Thursday, December 21, 2006

Golf Balls

My new hobby is searching for golf balls on rainy days when I have nothing better to do. There are 5 golf courses within 4 1/2 miles of my house so I am not far from easy action. I average about 1 found ball for every 2 minutes in the woods. In 2 hours I usually find 60-75. Rainy days are best because there are few on no golfers on the courses. I have all of the water proof, breathable gore-tex gear so the rain is not a problem for me. The winter is the best time of year to search because in the warm months the snakes, ticks and chiggers make it too interesting. The thickest, thorniest, steepest and rockiest places, where most people would not go, is where I find the most golf balls. But it is amazing how many balls are just out in the open right inside the woods.

Since I now have a garage full of golf balls I was trying to decide which ones I should use. After hours on the web and reading numerous articles I have come up with the following conclusions.

The best balls for you are determined largely by your swing speed. Many pro shops or anyone who makes clubs will probably have a swing speed meter. Your swing speed will also determine which clubs are best for you (but then that is another issue).

Unless you are shooting 80 or under for 18 holes (this probably doesn't include many people reading this blog) you should probably be using a 2-piece ball with below average spin and low compression. The low compression gives most of us with our less than 100 mph swing speeds greater distance, and the below average spin gives our amateur form straighter drives because of less slice or hook.

Those over $50 per dozen Titleist Pro V1’s and Nike One’s that the pros use will actually give most of us much less distance and much more slice. Unless your swing speed is over 100 and preferably 115 or greater, most of us can’t take advantage of these balls. They will actually hurt your game.

Here are the best balls to use:

Swing speed under 75 mph

Titleist DT So Lo
Maxfli Noodle
Precept Laddie
Nike Mojo
Callaway Big Bertha-red or blue

Swing Speed 75-100 mph

Titleist NXT
Nike Power Distance
Nike Power Soft
Maxfli Noodle Ice
Top Flight Quartz
Callaway Hot
Some articles say the Pinnacle Exception and Gold may be OK. Some say to avoid all Pinnacles.

Only for those with 100+ mph swing speed

Titleist ProV1
Nike One
Nike Platinum
Callaway HX Tour
Maxfli Black Max
Bridgestone B-330

Some articles say to never use Top Flight XL’s, 2000’s, or 3000’s or any Pinnacles. This is very interesting since Top Flights are the balls that I find in the woods the most… far. If you need some Top Flights, give me a call. Then when your Top Flight XL 2000 spins into the woods it will give me something to find on the next rainy day.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Winter Bluebirds

If you thought that Bluebirds fly south for the winter....they don't. At least not around here, and not in Ohio either.

The bluebird at left is sitting on the edge of the bluebird feeding tray that I built to attach to our deck railing. The doggone mealworms didn't like to hang around too long waiting to get eaten and they would crawl off of the railing. This new feeding tray makes it a little harder for the little fellows to get away. We also put cut up raisins and cranberries on the tray for the bluebirds.

The first time I realized that bluebirds stay for the winter was about 5 years ago while we were in Ohio at Christmastime. I was out hiking in the snow in the woods and saw several bluebirds. When I got back to Texas after Christmas I made a couple of bluebird houses for my daughter in Ohio and she raised babies in her backyard the first summer. After some trials and tribulations with those nasty House Sparrows, she raised more bluebirds this year.

We had one pair of bluebirds raise two seperate nests of babies this right after the other. Now we have up to 6 bluebirds dropping in about 2 or 3 times a day for mealworms and berries. We can't tell if our daily visitors are the parents or all just the teenagers since the babies are all grown up now and they all have their adult plumage.

Bluebirds normally eat insects in the warm months and whatever berries they can find in the cold months. It must be a real treat for them to find insects (the mealworms) this time of year. They always eat the mealworms first and then come back later for the berries.

This picture was taken into the sun so the colors don't show up very vividly, but the pose is exactly like the one in a framed picture that our next door neighbor (soon to be not done yet) gave us. Their picture is better, but I like the 'here's looking at you' pose.

Even though the bluebirds obviously don't nest in the winter, we keep the bluebird box up since we have read that on very cold nights as many as 8 or 10 bluebirds will crowd into a bluebird box to huddle together for warmth. With the temperature scheduled to drop to 13 tonight, this might be one of those times.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Run Bucky, run!

Tthis picture was taken about a week ago while hiking in the woods near my house. It is a buck but I couldn't tell how many points. Not too many, probably about 4, is my guess. This picture was taken a few days before the beginning of deer season in Tennessee. But if he stays in the Fairfield Glade area this deer should be relatively safe. I say "relatively" because even though hunting is prohibited in Fairfield Glade, there are a few local Tennessee boys who have been known to try to shoot a deer along the roads from their car.

Last winter I found a few strands of deer hair and some blood on the road not far from my house. I called the local police because they had told me previously that they were trying to catch a poacher who would drive the roads and shoot from his truck (a grey GMC). I thought that I was Mr. CSI Tennessee (Crime Scene Investigator). But the officer told me that it was a police car that collided with the deer and not a shooting. It's kind of ironic that the police trying to stop a poacher from killing deer would run over one with their cruiser. Life is tough for a deer.