A Weekend in Appenzell

For the past couple of years, I enjoy at least one visit to the canton of Appenzell.

Located in the eastern region of Switzerland, it is one of my favorite spots to come to. As there is many areas in Switzerland that are incredibly beautiful, the Appenzeller Land continues to attract me more than any other place in Switzerland.

Gasthaus Aescher, Appenzeller Land

One of the reasons may be it’s accessibility. It’s easy to get to. And once you are there, it’s approachable. I don’t need to be an alpine expert to find exciting walks in the beautiful setting. People are friendly, and the prices are actually quite reasonable (as far as this goes for a visitor to Switzerland). And all my favorite activities are supported: I can play golf here, go hiking and ride my bicycle as well. Or I can learn about cheese making if I don’t feel like sweating too much.

And then there is the tranquility. While there are tourists around, Appenzell appears a lot less overrun than other parts of the Alps.

This time we stayed at small mountain hotel called Gasthaus Lehmen. While the rooms are small, it is a perfect place to start your hikes towards the Säntis or other points of interest. And if the weather plays along (what it did for us), it is wonderful to sit outside in the evening and enjoy the evening with the good food the folks prepare and a good Appenzell beer.

The last day of the short break we spent on the Waldkirch golf course. It is a nice hilly course, and you have a great few to the Säntis. And for me it was a really nice day: It was the first time that I shot par on 9 holes.

Easter Snow

Last week I was in southern Spain to prepare for the golf season and to take a couple of days off after EclipseCon 2012.

The most discussed topic was the weather: As to be expected the temperature was just between 16 and 20° C, we saw some rain showers and the nights were not as warm as in the mediterranean summer. This is totally in sync with the weather that you can expect at that time of the year, but the complaints were all over the place.

Just not fair, the people said. I have one week of vacation, and then the weather sucks so badly. So the whole resort was full of whining about the luxury problems that the resort’s patron’s. I actually have no complaints. The rainy day we had we took off and spent the better part of the day in Seville. Even on a cloudy afternoon the Alcazar of Seville is worthwhile spending the whole afternoon! And the other days I was working on my golf game, with reasonable success.

And now I’m back home in Germany and went up to Gersfeld for a late Easter celebration with my family. And guess what: It snows! Do I hear complaints?

Forgetting is Costly

Every year the same stupidity.

Golf season starts and I have a hard time to remember what I did right and what I did wrong in the last season. I took notes last year, bit it doesn’t help: The ‘muscle memory’ just fucks up and has lost all its data.

So back to the pro-ette I go and spend a good amount on Euros. She is pleased, and she has expected me already. She says that way she is happy and I am happy. We go through the exact same routine as last spring. And things start to work again, its now only a matter of practicing the same thing over and over. And get some playing practice. And lose a couple of pounds.

So it appears that the weakness of my muscle memory serves a higher purpose.

Barbara, you are so lucky!

Watching McIlroy

The commentator just finished whining that Tiger Woods had to go home today. Golf world will come to an end, if Tiger doesn’t play anymore, nobody will watch anymore and the golf business will fall apart.

Oh well, if the golf world is so stupid, so be it. I haven’t missed Tiger much in the last couple of month, because there was so much to see! And the best is Rory McIlroy. Watching him is fun, he appears to have fun, he plays to win, but he’s also ok if he doesn’t get everything right.

He is having fun competing, he is having fun playing golf, he is even having fun chatting with the by-standers. No idea why they miss Tiger. A guy that is so tense that the gras dries out when he comes to close.

And there’s a bunch of guys out there besides McIlroy that play fantastic golf these days. I don’t miss Tiger too much. If he comes back, ok. But he is by far not as much fun as Rory.

Grip and Stance

Every year the same problem: As spring comes, the small things in my golf technique are completely off.

What to do? Easy: Go back to Ben Hogan’s ‘The Modern Fundamentals of Golf’ and start reading it again. Work yourself through all the lessons, start looking like an idiot to all your family when you watch TV while practicing your grip. But don’t worry about their remarks: They will be proud of you when you come home with all the bowls from the tournaments you won.

Next steps in your season prep:

  • practice short game in every free minute, beware of breaking to much glas in the house
  • whine in public that you didn’t have a chance to do all the strength training that you had wished to do (and blame your wife, your children and your dog that they didn’t give you the spare time)

This will help you to catch a good season start. If not, contact your local pro and give him some money for changing your swing (again!) based on the current Golf Magazine that he has just read.