The Happy Golfer

A great first week!
March 29, 2009, 11:31 pm
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The Happy Golf has completed the first week of his adventure is indeed still happy! Nick has been checking in nightly with his wife, Fran, and everything is going great. He played his first week of daily rounds in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. He’ll play another round in New Mexico on Monday before heading on to Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. For those who have not found it, check out the link at left under Blogroll and click on “Where is Nick?” to track his daily schedule.

On Friday, March 27, after a snowy night and 18 degree temperatures, Nick played a round in Cortez, Colorado. He had to wait a while for the course to open; the greens were covered with snow in the early morning hours! The water line in the Winnebago View was also frozen, and the windows were covered with frost, but not much deters The Happy Golf. He’s still on schedule to meet his goal of 96 rounds in 96 days.

The Spot is doing its job – at least when Nick remembers to push the button, his wife says – and the technology is keeping his family informed of his latitude and longitude and assuring them that he’s OK.

Nick says he has met many wonderful people along the way in just the first week, including a group of lady golfers who were playing their way across the U.S. The pros at each course have been extremely cordial; one even invited Nick to plug into the clubhouse and spend the night at the course rather than a campground.

He reports that his Callaway clubs, shoes and balls are helping keep his scores low, and says his dapper Callaway outfits will probably start some new trends. Keep up your words of encouragement and join him for a round if you can!


He’s off and running!
March 23, 2009, 2:18 pm
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The Happy Golfer with his new Callaway gear

The Happy Golfer with his new Callaway gear

An update from Fran, Nick’s wife: After a small dinner party with family and close golfer pals Friday evening, The Happy Golfer was ready to pack up the Winnebago View and hit the road on Sunday. Saturday rolled around and he watched youngest grandson David play basketball, taking along #3 grandson, Nicholas, his namesake was visiting from San Francisco. Nick was fully intending to watch grandson #2, also Nicholas, (we’re Greek you know,) play baseball that afternoon, but preparations for his adventure kept him away.

Saturday evening, sons Dean and Kraig and their families, along with sister Sophia, came to wish him safe travels. Kraig, who has always been into gadgets and a loving son, brought his dad Spot – not a dog – a satellite personal traveler so that he can contact us daily to tell us he is OK. After dinner, the two of them sat at the table to program Spot. That mission began at 9 p.m.; at 10:30 p.m. they were still at it. Nick had promised us he would get to bed by 9 p.m. since he planned to leave at 4:30 the next morning. In the meantime, the three grandsons were fascinated by Spot, so Nick contacted them on cell phones. By then, it was nearing 11 p.m. We’d all received messages from Spot assuring us that Nick was OK, which we knew because he was sitting right next to us!

Sunday morning, true to his word, Nick was ready to head for Kingman, AZ at 4:30, with Spot at his side, ready to begin his adventure. Will he remember to put Spot into his Callaway golf bag so that he can contact us? Did he have a good round in Kingman? What time did he arrive in Las Vegas to prepare for the next day’s round? We’ll do a Spot check to find out and let you know!

Ready to Navigate
March 18, 2009, 3:26 pm
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Hi everyone. This is Fran, Nick’s wife, updating you on preparations for his adventure. For this trip, Nick had to purchase a GPS. From the “Set Up and Go” mannual, p. 4, step 3, “Acquire Satellites” section; before the Nuvi portable GPS navigator can find your current location and navigate a route, you must do the following: 1. Go outdoors to and open area, away from tall buildings and trees, and, 2. turn on the Nuvi. Acquiring satellites can take a few minutes … but as you can see from the photo, Nick has accomplished his goal. He said it was harder than a 2-foot putt! 

The Happy Golfer is ready to hit the road

The Happy Golfer is ready to hit the road




New Callaway Sticks

I have played four rounds of golf with my new Callaway sticks, and my handicap has gone down 2.1 strokes!

At my club fitting at Callaway in Carlsbad, Calif., fitting specialist Marc Zien said, “Nick, I want you to lower your right shoulder and take the club – a six iron – back slightly inside; make your shoulder turn and hit it.” I did, over and over and over. I thought there must be something wrong with the machine; it showed 138 yard carry, 145 yards with roll, and a left-to-right flight pattern. Marc repeated, “Try it again. And again and again.”

“What is going on?” I thought. I hit my old, 12-year-old Callaway Big Bertha 6-iron 155 carry, 162 with roll, when I close the face. Then Marc told me, “Stand a little more upright and have your toes in a little closer to the ball.”

After each shot in the fitting room we would get feedback on clubhead speed, miles per hour, ball speed, miles per hour, launch angle, spin rate, flight pattern – their machine will tell you a percentage of your efficiency. Mine was about 82-83 percent. Marc changed me to a more upright face club, and magically, my distance went to 155 yards with roll and 91 percent efficiency.

Move up to driver. Bad fades; so bad it’s called a slice. 196 yards and a left-to- right pattern; Marc feels we should go to the FT-9 Driver head, 9 degrees, with a stiff shaft and 1 degree closed. I, for some reason, seemed to nail it 225 yards. That is good for me, with 94-96 percent efficiency on the computer chart.

For the rest of the long clubs, the new Big Bertha Diablo 3- and 5-woods, and Big Bertha Diablo 21 degree and 24 degree rescue clubs. The clubs seemed very light in my hands – this is the good part – Marc asked me to look at my grip. I held the driver in both hands and he said, “Take your right hand off the grip.” He told me that my middle and first fingers are slightly, ever so slightly, touching the lower fat parts of my thumb pad. To fix this, he suggested that we wrap the shaft with five rolls of tape instead of two before putting the grips on. Works for me!

Oh, I forgot the best part…all the time, over two hours, while trying my best to follow Marc’s instructions, I am hitting into the net and the screen behind it is the finishing hole, the 18th hole, at Pebble Beach. Then he said, “Hit a few wedges; gap, sand and lob.” You won’t believe how easy it is to swing these X-Forged Wedges. Marc suggested steel shafts and graphite on the Fusion FT Irons, 5-pw. Marc said, “Nick, I don’t want to wear you out before you start on your trip. Let’s go downstairs and look at putters.”

Marc mentioned that he was going to play in an important tournament over the weekend. I found out on Tuesday that he won. Why doesn’t that surprise me? I just wonder, how many rolls of tape does he have on his grips?

The Happy Golfer with Callaway fitting specialist Mark Zien

The Happy Golfer with Callaway fitting specialist Marc Zien

My Plan
March 16, 2009, 5:06 pm
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96 Rounds in 96 Days in 48 States!

My plan is to play two rounds of golf in all 48 contiguous United States. I will drive my Winnebago View, which my son Dean aka “Ultramarathon Man” – not to be confused with son Kraig, the volleyball player – refers to as the Mother Ship, staying at private and state RV parks and walking, yes walking not riding in golf  carts, each of the 96 rounds.

Golf is my passion
March 13, 2009, 3:52 pm
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My name is Nick Karnazes; in May of this year I will be 73 years young. When I was 21 years old I played on the El Camino College golf team. In 1973 I played in the L.A. Open. Golf is my passion; having played 55 years is proof. I can only play till it gets dark.

Hello world!
March 11, 2009, 3:56 pm
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Happy Golfer Tees UpI am Nick Karnazes, The Happy Golfer. I’m happy to be here to share my adventure with you! I will play 96 rounds in 96 days in 48 states, and I will blog about my trip here. Check out the dates and locations where I will play with my new Callaway clubs by clicking on the “Where is Nick?” link on my blog.