Earnest Words

Two Partial Rounds: A Rainy Afternoon and MLK, Jr. Day

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Over the Christmas holiday, I took a lot of time off work. The week before Christmas was pretty fraught: I had a cold. My girls had colds. To top it all off, my in-laws (both vaccinated) caught Covid and that canceled our Christmas Eve plans.

So I wasn’t able to play at all the week before Christmas. The week after Christmas, I could play, but it was raining a TON. After playing on Monday and using the Arrcos Caddie, I was anxious to play again. I had to play just 5 more rounds before it could give me tips!

Wednesday the rain was supposed to let up. My in-laws, freed from quarantine, were game to play. My kids were game to play. But since they were coming, a kid-friendly course was optimal. 

And since it was raining, a nice course with lots of grass was … better.

So then, the Lawrence Welk Resort’s Oaks Course, a 1,000 yard par 3 course. It’s easy, my in-laws like it, and it’s relatively inexpensive.

We showed up without a tee time but the course was pretty deserted. The rain had not gotten the memo that it was supposed to stop at this point in the day.

Which was nice because it meant we could play but not nice in that it was wet and cold. My girls were excited to walk around in the rain but my in-laws were not. They watched the first hole instead of playing and then skedaddled.

The rain and herding my children precluded any warm up. I just took a couple swings on the first tee.

Hole 1 is a 100 yard hole. The challenge is that it’s: 1 the first tee and 2: the green is pretty sloped back to front.

It’s a par 3 course: what do you want?

With my daughters and in-laws watching, I hit a lovely pitching wedge to about 5 yards from the hole. I two-putted in the par. I remember hoping for birdie but not expecting nor trying for it.

Hole 2 is a little longer than hole 1 but has a bunker in front of the hole.

I hit pitching wedge again and, sans gallery other than my kids, I chunked it. I reteed, since I’d paid for two tee times (older daughter decided that no, she was not going to play after all), and put it on the green.

I trudged up to my chunked shot and hit a lob wedge a little short of the green. Putted it onto the green poorly, leaving myself a 7 footer, which I missed close.

That’s a double bogey on a 105 yard hole.

Hole 3 is EVEN longer at 110 yards! I hit pitching wedge, again a little chunky and short. And again, my second tee shot held the green.

The ball was pretty stuck and I felt clever, so I tried 20 yard bump and run from the rough. Unfortunately, it was a sodden mess from the rain (which had now stopped) so the ball just stuck.

That meant it was a putt chip onto the green again leaving a 7 footer, which I missed and then finally made for another double. Hooray.

Hole 4 is about 80 yards to the center of the green (which is enormous), so I hit my sand wedge. And I naturally chunked my sand wedge which was embarrassing. The second sand wedge was on the green.

Since was about 40 yards from the hole (and that’s my sand wedge pitching shot distance) I hit a SW about 37 yards, which left me in the rough about 10 yards from the hole. That is the golf you are reading this blog for.

I putted excellently, from 10 yards to 2 feet and got off the double bogey train.

Hole 5 is about 90 yards and slightly uphill, so I hit a pitching wedge. It was not the best stroke, a little short of the hole, but it was in play. Again, my second ball was on the green.

I had another excellent chip putt on, 16 yards which left me an easy tap-in par.

Hole 6 is fairly long (like 120 yards), over a water hazard to a green framed by large trees and bunkers long.

I hit a PW good shot but hooked it. My second shot, once again, held the green.

I actually couldn’t find the ball, mostly because i thought I was short. After looking for a bit, I dejectedly started to walk to my ball on the green to try for a bogey putt, I found the ball, in the rough, but with what I thought was a fairly accessible shot.

I didn’t look at the ball through my swing and skulled it over the green. So I went and chipped the ball on … and off the green again. I then had third chip onto the green. I never got myself in a position where I could putt successfully.

Once I got on the green, I had a 17 footer that I got close enough to make a triple bogey.

Maybe I should have taken the lost ball on the green…

I gotta admit, I was pretty sad on hole 7’s tee box. I was encouraged by a decent sand wedge shot off the tee. It left me short of the green, but I was able to chip on close with my lob wedge. Then I made the putt for a par.

Hole 8 is uphill to a wide pancake of a green, about 80 yards. I hit a great SW to the green, leaving myself 15 feet for birdie.

Not thinking birdie, I putted up and in for the birdie.

Hole 9 is decently long, some 130 yards plus, so I hit my 9 iron. I faded it into a tree right of the green which actually deflected the ball to the back of the green.

It was a long putt onto the green and then I surprised myself by leaving it 2 feet short, which was another par.

So that felt good: birdie sandwiched by up-and-down pars.

Hole 10 is a long, uphill hole to a long green. I hit 9 iron again and hit a tree again – but this time it was a bad bounce. The ball died and fell the mulch, down the hill, left of the green.

I decided to hit a pitching wedge from the mulch and hit it a bit too cleanly. The ball didn’t stop on the green: it rolled up, past the green, and onto the downslope bank above the hole.

Thinking about this, hitting long into that bank was a better choice than what I did. Next time I play, I’ll remember that.

Instead, I had to carry the cart path and some rough to get to the green. I hit a decent lob wedge that ran out very long on the green, leaving 30 feet to the hole. I missed short, uphill in the rain, and then missed again, leaving me with my second triple bogey.

At this point, it began raining lightly again. But my kids were still having fun.

Hole 11 saw another chunk off the tee and another second ball holding the green.

I had 40 yards or so to the pin, hit it 50 with my sand wedge, and then left myself a 12 yard putt chip. That I put in close (i actually shouted for the ball to go in the hole) and made for a improbable up-and-down bogey.

Hole 12 was about 110 yards. I hit a slight draw with my pitching wedge, left of the green. I was chipping uphill to a downsloping green (I think), so I just barely chipped on with my lob wedge ( a little too tentative). But I two-putted from 26 feet away, so that was a good feeling.

Hole 13 was the last hole. It was getting really wet (I almost lost the club swinging) and, most importantly, my kids decided that they had stopped having fun in the rain. I think it was because the snacks ran out.

I hit another good pitching wedge, again slightly left of the green. I was a bit further, but an excellent lob wedge left me just 1 and a half feet from the hole, a distance which I promptly missed.

All in all, I finished with a 52 for +13 through 13. That was pretty good.

No pictures because they’re all pictures of my kids, rolling down hills and filling divots. That’s for me, not you.

Also Arcoss has trouble with the shortness of this course. Frequently, I was putting in the parking lot.

Oceanside Muni on MLK Jr. Day

This was an impromptu round. My goal was to get in 9 before sundown. Got to the course at about 230 and walked on.

I could have joined up with a few random players on the front but chose to take my time. The practice green appeared to be closed so I hit 5 tees on the first green. Then the players behind me asked if I was up: and so that was how the round started.

I hit an excellent 6 iron off the tee: it drew and went a nice distance. Then I checked the distance to the green and it was about 150 to the center of the green. I hit a 7 iron that hit the green and rolled just off.

I was thrilled. This is exactly how I had hoped this hole would go. I was slightly amused that my 6 iron had gone 177 yards – and my  7 iron went … 175 yards, apparently.

That left me pretty long of the pin, but it was a pretty level putt. I putted really well, consciously not trying to make it, and ended up just about a foot from the pin on 27-foot putt. Easy make for a … par?

I was patient walking over to hole 2 – although I could have easily caught up to and joined the group in front of me. But I took my time and teed off with a 7 iron – which I drew again. This was problematic because I’d been expecting a fade and so aimed at the left side of the fairway.

My ball was in the mulch and dirt left of the rough – it was a decent lie, if slightly tree obscured) and I hit what I thought was a punch shot.

Instead, it was a laser beam – the ball would just not stop rolling. I was 100 yards from the middle of the green. The ball hit on the little swale left of the green and Just. Kept. rolling.

When i finally found it, i’d gone 35 yards long of the green and my ball was resting against the edge of the cart path. It was on grass but it was a very tough location to hit from. I didn’t have a good sense of the shot I wanted to hit and .. well, that always goes well for golf.

I hit my lob wedge first and didn’t give myself enough power. That meant my ball rolled back down the hill. Then I ditched my lob wedge for my putter and tried putting it up the hill. That took me about two putts to get up the hill. Then I finally putted from the fringe, down the hill, to leave myself 7 feet. Which I missed but at least got it close enough to make an 8.

What went wrong here? Well, I lost focus and was trying to minimize the damage after the missed chip. But – and this is a big butt – I followed an unlucky shot with a bad shot, and then a bad shot with two more stupid shots.

What I should have done was tried to go long of the front of the green – then I would be putting up the green. So that would have given me an extra chip (maybe) – as opposed to 3 extra chips.

After this hole, I had a long delay. I joined up with the group in front of me: a civil engineer, a man in a cart with a bum leg, and a retiree who played the gold tees (whoopee!).

After this long delay, I hit a 6 iron to the green, about 4 yards from the hole. I had a decent putt to leave me a yard out (okay, that’s not the best putt) and then my 1 yard putt lipped out for a bogey on a GIR.

But a Par, and then a GIR was a good result. Heck, even the terrible punch shot was a good shot that just … didn’t work.

Hole 4 things opened up a little bit; we were able to tee off pretty quickly.

I hit an excellent 6 iron off the tee and while i wasn’t intending to cut the corner, I did and did so successfully. I hit a 186 yard 6 iron shot, perfectly in the middle of the fairway. Then I hit a 6 iron draw up toward the green, but, unfortunately, I didn’t really aim my second shot. As it was, I maybe could have given myself an easier shot.

But I had 50 yards left on a par 5, hitting from the rough. I was definitely thinking birdie at this point.

I went a bit long with my pitching wedge, leaving me an 11-yard chip, which I left short. I missed the short 2 yard putt and was in for another bogey.

8 notwithstanding, I was playing pretty well.

There was another long delay on hole 5 and I … oh brother. I shanked my tee shot OB. Then my second shot with the 7 iron I hit a fade. And since every long shot had drawn, I was aiming at the right side of the green.

That wasn’t too bad: I was on the fringe and 14 yards away. I putted on, okay, leaving myself a lot of meat on the bone – about a 7 footer. I don’t know how I missed but I definitely missed poorly and left myself a 4-foot putt – that I missed horribly. I think I paid no attention to my playing partners putts and missed the easy, short putt. So that’s a 7 on a par 3. Oof.

Hole 6 is pretty easy and I’ve certainly underestimated it before.

This time, I hit a 6 iron off the tee, accounted for my draw and gave myself an excellent lie about 80 yards from the pin.

80 yards is an uncomfortable distance for me but I decided to hit SW since that’s supposed to go 80 yards. Really, I should have hit lob wedge since that won’t go too long.

Unfortunately, I had the same issue I had on hole 2: I blasted it. My SW was thinly hit and would not stop rolling. It finally stopped on hole 7’s tee box about 50 yards from the green.

Now, you will remember, gentle reader, that I had had a similar issue on hole 4 where I hit a pitching wedge from 50 yards. For whatever reason, that result (slightly long) was unacceptable and I decided to hit a lob wedge.

That lob wedge went about half the distance I had intended it to go – about 24 yards. Then I hit another lob wedge and missed very long. That left me a 15 yard chip shot that I decided to use my putter.

It was not the best chip and it left me 5 yards long. I almost made the 5-yarder for double-bogey and had an easy tap-in for another 7. Hooray.

Hole 7 I remembered my folly from the last time. I was not going to get a 10 today. 6 was a goal score.

I had a great tee shot – absoutely lovely. It was so so good. 9 iron, right down the middle with a slight draw to roll out and leave my 170 yards from the middle of the green.

I hit my 6 iron and was not fixated on a specific aiming point. That meant my draw ran left, over the cart path, pin high.

I pitched on with my lob wedge and couldn’t get the ball to stop. But I was able to give myself a good putt from the fringe to leave about 4 feet in.

I lipped out again for a double bogey. But … man, I could have had a birdie chance!

Hole 8 I hit 6 iron off the tee and my brand-new draw put me in a tough spot: there was a tree in the path of least-resistance, toward the hole. So I took my medicine and hit a lay up.

That pitching wedge was great, in the fairway, about 150 yards from the pin.

I hit a great 7 iron that rolled long of the pin and my playing partners all complained about how long we all were. Why? Well, it was a long, downhill putt. I should have hit an 8 iron since the carry for the water was about 120.

So that meant I had a green-in-regulation on a par 5 and a terrifying downhill 27 foot putt. I hit a great, great putt that left me 2 feet out but with a huge break.

Next time, on a putt like this, I will try to miss slightly long because an uphill putt was a lot easier than the alternative.

As it was, the 2 foot slider was really hard. I missed low and the ball ran out to 4 feet. Then I had another putt lip out and finally made a 4-putt double-bogey 7.

Hole 9 I actually hit my first fade off the tee, which was unfortunate. I saw the ball bounce but .. definitely seemed like it was heading toward the river right. So I hit another provisional ball and a draw, which would have left me in a tough spot.

As it was, I found my first ball in the rough. I chunked the ball out of the rough but it was enough power to get the ball moving. I ended up 47 yards away from the pin in the fairway and pitched my sand wedge up and to about 5 feet out.

Then I made the 5 footer for par. 

So that was a very up-and-down 9 for a 53. I had 9 decent tee shots – and one atrocious one.

I had just 9 approach shots which is a new record for me. I mean, 9 approach shots is what a good player would expect on 5 par 4s (1 per hole) and 2 par 5s (2 per hole). I hit 6 fairways and 2 greens, which is pretty good, considering. And the holes where I didn’t hit the green had some other issues.

My issue was chipping and putting: Chipping on hole 2 and hole 6 contributed 8 of those 14 chip shots. And then there were the two 3-putts and the 4-putt – but also I had 3-lip outs.

Really, the two quad bogeys really hurt – at the triple didn’t help much either.

I left my playing partners at this point to try to play a few more holes before the sun went down.

Hole 10 I had my first bad habit reversion: I didn’t really look at the ball as I swung through. The result was a chunky 6 iron that ended up at 146 yards from the tee, but in the fairway.

Then I followed up a mistake with bad luck: I was about 150 yards from the green and hit an 8 iron that I didn’t realize was aimed directly at the tree on the left side of the fairway.

Ball hit the tree and caromed off into the scrub, directly underneath a bush. So the only option was a punch shot. I hit a pretty decent shot that got back to the fairway, leaving me 40 yards from the pin.

I planned to hit a bump and run and debated between 9 iron and pitching wedge. Since it was uphill, a 9 iron should have been the choice. As it was, my bump and run ended up about 9 yards out, but on the green.

I very, very nearly made the 27 footer and then cleaned up for a double-bogey.

Hole 11 I joined up with the twosome in front of me. They were friendly enough but desperately trying to fit a few holes – and delayed by the foursome in front of them.

Hole 11 is a short par 3 and was playing pretty short today. I decided to hit my 8 iron off the tee and absolutely stepped on it.

When I got up to the hole, I saw my ball sitting pretty on a ridge right of the green. It was a pretty good strike: 139 yards. I used my lob wedge to get onto the green from 23 yards out. I putted close and then in for bogey.

Then I looked up and saw my ball about 20 yards long of the green. So that’s a 2-stroke penalty for playing the wrong ball. And I’d hit my 8 iron maybe 165 yards or so.

Sigh. It was also about this point that Arcoss started really struggling to track my shots. I don’t know if it was the overcast/nighttime setup but … it had a lot of trouble.

Hole 12 is the a short par 4 but it is super-duper uphill. With the benefit of knowing that I’d absolutely crushed my 8 iron, I hit the 8 iron off the tee and it was a great shot, 140 yards or so to the middle of the fairway.

I had about 70 yards to the pin. I lined up my lob wedge and skulled it with full swing.

I had hoped the ball had stopped and … it did not.  I hit my lob wedge nearly 100 yards uphill.

I did find the ball, 31 yards from the pin, in the rough. And I putted it nearly off the the front of the green.

Then I putted back on to about 2 feet – and promptly lipped out the putt. My playing partners conceded the next putt.

It was getting really dark as we teed off on hole 13. I hit pitching wedge and hit a hook that disappeared into the lateral hazard – somewhere.

So I reteed and went well long of the hole, about 120 yards. I hit my lob wedge onto the green from the rough, leaving about 7 feet from the hole. Two putt for a … 6.

24 on these last four holes, with 2 triples and two doubles. Ew. I was certainly rushing so I’m not going to read too much into how I was playing.

But then I went home, feeling happy that I’d played golf.

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