Golfing at Arrowood Golf Course on May 23 or Why You Shouldn’t Look At Your Score

Went with my brothers-in-law and my father-in-law. 1:30pm tee time that got moved up about 9 minutes because we were ready and the people behind us were not

I warmed up putts (maybe 70 putts) and full swings (45 or so) but didn’t get the chipping practice in I wanted to. On the range, we were hitting on mats which never does me good. I hit my pitch shots well but my full swings, especially with my 4hy were not good.

Round goals:

  • Have fun. Remember this is your leisure time so you’re already doing well.
  • Shoot 107 or better
  • Play like you practiced on Sunday 5/16!
  • Have a chance at Par on a Par 5
  • Get it on the green!
  • Have a chance at bogey on hole 13. 
  • Avoid the water on 16.
  • DON’T CHECK YOUR SCORE UNTIL THE END OF THE ROUND!

Hole 1

Par 4 that runs downhill after about 250 yards. There are bunkers left and right and a lateral hazard right of the hole.

My plan was to hit a 4hybrid off the tee and the left fairway bunker. Then I would hit a 6 iron to an 8 iron toward the green and pitch it on. Goal was a bogey.

Instead, I topped my 4hy into the lateral hazard. Good times.

I reteed and hit my 4hy into the fairway to 163 out. I then hit a thin 6 iron from the fairway to 42y out on the rough.

In a theme for the day, I hit my sand wedge 40 yards and it ran off into the fringe. I had a good 9y putt chip that missed 2y long. I did make the 2 yard putt for a … 7.

So certainly 2 strokes lost off the tee. Half a stroke lost on approach; half a stroke on the chip. -1 stroke for putting.

Hole 2

Straightaway par 5. 550 yards from the gold tees that we were playing. There are bunkers left and bunkers right. But left has OB and right is a hazard. However, it’s quite wide.

My plan was to hit a 4hybrid off the tee, then a 6 iron short of the right fairway bunkers to leave me with around 100 to 120 yards on approach.

Decided to hit driver because there wasn’t much downside. I drew the driver and … landed on the cart path, sending it soaring into someone’s backyard, a lateral hazard. That was an unlucky bounce. My reteed driver went straight as an arrow, 248 yards from the pin in the fairway. So technically a FIR!

I hit my 8 iron to about 100 yards out ( a great 8 iron shot to get there). But unfortunately, I forgot that balls roll on the fairway so I ended up about 90 yards out. I hit my PW 112 yards which put me on the green with a 22 yard long downhill putt. I missed that absurd shot 5 yards short. Then I missed the 5y putt to 1 foot and I made that.

So that’s an 8. 2 strokes off the tee. And I think a half shot on approach and a half shot on putting.

Hole 3

Straightaway par 3 with bunkers left and bunkers right. Pin was in front and the tee was pretty short, so I hit an 8 iron. My plan was 8 iron to 6 iron, depending on pin position and tee position.

My 8 iron was just thin and therefore just short of the green, leaving my 14 yards uphill with a sand wedge.

Wedged it on to within 2y and then missed the 2 yard putt. Made the 1 footer coming back for bogey. But that’s PAR for me on this hole.

Hole 4

Hole 4 is a straightaway par 4 with a very slight dogleg at the end. The big feature is a huge bunker about 150 yards from the hole, on a slight hill. It’s become a grass bunker now, but I wanted to be well short of it — because I didn’t have confidence I make it over it.

The plan was to hit an 8 iron off the tee, and 8 over the bunker and a PW on.

Hit a great 8 iron to the fairway and then a better 8 iron approach to about 50 yards out. I hit my SW just short of the green. I needed to carry 42 to the front of the green carried 40 yards. Terrible bounce so I was in the rough. I chipped it to within 3 yards (I had 20 yards to go) and didn’t get a good bounce. That left me a 3y uphill putt that I just missed. In for a double bogey — but that’s a par for me on that hole.

Missing the pitch and missing the chip hurt a bit, but sometimes you get unlucky. I got unlucky two times in a row. A bit longer pitch and a bit better lie would have meant I probably could have saved the second putt.

Hole 5

There’s a huge bunker up the left side and a grass bunker at the end of the fairway. Then there’s a slight dogleg left approaching the pin. Best I’ve ever done on this hole is a 6 which indicates how tough it is.

My plan was to aim at the grass bunker and hit a nice, smooth 4HY, leaving me an 8 iron to PW into the middle of the green.

Instead, I took a huge chunk with my 4HY and put it away for the rest of the game. A great 6 iron put me 124 from the pin … into a divot. I hit out of the divot onto the green, 12 yards from the hole. I missed that 2 yards short and then in for a bogey. Yay! A new record!

Lost a stroke off the tee. Gained it back on approach though.

Hole 6

Really short Par 4. It’s maybe 240 to the hole from the tee, but a pond protects the green left and it’s a lateral hazard behind the hole. Every time I have hit anything other than an iron, I’ve gone long.

There’s also a bunker protecting the landing area on the right side.

My plan was to hit a 6 iron over the bunker to give me an easy approach shot of about 100 yards.

Instead, I flushed my 6 iron about 170 yards with a little draw. I went through the fairway on a bad bounce and into the rough. I had about 50 yards in and I hit my SW a LITTLE long. It ran out onto the fringe.

I had a 12yard putt chip that I putt to 2 yards out; good pace though. I then missed the 2 yard putt out right and had a horseshoe putt.

I then made the third putt for a double bogey.

Hole 7

Pretty straightaway par 4 with bunkers right, lateral hazard left. The pin is tucked right, protected by a bunker left.

My plan was that I’d hit a hybrid off the tee and then an 8 iron to the green, aiming at the left side.

Since the hybrid was in the bag for the rest of the round, I had a decision. Hit driver and risk topping it into the lateral hazard that protects the front of the tee box? Or hit 6 iron and maybe give me some awkward distances?

I hit 6 iron and man did I give myself an awkward distance. I hit it great! But I aimed/drew the shot left into the lateral hazard scrub. I hit a provisional 6 iron off the tee that was very thin and very terrible because I thought left was OB, but ended up picking that up when I saw it was red-staked. I was going to take a drop — and then I found my ball! I was giddy.

Punched it out of the hazard with my PW to the fairway leaving me a good 8 iron distance. I then hit my 8 iron to the green, leaving myself an 18 yard putt.

I blocked out the 18 yard putt right — completely misread the break. Like, I read it opposite from how it went. So I was pin high but 5 yards right. Then I missed the 5y remaining putt short leaving 2 yards out. I missed that 2-yarder and then completed the 4-putt.

Hilariously, I won that hole with a 7. Everyone else had to drop and take penalty strokes because they lost their balls.

Hole 8

Hole 8 is a very uphill par 3 that was playing super short: front pin position and tee box very up. So I hit my 8 iron about a ¾ swing JUST short of the green. Then I made a 10y chip with my SW leaving me 1.5 yards. My chance for PAR!

Nope! I missed the 1.5 yard putt by a half centimeter (it bounced off the lip) and then made it for bogey.

Interestingly, this hole has an enormous bunker guarding the green left. My brother-in-law hit his ball in there. He did not get it out. He hit 5 shots.

On shot 4 from the bunker, I helpfully told him that he could drop behind the bunker for a 2-stroke penalty. He responded by very rudely hitting the ball at me. He did get out of the bunker but the damage was done. My heart will never be fixed. Nor will my feelings.

He didn’t hit me though.

Hole 9

Hole 9 is a bit of a nemesis. It’s a long, uphill par 5. My plan was to just hit 6 iron a whole bunch.

Instead, I decided to hit driver off the tee because … i don’t know… Realistically, the tee box wasn’t protected by a hazard or scrub and I figured if I topped it, I’d be okay.

So I topped the driver off the tee but it was in play and in the fairway (FIR). So I hit a beautiful provisional ball that was the longest drive. Yay…

Fortunately, my second shot took me to where my drive ended up and then another beautiful 6 iron left me just 75 out.

Then I went way too long with my PW. That seems to be my miss with my pitching wedge. I remember thinking that going long was okay. I hit it nice and straight but didn’t align properly.

It was not a good place to be: Above the hole, in the rough, side lie, and next to a bunker. Green was a little short sided and sloped away downhill. I’d have preferred to be in the bunker, honestly.

But I was there, lying stroke 5. I had to try to score. (I did not and should not have tried this).

Why? Well, what happened was I tried an impossible flop shot that I duffed. It got me to a much better chip, which I then managed to put onto the green. Another horseshoe putt (this one from 3 yards) and finally in for an 8.

Front 9

The front 9 was pretty tough. I shot 55. I hit the fairway 4 times on 9 tries. Really, my downfall was that I had to take 4 extra shots off the tee, plus 2 penalty strokes. (Hole 1, Hole 2, Hole 5’s chunky tee shot, Hole 9’s topped tee shot). The duffed chip on 9, the misread on 7, the 2 horseshoe putts and missing the 1.5y putt didn’t help either.

The bad decisions I could improve were aiming left on hole 7 and reading the green right there (2 strokes) — and then the duff chip. But it all came down to screwing up the tee shots.

Hole 10

Hole 10 is downhill and wide open. There’s a bunker right and some trees that separate Hole 10 from Hole 1.

My original plan was to hit 4HY onto the right side of the fairway and then hit 8 iron to PW on. I decided to hit driver because it was so wide open. A topped shot wouldn’t be too bad.

I misaligned my driver and hit it straight but right at the fairway bunker right. But I wasn’t in the bunker — under some trees though.

So I punched it onto the fairway with my 8 iron. Well, I punched it through the fairway. I was in the rough 30 yards from the hole, trying to go over a large bunker.

I then hit my luckiest shot of the day. I had to maybe hit it 19 yards to clear the lip of the bunker. I hit it 19.1 yards and had the ball roll onto the green about 7 yards out.

Missed very close with the 7 yard putt and got it in for bogey. That was my best, longest putt of the day so far. I’d also made 2 2-yard putts too.

Hole 11

A short, uphill par 3. I hit a thin 8 iron that just rolled onto the green, leaving me 16 feet from the front flat pin. I missed the birdie putt 1 yard long but made it coming back for Par. My first green in reg! (Okay, by my measure, I had a GIR on Hole 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 because of how I’m trying to visualize it). But this was the first legit one! First PAR, too.

So that’s 2 really good putts in 2 holes!

Hole 12

This is a hard hole. There’s a huge bunker right to collect tee shots that slice. The fairway is open left, but at the end of the fairway, there’s about a 100 yard valley of rough that slopes toward a lateral hazard. They cut down some of the trees in the hazard which makes it easier … but it’s still real hard. I got an 11 last time because I hit through the fairway into the hazard.

So my plan was to hit it onto the left side, pitch it to the end of the FW, and then go for the green with shot 3.

Instead, I chunked a 6 iron onto the fairway, then hit a pure 8 iron through the fairway. That was very scary. Fortunately, my ball JUST rolled through the fairway and had an okay lie in the rough. I missed right with my PW into the rough. Fortunately, it was an okay lie. Unfortunately, I chipped it way long leaving me 15 yards to the pin on the putting green.

I missed the 15y putt to the right. Then I missed the 2 yard putt and finally made it. 

A 7. All according to plan. :/ Always great to have 4 strokes from 15 yards.

Hole 13

Hole 13 is a par 5 that I always seem to screw up. It’s not that long! I just always seem to lose a ball. My best on this hole is an 8 — but it’s an EASY PAR 5! This has always frustrated me. It is very straight. There are not a lot of bunkers or challenges.

So I had a plan to take my time. Hit a 4HY short of a (now non-existent) waste area. 4hy or 6 iron or even 8 iron from the waste area and then get me to 100 yards for my excellent pitching wedge swing.

Instead, I hit a 6 iron that I chunked into the fairway. I hit a provisional driver at least 250 yards. SIGH.

Instead of taking that drive, I topped my 6 iron up the fairway. Then i hit a good 6 iron about 150 yards leaving me 120 yards to the pin. I hit a good, pin high PW shot (for shot 4!) that leaked out right. Or I aimed it that way.

I was in the rough around the green and I chipped it to 4 yards out from 20 yards long. I missed the 4y putt leaving me 1.5 yards, which I made. A 7! A new personal record!!!! And I certainly had a chance at bogety with a 4 yard putt.

Honestly, the error on this hole happened on the tee. A top would have been better than a chunk. I’ll hit driver on this hole next time.

Hole 14

Hole 14 is  a straightaway par 4 with a very slight dogleg left at the end, with a huge swale before the green. Original plan was hybrid to the fairway and then 8 iron on.

Instead, I crushed a driver almost through the fairway. Why driver? Because it was downhill and a top wouldn’t be a problem. No joke, I hit it like 280 yards. I had 50 yards to the green. I hit my SW a little long of the pin, leaving me a 15y downhill putt. I lagged that to 1.5y and made it for PAR. That felt good.

Hole 15

Hole 15 has the potential to be very tricky. It’s a par 3 with a lot of bunkering and a 2-tier green. I waffled between 6 and 8 iron, going with 8 iron because it was quite short. I then chunked my 8 iron into the fairway and then topped my PW 18y short of the pin in the rough. Avoided the bunkers which claimed Ken (who got it out when he aimed at me).

I sand wedged it on to 3y long and just missed the 3y putt by 4 inches. In for a double-bogey. I didn’t win the hole because Jake’s had a great pitch shot on to 1 foot, allowing him to bogey.

Hole 16

Hole 16 is brutal. It has a fairly blind fairway, downhill leading to an island green. The tee box was up and there wasn’t a lot of scrub in front of it, so I hit a very easy driver that ran down the fairway. Unfortunately, it set me up at about 170 yards out. I cannot make that shot, so I laid up to 110 yards out with my SW.

I hit a great 110 yard pitching wedge that stuck on the green 10 yards short. I missed the 10 yard putt, then missed the 2 yard putt and finally made it for a double bogey. HOwever, I’ve never done better than 7, so I’ll take it.

That’s another accomplished goal! Stayed out of the water.

Hole 17

Hole 17 was my downfall. Why? I checked my score before this hole and realized OH, i am shooting a 91! (It was actually a 92)

I decided to hit driver to “give myself a chance” at making par. Why!?

This hole is long with a dogleg left that goes sharply uphill. There’s a grass bunker at about 200 yards to collect driver shots. And in front of the bunker and left there’s a lateral hazard. You hit over the hazard. This is not a hole for me to hit driver.

My plan was to hit a 6 iron at the bunker and then a 6 iron over the bunker and then pitch on.

Instead, I hit driver into the hazard. Then I hit driver into the grass bunker. And then I hit a chunk with my PW over the bunker.

So not I am lying 5 and I hit my 8 iron ot the end of the fairway. SW went long again, leaving me 23 yards, downhill, on a two-tiered green. I missed the putt only 4 yards long. I missed the 4 yarder and finally in for a 9. Not breaking 100 today.

Stupid checking my score.

Hole 18

Hole 18 is a wide open par 4 with bunkers left and bunkers right. The green is protected by a lake in front and has rough all along the water.

My plan was to hit it into the middle of the fairway with a 4 hybrid, then keep it short of the water to leave myself about 100 yards to the green.

Instead, I crushed a driver to leave my 150 yards out. I decided to go for it … and topped it about 120 yards. I needed it to carry 140. So into the water hazard. Gah.

Dropped 4 and hit my Sand Wedge on to 2.5 yards. I missed that 1 inch right and made it in for a double bogey.

Back 9

So that’s a 52 on the back 9 for 107 total.

The back 9 was much better than the front 9. Hole 12’s chipping error definitely hurt as did the tee shot on hole 13. Hole 15’s tee shot and then top PW also hurt as did my bad miss on Hole 16. Hole 17’s bad decision making parade also was a debacle, I think it cost me 3 strokes because I got into my own head.

Finally, going for it on 18 was dumb. I should have laid up to a better distance over the water. Oh well.

I hit 6 of 8 possible fairways and 2 of 9 greens. I also did much better with regard to course management (hole 17 & 18 excepted) — and that shows in the score. I gave myself a chance. Alas. 

I mean, I really did. I had a 9 and a 7!

Honestly, the problems with this round were the hazards and the bad play off the tee. If I had just been able to hit my tee shots well or at least thin rather than topping or chunking them, I would have had 12 fewer strokes. That is galling.

Adding everything up, I had 59 shots from the course and 44 putts (and putt chips) — and 4 hazards hit. I stayed out of the sand and really torpedoed my score when looking at hole 17. That’s the problem with the golfpad app, I think: it makes it so easy to see what you’re scoring and be mindful of that.

I had a really good time, despite the struggles I had off the tee. I didn’t stick to may gameplan as well as I would have liked and I’ve learned that I really, really should rely on my 8 iron. I had just 1 chunk with the 8 iron and that was when I waffled on the choice and chunked it. Everything else was useful.

Putting continues to be a challenge. I made 18 of 24 putts from within 2 yards, including several 2 yard putts. But those are really the distances I need to try to nail down. I’m hititng the green sooner but I’m not hitting the green in places that make it easy to score. I had to hit 7 putts of longer than 10 yards. That’s really hard and I’m not sure how to improve there.

I had just 1 miss from within 7 yards that was not useful and, while I didn’t make any from within 4 yards that were longer than 2 yards, I always gave myself a shot to finish with another putt.

I think I’ll just keep practicing putting. I think I’ll also forgo my next round in favor of a lesson. I’d like to get better consistency with my full swings. I also need to just practice pitch shots a bit more, I think.

My best shots were:

  1. Finishing putt on Hole 1 to help reset a bit.
  2. Excellent driver on Hole 2’s second tee shot. (I could have dropped which I should have done probably)
  3. Back to back 8 irons on Hole 4.
  4. Good 6 iron recovery on Hole 5 and then a good 8 iron on the green.
  5. 8 iron to the green on 7.
  6. 6 irons to make up distance on Hole 9
  7. GIR to Par on hole 11
  8. Dat drive on Hole 14! And the par, too.
  9. Good management on Hole 16 — I had a shot at par.
  10. Good pitch on Hole 18.

Even despite my struggles off the tee, I managed to cut my strokes on the course by 2 from oceanside muni. My putting was better, even if the number of putts were the same as last time. I did have 2 horseshoe putts and a 4 putt.

Man! Looking at it, my pitches hurt a lot: I only made 3 of the 9 pitch shots I had. So I really need to work on distance control there.

My 9 pitch shots led to 150 yards of putts. If I could halve that and make me have to make an average of a 9 yard putt instead of a 15 yard putt, I think I probably would have led to 7 fewer putts.

That and better consistency off the tee would help. I was not fully committed to many shots and frequently tried to overswing (I think). But it was a fun time and I can see the improvement coming. Eventually.

Comparing it to other rounds, it was a very good 107. I did the best I’ve ever done on a championship course for Par 3s with a bogey average. I tied my best Par 5 score. I also had a significant number of good and useful strokes. It was actually my highest percentage. The issue was my tee shots: I had basically 9 extra tee shots. I did manage to keep it in the fairway for the most part and had pretty good putts. The problem was that I had a lot of really long distances to go so even if I had good putts, they had to make up a lot of ground.

This was my best chipping performance but it’s probably because I had a lot of pitch shots into greens that just rolled off.

For next time:

  • If there’s a risk of going into the scrub, hit 8 iron since you know that’ll make it over the scrub: that would save 4 strokes (tee + drop on 1 and 17 strokes!)
  • Take drops when they’re available. Dropping 3 on hole 2 would not have saved many strokes… but that’s just because I hit a tee shot bomb on the retee. That’s not a realistic expectation every time.
  • Keep working on the 2 yard putts. I made 75% of them, missing 7. If i had made 3 more of them, that would have been … you know, 3 to 4 strokes.

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