Sunday, December 26, 2010

Winning the Powerball: Your Odds are Better Playing Golf

(image from

After a night of festivities with family and friends, we sat around the tv waiting to see the Powerball numbers recited on the news.  One of the dads was kind enough to buy everyone at the Christmas party a Powerball ticket.  The tickets sparked conversation: "Would you take the lump sum or would you take the yearly payments?" "How much would you share with the group?"  "Where would you travel?"  You could feel the excitement in the air as the screen revealed the numbers.  "Damnit, I didn't get a single number right!" I shouted.  My brother was the only lucky one from the group, he had the Powerball number correct which is worth $3, he continued to brag the rest of the night.  But truthfully, we know its hard as hell to win the Powerball.  The lottery website lists the odds of winning at 1 in 195 million, essentially it's like picking someone at random from the United States.  While thinking about the odds of winning, I couldn't help but think about how golf odds appear relative to such a large number.

For citation lovers, I will use About as the source of golf odds:

-Average player making a hole-in-one on an average par 3: 1 in 12,000
-Average player making a hole-in-one on a 200 yard par 3: 1 in 150,000
-Odds of making a double eagle on a par 5: 1 in 1,000,000
-One player making two holes-in-one during the same round: 1 in 67,000,000

On the bottom of the spectrum, the average golfer is 16 times more likely to hit a hole in one on a par 3 than win the jackpot.  While on the opposite side of the spectrum, the average golfer is 3 times more likely to make 2 holes in one during the same round than win the jackpot.  Moral of the story: When deciding to spend $50, choose a round of golf instead of 50 lottery tickets, you'll have better expected value!

Keep on swingin,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Last Minute Christmas List Ideas: Curiously Awesome Golf Gifts from Vat19

Image from

If you are like me, you procrastinated on Christmas shopping and now only 10 days before the big day to find gifts. Every year I feel the gifts I buy for my family are boring: an album, clothing, gift card etc. Luckily, this year I was able to find the awesome site They have a site dedicated to fun and extraordinary products you can't find at your average store. It's like an online Fun Shop or Spencer's Gifts, I used to spend alot of mall time in these stores growing up. Anyways, if you dig deeper within the site you can find a category devoted to Vat19 Golf Products. A total of 12 items on the page, all reasonably priced and only 1 is out of stock, not bad given the season. I highly recommend you buy the golfer in your family one of these gifts but don't forget to check out the rest of Vat19. Some of my favorites include: 3 pound gummy worm and a Pac-Man stapler. I wish everyone the best of luck finding the perfect gift. Mother Nature was generous this past week, giving Minnesota the gift of 2 ft of snow and a broken Metrodome. I'm asking Santa buy me a vacation someplace warm to play golf for a week! haha

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!!

Keep on swingin,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Off-Season Golf Training: How to Increase Flexibility and Protect Muscle Mass

(Image courtesy of

Short Answer:
Stay active...inactivity causes decrease in muscle mass and cardiovascular endurance

Detailed Answer:
Hit the Gym! Do me a favor, get up off your lazy butt and locate a Life Time Fitness or an equally accommodating and most likely cheaper club.

My #1 rule is stretch before any physical activity. I'm not a fan of muscle cramping or stiffness. In essence, I'm preparing for an injury-free future by routinely stretching while I'm young. The next category is cardio: I want to build my cardio enough so that walking up a flight of stairs doesn't leave me calling for a respirator. I like to challenge my heart muscle by running long distances with a mix of sprinting. If you don't think cardio is important, just read how Tiger Woods stays fit. I know how embarrassing it can be to walk 18 holes and feel ready for a nap, believe me, I'VE BEEN THERE. Last category is weight training: where I lift weights to increase or maintain critical golf related muscle mass. I am a big fan of taking a drive down the fairway 300 yards and I'm not referring to a motorized golf cart. With a consistent off-season workout plan, I can fly into the swinging season with swagger!

My plan includes:

Pre-workout stretches, muscle group (each done for 10 seconds)
Raise foot forward at angle against wall, calves
Grab ankle and make it touch your back, quads
Stand with feet spread and touch each foot including the ground, hamstrings
Bring one arm at a time across the body and hold, triceps
Spin arms like a windmill, deltoids

Walk a few laps to get the blood pumping
Jog a mile then walk 2 laps for cool down
Run 75% full speed for 2-3 laps
Walk 2 laps for cool down
Run 100% full speed for 1 lap
Walk 1 lap for cool down
Repeat last two steps for extended period if necessary

Weight training, golf benefits:

Squats for increasing power and balance during golf swing
Sitting and holding a medicine ball while twisting from left to right for lower back speed through impact
Free weights focusing on biceps curls, forearm curls for better grip
Machine lat pull-downs and rowing for upper body equilibrium

Post-workout I use the advice of my friend Eric at Power Source Nutrition and Supplements in Bloomington and consume a blend of protein and carbohydrates. He says consuming high amounts of protein after a workout session isn't enough, you also need carbohydrates to feed the muscles. He takes pride in his store and always puts his customer service skills and product knowledge first.

Let me know how you work out at the gym preparing for next golf season in the comments below!

Keep on swingin,


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Extremely Rough Copy of Golfing with my Dad

Ideas for Improvements: Buy an HD camcorder for higher quality recording. Buy a tripod for balance and less shake. More commentary on each decision per shot.

The Breakdown
Hole 9: 510 yard Par 5

Teeshot -
Dad: Hit driver left into the trees
Me: Hit 3 wood into fairway next to bunker

Second Shot -
Dad:Took unplayable lie, dropped ball and punched out into the fairway for his 3rd shot
Me: From 250yds, Hit 3 wood again aiming too far right with a slice, ball ends up in right pine-straw

Approach -
Dad: From 175yds, Hit 5 iron on the left center of green
Me: From about 50yds, Hit 4 iron punch too hard and over the green

Chipping -
Dad: N/A
Me: Use sand wedge from about 15yds, landing the ball short and rolling onto the green

Putting -
Dad: From left center of green, the putt breaks left to right and leaves himself about 1 ft left, he taps in for bogey
Me: Have an uphill, left to right breaking putt for par, hit it with enough speed but miss by an inch on the left, I tap in for bogey

Final Thoughts -
We both got into trouble on this hole. For my Dad, his trouble came right off the tee shot when he drove it out of play and needed a drop. My trouble came after my second shot because I left myself with a bad angle in the pine-straw for the approach. When I punched out, I needed to have the ball land short of the green and roll up, instead my shot landed on the edge of the green and rolled through. I'm glad I gave myself a go at par, especially when I'm putting up hill, I didn't want to leave it short.

Final Score -
Dad: 6
Me: 6

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Status of my Golf Instructions Blog

In two weeks, my Dad and I are traveling down to South Carolina to play some golf and see relatives. While we are down there, I plan to implement my latest and greatest idea for making my blog more interesting. I'm turning this blog into a hybrid: personal instruction videos and articles mixed with episodes of game-play and commentary.

We are calling the show: Golfing with my Dad. My Dad and I will have the chance to prove we can play golf (not just blowing smoke) and work through our thought processes to provide something like "transparency" behind course management. We will switch off recording each other during the shot, when it's our turn to play. I imagine the episodes to have the feel of Playing Lessons from the Pros without the professional golfers and expensive production crew. In other words, the show should be a cheaper, home-video amateur version.

With the amount of times we golf during the spring and summer, I expect to catalog at least 5 courses, shooting low because if we go over 5, everyone is happy.
I talked with my Dad and he is "in" to play twice a week, assuming my Mom lets him. We have alot of fun competing on the golf course and I hope you enjoy watching us go at it!

Keep Swingin,


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