Emerald Isle at the Golden Hour

On a Friday, I tried to squeeze in Emerald Isle, after work, with some friends. I had some range warm up (a rarity) and some putting warmup. The range warmup was not particularly good.

Hole 1, I tried to do too much. I decided to hit 8 iron and, instead of learning from my mistakes all the other times I played this hole, I compounded them. See, last time I played, I hit an easy shot that found the front of the green but was 90 feet from the hole, which I four-putted.

This time, I was going for the center of the green with a full swing with my 8 iron. I aimed at the right side of the green and promptly hit the ball perfectly straight, out of bounds about 100 yards away.

I hit another because why not and hit a hook which ran well down the hill. I later found it (like 2 hours later) on the tee box of hole 16.

I decided to avail myself of the rule that allows you to drop in the fairway for 4 – and promptly skulled my lob wedge 60 yards over the green into a bunch of other crap.

This was error number: following a bad shot with a stupid shot.

Much better would have been a pitching wedge or 9 iron runner that’s only going to carry 6 or 7 yards and roll out to 40.

Anyway, for shot 5 I decided to try to hit lob wedge again, only this time I was going to give it some touch and have it .. not do what it did, which was get fluffed to the fringe. At least it made it to the fringe.

That left an easy 17-yard putt from off the green which I got to 10 feet. The 10-footer was a good putt, which meant I was able to escape with a wonderful 8 on hole 1.

I resolved to not let it get to me: everyone can have a blow-up hole.

Hole 2 I decided to hit 6 iron off the tee, going for the green. Only the 6 iron shot really seems to be chunky and short, only like 150 yards. Weird ball flight too.

It was after the round that I realized that I’d hit my 9 iron instead of my 6 iron – so the 150 yard shot was actually very good.

I tried not to feel disappointed since I was in the fairway – but I did. That’s okay, I was 30 yards from the pin. So let’s go LW and – hey why not skull it? It was an absolutely atrocious shot.

Fortunately, this was where I realized what I was doing wrong: I was reverting to a bad habit of not focusing on the ball when swinging.

But again, the ball stayed in play and was on the back of the green, just 20 yards from the pin. It was in the rough but very puttable so I did that. I left myself 4 yards for the par putt and tried to get it close and, naturally, made par.

THINGS ARE LOOKING UP!

Hole 3 I decided to hit 8 iron and hit a great one: 142 yards to the green about 5 yards from the pin.

I didn’t miss very well with the putt but I managed to get within striking distance. I lined up the 4-footer and proceeded like I’ve been practicing: head down through the stroke – and was rewarded by the ball dropping into the cup for my very first par on this hole.

Hole 4 I hit pitching wedge and … I remember something went wrong. My ball drew pretty heavily left but ended up in the sand. Considering it’s OB beyond the sand trap, I was happy to be in the sand … until I saw the ball perched on the edge of the trap, below the ridge of the bunker.

Going for the pin was not an option considering the lie: I’d hit the lip with my club and … not hit the ball. So I aimed very far away from the pin and managed to get the ball out and onto the green.

That left me about 30 or so feet for par but I had a great putt to 2-feet out. And I made the 2-footer.

Hole 5 was playing pretty far up and I hit pitching wedge. I aimed center of the green and had a pretty hefty draw. I was hoping to hit the sand trap after the draw and did not.

Instead, my ball hit the cart path and ran down down down down to 150 yards, some 30 yards long of the green.

I dropped from the cart path into an area that was a decent lie, no nearer to the hole. It was about a 12-yard carry, slightly uphill. I hit it about 11 and a half yards, which meant the ball rolled down the hill, further away.

This next time, I tried a more aggressive flop shot. It hit the tree and rolled back to where I was again.

Then I hit it much harder and the ball at least got onto the plateau, not on the green but at least puttable. I putted it really close from 33 feet out, to about 4 feet. Then I made that 4 footer for a 6.

Nothing like a quadruple chip! In this case, the biggest issue was that I got cute with the second shot: instead of being okay with going long, I tried to finesse the shot. A sand wedge or a pitching wedge to give more rollout would have been a better choice and I’ll do that for my next uphill shot: club up to make sure that the roll gets up the hill, even if I miss short.

Hole 6 is a little shorter, so i decided to hit sand wedge. I was a little chunky, I think, but the ball got just to the fringe.

I thought about the chip a bit, waffling between PW and 9 iron, and hit a pitching wedge and ended up about 10 yards short. So that means that a 9 iron was the right choice. Did the math wrong there.

Hilariously, me and all my buddies hit it all to the same distance from the pin. So we all decided to synchronize our putts from 30 feet out.

I got it to about a foot and easily tapped in for a bogey.

Hole 7 is a short par 4 that I always seem to screw up. This time, I did select 6 iron and hit it oh, you know, 200 yards, into the fairway.

My buddy Kivan hit his 3 wood onto the green so he had a 7 yard eagle putt. I had 30 yards for eagle and hit an excellent pitch shot that nearly, nearly rolled in. It stopped about 4-feet past the hole.

Kivan hit a terrible eagle putt that left his about 5 yards for birdie and three-putted for the par. Which was something he moaned about and I quickly shut it down. Par is a good score.

It helped that I made the 4-footer for a birdie, which is, I think, my first ever recorded birdie on a par 4.

I was pumped when I made it.

Hole 8 is short but a terribly challenging green. I hit the green pretty easily but left myself a 32-footer for birdie.

I was not expecting to make the 32-footer; I was just hoping to get close enough to have a chance since it was a sweeping, downhill putt.

I missed pretty badly, leaving 7-feet back to the hole. But then I lipped out the 7-footer and tapped in for bogey.

Hole 9 is another challenging hole because of the green. I hit my 8 iron into the wind and hit a fade when I was expecting a draw. That meant I nearly hit the players in front of us. As I walked up to apologize, we heard an explosion from the tee box on 10.

The group in front of the group that had just cleared the green were shouting. Their friend Mike had made an ace.

Congratulations Mike.

This should also show how backed up the course was. There was also not really any reason for it: just a few foursomes in front of us that were taking a LONG time.

Anyway, I found my ball on the cart path and dropped on the rough of hole 12. It was extremely down hill, carrying the path, toward a severe downslope that would accelerate the ball all the way down the hill into the water hazard. So I played it perpendicular to the hole which was set on the only flat spot on the green, front left.

I hit a great shot into the rough above the hole which slowed it down as it fell to the green and trickled off the front of the green. However, the ball stopped on a sprinkler in front of the green. So another free relief for a 27 foot putt onto the green, which stopped a foot long of the hole. Easy in for a bogey.

This was  a pretty good front 9. I was +11, but +8 of that was from 2 holes. Net, I was +1.

Reviewing this after the fact, I cannot believe I was disappointed. An actual +3 through 7 holes? That’s really good!

My tee shots were decent. The only one truly atrocious was hole 1; hole 5 was bad but really the problem was caused by chipping.

My approach shots were decent too: both contacted the green and one stayed on.

Chipping was good too, with the exception of hole 5 and hole 1.  I hit 3 greens so I would expect to have 6 chip shots. Instead, I had 12, but 7 of them came on 2 holes. True I had a double chip on 9, but that was a good double-chip.

Putting was good, which was a relief, let me tell you. A 4-yard make and a birdie putt, plus missing no short putts, felt really good after the atrocious play I’ve had recently. 15 putts is really good, exactly what I would hope for.

Onto Hole 10. 

I had a bad tee shot. I chunked it but got it about 100 yards, over the water hazard and onto the cart path. Relief was not much better than the cart path but after Chason chipped his shot into the lip of the bunker, I hit mine a bit harder and skulled the ball over the green and into the rough on the hill above the downhill and downward sloping green.

I hit a very delicate putt along the fringe, aiming perpendicular to the hole about 6 yards or so.

I missed the hole by about a ball length and ended rolling out to about 4 feet, which I made for a bogey. Excellent putting there.

Hole 11 I hit my lob wedge and aimed right of the tee for some reason – or maybe I blocked it out? It was a little short but on the green at least.

I was pretty far away: some 40 feet. But I had a great putt to about a foot away for another par. Woo-hoo!

Hole 12 I hit long again with the ball refusing to stay on the green and just trickling into the fringe. The biggest issue was that I was below the hole on the 2 tier green and had about 16 yards to the hole.

But I made a great chip putt to about 4 feet away from the pin and just flatout missed the putt. I pulled it but at least gave myself an easy putt for bogey.

Hole 13 I chunked my lob wedge off the tee. I had a good second shot that left me about 15 feet to the blind pin – and I ended up putting the ball off the green, just barely, when I missed the downhill putt.

That meant a 3 yard uphill putt which I majorly rushed and a 1 yard follow up for a double-bogey. Nothing good about that hole.

Hole 14 I was rushed because we finally played through on the threesome in front of us. I don’t know what they were doing but the green was clear and they were just standing on the tee box when we walked up. It was bizarre.

I hit a fat 8 iron very short of the sand trap which left me about 15 yards from the green and 14 yards short of the trap.

For whatever reason, instead of taking the safe shot to the middle of the green, i decided to try to finesse my shot over the trap. Yes, I hit it 13 yards. Yes it was in the trap.

Yes I got the ball out but it was not out to particularly close: i had like 30 feet to go. Would have been much better to do that and get a bogey than the alternative.

I had a good putt to 2 feet and made the 2-footer. But not before shaking my fist at my own stupidity.

Hole 15 I got over the chunks and hit my 8 iron just 117 yards, over the green and into the wind (I think Arcoss was starting to have some trouble finding me as the sun went down).

I hit a big draw over the left side of the green leaving me 16 yards out on the fringe.

I had a decent 50 foot putt but it still left me about a 7 footer out, which I missed. In for a bogey.

Nothing particularly good there.

Hole 16 I chunked into the hazard with my pitching wedge. Then i hit my pitching wedge long ono the green, which left me a 39 foot downhill putt to the hole. I put it extremely close for a double-bogey that woulda been a par.

Since the people in front of us were taking ages, we played 15 and 3 again.

I hit a perfectly straight shot on 15, but three-putted (missing a short putt). Then on 3, I hit another great tee shot and two-putted for par.

Not a lot of detailed notes on these holes because Arcoss was extremely useless. I haven’t figured out how to skip back or track replayed holes.

But two pars on 3 was really nice. As was the tee shot on 15.

Back 9 was +10, which was actually net even for me (since 3 is such a challenging hole).

My tee shots were much worse, certainly caused by the glacial pace at which the game proceeded. I had 10 tee shots and only 6 were any good.

I did hit 3 greens, with honorable mentions on 12, 15 the first time and 16 the second tee shot. That meant 6 chips (well, 5 since hole 16 doesn’t count) were required and I had just 8, which wasn’t too shabby, especially considering that a double-chip on 10 was almost required, 13 rolled off the green, and …

I’m putting lipstick on a pig. It’s not going to work.

Putting was also less good on the back 9: I missed 2 short putts and had just 1 one-putt to balance out my three-putt on 15 the second time.

However, given the challenges of golf, it was a good result. Putting was so much better this round which was really, really nice.

It’s hard to decided if hole 7 or the double pars on hole 3 were more exciting. I think it’s the pars on the holes where I’ve never pared them before. That’s a good feeling.

  1. 4-yarder for par on hole 2
  2. Tee shot on 3
  3. Finishing putt on 3
  4. Getting out of the sand in 1 on 4
  5. Lag putt on 4
  6. Chip putt on 5
  7. Synchronized lag putt on 6
  8. Tee shot on 7
  9. Approach on 7
  10. Birdie on 7
  11. Tee shot on 8
  12. Chip on 9 not running into hell
  13. Chip putt on 9 getting very close
  14. Chip putt on 10
  15. Lag putt on 11
  16. Chip putt on 12
  17. Lag putt on 16
  18. Tee shot on 15 (2nd time)
  19. Tee shot on 3 (2nd time)
  20. Lag putt on 3
  21. Putt in on 3

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