Playing Golf, and Counting Steps, With a Microsoft Band

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This past spring, eleven friends and I took a week-long golf trip to Ireland. Shortly before we left, Microsoft sent us four Band 2 activity trackers to field-test. Addison, Matt, Peter, and I wore them for the entire trip, then took them home. I’ve worn mine every day since we got back, and the other guys have worn theirs, too. One thing I like about the Band is that it’s sleek and futuristic-looking — a major difference from the Apple Watch, which to me looks like it was designed for preschoolers: My First Wristwatch. You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

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Linksland is Not Called Linksland Because It “Links the Town to the Sea”

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Despite what television announcers sometimes say (ahem), linksland is not called linksland because it “links the town to the sea.” Nor is “links” as a synonym for “golf course.” You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

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The Other Major Tournament at Royal Troon

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The southernmost end of the championship course at Royal Troon directly abuts a trailer park, called the Prestwick Holiday Park—which also separates Troon from Prestwick Golf Club. In fact, the trailer park is so close to the course that when you tee off on the tenth hole you practically hang your rear end over the fence. (In both the U.K. and Ireland, a surprising amount of what looks to an American like prime seaside real estate is occupied by mobile homes and RVs.)

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You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

Troon is a Time-travel Wormhole to Machrihanish

P1120352Machrihanish is a legendary links course on the Kintyre Peninsula, in western Scotland, but it’s tricky to get to. The drive from Glasgow Airport can take more than three hours, with little or no hope of golf along the way. But there’s a shortcut if you do what 11 friends and I did in 2014. You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

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Open Countdown: Troon, Foursomes, Kümmel, and the Queen

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Foursomes is a game in which two golfers take turns playing the same ball. In the United States, it’s usually called Scotch foursomes or alternate shot, and it’s often a prelude to divorce. (The great British golf correspondent Henry Longhurst once recounted, with disapproval, an old joke about a male golfer who was “alternately playing and kicking his ball” because he was “practicing for the mixed foursomes.”) Foursomes moves fast, and hitting just half the shots ensures that someone in the group always has a hand free to hold the kümmel, a clear, anise-and-fennel-flavored alcoholic beverage, which is sometimes called the golfer’s liqueur and is a popular drink at Troon. You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

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Back-Roads Scotland: Up the Coast From the Scottish Open

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The Scottish Open was just held at Castle Stuart Golf Links, in Inverness, in the Scottish Highlands. About an hour farther to the north is Tarbat Golf Club, in the microscopic village of Portmahomack. I played a round there in 2007, and, although I wouldn’t suggest planning a trip around it, if you happen to be in the area you could do worse than stop by. You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

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This is the Wrong Way to Take Divots on the Driving Range

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My home course has a terrific practice area, which our greens crew has built and steadily improved over many years. I never practice, but other people do, and recently Gary, our terrific superintendent, reported that repairing the damage they do to the range was becoming more time-consuming than taking care of our fairways and greens. You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

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Backyard Golf: Broken Windows and Divot Equilibrium

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 25: A can on the course has its window smashed by a golf ball during the third round of The KLM Open at Kennemer Golf & Country Club on August 25, 2007 in Zandvoort, Netherlands. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

A number of years ago, I paid two men a thousand dollars to repair broken windows in my house. The men worked silently for a while. Then one of them said, “If you don’t mind my asking, how did all this glass get broken?”

“Oh, you know—loose stones, disoriented birds, that sort of thing,” I said. The men gave me a long look before going back to work.

You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

 

A Video Message to a Golf Buddy Far Away

A long-time member of the Sunday Morning Group celebrated his 69th birthday in part by beginning chemotherapy. Once that’s finished, a surgeon will remove his bladder and replace it with a new one, fashioned from part of his small intestine. You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.Screenshot 2016-06-30 12.37.12

My Friends and I Went to Yale (for One Day)

Not long ago, two honorary members of the Sunday Morning Group invited the rest of us to play a round on Yale University’s golf course, whose official name is the Course at Yale. (The U.S.G.A. lists Yale on its GHIN handicap website under “T,” for “the”—an approach to alphabetization that may not be entirely unrelated to the rules mess at this year’s U.S. Open.) Seventeen of us accepted the invitation, and the sign below greeted us when we arrived (I stole it on our way out, so that we could hang it in our locker room at home):

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You can read more at this blog’s official home, on the Golf Digest website. And if you “subscribe” to myusualgame.com, by filling in your email address in the blank on the right side of this page, you’ll be notified every time I post something new. And, if you’re willing to wait a month or so, you can find complete versions of all my old posts on this site, too, by paging down until you reach them.

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