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A thread about Kirke: a return to Medinah!


GolfSpy MPR
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2 hours ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

No, as I noted: no one signed scorecards. I've never been to one of these events before, so I don't know if that's normal or atypical. But Kirke turned in the card for the boy whose round he was recording, and the director just entered the scores. The other kid never reviewed it. It was the same for each boy.

Is that still a Covid thing, signing/handling cards?

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6 minutes ago, Rickp said:

Is that still a Covid thing, signing/handling cards?

It's entirely possible. Like I said, not having played an event on this tour before, I don't have a before to compare it to.

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Good start to the summer @Kirke!

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5 hours ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

TOURNAMENT RECAP

Upper Peninsula Golf Association Junior Tour

Event 1: Marquette Country Club

I've been looking forward to this event since I saw the UPGA Junior Tour calendar, based not a little on Andy Johnson's (of The Fried Egg) breakdown of the history and architecture of the Marquette Country Club. Side note: the UPGA Junior Tour does things right: $20, free bag of balls for the range, and lunch.

Kirke and I arrived an hour or so before his 11:00am tee time. That meant we had to leave about 6:30am, to account not only for the 2.5 hour drive but also the time zone change.

On arrival, Kirke went directly to the practice green. He learned quickly that the greens here were a bit faster than home, but definitely more subtle. It took him a bit to adjust, not so much to the side-to-side break, but to the uphill and downhill within a putt.

His range session was solid but not spectacular.

The first big twist came when we arrived at the first tee: the rules don't permit caddies. I don't think anything I received told me about that, and so I was a little bothered. We hadn't brought along the pullcart my dad modified for Kirke's bag, simply because when I caddie for him, I just carry his bag. Happily, the course had a pullcart they let Kirke borrow. But there was one more issue: apparently, Kirke hasn't learned yet how to use a rangefinder. For most of his rounds, he has a GPS watch strapped to his bag. Again, we didn't bring that because we didn't think he'd use it. So he was back to old school golf: sprinkler heads and eyeballing distances on a course he never played before.

Kirke's age group was 8-9 year olds, and while I don't know the ages of the other boys, Kirke was the smallest of them:

20210615_114859~2.jpg

It also turns out that the other three boys 1) were the entire field that Kirke was playing against and 2) were good friends who regularly play together, often at this course.

I never saw the scorecard (that no caddying thing!), but I know the course was setup really short for this group, much shorter than Kirke is used to playing.

On the first hole, Kirke hit first and hit a solid drive. Each of the other three guys hit it past him, one (if I remember correctly) with an iron off the tee. After realizing that he couldn't figure out the rangefinder, Kirke just grabbed the club he thought best for his approach; he left it about 20 or so feet shot, but after the other boys hit, Kirke was closest to the pin. This ended up being a theme of the day. It wasn't just that Kirke wedged and putted well, but his approach game is a big part of compensating for not being the longest in his age group off the tee.

Unfortunately, after rolling his first putt about three feet past the hole, he missed the comebacker, three-putting the first green. But then he did it again on the second hole. For what it's worth, Kirke doesn't three putt terribly often; opening with two straight three putts is very out of character. At this point, he was about a stroke back in his group.

He pulled things together on the next two holes: green in two and two putts. (Somehow, the official scoring has him with a 5 on the 4th hole; we're pretty sure that's a mistake. Each kid kept another boy's scorecard [and no one had to sign scorecards].)

The fifth hole began OK: it was about an 85 yard par 3, but the flag was way in the back of the green. Kirke was again closest to the pin, but he was stil at least 40' short. But then he hit this gem of a lag putt:

It probably finished 3' from the cup. But what might have been a stress-free par evaporated: lip out, lip out, tap in. Double bogey.

Without question, this turned into the moment I was most proud of Kirke. For a brief instant, his hold and shoulders dropped. But he recovered almost instantly and rejoined his new buddies walking to the next hole.

The 6th was set as a 115 yard par 4 (again, really short, even for Kirke). He pulled his fairway wood and hit the shot of the day: a gorgeous little draw that caught a slope, scared the hole, and finished about 2.5' behind the cup. I went bonkers. He rolled in the putt for an eagle, erasing the double on the previous hole.

He cruised the rest of the round. The seventh is a beautiful tiny par 3. He tugged his tee shot and missed the green, but deftly got up and down for par. On the eighth, he bombed a drive into a greenside bunker. I got to his ball first and saw he was sitting on a downhill lie, but kept to the rules and didn't say anything to him. He tried fighting the slope and caught it heavy, failing to get out of the bunker. But he splashed the next one out nicely and 2 putted for a bogey. A stress free regulation par on the next hole, and he had secured his first tournament win!

20210615_131541.jpg

20210615_131843.jpg

Obviously, I'm proud of this kid. I'm glad he played good golf. But I'm especially delighted to see him not get down after the 4 putt, but instead bounce back strong. And I was delighted to watch him have fun playing golf with other kids his age (not something he often gets to do here locally).

This morning, he and my wife left to head to his Local Qualifier for DCP. I'll report back on that when they return.

 

3 hours ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

Back to back competitions. Back to back first place finishes:

IMG_20210616_123226.jpg

Kirke is through Local qualifying and on to the Sub-Regional round!

Way to go Kirke!!! 2 great accomplishments, and hope to see you on TV at the DCP Finals in Augusta. 

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Well done Kirke!

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17 minutes ago, Shankster said:

You’ll have to start calling him (insert large land animal name here) as a nickname.

I here Tigers are cool.  Lion is taken.  Perhaps Some Midwestern mammal?
 

Roo?  Yeah, that isn’t Midwestern.

I'm partial to wolverines.

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Congratulations Kirke!  That is some great golf.  I may have missed it but how do they set the course up for this age group; yardage and any other special rules?

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Working on Kirke's swing contest video. Here's where it stands so far, about halfway done:

I also thought this was interesting: one of the videos we shot this year is the same club (hybrid) and hole as last year's video. Here are Kirke's age 7 and 8 swings side by side:

 

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The next two events on Kirke's calendar: tournaments this upcoming Monday and the following Monday from the UPGA Junior Tour.

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This is awesome stuff.

Remind me, how old is Kirke?  And, on average, on a well struck drive how far is he hitting it?

That DCP scoresheet would make it look like he ran away with it at the local level; do I read that right?  Where did he seem to really have an edge on the competition?

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9 minutes ago, Getoffmylawn said:

This is awesome stuff.

Remind me, how old is Kirke?  And, on average, on a well struck drive how far is he hitting it?

That DCP scoresheet would make it look like he ran away with it at the local level; do I read that right?  Where did he seem to really have an edge on the competition?

Kirke is 8; he turns 9 at the end of the year.

As for driving distance, it's funny. At the beginning of this season, it almost seemed like he lost distance compared to last year. He was getting really frustrated. Using the US Kids recommended distances, his course got 300 yards longer over the winter. That would be challenging for any of us, but especially so when he's going from 1,500 to 1,800. Imagine lengthening your course by 20%; if you play at 6,500 yards, you'd be moving to 7,800 (the tips at Kiawah).

So not only did his course get longer, but despite doing a bunch of speed training work, he seemed to be hitting the ball way less efficiently. He also decided to tee the ball really high for a while, leading to a bunch of high floaters, almost pop ups.

Somehow, over the last month or so, he's totally turned it around. He's really swinging the club fast and hitting the ball really solid. Check out this motion:

So that's a long winded answer. What I'd say is that he pretty comfortably drives the ball 135+. He's had a couple when conditions were just right that got him out to 160.

As for DCP: the field in his local this year (all due regard to the other boys) wasn't terribly strong. I may have posted this here: Kirke's first round score two years ago, when he was 7, would have taken first. Two years, ago, he finished T3 and was eliminated on the tiebreak.

So I expect that the next round will be much more difficult. I don't think Kirke is going to be as long as the longest drivers in his age group, although he did finish second out of five in driving despite getting zero points on one drive that bounced OB. In general, in a stronger field, I'd expect him to rack up points in putting, do very well in chipping, and then be about average in driving.

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3 hours ago, GolfSpy MPR said:

Tournament 2: Timber Stone Golf Course, Iron Mountain, MI

Kirke's tee time was 8:00am; that meant that accounting for the two hour drive, I was up before 5 this morning. On the plus side, the course is in central time; the eastern time courses are real killers when the tee time is early. For this trip, Christopher came along to join Kirke's fan club.

Upon arrival, we found out two things. The first is that there weren't many kids at all at this event. The second is that there was no one else in Kirke's age group. The very young man who was running the event hadn't set out special tees for the youngest players (I bear him no ill will at all; it sounds like this was dropped in his lap last minute).

So that meant Kirke would either play in a tournament by himself from the 150 stakes (or something like that), or go up an age group. The youngest group they planned for was just playing the most forward course tees.

I need you to grasp how big a deal that is. Kirke's home yardage, based on the US Kids recommendations, is 1,800 for nine holes. The most forward tees at Timber Stone are just under 2,600 yards. Take your normal yardage and add 40% to it and let me know what you're feeling! 🙂

Nonetheless, Kirke and I decided to go for it. He'd win his age group by default, and he'd at least have other kids playing the same course as he was. Here was the group he was playing with:

20210705_104713.jpg

The tallest kid was playing a few sets of tees back. But the other three were playing from the same tees as Kirke. I'm gonna guess that they're all at least 11?

As expected, it was a challenging round. Kirke started off double/double. He continued to grind. He bogeyed a couple of holes. I thought things were really going to go off the rails at holes 6 and 7, where he went quad then triple. But he made a really nice par on a 135-yard par 3 at 8.

He ended up finishing with a 17-over 53. In the middle of the round, I was hoping he'd take a run at breaking 50. Nonetheless, it was an amazing accomplishment, considering the distance he was playing from.

So when we got back to the clubhouse and turned in our cards, it turns out that Kirke not only won his age group (by default), but he also bested the older boys who were playing from the same tees:

20210705_105921.jpg

So far, then, that makes two tournaments and two wins for Kirke this season. He's got another event next Monday. Definitely hoping for better turnout and a course set up for him, but whatever happens, we'll keep having fun.

Well done Kirke👍

Edited by Rickp
Added e end of Kirke, autocorrect!
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  • GolfSpy MPR changed the title to A thread about Kirke: a return to Medinah!

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