led.

 

Two Stones, a Wall, and a Side make a Monument,
A Rock and a Sapphire help complete your repent.

Canyons are common; there have been three,
There was also a Gorge as deep as can be.

Oh it can be Tropical or even Tahiti,
Where you’ll find Sunny, Shadow, or Misty.

Hungry for a bite to eat?
Coconut and Cu-Cumber makes a great treat!

Cactus and Saguaro fill the 2 Sands,
The Savannah is Dusty to challenge your hands.

 

A trip to the UK may enter your mind,
Where Balmoral Castle and Waterford shine.

From Bannockburn to the Shire to the Moor,
And two Links courses are never a bore.

If Southern Lands are where you take your gear,
Heather, Bonnie, and Bella will cheer!

 

Some of us will be Suerte enough to have a Vista
Of the Horizon, even Toscana, where your gal first kissed ya.

Meadows Rolling through the Heartland,
A Grove and 2 Acres make the scenery grand.

Five spacious Valleys where the going gets rough,
While a Glen and a Hollow show off their stuff.

Around 3 Bends, 4 Ridges, and Flats,
All could make permanent habitats.

To the Park and its Bridge, including the Trail,
A Farm and 2 Ranches may leave you pale.

So Run Long, preferably not with Sword’s,
3 Pointes may have you Whispering swear words.

 

From Alpine to Woodland and all in-between,
Oh what might we see in 2013?

CLICK HERE to view the complete Golden Tee Course History!



Drive gets stuck on a flying bird!

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This one you have to see to believe.  Enjoy!

The drive
The recovery



Principles of Alignment

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Ready for a hardcore dissection of angles and alignment?  My buddy Jeremy Olson has you covered!  The PDF document below speaks for itself and will almost certainly get you thinking about things you’ve never before considered while playing Golden Tee.

Yes, it’s data heavy, but it will certainly be beneficial to those of us still learning the game.  It’s true that you develop a feel for shots as your experience improves, but while you are still struggling for consistency, check out this analysis to see which aspects might apply to your game!

Thanks Jeremy for the awesome write-up and analysis!

Golden Tee Principles of Alignment



Rotating your golfer

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Just a quick fact to file away for you here — it takes 32 turns to complete a full 360-degree rotation of your golfer, so that means that each turn is worth 11.25 degrees.  Now you know!



Holiday Give-Away Codes!!!

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gt globe

Enter each of the following codes up to 4 times to collect all the available gear for the holiday outfit!

St. Patrick’s Day – 07FEED0317 and 1703170317 and 2403170317 and 3503170317
Christmas – 0333333333 and 3812252014 and 4812252015
Winter Holiday Gear – 1412252010 and 2312252012 and 5112252016
Halloween – 04B0000000 and 18B0000002 and 30B0002013 and 37B0002015 and 50B0002017
New Year’s Day – 0520102010 and 12ACED2011
Valentine’s Day – 06BABEBABE and 40FEB14FEB
Thanksgiving – 13FEEDF00D and 28F00D2013
Mother’s Day – 1158115811 and 3305112014
Father’s Day – 32DADDAD15
President’s Day – 2120202020 and 31ABEABE14
April Fool’s Day – 20F001F001
Easter – 1900000000 and 15EB000000 and 2900000000
Groundhog Day – 2602022013
Independence Day – 2504040404 and 3944444444 and 4607042016
Veterans Day – 2220132013
Earth Day – 3404220422
Dog Days of Summer – 3688888888



GTF 2011 — Behind the Scenes

By • Category: 2010 - Golden Tee LIVE 2011, Features, Miscellaneous • • Leave a Comment (2)

You won’t find any tips in this article, but I thought it’d be fun to share the process that GTF goes through when preparing for a year of new courses and new features!

First, I soak up all the teasers and previews that start coming out 2-3 months before the release date.  I like to consolidate everything into a preview article with links to the specifics on GT.com.  Here, viewers can have one place to get at all the new features and pictures of the upcoming release.

Then, the course previews start coming out.  This is when I start making categories for each of the new courses, adding all the detail that’s out there into an intro article for each course.  I’ll also start drafting up a post for each hole.

Beta testing is a fun time where we start seeing YouTubes of several of the holes.  IT will do some testing and upload YouTubes, so it’s fun to catch those replays if you can, but they are usually cleaned up within a day or two.  Still, you’ll have players in the Chicago area showing the first solid replays of holes on the new courses!

The most hectic time is the first couple weeks after the official vendor ship dates.  Now everyone is starting to get the update locally, and a flood of YouTubes starts coming in!  Just like everyone else, I can’t wait for the update to come to my local bars, and I’m out playing as soon as I can after the games are updated.

I’ll bring my camera to capture a picture of each hole – this is important for reference, and I’ll upload the pics to each hole post.  During my first few rounds on each course, I’m also taking notes on strategies for each hole, which I eventually bring back and update on the site.

The most work, yet the most beneficial aspect of the site, are the YouTube replays.  I like to capture an example hole-out of each possible shot on each hole, and usually within the first 2 weeks, I have most of what I need.  It takes a long time scouring for YouTubes, but it’s worth the benefit of having examples sorted out for each hole!  It’s easiest if I focus on one course at a time and sort by Upload Date – then I can tell what I’ve already viewed and what’s new.  Eventually I can recognize from the thumbnail what hole the replay is for, so I can skim along a little more quickly looking for what you need ?.

I’m also checking the forums to see if there are discussions about specific holes that contain useful information.  If I have questions about how to play certain holes, this is probably the time I’ll post them hoping to get feedback from the better players.  This is also a good time to see what club/ball combos people prefer to use on each of the courses.

From this point forward, I work on refining my advice for each hole, especially after I learn new things from each round I play.  This helps build a nice little article on each hole with the strategies you should use along with an example of how to hit each shot!  At this point, I won’t scour for YouTubes anymore – this is where I rely on AK and the rest of the GT community to share their great shots with the rest of us, whether on Facebook or in any of the GT forums!

With all that said, here are some of my favorite (but mostly lucky!) YouTubes from the first couple weeks of GT 2011 that you may not have seen!













http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bTZ-imlN7o



















Dominate the Skins Game

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Alright – we’re quite a ways into 2010, and maybe you’re looking to expand your Golden Tee experience beyond stroke play.  Maybe you and your friends are ready to quit worrying about the blowup holes that ruin your round.  Maybe you are ready to put your focus on each hole individually instead of your score as a whole to make the entire 18-hole experience more exciting.  If so, you’re ready for Skins Play!

Skins can be played with anywhere from 2-4 people, but in my experience, 3 people in a group works the best.  With 2 people you don’t really have the group competition going on; with 4 people, you’ll probably see too many carry-overs and it’s much harder to win a hole.  But with 3 people, you have just the right blend of individual glory and tough carry-overs to make for an exciting round!

A fun way to get started with the skins game is to have everyone throw down $18 on the table (easily adjustable, of course, based on your financial situation J).  A dollar from each person goes into the pot before each hole starts.  If you win the hole, then you win the pot.  If it carries over, you each throw in another dollar for the next hole until someone wins a hole, and then that person takes the pot.

If you’re playing for fun, you should take advantage of the built-in Skins game offered with Golden Tee 2010 – it will do the work for you!  If you’re playing for money, though, you can go either way – you might want to just play stroke play and track skins on your own.

Okay, so you’ve got your 3 people and your money ready to show – so what’s your plan of attack?  Let’s break it down into general strategies, situations where you should be aggressive, and situations where you should be conservative:

GENERAL STRATEGY:

  • Be long off the tee.  This is very important, especially on holes with a difficult approach shot.  If you’re closest to the pin off the tee, then you get to watch everyone else go first, which will feed into your decision on how aggressive/conservative to be on your approach shot!
  • Play your game.  Just because you’re not playing stroke play doesn’t mean you need to abandon the things that work for you, especially if you’re going outside your comfort zone just to try to match a great shot.  You’ll do best by sticking to your game, and your rewards will come with your opponents’ mistakes.  Don’t give up easy strokes!
  • Never give up!  So you got wet on the par 3 and your opponent hit the green?  You never know what’s going to happen – he could 3-putt or even put his putt off the green.  Remember, the pressure is now on him to finish the hole, and he might open the door back up for you!  Plus, you always have a chance to chip in for the tie.
  • Have fun!  The beauty of skins play is the friendly competition amongst your group and how every hole is a new opportunity.  Don’t get caught up in the results of one or two holes, because the next hole is another chance to win!

BE AGGRESSIVE!

  • The hole is pretty easy and a birdie is sure to carry over.  In these cases, let your opponents make their birdies – take aim at the pin or the green and go for eagle!
  • Your opponents already have birdies locked up.  In this case, you can do no wrong, because they are going to cancel each other out anyway.  Take a good run at the cup!
  • The pot is small.  In this case, it’s okay to take a risk towards getting eagle, because you don’t have much on the line, but your reward is more than you invested!

BE CONSERVATIVE!

  • The hole is difficult and birdies are unlikely.  In this case, you want to make sure you get your par so that, at worst, you force a carry over.
  • Your opponents are in trouble.  If you’re last off the tee or last on the approach, and you see your opponents make mistakes, take the route that gives you the best chance to 1-up them.  Remember, you don’t care about your score alone – you only care that it’s 1 better than the other guys on this hole!
  • The pot is large.  Now, if your opponent has already put the pressure on you, then you must try to answer.  But, you cannot be the guy who goes first and puts his ball in the hazard off the tee.  Force your opponent to make a great shot to beat you, but don’t hand it to him by playing foolishly!


Got spin? Check out this bounce

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I didn’t think it was possible to make a ball cut so viciously off the green like this, but this is the type of thing that happens when you play with forged irons like the APEX PLUS set —  watch and learn!



Skip it like a pro

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A fellow GT’er emailed me a while back asking for tips on how to skip the ball across the water, and I figured this would be a good opportunity to break down the variables that determine whether or not you’ll safely skip across or see your ball sink to the bottom!  Golden Tee has done an amazing job taking into account all the factors that determine whether or not your ball will skip, and most of them would apply to skipping a rock across water as well.

Loft of club:
Lower lofted clubs are much more likely to skip than higher lofted clubs.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever attempted to skip across water with a club other than driver, although I know a 0-hybrid would work, and anything up to a 2-iron may work as well.  I’m not sure about a 3-wood — does anyone know if it would skip?  I’d be scared to try it.  So, if you need to skip a shot but the distance calls for something less than a driver, stick with the driver but take some distance off of it.  Be careful though because of the next variable…

Velocity of shot:
How hard you hit the shot definitely has an impact on whether or not the shot will skip.  You can’t hit a little half-speed punch shot and expect it to skip, but you can get away with taking a little bit off the shot.  Full power shots are sure to skip, but a skip will also work if you need to take a little off the shot.  That is, so long as you maintain the next variable…

Angle of shot:
You really need to maximize the angle of the shot to ensure the success of the skip.  Normal A1 and C3 shots won’t always work, so you’ll want to create as much angle as you can while also ensuring your shot will be accurate as it can be.  A 3/4 speed A1 driver will skip even if you thumb it out to A, so long as you’ve pulled back to the left of 1 as far as you can register.  Remember that you can pull back left of A and shoot forward left of 1 — there’s more angle there for you to take advantage of, and it’s especially important on skip shots.  When lining up your shot, think about the next variable…

Spin:
I think that spin helps a ball skip as well, whether it be roll or backspin.  Spin helps create skip when it contacts the water, so I always try to apply roll or backspin when planning a skip.  I don’t believe that a skip shot would fail without spin, but honestly I haven’t tried yet — have any of you?  Anyway, picture where your ball will end up when it hits land after the skip, and apply the type of spin that best helps you towards your target.  Now, consider this often overlooked variable…

Wind:
Wind is important and can kill your chances at a successful skip.  If the wind is blowing in the direction of your angled shot, then you’re good to go.  If it’s blowing against you, though, you may want to second-guess that shot.  A wind in the face of your shot will straighten out the shot, decreasing the angle of the shot which is so important to the success of the skip.  Wind doesn’t matter as much on shorter shots, but the longer the ball is in the air, the more time the wind has to straighten it out.  That brings us to the final variable…

Distance:
Distance comes into play most often in combination with wind and loft.  Shorter shots with a driver, for example, don’t get as high off the ground.  So, as long as you have enough angle behind it, the ball stays low enough to skip successfully.  Longer shots that are lacking angle, however, do have a greater chance for failure, especially if wind is involved.  You could see your buddy skip a long drive across to the fairway, but when you try it, you plop in the water and wonder why.  Well, you probably didn’t create as much angle on that long shot as he did, and when you combine that with the distance he gained by hitting a fuller A1 or C3 shot, then you start to understand why you came up short.

You also need to have a good idea of where your ball will be making contact with the water.  You can’t skip it twice, so you need to make sure that your ball will touch land after it skips.  A skip followed by a plop isn’t good for anything!



Writing on The Great Wall — what does it say?

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You’ve seen the Chinese symbols written in sand all over The Great Wall, but have you ever wondered what they say?  I think you’ll be quite amused!  I consulted the help of a lady from China who now works in my section, and she had no problem interpreting the sayings — here are some examples!

mistakeThis basically means “mistake”!  And what do you know — it’s right!  Your ball never should end up here, so that’d definitely be  an errant shot!

sand is badAnd these symbols form words like “sand” and “bad”!  Yes, the sand is bad, so keep your ball away from here!

Kudos to the IT design team for incorporating funny, meaningful symbols into the course whose translations would otherwise go unnoticed!



The Missouri Open – Lessons Learned

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With this being the 3rd tourney in which I’ve participated, I should know better than to make some of the mistakes that I did. In this post I’ll break those down and give you the advice so that you may be able to avoid some of them when you get into a tournament!

1) Get there early!
If you’re arriving on Friday night, this might not be possible; when you get to the bar, you’ll probably see action on all the Golden Tee machines already. That’s okay – walk around and look for machines that could use an extra player where that group is wrapping up their current round. Most guys would be more than happy to invite you in for the next round!

On Saturday/Sunday, get there before the bar normally opens. With the tournament action going on, the doors will probably open early, and you can snag an open machine right away to practice before the tourney games start.

2) Play safe early on
You’re going to be nervous when those qualifying rounds start, so make things easier on yourself by playing safe and draining a couple putts. Before too long, you should fall into the flow of things.

3) Play at your own pace
Most of the pros play incredibly fast, and hitting ‘Quick Shot’ after every shot makes things move even faster! It’s easy to get caught up in the speed of play, and you may feel pressured into playing faster than you’d like. Try to maintain a comfort level by taking your time before each shot, especially putts!

4) Watch what the pros do…
You’ll be teeing off last in your group for most of the round, which gives you the advantage of seeing how the other guys are attacking each hole. This can help you make the right decision if you may have otherwise been unsure. Also, if you see a shot missed long, short, left or right, it may be a clue that you want to overcompensate a bit to avoid the same mistake.

5) But don’t watch what the pros do
If you’re trying to pay attention to how hard the shot was hit or the exact angle of the shot, forget about it. Not only do some of these guys disguise the angle on their shots, but they strike the ball so smoothly that the power of the shot is really deceptive as well. No one knows better than you how the ball behaves based on the angle/speed of your shot, so trust your instincts over what you think you just saw!

6) Stick to your game
So you just saw a pro thread the needle between some stone pillars on Black Hills. Does that mean you have to try the same thing? Of course not. If you’re not comfortable trying the same thing, it’s much better to play safe and preserve a birdie rather than shooting a high-risk, low-reward shot for a chance at eagle. The same goes for chip shots around the green. The pros are great at holing out chips around the hole with a lower-lofted club, but if you’d rather finesse your lob wedge, then do it! That’s your game, and it keeps you out of any further trouble. Finally, if you can thumb a shot and get the same results as a pro who pulls the ball back, don’t be embarrassed about it!

7) Don’t miss to the dangerous side
It’s easy to get too aggressive on an approach shot and miss the green altogether. I’ve made a habit of looking left, right, long and short to see where the trouble lies. A good rule of thumb is to try to place the ball on the green such that you put the flag between the trouble and your ball. For example, this means missing long, in the middle of the green, if the pin is on the front of the green.

8 ) Never give up
Four of my last five head-to-head matches went down to the 18th hole, and I won 3 of them when I was trailing after 17! The best example was during my first match in the Purple Bracket, where I was down by 2 and hit my drive in the water on Black Hills 18. A couple roll-off putts by my opponent later, I had a 1-stroke victory. Anything can, and does, happen!

9) Have fun!
If you fail to follow this advice, then you really have wasted your money and time. You’re surrounded by a bunch of great Golden Tee players who always know how to have fun, so follow suit and you’ll fit right in, no matter what your score!



The Missouri Open from an Amateur’s Perspective

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Well I’m back from the 3rd official Golden Tee Tournament in which I participated! Following is a summary of how things shook down for me, and then I’ll list off some new lessons learned from tournament play!

This event took place at Teachers Billiards, a sports bar/pool hall in the suburb of St. Peters, west of St. Louis. I think there were around 70 participants, and 15 GT machines were set up for us to use. The action kicked off with a doubles tournament that started just after 8:00 that night. I teamed up with Adam Kramer from IT, but with a single-elimination format, we were out after the first round! We played a couple of studs in Gervais and Gibby, and they didn’t have much problem taking us down in this alternate shot match. I messed up a couple shots on the front 9 at Grand Savannah, and we were not able to recover!

The rest of Friday night involved spinning games for fun with JACEN SOLO, AKA PEEPS, and his younger (bigger) brother, among others! Friday night was great for having some drinks and playing for fun.

I showed up early Saturday to play a couple games before the qualifying matches started around 1:00. The three qualifying courses were Grand Savannah, Sunny Wood, and Black Hills. Everyone played all 3 games with the same group on the same machine, which can be good and bad! My group included The Mouth and Billy Mac. I had an awful time in qualifying, shooting really poorly on every course. I only went -11, -13, and -12, well below my normal average of around -17 or so. There will be more on this in the lessons learned article to follow!

Those scores put me in the bottom of the pack for the Purple Bracket, where everyone not in the top 32 was placed. I played a guy named Glen (GB) from Denver, and I don’t even want to talk about our match. We both stunk up Black Hills, but Glen had a couple putts dive over the edge on 18, allowing me to squeak by.

My next match was against John (U. City), a local guy who lived only 10 miles away. I shot really well and had by far the most fun with this match. We played Bonnie and matched each other stroke for stroke going into 18. Even then, we both missed an eagle putt that left us deadlocked at -24 after 18 holes! The tie-breaker was sudden death on the back 9, and it didn’t last long. I backspun my approach off the green and missed my chip, giving John the win on the first sudden-death hole! Still, that match was exciting and a lot of fun.

That ended my run in the tournament, and the rest of the night was dedicated to playing more founds for fun. From throwing down Jager bombs to watching Mouth put on a waitress’s short skirt to listening to Gervais belt out Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” during karaoke, it was a wild time!

The main bracket kicked off Sunday, but I had to head back to Peoria. It was a fantastic time as usual, and be sure to check out my “Lessons Learned” article to get more tips on tournament play!

 



GoldenTeeFan takes on the Frozen Open

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feature_frozenopenI arrived at Flounder’s bar in the Lincoln Park area of downtown Chicago around 6:00 Friday night, and it was already hopping with Golden Tee action! I think there were 11 GT machines set up in the back, including 8 pedestals with the big, wide screens and stand-alone console. Those things are AWESOME — it was the first I’d seen of them. They took a bit to get used to — you become accustomed to your hand hitting the screen on a follow-through, but instead you almost fall over if you forget about that! Also, putting took a bit to get used to because of the games it plays on the eyes, but before long you don’t want to play on anything else!

I got in a blind-draw doubles tourney that started that night and was paired with a guy named Scott who was really good. We won our first match against Jimmy Mac and Jopper, but then we ran up against Thor and another great player (can’t remember his name), and they beat us in the next round. It was an alternate shot format, so there was a lot of pressure! But, it was also a lot of fun, and I held my own!

Oh, I also saw a guy ace Savannah #17 — he hit a half-strength 7-iron right at the hole, and he dunked it like it was a Bags game!

The next day I got there at 11:00 and we all played some warm-up games. I got to play a couple with Adam Kramer, the marketing guy at IT for Golden Tee, so that was cool! I also played with Brad Litz, a technical support guy for IT, and a few others along the way. Before the tourney starts, they do this thing called “Calcutta” — it’s basically an auction bidding war for who you think will win the tournament. There are bids of over $100 for the top players, but I didn’t even take the minimum $5 bid when my name was called — ha!

At around 2:00 or so, we started 2 games of qualifying. You get paired up and play a designated course with locked conditions, which means a card is swiped before you start and everyone has the exact same setup during play of that course. We started on Woodland and I came out pretty strong with a -18, but the next qualifying round was on Sunny and I only shot -10!

After everyone is done, they tally up the totals and rank you 1-52 (we had 52 guys in this tourney). Great shot points are tie-breakers. I ended up being ranked #36 with my -28. The cutoff was at -30, and the top qualifier (McCook shot -50)! I certainly should have been in the top 32, but hey, everyone has bad games, right?

So with the odd number of guys (20) in the “purple” bracket, I had a bye in the first round. Then I ended up having a bye in the second round because the dude left for some reason. So finally, I’m playing in the round of 8 against ANUBIS, a guy I can tell is certainly a bit better than I am. We play Sunny and it’s close all the way, and I’m down -17 to -16 heading into the last hole. He puts it in the water on 18! I hit a good shot, hold the green, and tap in for eagle, while he pars, and I win by 1!

So now it’s the final four and I have to play Baxter Segall, who flew in from North Carolina.  This guy is a GREAT player who shoots sick scores, so my odds were slim.  We end up playing on Black Hills, which both of us struggle with, but it ends up providing an opportunity as well since it’s easy to lose strokes there and have blow-up holes.  He holes out on #1 for eagle (great), but I stay close until I have a stroke-limit hole by putting over the edge into the water twice on a par 3.  So now I’m down 6 going into the back 9.  I get it back to 4, and then Baxter has a stroke-limit hole where he does the same thing with putts over the edge!  All of a sudden we’re tied.  He takes a 1-stroke lead into 18, but his tee shot trickles off the back into the water!  Again, I stick the green with a great shot, tap in for eagle, he makes par, and I win by 1!  We could play 10 times and I might win once against him, so that was very lucky and thrilling!

Now it’s the final, and I’m feeling good against Brad Litz — I played with him earlier for fun, and we played on Woodland, which I usually shoot well on.  Well, I couldn’t keep my momentum going, and he blew me out, winning by 8 strokes.  He birdied all 9 holes on the back 9 and never gave me a chance to get back in it!

SO, for my 2nd place showing in the “amateur” bracket, I won $70 and a nice heavy-duty pull-pack!  Other than winning that last match, I couldn’t imagine the weekend going any better!  It turned out to be great that I didn’t make the top 32, otherwise I’d have been blown out by one of the top pros!

So see — if I can make a run in the lower bracket, anyone can!  The purple bracket is great for guys who can’t compete with the top pros, and I’d encourage anyone to play in one of these tourneys for the amazing experience!

Purple Bracket winners



How to shoot -30 on Golden Tee

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This question is pretty common among people who are just picking up the game. If you’re a casual player, you might average somewhere around -10 and think you’re pretty decent, but then you see that someone somewhere somehow shot -30 on this very course, leaving you completely baffled! How is this possible? What am I missing?

Well, I’m going to simulate a great round on the 2009 Golden Tee course Bonnie Moor and show you exactly how this is possible! No, you’ll probably never be able to reach this milestone yourself, but it can certainly help you know how to play the course so you give yourself the best chance of posting a much better score than you normally shoot!

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 1:
The wind is directly in your face so you poke a driver straight ahead.  With a back pin, you approach dead-on with an iron and use roll for a hole-out eagle.  Score: -2.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 2:
You’re set up in the middle of the tee box, 350 yards away, with the pin on the right.  You hit a nice A1 with backspin that clears the gully and cuts back onto the green.  You make your eagle putt.  Score: -4.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 3:
You float a 2-iron down the hill using no roll, and it sticks close to the pin.  You make your birdie putt.  Score: -5.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 4:
You hit a 3-wood with backspin over the tall grass and stick it short of the bunker.  You nail your approach shot and make the eagle putt.  Score: -7.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 5:
You have a decent tee box and rotate right a couple times to play a big C3 with roll into the fairway.  You carry your approach shot to the green and make the eagle putt.  Score: -9.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 6:
You take aim at a safe spot on the green that’s also pretty close to the pin, and you stick a 3-wood close.  You make your eagle putt.  Score: -11.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 7:
You carry your tee shot safely over the tall grass and stick it close to the hole, where you tap in for birdie.  Score: -12.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 8:
You curve a C3 shot nicely through the neck of the fairway, giving you a nice, open approach shot.  You nail the approach and putt in for eagle.  Score: -14.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 9:
You’re on the left tee box and have a fairly straight look into the green, where the pin is on the right.  You play a small A1-type 3-wood with backspin to hold the center of the green, and you putt in for eagle.  Score: -16.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 10:
You poke a driver with backspin straight ahead into the fat part of the fairway, and you carry your approach safely up to the green.  You make your birdie putt.  Score: -17.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 11:
You’re on the right side of the tee box, shooting into the green on the right.  You play a small hook with backspin using a 3-wood to stick the green, and you make your eagle putt.  Score: -19.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 12:
You take the shortcut up on top of the hill with a 3-wood off the tee, and then you float a 5-wood down to the green.  You make your eagle putt.  Score: -21.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 13:
You thumb an iron to the top part of the sloped green and watch the slope carry the ball down towards the hole.  You make your birdie putt.  Score: -22.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 14:
You hit a 3-wood with backspin into the fat part of the green closest to the pin, and you ram in your eagle putt.  Score: -24.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 15:
You hit an iron off the tee to leave yourself around 240 yards to the pin.  You float a 5-wood over the tall grass and stick it close, where you then make your birdie putt.  Score: -25.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 16:
The wind is helping and you have a decent spot on the tee, so you crank a 400-yard C3 with roll down to the second fairway.  You stick your approach in the middle of the green and make your eagle putt.  Score: -27.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 17:
You club up and play a small hook into the slope of the green with backspin, watching it curl up nicely next to the hole.  You tap in for birdie.  Score: -28.

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade courses bonnie moor
Hole 18:
You take aim at the green with a 3-wood, landing it just over the concrete wall.  Backspin helps you hold the green, and you make your eagle putt.  Score: -30.

So you see, it’s that easy!  Golden Tee Par can set up to be -29 on this course, and if you add one holeout somewhere you’re at -30.

Of course, it’s the combination of getting a GREAT setup like the one above, on a great scoring course like Bonnie Moor, with no mistakes along the way, that makes it possible.  But if you execute every shot and don’t miss any putts, you’re looking at -30 or something close to it!  Most of us cannot execute all these shots and make all our putts, so that’s what separates the pros from the amateurs.  Now you’ll have an idea how a -30 was posted the next time you come across one of these scores on the leaderboard!



Add “The Chush” to your arsenal!

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There’s a new shot being talked about, and it might add an extra holeout or two to your round with enough practice!  It’s called “The Chush”!  There was an article on this but it was removed…basically you pull back to your knees or so and push the ball straight forward with the middle of your palm (or thumbs).  The intent is to keep the ball low and play a big club so that you eliminate wind and get the ball rolling at the cup.  It definitely requires a lot of practice, and I’m still new to it, so I’m not working any wonders with it yet either!  A good note is not to overuse it, so keep that in mind.  I’m also working out how much the rough or other terrain will slow the ball on its way, and I also need to figure out how much loft is going to be on a shot with each club so that I know whether or not the rough will catch the ball or if I’ll carry the green!  In any case, it’s fun to practice this new shot, so give it a try!



Super Albatross!

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For those of you who have never seen a Super Albatross (hole-in-one on a par 5), we’ve got video of one! I have gotten one on Bayou Bay last year but was not able to capture a picture, so here you go — this one is from the 2007 course Glacier Ranch!



Quirky pics from Golden Tee 2009!

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I’ll continue to compile any funny pics you guys send me in this section — a new set of courses brings a new set of quirky pics!

Here is the infamous GT pisser getting WAY too comfortable with the golfer, courtesy of Dannyboy!

Another from Dannyboy features Eversol…a unich?

Check out this sick look Dannyboy got — impossible to drive the green, right?

Dannyboy sick look

Nope!  Check out where he ended up, of all places!  One-in-a-million shot there!

Dannyboy sick look stuck

Here’s a pic from Skipper of using the stick as a tee!

Using stick as tee



Golden Tee Difficulty Levels!

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You learn something new each day.  Golden Tee has 5 levels of difficulty, from 1 being the easiest to 5 being the hardest.  If you own or play the offline version of the game, you can have the difficulty level set at whatever you want!  Be careful braving level 5, though — I hear all your putts roll over unless you apply just the right speed, and the winds on the back nine are all 19+ MPH!

So what about LIVE play?  There’s a default difficulty level set for everyone on live play to make it fair, of course.  Most people say it’s somewhere between a 3 and a 4, so something like a 3.5.

It’d be interesting to try out the different difficulty levels, because you probably could get a lot more practice on ridiculously hard shots.  But, it’s probably just about as good getting all your practice in during the normal Live Play setting!



Eagle Crest Trivia Facts!

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Thanks to Design Master Randy Christopher for supplying us with all the fun facts below!

Hole #1 There are 2 porta-potties to the left of the green in the woods.

Hit the out house and you’ll hear

1) “A fart, a burp and “Come Back Later””

2) “A fart, a burp and “Oh, bad tacos””

3) “A fart and “Hold On””

(All outhouses do this)

Hole #1 There is (1) 8 point buck to the far right of the green in the woods, if

hit, you’ll hear it stomp its hoofs, grunt and moan (or whatever a deer sound is)

Hole #2 The is a golf cart with 1 guy in it in the woods to the right of the

dogleg in the woods, if you hit it, the guy will say “Move On”. (man in golf carts

always say this)

Hole #2 Between the tree and the golf cart, the is a man in a gray shirt standing

facing the tree, if you hit the man, you’ll hear him pissing on the tree. (I’m not

joking it happens and there are two more time in Eagle Crest that I’ve found so

far, I obviously have too much time on my hands)

Hole #2 There is a green lawnmower/tractor in the woods to the right further down

the dogleg. When hit, it makes the sound of a ball hitting a metal cage followed

by an engine choking and sputtering out. (this happens to all lawnmowers that’ll

show up later)

Hole #3 There is (1) 8 point buck in the woods behind the Tee Box, it’s stomps

it’s hoofs, grunts and moans when hit.

Hole #3 There are (2) potta-potties to the right in the woods, same voices as

above when hit.

Hole #3 There is a 2 lane paved car bridge going nowhere and barricaded (no roads

attach to it) to the right rear of the green. Also has to hazard signs on the

barricade.

Hole #4 If you hit the alien space ship, it’s sound like an echoing high pitch

gong ( I can describe it better than that).

Hole #4 If you hit an alien, it’ll say “Take me to your leader”

Hole #4 If you hit the player in the purple shirt by the aliens, he’ll groan.

Hole #4 If you hit the statue of Thomas Jefferson inside the memorial it’ll sound

like hitting a hollow metal statue. (if you’re playing with the aliens, you won’t

have enough strokes to get to the statue)

Hole #4 There are two porta potties to the far right of the Jefferson Memorial,

making same sounds as above.

Hole #5 There is (1) 8 point buck in the woods to the right of the dogleg, snorts

and all

Hole #6 There is a man in a golf cart to the right rear of the green, says “Move

On”. I didn’t think to look for a man peeing cause I didn’t know about it at the

time I found this, but there isn’t a porta potty there, so maybe the guy is behind

the tree.

Hole #7 (Had to use google earth to figure this one out). There is a bridge to

the Left Rear of the Tee. It’s a three lane one way bridge. When you turn around

to look at the bridge, traffic would be coming toward you across the bridge.

Hole #7 There is a man in a golf cart

Hole #7 Two porta potties

Hole #8 Nothing

Hole #9 There is a 2 legged alien ship in the woods, 3 aliens, none with hats,

ship sounds like gong and aliens say take me to your leader.

Hole #9 Behind the green and to the right, there are two “Baggies” with a sign

that says “Today only meet Baggie” 3 balloons, red, green and yellow

Hole #9 There is an LED advertising billboard (I didn’t pay much attention to them

as everyone sees them)

Hole #10 Behind the tee box, the sign says “Today only meet Baggie”

Hole #10 The angled wall is the Veitnam Veterans Memorial. No sounds for hitting it.

Hole #10 Just past the end of the Veitnam Memorial wall and to the left in the

woods there is a man in a golf cart and a man behind the tree peeing. same

sounds as before.

Hole #11 To the left of the bunker there is a lawnmower/tractor with sounds

Hole #11 At the very end of the long fairway there is an 8 point buck

Hole #11 On the island to the right between the fairway and green you’ll find

Jimmy Hoffa’s Cript. Hit it and you’ll hear a stone slab sliding followed by

haunting music.

Hole #12 Shot for the hole in one, ain’t nothing to be found here.

Hole #13 There are (4) 8 point bucks in the woods to the right.

Hole #13 After crossing the road to the second fairway, there is an SUV off to the

right, hit it and it’ll sound the same as hitting the lawnmowers. Further to the

far right is another space ship with no aliens.

Hole #14 In the woods to the right, half way to the fountain, there is a “Bags”

game. Hit it and you’ll hear coins drop in the machine followed by the IT music.

Hole #15 nothing

Hole #16 In the woods to the inside of the left dogleg, there is a man with a

purple shirt laying on the ground, groans when hit.

Hole #16 There is a Brown Brick Castle looking building to the right of the green,

it’s the Smithsonian Institute.

Hole #16 The block building to the left of the green is the Museum of Natural

History.

Hole #17 About half way to the green in the woods deep to the left, there is a man

peeing behind a gray tree. (This was actually the first one I found).

Hole #18 There is a space ship in the woods to the right, no aliens.



GTFan plays in the Chicago Summer Classic

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Well, last weekend I was able to participate in my first Golden Tee tournament!  It was August 23 in Chicago, at the famous Flounder’s bar in Lincoln Park, by Chicago.  Going into this tourney, I’d say my average was still only about -17.  I put up my share of -20s, but I can still have some blow-up holes and have some -14s too.

I arrived Friday evening around 8:00 and saw a handful of guys I recognized from February at the PCC tourney in St. Charles, MO.  0verfiend introduced me to everyone I hadn’t met, including Graig Kinzler (Kinz), who set up this little tourney at this, his home bar.  Before long, Kinz invited me to play a game with him and Chris Litzinger (Litz).  These are 2 of the best players in the world that I’m playing with!  Litz won the 2007 Indy Open and has posted -30 or better on 2 of the 2008 courses, and Kinz has also posted a -30 this year but is also the reigning 2007 World Champion!  So, I’m a little overwhelmed but excited to get this opportunity!

I was pretty excited because I posted a -22 on Summit my first game, which was the best I’ve ever shot on that course!  It certainly helps when you get to hit third behind these guys all game!  I saw all kinds of sick shots during the couple rounds I spun with these guys — Kinz put a shot under a rock on Summit but somehow knew where he could hit it and still land on the frickin’ green, and in the meantime, I watched Litz roll off 6 or 7 straight holes where he got GSPs for landing his approach within 5 feet.  Amazing.  These guys love playing each other because they are at such a high level, so I’m glad I got to play along for a while!

I also got to spin with Mouth, Who Dat, Jimmy Mac, and Somori among others before the tourney started on Saturday.  So I’m already having a great time.  Qualifying started on Saturday around 2:00, where we played each of the 5 courses.  I didn’t do that great, posting scores about average for me.  But I did learn a whole lot, which I’ll talk about in another post!

With 12 people in the tourney, the top 4 got a bye.  I probably qualified 12th, but maybe 11th (I know I was better than one guy there at least, ha).  That paired me with Erik (Strow) Strowbridge, who, as you can imagine, is another one of the world’s top players from Minnesota.  We played Cypress, and this was the highlight of the tournament for me.  I was winning after 10 holes!  But, the back 9 is where the best players make up strokes on the amateurs, and that’s what happened.  Strow took a 1-stroke lead over me going into the last hole, but he missed the green on 18.  It was a tough setup, and I couldn’t land it either.  So that was it — my first bracket match was a close 1-stroke defeat, at -22 to -21!  Still, I was excited hanging that close!

Strow moved on to play Mouth, who is one of the most amazing players I’ve seen.  He takes the least time of anyone to size up his shot, but he’s so damn good.  Anyway, Mouth had a 2-stroke lead going into 18 at Bayou.  Both guys laid up, but Mouth put his approach in the water!  That led to bogey, and Strow birdied to tie it up.  Then Strow went on to upset Mouth by winning the 9-hole playoff.

What that meant for me was that I got to play Mouth, who’s from Naperville, next in the loser bracket.  Great.  We played Summit, and I was within 1 of him after 9 holes, but he blew me out on the back 9.  There was no way I was hanging with him.  He told me he was worried after 9 that I was hanging in, but I don’t know how true that was.

So, that was it for me!  I knew I was going to get smoked, but I went for the experience, and I loved it.  Litz beat Kinz to win the tourney, with Strow 3rd and Mouth 4th.  So, I got a crappy draw, having to play the 3rd and 4th place guys, but I earned that crappy draw.  However, I’m going to take that experience and everything I learned to become a much better player in the long term!



Longest putt this year!

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Congrats to Dannyboy on sinking this monster putt — will it be beaten?

Golden Tee tips tricks hints shortcuts golf game 2007 2008 2009 live arcade long putt



Is your trackball rolling straight?

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If you’re like me, you’ve had to put up with playing on a machine where the ball “pulls” to one side or the other.  So, if the ball pulls left, a normal shot straight forward will get pulled left by the flaw in the dirty trackball or rollers.  And then, to compensate, you have to think before EVERY SHOT to hit the ball forward slightly right of where you’d normally aim.

This also goes for pulling back also, as in this example, the ball would pull right on the pullback.  So, your mentality is to pull back slightly left of where you normally would, and shoot forward slightly right of where you normally would.

This is a pain in the ass, but in my area, the trackballs don’t get a lot of attention from the vendors.  I try to avoid these machines, but I’d rather play a round using a slightly messed up trackball than play no round at all!

In extreme cases, it’s easy to tell which way it’s pulling just by rolling back and forward before you begin.  But for less noticeable cases, or when you’re playing a different machine for the first time, use this test!

On the first tee, pull up the Options and go to Equipment Setup.  Go to the Buy Balls screen.  Now, position the cursor in the middle, dead gap between the first and second panes surrounding the golf ball details.  If you’re hovering over one of the three panes, you’ll see it highlighted, but when you move the cursor to the narrow line in between the panes, nothing will be highlighted.

Now, move the cursor to the top of this dead area, and slowly pull the trackball straight back.  If the cursor trails off to the right or the left, you’ll know the trackball has a pull.  Do the same thing from the bottom, rolling the ball straight forward slowly, and you’ll usually see the pull in the opposite direction going forward.

This test can also be used to determine how accurate you are when pulling straight back or pushing straight forward!  So, if you’re having accuracy problems when shaping shots, go here and make sure your shots back to B or forward to 2 are indeed going where you want.

This was another great tip given to me by Juan Schwartz that you should be able to use to test the trackball on any machine you’ll be using — good luck!



Golden Tee Fan’s PCC Experience!

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Well this is coming a little late — this tourney was a month ago, but I still wanted to give my perspective of the first every Golden Tee tourney I’ve witnessed!

My buddy Matt and I rolled into St. Charles around noon on Saturday. I was concerned about parking and even getting into the bar, but Side Pockets is HUGE! It was one of the coolest sports bars I’ve been in. They took a whole section of the place and hooked up 30 or 40 Golden Tee machines there, and there was still room to move around amongst everyone! The players agreed it was a sweet setup. They also had two machines hooked up to a projector so you could watch the action on the big screen!

I was kind of awestruck for the first hour there. I saw Bernz right away, and then I met Dannyboy, and he pointed me to SeanO, the marketing director at IT who’s been helping support my site! From there I met a TON of players whose names I knew but whose faces I did not — Gopherfan, McCook, Rodney, Skipper, Moy, Miser, Mouth, and lots of other players, even Duffer Dan and Sobe!

After watching the action for a couple hours, Matt and I had to go out and play some GT for ourselves! We hit up a couple different bars during the evening, and then we came back to Side Pockets at night. When tourney play started to wind down, we got the chance to play with the pros! I played rounds with Dannyboy, Skipper, McCook and Rodney, staying till 1:30 in the morning!

Matt and I made it back over to Side Pockets around 11:00 the next day to watch some more action. We stayed till about 1:00 and then hit the road for Peoria! So, we didn’t get to stay to see the winner, but we saw some incredible matches, especially Haas winning an extra-holes round over Feijo that was just incredible.

So, you’d think we’d be burnt out on Golden Tee after that long weekend right? No way! It just made us want to get out and practice all the things we saw from the pros! Here are several things I noticed the pros doing that I don’t do:

1) Very smooth hits on the trackball. You never hear a palm crashing into the console! I also used to bruise my hand on the screen after a follow-through on a power shot, but these guys bend their elbows and have smooth follow-throughs that never make contact with the screen! I’ve since practiced that method and have improved a lot in that area!

2) Pull-backs on almost ALL shots. Some pros don’t do this, but most do. I’d see a shot where I’d just thumb it forward, but these guys have such precise control of their pullbacks that they can pull back on about any shot and still get it to end up right by the hole! I’m sticking to thumbs for now, but it’s easy to see the advantage these guys have there!

3) Deception! Since you’re head-to-head against a guy, you’ll see all kinds of crazy follow-throughs so that your opponent will have no idea how much angle you put on the shot! Of course, that’s bad for observers, but works great for them!

4) Slow pullbacks. Since the game only reads your pullback up to the top of your backswing, why pull back any further? I still pull back kind of fast, but I think that helps me create the angle I want. These guys have great control of the slow pullback.

5) Sick putting and chipping skills! You almost never see a missed putt, and even most chips from around the green go right in! Again, almost ALL of these guys putt with their thumbs, which I don’t do. I’m proud to say I’m a very good palm putter, so I’m not going to make the switch at this point. Still, you can see how these guys don’t give up any strokes around the green!

6) New methods of attacking holes! Everyone has their plan of attack give the hole conditions, but I saw several things I never knew about before. Some of these guys save their secrets for these big tourneys and then bust them out in competition, and you could see how much that paid off!

7) Rituals! Whether it be wearing a glove or wiping your hands on your shirt after every shot, these guys made sure they weren’t going to get a bad hit on the trackball!

To sum it all up, it’s easy to see why these guys are the best. Practice and masterful command of the trackball lead to great scores, scores I don’t know if I’ll ever reach! Right away I was upset that I didn’t enter the tourney, even if I was going to get waxed, because it was so much fun!

Hopefully I’ll get to participate in a tourney experience soon, and I’ll let you know how I fare!



Decoding Golden Tee acronymns

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If you’re fairly new to the game, or even if you aren’t, you can come across acronyms in Golden Tee forums that you have no clue about. I took the liberty of asking about some of them and came up with the following small list. If you know any more, feel free to add a comment to help out the thread!

CTTP — Closest to the Pin
HIO — Hole in One
HNW or HIW — Hole ‘n Win
GIR — Green in Regulation
WSI — Warning, Score Inside
NSFW — Not Safe for Work
DNF — Did not finish
DE — Double eagle
SL — Stroke limit



Quirks in the game

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This section is meant to capture all the quirky or unexpected things you’ve come across while playing the 2008 Golden Tee courses. I’ll also add the quirks that apply to specific holes to my course breakdowns, so that you can know what to expect when checking out each hole!

1) On Summit #7, if it’s icy and you go long past the green on the ice, it’s OB.

2) On Misty #13, there’s a wall on the fringe preventing bump-and-run chips or other shots from rolling up onto the green.

3) On Misty #18, you can get caught underneath a rock in front of the green where you’ll stroke limit.

4) You can hit “invisileaves” on the following courses and holes:

Eagle #17
Bayou #’s 5,8,9,10
Misty #18
Cypress — #2, #4, #5, and a handful of other places

5) On Eagle Crest hole #5, if you drive the green and barely touch the fringe on the bottom close to the sand, and then if you try to putt, it will bounce backward into the sand.

6) On Misty Springs hole #7, if you hit the leaves on the right with a 3-wood on your second shot, it goes right through!

7) Summit #15 – It’s possible to hit into the water (with water sound effect and splash on screen) when it’s ice around the green. However, there’s no penalty. I’m talking about the edges of the ponds around the green. Get too close and you’ll go wet. This would fall into the glitch category.

8) On Summit #13, you can actually hit your drive – on the fly – in between the virtual 2 inch opening between the Bags machine and the house where it will rattle around, give you an Unplayable Lie and drop you on the back rough to essentially give you a 2 stroke penalty.

9) There was once a hole-in-one where the ball sat on the top of the hole and didn’t fall. It was pretty cool…kinda like in real life when the ball is stuck between the pin and the hole, but it wasn’t touching the pin…

10) You can get inside any outhouse and just be stuck for stroke limit.

11) On Eagles #10, there’s an unplayable lie black strip on the left side rough.

12) There are some angled rocks on Summit where if you roll right under them, you can hit through them (they don’t come up as transparent).

13) Just got this one in from Skipper:

Glacier #10, guy went in water, drop was on the sand(?) in front/below of
the big wood wall in front of the green. He had to hit back to the fairway
(170+yds) to try to get back to the green.

For other glitches in the game, check out this link: http://www2.itsgames.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5765&sid=f0dd7224a3ab89e767b0c56788c9316e

Or, if you find any other strange quirks that aren’t necessarily glitches, feel free to post comments here — thanks!